As the real estate market in this city hits new highs (due to low mortgage rates), people in this city are running like lemmings to buy despite the high prices and nowhere is this seen more annoyingly than at "open houses," where crowds of people crowd the lobby of a building during the appointed hours while they wait to get a peek at the apartment in question. In The Open House: Mobs and The City, the situation is layed out clearly, with the wailing of agents, who love the bidding wars they create, and the anger of residents who are banning them as quickly as they can. A friend of mine who recently sold his apartment told me the same story, and it shocked him how many people were lining up to see his old one bedroom apartment on the upper west side. The price went far above his asking price, the winner being (ironically) his neighbor, who pulled him aside and told him, " You know I will bid $1,000 higher than the whatever you get." With that they agreed to put an end to it and settled on the spot. The neighbor took possession this weekend, and will soon be putting a hole in the wall to expand his domain.
Meanwhile, in Currents (my favorite section), from the great Northwest (home of Restoration Hardware) comes more retro-new: light fixtures from Rejuvenation, which manufacturers period lghting fixtures, including this one, the Grand Avenue ($259). . . . . . . . .
Hailing from the sunshine state of New Mexico, American Clay Plaster, is a neat new finish that will warm the heart of even the coldest New Yorker. This clay-plaster formula combines marble dust, clay and pigment to imitate rough Provencal plaster or smooth Venetian plaster. Mixed with water it is easily applied to any primed surface and comes in 12 standard colors for 65 cents a square foot (it can also be washable). . . .
Guess where this photo was taken? You're right, Barneys. They just opened a new housewares department, which means you can go drool at clothes and housewares in the same building, and then cut up your credit cards.
This is a great tip from Marianne Rohrlich: Crate and Barrel's stylish and thin walled Tempo glassware is being discontinued, and there are only 10,000 left of each of the two sizes. Walk, don't run.
For the OUTDOOR Department, some great tips, including this one: if you are in the Hamptons be sure to visit the lush gardens of the LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton where there will be an exhibition of 50 outdoor benches through September 12. The ones in the outdoor picture are by Maya Lin. Called Stones, they are available at Knoll. In the middle on the right, this cool bench is called the Granito stone bench, and is the one used in Vietnamese railway stations ($275 at the Terence Conran Shop at the 59th Street Bridge). The others are plastic and beneath contempt.
We covered Martha Stewart's new furniture line a few weeks ago, but his deserves restating. She is doing a great job, and this outdoor furniture is made of synthetic wicker for longer wear and outdoor use. The sofa is $799, chair $459, and ottoman $269, but the dark, zinc tables are a real deal at $179 for two end tables AND the coffee table. . . . .
Finally, I hate plastic in general, so I like these bright mahogany chairs that are painted with marine enamel. Called The Butterfly Chair, they are available for $179 each in 14 colors from Archies Island Furniture. MGR