Gerard Butler Asking $6M for Rustic-Meets-Baroque Loft in Chelsea

The interior design of actor Gerard Butler’s 3,150 square foot loft is what he describes as “bohemian old-world rustic chateau with a taste of baroque.” We describe it as brilliant. That’s what you get when you hire a film designer (Elvis Restaino) to team up with your architect (Alexander Gorlin). The apartment’s decor was so unique that it made the cover or Architectural Digest in 2010.

The Scottish actor bought the space in a converted warehouse at 139 West 19th St. back in 2004 for $2.575 million and is now asking $6 million 13 years and a wholesale remodel later. From the photos, you will not be surprised to know that the apartment appointments include 11-foot mahogany doors, beamed ceilings and, of course, a Great Room. For more practical features, one can find an open kitchen, laundry room, office and bedroom on the main floor, and a luxurious master bedroom occupying the top floor that has four closets and a balcony with city views. Check out the film screening room. Doesn’t it make you want to light a cigar?

Source: Curbed

Photos compliments of Private Client Realty


2017 Holiday Tipping Guide: What To Tip Your Building Staff

Every year, New Yorkers fret about what to tip building staff, and others that tirelessly provide services year-round. You’ll notice the numbers are pretty broad, so here are some guidelines to help you hone in on what you should be tipping: the larger the staff, the smaller the individual tips; quality of service matters; senior staff pulls rank; renters typically tip a bit less than owners; and you should increase your tips by small increments each year if you have lived in the building longer, because in most cases that means you have called on the staff for help more often.

Super, resident manager:  $75  to $175 on average (broad range: $50  to  $500)

Doorman and/or concierge (the latter of which handles more personal requests, like reservations and wake-up calls):  $25 to $150  on average (broad range: $10  to $1,000)

Porters, handyman, and maintenance staff:  $20 to $30 on average (broad range: $10 to $75)

Garage attendant:  $25 to $75 on average (broad range $15 to $100)

Cleaning person/housekeeper:  One to two weeks of pay.

Cleaning service: Tip 15 to 20 percent throughout the year, as a portion of their earnings goes to the cleaning service. If the same crew cleans your apartment each time, a holiday tip (one week) is appreciated.

Full-time nanny: One week’s pay minimum, or two if you can afford it.  Or, one week’s pay and one week’s vacation.

Regular babysitter hired occasionally: Consider $25 to $50 in cash or a gift card

Regular dog walker: One week’s pay

UPS delivery: Since UPS assigns drivers to specific addresses, $25 to $50 if you have a lot of packages delivered. More if you have a lot of business-related deliveries.

Mail carrier: By law, mail carriers can’t accept cash or anything worth more than $20.

You do not need to tip your property manager, contractor (plumber, electrician, etc.), or real estate broker.

Some more tips on tipping:

Disgruntled? Tip on the low side instead of making an enemy by proving a point. You never know when you may need a little help.

Have a favorite? It’s okay to tip them more.

Are you high maintenance? If you get a lot of packages, solicit help with dogs or kids/strollers, or have a lot of visitors (in a doorman building), then tipping a bit more would be appropriate. The staff is clearly doing more for you than the guy down the hall who travels 22 days a month.

Did Christmas shopping set you back? Don’t bake cookies. Take January to financially recover. You can tip your building staff into February, but don’t skip it altogether.

Source: Brick Underground


17 More Imaginative Gifts Than a Bottle of Wine

There’s no argument, the holiday spirit often revolves around spirits, yet bringing a bottle to a party is, although always appreciated, the least imaginative thing you can do. Why not make your gift remarkable, and let it complement all of the booze that’s gifted alongside it? Here are a host of ideas, ranging in price from super affordable to a little bit special.

  1. The Emmie Decanter, $45 from Lulu & Georgia
  2. The Twelve Nights of Wine Advent Calendar from Vinebox–although this one is already sold out, so plan for next year!
  3. Lilac Barware from CB2, $3.50-3.95 per glass
  4. Whiskey rocks, $28 from SQARQ Home
  5. Brass Bottle Openers, $65-95 from Fort Standard
  6. Mini Paloma Kit, $24 from SaloonBox
  7. Camden Champagne Flute with Gold Rim, $15 from Canvas Home
  8. Copper Party Cup, $16 from MoMA Design Store
  9. Mirage Rainbow Barware Set, $36.54 from Blush via The Mine
  10. Juliska Heritage Collectors Flutes, $250 from Jaliska
  11. Reserve Wine Rack, $190 from Moday via The Mine
  12. Branch & Twig Cocktail Picks, $18 from Anthropologie
  13. Timbale Bucket, $145 from MoMA Design Store
  14. Moet & Chandon Imperial Share Pack, $99.95 from Moet & Chandon
  15. Classic Dove Faux-Shagreen Serving Tray, $395 from AERIN
  16. Whiskey Notes: Tasting and Distilling Log Book, $11.86 from King’s County Distillery
  17. Twister Wine Aerator & Decanter With Stand Set, $79.95, Williams Sonoma

We wish you good cheer and much merriment in your holiday celebrations!

