Editor’s note from the September/October 2014 issue of Luxury Listings NYC

It used to be that, long ago, a penthouse was the highest apartment at the tippy top of an apartment building.

But then real estate developers realized that lots of people would like to live in a penthouse apartment — and that they could charge more if a home was labeled as a penthouse — so these days, the term “penthouse” can mean any of the apartments on the last few floors of a building. A new condo building might have four or five penthouses.

But there are still penthouse homes that stand out, and we take a look at some of the poshest of those properties on the market in a story on page 8. It’s a banner year for luxury real estate in New York, and penthouses are proliferating like never before as developers build larger and larger.

Top penthouses include the priciest home for sale in Manhattan right now: a sprawling 15,000-square-foot unit in the sky in Battery Park City asking $118.5 million. (By comparison, the average size of a U.S. home is 2,600 square feet.)

There is also a new Sir Norman Foster-designed penthouse in Chelsea that measures 4,000 square feet and has two kitchens — and that’s just the outdoor space (which comes with a 61-foot pool). The whole shebang is asking $50 million.

While those unique properties represent the very top of the market (altitude-wise and price-wise), when it comes to many newly built condos rising in the city, critics say that they are too often cookie-cutter and lacking in character, usually with sterile modern finishes.

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So what better way to set your home apart than with a splash of color or a fresh print motif? It can take courage to add in a vibrant hue to a room, but it adds character. We talked with some of New York City’s hottest up-and-coming designers about their most popular palettes this season as part of our design-focused issue. See what they had to say on page 22.

A special spot to soak is another great way to set your pad apart. We take a look at some stunning bathtubs on page 16 — for those willing to shell out $46,000 for a place to soap up.

Of course, some people make designing a home look easy. We take a peek inside the pad of top interior designer Eve Robinson and her husband Josh Wiener, a contractor who has done work for many celebs, in a story on page 26. The duo renovated their Upper West Side apartment and then combined it with another apartment to create an upscale but fun home for themselves and their two boys. It’s been said that renovating a home can be one of life’s most stressful events, but if you are already in the business, it apparently helps.

Finally, check out our piece on the home of NY1 society reporter George Whipple. In addition to his famous set of bushy eyebrows (which have recently been trimmed), the man-about-town is a Wall Street lawyer, a friend of the late Andy Warhol, a farmer, a photographer (whose work has been featured in gallery shows), an author and a descendant of three signers of the Declaration of Independence as well as Massachusetts senator Daniel Webster. That’s pedigree.

All that history and those connections are on display in Whipple’s Columbus Circle apartment, and it makes for a fascinating and eclectic space, like the man himself. Proof perhaps that the best way to add character to an apartment is to have character yourself.

Enjoy the issue.