Friday, February 29, 2008

UPDATE: Rachel Hunter

Back in early February of 2007, Your Mama came across a 5 bedroom and 5 bathroom house up in the hills of Hollywood on N. Crescent Heights Boulevard that carried an asking price of $3,600,000. We had a devil of a time sorting out ownership and by the time we managed to figure out that the house was owned by ex supermodel and Rod Stewart ex wifey Rachel Hunter, it was late May and the asking price had been karate chopped to $2,995,000.

The property lingered on the market for quite some time with the lower price and then, POOF!, it vanished, apparently unable to attract a ready, willing and able buyer. The 4,078 square foot sort of Tudor style house (which is now be marketed as an "English country farmhouse" evaporated from our mind until just the other day when, KABLAM! the property popped back up on the MLS with a new asking price of $3,250,000.

Whhaaat? Please.

All due respect to Miz Hunter and her pee-pol, but what's the thinking process behind re-listing the property with an increased asking price after it languished on the market for a good long while at a lower price? Are we missing something?

Hoo-righ-ah Who?

BUYER: Olena Franchuk
LOCATION: No. 17 Upper Phillimore Gardens, Kensington, London
PRICE: £80,000,000
SIZE: Big.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama predicts that in 36 hours or less no one will remember or even care whether Hourieh Peramam, the recent and alleged buyer of the gaudy Toprak Mansion, is an actual person or some kind of bizarre ploy for marketing the uglee-ass pile on The Bishop's Avenue in North London, because £41,000,000 is loose change for Olena Franchuk, the new and undisputed queen of hideously expensive London real estate.

Hold on to your Vivienne Westwood britches bitches because according to a report in the Daily Mail, the Ukrainian bizness woman and pal of Miss Sir Elton John is believed to have dumped a hair raising £80,000,000 on a huge detached house in the hoity toity Kensington area of South-West London. Yes, you read that correctly kids, that's £80,000,000, a breathtaking 158,756,800 clams to those of us across the pond in the good ol' U-nited States where a good New York City townhouse can still be snapped up for well under $50,000,000.

Contracts are reported to have been exchanged in the last few weeks and if the purchase is fully executed, the sale price of the 5 story house on Upper Phillimore Gardens will shatter the previous record high when Indian born steel baron Lakshmi Mittal forked over a stunning £67,000,000 for his 12 bedroom behemoth on heavily secured Kensington Palace Gardens.

Miz Franchuk's new digs have recently undergone a reported £10,000,000 overhaul which included installing an underground swimming pool, gym, sauna and private cinema. There are "at least" 10 bedrooms and a secure panic room, a feature that is becoming de rigueur in the lavish homes of the freakishly rich. Look closely and you can see the interior spaces appear to have been extended under the entire back garden and all the way to the mews cottage at the rear of the property, which is included in the sale. That's some serious and impressive engineering iffin we say so ourselves.

Miz Franchuk, a well known ladee among big money international philanthropic types, is the daughter of a former president of the Ukraine and the wife of 40-something billionaire bizness man and may-jor contemporary art collector Viktor Pinchuk.

Now puppies, Your Mama certainly has no problem with rich people living up in nice houses. Hell, we're rich and living up in nice houses. However, we do confess that in our little pea brain there's something unseemly and, frankly, vulgar about anyone paying $160,000,000 for a single house that is likely to be occupied, at most, only a few months of the year. We know Miz Franchuk and Mister Pinchuk pledge generously with their time and money to a myriad of charitable causes including AIDS education and research, and we credit them for their good works. But could they not have found a nice house for $60,000,000 and spent the other $100,000,000 curing cancer or feeding every starving child in the Ukraine for many years to come? Just a thought.

(Your Mama would like to thank the many people who forwarded up information and links to this story.)

