Prewar Is So Last Year

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Capital Craftsmen Renovation – 1105 Park Avenue – Modernized prewar

Prewar charm in New York City is defined by original details like crown moldings, built-in bookshelves, coffered ceilings and fireplaces, some more decorative than others. But driven by design trends and the need for more space, some apartment buyers are doing what some would consider unthinkable: tearing out traditional finishes.

A prewar specializing broker has said many East Side buyers find prewars a bargain, as they can cost up to 20 percent less than older condos and up to 50 percent less than new condo conversions west of Lexington Avenue with their monthly maintenance is also “notably lower.”

Millenials come into a space and want to make it their own with the aim of keeping everything as light and bright as possible, will typically rip out window casements, tall baseboards, worn hardwood flooring and the “thick, chunky molding” surrounding the doors. Clean lines being key. An apartment that doesn’t remind them of their parents or grandparents focusing on the aesthetics and functions of finishes. Moldings, particularly crown molding is out. The feeling is, crown molding closes the space and in most small NYC apartments, you want as much as a visually open space as you can have. Baseboards are becoming flatter, more modern and linear, which draws the eyes to look up rather than being drawn downward.

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1105 Park Avenue – before

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1105 Park Avenue – after

Fireplaces, often a showstopper in prewar apartments, are also looking more streamlined these days, thanks to the replacement of bulkier old surrounds with sleek new Carrara marble or granite, creating a simpler design making the overall space more important as opposed to an intricate millwork design or mantel.

Locations of prewar co-ops are prime for buyers; near Central Park, on Park Ave, Fifth Ave, but these buyers also want the finishes of your higher-end new development condos. Finding that rare prewar co-op on Fifth or Park, which is renovated to those standards, is like discovering gold at the end of the rainbow.

Renovating in NYC; How to save

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1. Hire an interior designer

It may sound counter-intuitive to spend money to save money, but  an interior designer/decorator can help create a look for you that is beautiful but will not break the bank. A design professional can also prevent you from making the very common mistake of buying materials and fixtures without understanding the potentially budget-busting installation costs.

Many a situation occurs where a prospective client has purchased tens of thousands of dollars worth of fixtures, tiles, and lighting and has extremely specific design specs that need to be executed with serious precision. But when presented with the labor costs for the plumber, tile contractor, electrician, plasterer, the potential client was shocked. Always consult a designer or contractor before buying materials.

2. Get prices from at least three contractors

Beware of the building super’s recommended contractor. Just about all superintendents get some kind of kickback or gift from contractors. The recommended contractor is sometimes just the guy who tips big. He will ultimately pass these costs on to you.  Be sure to get comparable bids from other renovators including the one your super wants you to use.

That said, understand that hiring a contractor who gets along well with your super can be priceless in terms of saving you time and aggravation.

3. Ask your chosen contractor for advice

Don’t be afraid to ask your contractor for recommendations on how to cut costs and still get the end results you desire. For instance, most prewar buildings have masonry walls. When updating the electrical, if you allow the contractor to build out the walls by one inch so he can run electrical wiring, this will cost less than the labor involved in repairing masonry walls.

4. Stick to the scope

Remember that the five most expensive words in any renovation are “While you’re at it….” Be crystal clear about the scope of work and try not to create changes in the middle of a renovation. Change orders dramatically increase the cost of any renovation. Stick to the scope and you have a much better chance of staying within your budget and schedule.

$50M Time Warner Center penthouse sells at an $11M loss

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One of New York City’s most expensive apartments is no longer: the penthouse atop the Mandarin Oriental Hotel at the Time Warner Center is officially off the market. And unsurprisingly, it sold at a loss—the apartment, listed for $50 million as recently as November, closed for $38.9 million. For those keeping track, that’s a 22 percent discount, punting it pretty far down the list of the city’s priciest homes.

Also not a shocker: the buyer is shielded by an anonymous LLC, with the oh-so-clever name of 80CC77B, INC. The seller was Red Cherry Worldwide Inc., which, as TRD notes, is linked to Zentek Technology founder Shozo Ohtani. It went through a series of price ups and downs over the year, listing first for $35.5 million in 2010; $42.5 million in 2012; and then $50 million in 2015.

As for the apartment itself, it’s a 4,825-square-foot corner unit, with “65 linear feet on Central Park and jetliner views from all rooms.” And since there are no listings photos, those stellar photos are the only thing we have to go by when judging the space—well, that, and the floorplans below.

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Capital Craftsmen has recently completed a 2-unit residence combination at the Mandarin Oriental with the same high rise panoramic views of Central Park and The Hudson River. 

Designing With Space in Mind

What You Need to Think About for Any Size Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home and as such we all want it to be a reflection of our personality—a space that is uniquely ours, one that is functional and beautiful in form. To that extent, before renovating your space, it is important to identify the layout of your kitchen. Is it a galley kitchen? A spacious, open format? A horseshoe? To some degree, the layout will dictate certain design details that you will want to add to make your kitchen more efficient—and, of course, more stylish.

No matter what kind of kitchen you have, it is important to identify its layout so you can effectively add design details to make the most of your space.

The Galley Kitchen

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Galley kitchens may traditionally be small, but they can pack a big style punch. It is essential that you plan out all the details of the design in order to ensure that you use the space you have to its maximum potential. To add more surface area, think about utilizing a kitchen cart—not only can it act as another kitchen cabinet but can be an additional spot to use when cooking.

Open Floor Plan Kitchen

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This is one of the most popular layouts for kitchens today. Usually marked by an island and an expansive eating area, an open floor plan gives you an opportunity to make a grand statement. The island itself is probably the most compelling design element in the space. Use it for wine storage in addition to pots and pans and other kitchen necessities. Functionality-wise, it is a great place to add a sink and even a microwave. Other stylish statements to consider are pendant lights—a good way to introduce your personal style.

The Pullman Kitchen

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The Pullman kitchen format is most commonly found in studios or lofts. Whereas galley kitchens have two walls of cabinets that run parallel to each other, the Pullman kitchen is characterized by one wall of cabinets (and occasionally base cabinets on another). Out of necessity, it is the ultimate space saver. Utility meets style when you add elements that are not only fashionable but also functional.

Horseshoe Layout

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Known also as a “U-shaped” space, the Horseshoe kitchen has three walls, allowing for a good amount of counter space and cabinetry. A side-by-side refrigerator both maximizes the space and increases functionality as most of today’s appliances come equipped with technologies that greatly enhance efficiency.

When 2-Become-1

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Soaring over 70 stories above New York City’s Upper West Side sits a “Five Star Living™” luxury apartment with panoramic views of Central Park and the Hudson River. By combining two apartments, the renovated space now boast over 5,400 sq. feet along with unparalleled amenities in a much sought-after Manhattan address; 80 Columbus Circle at The Time Warner Center.

To accommodate visiting friends and relatives, a partition was needed to temporarily divide the space into two separate living quarters. The Modernfold Acousti-Seal 932 provided the privacy and acoustic sound barrier required.

Challenge: The challenge was to integrate the panels with the apartment’s existing design and architecture.

Solution: Capital Craftsmen, a New York general contractor specializing in high-end residential construction, built custom mullions and mirror inserts for the Acousti-Seal panels perfectly matching the distinctive window frames. The mirror inserts creates an optical illusion of infinite windows, and extends natural light into the space with stunning cityscape views. The results are quite impressive, and it now serves as a sophisticated room divider with a custom-built recessed side panel that neatly conceals the stacked edges when not in use.dsc_6498

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