Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Jennifer Nicholson's Historical House of Mirth

SELLER: Jennifer Nicholson
LOCATION: Georgina Avenue, Santa Monica, CA
PRICE: $7,995,000
SIZE: 3,437 square feet, 4 bedrooms 3.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Totally renovated gorgeous 1911 home on amazing apx 20,600 sq. ft. lot. Prime Georgina Ave. blocks from from the beach. 4BD, 3.5BA w/ plans & permits passed by the city & historical committee. Featured in House & Garden. Updated kit w/ tope of the line appliances, breakfast room & entertaining bar. 2BD up w/ sleeping porch, 2BD down. Exquisite LR, fam rm & ofc/sun room. Formal DR w/ French doors opens to extra-lg lush bkyd. 20car garage & artists studio. Completely remodeled designer home w/ Old World charm.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Jennifer Nicholson is a fashun dee-ziner who has enough capital and cajones to present her sorta sexy collections on an army of skinny bitches at the once mighty, now not quite so mighty, Bryant Park Tents in New York City. She also happens to be the eldest daughter of age-ed Hollywood Lothario Jack Nicholson who recently dropped her historical and well placed Santa Monica house on the market for an eye popping $7,995,000.

Property records reveal that Miz Nicholson purchased her symmetrical and soigne French Colonial style Santa Monica residence in July of 2003, right about the same time she sold a small ocean view house on Via De Las Olas in Pacific Palisades. Records to not disclose what Miz Nicholson paid for the Santa Monica property, but given its stellar location just spitting distance to the beach and walking distance to the 3rd Street Promenade and the charming and freaky amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier, Your Mama imagines that she paid handsomely for the 3,437 square foot landmark residence which historical information indicates was first located around the corner on San Vicente Boulevard before it was moved to its current location in 1952.

According to listing information, the good sized slightly shy of a half acre lot includes the lovely and charming main house, that in addition to the 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, includes formal living and dining rooms, an office/sun room, a top of the line kitchen with breakfast area and entertaining bar (whatever that is), and a family room. One of the more interesting and desirable features of the house, at least as far as Your Mama is concerned, is the upstairs sleeping porch which we imagine to be an excellent place to catch some afternoon shut eye with the smell of salt in your nose and the sea air on your skin. Completing the property is a detached two-car garage with an artists studio.

Clearly Miz Nicholson has a real flair for decorating. We're quite certain her verve and zest for ornamentation and exuberant texture is not every one's cup of tea. But we love it. We could never live among Miz Nicholson's organized chaos without having to be on a daily dosage of Diazepam, but we adore a house that has been infused with so much vibrant and individual character. This is not just any person's house, this is a custom made confection tailored to the current owner's interests, whits and whims. Brava Miss Thing!

Of course, Your Mama would go out of our ever loving mind trying to direct even Ezmerelda and Svetlana, our ferociously competent house cleaners, to properly dust that funky birdcage chandelier-thing in the dining room. And we are concerned that our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly would live in absolute fear of those leopard print Lewees, constantly worried they were tomcats on the prowl ready to devour their hot dog bodies at any moment.

But Your Mama is crazy in love with Miz Nicholson's happily insane sun room with the shell backed chair and the magnificent shell encrusted pedestals that look like something dredged up from the bottom of the damn sea. The kitchen cabinetry is a mite fussy for our favor, but the mirror patterned marble floor (is that marble?) has Your Mama peeing our pants with glee. Say what you will about Miz Nicholson's slightly disturbing Mao Tse Tung painting with the hot pink background or that wonderfully fucked up ship chandelier, but do not speak an ill word about that dee-voon kitchen floor or Your Mama will go all sorts of berserk on your tasteless ass.

A little research on the internets tells Your Mama that not long after purchasing the property Miz Nicholson drew up plans for a large extension at the back of the house. Because of the house's historical status, all sorts of preservationist hoops were required to be jumped through to gain approval for any sort of renovation project. It would appear from both the listing information and records we dug up online that Miz Nicholson and her team of people cleared all the necessary hoops and the long extension was approved and permits were issued.

The extension asked for would have included tearing down the existing detached garage and building an new one and then connecting the new garage with the residence via a long extension from the back of the house. Apparently the new square footage would have included a large(r) sun room. Presumably it would have housed rooms with other uses too, but Your Mama didn't end up get that bit of information sussed out.

Your Mama can't imagine why Miz Nicholson would go through all the damn trouble and considerable bother to get plans and permits for this rather extensive extension and then decide to sell the house. But people are funny and unpredictable, and who are we to question the fickle ways of a princess to one of Hollywood's most royal thrones? We imagine one of Your Mama's children knows the why, where, and who, and if you'd like to share, please email Your Mama and start sharing.

According to a snitch who like to whisper in Your Mama's ear, Miz Nicholson also maintains an ocean front condominium in Malibu, and we presume the lady has access to at least one of the four houses her father owns up on Mulholland Drive near Coldwater Canyon Lane, including big, fat and dead Marlon Brando's residence (all due respect) and scene of the murder that ripped the Brando family to shreds.

