SELLER: Claire Danes (and by marital extension Hugh Dancy)
LOCATION: New York City
SIZE: 3,851 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Once again Your Mama and the children have our unofficial and unpaid (but hardly unappreciated) aide de camp Hot Chocolate to thank for digging up this sensational celebrity real estate truffle situated in downtown New York City. Just this week, as best as we can tell, movie and television actress Claire Danes put her large and luxe but low-key loft in SoHo on the open market with an asking price of $5,998,000. Taxes and common charges show on current listing information as totaling $2,791 per month, a lot of money for most folks, but pretty damn low for a loft this size in Manhattan.
The classic, California blond—raised primarily in New York City and married to Primetime Emmy-nominated British actor Hugh Dancy (Hannibal, The Big C, Our Idiot Brother, Elizabeth I, Black Hawk Down) in fall 2009—started her swift climb up the ladder of fame and fortune in the mid-1990s as a teen aged television star on My So-Called Life, a role for which she received an Emmy nomination, a Golden Globe and legions of dedicated fans. She quickly moved on to the silver screen with plum parts in Little Women, How to Make an American Quilt, Romeo + Juliet and a bunch of other chic-flicks and rom-coms Your Mama ain’t never heard of let alone seen.
At 18—or maybe she was 19—Miss Danes put her burgeoning Showbiz career on hold and moved to New Haven, CT in order to matriculate at Yale. Before she moved in to her shared dormitory like a typical college freshman, she splashed out on a very grown-up-sized loft in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, the same once arty-farty now steroidally-commercial downtown ‘hood where she grew up in a big ol’ loft with her artist parents.
We regret to inform that property records are a mite confusing on this one. It’s clear she picked the place up in fall 1998 but StreetEasy show she paid $624,750 and at least one other database we consulted shows she coughed up an exponentially more substantial $4,633,312 for the nearly 4,000 square foot loft that was then just raw space. Someone besides Your Mama will likely get to the meat of that matter but until then make of the vast discrepancy what you will.
Anyhoo, she only lasted a couple of years at Yale, dropping out, so the story goes, to focus on her career. Like most successful actresses, she’s had a couple dry spells but none-the-less appeared in an impressive number of small and big screen films including The Hours, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and The Family Stone. More recently Missus Danes-Dancy found critical acclaim as an autistic scientist and livestock advocate in the 2010 tee-vee movie Temple Grandin for which she earned a Golden Globe statuette and last year she took a star turn on the boob-toob in the series Homeland, which earned her a third Golden Globe.
Soon after signing on the deed’s dotted line in 1998, teen aged and rich Miss Danes hired New York architect Joan Krevlin of BKS/K Architects to work the place over. Shortly after the extensive renovation was complete the loft was photographed in all it’s glossy, whimsical, mid-century modern infused glory for the March 2000 issue of Architectural Digest. Listing images indicate no substantial alterations to the architecture and/or day-core have been made since then.
Half a dozen rugged and exposed wood support posts run like a spine down the center of the capacious 2 bedroom and 3 bathroom loft that Miz Krevlin painstakingly parsed in to distinct but inter-connected and somewhat flexible spaces using a series of stationary and sliding semi-translucent panels, free-standing entertainment centers and book cases, varied ceiling heights and carefully aligned closets. Only the two bedrooms at the rear of the loft can be completely closed off from the airy, light-filled 85-foot long open-plan main living space.
The direct entry elevator peels open to a foyer flanked by a discreetly situated three-quarter guest bathroom and a small, shelf-lined office/library that can be opened to or separated from the main living area by a sliding panel of honeycomb pattern LUMAsite, a material that repeats throughout the loft.
The not-very-formal formal living room has a quartet of over-sized windows that face the street and the architect fashioned a kind of inglenook in front of the asymmetrical fireplace with a slightly dropped ceiling for intimacy and a caramel-colored leather tile floor for tactile coziness.
Of course, as delish as that leather floor may be for the bare- and sock-footed we’re certain it requires the loft’s resident(s) hire a tight-faced scold named Heather or Helga to indelicately shoo tipsy, spike-heeled party goers away from the delicate leather floor during parties. Imagine waking up some afternoon after a boozy evening and discovering party guests made punctures all over your leather floor? That would most definitely not be a good way to spend a blood curdling hangover, would it?
A free-standing, approximately armpit-height entertainment center with book cases stands between the buttoned-up but down-to-earth “formal” living room and dining areas where Missus Danes-Dancy has a multi-colored collection of molded plastic Eames armchairs set around a mid-century modern version of a farmhouse table that may or may not be made of teak.
An unexpected, curved wall of semi-translucent panels separates the “formal” living and dining areas from the spacious so-called Great Room where six French doors do not open to a terrace but do let in a ton of light from the south and east. The so-called Great Room was decoratively done less like an interior space than an outdoor area with a a full-sized hammock and an old-timey rope swing that hangs from the rafters.
Now, children, Your Mama has been in scores of lofts in lower Manhattan outfitted with rope swings, tire swings, porch swings and of all types of swings—wink, wink—but we have yet to come across one with a goddamn hammock. It’s a quirky and possibly questionable addition to an urban interior space, made more so by its pairing with an iconic and expensive Arne Jacobson ‘Egg’ chair and ottoman, but Your Mama and The Dr. Cooter both love it like the dickens. Imagine the luxury of space in lower Manhattan to have a hammock in your so-called Great Room?
Adding to the kinetic whimsy of Missus Danes-Dancy’s downtown digs is a pivoting table that can be swung around to the kitchen for extra prep space or rotated back around in to the inside curl of the curving, semi-translucent wall where it can be used for casual meals, scrap booking marathons, jig-saw puzzle solving, bill baying and a myriad of other things we can’t be bothered to list.
The curving semi-translucent wall partially obscures the clean-lined and expensively-equipped kitchen from the front area of the loft. The kitchen, entirely comprised of a single bank of flat-fronted Maple cabinetry, has all the usual high-grade, commercial-style stainless steel appliances, expensive-looking counter tops, and an extra-deep soap stone farm sink. The architect cleverly and smartly tucked a walk-in pantry and discrete service entry with laundry equipment and broom closet behind the kitchen. Your Mama swoons with envy over that walk-in pantry. We just love us a walk-in pantry.
At the rear of the apartment a short corridor that can be closed off with a pocket door extends off the so-called Great Room and connects to a hall pooper and the lone guest bedroom with its one, rather puny window and single-wide closet just barely big enough to make a weekend house guest feel welcome but way to small to accommodate an extended stay.
The master suite, nestled privately in to a quiet corner of the loft, has a spacious walk-in closet/dressing area and an attached bathroom with scored concrete floors, white subway tile and a soaking tub set in to an angled, pill-shaped niche with a mottled, sky blue sponge treatment that looks to our untrained eye more like pigment than paint. As per the Architectural Digest article, the bedroom itself was originally divided with a stationary, honeycomb pattern LUMAsite panel into two areas, one for sleeping and another for exercising. We don’t know if that division remains in place.
Miz Danes-Dancy’s loft looks like a downright bargain compared to the only other loft in the building currently on the (open) market with an asking price of $9,750,000. That loft, an H-shaped behemoth, has 4,800 square feet inside with another 560 square feet of exterior space, according to current listing information. The nearly ten million dollar top floor spread also happens to be the last unit to sell in the building in March 2010 for $7,750,000.
listing photos and floor plan: Town Residential