Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Greetings from South Padre Island, Texas!

Hello from the tip of Texas! One week down and two more to go. This was the beautiful view outside my window today. Nice.

Ahhhhh, this is living, a few new magazines, reading glasses and a cell phone:

Photostyling doesn't take vacations. Check out the perfectly aligned monograms on the towels and the trendy LL Bean beach bag:

Over worked Husband doesn't know how to relax. Get off the cell phone and go get your legs tanned!!!

At least you don't have to pace up and down the beach. Show off:

Ok, enough of the beach, time for shopping. For years, there has been only one store on the Island worth shopping at. This year, I was very pleasantly surprised to walk into a new store, Park 100, that was actually worth shopping. Check out these darling hot pink and green pillows and throws:

Park 100 is an interior design shop that caters to all the condominium owners on the island. Very Palm Beach-y decor:

Check out this display and veddy fashionable lamp:

And one more table with jewelery and accessories. Very cute store, all in all.

Next, I head over to the old standby, design wise, Isla/Rica. Two stores under one roof, very chic, urban clothes at Isla, and Flax type linen clothes at Rica. Both stores are for sale, in case you are looking to own a laid back business in a laid back beach town. Here's the outside of Isla/Rica - all painted up in eye catching colors:

Dainty Lewis, the owner, accessories her stores with shabby chic type antiques. It's all very charming and original.

Outside, next to the store, the owners built this wonderful home. Not sure if the house is also for sale, but it probably could be for the right price.

And, finally, how do you keep a lonely 16 year old teenager happy at the beach? Why, have her picture taken professionally, of course. Except, this "professional" photographer gave us her Myspace address which advertises her Slovakian punk rock band! I kid you not. Actually, the pictures came out rather good, much more artistic than I expected:

Dressing Tables

Is there anything more romantic than a woman's vanity? Full of beautiful perfume bottles, some old, some new, silver hand-held mirrors and natural bristle brushes, old cut crystal jars that hold lotions and oils - a vanity conjures up images of a daughter sitting on the floor, gazing up as she watches her mother put on her jewelry and fancy dress for a party that night. Vanities represent grown up femininity and many an adult woman now wants that fantasy in her life.

Vanities through the ages were a staple for the upper class. The style of the vanity changed with the fashion. Along with Louis XV and Louis XVI, Art Nouveau and Art Deco vanities are plentiful in antique stores. The fabric covered, skirted, kidney shaped vanity was popular in the 50s and peaked in the 60s. At that time, the vanity fell out of favor due to the rising use of built in cabinets. Today, there is a resurgence of the vanity, but not as a vital piece of furniture. The vanity is more of an accent table placed in the bedroom or bathroom suite. Catalogues such as Horchow Collection and Ballard Designs sell different types of vanities for the more budget minded.

Currently, I am designing a bedroom for a 15 year old girl. When asked what she wanted in her bedroom, the first item she mentioned to me was a vanity with a mirror and a chair. Her mother balked at this request, but I honored the teenager's wish and she will be getting her vanity after all.

A modern vanity, accented with pink prints - this is an example of a non-working vanity.

A rendering of a Charlotte Moss bedroom. Skirted vanity is placed at the end of the bed instead of a bench.

Mary McDonald places a mirrored vanity in a bathroom.

An antique writing desk doing double duty as a vanity in a French home.

A built in that's been skirted to give the appearance of a freestanding vanity.

An absolutely gorgeous writing table, used as a vanity.

Californian designer Madeline Stuart places a vanity in the bathroom.

What a beautiful setting to put makeup on, or just to look at family photos.

Another bathroom vanity.

Picks from 1St Dibs this week - Vanities:

An unusual rattan vanity from the 40's.

19th century French vanity.

Very, very fine and expensive red tortoiseshell vanity mirror. Note the two candlesticks on the top.

Mirrored vanity with Tiffany blue interior.

Another mirrored vanity, practical with so many drawers.

A beautiful array of sterling silver vanity brushes, mirrors and bottles.

Gorgeous Empire style vanity.

Art Deco mirror and wood vanity.
Authentic English traveling vanity. Adorable.

And lastly, for the budget minded, Horchow Collection's version of vanities:

Your Mama Hears...

...That Courtney Cox and David Arquette are thisclose to selling their swoopy and curvy Lautner designed house on Carbon Beach in Malee-boo that they listed earlier this year for a staggering $33,500,000. So close in fact that they've gone to escrow according to our Fairy Godmother in Malee-boo.