Wherever Miz Nicholson lands, whether it be on the east or west coast, we dearly hope she'll invite Your Mama over to view her new digs, because we know in our bones it's going to be a clever and captivating home that will have us swooning and sighing.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Little Cup of Fun

One of Your Mama's little buddies, a fine gentleman in lower Manhattan whom we'll call Mister Glass, sent us a link this morning to a genius post on the insanely sassy and New York centric blog Gawker. The high-larious post about high brow real estate brokerage Brown Harris Stevens (with luxe outposts in New York, the Hamptons, and Palm Beach, natch), reveals how the brokerage employs a coterie of well bred and well married agents to pull in the big bizness of the rich and filthy rich in some of the swankiest zip codes on the east coast. Here's a sample of one agent's bio:

Arabella Green Buckworth: "Arabella loves travel, literature, languages, art, classical music, and chess. She is married to an Australian philanthropist, and is step-mother to four handsome English gentlemen."

That's really her bio children. Really! Chess! That's just gorgeous.

Have fun.

Britney Gurl, You Oughtta Just Sit Tight

Lately there has been some stirring and disturbing tidbits about perpetually problematic pop star Britney Spears looking for a new damn house. In Manhattan Beach. Manhattan Beach!

Gurl, Your Mama does not know why you've got ants in your pants about where you want to be bunking down at night, but we do know your indecisive nature is a problem when it comes to those kids of yours. Between your Bev Hills house, your expensive lease job in Malee-boo and all the various and many hotels you book and don't sleep in, Your Mama thinks you would be all happily housed up. But alas...

Word of caution hunny gurl, you might want to consider looking elsewhere because from the sound of things those Manhattan Beach folks are not going to be rolling out the welcome wagon for you, your suspicious sounding entourage, or your fleet of Mercedes Benz's with all those paparazzi photogs attached to the bumper.

Seriously gurl, if you won't listen to your mama, than maybe you should listen to Your Mama and pick a damn house and stay there for a bit of time. You might find it does you some good to have an actual home rather than just a multi-million dollar crash pad. Think about it.

Tony Danza's Golden Extravaganza

SELLER: Tony Danza
LOCATION: Longridge Avenue, Sherman Oaks, CA
PRICE: $6,150,000
SIZE: 6,778 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Truly the Crown Jewel of Sherman Oaks! Stately Cape Cod traditional perched on a knoll & sited on 2.3 acres in sought after Longridge Estates. Completely rebuilt from the ground up in1997. Impeccable attention to detail, far too many amenities to list here. Very private, gated property includes guest house, pool/spa, pool house gym. Tennis court & batting cage. Perfect for the most discriminating of buyers seeking privacy.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Recently we received word from Scuttlebutt Sam, a San Fernando Valley denizen who pointed Your Mama at a Sherman Oaks listing the belongs to Mister Tony Danza. Remember him kids?

Just because we don't care for his right leaning politics, does not mean we would wish lunky and hunky Republican actor Tony Danza's house be knocked over in an earthquake. Which is exactly what happened in 1994 during the devastating Northridge Earthquake. Well, Your Mama doesn't know if the place actually fell over, but multiple sources report that the Sherman Oaks house he bought from actor Robert Urich in September 1986 for $1,556,180 was indeed destroyed. What a damn drag that must have been.

According to listing information, the house was rebuilt from the ground up in 1997, which we imagine was necessitated by the severe earthquake damage. An article from the late 1990s reported that he claims to have rebuilt the house to ve virtually earthquake proof and he was quoted saying, "In an earthquake, I shouldn't run out of the house–I should run into it." Your Mama does not know where Mister Danza and his family lived from 1994 to 1997, but perhaps it was up with gun toting Republican Charleton Heston in his colossal contemporary crib off of Mulholland Drive. Now babies, we don't have any proof of that Mister Danza and scary Mister Heston know each other at all, so don't go spouting any of that shit off to yer friends.

Mister Tony Danza, who became famous, and probably rich, playing a series of dumb guys named Tony in the 1970s and 80s (Taxi, Who's The Boss?), has recently become a thespian with his recent run on Broadway as Max Bialystock in The Producers. A wee bit of research on the internets tells us that he's continuing that role at Paris Las Vegas, which Your Mama presumes is one of those disturbing and flashy fantasyland casino hotels in Las Vegas where thousands upon millions of numb skulls smile and laugh and open their wallets and bank accounts for all the fat-cat casino owners to reach in and steal their hard earned middle class income that would be better off spent taking their children to museums. But that's a gripe for another day and another blog.

