A Couple Aims to Stretch the City’s Boundaries. Which Home Did They Choose?

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Unable to find the space they craved in the five boroughs, Margaret and Scott ventured up to Bronxville. Can you guess which of these three homes they bought?

The New York Times - Real Estate

Margaret Heidenry, a writer, and Scott Winslow, a lighting designer, met two dozen years ago while working on a movie set in Alabama, then moved to Los Angeles.

They knew they didn’t want to stay there forever. “Margaret was always pining for New York,” Mr. Winslow said of his wife, a New York native who grew up mostly in Jackson Heights, Queens.

About five years ago, Mr Winslow’s work as a designer of custom lighting installations led the couple to New York, where they eventually landed in a sublet in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

“We thought, New York is our home,” Ms. Heidenry said. “We are not going to leave again, so let’s start looking for a place.”

But they disagreed about where they’d actually live. Ms. Heidenry, 48, wanted to be in the city. Mr. Winslow, 57, who is from the northwest, wanted to head farther afield for more space, as long as the commute to his office in NoMad was reasonable.

“We started doing this Fibonacci spiral outward from Park Slope,” Mr. Winslow said. “We saw some places we liked, but for the money they weren’t great. It is one thing to rent a place that’s O.K., but to buy a place that’s O.K. didn’t make sense to me.”

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The couple aimed for two bedrooms, allowing for a guest room and office space for Ms. Heidenry, a freelance writer and screenwriter who works from home. Mr. Winslow wanted outdoor space.

They had differing budgets in mind, too. She wanted to stay below $3,200 a month, which translated to about $550,000. He was willing to go higher. “Scott feels like, whatever happens, we’ll make it work,” Ms. Heidenry said.

Much of what they could afford in the city were “drywall boxes” that lacked quirk and character.

“Scott had to drag me out of the five boroughs,” Ms. Heidenry said. “I didn’t want to live in a house. You have to take care of a house. Plumbing problems, window problems, roof problems — these are all my problems.”

In Bronxville, a village about 15 miles north of Manhattan where Ms. Heidenry’s parents had briefly lived before she was born, she appreciated the walkability. And the Metro North ride to the city was a convenient 30 minutes. Any new place would have to be walkable to the shopping district and the train.

About three years ago, the couple started hunting in the area and met Ginger Ruckman, an associate broker at Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty, at an open house. “They wanted 1920s,” Ms. Ruckman said. “They didn’t want anything new.”

They wound up signing a contract for a Bronxville two-bedroom co-op with a large terrace. But when the deal fell through, they scrambled to find a nearby rental, from where they continued their search for something to buy in Bronxville, knowing how much they liked the village.

Among their choices:

This 1910 carriage house, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms covering more than 1,400 square feet, was on a small slope, covering a third of an acre.

The yard had a root cellar — a stone outbuilding that Mr. Winslow envisioned as a man-cave.

The asking price was $499,000, with annual taxes of a little over $8,000.

This duplex, in a 1928 co-op building, had 1,400 square feet with two bedrooms and one bathroom, plus a “garden room” leading to a small terrace.

The decor included vintage fixtures, glass panels and walls of lavender and chartreuse.

The initial asking price was $600,000, but it had fallen over the course of a year to $450,000. Monthly maintenance was a bit over $1,300.

This 1,250-square-foot end unit had three bedrooms, two bathrooms and three exposures. The 1927 Brooklands complex was tucked between the Bronx River Parkway and Sprain Brook Parkway, as well as their respective waterways.

The condition was suitably prewar, with two classic, subway-tiled bathrooms.

The listing price was $499,000, with maintenance of just under $1,400.

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