Kylie Minogue Moves On

SELLER: Kylie Minogue
LOCATION: Mount Wellington Road, French Island, Australia
PRICE: $1,800,000-2,000,000 AUD
SIZE: 221 acres, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Thanks to a leg up from Lovely Luiza from Down Under, Your Mama is pleased to present our first ever discussion about a property in Australia. Hoots and hollers all around. Your Mama apologizes in advance that we simply don't know very much about the Australian property market, so at times we're bound to sound like one of those moe-rons who insist on talking about things they know nothing about.

Princess Luiza linked Your Mama over to an Australian news item which announced that Australian singing superstar and cancer survivor Kylie Minogue has put her French Island hideaway on the market "for tender," which Your Mama thinks is Australian for a sealed bid but very well may just mean "for sale." See kids, we're already sounding like an ignoramus, but try to give us a bit of leeway because Your Mama not wise to the real estate lingo particular to that part of the world.

Listing information indicates the toothy pop phenom is asking between $1,800,000 and $2,000,000 Aussie dollars for the 221 acre property, which translates to roughly to about $1,700,000-1,885,000 US dollars. Since Your Mama has no idea how to look up property records in remote regions of Australia, or any part of Australia for that matter, we'll have to rely on recent press reports in which "insiders" whispered to reporters that Miss Minogue and her then beau-friend, the hotsy totsy Parisian born ack-tor Oliver Martinez, bought the property three years ago for just 400,000 Aussie. The big spread, which they called Beauciel, sits on a high point of of the island with long, wide, and serene bay views over the virtually untouched terrain of French Island.

Naturally, Your Mama had never even heard of French Island, but a little research on the internets and we discover that the virtually unspoiled island is an eco-traveler's paradise sitting smack in the middle of Western Port Bay just 60 kilometers from Melbourne. The island, accessible only by ferry, was once home to the somewhat famous and cushy Mcleod Prison Farm, but now claims just 80 permanent residents as well as scads of potoroos (rat kangaroos) and the largest Koala population in Australia.

After purchasing the two parcel property, the now split couple are said to have dumped another million (or so) Aussie dollars on house renovations, landscaping, and the addition of solar and wind power, something that Your Mama is quite surprised not to see more rich and famous people doing since they are in fact the ones with the pockets deep enough to forge an environmentally friendly path in a world with increasingly decreasing non-renewable resources.

In the after math of her successful battle to beat breast cancer three years ago, Miss Minogue and Mister Martinez retreated to this remote hideaway to recooperate without having to deal with long and unforgiving lenses of the paps being shoved in their faces every time they tried to go to the post office or the grocery market. However, it seems pretty obvious from the lack of personal objects in the residence that the Aussie superstar has already packed her Louis Vuitton cases and decamped from French Island in favor of another secluded getaway that does not remind her of Mister Martinez or The Big "C." Who could blame her?

According to listing information, in addition to the 4 bedroom and 2 bathroom main house, the recently fenced and mostly self sufficient property contains organic fruit and vegetable gardens, plenty of room to run sheep and cattle, a walled garden made from corrugated iron and reclaimed century-old timber that protects a small grove of fruit trees, large rainwater storage tanks, and a restored chicory kiln that houses a back up diesel generator.

Although Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter would have to ferry in all sorts of furniture because, all due respect Miss Minogue, what's currently in the house hurts our eyes and offends our delicate sensibilities, we could happily whittle away a few isolated months every year at Beauciel puttering around the organic gardens and sitting on the large bay view decks with a stack of books and a big pitcher of gin and tonics. The only question for us is would the Australian government allow us to fly in our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly as well as our sour tempered pussycat Sugar? Because even though that cat is a real bitch, we couldn't go anywhere for that long without him.

Oy Vey: New Design Books at Amazon.


A sampling of my design book library, spread out all over my house.


