Thursday, February 28, 2013

John Legend Buys Bigger in Little Italy

BUYER: John Legend
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $2,494,712
SIZE: 1,969 square feet, 1 bedroom, 2.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Late last November nine-time Grammy-winning singer/songwriter John Legend sold his 1,359 square foot apartment in New York City's impossibly chic and fully gentrified Bowery neighborhood. Lucky Mister Legend sold the convertible two bedroom and two bathroom condo crib for $2,675,000, $775,000 more than he paid for the place exactly three years earlier.

Last month, the increasingly celebrity-centric folks at Architectural Digest published a picture driven piece written by the ever so clever Mayer Rus about the sophisticated but earthy and modestly proportioned 1960s mid-century modern residence in Los Angeles' Lake Hollywood area owned by Mister Legend since 2007 and shared with his swimsuit model/accomplished amateur cook and food blogger fiancée Christine "Chrissy" Teigen.

At first Your Mama thought maybe Mister Legend and Miss Teigen had simply packed it up and high-tailed it to Los Angeles for a left coast life of better weather. We recently learned, however, from The Bizzy Boys at Celebrity Address Aerial that Mister Legend didn't vacate New York at all but, in fact, traded up to a larger—if less expensive—condominium in a newly converted 19th-century brick building in Little Italy.* Property records do indeed reveal that last August (2012) Mister Legend dropped the rather unusual amount of $2,494,712 on a 1,969 square foot loft-type condo at the so-called Brewster Carriage House building with just one bedroom but 2.5 bathrooms and a total of $3,144 in monthly taxes, maintenance and common charges.

Listing details and other resources available on the internets show the 160 (or so) year year old building was completely worked over by starchitect Winka Dubbeldam's cutting edge firm Archi-Tectonics in a manner that eco-consciously marries antique architectural details with state-of-the-art technology and modern amenities.

Mister Legend's loft-like but low-ceilinged Big Apple pied-a-terre has an open-concept main living space with delicious variable width white oak flooring, a couple of exposed cast iron columns and, at the roomy living room end, a paneled reading nook, a gas fireplace and three deeply inset metal-framed French doors that open to wrought iron railed Juliet balconies.

The three windows that line one wall in the dining area and kitchen are certainly over-sized but they also look directly across a very narrow air shaft to a solid brick wall. This up-close brick wall view will probably perplex and perturb any number of the children not accustomed to the sometimes compromising realities of urban living. Howevuh, hunties, just like they are with all the ugly-ass air conditioners that hang out of the windows of even the most expensive of apartment houses on Fifth and Park Avenues, New Yorkers are used to this sort of thing. Windows that open into air shafts large and small are simply a fact of residential life in New York City, even in the most luxurious of buildings.**

Anyhoodles poodles, the lone bedroom of Mister Legend and Miss Teigen's apartment opens directly off the living room area and has two street-facing windows that could make it tough to sleep during September's annual 11-day long Feast of San Gennaro. Fortunately, to ease that pain, there's a walk-in closet larger than many bedrooms in lower Manhattan and the windowless attached bathroom has radiant heated floors, an over-sized shower stall and a floating walnut vanity equipped with two sinks and slow-closing drawers.

Even the most brief of perusals of the floor plan included with marketing materials reveals that in addition to the master bathroom and the half bathroom near the front door there's another full bathroom off the kitchen. With all due respect to Miz Dubbeldam—who Your Mama thinks is a goddamn architectural genius—but this location for a bathroom notably larger and more extensively equipped than the actual master bathroom seems a bit silly.

This big ol' second bathroom might make more sense if the condo was configured in such a way that would allow for a quick and simple addition of a second bedroom but, despite it's nearly 2,000 square feet, it doesn't. Given the scale and location of the second bathroom—not to mention the pass through walk-in closet—the absolute best location for a second bedroom would be exactly where the kitchen is currently located. Moving the kitchen seems radical and expensive—if it's even possible. Where else could a second bedroom be added without completely compromising the main living space(s)?

*Marketing materials describe the building as being in NoLIta—as in North of Little Italy—but Your Mama's understanding of New York City neighborhood borders actually puts it not in NoLIta but rather in the northern heart of Little Italy, just off the authentic yet touristically ersatz ristorante- and trattoria-lined Mulberry Street.

**Trust Your Mama, children, it's way it's better too have air shaft windows with a dead on view of a brick wall than to have windows that open into a window-lined air shaft. For more than a decade Your Mama lived in a rent-stabilized two bedroom tenement apartment in which the smaller of the two bedrooms had a single window that opened into an air shaft lined with more than a dozen other kitchen and bedroom windows of the apartments in the building next door. You can't imagine the visual, auditory and olfactory horrors that regularly came through that window. Seriously. Like call the police, please, there's a situation going on over there that is not good. Anyhoo...

listing photos and floor plan: Douglas Elliman Real Estate


lil' gay boy said...

So little Johnny's a size queen, eh?


Nicely refurbishment of a venerable old space -- NYC lofts are always unique, but rarely successful.

As for Mama's little aside about windows facing one another in an air shaft, it's a time-honored tradition to surreptitiously spy on your neighbors; much like a cross between Rear Window and pirated cable.

Lilithcat said...

Mama, your link goes to Elliman's main page and the listing seems to be gone from their site.

I did find what I'm pretty sure is the floor plan here.

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Anonymous said...

It might be me. But what point is there having another full bathroom when you do not have a extra bedroom. The point of one bedroom, I always thought, was to deter relatives or others from coming to stay.

Anonymous said...

Such a nice contrast to that operating room that was posted a few days ago. This shows you can have clean contemporary AND warm. Nice place John. And all you children that keep sassin Mama need to get on some Prozac!

Anonymous said...

Why Lake Hollywood? Sheesh...

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't have bought it.

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