The Property: This four-bedroom condo occupies the top (fourth) floor of a nondescript building on busy Pulaski Avenue in Chicago’s Old Irving Park neighborhood. But once the private elevator ascends and the doors open on a Chinese red foyer decorated with beads and vases, the commonplace has clearly been left behind. Off to the left, a capacious living room with a double-height ceiling and clerestory windows leads out to an 1,100-square-foot terrace, where the views look east over treetops and houses toward the lakefront high-rises. Off to the right there is a gorgeous kitchen, with espresso-stained cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and a long island with a curved front. Beyond that lies a family room with a small balcony, one of two on the condo’s street side.
It’s all so telegenic—no surprise given that, for the last three years, the condo has been home to Brandie Malay, the @Properties real-estate agent who hosts Hidden Potential and offers expert advice on Designed to Sell, two HGTV shows that focus on making homes look really good. Which explains why there are some classic “oh wow” touches to this condo, such as the built-in wine cooler and entertainment cabinetry in the living room and the master bath’s soaking tub set just below a gas fireplace.
When this building was going up in 2004, Malay and her husband, Rich Waksmundzki, bought the top-floor unit from the developer, paying, says Malay, something in the $600,000s. Working with the designer Thomas Wesley, Malay laid out a great doughnut-shaped floor plan, with the elevator as the “hole.” The place is divided into four zones: formal living, casual living, children’s space, and parents’ space. Between the children’s and the parents’ space, a large room that now holds a pool table could easily become a playroom or a second family room.
The couple is planning to move closer to downtown, Malay says. Because she is in the business and acutely aware of how slowly properties are selling, Malay and her husband have aggressively priced the 3,800-square-foot condo—and all the modish furnishings in the home are subject to negotiation, as well.
Price Points: Old Irving Park, a Northwest Side neighborhood with easy access to the Kennedy Expressway, the CTA Blue Line, and Metra trains, was in the early stages of a condo boom when Malay and her husband bought this place. Despite the new condo buildings, the neighborhood is still dominated by single-family homes, many of them new or rehabbed. Malay and her agent, Scott Zelkin, know that while they are offering a low-cost equivalent of a lavish downtown condo, their immediate competition are those houses. So they’ve priced it like one—or a little better. If this condo were downtown or on the lakefront, the square-footage alone would put it above the $1-million mark; in this neighborhood, the $749,000 Malay and Waksmundzki are asking would buy a new or renovated single-family home of the same size—though few of those would offer the single-level layout or fourth-floor views this does.
Listing Agent: Scott Zelkin of @Properties, (312) 520-6409; firstname.lastname@example.org