Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Manhattan's "Origami" Apartment. 425 sq ft of Multifuctional Space

With the average price of a Manhattan apartment being somewhere in the range of $1.4 million, sacrifices must be made.
The owner of this Manhattan apartment mustered $235,000 for this 425-square-foot corner unit. Then he set about cleverly transforming it through the use of modular dividers, screens and hidden lighting.

They have organized the space with great economy and ingenuity.  The desk folds down to create a screened window into the sleeping area, that the lighting is all hidden from view and that surfaces are clean and free of clutter.

I speak to you as a broken women. My basement is currently under renovation, a job that has been going on since August. Everything that once was stowed in the basement has been redistributed around the house. There's a dehumidifier in the kitchen, boxes of family photos, folding chairs, framed art and a set of dumbells sitting in the middle of the living room for now. There's stuff ev-ery-where. The idea of a living space that contrains only those things one needs - two bottles of wine and a plate of chocolate chip cookies, for example - is very appealing to me.

The apartment's owner says his aesthetic was shaped by the time he spent in Japan. He likes a pared down lifestyle, making choices and limiting the number of things he has. I don't know that we're all wired that way but it is nice to see that someone can live happily in the opposite of a McMansion.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

When a Picture is Worth 1,000 Words. 'Yikes!' Being One of Them.

What it looks like when Satan gets into cocooning.
 Here at MontReal Estate central we like to goof around, particularly when we come across really dubious photos attached to real estate listings. You can check out some favorites by searching the key word "What?" in the topics to the right of this post.

Now that many real estate brokers are using smartphones equipped with quite good cameras it is easier than ever to get half decent photos. The new iPhone camera is basically idiot proof, with a high-definition setting that lets you sharpen the focus of any photo, not to mention correct the colour or add effects after the fact. I'm pretty sure that's what went wrong with the photo to the left. The room can't possibly be that red, unless Satan doth dwell there, right?

You have permission to pee in the bath tub.
As these photos plucked from recent MLS listings illustrate, if a good picture can help sell a house, a bad one can really keep people away.

It is a serious enough problem that the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board sends out a steady stream of press releases, tip sheets and video features offering brokers ideas on how to improve the quality of their photos, because bad photos are a disservice to clients.

Recently the board mandated a private company to examine the photos on the MLS for quality-control purposes. (My dues at work!)  The result, 20 per cent of photos on the MLS are blurry, poorly framed or most likely, too dark. They didn't get into the fact that sometimes the pictures are INSANE, (see above) but I digress.

Crisp lines and even light. A total absence of  clutter doesn't hurt.
 I recently had a buyer client who kept sending me links to listings to give me an idea of what he liked. After a while it dawned on me that what he really liked was listings with high-definition photos with their bright, even colours and crisp lines. See how sharp this one is?  Doesn't it make the condo pop? Exactly.

Sometimes when I'm in a hurry I grab my pictures for listing purposes. Mostly, however, I rely on a professional photographer to do the job right. Sharon Wilson takes great pictures. That's her work just beneath. Notice how she frames the shot to show the flow of one room into another.  She gets the right angles, the right lighting and the right framing. Plus, she's reliable, good-humored and delivers her pix on time. For me, it is among the smartest money I spend to promote a property.
A Sharon Wilson photo. Nice!
I dunno if Sharon has every knowingly taken a picture of a portable toilet in a bath tub. I know that she always puts the seat and lid down if she's photographing a real toilet. Now that's attention to detail.