Saturday, May 31, 2008

Nicole Kidman Selling Off Sydney House

SELLER: Nicole Kidman
LOCATION: Yarranabbé Road, Darling Point, Sydney, Australia
PRICE: approx. $20,000,000 (AUS)
SIZE: Hmm. Don't Know Actually

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Thanks to not one, not two, but three snitches in Sydney, Your Mama has learned that the preggers but still pin thin actress Nicole Kidman is finally selling the Australian love nest she purchased in 1995 while married to that mystifying and minikin Tom Crooz dood.

The porcelain skinned Miz Kidman has since moved on to bigger and better things than Tom Crooz including an Academy Award (The Hours)–something Mister Crooz has yet to achieve, upsettingly large new lips and another diminutive huzband, this time country music super star Keith Urban.

Your Mama hasn't a clue how to look up Australian property records, so we can only relay what has already been reported about the Yarranabbé Road property that overlooks the soo-blime Sydney Harbor. Miz Kidman's contemporary crib appears to be a three story affair with almost no yard or grass. The story goes that she and Mister Crooz purchased half of their former conjugal casa in 1995 for a reported $4,200,000 Australian dollars, which Your Mama's bejeweled abacus tell us converts to $4,013,302 at today's rates. In 1998, the then couple reportedly forked over another $4,750,000 ($4,583,853 US) for the other half of the duplex. There are apparently eight bedrooms between the two halves, which we Your Mama can only hope Miz Kidman had the good sense to hire a skilled architect and nice gay decorator to smoothly combine into one large superstar style residence.

As of this morning we have been unable to locate a listing for the hillside property, but all reports from Down Under reveal the Darling Point duplex measures 1,068 square meters. Being mired in antiquated and xenophobic American measurement paradigms, Your Mama had to consult a mathematics expert to figure out that 1,068 square meters translates into a rather large (and approximate) 11,496 square feet. For a ladee who marries little men, she's a bit of a real estate size queen, ain't she?

We first heard that Miz Kidman was looking to fetch around $18,000,000 AUS and later we read $20,000,000 AUS. Not that the U.S. dollar currently amounts much on the world monetary stage, but once again our bejeweled abacus informs us that converts to $17,199,864-$19,110,960 in the good ol' U-nited States.

It's reported that Miz Kidman and Mister Urban are looking for a new Australian nest in the Eastern Suburbs so their soon to be born baby will have more outdoor space on which to run around and wreak toddler havoc.

Miz Kidman an Mister Urban have been on a real estate whirlwind lately. It's been reported that she sold off a Walsh Bay penthouse in December of 2007 for $4,650,000 AUS. The couple also recently sold off their big and banal house on Bancroft Place in suburban Nashville for $2,360,000 and are reported to be building a new one on a 36 acre spread on Old Hillsboro Road in the nearby Franklin, TN area. And of course, there are always rumors running lickety split up and down Sunset Boulevard that the pale skinned red-head is looking for new Los Angeles digs so that she can be closer to the two children she (sorta kinda) shares with Tom Crooz. But as far as Your Mama and our spider web of contacts can suss out, she's not purchased anything...yet.

Your Mama also read that the peripatetic Miz Kidman has also put a beach front property on the NSW far South Coast on the market for around $4,000,000 AUS.

photo: Fiona-Lee Quimby for Sydney Morning Herald

French Eye Candy For the Weekend

Vue sur le château de Boissimon


For your viewing pleasure this weekend:  a romantic house in the French countryside that is just a little bit quirky, but hey - it's in France and that's good enough for me.  I love this view of a healthy tree (unlike my dying one) seemingly growing inside a  porte cochere (which literally means "coach door" in French).


Un style classique mais sobre

The living room:  j'adore the bois paneling and dueling settees.  The coffee tables look like matching park benches to me.  Note the two large urns standing guard between the salon and the entryway.  I wonder if a TV is hiding in the corner cabinet?

Table réalisée par Vincent Dubourg avec des racines de châtaignier

The entry hall:   this table base resembles my I-phone ear bobs that are always twisted up.  The translation of the caption claims the table is made from chestnut roots!

Une cuisine aux murs grisés

The kitchen's breakfast table.    J'adore the antique rattan chairs around the ancient wood table.   Also, I'm loving the Swedish Mora clock in the background.   Mora clocks have become my favorite accessory, a must-have for each household.  These clocks are very romantic partly because their shapes are so feminine.

Une bibliothèque de château qui donne envie de lire...

The library:  Every library needs a crystal chandelier, no?  And, every library needs a huge, square skirted table!   But let's not start another debate on skirted tables right now.   The red and cream damask sofa is just the right amount of color pop against the pale blue silk draperies.  This a great color combination which I love but is rarely used:   light blue with pops of red.  This library is dreamy perfection.

L'office attenant au salon

The translation of this caption says:  "L' office contiguous to the living room."  Hmmmm.  Well, it looks like a butler's pantry to me.   J'adore the freestanding cabinet holding all the glass flasks and vases.

Dans la chambre « Gustavienne »

I don't need the translator for this:  Gustavian styled bedroom.  Look at the gorgeous linen canopy.  And don't miss the fireplace overmantel mirror with sconces.  So French!  And Gustavian at the same time!

Une autre chambre du château de Boissimon

The master bed chambre.  Only in France would there be a priceless, antique tapestry casually hanging over the bed!  More beautiful bois paneling here.  Note the bed lamps hanging from the ceiling.

Dans la salle de bains de la chambre « Baroque »

A beautiful bathroom.  The toilette is  hidden behind the wooden screens.  This ceiling looks like a work of art.

Une autre salle de bains

This bathroom has a quirky chandelier with matching sconce. 

Rideaux en voile de lin

Gorgeous linen curtains line the enfilade of French windows.  In front, an even more gorgeous chair.  The candelabra sets a dreamy mood.  I'd be quite happy having tea right here (well, I'd be more happy with Starbucks!)

Salle à manger

The formal dining room:  you can just make out a pale mural painted to the right of the fireplace.  I don't care for these chairs - if you look at them long enough - they start to look like alien faces!!!   But I do adore the fireplace and mirror.  And,  I love a dining room with a fireplace - there's nothing more romantic than dining by firelight AND candlelight.  The dining room fireplace is something that you don't find too often in the modern day home.

