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This $22 Million Neo-Georgian Townhome in NYC Comes With Bold, Modern Decor and Jeff Koons Artwork

Cheeky decor includes a neon peace sign and a mosaic portrait of Napoleon alongside vintage furniture.

48 E 81st Street living room Douglas Elliman Realty

This beautiful townhome on the Upper East Side proves that the old and new can live in harmony. Built in 1924, the five-story, red brick and stone neo-Georgian townhouse at 48 East 81st Street has well-preserved architectural features but with many modern updates for today’s buyer.

The seller is Iranian-American real estate developer Shahab Karmely, who is selling the large city residence to move full time to the Hamptons. The 20-foot-wide townhouse offers 7,400 square feet of living space and has six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and two half-baths. While exceptionally elegant, this home is unlike your typical Upper East Side home thanks to the funky, colorful decor.

Eclectic pieces include a neon peace sign, a tufted 1970s Camaleonda modular sofa by Mario Bellini, a large-scale mosaic of Napoleon near the wine cellar, Jeff Koons pieces, and a life-size stuffed kangaroo. All of this somehow coexists alongside vintage marble fireplaces, sash windows, parquet flooring, and beautiful original molding. 

“We did a complete gut renovation of the structure from the basement to the roof to the exteriors,” Karmely tells Robb Report. “We redid all the mechanical, electric, AV, and security systems, and created the outdoor spaces including the garden and roof decks.”

48 E 81st St garden
Douglas Elliman Realty

This is quite a large city residence, considering it has two living rooms, two offices, two kitchens, and two bathrooms in the primary bedrooms. Amenities include a wine cellar, dog-washing station, a teak-clad cinema room, laundry room, staff room, and ample storage space on the cellar floor. There is a stunning enclosed south-facing Zen garden that offers a sweet escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, as well as a bi-level roof deck with incredible views.

The main entrance and foyer are on the ground floor, which includes an office, kitchen, den, and one of the studies. The parlor level above has an incredible dining room covered by a triangular glass roof that welcomes in plenty of natural light. You will never run out of places to lounge, as there are two large living rooms on this floor. 

48 E 81st Street wine cellar Napoleon mosaic artwork
The mosaic of Napoleon in the wine cellar. Douglas Elliman Realty

Design details include imported South African wood floors, Venetian stucco walls, and hand-run plaster moldings. The home is being sold turnkey with brand-new designer furniture, and it also comes with a caretaker/doorman. 

The prime location on 81st and Madison means that you’re close to the city’s top cultural attractions, art galleries, shopping, and Central Park. The home is listed with Madeline Hult Elghanayan of Douglas Elliman. 

Check out more photos of the property below:

48 E 81st St dining room
The dining room. Douglas Elliman Realty
48 E 81st St bedroom
A bedroom with funky decor. Douglas Elliman Realty
48 E 81st Street teak clad cinema room
The teak-clad cinema room. Douglas Elliman Realty
48 E 81st Street wood paneled landing
Douglas Elliman Realty
48 E 81st St kitchen
One of the two kitchens. Douglas Elliman Realty

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