renowned designer created 'masterpiece' loft for himself at 130 Barrow Street, parts with it for money

can you say sui generis on a real estate blog?
If you have ever been in lofts in this building you will not recognize the “704 sq ft” Manhattan loft #309 at 130 Barrow Street, which just sold. Lofts here are typically small, and take advantage of the high ceilings with awkward mezzanines, sleeping lofts and storage spaces. (Loft #409 on the same footprint is an example, with the “expansive upper-level bedroom area with double-deep closets, and two additional raised living spaces, … and large 15×8 storage area [no windows, 6ft ceilings]” as built by the sponsor 30 years ago, back when this part of Greenwich Village really was the far west Village).

Not loft #309.

Loft #309 had all of its lines erased and was rebuilt “by renowned designer Bruce Bananto” as a simple rectangle, with a modest sleep and storage loft tucked under the 13 foot ceilings in the back. “No detail was ignored”, of course, and new electrical and plumbing was installed. Compare the #309 floor plan, with its “pass-through bathroom”, new and re-oriented kitchen, and “ample sized bedroom [with] enough space to create an office area” to the floor plan of #409, with a raised bedroom, storage underneath, and the “two additional raised living spaces”. The #309 broker babble is enthusiastic but not precise about materials, relying on the pictures to tell the story. And what pictures!

If you saw the main listing photo in a neutral context you would guess “hotel lobby”, with a comfy sitting area, work desk nook, and an elevator door in the inset you can’t see in the (laquered?) wall. On a second look, you’d probably notice the gooseneck kitchen faucet sticking up, which would make you wonder. Given the height of the ceiling and the scale of the frosted glass on the left and art (?) on the right, you’d be shocked to learn that the room ends just out-of-frame on the left, being just barely wider than it is tall. The other photos help you understand what you have been looking at, with that “pass-through bathroom” behind that frosted glass, the kitchen cabinets just out of frame in front of that frosted glass, and the bedroom down the hallway past the entry, with the stairs up to the loft (see pic  #2). Perhaps uniquely among lofts with large windows, there are no direct photos of the living room’s “floor to ceiling window that allows tons of sunlight & access to your private balcony”, though there are glimpses of the window in photos take from the bedroom.

is this quality for everyone?
I can’t think of a similarly small loft that has had such a high quality, high finish (glossy!) re-do. We’ve seen small lofts that were designed within an inch of their lives to accommodate a family (my November 4, 2010, that bento box loft in Noho also provides a Quote Of The Day, comes to mind first), but such projects are not so deluxe as this one, to use an overworked word that carries significance here. Everything in this loft is so clean (lines included) that it runs at least to the border of severe. (By the way, if you have never been quite sure what a “hospital corner” looks like, check out the bed in pic #3.)

Obviously, such idiosyncratic design is not for every small loft buyer. It is, in fact, rather anti-loft-y, in my view. But enough of The Market appreciated the work for it to sell at a (non-penthouse) building record of (a very patriotic) $1,776/ft. It took a little while, and one price drop, opening at $1.4mm on March 20 and finding a contract by June 30 (after a price drop to $1.349mm), before closing on October 2 at $1.25mm.

Maybe it is the flooring that makes it so un-loft-y to me. (What are those floors?) The only other loft that sold outside the normal range for 130 Barrow Street was the “1,031 sq ft” 2-bedroom loft #419, which sold 8 months ago at $1,454/ft after a complete renovation. But that loft is recognizably a loft, not a hotel lobby.

what’s next for the designer of renown?
If you peeked at the deed record, you know that the #309 seller and “renowned designer“ are one and the same. The guy’s website is “still under construction”, which is an odd thing for a renowned designer, but I am actually more curious about his next home than his recent design projects. I am guessing that he wants more space than “704 sq ft”, and that the new space will have a similarly minimalist if glossy feel to it. If his next home is a loft, I wonder if it will be recognizably a loft. (It is a free country, and he can do what he wants, of course, and I suppose there is charm to adding this style to lofts; not my thing, is all.)

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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