600 sq ft loft that “comfortably sleeps 8” sells at 21 East 22 Street, with happy back story, and different front story

telling part of your story on TV
It is a cliche to say that there are 8 million stories in the naked city, but it is also true. The listing description for the “600 sq ft” Manhattan mini-loft #6G at 21 East 22 Street that sold last month for $590,000 links to the beginning of the story for one Manhattan couple with an unusual (newsworthy!) solution to being a new family unit, while the deed record hints at the end of their story. Let’s look at the real estate angle of the (happy!) (clever!!) beginning of their story, before delving into darker material.

tight, like a ship’s cabin
The broker babble describes mini-loft #6G as “easily convert[ible] into a one bedroom layout”, but that is hard to prove without a floor plan. That is a much more modest description than they way the owner described it in an April 20, 2003 New York Times “Habitats” feature in the Sunday real estate section done when the mini-loft was newly renovated and there was a happy couple sharing two units 4 floors apart in the building; then these few, these proud 600 sq ft were claimed to “sleep 8”.

More likely, the current broker babble means that the sleeping area can be closed off with a wall to make a(n interior) room. That’s the “sleeping area” below the two sleep lofts, and not the sleeping that can be done on the pull-out couch, of course. The layout is not hard to read from the pictures (especially if you click the ‘full view’ feature on StreetEasy) — after all, we are only talking about 600 sq ft. The “bedroom” is on your left as you enter, with the bathroom immediately right and the kitchen one step ahead and right. Only 2 more steps and you are in the dining area / living room. The 11 foot ceilings are squeezed within an inch of their lives to fit the two sleep lofts above the ‘foyer’ and the bedroom, and that orange thing is a clever ladder that folds up into the cabinet when not needed for access under the ceiling.

The Times describes how this loft came to be designed this way. Short story:

    • Woman on the 2nd and floor gets together with Guy
    • her place is too small for her child and him and his occasional children
    • he buys #6G and she designs the Nice Touches, such as that foldaway ladder, the 6-burner professional range, the lighting system
    • they bathe in his, shower in hers (spend most nights in hers)
    • they put up his kids and out-of-town guests in his

As the headline says: living together but 4 floors apart. Cute story, right? Amazing use of #6G’s limited space, right?

As the babble notes, this design was “[f]eatured in a dedicated segment on HGTV’s Small Space, Big Style television” and the babble helpfully provides the (pretty low quality) link to that show. It is worth a look, as you get a very good sense of the space, as well as the choices they made as renovation opened up unexpected things (e.g., where his ‘office’ is) and she decided to light up the bottom of futon springs as foyer lighting (cool!). Cute story, right?

a step back for some back story
You can’t get clearing prices on any public web site that go back to when The Guy bought #6G, but our data-base shows that he paid $368,000 on August 9, 2000. Obviously, they did the renovation work after that. No way to say how much they spent on the renovation, or how much the renovation contributed to the gain since 2000, but at $590,000 on October 11, 2011, he came nowhere near to doubling his price in 11 years.

But he did do a lot better in selling #6G than the seller of #2E, which I hit in my Oct ober 27, tough times in mini-loft market? or just at 21 East 22 Street & 77 Bleecker Street. We show “600 sq ft” and #6G at #2E at “750 sq ft”, so the $/ft spread ($983/ft v. $740/ft) is much wider than the difference in sales price ($590,000 v. $555,000). Presumably, much of the market $/ft difference between these mini-lofts is due to the very efficient (and well appointed) use of space in #6G.

moving the story forward, alas
If you are at least as sentimental as Manhattan Loft Guy, you wondered, on seeing the #6G sale 8 years after the cute New York Times piece, whether The Guy and The Woman finally got rid of the extra loft, with the youngest of their 3 kids now 24. That would be a nice way to end the his-and-hers real estate story, but would be difficult to confirm.

However, it appears that that is not what happened, but that they have ended this experiment of storing pasta and taking baths on the 6th floor while sleeping and showering on the 2nd. The notice address for The Guy on the deed recording the sale of #6G, sadly, is an Upper West Side rental building.

I wouldn’t have had a clue as to any of the personal information about these folks (I almost said private information) without having clicked on the links to their happy life circa 2003 provided by the listing agent. The good news was not private then; the apparent change in their living arrangements is not private now.


© Sandy Mattingly 2011

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply