Penthouse Shmenthouse! Designer Godfrey Opts for Size Over Height

Last December, Us Weekly, the Ur gossip rag, asked 100 people at Rockefeller Center, “Who wore it best?” The choices? Heroes‘ heroine Ali Larter, reality empress Kim Kardashian (pictured) and unnervingly ageless Lisa Rinna—all separate but not-quite-equally-clad in Jay Godfrey‘s now famous blue, black and white color-block dress. NFL star Reggie Bush’s bodacious reality starlet won the vote at 52 percent but the real winner was the young designer himself.

Mr. Godfrey, whose eponymous label designs sleek, formfitting dresses in Mondrian monochromatics, recently engaged in a vote of his own: deciding which Manhattan apartment building would best suit him, his pregnant wife Dara, and their baby-to-be.

“We looked in like 25 to 30 buildings in Manhattan, mostly in Tribeca, but we ended up staying in the same building in Chelsea!” Mr. Godfrey told The Observer. The designer currently lives in the penthouse at the swank Chelsea Mercantile building at Seventh Avenue and 25th Street, but recently purchased the larger corner apartment on the 11th floor for $3.45 million. “My wife is due in June so it was a good time to get some additional space.”

Contrary to popular mythology, the penthouse is not always the most deluxe and sprawling of a building’s apartments. Indeed, note this column’s neighboring item: Charles and Helen Schwab’s upgrade down from the penthouse at 834 Fifth Avenue to their larger ninth floor spread.

“We were mostly looking in Tribeca,” Mr. Godfrey said, “that’s where I thought I was going to raise my family but when it came down to it, the right apartment came on the market at the right price at the right time. You know we love the building, it’s a very eclectic mix of artistic and financial, straight, gay, everything.”

The Chelsea Mercantile, built in 1908, was a hub for manufacturing fabric—perhaps another reason the designer dug it.

CORE‘s Fredrik Eklund had the listing for the southeast corner apartment and excitedly told The Observer, “It’s the second time I’ve sold the apartment!” (He declined to comment beyond that.) The flourishing listing exclaims, “Unit 11P, P as in Perfect!” And goes on to warn that residents will, “be blinded by direct sunlight during the day and sunsets at night through 13 over-sized tilt-and-turn windows.” The master bedroom flaunts nine-foot custom bamboo double-entrance doors and a “luxurious Boffi Swim Tub” sets the tone for the master bath.

While Mr. Godfrey insisted, “the prior owner did a beautiful job decorating it,” his caveat that he and Ms. Godfrey are planning “six to nine months of interior work” may suggest otherwise.

Will he take some time off to settle into his new abode and welcome Baby Godfrey? “I wish! No, there is a ton going on. You know, the life of an entrepreneur; little vacation, lots of work.”

cmalle@observer.com

Penthouse Shmenthouse! Designer Godfrey Opts for Size Over Height