Last holiday season, there were so many new design books published that I almost went broke buying the titles I wanted.  So, I expected a long, long respite from Amazon and design books, I mean - how many new ones could possibly come out so soon after Christmas?   Lurking around on Amazon last week I got my answer.   Amazon is just too clever -  they somehow always know when I'm on their site - "Hello, Ms. Cote de Texas ! Welcome Back!"  their screen  screams at me  (they love me at Amazon!)  They even have a list of books they recommend for me,  and it's uncanny just how their recommendations are exactly the books I want.    Below, is the list of books I now have on order at Amazon.  Most of these books are not even released yet, but if you pre-order, Amazon tells you eagerly, you save lots of money.  So,  of course, I told Ben that I am saving him lots of  money.   He's not pleased, he's heard that song and dance before.   So, sit down and relax, my list of ordered books is sort of longish.


The Queen, Charlotte Moss - her new book is due out soon.   A fellow blogger has seen an advanced copy and says there are lots and lots of pictures, something that some of Charlotte's previous books don't have.  I can't wait for this one!


This is a DVD starring Charlotte Moss narrating the behind the scenes of the 2006 New York Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club show house.  Not sure if this is going to be good, but I'll let you know.


Charles Faudree's soon to be released book - I'm a little skeptical of this one.  Florals?  And the cover really doesn't excite me.  But Faudree's two other books are great French-American style reference books, so this is a must have for me.


Veteran author Suzanne Trocme's new one.  The cover looks intriguing.   Soon to be released.


Chinoiseries - soon to be released from Rizzoli House -- they always have the best books.  This one looks great.


Another Rizzoli book - If this cover is indicative of the contents, I'm ready!  Apparently, this is about houses and horses and the hunt, something middle-aged Jewish women know nothing about, but I'm willing to learn.


Another fabulous cover, another not yet released book. 


Any book that has the word French in its title, I usually buy.  But this cover is irresistible, regardless.


Prolific writer, Mary Emmerling's last book was a stinker.  But the one prior was fabulous.  This one will probably be fabulous too, I hope!  Not yet released, of course.


French in the title, but I'm a little leery of the "25 step by step projects" - not sure what that is about and I'm not exactly "crafty."


Magnolia Pearl's long awaited first book.  The title says it all.  She's not my favorite, but some things she does are interesting, to say the least.  To be released.


This was really looks great to me.  Cliff May and California Ranch Style homes are synonymous.  Not yet released.


Probably awful, but the pre released price is pretty cheap.


Lulu's long, very long, awaited book.  Almost as long awaited as Ruthie's L.A. House.  If either of these are ever published it will be a miracle.


A book written by bloggers Carrie and Danielle.  Have to support the bloggers!

New books already delivered:


A French book on opaline glass.  One of the prettiest books I've ever seen.  The opaline pieces in this book make my collection look like junk.  Gorgeous.


You know the rule:  French in the title.   Actually, this is pretty good for ideas.


Staub, the architect that developed Houston's toniest neighborhood River Oaks.  This book is gorgeous and a must have for any Houstonian interested in its architectural history. 


This is a wonderful book about all the other houses of Marie Antoinette's beside Versailles.  Beautiful little book.


And last but not least, a book on the history of mural style wallcoverings in the Gracie and de Gournay tradition.  Put out by the Cooper-Hewitt Museum.

There are some talented designers left who've yet to write a book.  Ones I'd love to see do so:  Dan Carithers, Suzanne Kasler, Bobby McAlpine, Gerrie Bremermann, David Easton, Tom Scheerer, Mary McDonald, and Suzanne Rheinstein to name a few.  Who else needs to write a book?  I'd love to know who you think should.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

UPDATE: Affleck and Garner

Looks like the $22,500,000 behemoth on S. Mapleton Drive in hoity toity Holmby Hills that all the blogs and gossip glossies (see #3) including Your Mama thought Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck were in the process of buying is back on the market.

Perhaps that explains why the real estate seeking couple were out looking at high priced properties in Malee-boo last week.

