Marcela and Ryan Marshall live in a well-to-do part of Brooklyn’s popular Park Slope neighborhood, but pay a (relatively) microscopic monthly rent of $300. If that seems unlikely, it’s because of an arrangement that’s a little unorthodox, but — as they’re quick to point out — not without precedent: Their apartment doesn’t have a bathroom, so they use chamberpots, as the building’s first tenants did nearly 150 years earlier.

“But not just any chamberpots,” Marcela said one recent afternoon, as she sat with Ryan on the stoop in front of their apartment. “We have some lovely ones from an artist in Red Hook who glazes them with sea glass.” …

“Let’s just say it was summer when we moved in,” Ryan continued, “and we don’t have or ideologically support air conditioning, so nights could get a little rough, especially when you don’t know what to expect when you lift the lid. I know — it’s not necessarily for the squeamish, but we’ve been doing it for three years now, and it’s helped us feel closer to the building, to its history, and to each other.”