Before Jason Arthur and Nick Davies got married in late 2017, they were paying around $1,900 for a one-bedroom rental in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn. Their walk-up apartment had a kind of large closet or half-bedroom, which the couple used mostly to house Mr. Arthur’s kitchen equipment.
When Mr. Arthur was growing up in New Jersey, his mother and grandmother always baked. “When I moved out on my own, I had to bake for myself because there was nobody to do it for me,” he said. Now, he is the buyer in charge of food innovation for Barnes & Noble Cafes.
Mr. Arthur and Mr. Davies, a book publicist, always planned to use their wedding-gift money as a down payment on a home. After the wedding, they began checking out open houses and contacted their friend Daniele Kurzweil, an agent at Compass.
“They were buying to prepare for the future, not for the right now, so they wanted the flexibility of a second bedroom,” Ms. Kurzweil said.
With a budget of under $450,000 for a two-bedroom co-op, they found themselves priced out of their own neighborhood.
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The couple, both in their 30s, considered Midwood, a few stops farther south on the Q train. But the open houses there were jammed, Ms. Kurzweil said: “They were these large junior fours — a one-bedroom with a dining room that could convert into a second bedroom — and the prices were jumping.”
Their priority was a good kitchen, which meant plenty of counter space and storage space, plus a dishwasher or the ability to install one.
Mr. Arthur was a contestant last winter on “The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition,” where he made his Sticky Toffee Coffee Cake, an original recipe that is now sold in Barnes & Noble Cafes. “Some people I know have great apartments but the kitchen is basically a closet or an afterthought, and we couldn’t really live like that,” said Mr. Davies, who is also a good cook.
So the couple decided to focus on Bay Ridge, in the southwest corner of Brooklyn. They had friends who lived there and they loved its varied food scene. The housing stock included mid-size, prewar co-op buildings they could afford.
“It felt like an old New York neighborhood, a place where people live their lives,” Mr. Davies said. “It didn’t feel like a hub that was a hot neighborhood people commuted to the city from.”
Among their choices:
This corner unit with around 900 square feet had a narrow, updated kitchen and a large foyer with separate doors that led to the kitchen, bedroom, living room and closet. There was no hallway, and the second bedroom was behind the living room.
The price was $435,000, with monthly maintenance of $668.
Five blocks away, this corner unit with a sunny southern exposure was an estate sale, with an eat-in kitchen and around 850 square feet. “The bedrooms were aligned to the street but the kitchen was on a little diagonal,” Mr. Arthur said.
It was listed at $445,000, with maintenance of around $800 a month.
This railroad-style unit, in excellent condition, had around 800 square feet and a beautiful kitchen. The two bedrooms were on opposite sides of the apartment.
The price was $425,000, with monthly maintenance of a little over $1,100.
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