Source: Elle Decor


NYC Holiday Market Guide

There’s nothing quite like strolling through NYC’s festive holiday markets, with lights, decorations, comfort food, carols, and plentiful gifts to help you check even the pickiest friends and family off your list. Unless, of course, it’s the holiday markets in Europe that serve spiked spiced wine, but who’s saying you can’t spike your go-cup? Bundle up and make your rounds this holiday season. Word to the wise? Save the Grand Central Station indoor market for a particularly chilly day.

  1. Columbus Square Holiday Market 59th & Central Park West. Nov. 28-Dec. 24 at 4pm. Regular hours are 10-8 Monday through Saturday and 10-7 on Sundays.
  2. Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park Oct. 28, 2017-Jan. 2, 2018. Regular hours are Monday-Friday 11-8 and Saturday and Sunday 10-8. Some booths are open on major holidays as well (in case you forgot someone).
  3. Union Square Holiday Market Nov. 16-Dec. 24 at 4pm. Regular hours are Monday-Friday 11-8, Saturdays 10-8 and Sundays 11-7.
  4. Grand Central Holiday Fair Nov. 13-Dec. 24 at 6pm. Regular hours are Monday-Friday 10-8, Saturdays 10-7, and Sundays 11-6.
  5. Etsy Holiday Handmade Cavalcade Broadway & Great Jones, Manhattan Dec. 8-10 from 11-8, Brooklyn Historical Society Dec. 16-17 from 11-6.
  6. Astoria Market Holiday Markets Bohemian Beer Hall, Dec. 3, 10, and 17 from 12-6.

Source: TimeOut


Painting Your Apartment 101: Tips From a Pro

If the darker days have you looking for a DIY project, painting the apartment is a great way to go–but once the light starts streaming through the windows again, you don’t want to be noticing all the flaws. Take some tips from a professional painter.

  1. Buy the right stuff. Professional (and the NYT product review site) recommend Benjamin Moore paints. They’re not do drippy and deliver better coverage than your less expensive varieties. Remember: darker colors will require more coats. As for finish, you want flat for ceilings, flat or eggshell for walls, and eggshell or semi-gloss for sills, doors, and bathrooms. Warning: Don’t buy cheap brushes unless your faux finish look includes a bunch of painted-in bristles.
  2. Pre-treat stains or touch-ups. If you have water or mildew stains, you’ll want to use a stain-killing primer like Kilz. If you don’t have stains but you’ve had to make some repairs or patches, you can use a water-based primer.
  3. Bring your shopping list. It should include:
  • 1 9-inch paint pan
  • A plastic tray for each color change
  • 2 9-inch, medium nap roller covers
  • 1 9-inch roller handle (or 2 if you have a helper!)
  • A 2 1/2 inch angled brush
  • Plastic drop cloths!!! As many as you need for floors and furniture
  • 1 roll of 2-inch masking tape
  • 1 roll of 2-inch non-stick painter’s blue tape for unpainted surfaces

If you have repairs to make:

  • 1 quart spackle
  • 1 roll of fiberglass mesh tape to cover cracks before you spackle
  • 2 sheets #120 sandpaper
  • 1 quart primer

You’ll also want these things, which you may already have lying around:

  • A clamp-on light fixture
  • Flat and Phillips head screwdrivers
  • Rags
  • Plastic quart containers
  • An extension pole/broom handle
  • A stepladder
  • Work gloves
  • Clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting paint on
  • A fan

4. Prepare!  This involves several steps in and of itself.

  • Move furniture out of the room or to the middle of the room
  • Cover or tape off everything you DON’T want to get paint on. And don’t underestimate where paint can end up.
  • TAPE plastic, newspaper, or sheets to the floor. Otherwise it will slip as soon as you step on it or there’s the slightest breeze.
  • Remove light switch plates and electrical outlet plates–word to the wise, put all screws in a quart container so they don’t roll off.
  • Make your spackle repairs
  • Vacuum and mop your floors
  • Wipe down your walls–do this the night before so they have time to dry

4. Paint!

  • Turn on the fan and open the windows
  • Shake your paint!
  • Paint the ceiling first.
  • Roll using long, even strokes, starting in the center and moving towards the walls.
  • Cut in where the ceiling meets the wall and the wall meets the baseboard
  • Roll the walls using long diagonal strokes to avoid vertical lines on your walls. Don’t apply pressure, the roller will do its job.