Just Jack's Shack

SELLER: Sean Hayes
LOCATION: S. Rimpau Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $8,950,000
SIZE: 5,765 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Gated English Country home in great character is located in the most desirable part of Hancock Park. Ivy covered walls and English gardens welcomes you to this absolutely captivating home. Spacious living room, formal dining highlighted by rich dark hardwood fls and French windows. Wonderful gourmet kitchen complete with top of the line appliances opens to family/media room with f/p overlooking pool and patios. Luxurious master suite, separate guest house & outdoor f/p w/ al fresco dining area.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Jack McFarland may have been an out, loud and proud mincer and a major mooch on the television juggernaut that was Will & Grace, but the real life Emmy winning actor Sean Hayes does not speak publicly about his oft rumored gay ways and he clearly does not need that uptight Will Truman's money anymore. That's right children, as you can plainly see from the glossy photographs of the meticulously maintained and stuffy doctor day-core in the Hancock Park house he just pushed out of the pocket listing closet and onto the open market with an $8,950,000 asking price, Mister Hayes eats, sleeps and washes his wigs in big, fat Will & Grace residual checks.

Property records for the Rimpau Boulevard property are a little fuzzy, but it appears that Mister Hayes purchased the 5,765 square foot house in November of 2001. At this point and time we are not sure precisely what amount Mister Hayes paid, but we do know, thanks to Our Fairy Godmother in Bev Hills, that that house was on the market with an asking price $1,575,000 at the time Mister Hayes coughed up the cash.

Listing information for the "Country English" manse indicates there are 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, which is an awful lot of terlits for one man to keep clean. But then again, Your Mama is quite certain that Mister Hayes does not spend much of his hand and knees times scrubbing terlits, if you know what we're sayin'. Perhaps that dirty job is left for a slim hipped and broad shouldered cleaning man with a tool belt full of cleaning utensils and hair care products.

In Your Mama's humble and entirely meaningless opinion, this place looks a bit too much like the long time residence of a couple of well heeled, dignified, and late model Jaguar driving grandparents who know a thing or two about cruising on the Queen Mary and not the home of a rich and famous actor who publicly pretends to know nothing about cruising, queens or men called Mary, oh-kay?

Your Mama means no offense to Mister Hayes or his nice gay decorator man-friend who did this place up because there's really not much wrong with the sensible, Connecticut furniture showroom day-core...except for the upsetting and inexcusable quartet of pear pictures from IKEA hanging over the breakfast table. What in the world is wrong with people's minds that makes them want to put up pictures of pears in the kitchen? Your Mama's decorating lesson #47 is no pear paintings allowed anywhere on any premises

Now kids, fun as it might be and all appearances aside, Your Mama does not want to get jump into the fracas and fray that surrounds Mister Hayes and the rampant speculation about what sort of person he likes to see laying out nekkid by his pretty in ground pool. We recognize it ain't nobody's bizness but his. But, we'd be dying if we we're lying about this inquiring mind wanting to know.

Anyhoo, Your Mama does appreciate the wainscotting in the stair hall as well as the dark paneling in the faux-manly office from where Mister Hayes conducts his show bizness as well rings all his gurlfriends to invite them over for game night in the big green family room adjacent to the kitchen.

The master bedroom includes a fireplace for romantic evenings, a men's club style bathroom with twin Carrara marble topped vanities, a steam shower large enough for Mister Hayes to invite a few well built friends to sweat out the booze, and naturally, there's a huge closet fitted with custom cabinetry.

Your Mama has no official or even whispered word on why Mister Hayes would shed his Hancock Park real estate skin for some other property, but we speculate it could be because he was denied permission to erect an 8 foot wall at the front of the property which would have keep all the queens in sky high heels from peering in his windows at night. Whatever the reason, it's certainly not because he doesn't have the money to maintain this place. Wherever he may land, Your Mama wishes him a happy home and we sincerely thank him for so perfectly playing the high-larious, lovable and gay, gay, gay Jack MacFarland on primetime television.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Tale of Two Houses

