Welcome to Front Porch LLC

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

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I want to add an interior bedroom to a Tribeca loft, any ideas?

Apologies for the distortion on this floorplan, I don’t have time to Photoshop it.

You can see this is a rectangular loft divided into roughly three “zones.” Top is a square living block; the LR is on the right, with the entry, kitchen, powder room and laundry on the left of that block. The bottom block, the south end, is the two bedrooms. The master is left, with an ensuite master bath.

Now look at what’s in the middle — two rooms that connect the private and public areas of the house. On the left is the library/playroom., and on the right is the home office/guest bedroom — on top. The loft’s third bath Jack-and-Jills between the apartment’s second bedroom and the home office, creating a flexible space.

Since I downloaded this floorplan from an Elliman listing, I guess now is the time to point out that I love that Elliman broker, who asked me if he could remain anonymous. So he can, of course. Walkerfloorplan.gif

Posted 13 years, 5 months ago at 1:29 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 13 years, 8 months ago at 11:06 am.

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What’s a “Jack and Jill bathroom?”

A Jack-and-Jill bathroom is a bath with two sinks and one toilet, typically set in suburban houses between two kids’ bedrooms.

The concept comes up again in the
Urban Glass House, where the two halves of the kids’ bath are separated by a shower. While the shower has frosted glass and locks, you still got to admire the cojones on Philip Johnson, the project’s inspiration. Or you’d have to if he weren’t dead.

Apparently in real life buyers are simply putting a wall up in those bathrooms.

Posted 13 years, 8 months ago at 7:55 pm.

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I hear mortgage rates are going up. What’s a loan going to cost me?

Once you find a place, you’ll have to sit down with a mortgage broker or lender and work out the details of your loan. (You can do some reading up first at bankrate.com , which is a pretty neutral site.)
But as a rule of thumb, estimate that money will cost you $650 a month per $100,000 borrowed:  A $200,000 mortgage will result in $1,300 a month payments, a $300,000 mortgage will cost $1,950 a month.

This back-of-the-envelope math is going to turn out to be surprisingly close.

Posted 14 years ago at 7:16 am.

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I only have ninety minutes — how can I make my home safer?


Five minutes: Take this fire safety quiz. It’s from Canada, so it must be good.

One minute: Run your tap water for thirty seconds before you use it to flush lead out of the pipes.

Ten minutes: Sure, you’ve got the bug spray locked up. Now take a quick look around your house and make sure Tylenol, furniture polish, and mouthwash are locked up out of the reach of toddlers’ hands.

Fifteen minutes: Get your guns, especially handguns, away from your kids. I was trained to shoot a BB and then a rifle when I was eight (hey, it was Arkansas) but the guns were always stored UNLOADED. (Even the NRA suggests this). Lock up the ammo SEPARATELY.

Thirty minutes: Head to your local hardware store. Buy glow-tape to stick on light switches at the top and bottom of stairs and a couple of smoke detectors. Grab a small B-C rated fire extinguisher for the kitchen.

Twenty-five minutes: Pop the smoke detectors up in your kitchen and outside your bedroom. Test. Stick glow-tape on any light switches that are tough to find.

Four minutes: Put the fire extinguisher in the kitchen where you can find it when you need it!

Posted 14 years, 3 months ago at 4:32 pm.

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This site’s a little different than anything I’ve seen before. Who are you, anyway?

Hi, I’m Ali: I’m a real estate agent, investor and journalist.If you’ve read the New York Post on Saturdays, you’ve probably read the real estate section I started.

I got that job because, like so many of you, I’d been playing the New York market: Seven closings in six years.

In the eighteen years I’ve lived in New York, I’ve bought co-ops, a condo, and a suburban house.

I’ve been a landlady to great tenants, and I’ve evicted a bum who ran out on three months’ rent.

I’ve walked through a Newark crack house with a flashlight and fear, and I’ve drunk champagne in an $11 million Chelsea penthouse.

I’ve bought granite wholesale, renovated a bathroom, and ripped out a basement.

I’ve skim-coated my own wall (never do this), painted more apartments than I could count, and helped attach a roof to a Habitat for Humanity house in Atlanta.

I’ve spoken about real estate at the Brooklyn Real Estate Expo, the Harlem Home Fair, and the Learning Annex Real Estate Wealth Expo at the Javits Center.

And for two years, I shared the joys and sorrows of real estate with half a million readers.

I now write a column for Inman News, the national real estate site. And I still speak about real estate (I’d ask you to donate an honorarium to Habitat).

But I left the Post in 2005 because I had to play the game full-time, not just watch it: how can I help YOU?

email: aliATdgneary.com

ps: The “We” isn’t royal; I’m hoping to expand this site next month to include some design writers.

Posted 14 years, 4 months ago at 10:34 am.

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