Sometimes life doesn’t imitate fiction. “I’ve spent $40,000 on shoes and I have no place to live? I will literally be the old woman who lived in her shoes!” wailed Carrie Bradshaw in the hit television show Sex and the City.
Well, we don’t know how much the real-life Carrie – the actress Sarah Jessica Parker – has spent on shoes, but she does have several homes. So many, in fact, that she has declared one of them surplus to requirements. So she has put the property on the market for $22 million (£13.6 million). Her six-storey town house in Manhattan’s chichi Greenwich Village has plenty of room for footwear. And, naturally, it comes with a giant walk-in wardrobe stuffed with designer gear and killer heels. All very Carrie, who famously declared that, “I like my money where I can see it – hanging in my closet.”
This property is pure fantasy. The outside, with its Greek revival-style façade, looks remarkably like the one where Carrie lived in Sex and the City. Remember all those moody shots of her sitting pensively on the steps, chin in hand? No surprise, then, that the series was filmed in a brownstone building around the corner on Perry Street, with a similar set of steps. In this case, however, Parker owns the entire property.
It’s all carefully styled and pristine. Surprising for a family with three children? Perhaps not. Parker and her husband, the actor Matthew Broderick, who bought the 165-year-old property three years ago in 2011 for $19 million (£11.5 million), renovated it from top to bottom.
There’s evidence of family life upstairs on the third and fourth floors. The five bedrooms include a stylish kids’ room complete with black-and-white tepee in the corner (nothing so naff as pink, natch). The master suite takes up an entire floor. There’s enough room for a four-poster bed, sofa, bathroom area with oval-shaped, hand-carved stone bathtub and, of course, that wardrobe (it has to have floor-to-ceiling shoe storage, naturally). The top floor of the house is a family room with media centre; the basement level a playroom and work area, lined with books and with enough space for a table tennis table.
The town house includes a floor dedicated to a master suite (EVAN JOSEPH)
The couple own another town house on nearby Charles Street, two red-brick town houses in Brooklyn, as well as a couple of small propertied in the Hamptons. They have been trying to sell the Greenwich Village property for a couple of years, having originally listed it in 2012, for $25 million (£15 million), before taking it off the market earlier this year and only relaunching recently.
The celebrity connections will doubtless aid a swift sale this time around. Either way, the property market in this part of town is booming. “The Village”, as it’s known, has long been the neighbourhood of choice for celebrities: Uma Thurman, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marc Jacobs and Anna Wintour, editor of US Vogue, all call it home. It’s not hard to see why. With its pretty, tree-lined streets, graceful town houses and sweet boutiques and cafés, Greenwich Village has a continental feel that offers a welcome respite from the bustle of neighbouring SoHo. All the pre-war buildings are protected, as a large part of the area is landmarked (the American equivalent of a conservation area). Houses on certain streets, particularly 10th, 11th and 12th, are among the most valuable in Manhattan.
Property rarely appears on the market in these parts. “It is within the norm to have multiple offers on a house within a day and a signed contract within a week,” explains Victoria Vinokur, of property search agency Home Hunts. In some cases, she adds, prices paid can be 5-10 per cent higher than the asking price.
It’s a similar story in New York City as a whole. There are fewer properties for sale than at any time in the past 12-13 years. “There is a lot of demand from international buyers,” adds Vinokur. “Compared to cities such as London, New York is considered to be a relative bargain in terms of price per square foot.”
Object of desire: the walk-in closet (EVAN JOSEPH)
Julia Hoagland, an associate of the agent Brown Harris Stevens, agrees. “Manhattan is on sale relative to Monaco, Hong Kong, London, Singapore and Geneva,” she says. “It is also hard to increase the amount of property available on an island, so buyers see inherent geographical supply-side protection.”
But new developments are being built more rapidly than in the past few years, which is boosting supply. These are mainly luxury condos aimed at the international market, where a decent two-bed will set you back at least $3 million (£1.8 million) – and that doesn’t include the shoes.
In the US, they’re de rigueur for the fashion conscious: a closet that is not just a bulging cupboard, but one that stretches to an entire room, organised with military precision. Shoes are neatly stored according to size, style and colour, with racks built to accommodate specific heel heights. There are drawers for belts, bags and boots, and different hanging sections for everything from ball gowns to bikinis.
And, as with everything that starts across the Atlantic, they’re coming here. Luxury developers have been at it for years, but these days everyone’s getting in on the act, from interior designers to high-street stalwarts.
At the lower end of the scale, furniture giant Sharps has just launched a walk-in wardrobe range, while Ikea has long been known for its clothes storage systems. More expensive are the sleek offerings from Poliformor Doca, or, if budget allows, go bespoke with a specialist joinery company such as Kaizen Furniture. New company Brilliant Project (www.brilliantproject.com), meanwhile, allows you to design your perfect wardrobe online. All the systems are adaptable and movable if you upsize to a bigger home.
When it comes to our clothes, it seems the sky is the limit: Harrods recently commissioned a princess-themed dressing room for children from furniture company The Master Wishmakers – on sale now for £80,000.
Interior architect Thomas Griem recommends dividing space into three to create the ultimate master suite: you should allow a minimum of 3 x 3m (10 x 10ft) for the bedroom, 2.4 x 1.6m (8 x 5ft) for the dressing room and 2.4 x 1.4m (8 x 4.5ft) for the bathroom.
Imagine the wardrobe as an extension of the bedroom, but treat it as a room in its own right, says Lisa-Marie Mosca, interior designer at Newcourt Residential. Sofas add glamour, pieces with built-in storage work extra hard and you need enough mirrors to see yourself from every angle.
Think about lighting. “Make sure you have different brightness options, so you can see your outfit in the morning sun or the dark corners of a bar,” advises Torquil McIntosh, founder of Sybarite Architects. “And think about seating for your husband.”
If you’re sharing the space, consider dividing it into his-and-hers wardrobes so you can tailor your hanging options, suggests Ken Purvis, head of bedroom design at Betta Living. Other things to remember: a built-in dresser with power supplies for hair styling appliances, and motion sensor lighting – perfect for allowing your sleeping partner to continue slumbering gently in the morning.
Credit to Telegraph.co.uk