One of Houston's more famous interior designers, Ginger Barber, is known for her spare, neutral interiors.  She eschews patterns and fussiness and prefers her designs to be calm and soothing with a sprinkling of pine, concrete, seagrass, stucco, iron, and linen.  Practicing in Houston for over 30 years, she has cultivated a "look" that  is very casual with  plushy down chairs and sofas covered in basic linens -  no silks for Ginger.  Her interiors have a decidedly English look crossed with a Texan sensibility.  Barber owns a small design store that sells English antiques and accessories, creamware and wicker baskets.  It's called The Sitting Room and it's styled exactly as she would her own living room, with  textures playing a major part of the design.  The laid back style would fit right in with a country home in the Cotswold's.  Two of Barber's publicized projects are actually for the same client.  Both houses are presented here for comparison.  Which do you prefer - the early English version or the new more Mediterranean, eclectic look?


The original home:  typical Barber design:  large blanket chest doubles as a coffee table, plump slipcovered, down cushioned chairs and sofa, pine fireplace, seagrass rugs, and lots of wicker accessories in the shelves.  Notice the painted blue armoire to the right, it shows up in the new house!


Original home:  antique pine table and painted chairs, various English styled antiques scattered about.  The wood floors and antiques are honey colored  - a look Barber prefers.


Original home:  Dining room piece doubles as a buffet.  Wicker baskets, religious statues, painted woods, botanicals - all typical of what Barber loves and uses time and again.


Original Home:  converted light fixture, slipcovered French chairs, large hutch with a collection of brown and white transferware.  This muted, monotoned look with honey colored woods is typical of a Barber design.


Original home:  this picture is somewhat distorted, but upholstered headboard, muted bedding fabrics, and checks - Barber loves to use checks and Bennison, but who doesn't?


The New Home:  white limestone floors, iron banister, iron candelabra and light fixture set the tone in this client's new home.  The dark hardwoods on the stairs are covered in seagrass.  Immediately, the differences in the two houses are apparent just here in the entry.


The new home:  a three story townhouse designed by the fabulous Southampton Group brothers.  Here the look is more refined and elegant than the previous house, yet it still is very casual.  Blue and white dhurri rug, bold brown and cream check on recovered slipcover chair from previous home.  Lacquered coffee table replaces the blanket chest.  Small french antique chair comes from the older home.   English antique bamboo table, linen colored slipcovers, painted wood pieces, gold candlesticks - all are trademarks of Barber's.


Close up of living room in the new home.  Notice how she uses baskets and pots in the shelves.  Here Barber uses unmatched chairs as opposed to the former house.  The unmatched chairs look lighter and less bulky in this setting. 


Dining Room:  same chairs as the former home,  but they have been painted darker and wear new light blue slipcovers.  Blue armoire is now in the dining room as opposed to the family room in the former house.  New iron and limestone table.  This dining room is much more elegant than the former one, but still, retains the casual look.  Out of view is a crystal chandelier, replaced the former wood light fixture.


The new kitchen boasts gorgeous antique tiles with limestone tiled countertops.  Creamware pieces are typical of those sold at The Sitting Room, Barber's wonderful design shop.


Barber's usual tablescapes are heavy on concrete and large oversized pieces - nothing dainty or feminine about Barber's look.


Landing in the new home:  note how much darker the wood floors are stained compared to the older home. 


View of the hall with the cream linen drapes that are used throughout the home.  They are full and flowing and quietly lend a luxurious feel.  Pine bench with pillows made of Bennison fabric.


View from the other side of the hall.  Seagrass covers this walkway.  Note the interesting English bookcase on the right.  The large, overscaled hanging cabinet adds to the atmosphere of the hall.  Note how interesting Barber has made a space that could have been "just" a walkway.  Instead, it is a visual treat to take in when moving from one side of the house to the other.


The new home's master bedroom appears to have the same bed and bedding.  The toile pillows are Old World Weaver's famous oriental toile.  I love the casual sofa between the windows and the red tea canister lamps. The painting above the bed appears to be the same painting above the fireplace in the previous home.  As throughout the house, the walls are a sofa cream which match the linen drapes.  The wood floor is left bare - the dark provides a contrast against the light walls and drapes.

