Friday, October 31, 2008

Jade Jagger Lists London Residence

SELLER: Jade Jagger
LOCATION: Keslake Road, Queen's Park, London, UK
PRICE: £1,500,000
SIZE: 1,989 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: ...Offering lavish, extremely well presented accommodation throughout, the property comprises fabulous reception and dining room, convenient eat-in kitchen opening onto garden, master bedroom with incredible en suite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe, two further generous bedrooms, glamorous bathroom with mosaic mirror wall and ceiling tiles and charming private garden to the rear...

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A very kind British bloke we'll call Sweeney Todd recently sent Your Mama a covert communique informing us know that rock and roll heiress turned jewelry designer and property developer Jade Jagger has listed her louche London home with an asking price of £1,500,000, a figure our bejeweled abacus reveals converts to $2,471,970 at today's rates.

It probably goes without saying the Jade Sheena Jezebel Jagger is the party princess progeny of mammoth mouthed Mick Jagger and the wonderfully bizarre Bianca Jagger, who the children will recall was recently booted from her rent controlled apartment on New York's posh Park Avenue.

Thirty something year old Miss Jagger spent much of the last ten or twelve years earning a good living as the creative director of the old-school and very expensive British jewelry company Garrad. Somehow she managed to design gem encrusted jewelry while living the hedonistic life of a well-heeled hippie in a converted barn on the Spanish island of Ibiza. However, a couple of years ago, with her two daughters reaching their terrible teenage years, the single mommy relocated the family back to London where they settled in a modest house on Keslake Road in quirky Queen's Park where some of her neighbors are reported to include 007 hot-bahdee Daniel Craig, naughty and outspoken singer/songwriter Lily Allen, novelist Zadie Smith and super slim actress Thandie Newton.

Listing information indicates Miss Jagger's brick built house measures in at a modest 1,989 square feet and includes just 3 bedrooms and two garishly glitzy bathrooms, including one where in the absence of gravity one could snort cocaine off the mirrored walls and ceiling.

The front of house is surrounded by a garden with high hedges which may (or may not) provide enough privacy and protection for Miss Jagger to sunbathe in the nood. The ground floor consists of just two large rooms divided by a long and narrow entrance and stair hall. At approximately 600 square feet, the reception room–which we call a living room in the good ol' U-nited States of America–is large and high enough for Miss Jagger's glossy black dining room table topped with two insanely terrific gold statuettes. Several sofas and chairs provide plenty of lounging space, but curiously, there is not a coffee table in sight.

The kitchen features a complicated and spectacular tiled floor, a big mama sized Aga range, a few other chintzy looking appliances, a marble topped Saarinen dining room table surrounded by four of those great looking but ridiculously uncomfortable Philippe Starck ghost chairs. Have any of the children ever tried to sit their fat asses down on one of those chairs? We have, and the seat is so narrow that even whisper thin model Kate Moss' teeny tiny toosh would spill over the edge of the damn thing.

Upstairs, Miss Jagger's two gurl children, who have reportedly begun to cut quite a rug on the London party scene even though they've barely received their womanly gifts, each have their own room that shares the above mentioned mirrored bathroom. Now hunnies, pleez, what teenage gurl wants to be showering, shaving, pooping and primping in a bathroom where they can't help but see every unflattering angle of themselves? That's right, no teenage gurls we know.

Miss Jagger has created quite a master suite for herself which includes a colossal king sized bed, walls covered in grass cloth, a naughty black crystal chandelier, a walk in closet and a bathroom that is both larger than either of her children's bedrooms and features a gold plated stripper pole smack in the middle of the room. In. The. Middle. Of. The. Damn. Room. As if that were not tacky enough someone has seen fit to place a pair of white chairs so that Miss Jagger's stripping spectators can sit back and enjoy the show. Klassy.

The entirely uninviting and not particularly private rear garden has a large tiled terrace, a patch of lawn for the pooches and some pretty paltry landscaping around the perimeter.

Now that Miss Jagger has lately become deeply involved in designing and developing slick and sleek apartments buildings in New York City, could it be that she's selling house so that she can uproot her family to live across the pond? Or perhaps she's headed back to her converted barn on Ibiza? Your Mama hasn't a clue, but we do know that wherever the glammy gal lands, she's sure to make a serious splash on the beau monde social circuit and will likely do up her house like a damn night club. But what else should we expect from a boho babe who had Andy Warhol for a baby sitter?

The Urban Market – Sunday, November 2!!



What has become an antique shopping tradition in Houston  -  The Urban Market – is scheduled to be held this Sunday, November 2, 2008.   Doors will open at 9am until 5 pm.  For early birds – the parking area, only, will open at 8:15 am.  The location is new this year.




Be sure to make note of the new address for The Urban Market:

The Knights of Columbus Hall & Fields  -  in the Heights.

