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The architectural tweaking and redecorating of this Brooklyn Heights two-bedroom condo grew out of a complaint very common among parents of young children. "Kids' stuff was taking over the whole apartment," said Erin Fearins of Fearins & Welch, a full-service interior design firm established last year after a decade as a department within Brooklyn-based CWB Architects.

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The new owners of a potentially sweet wood-frame rowhouse, swathed in vinyl siding, came to architect Alexandra Barker with a circa-1940 New York City tax photo in hand. They wanted to use it as a guide for recreating the look of the house in that era, but were afraid their love of modern design, light-filled spaces and bright color would conflict.