Nic Cage Buys Another blah blah blah

BUYER: Nicholas Cage
LOCATION: Midford, Bath, Somerst, England
PRICE: 5,000,000 pounds (asking)
SIZE: BIG with 7 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: An exceptional and unique small Country Estate with a magnificent Grade I Listed 18th Century castle. 2 Cottages, pasure and woodlands in all 58,6 acres. 3 Reception Rooms, 7 bedrooms, extensive Lower ground Floor, Garages and Stores. 2 Cottages. Gothic Orangery and further traditional outbuildings. Chapel Ruins and former Priory. Parkland, Grassland and Woodland.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Nic Cage is another of those celebrities that is constantly buying and selling properties all over the world. At latest count he's got at least 14 properties in 5 countries including a big house on Copa de Oro Road in Bel Air, at least one house in Las Vegas, several properties around New Orleans, a home on Paradise Island in the Bahamas as well as an undeveloped 40+ acre island in the Bahamas, a dilapidated Bavarian Schloss, and he already owns a 4 floor Georgian townhouse in Bath (see below) he purchased last year for 1.2 pounds.

And now he's gone and bought Midford Castion, a Gothic pile three miles South of Bath that was built in 1775 in the shape of the ace of spades. The three story tower sits on a plinth and includes 7 bedrooms and only three bathrooms. Also on the 58 acre grounds are a chapel, a couple of cottages, the ruins of priory and an orangery, which is just a fancy word for a big greenhouse.

According to one report, the Elvis obsessed actor who lately has been sporting some pretty freaky and possibly fake hair intends to use the property as a family getaway from the "madness" of Hollywood. With 14 properties, how does one know whether you're coming, going, getting away, or heading back?

Below we also have a few snaps of the Georgian townhouse in Bath that Mister Cage and his much younger wifey purchased last year. Your Mama is going to refrain from commentary because the decor you see is NOT that of Mister and Missus Cage, but the previous owners.
The townhouse, located on a graceful and curving street called The Circus has nearly 9,000 square feet of space including an indoor swimming pool in the basement. We wonder if now that Cage is to be the lord of a castle, if he'll sell off this piece of his real estate empire.

Your Mama would like to thank Baroness Rebecca for sending us ALL the information we could ever have wanted about Mister Cage's real estate doings in Bath.

Sources: People, Glitterati Gossip, The Daily Mail, The Times (UK)

Your Mama Hears...

...That Slade Smiley, the spurned beau hunk ex-boyfriend of Jo on The Housewives of Orange County, has been to real estate school. Well good for him.

We received a call earlier today from Connie Crossyerheartandhopetadie, who giddily informed us that Mister Smiley, who either sold or went into foreclosure on his Coto de Caza house (depends on who you ask), is hanging his license at the venerable and well respected Hilton & Hyland real estate brokerage in Bev Hills.

As of today, Mister Smiley's name does not appear on the H&H website, but his name is indeed among the roster of licensed agents affiliated with H&H that is on file at the Department of State, the agency that oversees real estate licensing and licensees.

Good luck Slade. We hope you have more luck selling houses than you did convincing that brat of an ex-girlfriend to settle down and be a good little wifey.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Isaiah Washington Selling Out

SELLER: Isaiah Washington
LOCATION: N. Sycamore Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,695,000 (monthly maintenance: $1,072)
SIZE: 2,149 square feet, 4 bedrooms 3.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Stunning Modernist fusion w/ 1920s classic details. Rare SE corner overlooking pool & gardens. 28 ft. entry, dark herringbone wood flrs, high ceilings, detailed moldings, recessed lighting, chef's kit, lrge liv rm w/ frplce, recessed light, & built-in sound sys. Formal din rm, Master w/ walk-in closet, white marble bath. Double paned window. Pool, spa, gym. Gated garage. Only 4 units per floor with no common walls. This is a good one!

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: As the story goes, Isaiah Washington went and got himself fired from his plum role on Grey's Anatomy for making inflammatory and homophobic remarks. We don't know anything about whether the stories are true or not, but Your Mama confesses that the beleaguered actor has some good taste in interior appointments. However, before we get to his Hancock Park co-op, which he recently put on the market for $1,695,000, Your Mama has to get a few things off our chest.

Do we even need to tell y'all that this tall, dark and cool drink of water drives Your Mama direct to the nerve pills? This man, who will not shut his damn trap about his perceived injustice at the hands of the Grey's Anatomy bigwigs, has us so upset with his numerous rantings and ravings that we had to get loaded on the nerve pills just to discuss his apartment.

