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Front Porch is a real estate company that wants you to know stuff. Really.

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Who cleans Lou Reed’s windows?

You were dying to know, right? An April article in Downtown Express, one of our favorite papers, tells us the answer: Harlem’s own Expert Window Cleaners.

Owner Brent Weingard is a certified , no kidding, window cleaner, and his firm (which unfortunately doesn’t have a web site, they must be out cleaning glass) can be reached at 212/673-3558.

Posted 11 years, 8 months ago at 9:29 am.

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What is the largest private home in Europe still kept up by a princely family?

Schloss St. Emmeram_ballroomAccording to Harvard Magazine, which concerns itself with life’s important questions, it’s Schloss St. Emmeram in Regensberg, Bavaria, home to the Prince and Princess Thurn und Taxis.

Of course upkeep of a milennia of tradition is expensive; Princess Gloria sold some of the home’s contents, including 75,000 bottles of wine, at a Sotheby’s auction in 1990 for $19 million.

Some rooms, such as the ballroom (pictured in a photo by Claudia Höfer) are available for private rental.

Posted 11 years, 10 months ago at 1:35 pm.

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What’s the status of the Long Beach superblock?

Just as Long Beach was voted “most family-friendly beach” by New York magazine, the Superblock is coming. The is a two-tower block long development oceanfront, between Riverside and Long Beach boulevards. The complex will include 225 residential units, 100 hotel rooms, conference space for 250, a rooftop bar, and best of all for Long Beach, 735 parking spaces. The developer is Shore Development Partners LLC.

It’s expected to open in 2009. Verdict: We almost forgive Lenny Remo for shuttering his restaurant to head the City Council.

Posted 11 years, 10 months ago at 11:37 am.

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What’s this about a family-friendly Hamptons summer share?

Ah, ten years ago, when I and seven friends paid $11,000 (that’s total) for a four-bedroom in Wainscott in the town of East Hampton.

At the time, we did the popular “A and B” share — alternating weekends. The “A” slate was there the 1st and the 15th, the “B”s on the 8th and the 22nd.

Well, you know how hard that would be with kids. So what’s happening now, says our beach realtor Michael Daly at RE/MAX Beach, is that four families will buy a summer (which is sadly, now, around $60,000) and each will take three weeks — the “A” family gets the first three weeks of June, the “B” family gets the last week of June and the first two weeks of July, and so on.

Makes transport with the kids that much easier.

Posted 12 years ago at 9:04 pm.

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What is pietra cardosa or pietra del Cardoso?

After a particularly long day taking clients around to luxury apartments, I called my husband and said, “honey, we just learned all the different names for granite.”

But stones are important, not just because developers like picking out fancy ones so they have an excuse to fly to Italy. (The Apuane Alps are in North Tuscany, are where all that cool stone comes from). What kind of stone you use where will have an impact on your quality of life.

The first thing you need to know is that stones are formed three ways: they’re spouted from a hot volcano (igneous), deposited as little particles after evaporation (sedimentary) or are sedimentary rocks that have been changed through heat and pressure (metamorphic).

When you’re making a bathroom, you want a stone that feels good on your toesies, but it doesn’t have to be super hard because you’re not chopping on it. Limestone, a sedimentary rock, is a particularly poetic choice, because it’s formed from the shells of little sea creatures. As one architect told me, “limestone is compressed beach.”

If limestone undergoes heat and pressure changes, it becomes marble, also a popular bathroom choice.

But the remnants of all those little shells react to acid — it contains what rock people would call calcite. And you don’t want a kitchen counter that you can’t drip lemon juice on, do you?

That’s why the best choice for a kitchen counter is often granite — it doesn’t react to acid, and since it was formed by heat, it’s okay if you put a hot pot on it.

Architects who like a softer look often pick a sedimentary rock made of compressed desert — since it has no sea shells in it, it won’t react to acid. This rock, true to its origin, is called sandstone. (When sandstone metamorphizes, it becomes quartzite).

The only problem with our little pietra is that it can be porous, even more so than granite. So it should be sealed several times a year.

Happy cooking!

Posted 12 years, 2 months ago at 11:06 am.

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What’s in the new Travel and Leisure? I hear there’s a piece about Brooklyn.

Apparently, Brooklyn is the new Manhattan, or better than the old Manhattan, or something.

The list of restaurants wasn’t surprising: Grocery! Al di la!

 But they had a great list of design stores, excerpted below:

darr “defiantly eclectic”

future perfect “if you hit only one design shop . . . “ 

golden calf “unexpectedly high quality Chinese and American antiques” 

bark “tactile heaven”

Posted 12 years, 2 months ago at 12:42 pm.

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I’m from out of town. How do I get an idea of what Greenwich Village is like?

Village Townhouse from Wired New York by ablarc Well, you could rent a Woody Allen movie. Or you see some fabulous still photos: Go to Wired New York (www.wirednewyork.com) and hit the “community” tab. You’ll get a bunch of different forums. Near the top, under the “City Guide” heading, will be an underlined “New York City Guide for Visitors” : Sub forum: “Photos of New York.”

So go ahead, click “Photos of New York.” The gorgeous townhouse shot above was taken by member “ablarc” on the Greenwich Village thread.

If you like short films, you can go to www.turnhere.com (a site founded by real estate guru Brad Inman himself) and watch four-minute local movies. Many of them are a little too deliberately “indie,” but check out:

http://www.turnhere.com/city/new_york/greenwich_east_villages/films/519.aspx

for a broker showing a $3.2 million apartment (sorry, kids, it’s sold). A typical luxury apartment would look like this, with smaller bedrooms and no wine room; An image from the Turn Here W. 13th apartment

the kitchen, bath, and finishes are all typical for a new high-end downtown project. Check out the exposed brick and keyed elevator entrance straight into the apartment, both Tribeca features brought to the Village. (And ignore the lousy view you get for $3.2 million!)

For a little West Village character,

Porto Rico Coffee beans

http://www.turnhere.com/city/new_york/chelsea_west_village/films/293.aspx

is a short of a local chef wandering around foodie heaven.

Posted 12 years, 3 months ago at 6:37 pm.

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Can I really drop $37 million on a ski house?

In Tahoe, sure. Of course, you’ll get three residences, 72 acres, a grotto (we’re not even sure what that is) and a waterslide.

Posted 12 years, 5 months ago at 9:18 am.

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Can I really buy a Jade Jagger condo?

Yes you can — welcome to the next step in celebrity branding, the celebrity-named building.

I don’t mean the designer-named building, like the Philippe Starck building downtown — I mean the building named after a celebrity whose previous design cred is jewelry.
Anyway, Jade is a Chelsea condo building at 16 West 19th Street. It’s got mostly studios, with the kitchens and baths stuck in a center unit called a “pod.” People who like ‘em think they’re hip; people who don’t call ‘em office cubicles, storage units, or porta potties.

But hey, I’m happy to sell you one. And our boho girl Jade even highlighted her hair to help sell them.

Posted 12 years, 6 months ago at 1:04 pm.

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Katie Couric makes $15 million a year; what do her kids’ rooms look like?

House Beautiful peaked a little early, with a January 2006 piece on the rooms interior decorator Karen Reisler did for Katie’s daughters, who are ten and fourteen.The bastards don’t even have it on line, so I’m sorry no images, but the themes were:

* mixing two bright colors: in one case turquoise and lime, in one lime and fuschia;

* our favorite white paint (Benjamin Moore white dove) used on the trim;

* simple Crate and Barrel furniture;

* vintage posters (framed Marilyn Monroe images for one kid, unframed Beatles posters for the other;

* shock-o-rama Designers Guild prints;

and

* brightly colored flokati rugs.

It was, for a professional designer, surprisingly non-hotel-y. Go forth and imitate.

Posted 12 years, 9 months ago at 5:05 pm.

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