New listing exposed: Bravo reality star’s pad hits the rental market

Also on the market: The geometric East Hampton home and studio of Chinese painter Li-lan
By Candace Taylor | November 23, 2010 05:16PM

Clockwise from top left: photographer Markus Klinko and the apartment he resided in at 508 Laguardia Place, and two images of Chinese painter Li-lan’s East Hampton home

A Greenwich Village penthouse now available for rent has a history of artistic residents.

The 4,500-square-foot triplex at 508 Laguardia Place — currently asking $26,000 per month — was for years the home of famed fashion photographer Markus Klinko, currently co-star of the Bravo reality show “Double Exposure.” The home has four bedrooms and four-and-a-half-bathrooms, and is listed with Bond New York’s Janine Young.

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Klinko now lives at 515 East 72nd Street, where the first season of “Double Exposure” was filmed. But he lived and worked at 508 Laguardia Place for about seven years while he was making his name as a photographer, the building’s owner, Josh Weiss, said. During that time, it was common to see stars like Jennifer Lopez entering the converted factory, located between Bleecker and West Houston streets, to be photographed by Klinko, Weiss said.

The triplex was ideal as a photo studio, thanks to a previous owner, Life magazine photographer Leon Kuzmanoff, Weiss said. Kuzmanoff and his wife renovated the former sign factory to create a live-work loft with 30-foot-ceilings.

Weiss and his business partner David Rajwan bought the building in 1999, after Kuzmanoff died. They altered the penthouse slightly, but left much of Kuzmanoff’s renovation intact.

508 Laguardia Place

On the first floor is a kitchen flanked by two large bedrooms. Stairs lead up to a cavernous loft space illuminated by a massive triangular skylight and crescent-shaped windows. The building’s original exposed brick and wooden beams are visible.

A particularly unusual feature is an 8-foot by 10-foot glass opening in the floor below the skylight, now covered with a glass panel. In the days when the space was a factory, signs were hoisted down to the ground through similar openings in each floor, Weiss said. Now, it’s purely for dramatic effect, he said, noting that a resident standing in the kitchen can see through the ceiling to the skylight 40 feet above.

“It’s an interesting feature — it’s pretty dramatic,” he said.

Additional rooms can be found on the third floor, and a wrought-iron spiral staircase — salvaged by Kuzmanoff when a bank threw it away — leads to a private roof deck. The apartment’s windows overlook the Picasso-inspired sculpture in the center of New York University’s I. M. Pei-designed Silver Towers complex.

Weiss and Rajwan, who own several buildings in Manhattan, purchased 508 Laguardia as an investment when they operated a now-defunct photo processing business in the commercial space on the ground floor. They’ve since rented out the penthouse to a succession of different tenants.

508 Laguardia Place

Klinko moved in around 1999 with then-girlfriend Indrani, who is also his business partner and co-star of “Double Exposure.” Weiss described Swiss-born Klinko — who was an internationally renowned harpist before turning to photography — as “a crazy character,” and said he enjoyed watching “Double Exposure” because it captured his former tenant’s eccentricities.

The show follows Klinko and Indrani (who are no longer romantically involved) as they photograph celebrities like Lady Gaga, Naomi Campbell and Lindsay Lohan. The Lohan episode caused a stir after it aired, when the actress accused Bravo of intentionally setting her up to be 11 hours late for a photo shoot with Klinko.

When Klinko left 508 Laguardia several years ago, he was replaced by Swedish fashion designer Johan Lindeberg — founder of the clothing company J. Lindeberg, Weiss said. Lindeberg eventually relocated to Los Angeles, but not before the loft was featured on the front cover of the book “American Fashion Designers at Home,” published this fall.

After Lindeberg moved out, the space was rented by a film production company and served as the setting for the reality show “Model Latina.” The most recent tenant, a mortgage firm, moved out in September, Weiss said.

Since then, the apartment has been spruced up a bit, he said, with a new kitchen and new floors. It officially hit the market last week.

Celebrities like Usher, Courtney Love and Jim Carrey have come to look at the space, Weiss said. But the ideal user is likely another photographer or artist, he said.

“It really can be best-utilized by a live-work tenant,” he said.

Moreover, many would-be tenants have requested an option to buy the space, but Weiss said they have no plans to sell the building. “Everyone falls in love with this place,” he said.

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The East Hampton home and studio of artist Li-lan is for sale for $1.75 million.

Li-lan, a Chinese-American painter who has shown in over 30 solo exhibitions since 1969, built the home at 54 Copeces Lane in East Hampton Springs in 1972. It is now on the market with Town & Country Real Estate agents William Stoecker and Jennifer Wilson.

Li-lan’s paintings are often abstractions based around geometric forms — for a time, much of her work revolved around images of postage stamps and letters. In a similar vein, Li-lan thinks of the home as “an homage to the angle,” the listing brokers said.

54 Copeces Lane

Designed by Romanian architect Hans Noe, the design of the home is formed by two overlapping trapezoids, creating inner spaces that are trapezoids, parallelograms and isosceles triangles.

“In all my years, I’ve never been in a house like this before,” said Town & Country head Judi Desiderio. “You walk in and you feel like it’s a piece of artwork.”

Every angle in the house has the same degree, Desiderio explained.

Also like Li-lan’s paintings, the one-story home also has unexpected accents of color, from trim painted bright yellow and blue to the red-painted deck around the 75-foot-long lap pool.

There are also “tremendous windows” on all sides of the house, Stoecker said, helping to give the home a light and open feeling. There’s an artist’s studio inside the house and one outside, which could be converted into a garage or living space, he said.

Modern homes are somewhat rare in the Hamptons, Stoecker said, so that can be a selling point.

“People are appreciative of a new and interesting design, so they tend to sell quicker,” he said.

The three-bedroom, 2,200-square-foot home is situated on a two-and-a-half-acre plot of land. Li-lan owns two adjacent pieces of land that are also for sale, one for $695,000 and the other for $750,000, so potential owners could create a “compound,” Stoecker said, or buy them simply ensure to their privacy.