Lustre à six lampions

And last, the stair landing with a modern light fixture.


Hope you enjoyed this French country chateau!  Have a great weekend - I intend to myself.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Phillip Bloch Double Whammy / Los Angeles

SELLER: Phillip Bloch
LOCATION: Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 1,500 square feet (approx.), 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
PRICE: $629,000
DESCRIPTION:R E D U C E D...NOTE H U G E (approx. 1500 square footage) 2 BR/2 BA corner unit. Light & bright w/AMAZING DOWNTOWN VIEWS from balcony, both BR & kitch; & CITY VIEWS. Unit is located on QUIET BACKSIDE of building & is very PRIVATE w/HUGE usable balcony, over sized LR w/den area, hardwood floors & wet-bar. Each BR w/walk-in closets & Mstr ste w/two add'l closets. Mstr BA w/window & spa tub. SxS parking & extra storage in garage. Laundry hook-ups

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: While celebrity super-stylist Phillip Bloch may have an uncanny and innate knack for knowing who should wear what, when and to where, Your Mama thinks the man might have a chip missing when it comes to real estate and interior day-core. Earlier today we discussed the hot mess of a Manhattan co-op that Mister Bloch has on the market for $1,500,000, and in the course of our "research" we also learned that the hat wearing and hair challenged purveyor of panache is also looking to unload his less than perfect west coast crib.

Property records show that the bizzy bi-coastal stylist to the stars purchased his Los Angeles condominium, located on a the residential west end of Hollywood Boulevard, in January of 2001. Your Mama recommends the children hold on to their wigs and britches when we tell them that records reveal Mister Bloch paid just $255,000 (gasps heard up and down Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards) for the 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom condo with lovely views down palm lined N. Sierra Bonita Avenue and over West Hollywood. Mister Bloch's building may be ass-uglee (trust Your Mama, we looked it up) and the kitchen and bathrooms in dire need of a re-do, but remember the good ol' days when living in Los Angeles was a real estate bargain compared to the other historically ungodly expensive major American cities like New York and San Francisco?

Listing information shows the current asking price has been reduced to $629,000 and for that number a buyer gets a genuinely large living room with den area, a "HUGE usable balcony" (with an eye popping and disturbing tile issue), a wet bar for all the booze hounds, laundry hook ups (an excellent feature) and side by side parking (another excellent and desirable feature).

Here's the thing kids. Your Mama suspects Mister Bloch, who has clearly moved out, perpetrated all sorts of upsetting interior design crimes on this place when he was in residence and we certainly understand that most people not familiar with Los Angeles can't fathom why anyone in LaLa Land would willingly live in an apartment rather than a house; Answer: cost, maintenance, security.

Despite being located in a considerably less than attractive building that looks like something built in Warsaw circa 1982, Your Mama is of the mind that the apartment itself, with the help of a nice gay decorator and a skilled contractor, could be wrested from it's current sad state of affairs and be a comfortable and affordable Hollywood hideaway. Because let's be honest kids, not every celeb or demi-celeb in Los Angeles can afford a massive multi-million dollar mansion or, quite frankly, even qualify for a sweet and modest Spanish style casa which could easily be well over a million clams in L.A. So here are eight reasons why Your Mama thinks this condo could work for a budget conscious buyer:

1. Size: It won't work for all the real estate size queens out there, but at (approx.) 1,500 square feet this is a generously sized 2 bedroom apartment with large living spaces.
2. Location: Hollywood Boulevard is not every one's cup of real estate tea, but the central location makes for easy access to most parts of Tinseltown.
3. Balcony: Yes children, we know the tile is a real and serious problem but, all things considered, this is a good sized terrace with just enough space to dine, lounge and give the illusion of indoor/outdoor living.
4. View: Living above the roof tops with a long view is, as Miz Martha Stewart says, a good thing. Your Mama thinks the palm trees are a pleasingly campy visual reminder of place.
5. Parking: Two cars, side by side. 'Nuff said.
6. Kitchen: The tile is terribly dated and the cabinets inexcusably putrid, but do you see the window? Do y'all know how many apartments do not have windows in the kitchen?
7. Bathrooms: There are two, which means the owner(s) can poop in private when there are guests.
8. Light: The unit is south facing for maximum sunlight harnessing.

Your Mama hasn't a clue where Mister Bloch intends to live once he sells both his east and west coast residences, but if he would like a little assistance selecting a new home and new day-core appropriate to his style station, we'd be happy to help. Seriously, call Your Mama Mister Bloch. We're eager to help you settle you into a new crib that represents your vaunted position in the fashion and style world.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Phillip Bloch Double Whammy / New York City

SELLER: Phillip Bloch
LOCATION: West 14th Street, New York, NY
PRICE: $1,500,000 (monthly maintenance / $1,282)
SIZE: 1,400 square feet (approx.), 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
DESCRIPTION: ...Currently a 1,400-square-foot...Personality abounds throughout this historic residence, which features abundant natural light from three exposures; views which include the twin brownstone steeples of designated landmark St. Bernard's Church, lush treetops to the south, and quiet neighboring gardens to the north; moldings, paneling and pass a through window; original ornate parquet floors; two lavishly detailed fireplaces; tin ceilings; a vintage oversized double sink in the kitchen; and a claw foot tub in the bath.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Yesterday Mister Braden Keil at the New York Post wrote in his always entertaining and informative Gimme Shelter column that forty-something fashion fanatic and thin-mustachioed stylist to the stars Phillip Bloch put his modest Manhattan garret on the market for $1,500,000.

