Saturday, April 17, 2010

Some Home Made Floor Plan Porn

Last week Your Mama discussed a New York City doo-plex co-operative that filthy rich financier Robert Hurst recently hoisted on the market with a toe curling $29,000,000 asking price. If the children will recall, Mister Hurst's apartment encompasses two entire floors of an unusually slim pre-war building on Fifth Avenue and has stellar views of Central Park.

The children may also recall that we whined and went on at length about a few elements of the floor plan that gave Your Mama a serious case of the real estate agita. In the interest of settling our stomach and soothing our order craving brain thought we'd spend some time working out the wonkiness of the floor plan.

What we have above, puppies, is the existing floor plan on the left and Your Mama's proposed plan to the right. The children will want to click on the image in order to view the plan(s) at a larger size.

Your Mama changed next to nothing on the first floor of the doo-plex. This twenty-some million dollar doo-plex is, for all intents and purposes, a one room wide railroad flat and to divide any of the rooms would only accentuate the narrow-ness of the apartment. Besides, we rather like the vast entrance gallery even if it is a sea of marble floored wasted space and we saw no good reason(s) to screw with the decent proportions of either the living or the dining room.

Back in the kitchen, Your Mama made a couple of minor adjustments. On the existing plan, a peninsula counter separates the kitchen and the breakfast area. It is our opinion that the space works better without that peninsula sticking out into the room. If more counter space is required by Connie the Cook, we'd suggest extending the work island a foot or two. We also added a vegetable sink to the island.

After a consult with our imperious house gurl Svetlana, Your Mama realized the laundry facilities, located just off the breakfast area, are very poorly situated in relation to the rest of the apartment. Imagine the time and effort required to haul the sheets and towels down from the upstairs bedrooms not to mention the ugliness of dragging all the dirty linens across the grand entrance galley, through the dining room and then wind one's way through the butler's pantry and kitchen.

A better solution would be to move the machines upstairs and into one of the walk in closets that line the hallway. However, given that laundry machines must vent to the exterior of a building and we don't know if it's possible to vent the machines from anywhere on the second floor–we are not, after all, an architect or engineer with any intimate knowledge of this building–we left them in their existing location. We do imagine, in our booze baked mind, that if the washer and dryer must stay where they are we'd replace the standard side-by-side machines with a stackable set in order to provide Lucinda the Laundress with a smidge of counter top on which she can fold the owner's undergarments.

The layout of second floor of the apartment makes Your Mama all kinds of crazy and requires a radical but not particularly complicated rearrangement of rooms in order to create a more sensible and harmonious flow. First, we widened the stair landing to a more graceful width making it feel more its own space that just an extension of the very long hallway. The bigger issue is, however, the erroneous location of the library and the master bedroom in the existing plan.

We're sure some will vociferously disagree, but one of Your Mama's many floor plan pet peeves is when the most prime real estate in an apartment or home is reserved for the master bedroom. As far as we're concerned, a view such as the one from Mister Hurst's apartment is, quite simply, wasted on the master bedroom. We can understand the logic: The person who pays the bills deserves to retain some of the most prime real estate as a private sanctuary for themselves and themselves alone. However, in the case of Mister Hurst's doo-plex, there are only two direct exposures to Central Park, and one is given over entirely to the master bedroom, a room in which far more time is spent sleeping, dressing, bathing and/or fornicating and not enjoying the view.

The location of the library in the existing plan also makes Your Mama go a bit berserk. The library, a fah-fah-fancy term for a family room in this case, is stuck in the back of the apartment and couldn't be farther from the delicious view of Central Park. Even worse–and a real damn high crime of space planning in our book–is that access to the library in the existing plan is only through a small home gym. The inelegance and indignity of having to pinch past an elliptical machine and a Soloflex in order to get to the library in a $29,000,000 apartment is enough to make Your Mama need a big ol' fat nerve pill.

And too, the library–where rich people who occupy posh pre-war apartments on the Upper East Side often keep the boob-toob–is a semi-public room in which owners might occasionally want to entertain informal guests and friends. Who wants to invite a guest over for movie night or a Real Housewives of New York City marathon on the Bravo and then ask them to pass through an armpit stinky room filled with scary looking contraptions designed to pretzel and torture a body into taut submission? No one, that's who.

