Danielle Haun and her boyfriend, John Kroeger, share a first-floor apartment in Bed-Stuy and are eager to celebrate its modest luxuries: the back patio; the hallway where they stash their bikes; the dishwasher. After living in a string of "crappy New York apartments," Danielle understands the value of such niceties. John too — when he fell victim to the Great Recession and lost his job, he spent a month biking to Brooklyn from Ohio. Now the couple live in relative comfort — Danielle works at NYU Medical Center and John owns the scented candle company Good Candle — and they can't wait for summer to take full advantage of the backyard. But until then, they're just glad they're not stuck hand-washing dishes anymore.
What do you do?
Danielle: I work for NYU Medical Center as a buyer. So I have a typical desk job. I love it, but it's not as creative as John's.
John: I'm a small business owner. I own a scented candle company called Good Candle. I have a background in product design and recently have fallen into candle making.
How long have you lived in Brooklyn?
D: In this apartment, we just moved in last fall. In Brooklyn, I guess three, three and a half years.
Why'd you first move here?
D: For the laid back atmosphere. I love being able to go into the city and it's really fast-paced, and then I come back here and it's calm, a little quieter. The proximity is great. Plus the neighborhood around here is great. There's so much to do, everywhere you look.
J: I moved here like a month before she did. I was a victim of the Great Recession, and came up here looking for a job and crashing on couches. My friends were living down the street from here so I was crashing on their couch for a while. I love this neighborhood.
What's your favorite thing about this apartment?
D: It's a toss-up between the backyard or the dishwasher. I love the dishwasher. This is so embarrassing. Every other apartment I've ever had, I never had one. I feel like it's such a luxury.
J: I love the first-floor aspect of it, not having to walk upstairs.
What's your least favorite thing about the apartment?
J: The ceiling height. The dude that lives above us has the same layout but the ceilings are like 14 feet tall.
D: I've lived in some crappy New York apartments, so I really love this apartment.
J: No doors. If we really want to nitpick. You can't slam a door.
What are the first three inanimate things you would save in a fire?
J: Probably my computer because that's where all my work is, my portfolios and whatnot. Maybe that table that one of John's friends made us.
D: Same thing. A computer. Maybe some precious jewelry. Not that I have that much.
J: I would save my ukulele on the wall over there. I built that. It's served me well.
What's your favorite room in the apartment and your favorite time of day?
D: I really love the morning. And truthfully I probably spend the most time on that couch in the living room. There's so many times you could just fall asleep on it. I love to get up early in the morning and I'll take Benny to the dog park and come back and just drink a lot of coffee on that couch. That's my favorite thing. Saturday morning.
J: This hallway right here, because we store all of our bicycles out there. And that's never something that we've had. The bicycles don't have to be in the apartment, they don't have to be outside. You can just throw whatever out there.
If you suddenly received a windfall of cash, what changes would you make?
J: We would change the title, I think. To own it.
D: We would politely call up our landlord and ask him if he'd be willing to sell.
If you could move the house/block/neighborhood to another city, which one would it be and why?
J: I just was down in Austin and I love it down there, but she's over it.
D: I've just spent so much time in Austin already. I feel like if I were to go somewhere else, I would want to go somewhere I haven't been. I'm really into Detroit. I'm really into the idea of Detroit. I feel like I hear of a lot of great things going on there.
J: If you could move the transit system to another city, I would live anywhere.
Good Candle Owner John Kroeger