Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Back on Sixth

In the past buyers might take over a house like this gently, and with plenty of do-it-yourself spirit & not a lot of cash, turn it into their own home bit by bit - cleaning, repairing, fixing walls or ceilings, painting, putting in a bathroom, doing up a kitchen, replacing windows as funds allowed.  They might bring in experienced help only for the big jobs they couldn't manage alone. These days, with the sums involved, a sale results most likely in a gut-job or demo, with an attendant army of architects, contractors & hired labor.

Last spring, Curbed had unkind words for a little house for sale on Sixth Avenue, calling it "a house of horrors."  You could see from the photographs that the place had become run down - ample evidence of someone elderly having called the place home for a long, long time.  I thought the cruelty of the piece was unjustified.  The house on Sixth is still on the market, at the slightly reduced price of $1,425 million, and efforts have been made, with the help of Photoshop, it seems, to brighten up its looks.  But this is a crazy strategy. The stock white sofas & flat screen TV, the low, boxy coffee tables & pseudo-50's dining set look totally absurd superimposed on the same, melancholy empty rooms inhabited by spirits of the past.  Can anyone suppose these "home-improvements" will really seal the deal for today's buyer?
There's a disconnect on every level when it comes to this modest property thrown into today's market: business, taste, money, class.  And value, which has nothing at all to do with dollar signs.

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