What are the Features of a Pre-War Apartment?

The term “pre-war” is used often in New York City real estate to designate an apartment that was built before World War II. There’s a certain allure to a pre-war apartment with its original details that harken back to a bygone time. Features such as hardwood floors, intricate moldings, high ceilings, a wood burning fireplace and even tin ceilings are common in pre-war buildings and lend to the character these apartments possess.

A desirable layout of pre-war apartments is the “classic six” which refers to the number of main rooms: kitchen, living room, formal dining room, master bedroom, second bedroom, and a maid’s room/office. There are also classic five layouts without the maid’s room, and the classic seven with a third bedroom.

Though they became popular in the early part of the 20th century, these classic layouts remain sought-after today and have become a status symbol for their rarity. Mostly found in Upper East Side and Upper West Side co-op buildings, classic fives, sixes and sevens are hard to come by. When they do come on the market they move quickly.

These six apartments currently on the market in Manhattan and Brooklyn exemplify the character, charm and detail of pre-war architecture.

Pre-War Apartments

2116 Dorchester Rd, 4L

Ditmas Park, New York

Price: $565,000 

This top floor, fully renovated 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom condo with an additional office/flex space gets lots of sunlight. The eat-in, windowed kitchen is outfitted with a stainless dishwasher, counter-depth refrigerator, gas range and professional-restaurant style faucet. The intuitive flow and layout begins in the entryway with built-in storage. There are four sizable closets, including a walk-in closet in the master bedroom. Artisan details include reclaimed wood shelves, exposed brick walls, refinished hardwood floors, stained glass pantry door, mural wall and tin tile.

17 Prospect Park West

Park Slope, New York 

Price: $12,900,000 

This 25-foot-wide limestone mansion perched on the corner of Prospect Park West and Carroll Street was built in Built in 1899, and designed by renowned architect Montrose W. Morris. The turn-of-the-century details blend with modern amenities to create an elegant and easy to live in home. Original details throughout include stained glass windows, mahogany columns, herringbone floors, delicately carved mantels and five working gas fireplaces.

960 Park Avenue, 3E

Upper East Side, New York

Price: $12,750,000 

Located on Park Avenue and 82nd Street sits one of Manhattan’s most prestigious white-glove pre-war cooperatives. Residence 3E is a spectacular 12-room full-floor residence, meticulously renovated and designed by the renowned Andrew Sheinman of Pembrooke & Ives. Enter through an impressive gallery with a custom door made from bronze and glass, custom moldings, and a marble and granite floor with stainless steel inlays. All the entertaining rooms flow off of the gallery for easy access. Every room is beautifully proportioned with details including 10-foot ceilings, oversized windows facing east and south, a wood burning fireplace, solid hardwood floors and custom moldings.

354 Broadway, 8

TriBeCa, New York 

Price: $3,350,000 

This exquisite full-floor, Tribeca loft in a boutique, doorman building is nestled between Leonard and Franklin Streets. This exceptional 2,793-square-foot, 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom residence features soaring 11.5-foot ceilings, exposures in all directions and 2 terraces. A large great room with floor-to-ceiling glass windows is flooded with natural light and spectacular views. The wood burning fireplace is encased in Carrara marble and a custom-built bookcase. The kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances is great for entertaining and daily life. The master bedroom suite enjoys a private terrace, walk-in closets, a stunning en suite bathroom with soaking jetted tub, double pedestal sinks and a separate stand-up shower.

Classic Sixes

322 Central Park West, 4C

Upper West Side, New York

Price: $2,695,000 

This peaceful classic six offers direct Central Park views from both the elegant living room and the spacious master bedroom. A wood burning fireplace makes this a cozy home in  the winter. There is a second bedroom, maid’s room or third bedroom, a large formal dining room, two-and-a-half renovated bathrooms, thru-wall air conditioning units, custom built-ins and a washer/dryer. The windowed kitchen has been beautifully renovated and offers a breakfast bar, top-of-the-line appliances and plenty of storage.

965 Fifth Avenue, 5B

Upper East Side, New York

Price: $4,450,000 

Live on Museum Mile is this classic 6 featuring direct Central Park views from the grand living room and master bedroom. With 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and a possible third bedroom this wonderful home epitomizes gracious living. Opening from a shared landing, the floor plan is a masterpiece of design with rooms planned around an elegant gallery. The grand living room, spacious dining and chef’s kitchen are perfect for entertaining on a large or small scale. A private office/maid’s room could also serve as a charming third bedroom. Refined details such as the high ceilings, herringbone wood floors and custom moldings keep with the splendid pre-war architecture.

Search for available pre-war apartments to find your next home.

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