"Three Feet High and Rising"

Flooding from Storm Sandy last year inspired urban designer Alexandros Washburn to devise new ways to protect his vulnerable home in Red Hook, Brooklyn -- and, he hopes, those of his neighbors.

"It was in 2002 that Alexandros Washburn saw Red Hook, Brooklyn, for the first time. And almost instantly, he said: 'I fell in love with it. Red Hook is about people who make things: they make maps, they make fashion, they make art. It’s micro-manufacturing work. What you make is who you are. And add to this, the sparkling relationship to the water.'

But in the last year, that relationship with the water hasn’t been quite as sparkling.

Mr. Washburn, 51, bought his home here -- a dilapidated three-story brick-and-stone house from the 1800s -- for $800,000 in 2007, shortly after he became the chief urban designer for the New York City Department of City Planning. He spent another $500,000 converting it from a warren of railroad apartments with no central heating into the home he now shares with his family: his wife, Samar Maziad, 37, a senior economist with the International Monetary Fund; and his daughters Sophia, 19, a college sophomore, and Athena, 17, a high school senior, from his first marriage; and Lelia, 5, and Simone, 3, from another relationship."

Elaine Louie reports for the New York Times October 30, 2013.

Source: NY Times, 11/01/2013