Eight years ago, on her birthday, Hillary Schafer watched from her neighbor’s apartment as the glass atrium being installed on her Carnegie Hill townhouse caught in a gust of wind and shattered into thousands of pieces.
When the new atrium came two weeks later, one of the walls was two inches too short and had to be sent back.
These were just two of the setbacks Schafer and her husband, Steven, faced in their three-and-a-half-year renovation of a 19th-century commercial building at 113 East 90th Street in Carnegie Hill, which the couple bought 11 years ago for $9.9 million.
Eventually it all came together, and the property, consisting of a four-bedroom main residence that was once a firehouse and a guesthouse that was formerly a stable, hit the market last week for $27 million. If it fetches that price, it would be an apparent record for a single-family home sale in Carnegie Hill, according to TRD Pro data going back to 2010.
The Schafers may be listing it at an inopportune time: Although turnkey townhouses fetch a premium, Manhattan luxury sales have slowed in recent weeks against rising interest rates and a tumultuous stock market.
The couple is selling because they’re moving out of the city. Corcoran’s Leighton Candler has the listing.
The four-story structure, built in 1877, is connected to the two-story guest house by a finished basement that runs beneath a courtyard. The basement contains a media room, dining room, play area, gym and a 3,000-bottle wine cellar.
The two-story guest house has a home office on the first floor and a guest bedroom upstairs.
The Schafers weren’t interested in a project when they started searching for a new home in 2011, preferring an apartment in a doorman building that didn’t need any work.
“We felt we’d been transported into a home that wasn’t in New York City,” Hillary Schafer said of their first visit to 113 East 90th Street. “We took one look at each other and said, ‘This is it.’”
The atrium wasn’t the first major obstacle in the renovation, said Schafer, a former finance executive who is now CEO of the nonprofit Multiplying Good. Excavation of the space below the house for the basement had to be done by hand, according to city regulations. After it began, workers discovered the home had been built on seamed bedrock, which meant they had to install steel beams every four feet beneath the building’s foundation and that of a neighboring house.
“The excavation basically took a year,” Schafer said. “It was unreal.”