CORE’s Jarrod Guy Randolph recently landed on the small screen, showing off his $4.995 million penthouse listing at the Upper East Side’s Isis condominium to CBS’s cameras. The piece was great — we’re sure the spacious full-floor spread and private outdoor spaces inspired plenty of viewer real estate envy — but it only told part of the story behind this luxurious listing at 303 East 77th Street
When Jarrod, a Forbes “30 Under 30″ recipient who joined CORE last spring, got the listing, the penthouse was completely empty, and he could tell that buyers were having a difficult time envisioning what the nontraditional space (with four bedrooms and four private terraces in all) would look and feel like as a fully furnished and functional home. “We really needed to furnish the place to show that there’s a lot you can do with it, whether for entertaining or just as a quiet place to call home,” Jarrod told us. “With furniture, I knew it would feel even more spacious, and people would respond to it.”
So Jarrod embarked on the most ambitious staging effort of his career — recruiting design specialists like Susan Goldstein of Studio D, rustic Brooklyn furniture craftsmen Organic Modernism, the contemporary art experts at Jayne Baum Gallery and others to create an immaculate space filled with both modern and traditional design elements, including over $250,000 in furniture and art. “Beautiful furniture and artwork always make the space look more luxurious, and it reenforces the luxury image of the building,” Jarrod said. “I’ve staged apartments before, but I really had to call in a lot of favors for this one.”
Michael Garr has sold over 300 million dollars of real estate from Central Park South to Tribeca. He is also the Broker Specialist for the Chelsea Mercantile, having completed 59 transactions in the prized building. Here, he writes about going above and beyond simple staging to sell apartments at top dollar.
Last Sunday’s article in the New York Times about sellers renovating their homes to appeal to buyers only scratched the surface of the work that goes into preparing my exclusive listings for the market. My team of contractors, tilers and painters have renovated several apartments and guided owners to make spot-on choices that will yield fantastic results at the closing table. For example:
After six months on the market with another company, the owner hired Michael Rubin and I to market a top-floor duplex on West 22nd Street. We chose a walnut stain for the floors after they were sanded. We removed the floor in the kitchen and put in a cream tile, which pulled everything together for a fresh buyer-ready look. The vanity in the bathroom was replaced, and updated light fixtures and new hardware were added and then painted Benjamin Moore White Dove — a color many art galleries use. For the terrace, the wood planks were painted a brighter color and plants and flowers were placed on the sides. The outdoor space felt larger (feelings are facts in real estate) and inviting. For the staging, we added the little extras needed for dramatic photogenic touch: bright pillows, hip table lamps and understated art work … all from my staging storage unit. An offer was accepted in four weeks.
One of the challenges of showing an unfurnished unit in a new construction is that prospective buyers have a hard time visualizing what the apartment might look like when they are living in it. It has never been occupied and therefore doesn’t have the character or energy of a space that has been called “home,” so buyers are skeptical. As the date approached for the filming of Penthouse A at 350 West 23rd Street for HGTV’s new series “Selling New York,” I faced this exact challenge—and, after conferring with CORE’s CEO, Shaun Osher, I decided that the best way to handle it was to stage the apartment. Staging is a delicate task: If done in a careless way, the design can look contrived and can misrepresent the space. Not only must the furnishings chosen for staging fit the space in terms of size; they must also complement the angles, materials and textures of the apartment as well as draw in the natural landscape beyond the unit’s windows and terraces. The latter point is especially important in a space such as Penthouse A, with its broad floor-to-ceiling windows, expansive terraces and park views. I chose my pieces the way buyers choose their furniture and artwork when preparing to settle in to a home for many years or generations. I followed an aesthetic that reflected the unique vibe of Chelsea—modern and sophisticated yet warm and approachable. I owe a great debt to Laurie Messman and her team at Ligne Roset, who provided pieces that perfectly captured the look and feel I was going for. One of Laurie’s brilliant ideas was to borrow artwork and music memorabilia from the Sony Archives. The fact that she was able to secure historic platinum records, limited-edition photographs of famous musicians and entertainers such as Jimi Hendrix and Ertha Kitt, and classic guitars was an enormous feat. I recall thinking that the buyer I was searching for “could hang his own guitar in its place,” and while the buyer from the episode did not have a guitar herself, I imagined that perhaps one day her son would hang his there. In upcoming episodes of “Selling New York” I deal with other aspects of this “home energy,” of which staging is just one part. Tune in and enjoy!