Your Mama realizes that only the fashionista few are likely to know who Mister Bloch is, how he earns his paper or what makes him worthy of being discussed on a blog about celebrity real estate. Like only a few other lucky clothing cognoscente–such as the increasingly gender ambiguous Steven Cojocaru and the toothpick thin Rachel Zoe–Mister Bloch has managed to parlay his eye for sartorial style into a seriously successful career selecting high priced designer duds for famous folks like Salma Hayek, Halle Berry, John Travolta, Drew Barrymore and Will and Jada Pinkett name just a few. Mister Bloch is more than just a glorified shop gurl though. That's right children, he also acts, writes, sold a bunch of shit on QVC, and appears regularly on dozens of television talk shows handing out snappy and sassy advice on fashion trends and Hollywood-style beauty. Like it or not, all that media exposure has turned Mister Bloch into a minor celebrity in his own right.

Property records show that Mister Bloch purchased his fourth floor (or is it fifth floor?) walk up on West 14th Street in July of 2007 for $1,150,000. Listing information indicates that the full floor flat measures around 1,400 square feet and includes 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom with a claw foot tub. The floor plan indicates this might have originally been configured as two 1-bedroom units that were merged into a single railroad style number that stretches from the front to the back of the building. The good news is that Mister Bloch's apartment has good square footage, windows on three sides, piles of possibility and the purchase price includes roof excellent and valuable bonus to a buyer looking to expand. The bad news is the place is at best, uhm, really rough around the edges and at worst, appears in need of a may-jer renovation.

Never would Your Mama have imagined this apartment to be the home of one of the most in demand celebrity stylists in the country. Had we to guess, we'd have crossed our heart and hoped to die that this place belonged to a washed up theater queen with a clothing fetish and maxed out credit cards who recently and half heartedly took up studying Eastern mysticism and Bikram yoga to help him cope with all the anxiety and self loathing that results from 25+ years of failed auditions. But it ain't. It really is the home of a noted, talented and well compensated clothing consultant.

Mister Keil reports that Mister Bloch decided to sell his New York City "penthouse" because he didn't have time for the (much needed) renovation. Well, that may be true because Mister Bloch is indeed a blisteringly bizzy swami of style. However, Your Mama has a hard time believing that Miss Thing didn't have time to rip those dee-pressing purple and burgandy sheets off the bed or remove those crappy curtains before the real estate agent came over with a damn camera looking to ask $350,000 more than was paid for the place less than a year ago. Pleeze.

But the linens are really the least of the day-core drama, aren't they? Do we even need to point out that pitiful patio furniture masquerading as some sort of sorry dining room table? Do we need to dwell on whatever precarious and puny thing that is sitting out in the middle of the living room desperately trying (and failing) to be a coffee table? No, we don't. We will, however, discuss Mister Bloch's pitiful and inexcusable lighting situation. Naked overhead bulbs and cheep-ass Home Despot ceiling fixtures? Oh no you did not Phillip. You of all people should know the necessity of a good lighting plan. There is really no excuse Miss Bloch. Your Mama knows full well that you could have sent your assistant in long black Town Car to Target or Ikea or the damn flea market for pick up a few floor and table lamps.

We do recognize that this is just an East Coast crash pad for Mister Bloch's bi-coastal lifestyle, but as that fierce, ferocious and funny little fashion designer Christian Siriano would say, this place is a hot mess. Your Mama is seriously surprised that a man who can perfectly match a Bulgari bauble with a Tori Burch tunic and who can perfectly pair a high fallutin' Louboutin with a Diane von Furstenberg dress did not have the good sense to beg one of his nice gay decorator friends (and we know you must have one or two Miss Bloch) to come over with a garbage bag and deft helping hand. Despite the many and myriad of punishable interior design crimes, Your Mama does always like to say something nice about the properties we discuss and we can honestly say that we adore the fastidious manner in which Mister Bloch has carefully hung his belts on the wall and color-coordinated his shirts on the rolling rack in the make-shift dressing room.

Other than that, we are through here. Next up, Mister Bloch's west coast condominium, which he also has up for sale. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sierra Towers Sell Off

SELLER: Matthew Perry
LOCATION: Doheny Road, West Hollywood, CA
PRICE: $4,500,000
SIZE: 1,672 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms (per assessor)

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Former Friend and well known ladee luver and leaver Matthew Perry–currently linked to former gurly gal pal Lauren Graham–has been on a bit of a real estate whirligig lately. In April of 2008 he forked over $4,475,000 for a recently rehabbed contemporary confection on Carman Crest Drive, and yesterday Your Mama managed to suss out that the one-time a-list actor has put his 22nd floor unit at the celebrity packed Sierra Towers building on West Hollywood's Doheny Road on the market with an impressive $4,500,000 asking price.

Property records show Mister Perry bought his south and east facing corner unit in April 2005 for an undisclosed sum of money. Listing information does not provide any details on the size of the unit or the number of bedrooms and bathrooms so Your Mama will defer to the Los Angeles County tax man (or woman) who measures the condo at 1,672 square feet with 2 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.

From the one photo Your Mama was able to locate that shows Mister Perry's interior day-core, it appears that he had the good sense to hire a nice gay decorator who did his digs up with a minimal amount of clean lined and contemporary furniture...all the better to keep the focus on the magnificent view which on a clear day stretches all the way to the Pacific Ocean. We're a little disappointed at the lack of color we see in the large living and dining room, however, we're thrilled to see the floor to ceiling windows free of fussy fabrics and Your Mama always appreciates a chunky picnic style dining room table, even if it is a little passé design wise.

Times have certainly changed at the Sierra Towers, haven't they children? Only a few years ago one of these condos with a big view could be scooped up for a million clams or less. Then the Los Angeles real estate market went utterly berserk and the modestly sized glass walled units started selling like hotcakes for between two and three million dollars. Nowadays they're priced as stunningly high as a house in the hills with a swimming pool, a grass patch and a spectacular view.

In fact, a 20th floor unit with just 1 bedroom and 2 bathrooms is currently listed at $5,500,000 and mega-rich bizness man and property maven Peter Morton recently listed an 8th floor unit he purchased in January of 2007 for $3,500,000, and also with just 1 bedroom and 2 bathrooms, for $3,950,000.

