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Co-Living in a Brooklyn Townhouse


“I wanted to keep it that way to completely enforce the separation of sleeping and everything else,” Mr. Chiappinelli said, a division that has worked exceptionally well for him since he has been working from home during the pandemic.

“This situation has really been ideal,” he said. “I have friends who are sharing space in Manhattan with three or four other roommates and a lot of them have been just working from their bedrooms. Otherwise everyone is trying to have their Zoom meetings in the living room and talking over each other.”

Before last March, Mr. Chiappinelli often went weeks without more than a passing-in-the-hall hello to his roommates. But now, he said, “I’ve found we spend more time together. It started off as casual talks in the kitchen. Now when I’m cooking there I almost hope someone stumbles downstairs because it’s really nice.”

He is, however, down to just one other roommate at the moment. Several roommates who worked in the restaurant industry moved out of the city and his floormate, a dog walker on the Upper East Side, recently relocated to a studio apartment there to be closer to work. But the unusually large rooms tend to fill fast and the landlord has been understanding about minor delays replacing roommates.

Meanwhile, Mr. Chiappinelli, now the tenant of longest residence, has been taking advantage of the interlude to revamp the common areas a little, winnowing out the less desirable leave-behinds in the living room, clearing the expired spices out of the kitchen rack, “trying to assert my will upon the space a little bit,” he said.

But not too much, he added.

Though he would someday like to live somewhere that’s “a complete reflection of who I am,” part of this home’s charm is that it retains traces of previous residents, from white floorboards in the bedroom to the living room bookshelf filled with random titles.



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