House Hunters' Craving for Space Sated by East Harlem Duplex
By Kiratiana Freelon on September 17, 2012 1:30pm
317 E. 111th St.
1 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom
Common Charges: $949
EAST HARLEM — This expansive one bedroom, one-and-one-half bathroom condo was such a hit with some prospective house-hunters that Sunday marked their second visit to the building — a new construction featuring amenities such as a gym, patio and "cyber doorman" for electronic building security.
This 1,205-square-foot duplex also boasted a sprawling downstairs recreation room and a large yard, part of which was private and fenced-off. The kitchen's granite countertops were cut from a single piece of stone, and the bathroom surfaces included terrazzo.
Sunday's open house was "staged," or made to look like a lived-in home. For those who liked the way the furniture fit, broker Bruce Robertson said that the developer might be open to negotiating the pieces into the contract. Since 1C was the last empty unit in the building, the developer no longer needed it, he said.
Though the rec area was big enough to sleep several people, Robertson explained that it was technically not a bedroom — and could not legally be billed as one — because it lacked windows.
One international couple — the woman was a 32-year-old banker from Germany, the man a 33-year-old shipper from Italy — considered whether the lack of light would hamper their design aspirations.
The banker, however, liked the creative ways the layout downplayed the visual presence of the downstairs air conditioning unit.
"It's a nice idea, to hide it behind the picture," the banker said, noting a portrait hiding it.
"It'd be better if it were a nicer picture," Robertson joked, suggesting that a TV could also take the portrait's place.
The couple then asked whether a window could be put downstairs.
Yes, Robertson answered. The space in the wall for the AC could be swapped with a window, but that they'd have to pay for the project on their own.
But then the shipper wondered: if they did install a window, what about climate control?
"You could buy a stand-up unit," the banker suggested to her boyfriend, as the group, which included buyers' broker Sofia Falleroni, moved back upstairs.
At one point, the banker stood on the tips of her toes, tugged on the kitchen cabinetry and, apparently satisfied with their sturdiness, nodded.
The couple agreed that the cooking area was more than adequately spacious.
Then they decided to check out the gym, located in the basement.
"It's a labyrinth!" the banker chuckled as they navigated the underground hallway's twists and turns.
"It smells so very new!" the shipper said of the rubber and metal exercise equipment.
He was especially impressed by the iPod deck, eyeing the appliance and then examining it with several gentle taps.
After the couple and Falleroni exited the building, they said that they were impressed, but had several more homes to check out — and a lot to consider.
Though the condo met most of their criteria, they were concerned that the bedroom wasn't private enough, on account of the ground-level window.
"But no place is 100 percent" perfect, the shipper said.