There’s something compelling about a great-looking home without a superlative in sight, neither painstakingly restored to historic glory, cutting-edge contemporary or irresistibly luxurious. And for a busy city family, kid-friendly good looks and low-maintenance comfort go a long way. This 4,000-square-foot Harlem brownstone at 136 West 130th Street fit the bill and then some when Emmy-nominated “All My Children” regular (and more recently talk show correspondent and reality TV host) Cameron Mathison and his wife, Vanessa, happened upon it in 2004, and subsequently purchased it for $1.2 million.
The couple had ventured into Harlem when apartment hunting (with a new baby) and fallen for the neighborhood’s “Sesame Street” vibe. A developer had done most of the renovation work, and they added the finishing touches. Interviewed in the Times in 2009, the actor explains that the couple had “envisioned being in this place forever;” that plan changed when the TV show moved studios to Los Angeles. Mathison listed the turn-key renovated home for $2.7 million and headed west. There weren’t any takers at the time, and the four-story townhouse is back, asking $2.9 million–albeit in a very different market, especially in Central Harlem, than that of 2009.
The listing begins by introducing this “Harlem Dreamhouse,” and, in fact, quite a few people are undoubtedly dreaming of a Harlem townhouse a lot like this one. In the middle of a postcard-perfect brownstone block, the four-story single family home is laid out perfectly for daily life, starting with modern steel floating staircases, exposed brick, two-zone radiator heating, three-zone central air, a security system and a full basement.
The garden level is one big, open space fitted out as the ultimate media room complete with surround sound, a ceiling-mounted projector, a high-def screen and more. There’s also a full bath on this floor; the room opens out into the landscaped “Zen garden” for summer movie screenings.
The parlor floor–including dining area and kitchen–is the home’s main large living area, with a wood-burning fireplace, in-floor up-lights, recessed lighting and custom storage. The kitchen is a chef’s dream with a Thermador cooktop and convection double oven, Zephyr hood, Miele dishwasher, SubZero refrigerator and wine fridge (yup, the bar stools are included in the sale). A deck off of the dining area (grill included!) brings you to the garden via spiral staircase.
The landscaped but low-key rear garden/patio features a Mexican stone tile entrance, a waterfall, an irrigation system, an ipe wood deck and fence, planters and a central lighting system. The sellers are throwing in the lawn furniture (and the drapes, while we’re mentioning it), so if you’ve been looking high and low for “custom Ipe wood love seats with all-weather cushions, 2 teak lounge chairs with all-weather cushions, 4 rain drum side tables, custom stone dining table with 8 chairs,” don’t miss this chance!
The (entire) second-floor master suite is a perfect parent cave, with built-in drawers, cabinets, walk-in closet, recessed lighting, custom window treatments and an interior window soundproofing system (and the master bath boasts a “spa tub for 2,”). Here also is a home office with its own private deck overlooking the garden below.
The third floor is a brilliantly-configured family space. While many townhouse renovators focus on more rooms or perhaps more bathrooms, this floor has the central hall area between the bedrooms opened up as a cozy gathering and play space. A big skylight bathes the room in light, and custom shelves, cabinets, desks and a closet keep chaos at bay.
On either side of the play area are two full bathrooms and three bedrooms.
This move-in-ready Central Harlem townhouse is in the heart of one of NYC’s favorite neighborhoods–among both newcomers and longtime residents–near cafes and restaurants like Corner Social, Lido and The Cecil. Transportation is easy and convenient via the A, B, C, D and 2, 3 trains.
In addition to various acting projects, Mathison is currently hosting the home renovation reality show “Game of Homes,” (yes, really) so maybe he’ll toss in a little free renovation advice as well.
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Images courtesy of Halstead.
Neighborhoods : Harlem