All the children know by now that the Sierra Towers, a building Your Mama's sensationally sassy amigo Kenny Kissentell refers to as "The Greys and Gays" due to it's large contingent of old and/or homosexual residents, is littered with big name rich and famous folks: Wickedly well preserved actress Dihann Carol calls the tall tower home; In early 2006 Cher dumped $4,500,000 on a 1 bedroom pied a terre once owned by music mogul (and former beau) David Geffen; Elton John and huzband David Furnish recently snapped up a 20th floor fixer for $2,497,000; And let's not forget ageless actress and geriatric jet setter Joan Collins who recently scooped up a 27th floor unit she shares with her much younger boytoy huzband Percy Gibson.

Other current and former famous residents include (but are not limited to) Oscar winning actor Sydney Poitier, freakishly endowed actor and architecture buff Vincent Gallo, chick rocker PJ Harvey, real estate fanatic Fred Durst, and of course Little Lindsay Lohan owned a place here before her once electric career took a tumble. Your Mama imagines the struggling young ack-tur-ess (and rumored to be budding lezbeeun) wishes she held on to her 3 bedroom unit because Your Mama hears from multiple and well placed sources that she's spending what little money she has left paying someone else's mortgage by renting a house up on Ozeta Terrace.

Anyhoo, back to Mister Perry...Property records reveal that in addition to his new house in the Outpost Estates, he continues to own the 3,677 square foot ocean view house on Malee-boo's swanky Sweetwater Mesa Road that he purchased in April of 2005 for $6,550,000.

Given that Mister Perry's unit is fully renovated (or at least it appears to be) and well located on a high floor, Your Mama imagines he'll easily nab a buyer willing to pay big bucks to live in the lap of apartment luxury in West Hollywood. The question is will they pay more than $4,000,000 for the place? What do the children think?

Where Scarlett Johansson Lays Her Head

BUYER: Scarlett Johansson
LOCATION: East 53rd Street, New York, NY
PRICE: $2,100,000
SIZE: 1,270 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Triple Mint Penthouse designed by architect/owner with the most discriminating taste! Elegant & simple with clean lines, top of line finishes and extraordinary chef's kitchen. In addition, both bathrooms are exceptionally renovated with stone and wood. The terrace s large and beautifully landscaped and features open city views. Additionally, there is a lovely greenhouse off the bedroom. Superb closets & much more!

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Blond, bee-yoot-ee-full and bee stung lipped ack-tress Scarlett Johansson has been keeping her publicists bizzy as beavers lately. Not only did the buxom babe recently release a mostly well received album of Tom Waits covers (Anywhere I Lay My Head), she's got several films to promote and she's now speaking publicly about her betrothal to Canadian-born beau-hunk ack-tor (and Alanis Morrisette ex-fiancé) Ryan Reynolds. On top of all that she's been keeping the real estate gossips on their toes as well.

Although property records reveal that Miss Johansson still owns a 5th floor condominium at the Hollywood Versailles apartment tower in West Hollywood that she bought back in June of 2003 for $373,000, the 4-time Golden Globe nom-a-nee (always a bridesmaid...) spent $7,000,000 in May of 2007 for a 7 bedroom and 7 bathroom Mediterranean mini-manse on Senalda Road in the hills above Hollywood. About the same time all the gossips whispered and reported that Miss Johansson was on the prowl for a Manhattan penthouse because her New York neighbors were constantly complaining that her incessant cigarette smoking was a serious drag.

Fast forward to April of 2008 when Mister Max Abelson, who skillfully pens the New York Observer's Manhattan Transfers column, revealed that young Miss Johansson did what virtually no other New Yorker has done for many years...beehawtcha sold her TriBeCa loft at 66 Leonard Street for $52,000 less than the $1,950,000 she paid for the place in January of 2006. Less! Who does that in New York City? Someone in a hurry to unload a place, that's who.

Today Mister Abelson continues his ScarJo scoopage and reports that all signs point towards Miss Johansson forking over $2,100,000 for a 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom penthouse pied a terre in a non-descript full service post-war building on Midtown Manhattan's East 53rd Street. Although Miss Johansson's name does not appear on the deed, the purchasing trust is operated by her mother and shows a billing address in Hollywood identical to the one that appears on the deed for her old apartment on Leonard Street. So while we can't say that Miss Johansson is the buyer with 100% certitude, where there's real estate smoke, there's often fire, you know what we're sayin'?

According to listing information, the apartment measures 1,270 square feet and was designed an renovated by it's previous architect owner. The interiors are all creamy beige and chocolate brown with Carrara marble counter tops. All very smart and pulled together if a little lacking in color for our taste. And P.S. that gold framed mirror in the dining room isn't working.

What we do like is the terrace off the living room which makes a perfect spot for
whittling away long afternoons with a pitcher of gin and tonics and a stack of gossip glossies and later gazing at the glittering lights of the city. We imagine Miss Johansson will find it an excellent spot to quietly contemplate her success and suck down a cigarette or four or five, hopefully without her neighbors fretting over the effects of second hand smoke.

Listing information also indicates that there is a "lovely greenhouse" located off the master bedroom. This might sound like a nice feature to someone who has ever had the misfortune or extreme discomfort to sit in one of these all-glass hot boxes on a sticky hot August day. Listen puppies, you can air condition the shit out of these "greenhouses" and you can put up shades that thwart the stinging rays of the blistering sun, but they're still glass boxes that heat up like a damn oven in the summer and rarely climb to above cool on the thermostat in the winter. Your Mama says no thank you to terraces converted to "greenhouses." The only people Your Mama knows who actually appreciate their Manhattan "greenhouses" are people who own snakes and/or grow their own ganja. We don't know if Miss Johansson has an affinity for either of those things but if she doesn't Your Mama imagines that "greenhouse" will be nuthin' more than wasted square footage where she'll stash all the free shit celebrities are sent by designers desperate to have their stuff on photographed on famous folks.

Only time will tell if the soon to be Mrs. Reynolds will keep this modest Manhattan hideaway or if she and the huzband will soon be looking for a larger and more family friendly crib.