Lawhd children, the man has gone and already found another job on The Bionic Woman AND he's about to make nearly a million clams on the sale of his apartment and he still won't shut up. Isaiah hunny, we are trying to help you here, so you would do well to listen to Your Mama when we tell you that the more you whine and complain about how you was done wrong, the less anyone believes anything your ass has got to say. The details of the on-set dust up do not matter anymore. You got fired. Move on. Hollywood has a short memory, so do yourself a big favor and keep your big mouth shut and let the drama dissipate.

The married daddy of three small children purchased this apartment, located in a dee-luxe apartment building called the Faubourg St. Denis, back in September of 2000 for $738,000. Located on the third floor overlooking the complex swimming pool and common gardens, the 2,149 square foot apartment has 4 bedroom, 3.5 bathrooms, a separate dining room, gorgeous high ceilings, and stunning vintage moldings. But no terrace, which is a deal breaker for Your Mama. If there is no place for our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly to soak up the sun, then Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter can not even consider living there.

With only four apartments per floor that do not share any common walls, the building is well suited for celebs and other privacy seekers. Your Mama appreciates the long, looong entrance hall because there's nothing worse than a front door that opens directly into the living room. Oh no. That just makes it too easy for that snarky Chinese food delivery man to stand at your door and judge you because he can see that you are watching re-runs of Wife Swap and your dog is licking the carpet where you dropped egg foo young from last night's Chinese order in meal.

The delicious ebonized wood floors sweep us into the living room where we are greeted by a couple of Corbusier's LC2 black leather chairs. Hello. Your Mama knows that framed photographs help to make a house feel like a home, but in this case, the wonderfully carved mantle is not the place to showcase pictures of smiling babies with their grandparents. Also, we recommend getting rid of the baby grand piano unless someone in the house actually plays the thing. We adore that the Washingtons have left the casement windows essentially bare–we do note the floor to ceiling sheers behind the piano–and the red sofa is a shocking and titillating punch of color. And books, please notice the books on the coffee table! Also, could that be a wee Dan Flavin sculpture shining on the back wall?

Except for the tremendous plaster shields in the ceiling corners, the dining room has been pleasantly stripped of artifice. We appreciate the simple chocolate curtains which quietly frame the window and the over-scale artwork with it's black and white bulls eye motif unexpectedly reflects Mister Washington's stance as a racial target.

Once upon a time in another city in another state Your Mama had a teeny kitchen with a spectacular view and a black and white tiled floor. We loved the checkerboard floor back then, and while we've moved beyond wanting another one, we can still appreciate the bold and graphic pattern it creates. And in this particular apartment, we like the way it effectively and not so subtly stretches the black and white color scheme of the dining room artwork into the kitchen.

The den/television room has been given a slight 1970s vibe with the patchwork pattern on the cabinets and sliding doors. We like to imagine all that is butter soft leather sewn together into a modern tapestry, but more likely it's stain. Either way it looks great, but the leather would be out of this world, pee in our pants good. Again we would like the children to note the books. Say what you will about Mister Isaiah Washington, but the fact that he's got actual books up in his crib tells me he's more than just an angry man with a pretty face.

The Mister and Missus Washington have three small children and in the room with the royal blue carpet we see the private quarters of at least one of their progeny. We are surprised to admit that we actually like the deep blue rug. It works for us against the white walls and with the orange accents on the very expensive Netto Collection crib.

Once upon a time Your Mama was acquainted with the man who designs the very expensive baby furniture featured in this room, who back in the 1990s was an ambitious architecture student and trust fund kid who lived in a divey parlor floor apartment on St. Marks Street in New York's East Village, vacationed with Tatiana von Furstenberg, and quietly complained of not having enough money to keep up with his truly rich friends.

But we digress. We imagine that with three small children it's simply time for the Washington family to move to a proper house with room for the kiddies to splash in a pool and climb all over a very expensive and custom made backyard jungle gym.

Because Your Mama likes to give credit where it is deserved, we would also like the children to know that Mister Isaiah Washington has a production company called Coalhouse Productions which aims to "promote social integrity and change." Also Your Mama would like to tip our hat to the tri-named Billy Bob Blabbermouth for cluing us in to this property.

Sources: MSNBC, People, Entertainment Weekly, A Socialite's Life

Fleur De Lys Photographs of the Day (Part 8)

Today we conclude our tour of Fleur De Lys, the jaw dropping and shiver inducing Holmby Hills mansion that billionaire dee-vorcée Suzanne Saperstein dumped on to the market recently for a staggering $125,000,000. Built as a modern day Versaille, the grotesquely huge house measures more than 40,000 square feet of glitz and glamour.

