Making the Most of Their Terrace

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Making the Most of Their Terrace

The large deck was sold by Tess Lepore and Kevin Kuh in their Upper West Side bedroom, but it wasn't used too much in the early years.

"We were always excited about it – getting outside space is unheard of – but in reality I wasn't home that often," said Ms. Lepore, who moved into the 600-square-meter apartment with Mr. Kuh and Mr. Kuh, her dog Marnie in December 2017.

All of that changed last spring. What was a place where a few plants were grown and an occasional meeting place became a place for almost everything: a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, an art studio, a music practice room, a cinema, an office, a garden, a storage unit and a gym.

"When Covid started we didn't want to go out much, but we could always get out of there," said Mr. Kuh, a violinist who also works at New York University as the principal music librarian and orchestra manager.

Over the past 10 months, Ms. Lepore and Mr. Kuh, both 28, have found that there is very little that the terrace cannot be used for. Gyms closed? They jumped rope and practiced yoga on it. Cinemas closed? They moved across the sofa and projected films onto the wall of their building. Is it getting boring to work from one of the two rooms in your apartment? Time to upgrade your WiFi router and take calls and Zoom outdoor meetings.

"You sleep in the bedroom and then work nine hours in the bedroom – it's nice to be able to change the scenery," said Ms. Lepore, a planning director for Becca Cosmetics who has been working from home since last March.

“When it was warmer, this door was almost always open. It was like, "Do some work, go outside, come back in," said Mr. Cow. "It's not that Architectural Digest has a giant sliding glass wall, but it was definitely that indoor-outdoor vibe."

$ 2,850 | Upper West Side

Occupation: Ms. Lepore is the North American Region Planning Director at Becca, a cosmetics company. Mr. Kuh is a violinist and works at New York University as the principal librarian and manager for the orchestras.
Sunlight: Your north-facing apartment will only receive direct light if the afternoon sun is reflecting off another building, which makes the outside area even more valuable.
Marnie's access to the terrace: It has been almost unreserved since last spring when the couple started working from home. Their walks have also increased in frequency and length. "We are concerned about what will happen to her when we go back to work," said Ms. Lepore.
About working together from home: "We used to spend two to three hours a day together. Now we're together all day," said Ms. Lepore. "Life in 600 square meters is definitely small, but it's interesting to see what the other person does for work does. "

In front of their current apartment, Mr. Kuh and Ms. Lepore lived in a Hell & # 39; s Kitchen Studio, which cost $ 1,800 a month. They moved towards the end of their time at N.Y.U. one where they met as assistants.

"It was such a deal, we didn't want to move," said Kuh.

"I felt so attached to the small community we had there – it takes time to get to know people," said Ms. Lepore.

But the apartment was small and Marnie, the dog they adopted as a puppy from an ambulance in Union Square, grew much bigger than expected. She wasn't the Shih Tzu mix they thought it was, but a 30-pound mix of Wheat Terrier, Chow, and Boxer.

When Ms. Lepore found an outdoor bedroom half a block from Central Park that she's now paying $ 2,850 a month for, it was too good to pass up. Instead of going to a small dog running off the West Side Highway, Marnie could play with other dogs off-leash in Central Park.

Mr. Kuh, whose paintings hang on the walls of her apartment, was also happy to have an outdoor area where he could paint. In Hell's Kitchen he had used the roof or the fire escape.

"We didn't know anyone who had a back yard or deck," said Ms. Lepore, who had a small garden on the terrace in the first few summers. In March, she moved up a notch and grew herbs, flowers and vegetables, including eggplant, spinach and bok choy.

"We had a pretty incredible premium," she said. "It was great, except I had to carry dirt bags up three flights of stairs."

As the weather warmed up and it became clear that New York was going to be quarantined for the coming months, the couple embraced the outdoors.

Mr Kuh played the violin on the terrace, making videos of his solo performances and his role in the electronic trio Pool Cosby, which not only played electric violin but also drums and a D.J. (The three performances were later put together.) The couple installed a bird feeder and entertained small groups of friends and family outside. And they started taking most of their meals on the terrace. There was, after all, a large dining table out there that they didn't have room for in the apartment.

They also realized that the patio could store other things they didn't have room for in the apartment, such as extra rolls of toilet paper and seasonal clothes that they put in a vinyl storage bin.

Your only misstep? Put a rug outside. "It got kind of gross," said Mr. Cow.

Almost a year later, they still use the terrace almost every day in January.

"As it got cold, we both had families, a couple of friends who were in town. We just get together," said Mr. Kuh, who celebrated his birthday in October with a dinner on the outdoor grill. "It was really nice. To have people with you and still be safe. "

"In the 30 degree days I probably won't sit out there," said Ms. Lepore. "But the 40 and 50 degree days. …"

To withstand the cold, they have Pendleton blankets and a small concrete fireplace that they use to fry marshmallows and warm their hands. Ms. Lepore even considered building a greenhouse, but decided that this would be too logistically complicated with a walk-in rental.

"I would like to have a heater, but we were concerned about where we would keep it in bad weather," said Ms. Lepore. She pointed out that leaving it inside would somehow ruin the purpose.

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