From the NYT:
Much has been written about “good enough” marriages, but what of “good enough” houses in “I guess we have to live somewhere” neighborhoods?
This is the story of a family who began with low expectations and then fell in love.
In 2016, Amanda and Alain de Beaufort were renting an apartment with a garden in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where they had access to a new school with a Spanish/English program for their two children. (Mr. de Beaufort, 49, is from Colombia.) The family had achieved urban-suburban balance in a community they treasured. They were happy.
Then one day, their landlord sold the building for cash and gave them a month to pack up and move out.
“OK, we’ll just buy something in Sunset Park,” Ms. de Beaufort, 46, recalled saying, before making the cruel discovery that no affordable properties remained in the neighborhood. The couple cast their eyes on nearby Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. They flirted with Westchester County.
They did not consider New Jersey. “It wasn’t cool,” Ms. de Beaufort said.
Soon, she was sleeping on the sofas of friends as she house-hunted, while her husband and children bunked at her parents’ home in New Hampshire. In this precarious state, they succumbed to a campaign waged by a friend in Maplewood, N.J., who described that township, about 20 miles west of New York City, as a cross-Hudson-River extension of Brooklyn. (At least one newspaper article has made the same comparison.)
The couple bought a small house on a pretty, tree-lined street in Maplewood and declared it their not-forever home.
If they were going to move to the suburbs, they thought, they might at least enjoy ample space. But the 1923 colonial was roughly 900 square feet, with three tiny bedrooms and a sliver of backyard — smaller than New York City apartments they had occupied. Furthermore, its previous owner, whom Ms. de Beaufort described as “a DIY guy,” had a fondness for murky colors and copious, awkwardly placed storage nooks.