The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Open House Agenda: Three Apartments to See This Weekend

By Donna M. Airoldi | September 13, 2013 7:37am
 Photos for three apartments for sale with unusual features.
Open Houses With Uncommon Features
View Full Caption

After looking at real estate listings for a while, some apartments begin to feel like cookie-cutter spaces, or the lists of amenities seem to blend together. Here are three units that have uncommon features that stood out in our open house search this week.

333 E. 53rd St., Apt. 7G, Sutton Place/Midtown East, Manhattan
1 Bedroom/1 Bath
800 square feet
Maintenance: $1,514/month
Open House: Sunday, Sept. 15, 1-2:30 p.m.

Lowdown: What sets this south-facing one-bedroom apartment apart from the competition isn’t so much its sleek renovation by its architect owner and that it can easily be converted into a two-bedroom, but that the 800-square-foot space has a dozen floor-to-ceiling closets.

“That number of closets for a one-bedroom is unheard of,” said realtor Amy Lee, of Sotheby’s, who admitted that she originally miscounted and listed nine instead of 12.

The owner gut renovated the space to make it modern and clean, using limestone on the floors and sustainable bamboo for the closets, Lee said.

“He completed the renovation eight years ago, but it still looks brand new. It’s his fourth or fifth residence, and he uses it as a pied-a-terre, so he isn’t there often," she added.

The Art Deco white-glove building, completed in 1930, has a planted roof deck and gym, which is unusual for a pre-war building, according to Lee.

Location: The apartment is between First and Second avenues, near shops, restaurants, a Whole Foods Market on 57th Street and the Dag Hammarskjöld greenmarket. Midtown offices are within walking distance. The entrance to the 6, E and M trains is two blocks away, and there's easy access to FDR Drive.

Why put it on your open house calendar? The apartment has been beautifully redone by the architect-owner as a showcase space, designed for entertaining.

“Every square inch of this space has been re-purposed,” said Lee. “It’s in exquisite condition.”


332 E. 54th St., Apt. 1BC, Sutton Place, Manhattan
1 Bedroom/2 Baths
1,400 square feet
$1.25 million
Maintenance: $2,296/month
Open House: Sunday, Sept. 15, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Lowdown: This duplex in a pre-war town house (just a block north of the architect's apartment) has two working fireplaces, high tin ceilings and exposed brick walls throughout its first floor and basement level. But the show stopper is a 540-square-foot backyard garden with a double waterfall.

The current owners renovated the unit over the past six years, said Phatavanh Olsen, of Douglas Elliman. “They added [the garden’s] water features, lighting, surround-sound music and slate-laid floors. It also gets good light — north and south — is really quiet, and there were no flooding issues with Sandy or Irene.”

The floor plan for the lower level currently shows an office, recreation room and den as opposed to a second bedroom, since rooms cannot be advertised as bedrooms unless they meet the New York codes regarding ventilating openings.

“Depending on how deep the pockets are, you could create light downstairs in the sub-basement by excavating the dirt and converting it into a real two bedroom,” said Derek Olsen (Phatavanh's husband and co-broker for the apartment).  “It might cost $300,000, but it could then sell for $2 million.”

The apartment is also a good investment opportunity, the brokers said, since it can be rented out.

Location: In addition to the information included above, the public Sutton Place Park on top of the FDR Drive between 56th and 57th streets will replace a former gated garden and is scheduled to be completed by fall 2015. A new P.S. 59 and High School of Art & Design opened last year in the mixed-use building rising at 250 E. 57th St.

Why add it to your open house calendar? The private outdoor space is a big selling point. Also, pre-war co-ops typically have strict boards, but this one is small, self-managed and has very flexible sublease policies, which is rare, especially for the area, Derek Olsen said.


154 Skillman Ave., Apt PH-A, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
1 Bedroom/1 Bath
1,208 square feet
Common Charges: $581/month
Taxes: $22/month, abated until 2025
Open House: Sunday, Sept. 15, noon to 1:30 p.m.

Lowdown: This Williamsburg penthouse duplex has three private outdoor spaces — a balcony plus two separate roof decks, each about 200 square feet.

“It’s on the sixth and seventh floors with great views — the Manhattan skyline and the Williamsburg Bridge on one side and on the other a sprawling view of Brooklyn, for the best of both worlds,” said Julia Segal, of Miron Properties. “The outdoor space is what really makes it unique.”

The 14-unit building, constructed in 2008, includes such contemporary touches as stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops and marble baths with a soaking tubs.

This apartment was designed with an open layout, with the upstairs bedroom a little more than 500 square feet — large enough to convert it into two bedrooms, said Segal, adding that one could also carve a bedroom out of the living room space.

The unit comes with a basement storage space, and there’s a parking garage though no spots are currently available.

Location: The apartment is located between Manhattan and Graham avenues, with the  Graham Avenue L station two blocks away. There are plenty of services and nightlife options within walking distance, including the popular Irish pub Harefield Road, the well-received American restaurant Gwynnett St. and Carmine’s Pizzeria.

Why put it on your open house calendar? If you crave outdoor space, this apartment is a must-visit.

“If you look at price per square foot and compare it to [other] apartments sold in the building, we’re lower,” Segal said. “You don’t see that amount of square footage with that type of outdoor space in the area. It’s pretty much one of a kind.”