Spaces

New York’s narrowest house earns the half in its address

Spaces

Click on a photo to go to a slideshow of New York City's narrowest house.

Click on a photo to go to a slideshow.

At Yahoo! Homes, we love homes that present spatial challenges. The solutions that people find for their constrained living circumstances are inspiring, whether the living circumstance is a 480-square-foot house that manages to feel airy (and costs a pretty penny too); or a carefully edited 375-square-foot Swedish apartment; or a narrow D.C. house with lots of design ideas; or, most constrained of all, the world's narrowest house, a debatably livable art installation squeezed into a 5-foot-wide Polish alley.

Naturally, then, our ears perked up to hear that New York City's narrowest house has sold. (Click here or on a photo to go to a slideshow, with pictures from the recent listing as well as a previous listing before it was renovated.)

What is now known as the Millay House, at 75 1/2 Bedford St. in Manhattan's West Village, was built around 1850 in a 9.5-foot-wide former passage for horse-drawn carriages. The interior is a foot narrower at the widest point, in the kitchen. The narrowest room, the master bedroom, measures just 7 feet 4 inches. In all, it spans 990 square feet.

The home is named after one of its famous tenants, the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, who lived there in the 1920s. Actors Cary Grant and John Barrymore also lived there; as did the really wonderful author and illustrator William Steig (who wrote the original "Shrek!"), his wife, and his wife's sister, famed anthropologist Margaret Mead.

According to the real estate blog Curbed, where we first learned of the Millay House sale, the house was purchased in early 2010 for $2.175 million, renovated, then listed at nearly double the price -- $4.3 million -- in May 2011. (Click here or on a photo to go to a slideshow with current photos as well as pictures from the pre-renovation listing.)

Its price was knocked down three times, ultimately landing at $3.495 million in mid-2012, Curbed says, then delisted and later relisted at that price, where it stayed until its sale. The ultimate purchase price is not yet known, as it's still in contract.

The home has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus what Curbed dubs a shared "secret garden" with a side entrance that lets occupants avoid the numerous tourist looky-loos.

Before it became famous, the home was occupied successively by a candymaker, a shipper, a vineyard worker and a "syndicate of artists and actors," according to a 1996 New York Times profile that has much more information about its history. You can also see many more pictures in our slideshow. And learn more about the home in this video from Sidewalks of NY Tours:


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