Out of her Manhattan office, interior designer Taylor Spellman runs a team of designers and stagers who work on projects for private clients and large developers. A former host of Bravo home renovation show “Yours, Mine or Ours,” Ms. Spellman recently designed and staged multiple model homes at the building and worked with Jeffrey Beers International on the lobby and amenity spaces of One Hundred Barclay, an Art Deco condominium in Tribeca.
Ms. Spellman, who lives in SoHo, seems to have captured the downtown Manhattan vibe, working with 100 Avenue A in the East Village, as well as 87 Leonard, also in Tribeca.
We caught up with her to talk about which downtown neighborhoods are ripe for growth, why the best apartments mix luxury and sentimentality, and much more.
Mansion Global: Describe your dream property.
Taylor Spellman: I am a tried-and-true New Yorker, and for me there’s nothing better than New York. So, my dream is a penthouse in downtown New York City, with a private elevator that opens into my living room, that also has outdoor space. That’s the ultimate achievement in New York City.
MG: Do you have a real estate property that got away?
TS: I was going to buy a vacation home in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. I didn’t, and then Taylor Swift moved in, and now every knows about it. Now I’ll never be able to buy there.
MG: What does luxury mean to you?
TS: To me, luxury means comfort, not flashiness. It’s when every detail is considered and implemented—whether that’s a beautiful home or an an amazing meal. It’s about the ultimate level of comfort, sophistication and detail.
MG: What area do you think is the next hub for luxury properties?
TS: The West Village is shifting a great deal. There used to be a lot of brownstones, and now we’re seeing all these new high-end, luxury buildings.
West Harlem is on the rise, too.
MG: What’s the biggest surprise in the luxury real estate market now?
TS: The biggest surprise is that there’s a new sense of practicality and being pragmatic. We’re not in a space where everything is excessive and flashy. People are more conscious. Luxury is still important, but we’re seeing a decline in ostentatious properties.
Now more than ever people just want their space to make them happy.
MG: Where are the best luxury homes in the world and why?
TS: To me the best homes are in all the major cities—New York, Paris, London and now Dubai. They’re not into paring down there.
MG: What’s your favorite part of your home?
TS: I love that there’s an open entertaining space. I like to be in the kitchen and seeing everyone in the living room. I like to be able to be drinking wine, putting together a cheese and cracker platter, and talking to everyone at the same time.
MG: What best describes the theme to your home and why?
TS: It’s a mix of luxury and sentimental. While I love my Keith Harings, I love more than anything an oil painting my grandmother made. The best homes have a mix of luxurious elements and things that actually matter, which are often old. That helps a space feel lived in and special.
MG: What’s the most valuable thing in your home?
TS: My journal collection—I write and draw in them. But up next is my collection of Rolex watches.
MG: What’s the most valuable amenity to have in a home right now?
TS: I’m doing all of the design for 100 Barclay, and we’re seeing these huge amenity spaces.
I’d be lying if I said a gym was the best; in my opinion, a wine-tasting room would be an amazing amenity to have. Also, a steam room. After a long day if you can come home for a steam, is there anything more luxurious than that?
MG: What’s your best piece of real estate advice?
TS: First, the obvious one is to buy low and sell high. But people need to educate themselves. You want to make sure, first and foremost, it’s a good investment.
In terms of staging and design, it’s about preparing and marketing your property the best way possible, that garners a quicker sale and more price per square foot. There’s a misconception that you can just put your house on the market and it’ll sell itself. That’s not the case. In that case, you’ll just have to lower your prices.
MG: What’s going on in the news that will have the biggest impact on the luxury real estate market?
TS: There’s a lot of volatility. People are a little more family centric and grounded, which is all the more reason why buildings are making the ultimate experiences at home. That’s where people’s focus is right now.
MG: What is the best area now for investing in luxury properties?
TS: Financial District and Chelsea, and it’s heading out further West.
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MG: If you had a choice of living in a new development or a prime resale property, which would you choose and why?
TS: New development. You don’t have to deal with a lot of headaches, and in regards to luxury, no detail has been left out. There’s a significant amount of value in that.
MG: What area currently has the best resale value?
TS: About 50% of luxury sales happened downtown in 2016. Downtown you can be a bit more creative— you can combine apartments, you can flip them, especially in areas like the Lower East Side and Alphabet City. Homes are appreciating in value.
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