In improved market, architect decides to sell his East Village hipster pad

The living room at 317 East 3rd Street


After gaining notoriety two years ago in a splashy New York Times profile, a gut-renovated East Village apartment owned and designed by architect Koray Duman of sayigh+duman has hit the market for $545,000.

(see slide show above)

The roughly 600-square-foot apartment at 317 East 3rd Street attracted attention after Duman, who has worked on the Oceanside Museum of Art in California and the Herman Studio in Los Angeles, transformed the 1920s tenement-style unit into a modernistic, one-bedroom hipster abode.

After becoming his own contractor for the project, Duman said he was able to Renovate The Place for cheap — investing between $25,000 and $30,000 to complete the extensive reconfiguration of the apartment, which he bought for $400,000 in January 2007, Duman said. Hiring a professional contractor could have added another $20,000 to $25,000 in costs to the project, he said.

“When I bought [the apartment], it was broken down into three rooms. I basically demolished everything. My first thought was, I’d turn it into a one-bedroom,” instead of a two-bedroom, Duman said, even though he acknowledges more bedrooms are a bigger draw to buyers.

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“We always have the same kind of dilemma with the clients… [but] if the space is not meaningful, it doesn’t matter how many bedrooms you have,” Duman said. “Even though it’s a fairly small shape, [it’s a] unique shape… as an architect you see the potential.”

Of course, there are other hurdles in marketing an offbeat apartment, as well.

Duman admits the apartment’s distance from public transportation is less than ideal — the building is located between avenues C and D — although he’s confident that the unit’s other qualities will draw potential buyers, as it did him.

“It’s definitely a minus to be far, but that brings another uniqueness to this apartment,” Duman said, noting that its location away from busier avenues reduces street noise.

And it’s precisely this “uniqueness” that Citi Habitats agents Brian Goldfarb and Jason Saft are banking on in marketing the unit.

“It’s almost shaped like a puzzle piece. You end up getting exposure on three sides,” Saft said, espousing the virtues of the apartment’s “non-traditional” and “z-shaped” layout. Most of the furniture was custom-designed — mounted wall units and mounted headboards, which are included in the deal.

Duman said that while he loves his apartment, he had wanted to put it on the market sooner, but that the down economy dissuaded him.

“Once you create something, you just want to move to the next project,” Duman said.