Anyhoo, Mister Danza has recently put his big and rebuilt Sherman Oaks estate on the market for a surprisingly high $6,150,000. According to listing information and property records, the 6,778 square foot "Cape Cod" style residence sits on a private 2.3 acre parcel in desirable Longridge Estates. Your Mama does not care how desirable Longridge Estates is, $6,150,000 for a house in Sherman Oaks seems ludicrous. All you San Fernando Valleyites simmer down. Your Mama is not knocking Sherman Oaks. We know that the quintessential suburban city is full of famous and well to do people living in lovely and expensive homes. But it ain't no Beverly Hills. Food for thought, the next most expensive Sherman Oaks house listed on the MLS is just four doors down from the Danza extravaganza, and it's priced at $3,750,000.

Listing information shows the family friendly property includes a gym in the pool house (the better to help middle aged Mister Danza keep his chest bulging and young looking), a guest house (always a nice feature for stashing the inlaws), swimming pool and spa (note the old school slide and diving board which must have survived the quake), tennis court, and a batting cage. Batting cage? How macho.

Inside the "Cape Cod" style house, which looks suspiciously un-Cape Cod like to Your Mama, we find a house bathed in gold fabric. We see gold sofas in the formal living room, a whole army of gold chairs standing around the dining room table, beige-y/gold colored furniture in the family room for watching Taxi reruns, honey gold colored butcher block counter tops in the kitchen. Gold, gold, gold! We did not manage to locate any photos of the master bedroom, but Your Mama would bet one of our long bodied bitches Linda or Beverly that there's a gold sateen duvet on the bed and dee-luxe gold terry cloth towels in the bathroom.

Despite the overdone gold color scheme, the 5 bedroom and 5.5 bathroom mansion still manages to look like a cozy family style a place where people actually live. Not a place Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter would want to live, but a place that real people actually live. So while the sad little wet bar in the family room makes Your Mama depressed and we have an unpleasant and inexplicable desire to know what that gold fabric on the dining room chairs feels like on our nekkid and prodigious booty, we give the Danza clan props for living in a house that does not look like an obscene decorator show house or a completely generic hotel room at a second tier Four Seasons Hotel.

However, one note about the backyard fencing, railing and chain link. All those ticky tacky barriers gives the place a white collar jail vibe, which isn't so good for getting well over 5,000,000 clams out of a super rich Sherman Oaks buyer. Surely a well paid landscape designer could come up with a better solution.

Your Mama wishes the Danza clan all the luck in the world unloading their rebuilt Sherman Oaks dream house. We think you're going to need it at it current asking price.

UPDATE: Well, it does appear that the Danza's have split. While we can find no indication that the soon to be ex-Mrs. Danza bought a house in Fryman Estates as was noted in the comments section, that does not mean she didn't, just that we cain't find it with our weary eyes and tarhd mind. However, property records do reveal that the erstwhile couple do own a 1,349 square foot 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom ocean front house on Malibu Road in, well, in Malee-boo of course.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Au revoir Blanc d'Ivoire

Almost like a death in the family, I am faced with the loss of my favorite vendor: Blanc d'Ivoire. Recently this French furniture company decided to close their NY office, thus making it nearly impossible for small independents like myself to order their merchandise. They now require you to buy a container and that's unrealistic for a designer with my sized business. So, I am now forced to buy their product wherever I can find it and just hope that I can find it. I know Indulge in Houston recently bought a container full so I'm anxious to see what pieces they ordered. But still, this is a loss that I am taking hard! My favorite client and I perused their web site so much we only referred to it as BDI in email exchanges. Their merchandise is everything I love: white, crusty and grey patinas, french and Swedish inspired designs, and cheap. Did I say cheap? OMG, you can't imagine! It kills me to think I'll be paying retail for it now, but even at retail prices, it's still a bargain. And so, here is my final ode to Blanc d'ivoire - thanks! It was a blast while it lasted.

Not only do they sell furniture, there are wonderful plates and vases all in the creamy and white tones BDI is famous for.

They also make wonderful French quilts and bedding.

I love their mirrors and light fixtures, along with wonderful consoles and buffets.

This is a dining table from their new line of furniture.

This traditional headboard comes in different fabrics and colors. They also have a large range of lamps and chandeliers.

I might have ordered this bench from BDI more than any other independent designer in the U.S. A meal for two at a restaurant probably costs more.

No, wait - maybe this lamp is my most oft purchased item from BDI.
This chair is so wonderful (and cheap) that I ordered almost the entire inventory left in NYC, "just in case."

So, now I'm thinking, with the demise of my almost free ride with Blanc d'Ivoire, what will take its place? What do I buy from other companies that are great bargains? What other good deals are out there for cheap? What catalogues do I go to time and time again to "fill in" when the big boys fall short?

Global Views: A wonderful to-the-trade catalogue. Mostly I buy tables from them. They are inexpensive in price but don't look it. This table has a black marble top and brushed brass legs. It's stunning in person, especially for the price.