Kenny Rogers Folding in Buckhead

SELLER: Kenny Rogers
LOCATION: Valley Road NW, Atlanta, GA
PRICE: $7,795,000 (furnishings included)
SIZE: 9,000 square feet (est. and approx.), 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Absolutely spectacular home has been painstakingly renovated from top to bottom by owner Kenny Rogers. Wonderful layout, splendid finishes and materials throughout. Comfortable yet so elegant, this home is being offered complete with furnishings. Unbelievable landscape front to back. Elevator, pool.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Since it's already been discussed in the Wall Street Journal, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, and of course by the always on top of things Mister Big Time, Your Mama is obviously arriving way late to the rodeo on this wee bit of celebrity real estate gossip. But we couldn't resist. See children, Your Mama grew up on a musical diet of legendary country crooner Kenny Rogers who recently foisted his "Italian-style" suburban Atlanta mansion on to the market with an asking price of $7,950,000, furniture included.

Your Mama couldn't even begin count the number of times we sped around riding in the cubby of Big Daddy's Corvette Stingray with Sister Woman in the passenger seat and Kenny Rogers giving us gambling lessons from a well-worn 8-track tape. And children, we are not even remotely embarrassed to admit that our eclectic musical play list still includes several of Mister Roger's songs, most notably Islands in the Stream, his flaw-less duet with plastic surgery kindred spirit and fellow country music icon Dolly Parton.

Records and reports indicate that 69 year old Mister Rogers and his much younger wifey Wanda bought their Buckhead behemoth in March of 2006 for $2,800,000 and proceeded to remodel, raise the roof, replace the landscaping and fill the place with truckloads of champagne and beige colored furniture all to the tune of another $3,000,000.

Although property records show Mister Roger's residence measures in at 5,815 square feet, all the reports in the big newspapers say it's really around 9,000 square feet with 6 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms. Other luxury amenities on the fenced and gated 1.5 acre spread include a screening room so aggressively and mono-chromatically beige it's difficult to discern the sofas from the floors, an in ground gunite swimming pool with an itty bitty spa, a home gym, an elevator, and African themed guest bedroom (oh dear!) and a double driveway that leads to a three car garage and loads of additional parking.

Clearly, much time, money and attention was spent on the interior day-core of this home. All the efforts by Mister Rogers and his team of nice gay decorators has certainly paid off if the idea was to get the place primed, pumped and prepared for a small army of picture snappers from Architectural Digest to get in there and take porno-style photos of the furniture and music memorabilia. However, the place is simply too, uhm, dramatic–and beige–for Your Mama's delicate sensibilities and tastes, and we are so completely fascinated and fixated on what message is meant to be transmitted by showing Republican presidential hopeful John McCain on the boob-toob over the fireplace in the family room that we're having trouble seeing, parsing or making sense of much else in the Rogers' residence.

The Wall Street Journal article mentioned that Mister Rogers and his wifey Miss Wanda are also selling a nearby parcel for $2,900,000. According to Mister Rogers, the couple bought the 5-acre parcel in June of 2007 because, "My boys needed a place to play." The couple spent buckets of bucks adding a playground, irrigation, a rock wall, landscaping and electricity all so their 4-year old twin boys would have a place to frolic. Yes children, Mister Rogers fathered children in his sixties when most men are preparing to be grandfathers.

Anyhoo, all reports say that Mister Rogers, his wifey Wanda and their toddler twins will soon be moving to a 150-acre estate in sleepy Nicholson, GA–just outside of Athens–where they are building a modest 3,000 square foot house with a pond, two guest bungalows and a barn. Mister Rogers told the the Atlanta Journal Constitution that their new spread will be, "kind of like Disneyland with animals." Oh lawhd have mercy on our snarky soul. What makes people with a lot of damn money think they need to provide their children with an amusement park in the back yard? Word to the wise, plenty of people raise up their children in less lavish surroundings and they turn out just fine. Pleeze.

Besides, Kenny-hun, iffin you wanted to raise up your kids in a damn amusement park slash zoo, you coulda just called The White Lady and offered him a good price on Neverland Ranch. All that Disneyland crap is already there.

Here's the question we have before we move on to bigger and better things...who would buy an eight million dollar house with all custom furnishings of the previous owner? Do rich people who really do this? Or is it more likely some pharmaceutical executive with a fat back account will buy the place and trash all the furniture so that his wife will have a "project?"

UPDATE: Brad and Angelina

All the big gossip glossies and major media outlets are now reporting that American super stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie –Your Mama refuses to call them Brangelina–have LEASED the Chateau Miraval for three years rather than purchased the 880 acre spread for $70,000,000.

These new reports make much more sense since they have at least seven other properties they already own and spend butt loads of money maintaining. Your Mama seriously doubts they would want the headache and financial burden of a $70,000,000 working vineyard in France.

Blah blah blah...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mister Big's Little House in Sherman Oaks

BUYER: Chris Noth
LOCATION: Oak Canyon Avenue, Sherman Oaks, CA
PRICE: $1,445,000
SIZE: 1,854, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: This is a very special Eichler inspired mid-century estate. Nestled in a lush canyon, and accessed via a private gated driveway, this post and beam three bedroom residence with a large family room offers unsurpassed privacy on a street-to-street lot. Walls of glass, beautiful wood finishes, sleek cement detail, and other earthy elements pop in an abundance of natural light. Remodeled stainless steel Snaidero kitchen, great indoor/outdoor flow, beautiful pool and dining patio.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Last week we were chit-chatting with good pal and wickedly well informed source Lucy Spillerguts who casually mentioned that Sex and The City stud Chris Noth and his gurlfriend/baby momma Tara Wilson recently bought a house in the hills of Sherman Oaks. As the children might imagine, Your Mama grilled Miz Spillerguts mercilessly, quickly contacted a few other helpers and started sifting through property records. Sure enough, records reveal that in August of 2007 the fifty-something year old new daddy forked over $1,445,000 for a modest and modernist house on Oak Canyon Avenue in what is arguably one of the better sections of Sherman Oaks.

Listen chickens, Your Mama is well aware this transaction took place last year. However, we're not aware of it being reported elsewhere and our attitude is better late than never. If any of you smart mouthed children don't like "old" celebrity real estate news, well too damn bad. We're not here to console or cow-tow to the sniveling whiners and complainers. Start your own damn blog if you think we're not doing a good enough job. Now that that's off our heaving chest...

