New York’s luxury real estate market continues to soar higher. So what do you get for all those millions? From converted churches to elaborate curving staircases inside supertall skyscrapers, these are a few of the posh property trends behind today’s hautest homes.
The lingering work-from-home lifestyle is good news for the owners of converted churches in upstate New York. “Churches make excellent live-work spaces, which are now in high demand,” James Male of House Hudson Valley Realty tells Alexa. He’s listing 73-79 N. Second St. in Hudson, otherwise known as the Hudson Abbey Building — a 1933 church that’s been meticulously transformed by a series of uber-creative owners.
“It was owned by a Chinese artist who shipped over some of his art and motorcycles but never did much with the space,” Male says of the $2.87 million property. “After that, it was owned by a couple who created a chocolate factory in the basement and lived upstairs. The current owner did most of the design work and used it as an event space.”
Currently the church, which sits on a bluff overlooking the Hudson, has one bedroom and three bathrooms spread over an incredible 8,000 square feet.
The original chapel is now a modern, art-filled living room, with a massive glass barn door and tons of light.
In the neighboring town of Rifton, a church dating back to 1876 at 1883 Route 213 St. has seen an especially stunning transformation. The four-bedroom, four-bathroom, 4,356-square-foot structure, which is currently asking $2.49 million, previously served as a town hall and even the batiment canards for a local duck farm, according to listing agent Angelica Ferguson of Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty.
“The owner made it his dream home and did amazing things, like a complete structural restoration that preserved as much of the original details as possible,” says Ferguson. “All the floors are original, and he repurposed a ton of the salvaged wood from different parts of the building and turned it into staircases and the mantel over the fireplace.”
Those looking to put their own stamp on a property should head just down the road to Rosedale, where a Gothic-style church is on the market at 398 Main St. The three-bedroom, five-bathroom, 7,600-square-foot former Rosendale Reformed Church was originally built in 1896 and has served as the Volunteer Firemen’s Association, a glass studio, an event hall and a gathering place for artists. While it has cozy living quarters, it could also be tricked out into a truly bohemian playpen. It’s asking $1.5 million with Petra Heist of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nutshell Realty. See you in church.
Stepping up is getting easier in Manhattan’s best buildings. “People appreciate points of architectural interest that make an apartment feel unique,” says Deborah Grubman of Corcoran Group. “A very graceful floating staircase is a perfect example.”
Grubman is marketing two luxe properties that feature very different examples of this feat of engineering: the triplex penthouse atop One Madison at 23 E. 22nd St. and the triplex apartment, No. 10S, at 176 Perry St. “They’re both beautiful, and perfectly designed so that they never feel awkward to walk up.”
The curvaceous, wood-clad floating stairs at One Madison were created by renowned residential architect J.L. Ramirez in an almost yacht-like vernacular. It’s the centerpiece of the five-bedroom, six-bathroom, 6,850-square-foot spread, which is asking $58 million.
Meanwhile, the tightly spiraled, all-white, Richard Meier-designed floating stairs on Perry Street seem ripped out of a contemporary art museum. That five-bedroom, five-bathroom, 11,000-square-foot mansion is asking $38.9 million.
But perhaps the biggest, baddest steps out there belong to the biggest, baddest unit on the market. Last month the penthouse of the supertall skyscraper Central Park Tower — which claims to be “the highest residence in the world” — hit the market for a record-breaking $250 million. The sprawling 17,545-square-foot, seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom palace is anchored by a massive floating staircase that undulates up three stories, kissing a landing here and a column there. Created by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the white-oak stairs are surrounded by glass sides and glass windows so that they “glow pink and purple in the sunset and amber yellow in the morning,” notes Loy Carlos of Serhant, who is listing the unit with the firm’s founder Ryan Serhant. “You can put a floating staircase in the middle of any room and rather than an obstruction, it becomes a piece of art that changes from every angle you look at it.”
If you thought white-box luxury was getting mundane, there’s good news: Visionary designers are still creating bold apartments that are truly one of one. Guests arriving at the five-bedroom, six-bathroom penthouse of 1 Sutton Place are greeted by an enormous orange breast sculpture in the foyer. The all-white, symmetrical living room could almost be a lost Stanley Kubrick set. A stunning, otherworldly minimalism compliments art, art and more art throughout the 2,850-square-foot apartment. “The owner is a clothing designer and a true minimalist. She did a lot of the interior design herself,” says Tal Alexander, who is listing the apartment for $37.5 million, noting that it also boasts an outdoor terrace that runs for a full city block.
Meanwhile, the owners of the triplex perched at the top of the Marquand Condominium at 11 E. 68th St. created an equally distinctive abode using a darker pallet of African Saint Laurent marble — a black marble with lightning strikes of white and tan — as well as brown and black woods offset with pops of white and warm color. There’s even a Fritz Lang “Metropolis”-esque silver robot sculpture in the kitchen. The five-bedroom, four-bathroom, 6,189-square-foot apartment is listed for $33.5 million with Madeline Hult Elghanayan of Douglas Elliman. “The owners did the interior design work and this is their personal masterpiece,” Elghanayan tells Alexa, noting that many of the furnishings are custom and could also be included in the sale. “They were inspired by Peter Marino’s Dior store in Paris. It was raw space when they bought it and it took years to realize.”
Over in Chelsea, along the High Line, the owners of unit No. 4 at 521 W. 23rd St. tapped the award-winning design firm Gabellini Sheppard to turn their blank palette loft space into an airy, streamlined wonderland that flirts with the dividing line between art gallery and residence. You’ll find no tchotchkes here, just clean lines, huge walls, lots of light and stand-out decor. There’s a Swarovski crystal-encrusted Blossom Chandelier designed by Tord Boontje, a Bubinga wood dining table crafted by Miya Shoji, a George Nakashima-designed handwoven wool rug from Nepal and, of course, scads of contemporary art — all included in the $11.5 million sale.
Ernie Goldberg and Darren Kearns of Corcoran have the listings.