This is another wonderful table from Global Views. It's perfect for drinks next to a club chair. Their tables come with antiqued mirror tops, glass tops, and white and black marble tops. They also come in silver or brass. There are square tables, round ones, and oval ones. I spot Global Views tables in all the shelter magazines, in surprisingly pricey homes. I noticed that Ivanka Trump has some in her stunning apartment. I never fail to smile when I spot one in a million dollar home.

Here on the cover of Elle Decor is one of my favorite Global Views tables.

I love these wooden pagoda shelves from Global Views. Their array of products is immense. Most stores that sell accessories will invariably stock some items from this powerhouse company.

Another favorite catalogue is Wisteria. Started by the young daughter of famed Houston interior designer Jane Moore along with her husband, this catalogue has taken the design world by a storm. In the beginning, it was stocked with an array of goods gathered from around the world. Lately the catalogue seems to be going in a new direction. Painted reproduction furniture has taken over from the exotic. Apparently, it's been a very profitable move. Most, if not all of the painted furniture is backordered for months. Above, is one of their more popular pieces from their painted furniture line.

This garden seat from Wisteria is a personal favorite. I can't count the number of times I've ordered it. It's beautifiul with its slightly muted, antiqued tones. I own three of them myself.

Primarily know for their richly embroidered fabrics, Chelsea Editions has a line of furniture inspired mostly from Swedish antiques. This company will probalby be my replacement for Blanc d'Ivoire. Their furniture is actually of a much finer qualilty than BDI and the prices, though somewhat higher, are still very reasonable. This table above is a versatle piece, perfect as a nightstand, a small desk, or a tea table. Unfortunately, Chelsea Editions is a to-the-trade only company.

When I have a client who isn't interested in paying Conrad or Hunter Douglas prices, I send them to Target to buy these tortoise shell blinds. I've used these dirt cheap blinds in the most expensive of houses. Highly effective, Target blinds are one item you can substitute with for times when the budget gets tight.

west elm is Pottery Barn's contemporary answer for the hip, young, urban crowd. When designing for a teenager, I love to use their platform beds with their wooden headboards - which come in several different styles. Besides teenagers, west elm appeals to singles and the newly married. Very good quality for the money.

If west elm is too severe for your tastes, a new contender, Brocade Home may be the answer. Frilly, damasky, and ultra feminine, young women are going crazy over this new catalogue. My favorite pieces are their chairs: french inspired, with light painted finishes, these chairs could go from a vanity to the dining table for the right client.

Pottery Barn, the old standby, recently updated it's line. These pieces are a standout: the kilim covered bench is fabulous and would add texture and atmosphere to almost any family room or library. Great look, great price.

I love this new Pottery Barn console. I think it's great looking and I am planning to use it in a room I am currently working on.

This rush seat bench is from the same group as the console, above. Again, great price, great look for the money.

Online from Urban Outfitters: this is a quilt wiht a suzani pattern. It makes a great bedspread or a tablecloth for those who want a suzani but don't want to pay the high price for a "real" one. This is suprisingly good looking and effective in person.For young clients, I love this velvet bench from Urban Outfitters online. I've used it in a teen's bedroom. Target carries this same piece on their web site.

Ballard Designs has long been known for their trendy items, many of which have a french provenance. Before it was sold and was still ultra unique, practically everything in the catalogue came in chartreuse. Today, they have a much larger color range. The items I buy over and over from Ballard are these chairs. Fold ups, they make great extras for dinner parties, offices, breakfast tables, and even a dining table until "real" chairs are affordable.

Originally, they only came in tortoiseshell bamboo, now the chairs come in many different patterns and colors: here they are in white cane.
And again, with a great new cut-out design.

Zebra rugs and anything zebra striped is this years coral: Major Trend Alert. I found this company, Pacific Artifacts at Round Top. Call them to buy one of their great rugs. I did! And I'm sure I'll be buying many more in the future.

Restoration Hardware makes this clear baluster lamp. It's heavy, well made, beautiful and currently on sale. I use this lamp over and over again. It's my favorite right now and it goes well with almost every kind of decor.
Oly Studio is another favorite to-the-trade only online source. This bench is hot right now and has been featured in a lot of magazines. Oly makes furniture for hip people who like trendy things.

Here are my favorite accessories from Oly Studio: faux bois bird candlesticks. Did I say Oly specializes in Major Trend Alert products? Here we kill two trends at once: birds AND faux bois. I love when that happens.

The designer Tom Scheerer loves to use this Saarinen designed table. On his web site, almost every house in his portfolio has one of these tables somewhere. Here he uses it both for dining and as a coffee table. Ikea makes a great knockoff, pictured below. To me, this is the single best item available at Ikea:

Above is the Ikea knockoff. For under $200, you can get a great designer look. Megan of Beach Bungalow 8 has one herself in her breakfast room:

Another item at Ikea that I love is their line of slipcovered sofas. Pieces in the line include a sofa, sectional, chaise, ottoman, and chair. The slipcovers come in many different fabrics, but the white is my favorite, of course! It's very comfortable seating, especially for it's dirt cheap price. I've sat in sofas that cost 10 times more that weren't nearly as comfortable. Great for a beachhouse or a playroom.

