SELLER: Fabien Baron
LOCATION: New York City (SoHo), NY
SIZE: 4,171 square feet, 3-4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: We are not, we know, the first property gossip to discuss the New York City loft-condo recently re-listed by art director/publishing pasha/creative force Fabien Baron, but none-the-less thought it might be fun for the kids to wrap up this scorcher of a Friday with a peek and a poke around Mister Baron’s almost masochistically minimalist loft located in an 1895 Beaux Arts-style building in the SoHo ‘hood.
The 25-time FiFi award winning Mister Baron may not be a household name for tabloid readers and hardcore entertainment news junkies but the always au courant Frenchman has cut a deep and wide swathe through the high-glam and arty-farty edges of the advertising, design, publishing, and marketing milieux. He currently tops the editorial masthead at Interview magazine and previously toiled creatively for publications that include French Vogue, Arena Homme, and Harper’s Bazaar. He’s also had his fingers in lucrative creation of a number of top-selling fragrances including Madonna’s Truth or Dare. Mister Baron also, some of the older children may recall, designed Madge’s then-quite-controversial coffee table book Sex in 1992.
The creative industry kingpin first and unsuccessfully attempted to unload his very and even shockingly spare loft in June 2010 when it popped up on the market for six months (or so) with an asking price of $7,450,000. It’s now back on the market at $8,400,000 and carries with it, according to listing information, hefty-hefty-hefty taxes and common charges that ring up to $6,698 per month. Records show Mister Baron bought the unusually large loft way back in late 2007 for just $1,522,500 so—by Your Mama’s less-than-reliable mental calculations—unless he’s mortgaged the place without mercy Mister Baron stands to make a small fortune from the sale of his SoHo loft even if he opts to accept substantially less than the current asking price.
Listing information indicates the 4,171 square foot, full-floor loft was stripped down and given an über-minimalist re-do by much-published smart architect Deborah Berke who used just six basic but deluxe materials for the finishes: walnut, oak, white-colored glass, plaster, stainless steel, and Manhattan black schist, a dark, garnet-flecked stone.
Other noteworthy design conceits noted in listing information and marketing materials include unembellished floating cabinets and shelves, discreet metallic slivers for light switches, and electrical outlets hidden beneath planks of the hardwood floors that were laboriously rift-sawn to reinforce the horizontal linearity of the clean-lined loft.
The punctilious floor plan included with listing and marketing materials shows a prairie-like main living/dining/cooking space that measures 31-feet wide by nearly 59 feet long by 10’6″ high with 7 windows on two walls. Two boxy forms, one that extends to the ceiling, anchor the effective but not exact center area of the vast room and contain the high-grade (and all but hidden) kitchen appliances and utilities.
A small office with built-in walnut desk and shelves off the living area has a convenient separate entrance that allows the owner/resident to accept visitors without having them fall down in flabbergast at the sheer magnitude of the severely and spectacularly spartan main living space.
What could easily be opened up to one large bedroom at the extreme rear of the loft is now divided into a pair of identically-sized sleep areas (with closets) that connect to a small, shared play/sitting area. Another small bedroom marked maid’s room on the floor plan houses a squeezy laundry closet and shares the hall bathroom with the other two guest/family sleeping chambers.
The over-sized master bedroom has almost one entire wall of floor-to-ceiling white glass and another complete wall of custom-designed built-in closets with walnut door panels. The attached, nicely windowed, and compartmentalized bathroom has a separate cubby for the crapper (and bidet) and a wet room with shower and separate tub carved from a half-ton chunk of Manhattan black schist.
Listen kittens, iffin we had almost $8,500,000 clams to spend on a New York City apartment Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter—who will not likely ever have $8.5 million clams to spend on anything—would not, we can assure anyone who might care, spend it on a loft in SoHo without a single square inch of private outdoor space. For that amount of money we would most certainly require at least a small terrace where our long-bodied bitches Linda and Beverly could sunbathe and we could barbecue and grow tomatoes. Neither would we nor could we ever live comfortably in such brutally minimal and monochromatic circumstances as Mister Baron’s loft without going plum berserk. That does not mean, however, we don’t drool like a hungry dog over this, dare we say, poetic and magnificently rigorous example of architectural hyper-austerity that makes a striking and radically subdued juxtaposition to the thrilling but near-constant urban chaos of New York City.
Mister Fabien’s building mates include a slew of merely rich as well as a number of other urbane and high-profile peeps who include boo-teek hotelier Andre Balazs, fashion heiress/ Emmy winning producer Marci Klein (Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock), and Bon Jovi front man Jon Bon Jovi who paid 24 million bucks for his jaw-dropping duplex penthouse in 2007 and was rumored to have quietly shopped last fall (2011) for around $45,000,000.