To fix that very serious floor plan problem, Your Mama swapped the library at the back and the master bedroom at the front. Not only is the library in the new plan easily accessible through the newly expanded stair landing and generously sized ante room with wet bar, but the best view in the entire apartment can now be enjoyed from the room that is, quite likely, the most frequently used. The fireplace is a bonus. We're sure some folks think it's 14 kinds of romantic to have a fireplace in the master bedroom, but we'd bet money and our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly that a fireplace in a library gets far more use than a fireplace in the master bedroom. Again, one can't enjoy a fire in the fireplace iffin yer asleep. Besides it's damn dangerous to leave a fire running when drifting off to slumber.

Some might say that moving the master bedroom to the rear of the apartment is like asking the owner to step to the back of the bus. We see things differently. The location of the master suite in the proposed plan creates a cocoon of privacy from the rest of the apartment, the guest bedrooms in particular.

We replaced the gymnasium in the existing floor plan with a pass-through dressing room surrounded with built-in cabinetry and enclosed wardrobes. While Your Mama would never dream of having a fitness room in our house, we kept with the existing program and moved the gym equipment to a windowed room carved from the square footage of the apartment's smallest bedroom. The small bedroom and an en-suite pooper replaces the dressing room and master pooper in the existing plan.

We sectioned the east end of the master bedroom off to make a proper if simple master pooper and we consciously retained the tight terliting facilities in the hallway, adding a doorway in the hallway so that the entire ass end of the apartment can be used as a master suite with bedroom, dressing room, gym and two poopers. The doorway from the hallway to the dressing room was retained so that guests or other family members might also have access to the gym without penetrating or passing through the inner sanctum of the master bedroom.

We are braced for criticisms. Have at it.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

more pictures and less words please

we live in a ADD world now

I read about 5 words and lost interest

thank you

:)

Anonymous said...

Don't want to read it because you have the attention of a tse-tse fly?


Well, don't read it.

There are plenty of children who love to read every word of Mama's prose.

The plan is way better Mama's way but it's still too narrow of a building with only one room per floor facing the park. Good apartment have 100 feet on the park.

Anonymous said...

Smaller; i.e., narrow Fifth Avenue buildings, such as the very fine 927, and also the subject building, are known as "intimate" buildings. A half dozen larger Fifth Avenue buildings have 100 feet frontage on Central Park, and a few more Park Avenue buildings have 100 feet Avenue frontage.

A library is a public room radiating from the central foyer. A family room is a room adjacent to the kitchen or a room located on the bedroom level, designated for the family, despite the mislabeled rooms of the 1 Sutton Square South duplexes. I like Mama's improvements, even though she sacrificed the master bedroom for the family room.

Upper level rooms located adjacent to the private quarters are not public rooms for entertaining. Only trashy Trentonian, Ms. Hedda LaTess, "entertains" guests in her upper floor "library"; however, the neighborhood association is about to put a stop to that!

Anonymous said...

I Love your new plan Mama, much more sensible and user friendly than the existing layout ... so well done!

By the way this is my first time dropping you a note, although I've been catching up on your brilliantly prosed words of wisdom every day now for over a year ... and I LOVE your work!!! :)

From an Aussie little chicken ... Nikki

Anonymous said...

I can understand Anon 9:32's complaint especially iffen she actually has Eh-Dee-Dee...but most of us tune in for the delightful prose in addition to pics. I, for one, look forward to my daily dose and make it a point to get an early afternoon coffee and settle in before clicking on the link in my 'Favorites'...I agree with Mama's floorplan adjustment -but I can't help but think that buyers are more often bowled over by master bedroom views and fireplaces -even if they won't use them much so keeping as-is could be strategic, iffen you might sell in a few years...However, you're absolutely right about the ltd use of such a fine room and the impracticality of trekking guests through your gym to show them your sex tape or whatever...

Anonymous said...

Mama,

I love everything you did with this apartment except the master bedroom. While I completely agree with your decision to move it to the back of the apartment, I think the gym needs to be removed completely and be incorporated into the master suite. That room is too small for a gym in my opinion. I never really understood the home gym anyway unless you have a gym with every machine possible. Then, since you'd have the extra space, I think there should be a bigger master bathroom with a shower and a closet that isn't pass through. Other than that I think it's great!

Chris said...

It's much more sensible to have the upstair fireplace in the Library than in the Master Bedroom.

John said...

I'm not sure why someone would need to demonstrate they "own" the best view by placement of a master bedroom. By virtue of owning the apartment, they in fact "own" all the views.

Love the changes. I'm not sure I'm read to shell out $29M but it's closer.

The widened upstairs landing looks great. I would, humbly, suggest a few more changes.

