The road has been long – longer than you know. I first saw my Penthouse Plunge back in 2016 around the time CandysDirt.com was hosting a quadruple open house at The Claridge. I wanted to include the double penthouse in the tour, but the listing agent at the time never called back – maybe she had a bad signal in the grocery store?
Regardless, last night the Penthouse Plunge hit the market. To get to this point, I’ve taken a gamble, spent more money than I’ve ever thought I could and had a pandemic envelop us all.
It started to get serious in late 2018 when Sharon Quist and I started talking about the property, then listed with her. I tracked every price cut. Finally, in early 2019 I saw what looked like a deal and an opportunity. I knew the only solution for the terrible, 5,300-square-foot floorplan was to separate it back into two units. I spent a few months trying to find someone interested in the larger 18-A side with no luck. I’d hoped we’d split the unit and go our separate renovating ways.
Finally, with Quist’s help, I figured out how I could temporarily shoulder the financial burden and purchase the whole thing. I’d then take on dividing it and renovating 18-A back to a 2,770-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath unit with a study – under nearly 12-foot ceilings overlooking Turtle Creek.
I didn’t close on the property until September 2019 after taking a leap of faith and selling my Athena home in June and moving into a hotel at Inwood and I-35E (swanky, eh?). It took another three months until I could finally move into the dated 18-B unit (which thankfully retained its 1984 kitchen).
After I closed, I met a regular stream of people who’d looked at the double penthouse during its four years on the market. They told me variously that they had no idea what to do with it or no desire to tackle the huge renovation.
And here we are, eight months later and 18-A is ready to get sold. No, it’s not done, but it’s surprisingly close. Last week, the drywall was all smoothed and readied for paint. This week the tiling of the bathrooms begins. Then it’s on to cabinetry installation (yes, they’re finally here) which once complete will trigger the countertops and backsplashes being measured.
While the stone is being cut and polished, all the trim can go in – bathtub, shower controls, mirrors, toilets, fireplace, doors, baseboards and lighting. Faucets and sinks will go in at the same time as the countertops. I figure that work will take until mid-June.
If, in the next month-ish while this work is completed, no one puts the unit under contract (and picks their own paint), I’ll have to choose. The final days will be the sanding and finishing of the floors to ensure they’re prefect for the next owner.
Last Monday, I had the kitchen floors sanded so the sander wouldn’t be bumping into cabinet bases. They really look good. The newly brightened brass inlay looks way too rich for my blood.
Throughout this process a few have asked what the price will be. Given the studs-in renovation and investment in materials – Dornbracht, Ann Sacks, Gaggenau, Thermador, Leicht, Kallista and others Sharon Quist from Dave Perry-Miller settled on $1.6 million.
Eager Beaver For The Kitchen
Being a cook, I’m chaffing to see the kitchen installed. The finishes are way more than I’ve ever spent on my own home and were inspired by the Hall Arts residences. Unlike many high-rise homes (including in the Claridge itself), 18-A has a gas cooktop. I also splashed out on the Gaggenau visor vent hood. It’s a very minimal design that doesn’t get in the way like so many do. You couldn’t ask for more storage in a high-rise kitchen with cabinets going to the 10-foot kitchen and pantry ceiling. No, highest shelves aren’t easy-reach, but we all have those special serving pieces we seldom use but need a place for regardless.
I chose Thermador because in August 2019, Consumer Reports ranked then fifth in appliance reliability besting Sub-Zero Wolf by six places, Dacor by 17 places and Viking, who was dead last, by 19 spots. For buyers bringing their own washer and dryer, Speed Queen was ranked number one and LG was fourth – I’ve used LG trouble-free for 15 years.
The kitchen has a peninsula with breakfast bar next to the sink and opening to the living and dining rooms. The cabinets are a modern gloss white except the two that face the living room by the breakfast bar, they’re wood to mark the transition from kitchen to living spaces. Wherever possible, the lower cabinets are drawers for easy access – the same as I would do in my own kitchen.
Go Towards The Light
That ethos includes the lighting. I’d use these in my home. I went contemporary but not flash-in-the-pan modern. I like things to stand the test of time.
CandysDirt.com readers will remember I promised a fabulous party to celebrate the unit’s completion. I think we all know why that’s unlikely to happen and would likely not attract many people and their PPE. But I’ll be taking tons of pictures for all to see and if things get better faster than we expect, PARTY ON.