As a real estate broker, the people and locations constantly change but certain themes are consistent: people (myself included) like to feel some comfort and ease within a city that can feel very raw at times. We also like to feel a little indulged - hence the presence of nail salons on every corner, and the fact that we are the retail capital of the world.
The constant change keeps me on my toes, and part of the thrill for me is getting acquainted with the latest tastes and trends among my clients and the City itself.
The years I’ve spent in this business have provided ample exposure to the ways I can tastefully spoil myself, and a prized bit of wisdom I get to pass on to my clients is that daily comfort and luxury don’t always come with an extravagant price tag. The key is discovering where to spend that bit of extra money that will go a long way in the payoff department, and will keep doing so for years to come.
I often rationalize a purchase by amortizing it... That $600 pair of loafers is only $60 per year! When you buy quality those numbers actually make a lot of sense.
Here are some relatively affordable ways to indulge with huge payoff...
I often provide my clients a high-quality keychain upon closing, (Tiffany's being my top choice)
From $135 for the classic open loop with engraved tag to $175 for the golf themed tag. Nothing turns a mundane object - a set of keys - into a personalized and chic statement like a good, heavy, sterling silver keychain. I like to either initial with my client's initials or simply use the apartment number as the motif. It's up to the recipient whether to part with their pocket-full of discount drug store scanner tags- they don't belong!
DOORKNOBS and DRAWER PULLS
Who would have thought? But just like a nice keychain, we touch our doorknobs so often without even thinking about them that they’re easy to take for granted. Designers are fond of quipping that doorknobs and cabinet hardware are the "jewelry of the Home." Well, it's true.
Invest in good design: beautifully crafted door- and cabinet hardware - it's the easiest makeover for your home. Gracious Home is often my first stop in this category. Their "decorative hardware" section is among the best in the city.
My favorite finishes burnish over time with use and develop a natural patina. Look into oil rubbed brass and bronze finishes for a time-worn elegance that money cannot buy. These work in a modern or traditional home.
For cabinet pulls for a bath, think about using leather. Leather looks better with age, and a handsome saddle leather pull for a vanity or dresser is a very sexy alternative to a more mundane ceramic or metal.
For a kitchen, choose a cabinet pull that makes a statement. If your decor is contemporary, invest in beautifully crafted modernist pulls in chrome.
For a pre-war apartment, you can't beat satin nickel in a classic latch shape.
Getting repainted or re-finished cabinets with new drawer pulls is about a $1000 kitchen make-over, and it lends a sense of substance to an important room in the house.
Changing your home's interior doorknobs with a quality brand like Baldwin - in a motif that echoes your apartment or building's architecture - is a touch that not only adds pleasure every time you open and close a door, but also adds substantial value when it's time to re-sell.
Gracious Home has a broad selection of these items which you can find on their website and also in store. I recommend making this purchase in person, as the "feel" is very critical for this investment.
BATHROOM/NIGHT TABLE GLASS
One of my favorite gifts, as well as something I cherish in my own home, is a truly decadent cup for the bathroom counter or your night table water glass. Given that you will only need one, why not splurge on a fine lead crystal tumbler or porcelain cup?
Rarely exceeding $100 each for even the most expensive version available, this is one of my favorite ways to turn a truly boring item into a statement, and a pleasure to use day after day. I like Christofle Hermes or Steuben. To me this is money very well spent as it brings joy with each daily use.
Have fun with the implementation of these ideas- you'll be treating yourself every day. To me- luxury isn't about how much money you spend- it's how something makes you feel.