If Kate Shin has high standards for her work, her company’s recent New York City renovation at 170 East 80th Street—a 19th-century townhouse turned luxury-lifestyle mansion—should satisfy any preceding expectations.
While it totes a hefty price of $35 million, Shin and her exclusive broker, Paula Del Nunzio of Brown Harris Stevens, remain confident the one-of-a-kind townhouse will attract the perfect buyer.
“Every aspect of what a townhouse might traditionally contain has been reinterpreted, reconsidered, and redesigned,” says Del Nunzio, referring to the home as “The Modern Townhouse.” She says, “The price of this house will benefit from scarcity in that there is no other like it available in New York.”
Shin, originally from Korea, collaborated with Toshiko Mori Architect in combining elements of East and West into the mansion’s design.
Devoting more than a year to the design phase, the team embraced principles of Feng Shui, applying natural elements such as light, air, and water into the home’s fabric to achieve a serene and open space for contemporary living.
The name of Shin’s company, WEmi:t, LLC, pays homage to a union of Western and Eastern influences.
Shin says, “WEmi:t is a combination of West and East to create ‘WE,’ joined with ‘mi:t,’ the global pronunciation of meeting to ultimately represent ‘Where West Meets East.’”
Perhaps the Mansion’s most unique West-Meets-East feature is the 22-foot high by 20-foot wide waterfall that cascades into a reflecting pool that is surrounded by a sculpture garden.
As a child, Shin grew up with a waterfall in her house. She says, “I used to listen to the sounds of the water, which created a very relaxed and comfortable environment."
The two-story feature required waterfall specialists to fine-tune its pressure and flow to splash in such a way deemed maximally soothing to the human ear.
“The waterfall concept came from Eastern influences but the water-pressure technology is more of a Western influence,” says Shin. “The addition of such an amenity is a perfect example of the East-meets-West philosophy.”
Shin mentions that one of the main reasons—other than the lack of space—the super wealthy leave Manhattan is they miss the green and nature. So WEmi:t was sure to incorporate natural qualities, like a grassy terrace outside the master bedroom.
And there is no lack of space. One can spread out and enjoy 13,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor living, without leaving home—a rare occasion for a NYC resident.
“Prospective buyers are particularly intrigued by the green aspects and certification of this building, in that it incorporates systems whenever possible to reduce energy use,”says Del Nunzio.
Green features at 170 East 80th Street generate energy savings of up to 50 percent per month. The dwelling is expected to be the City’s first LEED-certified single-family mansion over 10,000 square feet.
Green features include: a rooftop garden with a LiveRite auto-irrigation system where tomatoes can grow, real grass planted across a terrace off the master bedroom, an HVAC system that maximizes indoor environmental quality, 40 custom-made windows and skylights to ensure natural illumination, and a 50-foot light well rising through the center of the home, drawing in daylight and improving ventilation.
The mansion has an art gallery on the main floor for private or commercial use. Gallery walls are reinforced to support three times the weight of typical residential walls for substantial displays.
A 2,300-square-foot spa-lounge with a Jacuzzi, sauna, massage room, and gym, as well as a 1,000-bottle wine cellar with custom lighting, add to the luxury-lifestyle vibe at 170 East 80th Street.
According to Shin, the townhome is located in one of the most elegant and historic neighborhoods on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The area hosts some of the world’s most famous museums, and Central Park and Madison Avenue retail are just a few blocks away.
Shin plans to continue developing high-end luxury properties in Manhattan and hopes to move into boutique, one-of-a-kind, hotel development projects.
She says 170 East 80th Street has helped her learn the true definition of value.
“I have no doubt that the right buyer will pay for the value and continue to appreciate it while living there.”