We've circled around the exterior of Fleur De Lys including the swimming pool complex, and we've discussed some of the interior spaces including the Entrance Hall, the Silver Sitting Room, the Library and Rosegold Music Salon, the Formal Dining Room, Main Kitchen, the vaguely Medieval themed Wine Tasting Room, the funereal Screening Room, and the public room to end all public rooms, the Ballroom. Then we saw the family's Sitting Room as well as Miz Suzanne Sapersteins Boudoir and bathing facilities.

Because we can not tolerate discussing any more photos of rooms dripping in 24 carat gold gilding and filled with high Louie French antiques, today we offer three relatively serene photos of the exterior of the house and grounds. If you forget this is place is meant to be a private house, it's not so difficult to find a certain grandeur and beauty in the building's lovely symmetry or to appreciate the meticulously manicured lollipop trees ringing the vast lawn. But it is a house, a big, big house. And therein lies the problem.

Throughout our tour Your Mama has been astounded, astonished, aghast, and amazed, revolted, rattled, staggered and surprised, bewildered, dazzled and dazed, mortified, mystified and stupefied. We have been through the architectural wringer and around the block of conspicuous consumption. We have been to what we consider the the putrefying pits of interior design and we are left breathless and bleary eyed.

Obviously our opinion is merely that, our opinion. And maybe, just maybe, we're the fool. But y'all can call Your Mama a fool all day long if it's foolish to desire a house feel like a place to relax and take refuge from the high drama of our life. Seriously people, even those of you that genuinely appreciate the size, scale, and museum quality artifacts of this house must also know in your gut that this is not a warm, engaging, or inviting house. In our humble book Fleur De Lys is a flashy, trashy and and all too obvious shrine to personal wealth not to mention a desperate and ugly attempt to purchase class that leaves Your Mama feeling empty, hollowed out, and sad. Sad, sad, sad.

Rick Schroder's Itty Bitty Beach Shack

BUYER: Rick and Andrea Schroder
SELLER: Christopher Cortazzo
LOCATION: Las Flores Beach, Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA
PRICE: $5,850,000 (sale price)
DESCRIPTION: Agent's personal new beach house on approximately 42 feet of beach frontage. Casual elegance & sophistication with 2 large ocean front decks, all new appliances, finest amenities. A must see!

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Every now and then Your Mama comes across a property that actually turns us green with envy. This teeny tiny beach shack in Malee-boo is exactly what Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter would want if we had nearly six million clams to spend on an ocean front getaway. We are definitely not in love with all the furnishings and decor–the crazy rattan bar stools can go–but we covet the close in location, modest size, and heavenly ocean side decks that stretch the inside out towards the roiling Pacific Ocean.

Y'all might remember this house from when it was featured on the Bravo TVs Million Dollar Listing last year. On the show, the young and handsome real estate whipper snapper Madison Hildebrand (who maintains his own blog) showed the house as a potential rental property to a corporate bigwig lady with a sky high budget and an obscenely expensive purse who was looking for a house to rent for the summer.

Also present at the showing was the homeowner, who happened to be young Madison's mentor and the undisputed king of Malee-boo real estate Christopher Cortazzo. If you've ever been withing 100 miles of the Malee-boo real estate world, you already know that Mister Cortazzo, a former model and animal lover, sells mind boggling numbers of Malee-boo mansions and multi-million dollar ocean front houses.

Mister Cortazzo purchased this wee beach hut as an investment back in April of 2004 for an undisclosed amount of money. We are quite certain this place was a shit hole before Mister Cortazzo worked his make over magic on the house. Your Mama recalls somewhere in the recesses of our failing memory that when Mister Cortazzo put the house back on the market, it actually had a much higher asking price initially. However, $5,995,000 is the list price we have on the listing we were able to access.

The corporate bigwig lady did not rent the house for the summer, but eventually, in February of 2007, the 1,250 square foot, 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom house was sold to none other than former child actor turned gun toting Republican Rick Schroder for $5,850,000.

Before Golden Globe winner Rick Schroder was baring his Republican ass on NYPD Blue, he was best known as Jon Voight's cute kid in The Champ, and then as the cute and spoiled rich kid on the sit-com Silver Spoons. As a young adult he forsook the Hollywood lifestyle, sold the house at 921 N. Roxbury Drive in Bev Hills where he lived as a teenager, and moved to a 15,000 acre ranch in Grand Junction, CO. There he became a cowboy, a conservative, and a member of the NRA. In 2000, the private but politically active actor spoke at the Republican National Convention on behalf of our dear and wise leader President George Bush.