Legend of Asia has tons of blue and white pottery and just about anything else you could want from, well, Asia I guess. They have garden seats in every color, porcelains, pottery, accessories, and furniture that's new and antique (supposedly). Besides the blue and white, in case anyone cares about any other color, there's green, celadon, white, red, and orange. Best of all: trade prices! Great customer services make them an easy company to do business with.

These bird prints are popping up everywhere. Again, a room by Tom Scheerer. Here the bird prints, by a Swedish artist, are original. Everytime I turn around, I see another designer using these prints. Recently, I spied them in Bunny Williams' beach home, shown in her new book. If you can't afford the originals, Anthropology has the complete set, one is pictured below: I've not used them yet, but I'd love to find a client who is game.

Again from Anthropology, this iron bed is well priced and well made. It's beautiful when dressed up with linens like below:

Here, acclaimed designer Miles Redd uses a more upscale (expensive) model of the same bed. Redd apparently loves this bed, he's used it quite a few times.

Here, Redd, again uses the "Anthropology" bed with a more masculine feel.

And lastly, the English catalogue OKA Direct has great, inexpensive finds. The designer Michael Smith has been quoted as saying he buys all his dinner plates from OKA. He especially loves the above blue and white dinner set. I do too. One day, I plan to buy the set for my everyday dishes.

Besides dinnerware, OKA sells furniture, some of the painted variety, drapes, cushions (pillows to us Americans), accessories and rugs. I love this blue and white striped dhurri. A great item to use if you want a "Somethings Gotta Give" feel to a house.

I bought two of these vases from OKA. They are huge!!!! So huge that they overscaled everything in my house and I finally just put them on the floor on either side of a french door. Dealing with an English company may seem daunting to Americans, but OKA made it simple. A few weeks after I placed the order online, they arrived, well packed, and in one piece.

Have you ever bought any of my favorite catalogue picks? What are your favorites? Have you ever had a bad experience dealing with a catalogue or an online company? I'd love to hear about your favorite (or not so favorite) purchases. And, to those who made it all the way to the end of this post, as a reward for your endurance, if you want to buy something from the to-the-trade companies, email me and I will be happy to help you with the order.

Ring Around Parker Posey's Place

SELLER: Parker Posey
LOCATION: East 10th Street, New York, NY
PRICE: $1,175,000 / maintenance $1,344 per month
SIZE: 3.0 room, 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom
DESCRIPTION: Quiet and serene, this loft-like home occupies the entire top floor of a Greek Revival / Italianate landmark townhouse built in 1845...soaring ceilings, wide plank floors, exposed brick, a 15' skylight, a 6' high wall of multi-paned artist studio windows, a new kitchen and bath (with a claw foot tub), excellent closet and storage space and a washer/dryer. There is also a working, carved marble fireplace and the exclusive use of the roof. Pets welcome.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Ever since Mister Max Abelson, boy wonder of the New York celebrity real estate gossips over at the NY Observer, wrote about indie film goddess Parker Posey selling off her long time East Village apartment, Your Mama has been inundated with emails and phone calls asking us for more information.

Well, we could hardly provide more information about Miz Posey or her very chic and arty little East Village flat that wasn't already covered by Mister Abelson, so we'll simply add our own little bit of nothing to the conversation about the actresses' top floor artist's aerie.

Located in a pretty row of Victorian townhouses, the nicely maintained but fairly non-descript celebrity friendly building sits East 10th Street at the western edge of the East Village. For those who don't know the East Village, the location is particularly prime as it's very close to the subway and the East Village dining institution Veselka is a two minute walk away. The excellent independent book store St. Mark's Bookshop is just around the corner and the impossibly cool St. Marks Church in-the-Bowery is just down the block where one can watch out of this world and non-mainstream poetry and dance, if you like that sort of thing.

Miz Posey's floor through 1 bedroom rides atop the same building that houses a couple other famous folks with downtown street credibility. Big Love second wife and East Village high priestess Chloë Sevigny owns the garden apartment, and former Smashing Pumpkins' James Iha owns one of the other coops in the small townhouse building that dates back to 1845 and does not include any luxury amenities such as a doorman or concierge service. The lack of dee-luxe services makes Your Mama wonder why the monthly maintenance, a somewhat steep $1344 per month, is so damn high. Given the modest size and modest neck of the woods, we would have expected monthly building costs to be under $1,000/month.

Your Mama is very pleased and impressed with Miz Posey's funky downtown decor. It looks like a pleasant and well curated mish-mash of items from the Avenue A flea, Las Venus (the old and wacky Las Venus on Ludlow Street and not the mid-century modern outpost), and any number of assorted thrift shops located in church basements around lower Manhattan. I don't care what anyone says, that gnarled wood coffee table is flawless, even if it is murder on the chins after a few drinky-poos at Parker's place.

