Talking About A-list Modern Trends with
Sotheby’s Torsten Krines
by Dar Dowling

Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner have something in common
with Coldplay – Torsten Krines.

Over the last eight years Torsten Krines has become the “go to” agent for A-listers
looking to rent a home away from home while visiting or working in the city. While
we chatted it was very easy to see why he’s the number one rental agent in
Sotheby’s Downtown office, although, he clearly does well with buyers and
sellers too, having helped Jared Kushner buy an apartment, and then sell it
again several years later.


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Raised in Germany, Torsten started his real estate career in Munich fifteen years ago, but
eventually he decided to try his hand at real estate in Miami, and now New York, where
he’s become an integral part of the real estate landscape. While Torsten is well known
for working with a clients with varying tastes, for individuals looking for a more modern
approach to living, he’s definitely the man to talk to, having a very real love of modern
interior design and architecture.  So much so that his homes in Miami and New York,
are a reflection of his unique spin on organic modern.
When decorating he often includes pieces from the 50’s and 60’s, combining his love of the
old and new. This influence may hark back to the fact that he grew up in 70’s, and that he
was raised by a “very open minded hippie mother”. Nowhere is this influence more oblivious
than in his Miami apartment, where a fifties Scandinavian chair sits right next to a modern
TV console. In his NYC apartment he’s included a walnut Blu Dot table in his dining area to
warm things up, and teamed it up with a set of very modern black Kartell Master Chairs.
While in his bedroom Torsten mixed a reclaimed wooden bedside table with a very
modern Elvis Table Lamp designed by FontanaArte,
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pulse of some of the newest trends in modern real estate and design, so I took
the opportunity to ask him a few questions.

1 - It seems that organic or warm modern design is becoming more popular -why?

In general sterile designs have never been very popular with US buyers. For the most part
Europeans, New Yorkers and certain buyers from West Coast, were drawn by clean modern
lines. Nevertheless these days in New York it seems we one again have a need for comfort,
since we often live in very isolated environments.

Coming home needs to be like comfort food - something warm, something cozy. There is
"no clutter design" that is also “comfy and warm”. Sometimes a rug or the right wallpaper
can totally change the mood. Lot's of darker wood is still being used, and red raw brick is
still big as well. All of these aspects can give a property a warmer feel.

2- Are there some new trends in bathroom and kitchen designs we should watch out for?

We’re now seeing waterfall showerheads being used instead of rainfall showers in bathrooms.
While LED lights are being installed to change the mood of the room. Freestanding bathtubs
have been a growing trend on the market for a while, and are being used in more and
more bathrooms.

In the past developers and designers often put “looks” before practicality, but these days
people are moving away from this, choosing instead to use practical materials. You can
see this trend in kitchens, where homeownersare beginning to realize that many of the
materials used to build counter tops or cabinets are unpractical. So in modern kitchen
s you’ll often find butcher block countertops featuring exotic woods.
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trendsetting A-list client base, can you
tell us about some newly emerging
trends in modern real estate and design?

Yes, that is true. More often than not
when a celebrity home is featured in
the news it can set off another new
trend. Recently, I've seen this
happen with wallpaper patterns
in home design. The trend is getting
even bigger now with A-list clients
showcasing their home designs in magazines.

Sometimes it can be a simple chair
design, such as the Master Chair by
Kartell. I personally had these chairs shipped
from France before they were available in
the US. Now they’re the
biggest new  item from Kartell.
Other times this happens with
certain colors or materials.

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4 - Are modern buildings and development becoming more "green" friendly?

Yes, finally people in New York have started to wake up. The West Coast and Europe
are far more advanced in this area. NewYork took a back seat for years because
other issues, like having enough living space and being able to afford a certain
property, took precedence. Now new buildings are starting to use green designs
and technology. We've already had a couple new buildings go up in the past
3-5 years  but just not enough - yet.

Slowly using non-toxic materials, like paint and insulation with low or no VOC
emissions, have taken off.  I still don't think it's in the top ten of developer’s lists,
but it should be.
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keep our eyes on?

The biggest rush in this area is over, because many of the star architects have completed
projects there, including Annabelle Selldorf with 200 Eleventh and Jean Nouvelle with
100 Eleventh. However, we still have lots of empty parcels of land to build on, as well as
buildings that can be converted.

I am sure we will see more developments here since this area lends itself toward creative
design and forward thinking development. What West Chelsea needs now is more
infrastructure - shopping areas and restaurants. It's still a bit deserted West of Eight
Avenue but it's getting better.

There is a new building coming next to 200 Eleventh facing Hudson River, scheduled
for 2014, which should be very interesting.
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