Talking with Elizabeth Roberts and Michael McKnight about Comfort, Imperfections, and Roasted Marshmallows

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Architect Elizabeth Roberts completed a top-to-bottom renovation on the bright, airy Clinton Hill townhouse she shares with her husband Michael McKnight and their 7-year-old son Dean. After inviting us in to her lovely home, filled with unique finds picked up on her travels and art by friends, she answered our Proust-inspired questionnaire.
How long have you lived at your current residence?
Eight years.
What do you love most about your home?
I love how comfortable and clean our house feels. As an architect it’s difficult to balance comfort and imperfection—details are so important to us. But in my own home I like to be able to let things go without it bothering me too much—and it’s nice to see and experience some wear and tear that our family and friends’ lives impart on the house.
If you could change one thing about your home, what would it be?
I’d probably locate it on a quieter street with better subway access—that’s about it!
What’s the first thing other people notice when they visit?
I’ve been told many times by very different types of people that the house “just feels good” or has “good vibes”—that makes me very happy!
How would you define your design philosophy?
Clean, utilitarian, simple.
What’s your favorite spot in the house?
Probably my two favorite features are my bathtub and chair room—the tub was original to the house and the chair is a Jean Gillon (a Brazilian designer) chair that is reupholstered in long-haired sheepskin—the room has photos of my family and other keepsakes and is my favorite escape for a hot bath and quiet read. The other favorite feature in my home is the raised fireplace in our dining room. It warms the room and is so easy to use at counter-height—perfect for my 7-year-old son’s after-dinner roasted marshmallows in the winter months.
What makes a house a home?
Comfort.
For more on Elizabeth and Michael’s home, and to visit nine other beautiful Brooklyn homes, visit here

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