The well-resolved floor plan works well for a single gal about the East Village or possibly a painfully hip couple who walk their dog to the filthy Thompkins Square dog run and spend weekends at their slightly disheveled and in need of repair farm in upstate New York, where incidentally, Miz Posey recently purchased a house from Tatum O'Neil.

Apparently there was a line a mile long to purchase Miz Posey's petite penthouse, because even before old-school East Villagers could stomach the loss of one of their most cherished residents, the itty bitty apartment, listed at $1,175,000, went to contract. No word on whether Miz Posey and her cute litte dog are leaving the East Village altogether or if the actress is simply trading up to larger digs in the 'hood. We hope the later, because once the old guard East Village artists start leaving the once boho neighborhood, it means that days of buying dime bags of weed on St. Marks and going on the nod in Thompkins Square Park are truly numbered.

P.S. Parker doll, if you're getting rid of the fabulous orange swivel chair, please let Your Mama know, because we are in love with that particular piece of second-hand pricelessness.

Mike and Irena Medavoy's Beverly Park Mini-Mega-Mansion

SELLERS: Mike and Irena Medavoy
LOCATION: Beverly Park, Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $21,500,000 (reduced from $23,500,000)
SIZE: 10,769 square feet, 5 bedrooms 9 bathrooms (as per listing)
DESCRIPTION: Exceptional Hampton-Style Beverly Park Estate. Beautifully set on nearly 2 acres of rolling lawns. The best value in the area. Beautifully decorated & designed. Extraordinary 2-story entry. Fabulous living rm/projection rm. Study, double powder rms, sensational kitchen/family rm, & wonderful loggia out to the lush gardens, swimmer's pool, & guesthse. Amazing master suite w/beautiful dual baths. 3 add'l spacious family bdrms & maids. Excellent privacy in the most sought after gated community.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: The children just looove to hear about the residents and humongous houses of Beverly Park and when we can, Your Mama likes to feed the children just what they're asking for. So today we bring y'all some Beverly Park goodness to chaw on.

Only in uber posh and guard gated Beverly Park, where 20,000+ square foot steroidal houses are the rule rather than the exception, is a nearly 11,000 square foot house considered a cozy mini-mansion. But that's what Your Mama would have to say about big time film producer Mike Medavoy's modest by comparison mansion that Your Mama hears from our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills will soon be hitting the market with an ear piercing asking price of $23,500,000.

There's no question a man like Medavoy can afford to own and maintain a house in hyper manicured Beverly Park, where the lawns are always meticulously mowed, the hedges impeccably clipped and the swimming pools glisten like sunlight itself. After all, he's responsible for bringing any number of block buster films to the screen such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Rocky, The Terminator, The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Thin Red Line and many, many more.

So the man prolly deserves his vast riches that in the year 2000 allowed him to build his dream house in one of the most exclusive and expensive developments anywhere in the world. The white clapboard and black shuttered East Coast traditional style with 10,769 square feet, sprawls across it's 1.8 acre lot that includes a double gated driveway, large parking court, and swimming pool and guest house complex, and an expanse of perfectly green grass. There is not, however, a tennis court, which for $23,000,000 would be a deal breaker for Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter who like to swing a racket now and again.

No official or new listing exists for the house that we've been able to locate, but thanks to our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills we managed to get a hold of a few photos and information from when the house was on the market a few years ago for $14,500,000 (reduced from $15,750,000). The pretty center hall quasi-Colonial 5 bedroom house includes 8 bathrooms (or nine according to old listing information), 6 fireplaces, a living room that converts into "one of the best screening rooms," and "one of the loveliest master suites" (again according to an older listing).

Your Mama is quite impressed with the bold color that the Medavoy's nice gay decorator used in the dining room. Never before have we seen or heard of a hot pink formal dining room, and honestly, we'd never have imagined we would have anything positive to say about a dining room with screaming pink walls. But we do. Maybe it's because we're having an off day or maybe it's because Your Mama has an unhealthy attraction to bright colors. We are not in love with the execution of this room, but children, try to imagine the space pushed beyond traditional towards something kooky and contemporary. Keep the ka-razy chandelier and the side table with the too cute topiary and the wacky sea sponge looking thing underneath. Whatever that thing is, we're coveting it. We don't understand the abstract artwork hanging on the wall, but it too can stay unless you can afford a subtle Rothko or glorious Gary Hume painting to replace it. Lose the carpet, paint the moldings and doors the glossiest white paint you can find, replace the very expensive but ordinary table with a big tacky Lucite thing and cover all those faux-Louis chairs in an even tackier shiny white patent leather. Now that would be a fucked up hot pink dining room even Your Mama could love.

