129 West 22 Street loft sells at $947/ft as more classic than mint-y, but you have to sleep inside

dressed up by loft lovers, for loft lovers
The longer I look at the large format photos of the “1,431 sq ft” Manhattan loft #4B at 129 West 22 Street that recently sold at $1.355mm, the more I agree with the broker babble that this is “a quintessential New York loft”. And the longer I stare at the floor plan, the more I appreciate the challenges posed by this corner footprint. It is not hard to love the space (for me: quite easy), but the compromises include sleeping in a ‘bedroom’ with no windows and no closet that is barely wide enough to get around the bed and is cater-corner to the only bathroom in the space. To repeat: the aesthetics of this loft are (to me) sublime: the old flooring that has been restored but not made perfect (not “wide-planked” unless the pictures deceive) set the tone, which is continued by the columns and beams, the bit of exposed brick (just enough for visual interest), the (uncredited!) wood shutters, the claw-foot tub, and the tangle of exposed pipes, fans and other utilities across the ceiling.

There are enough Manhattan loft lovers in The Market to make this campaign go smoothly: to market on January 11 at $1.395mm, in contract at a 3% discount by February 17, closed on May 8.

The design choices by the seller enhance the quintessence to the maximum degree. Some people would be tempted to put a real bedroom (with windows!) in the northeast corner (with another interior bedroom along the east wall?), but this guy maximized the corner windows for the public space at the cost of dark (interior) bedrooms. Absolutely the right choice (to me). Then facing the interior bedrooms with sliding smoked glass doors lightens that west wall (and makes it much easier to get around the big bed; see pic #5 for the tight shimmy otherwise required).  

As mentioned, ‘fixing’ the floors enough that patches and blemishes are still visible shows admirable restraint. I can’t imagine how many coats of paint were on those interior wooden shutters (if they are original; if not, a nice touch anyway). I don’t know if the brick wall had to be exposed or was bought that way, but I love that detail on a very modest length of wall, and I am a sucker for tall bookshelves in lofts. I know that stainless steel appliances are almost an overworked cliche these days, but note how well they work with a classic loft: steel is a natural ally of old wood flooring, and the butcher block countertop is either an inspired or lucky complementary element (much more fitting than the all-too-customary black granite, no?).

but they will take the rabbit
The buyers get the benefit of the design choices made by seller, who will take his furnishings (obviously). I don’t usually comment on the stuff that a seller takes, but I have to continue my crush on this loft by complimenting the seller about the … er … complementary furnishings in the loft. Overall, the stuff is light rather than massive. I love the old dining table, burnished but distressed, as a match with the floors. A small thing, but the stainless breakfast counter stools (obviously) play off the appliances. The rabbit may be the strangest piece of rug I have ever seen, but it made me smile. (A welcome deviation from the black-and-white skin that is a tired and all-too-common feature.)

Did I mention that this is one of the loft-y-est Manhattan lofts, pictures of which I could study for way too much time?

buyers move up in the loft world while agents do an agency dance
The buyers are coming from a smaller, more cramped loft with a real bedroom and (yes!) some quintessential Manhattan loft elements. They have not sold it yet, but the pix show barrel vault ceilings and along brick wall. They do love lofts, I am (weirdly) pleased to see. Good luck to them with that sale.

Interesting sequence here: they signed the contract to buy loft #4B by February 17, then signed an exclusive agreement to sell using the same agents who were not quite done representing the #4B seller. These agents started as fiduciaries for the #4B seller and ended as fiduciaries for the #4B buyer in their sale; in between, they might have been dual agents for the #4B seller and the #4B buyers, or they continued as fiduciaries for the #4B seller about #4B, explicitly did not represent the #4B buyers about #4B, but then became their fiduciaries about the other property.

Confused yet? If so, that is natural, and not (only) because of my explanation. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with any of this, assuming full disclosure, even if they did the dual agent thing that neither I nor The Warburg Guy like. If anything, it speaks well to the professionalism of these agents that the buyer of a loft they worked ‘against’ chose them to represent them in their sale.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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