Mister Noth, perhaps best known as the enigmatic and non-committal Mister Big on Sex and The City, has a long list of film, stage and television credits including being one of the original cast members of television juggernaut Law & Order. Back in the early 1990s, Mister Noth worked his sexy stuff as cocky and complex Detective Mike Logan until he was reportedly let go over a salary dispute in 1995. The man must of patched things up with the producers because he's recently reprised the role on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, one of the too many spin offs of the ubiquitous and formulaic program that often makes it difficult for Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter to walk our long bodied bitches due their them filming on our street all. the. damn. time.

Anyhoo, let's move on to the real estate. The first thing that Your Mama needs to note is that the interior day-core is not that of Mister Noth but the previous owner, who is not a celebrity. Therefore we'll not whisper a word about those creepy masks in the dining room or that flat screen television set mounted at a neck knotting height in the small but sleek kitchen that contains enough stainless steel that Your Mama is quite sure would drive our housegurl Svetlana to the booze cabinet.

The new Noth nest is accessed up a long and gated celebrity style driveway that gives Your Mama goosebumps...the good kind. A long and gated driveway not only lets the mailman and the pizza delivery boy know that you have arrived, it often means the house is set back from the street making it difficult for the prying eyes of paps and neighbors to peep in on your private moments. The driveway's glam factor is dee-lishusly cooled by the fact that Mister Noth's new Eichler-esque house measures only 1,854 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Why does it always warm the cockles of Your Mama's cold heart to see a bonified celebrity who chooses to live in a modest retreat rather than some behemoth palazzo that feels like it was built first and foremost to contain a gigantic ego?

Generally speaking Your Mama isn't fond of amoeba shaped swimming pools, but we'll make an exception in this case as it provides a gentle juxtaposition against the clean lines and flat planes of the house. We could, however, do without the big urn at the far end of the pool which we're certain is meant to act as a visual trick to make the relatively small yard seem longer and larger than it is. However, it seems somewhat incongruous to Your Mama and might be better replaced by some sort of sculpture or better yet, nothing at all.

Overall both Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter L.O.V.E. this house and think Mister Noth and Miss Wilson are damn lucky to be living in this little modernist treasure discreetly tucked into the hillside and we'd happily trade places with them even if it meant Svetlana would need another few weeks out in the desert at the Betty Ford.

Although it appears that this is the first single family residence Mister Noth has owned, he is certainly no stranger to owning real estate. Given that he was New York City based for many years, it's no surprise he owns an apartment on East 9th Street and Fifth Avenue that records show he purchased in 1994. Unfortunately Your Mama was unable to glean much–or anything really–about the size of the apartment or how much he paid. We did discern, however, that it is located in the same quietly swank building where sharp witted Barney's bigwig and style arbiter Simon Doonan lives with his screamingly successful potter/designer huzband Jonathan Adler and also where daring dandy and Vogue V.I.P. Hamish Bowles recently dumped $1,500,000 hard earned fashion dollars for new digs.

Records show that Mister Noth also owns two condominium units at The Shoreham in West Hollywood. A teeny-tiny studio apartment was purchased in March of 2003 for $243,000 and a 1,453 square foot unit with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms was bought in June of 2006 for $865,000. Mister Noth's mini real estate empire does not end there. We also note, via property records, that in June of 2005 he spent $600,000 on a 1,056 square foot condo getaway on Wailea Ike Place in Kihei, Hawaii.

Monday, May 26, 2008

OKA Direct


One of my favorite pastimes is perusing catalogues.  Wisteria, based out of Dallas Texas, is owned by a young power couple Shannon and Andrew Newsom.  Andrew is the son of Veranda magazine's founder and editor, Lisa Newsom, and Shannon is the daughter of fabulous Houston interior designer  Jane Moore.  It's no wonder that Wisteria is filled with wonderful things for the home.    It is probably my top  decor catalogue right now.  But, there is another one that I adore equally:  OKA Direct.  The problem is that OKA Direct  is based out of England and, well, shipping can be a problem with larger items.    I have purchased from them before, quite easily in fact - so it definitely can be done.  Which is great news if you like their merchandise as much as I do.  OKA Direct was started in 1999 by three woman, one of whom is the titled, Annabel Astor, Viscountess Astor, mother-in-law to Britain's Conservative Party leader David Cameron.  So, with a Viscountess as its CEO, is it any wonder that OKA Direct is not just some mediocre, fly by night catalogue company?  The three woman design and commission each item they sell.  The quality is high, the prices are low.  I adore the pictures in the catalogue - some of which are taken in the homes of the owners.    The web site is equally pleasing to look at, but a word of warning - the pages load so slowly, I've given up on copying the images a few times!

OKA Direct has about nine retail stores around Great Britain and over the years I often thought - what a great company to bring to America!  OK, I'm not up to that formidable task, but someone should make it happen!  Here are some of my favorite shots from the catalogue:



Yes, this is a catalogue and everything here is for sale.  I love the black chair and desk and the hanging tapestry, which is actually a piece of fabric.



Here is their large slipcovered sectional sofa.  All of their sofas are slipcovered.   Great coffee table.  But the hanging prints make this picture, and no, the prints are not for sale!



Here is a French inspired oak dining room table.  In the back are fabulous, huge blue and white oriental pieces.



I love the nude oil painting in a catalogue picture.  Pottery Barn would never do this!!!  Note the icy blue pillows mixed with the bright colored "cushions" as the English call their pillows.   Love the black, oriental trunk used as a coffee table.



Here, red and blue ticking striped pillows steal the show.  Love the red table to the left.



Typically English - textiles used as bedspread.  Note the seashell candlelit sconces.  The lattice lamps are bestsellers of OKA Direct.



Gustavian styled dining room furniture.  I adore the cabinet in the back with its chicken wire doors.  Why can't we get inexpensive gray painted furniture like this in America?  Someone could make a killing manufacturing this here.



So English:  oriental rug layered over seagrass.  Paisley textile layered on the sofa.  Jammed bookcases.  Black painted furniture.   Garden seat and red oriental trunk.   The accessories on top of the bookcase are for sale.    Love this room!



