Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Iron Chef Michael Symon Swaps Penthouses
LOCATION: New York City, NY (Soho)
PRICE: $3,500,000 (list)
SIZE: 1,509 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: We've known for a while now that meat-centric James Beard Award winning chef Michael Symon and his wife Liz bought a two bedroom and two bathroom New York City penthouse apartment last March (2012) for $3,050,000, quickly caught an acute case of the Celebrity Real Estate Fickle and flipped it back on the market less than a year later with a $3,500,000 million price tag.
Property records show Mister and Missus Symons purchased the petite penthouse from London restaurateur turned theater investor Laurence Isaacson who brazenly installed floor-to-ceiling mirrors on two walls of the living room, slathered one wall of the guest bedroom/sitting room with a very Ross Bleckner-esque random abstract pattern wall covering and obsessively used cobalt and navy blue as the only accent colors throughout the otherwise neutrally decorated.
Mister Isaacson—don'cha know—had the penthouse photographed in all its poppy, cobalt blue glory for the Wall Street Journal back in July 2011 when it was listed at $3,395,000. Your Mama suggests y'all steel yourselves with a nerve pill and/or a stiff cocktail of your choice before having a look see at that decoratively unwise fantasia of beige and blue. Listen, butter beans, Your Mama loves cobalt blue just as much as the next person but too much of a good thing is just too damn much of a good thing. Okay?
As far as we know—and we really know so very little about anything—Mister Symon does not currently own or operate an eatery in New York City.* He does, however, frequently appear on scads food and cooking related television programs, many of which are taped in New York: Melting Pot, Iron Chef, The Next Iron Chef, Cook Like an Iron Chef, Dinner: Impossible, Food Feuds and The Chew. It's a wonder the man has time to cook or run a damn restaurant. Anyhoo, getting back to the real estate discussion at hand...
To the right of the front door there's a 22-foot long main living space that makes for a generous living room but would most certainly be a bit crowded with the addition of a proper dining table. To its credit, the living area does have matte finish narrow strip wood floors, airy 12-foot ceilings and three over-sized west facing windows.
A snack counter peninsula divides the living/dining space from the compact but expensively equipped kitchen outfitted with butcher block and slab marble counter tops and back splashes, gray on putty-colored cabinetry with minimal hardware, high-grade stainless steel appliances and, curiously, more mirrored panels above the fridge and upper cabinets on the far wall. Where Mister Isaacson had a flat screen t.v. mounted to the wall, Mister Syman has added a new-fangled sort of pot rack from which hang a dizzying and dangerous looking collection of sauce pans and colanders.
The two bedrooms—small by suburban standards, adequate by urban standards—are situated side-by-side at the rear of the penthouse. The guest bedroom makes use of a hall bathroom that's covered floor and walls with mosaic tile and where there's a stacked washer and dryer. We're not sure how we feel about doing the laundry in the same room who—ahem—evacuate but it's definitely better to have private laundry at all than to not have it at all and we suppose in the bathroom seems a smidgen better maybe than having them shoved up under the counter in the kitchen as they often can be in New York City apartments.
The master bedroom next door, only slightly larger than the guest bedroom, has a small private balcony—too small to do anything by stand around and smoke, really—a walk-in closet plus a full wall of built-in storage in the bedroom area. The attached master bathroom has two sinks and a separate tub and shower set up. Decoratively speaking, we could definitely due without the extra shaggy shag rug—our house gurl Svetlana would have a violent conniption if we brought home a dirt and dog hair collector like that—but we do rather appreciate the padded bed frame and headboard that ensures Your Mama's boozy shins would stay bruise free on late night trips to use bathroom and candy cabinet.
The penthouse comes with a private, nearly 1,000 square foot roof terrace. For some reason it makes squeamish that you have to ride in the elevator to access the roof terrace but we do very much appreciate that the elevator opens into a private wet bar/butler's pantry. That means there's no need to navigate the elevator situation whenever you need to freshen up a drink or snatch a snack. The meandering roof terrace has several sitting/dining areas, some of which are decked and some of which have faux-grass underfoot.
The $3,680 per month common charges and taxes help cover the cost for the pet-friendly André Balazs-developed complex on the border between the SoHo and NoLiTa nabes that offers residents 24-hour doorman services, a fitness room, storage space and an on-site super/manager.
LOCATION: New York City, NY (Gramercy Park)
SIZE: 1,777 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: It seems that Mister Symon had picked out his next penthouse even before he listed his old one. Last November, according to the details on Street Easy, Mister Syman and his wife put another penthouse—this one several blocks north and east of Gramercy Park—into contract that property records show the finally closed on in early February (2013) for $2,750,000.
Listing details show the Symons' new penthouse pad is, at 1,777 square feet, only slightly larger than their previous penthouse and also includes a semi-private key-lock elevator entrance plus lots of direct access outdoor space, two bedrooms well separated for privacy, two bathrooms and—the piece de resistance, perhaps—a private deeded parking space in the on-site garage.
The living area merges seamlessly into the open-concept dining/kitchen space that also, technically, does triple duty as the foyer since the elevator entry opens directly into the dining room. Like in the living room a full wall of floor-to-ceiling wood-framed glass windows peel open to a second, north facing terrace that is larger than the one off the living room but not any less exposed to the upstairs neighbor.
The spacious but hardly huge kitchen and service areas are sleek but efficient with dark ashy brown cabinetry, a chunky solid-surface counter top that waterfalls over one end of the super-sized center island and cantilevers over the other end to provide a snack counter. The appliances are high end and while there's no overhead cabinetry for tableware and food storage there's a sizable butler's pantry with large pantry closet and a wine refrigerator. Beyond the butler's pantry there's a spacious and very convenient storage area and laundry room.
Each of the bedrooms has a roomy walk-in closet and direct access to one of the two terraces—the master to the south end terrace and the guest bedroom to the north side terrace. The guest bedroom has easy access to the hall bathroom—tucked discreetly behind the kitchen for property pooper privacy—and the master has direct access to a larger—but also windowless—marble-walled bathroom with double sink floating vanity and a separate soaking tube and glassed-in stall shower with built-in seat for taking a post hair washing break.
Common charges and taxes for the building come to $2,139, according to listing details, and additional creature comforts include custom window treatments, custom closet system and wiring for a surround sound system. The boutique building isn't much to look at—it's just a big grayish brown brick building with a uniform facade of over-sized warehouse-style windows—and it doesn't have a doorman but it does offer residents a private basement level storage areas.
*Mister Symon did open an upscale Greek eatery Parea in 2006 near Madison Square Park but it quickly closed its doors the following year. Mister Syman does, however, own numerous restaurants in and around Cleveland, OH, a mid-sized Midwestern city perhaps better known for its pierogies and sausage sandwiches but also posseses—so our research shows—a strong and epicurean streak partly underpinned by a few of Mister Syman's healthy handful of local dining establishments that include Lola, Lolita, Roast and B Spot Burgers.
listing photos and floor plans (Soho and Gramercy Park): Corcoran