Which look do you like better?  The casual, English influenced first home, or the more elegant, slightly Mediterranean look of the new home?  Myself, I prefer the new home!


UPDATE: Suzanne Somers

Looks like the always entertaining and forever blond actress, writer, cancer survivor and unlikely tycoon–yes, babies, she is a tycoon–Suzanne Somers and her huzband Alan Hamel have had a real estate reality check on Le Baux de Palm Springs, their 70 acre hideaway tucked up into the hills overlooking Palm Springs, a town Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter luv to visit but where even the young people are old enough to collect the social security.

Even though the exuberantly decorated 10 bedroom and 9 bathroom property came flying on to the market with all manner of press and publicity, the Duke of Ormonde whispers in Your Mama's big ear that "no one has even bothered to tour" the quirky compound with it's hair raising $35,000,000 price tag.

Now puppies, we don't know if "no one" means only one or two looky-loos or if "no one" means not a single soul wanted to see the Somers/Hamel residence at the original asking price, but hopefully for Miz Somers and her big white teeth, the new and improved asking price of $27,500,000 will bring out a few deep pocketed desert dwellers looking for a new home to park their fleet of customized golf carts.

UPDATE: Michael Jackson

Oh lawhd have sweet mercy children because an unnamed Michael Jackson source is out yakking and spinning to all the press people that the gigantic loan that Fortress Investments holds on Neverland Ranch is being refinanced and the 2,600 acre property* will not be sold at auction on the steps of the Santa Barbara county courthouse on March 19.

Refinanced? Whhaaat? Do we smell that krazee talking Raymone Bain?

We have no doubt that Mister Jackson and his people are furiously spinning their rolodexes and working the phone lines looking for a lender damn fool enough to refinance a $24,000,000 loan secured against a property owned by a man who does not work, has no significant income, and who is leveraged plumb up to the top of his wig. Just who gives those kinds of loans anymore besides someone involved in organized crime? Seriously, who?

Now listen here all you Michael Jackson fans who are goin' to scream and yell about how the one time King of Pop earns big royalties from his recordings as well as income from his significant stake in the Sony/ATV music publishing catalog: Zip it! We do not want to hear your nonsense. The 25th anniversary release of Thriller isn't doing as well as hoped and a pop star with proper income does not squat with his three children and that Raymone Bain ladee in the big houses of rich friends or camp out in Las Vegas hotel suites comped by the hotel's generous owners. Get real.

Here's the thing children, whether The White Lady is able to get Neverland Ranch refinanced or sold by some other means, it's clear to anyone with eyeballs to read the writing on the wall, Michael Jackson's fat lady of real estate has done sung. Long ago.

Now then, Your Mama has done worn our fat fingers to the nubbins the last few days so we're off to mix a big pitcher of gin and tonics and drink ourself into a stupor while we watch all those lovable freakos on Project Runway. We suggest y'all do the same.

*Some reports say the property spreads over 2,900 acres.

A Little Afternoon Reading

Our lovely and crack research maven B.S. Beaverman sent us a link to New York property website The Real Deal which details a fascinating story about the tawdry circumstances surrounding the sale of a 12-room pre-war Park Avenue apartment in New York City.

The story is far too complicated for Your Mama to encapsulate in just a few words, but here are a few teasers to entice the curious to read the whole saga: Lord Conrad Black, the FBI and Sotheby's International Realty.


John Stamos: The Next Downtown Dweller

The summer scene around the roof top pool at the Eastern Columbia just got a little bit hotter. According to the good people at Curbed LA, prime time's Emmy winning ER beef cake John Stamos is the latest celebrity to snap up a condo at the big blue building in downtown Los Angeles. According to Curbed's tipster, Mister Stamos will be bunking one of the three penthouse units that are currently (and rumored to be) in escrow.