Matching pillows and curtains for sale.  The red lampshades pop the room's already bright colors.



OKA Direct sells this indianne styled fabric in yards and bedding.  Note the French chair and ottoman.  Again - why can't we get great, French-styled furniture on the cheap here? 



Slipcovered furniture with wonderful, huge matching ottoman. 



French styled dining room table and chairs with slipcovers that turn ordinary seats into something special.  Red and white dhurri rug also comes in blue and white. 



Matching headboard and drapes and bedding available. 



I adore this piece of furniture.  The price is so low - you can buy two, one for each side of the fireplace.



Hanging textile - Tree of Life pattern.  Love this!  When have you ever seen something like this for sale in America?



Book cases for sale  - I adore the way OKA Direct styled this with books covered in manilla paper.  This is a great way to unify desperate books in a decorative way.   I have never found the willing client to do this though!  Notice the large concrete balls used as book holders.



I love the detailed button closure on these slipcovers.  Great painted china cupboard in the back.



Another inexpensive chinoiserie styled cabinet.  Again - a lot of look for not much cash.  A great way to get this look until you can afford the "real" thing.



Gustavian styled console and mirror.  So pretty.



Love this!!!!  A corner of a room showing  chinoiserie pieces by OKA Direct. 



Only the English know what to do with a paisley throw.  Here it is used as a bedspread.  Notice the french styled chaise lounge on the left - this is another great piece by OKA Direct.

30.5cm Dia. Large Dinner Plate

Oriental dinnerware.   These  fabulous plates are available along with salad, soup bowls, etc.  from OKA Direct.



This is a picture of Californian interior designer Michael S. Smith's own breakfast room.   He uses the OKA Direct oriental plates for everyday dishes and claims the dishes are some of his favorite styling pieces.



 Cote de Texas' dining room - on the right on the floor is one of a pair of OKA Direct large blue and white oriental jars.  I ordered these and they were delivered about a month later.  It was almost as easy as ordering stateside.  The only difference was after the order was place, I had to confirm it several days later before it was shipped out. 


What is your favorite catalogue?  Do you know any that are relatively unknown that you would like to share?


Did Brad and Angie Finally Do It In France?

Peripatetic movie stars and global do-gooders Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, currently shacked up in billionaire Paul Allen's Villa Maryland in St. Jean Cap-Ferrat awaiting the arrival of twins, are rumored and reported by London's Daily Mail to have forked over a whopping £35,000,000 for a vast estate in the South of France where they're planning to raise their ever expanding multi-cultural brood.

Hmm. Really? This certainly isn't the first time it's been "reported" that the real estate luvin' super stars have purchased a French estate. Remember back in mid-March when everyone reported that the couple bought that 15th century farmhouse in Eygalieres? Yeah, guess that didn't happen.

According to all the articles being rushed out by breathless bloggers and real estate gossips around the world, the 1,000 acre estate located near Aix en Provence is dubbed Chateau Miraval and has an paparazzi unfriendly driveway that is three miles long.

Apparently Chateau Miraval was not actually for sale. According to the Daily Mail the couple landedon the property in a rented helicopter–unannounced–and requested the owners name their price. Oh pleeze. Your Mama doesn't believe that for a minute. Who does that kind of freaky shit? Who flies around in a rented whirligig, lands uninvited and unexpected on random front lawns and demands the owners sell them their property? No one, that's who. And if anyone does in fact do that, they ought to be ashamed of their entitled and sorry selves.

Anyhoo, according to all the reports and information Your Mama located about the property, the estate includes a swimming pool, a terraced olive grove with 13 varieties of the pitted fruit, and a stream that flows through hidden tunnels into a moat and fills a small private lake. The Daily Mail pee-pole report that the chateau includes 35 bedrooms. However, later in the very same damn article, The Daily Mail also states that there are 25 bedrooms. Information we found about the property (via our research diva B.S. Beaverman) indicates there are 10 bedrooms spread through three houses.

Interestingly, none of the reports we read say anything about the recording studio on the property where The Cure recorded portions of their 1987 hit record Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, which was, as the children might imagine, in the mix of Your Mama's angst fueled soundtrack back in the late 1980s.

Listen puppies, we know these criminally good looking and preggers parents of 4 (soon to be six) are rich by most people's standards and they make boo-coo bucks when they work, but are they really so deep in dollars and dimes they can afford to fork over seventy million smackers for a 1,000 acre estate in France? According to Your Mama's bejeweled abacus, the reported price converts to $69,307,000, which is a lot of damn money for these two jet setters who already have at least seven other properties to pay for and maintain.

There is the ocean front estate in Malee-boo, another ocean front hideaway north of Santa Barbara that Mister Jolie bought shortly before he and Jennifer Aniston went splitsville, they bought a big house in The Big Easy (that's New Orleans, kids) shortly after Hurricane Katrina, Miz Pitt owns a crib in Cambodian crib, and Mister Jolie's has long owned a compound in Los Angeles' Los Feliz neighborhood. It's also said there's a big ass apartment in Berlin they reportedly purchased last year and Miz Pitt has owned a place in England's Buchinghamshire for quite some time. (Your Mama seems to recall she sold this place. Anyone?) Given that rather long list of private residences, let's be honest, these two need another house to drag their children around to about as much as Paris Hilton needs another pap stuck to her heiress ass.

Your Mama, celebrity real estate cynic that we are, does not intend to believe that the couple actually bought this place in France until Mister Jolie or Miz Pitt confirm the purchase to that nutty Nancy O'Dell on Access Hollywood. Until then it's just unsubstantiated gossip and rumor.

Now go and enjoy the few hours left of this Memorial Day weekend.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Are Beyonce and Jay-Z Headed for the Burbs?

According to a report on gossip juggernaut TMZ, big bootied Beyoncé and her music mogul mate Jay-Z have purchased a 15,000 square foot mansion in Scarsdale, NY.

Scarsdale? For reals? Your Mama knows lots of rich and famous folks like Liza Minelli, Yoko Ono and soap sensation Susan Lucci once lived in and/or grew up in Scarsdale...but Beyoncé and Jay-Z?

