THE LOCATION Winnetka
THE LISTING This elegant 14-room house on Sheridan Road was designed by the architect Reza Tajbakhsh and built on spec by the developer Farhad Nikamal. The artful details include an all-stone exterior, crystal chandeliers, hand-carved limestone mantels, a curvaceous wrought-iron railing on the main stairs, and a stone retaining wall at the base of the steeply sloped hill behind the house. Nikamal listed the house for $5.495 million while it was under construction; he has since cut the price twice.
THE ASKING PRICE $4.25 million
Accompanied by Nikamal’s agent, Chris Downey of Koenig & Strey GMAC, Deal Estate toured the house with three Winnetka real-estate agents, who then made their best (hypothetical) offers.
"The quality is fabulous, and the attention to detail is incomparable," Powers says. "The drawback is you have no backyard"—a deficiency magnified by the retaining wall behind the house and the fact that the residence is on the inland side of Sheridan Road (rather than on the Lake Michigan side). "You look out back at stone, and that unfortunately compounds the problem of road noise from Sheridan Road out front," she says. "The solution to this problem is going to be the purchase price."
BLANCHE EGAN ROMEY
Romey concurs with Powers. Without lake frontage, she says, Sheridan Road is "just a busy street. But if you can go out back to a nice big lawn, you can forget that. You can’t do that here." She notes the property’s three terraces (one built into the slope), but otherwise bemoans the lack of open space out back. "If you’re willing to do without that and you want new construction, this is as nice as any new construction there is. But you can bargain hard because of the back."
"There are a lot of magnificent features here," says Smith, "but there are things [Nikamal] didn’t do." The tile and paint in the six-plus bathrooms approximate the same color scheme (buyers at this level expect more variety), and the kitchen has only one dishwasher (two are now the norm in upper-end houses). Smith’s larger complaint was about a lack of "any evidence of green features," which, he says, "the upper-end buyer wants to see now. It’s cutting edge."
HER BEST OFFER
HER BEST OFFER
HIS BEST OFFER
Photography: Chris Guillen