Building and selling “a shrine to oneself” in New York City

January 04, 2014 12:00PM

 When an especially quirky or uniquely designed property hits the market, listing agents use the code words “taste specific” or “design specific” to tactfully tip off home hunters. But another phrase used for extremely odd properties sounds more like Walt Whitman than brokerbabble.

“Internally, we refer to this as building ‘a shrine to oneself,’” Kathy Braddock, the owner of Rutenberg Realty, told the New York Times.

According to Braddock, a shrine might be an over-the-top renovation, décor that seems anachronistic to a New York apartment, or even an extremely odd layout.

For example, when advertising consultant and the founder of the MakeLoveNotPorn movement Cindy Gallop placed her 3,800-square-foot, 213 West 23rd Street apartment on the market in September for $5.9 million it was completely black, according to the New York Times. Gallop was inspired by a trip to China to turn her home into a “black lacquer box.” “When night falls I want to feel I’m in a Shanghai nightclub,” she said.

And while her home may be a hard sell, she has already seen some favorable reactions from potential buyers.

“When I’m looking for residences, I’m always looking for something idiosyncratic,” Gallop said. “That’s what I’m looking for in my next New York apartment. And so I believe there are people who will be drawn to my black apartment. There are people who are actively looking for something that is not a plain box. I live in hope that there are a lot of people like that.” [NYT]Christopher Cameron