Listen kids, Your Mama knows nuthin' about this unexpected real estate hoo-ha, property records do not yet reveal a sale of the Heathcote Road property, and if we're being honest, we simply don't care that much anyway. We may be lambasted, baked and fried like a tomato for saying this, but Your Mama finds Miss Bee-yon-say and her behemoth backside to be about as interesting as dirt. And don't even get Your Mama started on that ka-razy House of Deréon childrens clothing line that has little gurls tarted up like high-heeled sluts. Pleeze. What moe-ron came up with that sartorial nonsense?

Anyhoo, iffin one of you Westchester Wandas wanna get in touch with Your Mama and give us the low down on this house we'd be happy to pass it along. In the meantime, don't none of you pee-pole imagine for hot minute that Your Mama is going to chase down any 411 on this deal. We got better things to do, like clip our damn toenails.

UPDATE: Kaufmann House

Alright my little puppies, Your Mama has been getting all sorts of inquiries desiring and demanding that we reveal the identity of the person who purchased the Neutra designed Kaufmann House that was auctioned off a couple of weeks ago as part of the Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art sale in Noo York City.

The children will recall that the mystery buyer agreed to fork over a reported $16,800,000 for the pristine Palm Springs property (plus taxes and auction house fees) and later made an agreement to purchase an adjacent parcel for an additional $2,000,000.

Your Mama would be pleased as a carb addict in a bakery to announce the name of the buyer. But alas, we don't know who the some-bitch is. What we can tell you, thanks to tipster Desert Danny, is that the sale has been canceled. Yes, y'all read that correctly, canceled.

According to, the sellers of the Kaufmann house, a married couple named Harris who are selling their labor of money of love because they are getting a big dee-vorce, put the kibosh on the contract late last week due to a "breach of its terms by the buyer."

Oh dear. That sounds vague and uglee, don't it?

As Your Mama understands, there were only two serious bidders for the property, both unidentified and making bids over the telephone. We can only hope that the folks at Christie's are on the horn cajoling the losing bidder to get back in the game and buy the damn house so everyone can wash their hands of the much publicized matter.

Whatever machinations are at play on the back side, the children should stay tuned and make sure they have a big bottle of Bombay Sapphire close by because we think this may be another of those sordid real estate stories drags on for an eternity while all the juicy details drip slowly out and into the hands of tongue wagging real estate gossips like Your Mama.

Photo: Tim Street Porter

Friday, May 23, 2008

Alidad and Chelsea Editions



Close up photograph of an Alidad designed room.


Chelsea Editions, the England based fabric and furniture company recently announced that both Robert Kime and Alidad were joining their ranks with a new line of embroidered fabrics.   While no mention of the Robert Kime partnership has yet made it onto Chelsea Edition's web site, the Alidad association is now online to be viewed.

The one name Alidad, Persian born and London based, is known for his classic, opulent, and sometimes over the top interiors.   He started his career as head of Sotheby's Islamic Works of Art department before turning his energies to interior design.  Alidad quickly became famous for his richly decorated rooms, which often have a masculine leaning.  Always gorgeous, his interiors are laden with luxurious fabrics and textiles and  layers upon layers of richly textured patterns.  Minimalism is not a term that Alidad has any knowledge of.  Every surface in an Alidad designed room is addressed and is either fauxed, papered, or  upholstered.   Only the most fortunate few can afford the sumptious luxury of an Alidad interior. 

As such, Alidad's association with Chelsea Editions comes as somewhat of a surprise.  Chelsea Editions is famous for their soothing toned checks and stripes and their extensive collection of Indian hand embroidered fabrics with butterflies, flowers, and vines stitched in mostly muted tones.  Hardly the stuff of the velvet damasks and  silk brocades that Alidad prefers to use.   But, being a Persian, Alidad has remained true to his roots and his obvious love of Ottoman design, art, and textiles.   This love influenced his fabric range for Chelsea Editions.   Called "Bosphorous" - his embroidered fabrics have been scaled down for today's interiors, and their colors are muted so as to mix  with antique textiles.  Additionally, Alidad placed the patterns between stripes - perfect for wallcoverings a la Michael Smith's famous Urban Outfitter's Indian Bedspread Room.   With names like Goli, Layla, Cyprus, and Naz, the influence of the Ottoman empire on the fabrics is hard to ignore.  Here's a sneak peak at a few of the new Alidad designed Chelsea fabrics.  Hopefully - we'll get a glimpse of Robert Kime's new collection soon:






A close up look of the embroidered detail of the Saz fabric.








An Alidad designed drawing room:  layers upon layers of opulent excess.



The same drawing room - with a view to the fireplace and bookcases.



An antique suzani from the 19th century was used for a skirted table.  In just this small corner, it's interesting to see how many patterns and textiles Alidad used.  Every square inch is touched by his hand.



In this famous Alidad dining room, he illuminated Verre églomisé panels on the walls to give the room  a romantic candle lit effect. 


For a gentleman's bedroom retreat, Alidad used hand tooled leather panels on the walls.



For this paneled library, the wooden walls were too plain for Alidad so he designed faux painted panels to simulate an inlaid effect.



A closeup of the same library's fireplace:  Alidad placed a painting over an antique mirror.  Layers upon layers are always used to achieve the lush richness of his interiors.



For this listed estate, Buscot Park, Alidad was hired for his knowledge of history and the sensitivity he brought to the project.



Beside Chelsea Editions, Alidad has designed a line of fabrics for Pierre Frey.   Here, a multi patterned fabric is laden with the typical Alidad attention to detail and luxury.



Another Pierre Frey fabric by Alidad. 



Additionally,  Alidad has designed a line of velvet covered furniture for  Thomas Messel.   Here - a bookcase covered in red velvet and nailheads, with black paw feet.



A candle lit sconce in red velvet.



And, lastly, a round hall table with the same details as above.



Of course, he also designs wall coverings - here a close up of a leather panel called Pomegranate.



A dining room, with the Pomegranate wall covering.



And finally - the man of  the hour:  Alidad, handsome with just an air of bemused confidence.  Notice his red velvet hall table to the left of the sofa.  The other two tables are also Alidad designed.