Upscale Downsize

Nov 3, 2020

A generation of families moved into towns such as New Canaan, Armonk, Bedford and Katonah to raise their families in big homes, with yards, perhaps a pool and maybe a tennis court, and a highly-rated school system, in a wave that started in the booming 1980s and lasted until the Recession hit in 2008.

Now…their lives and requirements have changed, as kids have grown, jobs have changed, they’ve purchased a second-home, retirement has come, there’s been a divorce, or other change in circumstances, and…their mansion is now an oversized albatross. Home repair and maintenance, heating and air conditioning, utilities, lawn care, pool care, storm damage. Empty kids’ rooms, formal living and dining rooms that only get used on holidays, massive play rooms meant for growing up.

Then, too, there’s the functional and stylistic simplicity and minimalization that drives modern sensibilities. Less is more. The idea is to trade square footage and acreage, for useful and efficient spaces. Change decorating from clutter to clean.

For a lot of these owners of big homes, right now is the time to sell! A new generation of young families – with Covid on their minds – has now determined that the leafy suburbs are more desirable than city dwelling, and sellers who’ve been waiting for a chance to sell since the Recession of 2008 now have the opportunity to get their price.

The new move is to Upscale Downsize!

The idea is to move into a smaller home…without sacrificing on comfort, luxury or style.

Most downsizers are ‘taking money off the table’ as the price of the new smaller digs will be less than the amount of equity they are getting upon sale of the old whale. But whatever the economics, the key to a successful downsize is that it’s an ‘upscale downsize’. Getting rid of the extra bedrooms is fine, but getting a sparkling kitchen with all the best appliances, new bathrooms, a first-floor master, or the guest room that really does function as an everyday working office, are the things that can be ‘musts’ in the new equation. If access to shared amenities or membership to a fitness facility nearby will not be enough to replace the in-home gym, then finding a smaller space with a gym, or a space that can be converted into a gym, is a requirement.

And the good news is that ‘upscale downsize’ is available in the B&NC MAG area. No need to leave the community and decades-long relationships with friends, doctors, and favorite establishments, or that cherished afternoon walking route, or proximity to relatives. There are condominiums and smaller houses that fit the bill.
Choosing an ‘upscale downsize’ condominium, over a house, has its pros and cons.

Security is usually a big plus of condo living. 24/7 electronic surveillance, on-site security personnel, an electronic or manned gate, a doorman, and the presence of other condominium owners, are attractive features which condominium living can offer.

Location, location, location – known to be at the center of real estate value – can be of particular importance in making the condominium decision. Condominiums are typically developed around water or other attractive scenery. But, whereas the question used to be whether the residence was in the best neighborhood and on a street where the kids could ride bikes, the answer to the best location, now, may turn on: being walking distance to town and shopping; able to access a senior center; having proximity to public transportation or a hospital; nearby recreational opportunities. And having a convenient, close-by hotel for grown kids, and those guests whose room was sold, can also be a big plus.

People are an important factor. In a condominium there will be other people involved. This has the benefit of community, and may mean friends for recreation and social activities. And, to some extent, the greater the number of people, the more money there is to provide common amenities like a pool, gym, tennis, conference center or catering kitchen. But people can also be nosy and annoying, and rules and regulations, and governing boards, are necessary evils.

And, to be sure, a big attraction of condo living is being freed of home, lawn and pool repair and maintenance.

Thee premiere new condominium offering in the area is The St. Regis Residences in Rye!

These highly anticipated residences offer ‘upscale downsize’ to its finest – and even with an emphasis on the ‘upscale’. These are homes, not units. Ranging from 975 sq. ft. to 2,775 sq. ft., there’s ample room in the one, two, three and four bedroom designs. Living spaces are sized graciously, the kitchens are spectacular, and there’s plenty of room for well-designed bathrooms, closets, and an office.

Set on 7 beautifully landscaped acres, off Old Post Road in Rye, The St. Regis Residences are located close to the Rye and Greenwich downtowns, significant outdoor attractions and country clubs, and many social and cultural activities.

And the community will be the first ever condominiums designated exclusively for the 55+ set!

Everything about the St. Regis Residences says luxury.

First, there’s the unparalleled St. Regis service. Residents are offered valet parking, a doorman, porter services, butler service and a 24-hour concierge!

Then there’s the 25,000 sq. ft. of resort-style amenities, including an indoor pool and fitness center, outdoor whirlpool spa, spa treatment rooms, saunas and steam rooms, a golf simulator room…and even a pet spa.

For social times – or private times – there’s a cognac room with television and billiards, a library with a two-sided glass fireplace, a 15-seat theater-styled screening room, a 12-seat boardroom, a drawing room with fireplace and bar, a great hall with a curated art gallery, and a 50-person event space and catering kitchen.

To enjoy the outdoors, there’s a courtyard and social gardens with multiple seating areas, an outdoor TV lounge and fire pit, and a walking path.

Additional amenities include, storage units, bicycle storage, electric vehicle charging stations and a fenced dog run.

And, most important, the Residences are spacious, have the light and clean feel everyone wants, and the modern appliances, fixtures and finishings that the most discerning buyers demand.

