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Selling New York S4E6: Deck-o-Rate The Halls

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HGTV's Selling New York rides along with brokerages CORE, Gumley Haft Kleier and Warburg as they try to sell fabulous properties fabulously. Here's our recap of how the NYC real estate industry is portrayed to the world, penned by Molly Reisner. Episode air date: 11/17/2011.

Selling New York came down with a ragin' case of stagin' last night when two very different habitats required their rooms to be re-imagined. First, a broker works with a designer to doll up a tres cher Chelsea townhouse for a long-awaited open-house. Then, a pair of agents must convince a Harlem luxury building developer to pony up some cash so they can convert a model apartment into a supermodel sale. Will fists fly over a far-out sculpture? Will brokers literally wrestle a developer for a few grand? Yes and yes (in my SNY dreams). Take my hand as I lead you through the land of tricked out tables and tastefully decorated terraces. Oh, and p.s. we're on a T-day break next week, so I'll catch you post-gravy on 12/2!

CORE boss Shaun Osher is meeting up with project manager, Bruce Gallagher, at this towering Chelsea townhouse:

So! Tall! This pre-war building at 233 West 20th Street was originally a 2.5 story, but the developer decided to bump it up to 6 stories over the last five years. Shaun explains that he helped Bruce "identify" what the property should be, and they agreed it should be positioned as a humungous single-family residence?topping out at 7,000 square feet. With a $13.65 million price tag, Shaun says "there will be hell to pay if we don't sell it."

As construction finishes up, Shaun enlists CORE broker Tom Postilio to gussy up the guts. Tom hires designer Laurie Messman to sprinkle her furnishing talents all over the joint.

Laurie's mind crackles with thoughts of harvest tables and an in-home art gallery:

Her design secret? She visualizes the space by sending style savvy lightning bolts from her hands. Those bolts totally reveal all:

Next, Tom and Laurie have a decorating date in a groovy Soho home store to look at pieces Laurie's picked out:

With a mere touch of her hands, Laurie makes a table multiply!

Laurie's key piece of staging advice for you wannabes? "You want to connect the potential buyer emotionally to the space," she says. If that's true, than if anyone wants me to buy a place, there better be fresh nachos on the kitchen table. WITH ALL THE FIXINS!

Back at CORE HQ, Shaun delivers some not great news to Tom. He just learned that he has a green subway station light growing out of his head (but he's cheerful about it):

So sad. Oh, and Tom's deadline for finishing up the interior design has been pushed up to Eeeksday! Bruce wants to launch the building nuh-nuh-nuh-now!!

It's Staging Day and the movers are hauling in haute furnishings inside the townhouse. Laurie doesn't love the time constraints, stating that "nothing is easy about New York." She speaketh of the trutheth.

Uh-oh, it looks like a couple big-drinking penguins have crashed Staging Day. I wonder if they're gonna hook-up:

What holiday comes after Staging Day? Open House Day! I always mix them up. It's OHD and the townhouse is in full furnished glory. Replete with art gallery!

Ooh, and there was on-the-spot graffiti creation! By artist Malt:

Not my cuppa drawing, but an interesting open house idea. And some of us were there! Bruce is happy with the outcome of the staging and the swells of peeps there to peep around. Yay! But Naaaaay because, according to the update, the 5 bed/6.5 bathroom property's been on the market for 9 weeks and still no offer. Sorry Laurie, maybe plastic furniture is the way to go?


Warburg brokers Charlie Lewis and Robert Williams are charged with selling a primo 3 bedroom/2 bath in the luxury condop building,Ellington on the Park at 130 Bradhurst Avenue. What's a condop, pray tell? It's a co-op financially, with the benefits of condo living rules (AKA subletting your pad for 2 weeks so you can make bank while sipping cafe au laits in Paris). This model apartment needs some style, so the duo meet up with interior designer Robin Wilson to get her Wilson Vision. Chaz and Rob are under pressure from the developer to sell the rest of the units by the end of the summer, so they're hoping to stage a sale.

The over 400-square-foot terrace is a huge selling point, but Robin thinks the interiors need some love too. Love in the amount of $6-7k in furntasticness. Conflict! The developer only wants to spend $2k. Time to ask for some benjis!

The chairless terrace, as seen through the chairless living room:

Next, Chaz and Rob have a lunch date at Bottino with the dour developer, Gale Kaufman of Duvernay + Brooks LLC.

The brokers are all "we need more money for staging and it's totes gonna help with a buyer being able to envision themselves living there" and then Gale's all "are you convinced this will work, cuz we got bank loans to pay, yo. You gotta finish up sales in the building OR ELSE!" It was a lot more boring than that, but you get my drift. Gale is all business.

Skeptical Gale:

Later, the oddly subdued brokers (has Gale sucked away their spirit?) catch back up with bubbly Robin to check out "vignettes" of style set-ups at Room & Board. She's thinking modern, colorful and sleek. Heck, let's tag along!

It's time for the open house at the $675k detailed digs! I swear this entire storyline was filmed in one day.

The staging is simple and elegant. Nice work on a budget, Robin. Thank goodness Rob & Chaz are somewhat animated here:

Um, can someone save me that cake? I think I can handle the whole thing:

There's a lot of interest in the unit, so much so sold super quick! Post-party, Chaz and Rob reconvene with Gale about the status of Ellington sales. She tells them that the bank loan was repaid (such a phew) and expositions that they've sold several units since this one.

But she still needs them to sell sell sell the rest of the building. Did they please Gale and earn her trust forevs? Well, the update looks promising! They sold 14 units, but need to sell 9 more in the next two months in order for them to make Gale crack a smile. It looks like most of them are still available...which means Gale's frowning.

Episode Grade: Did this episode eat T-day turkey early and fall asleep at the table? A dash of snazzy style, but overall a bit of a snoozer with one dull sale makes me give this one 2.5 out of 5 cackling sleepy Kleiers!

· Selling New York [HGTV]
· Selling New York coverage [Curbed]