Home to Alexandre de Betak, a renowned runway designer, and his wife, Sofia Sanchez de Betak, the asking price for the apartment is $8.8 million.
A Whimsical SoHo Loft
Nina Poon, MW Studio/courtesy The Corcoran Group
Alexandre de Betak, a renowned events producer and designer, has orchestrated some of the fashion world’s most memorable shows over the last three decades.
There were the Victoria’s Secret extravaganzas, the flower mountain at the Louvre for Christian Dior, and the hot pink runway built for Jacquemus amid rolling lavender fields in the south of France. Just this month, Mr. de Betak turned heads with a street spectacle for Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
So, it should come as no surprise that the SoHo loft he shares with his wife, Sofia Sanchez de Betak, a fashion and travel influencer, and three children would incorporate a little drama and whimsy, too. Among the unit’s flourishes: a swing near the kitchen; a tatami room with sake dispensers; and a hidden party room, complete with stripper pole.
Mr. de Betak bought the third-floor apartment, at 136 Grand Street, for $3.9 million from the artists Thomas Buehler and Rosemarie Schiller in 2013. He spent the next two-plus years (and almost as many millions) on meticulous top-to-bottom renovations. But now the couple, who married in late 2014, are eager to start another home project, and they’re putting the property back on the market.
The asking price is $8.8 million, according to the listing broker, Steve Gold of the Corcoran Group, with $4,626 in monthly maintenance.
“We’re selling because I love designing and redoing spaces, and we are ready for a new challenge,” Mr. de Betak said in an email, in between shows at New York Fashion Week earlier this month. (He produced seven events, including the one at the Apollo.)
At about 4,000 square feet, the Grand Street co-op loft proved a suitable canvas for Mr. de Betak’s creativity. The space “hadn’t been touched in 40 years,” he said, “so it was really rough.”
The de Betaks installed weathered floorboards from an upstate New York barn and outfitted the eat-in kitchen with a 17-by-6-foot stainless-steel island.Credit…Nina Poon, MW Studio/courtesy The Corcoran Group
The apartment still retains the bones of a downtown industrial loft — an open floor plan, 12-foot ceilings, immense floor-to-ceiling windows, and exposed brick, pipes, oak beams and columns — but many new architectural elements were also added.
Mr. de Betak, whose design firm Bureau Betak has offices in New York, Paris and Shanghai, customized just about everything. He installed weathered floorboards reclaimed from an upstate New York barn, and created and outfitted a 17-foot-by-6-foot stainless-steel kitchen island, among other things. He also brought in steel hardware, wire-brushed oak from Vermont, and added various concrete and plaster finishes. Motorized pocket shades were installed on the windows and extensive lighting on the ceilings.
Many of the home’s furnishings and décor are equally distinctive, not to mention amusing. They’re not included in the sale price but can be purchased separately, according to Mr. Gold. Among them: a Louis Durot Saint Siège sculptured chair shaped like a woman’s upturned torso and legs, a potter’s wheel, and vintage Japanese toys displayed throughout. And then there’s the swing, situated near the kitchen and just steps away from a parked silver Vespa.
“The swing is great to relax and chat while one of us is cooking,” said Ms. de Betak, the founder of Chufy, a travel and style website, who recently started a clothing line. As for the motorized scooter, she said, “the Vespa sleeps at home, because it can go up and down in our large freight elevator so easily.”
The home has a spacious entry foyer, where there is a powder room and an abundance of storage. The de Betaks also keep a large picture board there with photos of family, friends and travels.
Just beyond the foyer is an enormous open space, which includes a great room, dining area and kitchen, along with spaces carved out for a library, and the tatami room, one of Mr. de Betak’s favorite spots. Popular in Japanese décor, this nook, which can be screened off, was built on an oak platform; it features three kinds of sake on tap, a movie projector and screen, a motorized table that moves up and down for casual dining, and lots of cushions and mats.
There are several fully private spaces as well. They include two bedrooms, an office/den and a mirrored lounge that can be entered through a closet in the master suite or via nearby shelves that double as a secret door. The party room has a bar and also connects to a sleeping loft that could be reached through drop-down stairs or the stripper pole.
“We wanted to give the mezzanine a fun twist,” Mr. de Betak said, explaining that his older children used the pole as a sort of “fireman escape.”
“And a party room is not a party room without a pole,” he added.
The apartment has just one full bathroom, located in the master suite and equipped with a soaking tub and separate shower. The rest are partial. Besides the powder room, there are toilet closets (near a washer/dryer closet and the freight elevator) and rooms just for showering or bathing. “I guess it’s a French thing,” Mr. de Betak said. “Toilets are better private.”
The cast-iron building at 136-140 Grand Street, near Lafayette Street, has 17 loft units spread over six stories. The structure was erected in the early 1870s and converted to a co-op in the late 1970s by a group of artists.
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