If true, he'll be able to borrow sugar and French things from neighbors Johnny Depp and his baby momma Vanessa Paradis who have purchased at least one of the penthouse units in the Kor Group condo conversion. If Your Mama were John Stamos and/or Catholic– which of course we are not–we'd be working our rosary and praying there's a secured garage attached because as nice as Miss Kelly Wearstler did up the lobby and as dee-luxe as the roof top pool may be, this is no place to be street parking your Porsche after a long night at Villa. At least not according to our always saucy pal Lucy Spillerguts who regularly roams the rough and tumble streets around the Eastern Columbia.

Now children, this is off topic and we know his career is way too hot for this, but does anyone besides Your Mama ache to see Sexy Stamos poured into a pair of impossibly tight pants, waving his big arms and swiveling his hips around the stage on that awful and too embarrassing not to watch Dancing With the Stars program? Think about that for a minute before you answer.

Rock It Like A Rockefeller

SELLER: Your Mama does not know actually, do you?
PRICE: $27,500,000 ($8,620.88/month maintenance)
LOCATION: 810 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
SIZE: 2 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Originally Nelson Rockefeller's apartment, this property features a 47' living room with remarkable Park views, West and South. Large formal dining room and library with full bath. Currently the apartment is configured as a 2 bedroom master suite with a double staff room and family room. Could be converted back to a 4 bedroom + library.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Thanks to a little birdie we'll call The Viking, Your Mama has learned that a little piece of New York real estate history has hit the market with a $27,500,000 price tag for what amounts to a large and well located one bedroom apartment overlooking Central Park in a not quite a-list building on Fifth Avenue. The full floor co-operative apartment on the 12th floor of 810 Fifth Avenue has a storied history, so bear with Your Mama as we educate all the children who don't study historical high society real estate deals in New York City.

From the mid-1930s through the early 1960s, oil heir Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, who went on to become Governor of New York State and later Vice President of the U-nited States, and his first wifey Mary Todhunter Clark Rockefeller owned and occupied a tremendous triplex penthouse riding atop 810 Fifth Avenue. The young and really rich Rockefellers hired modern architect Wallace Harrison to design their gargantuan aerie and they paid Parisian decorator du jour Jean-Michel Frank to do up the day-core of some of the 30 rooms. The Rockefeller penthouse was reportedly filled to the brim with cutting-edge furniture and fiercely contemporary artworks by folks like Fernand Leger, Henri Matisse, and Hans Arp as well as gilded consoles by Giacometti, loads of Louis XV-style furniture, and acres of candy colored carpets, which certainly sounds, uhm, colorful.

In 1962, after pushing out and raising up 5 children, the couple went splitsville and the Missus took the top two floors and the Mister kept the entire 12th floor for himself. A very short time later, Mister Rockefeller found and married another ladee named Margaretta Fitler Murphy, but everyone just called her Happy. After the big nuptials, Mister Rockefeller and his new wifey purchased another full floor co-op in the neighboring building at 812 Fifth Avenue which they combined with the former triplex's 12th floor of 810 Fifth which provided the couple and the two children they would have with nearly 12,000 square feet of Fifth Avenue fabulosity. The floors of the two units were not at the same height so a half staircase had to be installed to connect the combined units. The stairs were located behind what is now a bookcase in the library at 810 (see plan here.)

Because the first Mrs. Rockefeller lived upstairs, and perhaps to selfishly spare him any unnecessary drama, Mister Rockefeller reconfigured his combined units at 810 and 812 so that he and Happy could enter through 812 Fifth while First Wifey continued to use the entrance at 810, thus eliminating any chance encounters or a possible fracas between the two well married women as they waited for the lift with its white gloved operator.

The fixer upper duples with 17 rooms (some reports say 12 rooms), 6 bedrooms, and a 1,200 square foot wrap terrace was eventually sold to healthcare honcho John Foster who famously sold it on to music mogul David Geffen for $31,500,000 after the fussy co-op board–which at the time included socialite Jan Cowles and philanthropist Elizabeth Rohatyn, wife of financier and former Ambassador to France Felix Rohatyn–dragged their feet but eventually gave the West Coast based billionaire the gilded and difficult to come by stamp of approval.

