Creative firm and lifestyle brand founder Anthony D’Argenzio of Zio & Sons redesigned his East Village 1-bedroom apartment in 2013, leading to feature articles in design outlets like Lonny,  West Elm blog Front & Main, and in the book “Dream Decor” by Will Taylor.

Sold in August 2018 for $492,500, which is 1.55 percent above the list price, the apartment quickly became one of StreetEasy’s most saved listings in 2018, while the charming kitchen has the distinction of becoming one of Pinterest’s most pinned! Below, D’Argenzio shares details about his former home and neighborhood, and what he’s learned from purchasing his first home in NYC.

The Home

“I saw a lot of opportunity and potential,” said D’Argenzio of the new home. “It had great bones and beautiful light.”

Located on the second floor of an Alphabet City co-op building, the apartment benefits from three large windows in the living room, and prewar details that D’Argenzio took every effort to preserve and highlight, including exposing the home’s brick walls, whitewashing the oak floors, and adding an antique marble sink and full tub to the bathroom.

The kitchen was given “new life” with the addition of a half-wall to allow for an eat-in bar. He also added new marble countertops and subway tiles, plus reclaimed wood for additional charm and texture. But, one of the biggest changes came from one of the simplest sources: a new coat of paint.

It’s crazy what paint and good furniture can do! Once we gave the space a cosmetic update. It was home,” said D’Argenzio.

To get the home ready to sell, he brought in a mix of vintage finds and new artwork by Josh Young, as well as some new furniture by ABC Home

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The Investment

One of the most appealing aspects of this apartment couldn’t be found in the home’s beautiful pictures: It’s an HDFC, restricted income apartment that was 44 percent below the neighborhood median. In fact, the estimated monthly payments (assuming a down payment of 20% on the list price) was $2,480. The median cost of a rental in the East Village is $2,795, so the apartment provided one lucky buyer with the opportunity to own for less than the price of renting.

It was my first real estate purchase,” Anthony said. “At the time, it seemed so daunting, with so many hoops to jump through.”

But the experience of home ownership was worth it to him.

My advice is to take the risk! Don’t waste any more time thinking about it. You’re only wasting money and time renting.”

The Neighborhood

It’s not just the apartment that has seen a transformation since D’Argenzo purchased it in 2013, but also the neighborhood.

When we first moved to the area it was a bit more gritty, very old New York. Now it’s full of trendy restaurants, bars, coffee shops,” he says. “We love how secluded it feels, but also so convenient being in Manhattan.”

And despite moving further upstate to develop his creative rental, This Old Hudson, D’Argenzio will always be inspired by his time in the East Village.

New York has been a huge inspiration for me and my work.  I also love how spontaneous it can be. One moment you’re pushing your way through the subway, the next you’re having rooftop cocktails. New York City has its highs and its lows, but it will always be my favorite city.

  Photography by Anthony D’Argenzio of Zio & Sons.