2007 Nov 18th

Did you see that gorgeous Hoboken condo?

When Realtors get new listings they often hold what is called a “brokers open house” so all the agents in town can come see the new listing. Most of the time, the properties are quite ordinary but the lunch, especially if it is sushi, does get us out to see the place. Today, however, I saw two really beautiful condos.

The first was at the Shipyard, technically 2 Constitution, right on the waterfront in uptown Hoboken. Many of the Shipyard condos, while in a great location and one of Hoboken’s only full service buildings, are really dated looking. They have small, galley-style kitchens so the host is cut off from his or her guests or family when cooking. They have that awful square patterned parquet flooring. The ceilings are low with the ugly popcorn spray finish.

This owner, with the help of a clever architect, blew out an entrance closet and wall and opened the kichen up to the living space by wrapping the cabinets around the corner from the original galley. Not only that, they did it with taste! Beautiful country style custom-looking cabinetry in a lovely color coordinated perfectly with the granite counters and elegant fixtures. They chose nice and not too big stainless appliances, built-in wine cooler and wine rack and a second bar sink. The result is that the extension feels much like a bar or entertainment area and flows perfectly into the living space. Not to mention that the living space was sizable, has great windows and a southern exposure and a large terrace off the dining room. How often do we see balconies off the bedroom? What a waste. The owners also replaced all the flooring with nice plank hardwood, redid the bathrooms one in a subtle tumbled marble style with good lighting, and the other more country-like with a warm, cream-colored bead board. The key, I guess, is that none of it was overdone. Other touches like crown molding on the tops of all the walls, nice closet organizers and pretty wall paint and window treatments made this a real stunner. Priced near a cool million, it was actually worth it!

The other unit was just across the street on Hudson Street. A penthouse multilevel 2 bedroom unit with outdoor space for under $800K. Again, either the owner has amazing taste and skill at pulling things together or there was a decorator involved. While the furnishings and finishes were very unique and personal – lots of white and silver, mirrors, dramatic draperies and area rugs, it worked. The terrace, while small, was off the kitchen (yes – that makes sense for grilling) and had a nice river/NYC view. The bedroom was below and very private. While the closets were well organized they weren’t huge but there was a large storage crawl space in the unit. The living space flowed nicely and the upper level, used as an office, felt welcoming. This was another rare instance where I walked in and thought to myself, wow, I would really enjoy living here!

So while so much of the new construction around Hoboken looks cheap and flimsy, there are some really good properties to be had. A good realtor who knows the market can help you find them. Despite all the talk about the housing downturn, these beauties are few and far between and sell quickly. Lucky buyers!

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