607 E. Witney Drive  -

Directions:    I-45 North, Exit Airline, Left on Airline, Right on Whitney




Recently, Jackie Sharbrough purchased The Urban Market and this Sunday will be her first market day as the new owner!   Good luck Jackie, it’s going to be great, as usual.   The only thing that has changed under Jackie’s direction is the location.  Jackie has worked hard to get all the same dealers and even some new ones for the market.  There are always lots of bargains to be had, so be sure to get there early.  Jackie also wants to remind everyone that Saturday night is when we change our clocks back from Daylight Savings Time, so don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour before you go to bed!!!   Jackie also wants everyone to know that the Knights of Columbus will be serving BBQ Sunday.  Tickets are $5 at the gate and $3 after 1:oo pm.  Children are free.  My favorite delivery company, Crowded House, will be on site!






The list of antique dealers confirmed to be at the Urban Market this Sunday is long and Cote de Texas readers will recognize a few names that will be selling their wares:    Sally Wheat, The Fabulous Flea, Vieux Interiors,  Carolyn Westbrook Home, and Found For The Home are just some of the dealers that should sound familiar.  For the entire list of dealers and more information, go to





The weather is supposed to be wonderful this weekend – s0 if you love antiques you should definitely stop by and check it out!  And be sure to
“HI” to Jackie, Sally Wheat, The Fab Flea and Vieux Interiors for me!!!




All photos are from past Urban Markets.   The map to Knights of Columbus – Heights:



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Toby Keith Lists Nashville Crash Pad

SELLER: Toby Keith
LOCATION: West End Avenue, Nashville, TN
PRICE: $1,595,000
SIZE: 3,428 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms (as per listing)
DESCRIPTION: Old World design meets stylish in-town elegance that is secure & private. With all of the amenities of new construction plus outdoor living space & pool! Soaring ceilings, tile & hwd flrs, Pecky Cypress cab. Wine cellar ,built-ins, tile roof, 2 car garage

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Listen children, Your Mama has got to be snappy here because our good friend Fiona Trambeau is winging her way down from San Francisco for a visit and we had best get to the airport to pick her up on time. Lahwd have mercy on our snarky soul if we make Miss Thing wait at the curb for even two minutes clutching her tatty snakeskin handbag, clenching her big teeth and looking like a damn street walker–and you know she will. We'll pay for that perceived indignity all weekend, so it's imperative we show up on time or better yet, early. Plus, poor Fiona is mortally afeared of aero-planes so we are quite sure she's gonna show up acting a halacious hot mess because, you know, a big nerve pill, several vodka gimlets and a ferocious fear of flying do not mix well.

Anyhoo, thanks to a man we'll call Nashville Ned we have learned that unapologetically patriotic and award winning country singing superstar Toby Keith and his wifey Tricia have put their Nashville nest up for sale with an asking price of $1,595,000.

Property records show that the Dixie Chicks detesting cowboy purchased their 3,428 square foot house on bizzy and wide West End Avenue in September of 2006 for $1,350,000. Listing information reveals the three story, tile roofed Tuscan inspired residence includes three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. It appears to Your Mama that the Keith crib is part of a tightly packed three house development of similarly styled houses, although as far as we can tell, the Keith couple own only the one.

Whatever the case, we do not think this is Mister Keith's primary residence. Not only is it hardly large enough to house he, the wifey and their three children, property records reveal the well booted country couple also own an 8,714 square foot house that sits on 160 acres in Norman, Oklahoma where we believe the family bunks down. Therefore, we'd bet our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly that this modest mini-manse acts as a crash pad for when Mister Keith has bizness in the country music capital of the world.

The floor plan indicates that the residence is entered on the middle level through a shallow barrel vaulted entrance hall that either shoots guests down a wide stone stairway to the lower floor, into a guest room (with private pooper) on the left or to the right and into the master bedroom with its surprisingly beautiful bronzy colored walls and rather unappealing four poster bed. The master bedroom is comprised of a bathroom with separate tub and shower, a walk in closet and, strangely, the stacked washer and dryer. We can understand having a second washer/dryer set in the master bedroom for washing the undergarments, but this appears to be the only washer/dryer in the house which means that Paulette the Laundress will be hanging out up in the master bedroom and watching her stories on the boob toob while folding clothes on the bed. Uhm, no. The master bedroom also has a private stairway to the third floor where the floor plan shows a windowless office, a large walk-in cedar closet for stashing out of season fashions and an exercise/media room. This would also, if so inclined, be an excellent location for the sexually adventurous to build an s/m dungeon or some other fetishistic hideaway.

The wide staircase sweeps guests down from the entrance to the lower floor where the main living and entertaining space is comprised of a 40+ foot long, stone floored and dramatically decorated living/dining room combo which features a soaring wood beamed ceiling, a fireplace, a row of french doors leading to the itty bitty backyard and equally tiny swimming pool and two large and wonderfully simple chandeliers. A powder room for guests has been tucked up into a corner of the dining room, a particularly risky location for all the obvious reasons.

