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Wall Street Journal

House Of The Day A Space To Create In Chelsea

A Space to Create in Chelsea
12/24/12Price: $2,175,000Location: Chelsea, NY Type of Home: Apartment
For actor, writer and director Matthew Modine, the high ceilings and layout of his garden duplex in Chelsea provided the space and inspiration to work on creative projects.

Matthew and Caridad Modine purchased this garden duplex apartment in 2008 for slight over $1.7 million, according to public records. Mr. Modine is a writer, director and actor known for his movie and TV roles, such as 'Full Metal Jacket,' 'Weeds' and 'The Dark Knight Rises.' They are the first owners of the duplex in the building, called Loft 25, a few blocks from the High Line park.

The outdoor area is pictured. Mr. Modine and his wife are currently based in Los Angeles, where Mr. Modine is directing a film. The couple have owned another residence in Greenwich Village since 1984, he says, which they leased as they were often travelling. When they decided to return to New York City, they did not want to displace a young couple leasing the home, so they purchased the Chelsea space

The duplex, its living room pictured, has one bedroom, two bathrooms, one half bathroom and is about 1,700-square feet. Mr. Modine and his wife were impressed by the apartment's 17-foot-high ceilings and its garden space. As environmentalists, the couple did not want to have to use an elevator to access their apartment. 'It bothers me, the consumption of energy. Even if we are staying in a hotel, we would use the stairs,' says Mr. Modine. 'It's a great way to get exercise...we try to save energy wherever we can.

The couple did not make any structural changes to the apartment, apart from putting limestone on the kitchen floors and adding wood decking to the garden, which was previously concrete. They also lobbied to have the building install a water treatment facility that would help filter the water piped to all the apartments and added a water feature and some plants to an outdoor area in the building's lobby.

One of Mr. Modine's favorite parts of the home is the kitchen. 'Because it's an open plan apartment, when you're cooking ... it's just an open place for conversation,' he says. The couple cook at home more than they go out, he says. 'We had so many wonderful friends come to the apartment, so many conversations,' he says.
Mr. Modine found it easy to work in the home and says he wrote several short films in the space, including the screenplay he is currently working on. 'It's quite conducive to creativity because it's very quiet,' he says. The home's high ceilings 'allow your mind to open up to creative thoughts,' he says

Here, the home's master bedroom. The duplex layout of the home also allowed Mr. Modine to wander while working. 'You can go downstairs, think down there for a while, go to the garden and sit down or go back up to the large living room or go in the bedroom and close the door. There are lots of places to escape to,' he says.

Here, the home's master bedroom. Mr. Modine and his wife will be sorry to let the apartment go, he says, because they have made many friends in the building and they will miss its central location. 'When we come back to New York it will be very difficult to find a home that is so convenient and comfortable,' he says.

A lower level recreation room, used as a bedroom, is pictured. Mr. Modine says he was hoping his children would want to take over the apartment but his son, a film director, is based in Los Angeles and his daughter, an actor, is happily settled in the Bronx. 'When I moved to New York City to start my career as an actor, [it] was a very different place. I could never move to New York City [now] to start a career,' he says. 'It's too expensive. You have to move outside of Manhattan now to pursue a career as an artist.'

Mr. Modine says his wife is another source of inspiration for him in 'everything I do in my life' from writing and directing to being 'a better person, being a better father, husband,' he says. My wife is my best friend and my business partner ... She's my muse, my mentor.' Another view of the lower level rec room is pictured.

Another bathroom in the home is pictured. The listing garnered some media attention when Mr. Modine narrated a fly-through video of the home and made a cameo towards the end. 'The minute I suggested it to him, he was totally into it, coming up with ideas,' says listing agent Mark Friedman of Halstead Property. 'He's an artist, he likes to create.'

Here, the view from the building's roof deck. The property was listed with Mr. Friedman $2.29 million towards the end of September and was reduced once to its current listing price of $2.175 million.

Monday, December 24, 2012