5. The Aftermath. Make sure you allow yourself extra time. It never goes as quickly as you expect. When you’re finished, clean your tools thoroughly with warm water, shut cans tightly, and label them with the room, surface, and date. And remember, you may need to dispose of your paint cans properly, so Google it for your area.

Happy Home Improvement!

Source: NY Times


Pop-Up Star Wars Bar Offers “Galaxy-Inspired” Menu

If you’re looking for an intergalactic experience and don’t really feel like waiting until Elon Musk’s Mars trips commence, take a jaunt over to 201 Lafayette Street, where you’ll find a new Star Wars-themed pop-up bar called The DarkSide. Your $33 ticket ($40 at the door) gets you two out of their six choices of cocktails from “different parts of the galaxy” and access to a “galaxy-inspired menu” with appetizers like tentacles on a stick, reminiscent of Chalmun’s Cantina itself. Sister Trekkie pop-ups can be found in other galaxies, like D.C. and L.A.

The Darkside Bar joins other themed bars in the City, like the GB85 80s bar at 174 Rivington, previously a Will Ferrell-themed bar, the kitschy Trailer Park Lounge, Williamsburg’s Barcade and, of course, the East Village’s Blind Barber, where daytime cuts seamlessly morph into nighttime cocktails.

Source: Eater


The Top 5 Not-to-Miss Holiday Lightings

Happy Thanksgiving, dear followers. We hope your bellies are full and your hearts are happy. And now–it’s time to move on to the next holiday! Lighting ceremonies abound in New York City, and they begin, well, now! Rolf’s German Restaurant on the LES has already been at it for weeks, hanging more than 15,000 ornaments and 100,000 lights. Rumor has it it takes 6 men working overnight for 6 weeks, at a cost of about $60,000 a year!

Dyker Lights, the over-the-top displays adorning the beautiful mansions of Dyker Heights, will begin installations the day after Thanksgiving. While you may want to give the decorators a couple of days to add the finishing touches, this is a lighting display not to be missed, and worth the trip into the heart of Brooklyn.

Next on the lighting calendar, the Luminaries Light Installation at Brookfield Place, kicking off on Tuesday, November 28 with performances and free ice skating on the waterfront at Winter Garden on Vesey Street.

The following day, Wednesday the 29th, is the legendary Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, with live performances from 7-9pm. Although we’re expecting a Norway Spruce, the donating state is still under wraps.

Friday, December 1 heralds the lighting of the Bryant Park Christmas tree at Winter Village, with performances by world-renowned skaters on the famous Bank of America rink.

Source: TimeOut


Is Your Apartment Building an A+ or a D-?

Thanks to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New Yorkers can tell at-a-glance where a restaurant ranks in terms of its health code inspection, but we only spend about an hour or two in most restaurants. The conditions of where we live, on the other hand, are for the most part undisclosed. Startup Rentlogic is seeking to change all that by grading NYC apartment building from A to F based on a number of factors, including rodents, mold, heat, and plumbing.

Data comes from the City of New York based on 311 reports and City building inspections. Browser extensions link into sites like and StreetEasy to help apartment seekers check out their prospective building’s ratings on the go. There is also an apartment search feature on their site, but it appears to be in the beta phase. Still, the startup aspires to persuade building owners to proudly post their grades in their windows. While this may be super helpful for apartment seekers, the bigger question is ‘what’s in it for the landlords?’ Given the competitive NYC real estate market, the probability of building owners voluntarily opting in is questionable. Let’s see where it goes!


Ensure Your 2018 is Hot With the NYC Taxi Drivers Calendar

Calendars are a pretty common holiday filler present. Everybody could use one, and when you’re trying to bulk up the gift pile, it’s a no-brainer. But that doesn’t mean it should be boring. The 2018 New York City Taxi Driver Calendar is now for sale. For just $14.99 you’ll be treated to everything from hilarious to downright steamy–plus this year it’s equal opportunity, with both male and female “models.” Take a look at a sampling of what 2018 has in store. For the rest, get out your credit card and buy the dang calendar. A portion of the proceeds goes to the non-profit University Settlement that does good deeds ranging from youth programs to mental health services to adult literacy. ‘Tis the season for giving, and with this gift, the recipient is sure to get oh so much back!


Podcaster Ira Glass Lists Chelsea Condo for $1.75 Million

If you ever wondered whether you could actually make a living doing podcasts, ask Ira Glass. The host of ‘This American Life’ has listed his 1 bedroom apartment at Chelsea’s Carriage House for $1.75 million–about a half-million more than what he and ex-wife Anaheed Alani paid for it back in 2012. The 1,020 square foot home is comparable in size and whiteness to Jon Hamm’s UWS rental, which is asking $15,000 a month. This gut-renovated apartment with an open-concept chef’s kitchen is perfect for entertaining and the bedroom is described as “pin-drop quiet.”

Source: Curbed

Photos compliments of Compass