We don't feel as forgiving of the study/library. Somehow the room appears remarkably bright for a room with coal black walls and Your Mama is quite certain every single object in this room cost at least $2,000, but it's a strange hodge-podge that isn't quite working for us. Could be the grainy photo or it could be that upsetting scroll/map thing on the wall? Your Mama is well aware that art is subjective, but we can only hope that particular piece was done by one of the Medavoy's grandchildren (if they have any). Please don't someone tell Your Mama that chicken scratch depiction of the earth is worth more than a Mercedes.

Your Mama doesn't have a clue why the Medavoy's would chose to leave the private and secure environs of Beverly Park. Maybe they're downsizing to a house in the flats? Maybe they're up sizing to something larger? Maybe they're tired of looking at the sculpture next door. Whatever the care, it'll be inneresting to see what rich and/or famous person steps up to buy this house.

Now, let's move on to some other Beverly Park bizness. There has been some discussion in the comments section of this blog about a Beverly Park house owned by Jeanette and Robert Bisno, who among other alleged infractions, famously ired their ridiculously rich neighbors with statuary that some Bev Park residents felt was suggestive, possibly vulgar, and simply did not conform to the 70-page homeowners covenants to which all Beverly Park properties must adhere. Well, wouldn't you know, the Bisnos' happen to live right next door to the Medavoys in their own 11,894 square foot mansion. Oh children, the rich people up in Bev Park were all up in arms over the Bisno's gates, garbage cans and motor court statuary. Just imagine the shock and nasty stares as resident slowly rolled by in their shiny Bentleys, the shunning and whispered mortifications. The whole uproar ended up in a convoluted lawsuit that involved such allegations by the Bisnos that the ruling judge was mentally incompetent and as such unable to decide the case effectively. Wow. These Bisno people must really have wanted that damn statue. We're not sure what the outcome of the statue wars was, but it does appear that the very expensive piece of outdoor art is still in place in the Bisno motor court. Which means it's probably still tied up in courts. What a stellar use of our over-burdened judicial system.

An excellent article from the New York Times reports that during the bickering the Bisnos were in the process of getting a dee-vorce. But the article also reports that the couple bought another vacant lot a few doors up from their current residence where they intended to build another dream mansion and take their naughty statue with them. We don't find any evidence of them buying a second lot up there, but then again, the real estate dealings of the super rich are often obscured and difficult to track, so our lack of evidence really means nothing.

One of Your Mama's readers has also suggested in the comments section that the Bisno house is in foreclosure. Your Mama can't find any evidence of that in our rather lax research, so we can't confirm or deny that bit of unpleasantness. It does appear that the house is heavily mortgaged, but honestly puppies, that does not mean a thing. Many, many vastly wealthy people borrow enormous amounts of money against their lavish homes for any number of reasons. We can't comment on the state of Mister Bisno's finances, because we simply don't know anything about them. What we do know is Mister Bisno is and has been a controversial figure anywhere you turn.

Moving on from the Bisno bizness...Of course by now, all the children know that Beverly Park is filled to the gills with the rich and famous including Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington, Jami Gertz, Reba McEntire, Sylvester Stallone, Paul Reiser, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Avi Arad, Eric Schmidt, Martin Lawrence, Sumner Redstone, Barry Bonds, Michael Eisner, Samuel Jackson, Rod Stewart, porn king Norman Zada, Haim and Cheryl Saban, a couple of Saudi royals, Steve Udvar-Hazy, and of course, young Mister Russ Weiner, the Rockstar Energy Drink founder who is one of Bev Park's newest residents.

Mister and Missus Medavoy's little slice of residential heaven for the filthy rich is far from the only Beverly Park behemoth on the market. According to property records, mobile home maven Lee Kort is trying to get rid of a 3.35 acre lot for a shocking $49,000,000 (plans and permits for a 25,000 square foot house also available). Beer baron Adolf Coors owns a 9 bedroom and 9 bathroom monster mansion, dubbed "The Great 78," which backs up to the Medavoy mansion and is currently available for $34,000,000. George Santopietro, Vanna White's ex-huzband and current Bev Park resident, recently plunked a mammoth newly built spec-house on the market for a spine tingling $50,000,000. And the Moeljadi family have long been trying to unload their 20,612 square foot pile for $29,000,000. And these are just the houses Your Mama knows are on the market. You can bet that are at least 2 or 3 others that are quietly for sale for the right price.
YOUR MAMAS UPDATE: We take it back...after viewing more recent photos of the Medavoy mansion (above), we are not so keen on the dining room. It is not, after all, the modern and nutty color scheme we originally thought. The walls are not covered in unexpected hot pink paint, but rather with a light red damask wallpaper. Ugh. Dreadful. And in the study/library, we thought the walls had been painted a very progressive, if not particularly likable black. In actuality, they are green damask. DAMASK! On the walls! Yikes. We know damask wallpaper is not uncommon in a house with an old-guard sort of decor, but with all due respect and apologies to the Medavoys, damask wallpaper always reminds Your Mama of the "better" whorehouses in rural Nevada.