Then, of course, as anyone who follows New York real estate knows, the fickle and obscenely rich Mister Geffen turned around and quietly put the duplex back on the market without ever moving in or making any alterations to the duplex. Property records (and multiple reports at the time) reveal that the duplex was quickly purchased by the Blackstone Group's Pete Peterson for $37,500,000, a man whose alliterative name Your Mama delights in and approves of highly, natch.

Anyhoo, let's get back to the full floor unit on the 12th floor of 810 Fifth Avenue. At some point, and Your Mama confesses we don't know when, Nelson and Happy sold their combined units which were incorporated back into their respective buildings as single units. It is the lowest floor of the original Rockefeller triplex at 810 that is currently available to purchase by any rich, well connected individual able to finesse, charm and woo their way into the hearts of the co-op board.

Although the full floor units at 810 Fifth were originally configured with 4 bedrooms, 4 bathroms, a library, and 4 itty bitty staff rooms flanking a servant's hall, the current layout of the 12th floor features nearly 48 feet of paneled living room overlooking Central Park with two fireplaces, a wet bar, and some seriously tired and uninspired day-core. To the east sits a good sized but unfortunately Peptol Bismol pink dining room, and to the north, a paneled library with an attached guest bathroom and a kitchen adequately sized for Lucinda the staff gurl to comfortably whip up poached eggs and blinis.

The mammoth master suite consists of two large rooms. Presumably one is meant to be a bedroom and the other a private office, sitting room or a boudoir. Don't y'all just love that word? It's boo-lovely rolling across the lips. Anyhoo, the two rooms are separated by twin walk in closets, dual dressing rooms and a master bath with his and her terlits and bidets. Now how elegant is that that in this co-op the owners need not wash their private parts on the same bidet?

Interestingly, the staff suite is joined to the master bedroom through a walk in closet. Your Mama assumes this back door bizness is so that good ol' Lucinda can discreetly slip into the boo-dwar (or whatever that room is) and leave the ladee of the house her morning mood pills and the man of the house his before bed bourban without disturbing them as they dress, poop, and/or fornicate in other areas of the multi-room master suite.

There is an additional bedroom in the apartment which is really part of the staff suite and not suitable for the sort of high-fallutin' guests that are likely to be dragging in and out of an apartment like this in their Valentino gowns dripping in doo-dads from Van Cleef & Arpels. In addition to a private bath and bedroom, the staff suite also has what is called on the floor plan a laundry slash family room. Now does anyone really see the owner of this apartment settling into a long night of reality television in the same room where Lucinda launders the sheets and hand washes the under garments? No children, Your Mama does not see that happening either.

Clearly, the apartment's day-core is in dire need an update at the least and more likely the new owners will have to give the place a total overhaul directed by one of the better nice gay decorators who ply their trade in the rarefied air and better addresses along Fifth and Park Avenues. This particular brand of high-klass interiors are not Your Mama's forté, however, we're just certain our good pal The Social Butterfly can hook the new owner up with a well preserved and impeccably mannered gentleman decorator who for a large fee would be more than happy to squire the new owner(s) of this apartment around to all the better shops and showrooms in Paris.

Former residents of 810 Fifth include William Randolph Hearst Jr. and the notorious and much maligned Richard Nixon. In addition to the aforementioned Rohatyns and Jan Cowles, other current residents of the building are believed to include board president Eric Sheinberg (former partner at Goldman Sachs), art patron Maureen Cogan, former Archer Daniels CEO Dwayne Andreas, and records indicate the building's newest super rich resident is Lazard Frere's William von Mueffling who forked over $25,000,000 for the 10th floor apartment in July of 2007.

Here's the question for all you New York old money types, arrivistes and also for all the service class that cater to the well to do along Fifth Avenue...who currently owns this place? Unfortunately that is a name we've yet to be able to ferret out. Email Your Mama with your dirt.