All posts by Michelle Colman

Michelle writes children’s books and also writes articles about architecture, design and real estate. Those two passions came together in Michelle’s first children’s book, “Urban Babies Wear Black.” Michelle has a Master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s degree in the Cities Program from the London School of Economics. Whenever possible, Michelle and her family love exploring cities all over the world together. Follow her on twitter @MichelleSColman

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Connecticut, Cool Listings, Quirky Homes

Potato Island aeral

Own your very own private island that feels like it’s a million miles away, or at least off the coast of Maine, but is actually off the shore of Connecticut for only $4.9 million (h/t Mansion Global). With the not-at-all charming name of Potato Island, named for a group of potato-looking boulders near the shore (you say potato, we say po-tentially change that name!), this private island is part of the Thimble Islands, an archipelago of small islands, 23 of which are inhabitable, in the Long Island Sound in and around the harbor of Stony Creek in the southeast corner of Branford, Connecticut.

Get a look at island life

Cool Listings, Interiors, Williamsburg

This oversized one-bedroom loft, located at 63 North 3rd Street one block from the Williamsburg waterfront, is truly unique. Not only is there room for a convertible second bedroom (see the current cool cube) and access to a rooftop deck with stunning views, any and all of the art is for sale. Listed for $3,800 a month with no fee, the loft is currently home to Eye Dazzler studio’s textile designers, hence all of the very cool rugs and wall hanging. 

Get a better look

Connecticut, Cool Listings, Quirky Homes

Originally built in 1904, “Orient Lodge” is a restored Arts and Crafts compound on Saw Mill Pond that looks like it belongs on an Adirondack lake. The original 40-acre lot housed a saw and grist mill, dating from 1825. Legend has it that the owner cut down chestnut trees on the site to build the house. The lot has since been reduced to just over two acres but it still has an estate feel and is now up for sale asking $1,950,000 (h/t CIRCA). Not only will that get you the three-story main house–which has been fittingly outfitted with historic Asian features–but a detached two-car garage with deck, a separate cottage, and the original landscaping.

Tour the whole property

Cool Listings, Interiors, Upper West Side 

At around 300 square feet, this $345,000 Upper West Side studio may be tiny, but it makes the most of the space by taking advantage of the 11-foot-high ceilings by putting the sleeping loft above the kitchen and using every square inch to its max. However, the co-op, located at 203 West 87th Street, will only allow equally tiny pets.

See a

Architecture, Getting Away, Places to Stay, Upstate

Off-the-grid, A-frame huts are all the rage in the Catskills. Last week, we wrote about Bjarke Ingels’  triangular prefab “inspired by the Catskills.” Now, another appearance makes the news as the Eastwind Hotel reopens June 1st. Just two hours north of New York City, Eastwind was originally built in the 1920s as a bunkhouse for hunters, fly fishermen, and outdoor enthusiasts. The hotel reopens in a few weeks with 19 rooms and three A-frame, glamping huts nestled in the woods.

Get a look around

Cool Listings, Interiors, Park Slope

A Park Slope Historic District two-bedroom co-op apartment on a quintessential tree-lined street for under $1 million? Yup. Renovated in 2015, the $925,000 home at 105 Park Place blends modern amenities with historic features such as original wood shutters, pine wood floors, and a wood burning fireplace with a carved marble mantle. Plus, with a southern exposure, this top floor residence is filled with natural light year-round–hence the current owners’ plethora of plants. 

Get a look

City Living, Events

Photo via Corey Menscher/Flickr

Coolest astrophysicist on earth Neil deGrasse Tyson reminds us that the otherworldly phenomenon called “Manhattanhenge” is happening next week. At two times during the year, New Yorkers can see a full sunset perfectly lined up through the streets and high-rises–Wednesday, May 30th at 8:12pm and Thursday, July 12th at 8:20pm. And two other times, you can see a half sunset perfectly lined up where half the sun is above the horizon and half is below–Tuesday, May 29th at 8:13pm and Friday, July 13th at 8:21pm.

Find out more

Art, Brooklyn Heights, Events

Photo courtesy of the Public Art Fund

This summer, from June 9th to August 26th, from 12pm to 6pm, Austrian artist Erwin Wurm’s Hot Dog Bus will distribute free hot dogs to anyone who agrees to eat it. The Hot Dog Bus, which will be parked at Brooklyn Bridge Park, is presented by the Public Art Fund. The project’s goal is to both get people to eat (is this really a goal we need?) and to think of the human body as a piece of art, specifically as a sculpture. According to the Public Art Fund site, “it is the participation of the viewer that ‘completes’ the work.”

What’s cookin?

CityRealty, Events, maps

A snippet of McLean’s Astor Place smell map

All the rain this weekend in New York City stunk. Do sunny days stink too? Kate McLean can give us the definitive answer. McLean, a Ph.D. candidate at the Royal College of Art in London, has created an extensive system of urban “smellscape” maps based on her olfactory research. For instance, after studying her Astor Place, pedestrians are much better off walking north and south on 2nd Avenue, which smells of floral perfume and grass, versus walking up and down Broadway, which is loaded with eau de subway exhaust.

So what’s NYC’s smelliest hood?

Celebrities, Cool Listings, Fort Greene

Holly Hunter seems to be a perennial house hunter. In 2014, the Academy Award-winning actress sold her Greenwich Village apartment for $7.6 million. Now, she’s selling again, according to the Post. Hunter has just listed her 19th-century Brooklyn brownstone at 20 South Oxford Street, half a block away from Fort Greene Park, for $4.5 million. Built in 1864, the four-bedroom Italianate home is filled with original details.

See it all

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