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In the case of this century-old wood-frame, the clients were a mother and a fifth-grader who had her own design ideas. "The daughter watches a lot of home shows and has strong opinions. From the beginning, she said, 'I want a marble kitchen,'" recalled architect Alexandra Barker of the Downtown Brooklyn-based Barker Freeman Design Office, who was hired to gut renovate the hopelessly dated kitchen and create a new powder room and master bath.

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The classic 1,400-square-foot apartment at the top of a 1920s building on leafy Pierrepont Street had never been renovated in its long life. The thick plaster walls had panel molding typical of its day, and the floors were herringbone parquet. It had four exposures and, consequently, plenty of light. Sounds good on paper? Perhaps, but those walls defined rooms too small for today's tastes and for the needs of the new homeowners' growing family, leading to a total gut renovation of the space.

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When vinyl-siding mania swept through parts of Brooklyn in the years after World War II, few resisted the call. One who did was the owner of this modest Greenpoint row house that retained its brick facade into the 21st century, attracting the attention of a creative couple after an exhaustive two-year search for a family home. They bought the house in 2011 and hired Noroof Architects to shepherd it through a gut renovation.