love it or hate it? glass master bath sells at 181 Hudson Street loft

one person’s
wow might be another person’s eww
Sometimes I wonder if I get attracted (or, distracted) by the same things in a listing that people who do not look at Manhattan lofts for a living notice. For the recent sale of the “1,898 sq ft” Manhattan loft #3F at 181 Hudson Street, it might be the corner windows with “architectural views” that are the most interesting element that attract the consumer eye (the agent hopes so, as this is the lead image), but for me the views are ‘nice’ but that 5th photo is either as head-scratcher or a jaw-dropper. I still don’t know which.

On the one hand, it is nice to see a loft owner who made aesthetic choices based on their own specific style; on the other hand, the Conventional Wisdom is ‘conventional’ because it is (at least) often true. (In this case, that would be the CW that suggests that a renovation be made with a future buyer in mind, tending toward a more neutral look in the built environment, leaving colors and other … errr … idiosyncratic elements to decor choices.)

If you have not yet looked at the 5th photo, you are missing a very unusual design choice in the master suite: the headboard sits against a clear glass wall, directly behind which is a long walk-in shower, then sinks and a  deep soaking bathtub (the toilet, thankfully, is located behind a side door; with a bidet??). Perhaps I am really Manhattan Loft Fuddy Duddy, but I can’t imagine that there is a big slice of the $2mm+ Tribeca loft buyer market that would choose this design, if given free rein.

But there is (and has been) a big enough group of buyers for this loft to have been renovated by someone who bought it in 2004, and by that 2004 buyer’s buyer in 2007, and by the 2007 buyer’s buyer 3 weeks ago. So that’s three.

As you should expect from someone who would create a master suite like this (that 2004 buyer, actually), the rest of the loft is high-end. Indeed, “no feature has been overlooked”, the kitchen is state-of-the-art with proper proper names, closets are both “huge” and “custom”, and the loft has been custom-wired for audio visual with built-in speakers.There are 2 bedrooms (each with en suite baths), a media room/den, another half-bath, not to mention the storage room down the hall.

The loft is built for private living. Rather less than half of the footprint is dedicated to kitchen, dining and living areas, with both bedrooms being very large (and their en suite baths, as well). Even with high ceilings, the corner location, and 4 + 2 large windows, that main living space likely does not have the sense of volume that you see in many corner lofts with high ceilings, big windows and nearly 2,000 sq ft. With that huge kitchen, the space should ‘read’ as much narrower than the 18 foot maximum width of the living room.

17% different, but largely similar
Loft #3F was not hard for The Market to swallow, idiosyncracy and all. It came to market September 9 at $2.475mm and was in contract by November 11 at $2.463mm that closed on March 2. This price was essentially the same as the near-Peak prior sale, on October 3, 2007 at $2.475mm. (Interesting, that flat-to-near-Peak, much like the loft down the street that I hit in my March 17, 161 Hudson Street closes off 2.5% since (late) 2007.) The more interesting comparison is to the same loft that sold right downstairs 3 months earlier, at rather a stronger price. Perhaps there is a demonstrated cost to idiosyncracy.

Loft #2E has the same “1,898 sq ft” footprint as #3F, but a different floor plan. #2E has an extra bedroom, with the bedrooms, study and kitchen all being on a slightly smaller scale. The result is that there is enough room to fit the kitchen in a little further west than on the 3rd floor, leaving the main living area with smaller dimensions but a (likely) more voluminous ‘feel’. (Compare the lead listing photos in the two lofts to see what I mean.)

This loft is also full of high-end finishes (babbled in this case as “triple mint”, again with proper proper names), with one idiosyncratic choice: here, the floors are concrete rather than the more traditional hardwood. The two lofts competed head-to-head and — while both were successful in finding fairly quick contracts —  one was markedly more successful than the other. I wonder how much of this difference had to do with the glass bathroom on the 3rd floor or the 3rd bathroom on the 2nd floor:

#3F   Sept 9 new to market $2.475mm
  #2E Oct 17 new to market $2.895mm
  #2E Oct 24 contract  
#3F   Nov 11 contract  
  #2E Dec 15 sold $2.895mm
#3F   Mar 2 sold $2.463mm

Same building, same corner, same footprint, on the market at overlapping times (briefly, but still). #2E cleared at a 17% premium over #3F. How would you account for that spread?

For fans of the building, (a) I hit another pair of lofts here that closed within a short time of each other, in not nearly as well minted condition as the current pair, at very different price points:

and (b) another pair of lofts here way back in 2007, one of which sold, one of which then had an ‘interesting’ listing history (and now has a much more interesting extended history):

for fans of public bathing
I started up top from the perspective that the #3F master suite with glass wall separating the headboard and shower is an unusual choice, one that will shrink the buyer pool a bit. Sharp-eyed manhattan Loft Guy readers will remember that it was just a few days ago that I mentioned a loft with an even more unusual blending of master sleeping and master bathing space.

In my November 11, 2010, nice flipping loft at 49 Howard Street, I dug through the designer’s website of before and after pix of a gut renovation:

From these many photos and the before-and-after floor plans you can see what those “ten foot glass doors” do: they bring light into the master bedroom at the (otherwise) dark end of the loft. Look closely at the master bedroom photos.

Yes, somebody designed it with a huge bathtub in the master bedroom. Undoubtedly there is a proper proper name for this tub, and the modifier “soaking”. And, yes, someone else bought it that way.

I mentioned that deluxe renovation and very strong sale (for a 2-story walk-up!), but not the in-room bathtub,  in looking at a nearby gut renovation with a spectacular view, in my March 19, a question of views for gut renovated 29 Howard Street loft at $1,383/ft. I do not expect to talk about bathing functions in (or public to) master bedrooms for quite a while, but you never know…

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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  1. […] played with design choices like this in the past. The most recent example was in my March 22, 2012, love it or hate it? glass master bath sells at 181 Hudson Street loft, which I ended with […]

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