First, I’d extend the new landing width all the way into the new library. While this would narrow two closets by 18 inches or so, it creates a stronger visual entrance and allows light for the library into what is no doubt a dark hallway. This would also create a foyer outside the library that would make for a great kitchenette, wet bar or beverage area along the exterior wall.

Next, a tiny home gym? Really? Turn that new room into a sitting area and entrance for the newly positioned master bedroom. That would also allow you to eliminate the awkward bedroom entrance that runs through the dressing area.

Next, I’m not sure I like the new door half way down the long hallway. Since the bath along that exterior wall is the only public bath on the floor, I’d be hesitant to cut it off from the library, now a semi-public room.

Grrrowler said...

Definitely an improvement over the original. While a view is a luxury, so is quiet and privacy. 5th Avenue isn't the quietest street on which to have ones bedroom so I would think positioning it at the back of the apartment would help with any noise issues. Plus, you're absolutely right Mama: most bedrooms, even large master suites, aren't used for much more than sleeping, primping, and reproductive activities. I was having a conversation with an agent over that very thing while standing in a 2000' sq ft master suite at an open house just yesterday. It was given the best view in the house overlooking the lake and was the single largest space in the house. Just wasted.

Now, I'm not so sure about having that "exterior" door in the master bathroom or having to walk through the dressing room (fancy name for closet) to get to the master bedroom. I would move the master bedroom up into what is the gym on your plan so that it's entered directly from the hallway, move the bathroom up so that it connects to the dressing room (and leave a doorway to the dressing from the hallway...nuthin wrong with two ways into the suite) and put the gym where you put the bathroom. So what if one has to go through the bathroom to get to the gym. It also makes it convenient to step right into the whirlpool tub or shower after the gym.

Anonymous said...

well i love her picts they are the best

:)

Anonymous said...

Service stairs could easily be worked into the eastern end of the apartment. By the way "betrim" was my word verification code, and I think that it was an intentional slam on my voluptuous figure.
Enticingly yours,
Ms. Hedda LaTess

Princess Shotsavodka said...

I have ADD also, darlings. Always Doing Drinks! Nice work, Mama. For 29 million clams can you draw a terrace on there as well? and why did you take that wet bar away from the foyer.....I thought it was too wonderful to be able to grab a cocktail before you even had to take your coat off!!!!

Anonymous said...

I much preferred the original. While I'm not sure a gym is necessary, having a closet in a common space seems ridiculous. People who pay 29 million for a house don't want to walk through their closet to get to their bedroom. And they definitely wouldn't appreciate the teeny tiny bathrooms.

Anonymous said...

You mean people who pay $29m for a house would rather walk through a gym to get to their bedroom?

And there really is a difference between a closet and a dressing room where the clothes are hidden in cabinets.

That said, I'd dump the gym and make that the dressing room and leave the dressing room in Mama's plan as a small sitting room.

P.S. have you ever been in a $29M pre-war apartment in NYC? The bathrooms in some of the largest apartments in some of the best buildings are small (tiny even) and many do not have central air which means there are air conditioning units hanging out the windows. Those a/c units, while not attractive do not keep crazy rich people from spending vast sums at 740 park Ave where the facade is littered with a/c units.

Anonymous said...

Mama, I'm definitely with you on the kitchen adjustment and upstairs MBR/library swap, for all the reasons you and a few others have noted.

I've checked out all the links on this apartment, and none show pictures of a gym (not really surprising), so I'm thinking that that this is just the broker's way of labeling a space too big to be "just" a hallway to the library, or it's really used as a gym...and once the owner's equipment is gone, it's just another space. So all this talk of crappy location for the gym is really kind of moot.

As much as I think this space should get you 4 bedrooms for $29M, it just seems better suited to 3 nice bedrooms, including a great master suite. So I'd just get rid of the pretense of that 4th smaller bedroom. Truth is, as big as this place is, it probably won't be bought by a family who'd want the extra bedroom space.

I like your expanded upper landing, and I'd consider expanding it west as John 10:56 said, and/or expanding it east, down to that column in the center, just at the eastern edge of the elevator cab.

Then, bring the whole master west (knock down the wall between the master and the small bedroom, and expand the master bath so that it starts just at the western edge of the last window facing south. Then use the whole current "gym", where Mama has the closet, as a fitted closet, but it won't need to be used as the entrance to the MBR.

Maybe I'd fiddle a bit with the bath area near the newly placed library in order to create a powder room there, for use by guests or for that quick pee. Hard to tell, but that closet near the library entrance is probably big enough, and the plumbing is right there.