We realize many of the children relish in and prefer this traditional and safe form of interior decor, but Your Mama does not. Yes, it looks cozy and comfortable, which are indeed nice qualities in a house, but Your Mama gravitates to a more modern and eclectic sort of interior where one finds unexpected and quirky bits and pieces of person's life. But alas. That said, Your Mama will say, that to the Medavoy's credit, the mansion looks welcoming and not at all lavish and lurid in the way that many people, including Your Mama, imagine the homes in Beverly Park to be decorated. Remember Rod Stewart's obscenely over stuffed mess?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Jane Pratt Sells Townhouse

SELLER: Jane Pratt
LOCATION: 58 Downing Street, New York, NY
PRICE: $3,800,000 (sale)
SIZE: 2,560 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: 58 Downing Street is an extremely rare, single family private home to come to the marketplace. Decorated by one of the world's top designers, lose yourself in informal, sophisticated luxury. 58 Downing provides the once-in-a-lifetime fantasy to own your own home in the village; resplendent with original stoop, wood-burning fireplaces, turn-of-the-century woodwork and details, and a sun-filled garden.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Children, Your Mama has been stricken with a flu which is why we did not feed the children any good real estate porn yesterday. And as usual, the children just about killed each other in our absence. Honestly babies can't Your Mama leave you alone for even one day without you turning on each other like a couple of tranny crack hos fighting over the last married man trawling Hollywood Boulevard?

We're still feeling pukey and under the weather, but in the interest of keeping the children from verbally slaughtering each other, Your Mama is going to pop up a little something about a lady named Jane Pratt. Some of you may recognize Miz Pratt's name because of her loose lips which revealed that she had a lesbian fling with Drew Barrymore back in the mid 1990s. Bet Drew was THRILLED to have that bit of news flashed about the radio.

Others of you might recognize Miz Pratt's name because for many years she sat at the top of the heap of the magazine publishing world. Back in the early 1990s, 24 year old Miz Pratt, an upper class hipster with a blue blood education, tapped into the zeitgeist of the burgeoning pre-teen gurl publishing marketplace when she created Sassy, one of the first and arguably best of the pre-teen gurl glossies which aimed at teaching young gurls just getting their mosquito bite boobies how to dress, what music to listen to, and how to innocently flirt with pimply-faced boys.

When that went belly-up, she teamed up with the Condé Nast, the Cadillac of magazine publishers. Her eponymous Jane Magazine, aimed at stylish and hip young women never quite achieved the cult following or street-cred success of Sassy, but the job paid her enough money to buy a downtown townhouse in 2001 for around $2,200,000.

Time rolls on and Jane Magazine is now defunct and Miz Pratt has a Sirius Satellite radio program. The mother of one with a longtime male companion recently sold her Manhattan townhouse for $3,800,000. Lest anyone be under the impression that the mortgage crisis is having much effect on the current Manhattan real estate market, you should know that the the not very well located four floor house was purchased for $150,000 MORE than it's asking price. Lucky Jane.

Listing information for the house says it was decorated by one of the world's top designers. And perhaps it was. We're certainly feeling okay about the parlor floor living room space, but the family room on the fourth floor is making us queasy. Let's hope the pinky/fleshy color is the result of a bad camera because Your Mama could not stomach living up in a room the color of tongue.

Although Your Mama finds the less than desirable Downing Street location is only good for its proximity to the Film Forum theater and the 1/9 subway, we happen to like the layout of the petite house. The English basement includes a large eat in kitchen with a street entrance which is perfect for getting the food deliveries from Fresh Direct right into the kitchen without having to schlep them through the house. The Parlor floor, while narrow is nicely laid our for entertaining. The lack of a terlit on this floor is a minor inconvenience unless you're a mobility impaired dinner guess, then it's a tremendous inconvenience to have to climb a flight of stairs just to relieve oneself.

The third floor, devoted entirely to the master suite is nicely laid out except for that bathtub in the dressing room. Honestly, that's just silly. Who needs to bathe while looking at the Jimmy Choos and Prada suits? We'd rip that water barrel out right away and replace it with more custom fitted closets.

The two bedrooms on the third floor are rather small, but how much room do children really need? None the less, if this house were to belong to Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter we'd combine those two bedrooms into one nicely sized suite for guests...well at least guests that have the lung power and leg strength to get up and down all the stairs to the kitchen.

According to records on file with the city, the skinny 16 ft wide 3 bedroom and 3.5 bathroom house was purchased by political risk management guru Ian Bremmer, a youngish intellectual and brilliant political scientist who heads up the Eurasia Group. We imagine these rooms will soon be filled with all sorts of chatter about global finance, proliferation treaties and the potential positive and negative implications of a senator's pork barrel requests.

According to Media Bistro (via Curbed), Miz Pratt is rumored to be starting a magazine with Gwen Stefani. So does this mean that the Pratt clan is headed to the west coast?