Home News From a Queens House to a Manhattan Studio With $400,000. Which One Did They Choose?

From a Queens House to a Manhattan Studio With $400,000. Which One Did They Choose?

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Shortly after getting married almost six years ago, Ayan Chatterjee and David Krause purchased their first home together. Located in Ridgewood, Queens, her two story brick townhouse was built in 1920 and has been completely renovated.

As time went on, they were “itching to get out of town,” says Chatterjee, and began their trip to the Catskills. “When you hit your 30s, every weekend in the city stops being fun.”

The now 35-year-old couple enjoyed remodeling their Queens mansion so much that they purchased Fixer Upper Farmhouse in Green County, three hours north, for about $250,000. They added a chicken coop and pool.

“It’s a beautiful house, but it’s primitive and needs a lot of work,” Chatterjee said. “The moment you open the wall, you discover the problem.”

They call the contractor “Dad of the North.” If something goes wrong, he comes to help.

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Back in the city during the pandemic, the couple felt trapped in a townhouse with a small concrete patio. “That was the only fresh air,” Chatterjee said.

His work as a producer for MSNBC is entirely remote, and Krause, founder of vegan skincare company Alder New York, has always worked from home. So they sold their house in Ridgewood, moved to the Catskills with their dog Levi, and got a hotel room each time they visited the city or Mr. Chatterjee went to his office. They found it interesting to try hotels in different areas, but found it difficult to live with just a suitcase.

Last winter, the couple checked out the Manhattan rental market despite hearing horrifying stories about soaring rents. We clicked through the listings and found an amazingly low price. For a small pied à terre it seemed better to buy than to rent. “It didn’t have to be just a place to sleep and shower,” he said.

The couple could pay up to $400,000 for the equivalent of their own hotel room. It’s a short walk to Mr. Chatterjee’s offices in Rockefeller Center and Penn Station upstate.

They knew it was just a studio in a co-op building. A so-called one-bedroom in that price range was usually a studio with some sort of makeshift bedroom.

Seeking help, they reached out to their friend Sumi Vatsa, an associate broker at Compass, who sold the Ridgewood townhouse. “It was about having the best hotel room possible,” said Vaca.

Among those options:

Find out what happened next by answering the following two questions:

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