We recall reading somewhere (our failing mind again) that Mister Schroder had listed his massive ranch in Colorado for sale, but property records indicate he still owns at least a good chunk of that property. Before moving back to California, property records indicate the Schroders bought and sold several properties in Scottsdale, Arizona, where they have maintained a home since at least 1997. In March of 2006, they sold a 6,867 square foot house located within the gates of the Country Club at DC Ranch for a whopping $3,800,000.

In March of 2005, the Schroder family relocated back to California when they paid $4,150,000 to purchase a 21 acre ranchette up in the hills of Topanga Canyon. At the time of purchase the Topanga property included a 4,629 square foot house and several outbuildings including horse stables and a riding ring. The Schroder ranchette is just a hop, skip, and a jump from the family's new beach shack, which is a good thing because the Schroder's have a whole mess of kids, and finding a place for them all to sleep at the two bedroom beach house could be troublesome.

Now, before we sign off and take our bitches Linda and Beverly our for their morning constitution, let's quickly discuss the merits of this house. Number one, the location. Your Mama likes the Las Flores location which provides quick and easy access to the West Side of LA without having to deal with the constant snarl of traffic further up the Pacific Coast Highway. And sure, we know Carbon Beach is way more exclusive, but Your Mama does not need to be sitting on the back deck trying to relax while the flash bulbs pop pop pop as the paparazzi take pictures of all those troubled starvelets like Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, preggers Nicole Richie, and the minuscule Olsen twins as they strut the sand in their teeny bikinis and provide the paps with nip slips as they frolic in the surf. No thanks.

Number two, the modest size. Contrary to trend, Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter actually prefer houses without excessive square footage. We do not want to encourage overnight guests by having 7 bedrooms fronting the ocean. Nor do we enjoy having a house so big that it requires a team of cleaning gurls be up in there 3 or 4 days a week. This itty bitty beach house is just big enough to easily host one or two favored guests at a time, say The Chicken or Flower and Grandma Bunny.

Number three, the heavenly decks. Living at the beach is all about being able to spend time immersed in the elements. We adore that Mister Cortazzo thought to put a hammock on the lower deck and we LOVE the double wide chaise. And of course everyone knows how much Your Mama loves a picnic table, particularly a big chunky one like Mister Cortazzo featured on the lower deck. On the upper deck Mister Cortazzo has taken a rather banal feature, the bench that spans and wraps the length of the deck, and elevated it to a spectacularly long and cushioned bench with dozens and dozens of pillows. Gorgeous.

What we want to know is where does Mister Schroder plan on hanging the gun rack?

P.S. Your Mama would like to publicly apologize to Mister Big Time for not referencing his posting on this property some months ago. Y'all know our mind is slipping and we did not check or remember. Sorry Mister Big Time, you know we like to give credit where credit is due, and you are due sir.

Sources: Inside Bu, Hollywood Grind, Drunk Hollywood, Internet Movie Data Base

Sunday, July 29, 2007

More Sunday Reading

Head on over to Haute Living, the magazine for all things lavish and luxe, to read an article about a handful of the big, BIG players in the rarefied world of super high end real estate in Los Angeles. Hauge Living's list includes, but is not limited to, the inestimable Stephen Shapiro, Chris Cortazzo, who who has his hands on a mind bending number of high end Malee-boo deals, Jade Mills, a grande dame of swanky real estate, and the newcomer Drew Fenton.

There are a number of other high end agents that could have been included on this list too. Off the top off our frazzled and forgetful head: Joyce Rey, Irene-Dazzan Palmer, Kathy Villa, Valerie Fitzgerald, Kurt Rappaport, David Offer, Jeeb Naiman O'Reilly, Bennett Carr, Ron De Salvo, Joseph Babajian, Barry Sloane, Brett Lawyer, Maurico Umansky...who are we missing?

A Little Sunday Reading

This morning we're going to send you over to The Telegraph, a UK newspaper that recently featured an article about high end and celebrity real estate agents in Los Angeles. It's a fun walk through the lifestyles of the people who sell homes to the rich and famous.

And don't you know, the nice writer even mentioned our little blog in the article.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Wunderley is wonderful.

Middle Eastern and Moroccan design is all the rage. This company, Wunderely, has both trends. Their prices are very reasonable and their web page is set up to purchase. I'm not sure if the prices are truly wholesale or not, but I had no trouble setting up an account online. One or two of their products can make a room mysterious and oh, so current. Enjoy!

Wood and bone mirror.

Moroccan rug. Fabulous.

Two great accent tables.

Their lighting line is extensive.