I'm pretty sure this building is covered in Andrew Alpern's book on Candela and Carpenter - I'll check it out later and see if it shows the original floor plan of this line, but I suspect it might be the triplex penthouse, if I recall correctly.

Carlotta Cash said...

oh anon 1:09, who in their correct mind is even in Manhattan during air conditioning season! Why the very thought is enough to make me perspire, that is if I did perspire....

Anonymous said...

Miss Cash,

While no one in their right mind may be in New York during the humid summer months, building after building after building on Park and Fifth Avenues have a/c units hanging out the windows. Maybe they're just their for the staff, but they're still there.

rubyhanoi said...

And maybe include a sofa bed in the library ... ;)

FonHom said...

I'm with Mama on the MBR/Lib switch. Other than the magnificent marble gallery, there's nothing about this pad that knocks your eyes out. If they've got the bucks, the space and the nice gay decorator, the residents deserve to feel some splendor as they stroll about the joint. Showcasing the view is a start.

Ever been to Graceland? It's small and in the middle of town with no views, but the King had some fun rooms.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mama, I have to disagree. I don't see swapping the master bedroom with the library as being an improvement. I'd rather have the master bedroom complete w/ the prime view, the fireplace, and the larger, more luxurious bathroom/dressing area set-up included in the current floor plan. Also, who wants an external entrance/exit door on their master pooper? Also, in an apartment like this, an upstairs library situated on the same floor with all the bedrooms isn't usually used as a formal entertaining library, the way mama is imagining it, but rather as an informal family room/TV room. At least that's the way it's been used in most swanky upper east side duplexes & triplexes that I've been in over the years...I will say the removal of the peninsula island is probably a plus in the kitchen and makes it both feel larger and flow better, however...

Anonymous said...

Good work, Mme. Mama. Good changes. Nothing like a good Central Park view to go with the wide-screen TV.

There are classy no-vent dryers- check out Asko brand and move that laundry upstairs. I also suspect that there's a second staff stairway that's been eliminated in previous renovations that could be re-opened, but it's a small building- Svetlana can just take the elevator.

Ed said...

I don't think Mama said anything about the upstairs library being used for "formal" entertaining.

In fact, what she said was that's it's the room where the tv is kept and that the owner might want to entertain informal guests and friends.

even rich people have casual friends, don't they?

Also, the exterior door in the bathroom is not a problem. Ext. doors in apartments (which is probably fire code) often get covered with panels so it doesn't look like a door to the ext. or even a door at all.

Anonymous said...

Hmm...
I'd rather live in Barron Trumps Gold lined closet than this $29 million dollar park view double wide. .

Anonymous said...

Of course the bedroom should be moved to the back/eastern side of the apartment. Fifth Avenue can be very noisy, especially from buses and parades. The back will be significantly quieter and calmer - more conducive to sleep and amour. Moreover, nothing is nicer than waking up in a room with light coming from the east.

Other readers have made great suggestions for fine tuning the closets, master bath and dressing room - which, in the hands of a good gay decorator, can can be a magnificent entry to the master bedroom.

Nevertheless, as you mentioned in your earlier post, one is still stuck with the gauche picture windows overlooking Central Park, and the co-op board probably won't allow the fenestration to be restored to it's original pattern. These windows are one reason why 950 Fifth isn't one of the first tier buildings in NY.

Great exercise; well done!

Anonymous said...

Nice Redo Mama maybe there is a second career in your future, what you accomplished makes sense given the tight confines of the building.

Anonymous said...

What a relief. I thought I was the only one who made my own floor plan porn. I once did an excellent job of sympathetically amalgamating those adjacent 740 park offerings.
In this case, however, I have to respectfully disagree with Mama. The floor plan is all about me, me, me. Guests be damned, they can make do with the common areas on the lower floor, lucky to be there at all. Apart from family, they have no business upstairs. The very thought.
It's my place and I want to wake to a park view. I want a huge dressing room and a huge master bath. And I want another connecting room as sitting room for the master suite, for when conjugal relations are strained. They knew what they were doing :)

luke220 said...

I'll take the park view from my bed. I also like the larger master bath of the original plan. I would put a back stair through the "gym" and lower maid's room.

Anonymous said...

I'm tellin ya, after a couple of months of no sleep, these people double glaze their bedroom windows, then give up and move their bedrooms away from Fifth. Fifth is just too damn noisy.