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Open House Review: 159 Islington

Posted: 28 Mar 2014 06:00 AM PDT

Last week, I reviewed 447 Ridgeway, a two bedroom condo in Northwood Pointe’s Greystone Villas.  This week, I’ll review 159 Islington, an identical condo, but with a reversed floor plan.  The price dropped $20,000 last week, bringing it much closer to the Ridgeway property.

The basics:
Asking Price: $529,000
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Square Footage: 1,260
Lot Size: N/A
$/Sq Ft: $420
Days on Market: 28
Property Type: Condominium
Year Built: 1998
Community: Northwood Pointe, Greystone Villas

HOA dues are $286 ($40 + $246) per month and there are Mello Roos (note that 447 Ridgeway lists the HOA as $284).

Because I described the layout of the condo last week, I’ll just briefly review it.  The master bedroom is at the top of the stairs when you enter.  The kitchen, living room and dining room run alongside each other.  The second bedroom is at the far end of the condo.  Both the dining room and second bedroom have access to the large balcony.  Let’s see how this condo compares to Ridgeway:

Islington has laminate wood floors throughout the entire condo, with only the bathrooms being tiled.  Ridgeway has oak hardwood in the living room and kitchen, but has carpet in both bedrooms.  Personally, I like the actual wood more in Ridgeway, as it has a richer color and narrower boards.  In Islington, the wood has an older, distressed look that I don’t find particularly attractive.

In the master bedroom, Islington has nice closet organizers including drawers and shelving.  Ridgeway simply has adjustable wire shelves.  The master bathrooms are very similar.  The only real difference is that Islington has brushed nickel hardware and Ridgeway had chrome.

The biggest difference is in the kitchen, with Islington’s being far more elegant.  Where Ridgeway had white tile counters, Islington has black granite and contrasting white cabinetry and drawers.  Ridgeway had plain maple cabinets without any handles or drawer pulls.  Islington has brushed nickel hardware throughout the kitchen.  Islington also has all stainless steel appliances (Ridgeway’s are white) and a five-burner stove (Ridgeway has four).  The kitchen in 159 Islington is much nicer and far more upgraded than the one at 447 Ridgeway.

In the living room, Islington has a nice built-in unit in the large space next to the fireplace.  It has a large opening for a TV (though you could also mount the TV over the fireplace), plus two shelves.  The adjacent fireplace has matching white molding.  Ridgeway didn’t have a built-in unit, though the stand alone cabinet can be negotiated into the purchase.

Another key difference is the window treatments.  In Islington, all of the windows have white plantation shutters.  The sliding door in the bedroom has vertical blinds and the one in the dining room simply has a curtain rod.  In Ridgeway, the windows have a mixture of blinds, brown plantation shutters and curtains.  The windows treatments in Islington give it a much cleaner look.

In the second bathroom, Islington has nice tile floors, a plain white vanity and sliding shower doors.  Ridgeway’s large white tile floors didn’t look good with the white vanity and the shower/tub only has a curtain rod.  As in the other rooms, Islington has brushed nickel hardware and Ridgewood has chrome.  The light fixture is also much nicer in the Islington bathroom.

Overall, Islington is more upgraded and looks more elegant, especially in the livng room and kitchen.  The bathrooms are also nicer in Islington, even though both have the same vanity and shower/tub tile.  Though I really dislike the floors in Islington, I think everything else in the condo is nicer than in Ridgeway.  Now that the prices are almost the same (Islington is $4,000 more), I would definitely choose 159 Islington over 447 Ridgeway.  Floors can always be changed.  Which would you choose?


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