It’s everything about ‘St. Regis’, and the ‘spa life’ feeling of a St. Regis resort – but it’s ‘real life’!
No more lawn guy or snow removal to worry about – yet the lawn is always mowed and the drive is always plowed. The building is maintained perfectly – no need to worry about repairs. Doormen, butler and concierge to tend to any need. Gym, pool and spa- always available – no work required.

Louis and Marcella Pellicano, who recently purchased at the St. Regis Residences in Rye, were attracted to the lifestyle, including the social aspect of the community, such as St. Regis-hosted events for residents and the afternoon tea in the drawing room. “We’ve already met some very interesting and lovely people. That makes it easy for us to move from a totally different location.” said Marcella.

With move-ins starting late 2020, the St. Regis Residences are already 50% sold. “We’re very pleased with our sales activity over the past few months. At our current pace, we are exceeding our sales targets. Whether it’s people downsizing from larger homes or leaving their apartments in New York City, buyers are discovering the incredible luxury lifestyle that we are offering at The St. Regis Residences, Rye – it’s unmatched anywhere in our market,” said Alan Weissman, President of Alfred Weissman Real Estate, the developer of The St. Regis Residences, Rye.

There are plenty of ‘upscale downsize’ houses on the market in the B&NC MAG area.

2 Middle Patent Road in Bedford is an ‘upscale downsize’ because the main house is only 2,092 sq. ft. This meticulously renovated 1900 Farmhouse, with wide oak floors, sun-filled living room with coffered ceiling and fireplace, formal dining room, stunning new kitchen with Sub Zero, Thermador and Bosch appliances, marble counters and center island, master with private bath finished in Carrera marble, two additional bedrooms plus third floor guest suite, has all new mechanicals including central air and a generator. And with this ‘upscale downsize’, there’s no trade-off in terms of what’s outside. The two level acre property boasts Magnolia and Apple trees, perennial gardens and a pool!…with a pool house with an additional bedroom and bath!
Exceptional luxury for only $999,000!

GINA NEW    GINNEL REAL ESTATE   914-980-0421      gnew@ginnel.com

At $1,150,000; with 3,000 sq. ft.; 406 Silvermine Road in New Canaan is an ‘upscale downsize’ bargain. Lovingly built by a billionaire steel magnate for his daughter in the 1940s, this vintage cape is newly renovated throughout, including new kitchens, baths and closets. Park-like,

level property with mature landscaping, flower gardens and outdoor patios by landscape architect Elizabeth Lear. Convenient to downtown New Canaan and historic Silvermine district, and, for equestrians, minutes from the New Canaan Mounted Troop.

HANNELORE KAPLAN HANNELORE & CO. 914-450-388 hannelore.kaplan@raveis.com
William Raveis Real Estate, 4 Elm Street, New Canaan, CT 06840

This ‘upscale downsize’ gem, walking distance to Scotts Corners in Pound Ridge, is expected on the market in the Spring. This charming and historic 3,300 sq. ft. home, has three bedrooms and four baths. 

Spacious and sundrenched two-story great room with grand stone fireplace, gracious living room with fireplace, separate dining room with French doors to patio and attractive kitchen, make this feel like a country house but function comfortably as an everyday home. Master bedroom suite with cupola, loft overlooking family room, bedroom with exposed beams and antique flooring throughout are just a few of the special features that highlight this home’s century of history. And a separate cottage with kitchenette and bath, above the two-car garage, is suitable for older kids, guests, or a tenant. 

Making the ‘upscale downsize’ move is an opportunity!
 

The direction of the new home’s decor is essential – and the best advice for most is to discard or store as much as possible from the old house. The moving process reveals the true cost of having ‘stored’ all those belongings in the home and dictates that you use much less costly storage facilities to keep all the valuable and treasured items you just can’t part with, but that won’t fit in the new home. Store fine art and rugs that don’t go with the new decor, and consider putting seasonal items, like winter clothing and ski equipment, in storage too. George Carlin once joked “If you didn’t have so much stuff, you wouldn’t need a house. That’s all your house is, it’s a pile of stuff with a cover on it.” The ‘upscale downsize’ is a chance to become unburdened.
  
“Have a strategy when packing, prepare ahead of time with packing items, and know exactly what you want to store and what you want to take to the new place,” says Maria Hernandez, Facility General Manager of Hollow Tree Storage. “Label and take inventory, which will help when unpacking and with easily accessing items from storage. Most important on this end, is to organize your storage unit so it works for you like a closet, with everything still easy to find and use”.

And maximizing the utility and function of the new space is absolutely critical. Before moving in, if at all possible, imagine day-to-day in the new home and make whatever changes are necessary to suit particular requirements. If the new house is perfect, but old, do the kitchens and bathrooms before moving in. Build-in the office space or exercise room that will make the new house work.

As Masha Alimova, Director of Marketing at California Closets, points out, “The key to success in living in smaller homes is to maximize the usage of every space.”  Alimova recommends focusing on spaces which can be optimized to be dual-purpose or multi-functional. “Consider making the most of a spare bedroom by opting for a Murphy bed with a good mix of open and closed shelving space to display mementos and store linens. A double-duty system is ideal for the occasional guest room as well as office space for everyday use. No space is dead space. Almost any corner or unused area can be transformed into a closet. And closets can be re-designed, with better hanging rod and shelving layouts, to make them much more useful.”

A California Closet's office

A dream-worthy closet... (by California Closets)

California Closets completed a local project transforming a living space into something much more live-able!

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