Preston Hollow Pit-to-Peachy Renovation for Athena Unit 915

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Before and After. I’ll let you decide which is which

Back in March, I wrote about a condo at the Athena that I called a “dump” that hadn’t seen better days in decades.  It was a bastardized two-bedroom, two bathroom on the ninth floor with 1,770 square feet listed for $249,900 with HOA dues of $1,037 that include utilities, TV and internet.  It sold pretty quickly and immediately went under the knife.

Flash forward to last Friday and the unit re-hit the MLS after its nearly stem-to-stern renovation and reconfiguration.  This time it’s listed with James Glynn with JG Real Estate for $425,000. Yes, that’s a big jump, but as you’ll see, a bundle has been spent.  The owners intended to live in the unit, but circumstances changed and so now it’s a flip … but definitely with flip-plus quality.

Before when you entered the apartment, your view was of wrinkled grimy carpet and a wall that didn’t reach the windows. Oh, and popcorn.  Oh, oh, and crows’ foot textured walls.

It’s breathtaking what a full-on renovation and better photography can do.  The carpet and popcorn are likely in a hazmat storage facility.  The crows’s foot has been shipped off to Grauman’s Chinese Theater. I like the side-to-side layment of the new flooring.  In a unit like this, it makes a room seem wider (although it’s 16 feet wide already).  You can also see that the wall has been extended to the windows as it should be. A new set of barn doors are definitely on-trend.

One of the biggest changes is here.  As you can see in the original, to the left of the front door was a dining area.  To the left again (in the back) is a doorway that led to the original kitchen.  The kitchen’s position was one of the reasons I didn’t like this floor plan.  It can’t be opened. On one side is the wall separating the unit from the hallway and on the other is the central stack of water pipes servicing the kitchens and bathrooms in this stack.  I didn’t see a great way around that.

I might have removed the wall separating the kitchen and entry. But then, I’m a showy cook.

Though oddly composed, this picture shows you the beginnings of the kitchen solution.  It’s been pulled out of its pocket and into what was the dining area.  It’s now fully open concept.  You might be wondering if that doesn’t make the living and dining possibilities sorta cramped.  Nope.

Kitchen in the thick of things

Because the unit’s balcony was enclosed, there’s an additional 7.5 feet to the room’s original 35 foot length. The resulting 16’ x 41’ space has enough linear space for generous living, dining and kitchen areas.

The results are obvious.  The perfect open concept for today’s living.  The doorway?  What once was the kitchen is now a jumbo laundry room and separate storage area. In a high-rise, storage is always a priority.  For my wino readers, think of the possibilities.

It sure as hell beats this monstrosity of a kitchen with its sea of surplus peel-and-stick flooring, flat-pack cabinets and BLUE Formica countertops. This was a kitchen that would wake Dean Fearing screaming in the night.

Lounge logic says that everything looks prettier in dim light, but even with those two flickering bulbs, we know, we know.  Self-induced constipation would result at the thought of visiting this room.

But now, you can open your eyes and unclench.  The master bathroom really is a nice place.  The sketchy bidet is gone, replaced by double vanities.  For a couple sharing this bath that tower does double-duty.  It stores “product”, as well as with doors opened, acts as a screen for when ya just don’t want to see him/her (as happens in every relationship).

One thing that hasn’t changed is the view.  You will be able to see for miles and miles once the enjoyment of living in this freshly renovated home wares off … in a few years.

Unit 915 illustrates my point.  Older buildings need new product to come to market because not everyone sees dilapidation as opportunity.  While not intended as a flip, this home does bring a new home to move-in ready buyers in a 50-year-old building.


Remember:  High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement.  If you’re interested in hosting a Staff Meeting event, I’m your guy. In 2016 and 2017, the National Association of Real Estate Editors has recognized my writing with two Bronze (2016, 2017) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards.  Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make?  Shoot me an email


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Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson is's condo/HOA and developer columnist, but also covers second home trends on An award-winning columnist, Jon has earned silver and bronze awards for his columns from the National Association of Real Estate Editors in both 2016, 2017 and 2018. When he isn't in Hawaii, Jon enjoys life in the sky in Dallas.

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