The stone floor in the living room has been continued into the galley style kitchen where cabinets have been fashioned from Pecky Cyprus and a giant magazine rack has been affixed to one wall. Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter do not choose keep all our printed publications where we make meals, but we can certainly appreciate having a commodious rack like that could be invaluablet for sorting and organizing all the New Yorkers and gossip glossies that arrive in our mail box every week. A large walk in wine room between the kitchen and two car garage will make all the wobbly winos (who claim to tipple and toss back for the flavor) go weak in the knees.

Who knows why Mister and Missus Keith would choose to sell thei Nashville pied a terre just two years after purchasing and at a time when real estate values are sinking like the damn Titanic in most parts of the country. Then again, it's unlikely Mister Keith needs the proceeds from the sale of this property to pay the water and eklecktrick, you know?

Now we gotta run and stash a few vomit bags in the big BMW before popping down to the airport to pickup Fiona Trambeau who will very likely lose her breakfast of nerve pills and booze on the ride home.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tom Perkins Lives the Luxe Life on Belvedere Island

SELLER: Tom Perkins
LOCATION: Golden Gate Avenue
PRICE: $20,500,000
SIZE: 7,535 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms (as per assessor)

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Today we're going to spread our celebrity real estate wings a little bit and discuss Bay Area bizness tycoon Tom Perkins, a filthy rich financier who recently put his big house in the super swank San Francisco suburb of Belvedere Island on the market with an asking price of $20,500,000.

For those not familiar with Mister Perkins let Your Mama give you the Reader's Digest version of his rather extensive and impressive rezoomay. After helping to steer Hewlett Packard into the personal computer bizness in the 1960s, Mister Perkins went on to make mountains of money as a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who provided start up cash for companies such as AOL,, Netscape and Google. Some of the more quirky elements of his life story include being convicted of involuntary manslaugher in France due to a death that occurred in a yacht racing accident and his brief marriage to ridiculously prolific romance novelist Danielle Steel who may have inspired him to write his own tawdry novel in 2006 called, not surprisingly, Sex and the Single Zillionaire.

Mister Perkins also spent a rumored and reported $100,000,000+ to build Maltese Falcon, the largest privately owned sailing yacht on the planet that includes a staggering 11,000 square feet of interior space and requires a crew of at least twenty. However, only two short years after dropping the luxe and lavish boat into the water he has put the 289-foot feat of oceanic engineering up for sale at a figure some yacht brokers are whispering is somewhere around $150,000,000€, a grotesquely large number that Your Mama's bejeweled abacus tells us converts to $187,360,500 at today's rates. Nothing like having a little pocket change to indulge one's hobbies.

Anyhoo, we're not here to blather on about a boat but rather to wag our tongue at obscenely expensive real estate. Not only is Mister Perkin divesting himself of his big boat (so that he can get into sports submarines, whatever that is), he is also looking to unload his spectacular mansion on Belvedere Island with it's crazy intricate paneling and enviable views across the San Francisco Bay and towards the gorgeous Golden Gate Bridge.

Located on the choicest section of Belvedere Island's Golden Gate Avenue and just down the block from mining mogul Robert Friedland's $65,000,000 residential extravaganza, property records show Mister Perkins' palatial digs measure in at 7,535 square feet and include 7 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms. A closer look-see at listing information reveals that the bedroom breakdown is more complicated than it sounds. The main floor includes a good sized guest suite and private pooper, the second floor has two wings, one for the master suite with its dual bathrooms and commodious closet space and the other for three family bedrooms, two bathrooms and laundry facilities. The lower floor features the sixth bedroom and attached terlit and has been designated as a "maid's quarters," while a "chef's apartment" rides astride the three car garage.

Although the day-core is not our cup of tea, we find the living and dining rooms to be elegant in the way that only the houses of the very rich can be and we're absolutely breathless over the manly looking library with its hidden wet bar and we're faint with glee over the dee-voonly detailed linenfold paneling and intricately carved mantel in the living room. These rooms reveal the subtle hands of a skilled tradesman and the very expensive vision of a deft decorator, nice, gay or otherwise. However, what in heaven's name happened in the study with its upsetting cacophony of visually vexatious fabrics? And do not even get Your Mama started on that bedroom with its rose colored carpeting and disturbing balloon curtains surrounding the four poster bed. Lawhd have mercy children, that room has us pouring an early morning gin and tonic to get through to the next hour.

Other rooms and amenities on the meticulously renovated and maintained main floor, according to listing information, include a temperature controlled greenhouse (for the orchid lovers, natch), a powder room, and a kitchen with attached butler's pantry and laundry room. The lower floor features a large entertainment room, a second full kitchen, full service wet bar for all the boozy types to sidle up to, a temperature controlled wine cellar (almost all rich people require wine cellars nowadays), and access to the stone terrace which leads down the hillside to the swimming pool and pool house, a real rarity in this neck of the woods due to the damp and chilly climate. The almost one acre grounds include rose gardens, level lawns for drunken games of croquet, stone paths meandering up and down the sloping lot, flowers, vegetable gardens and fruit trees. A damn Garden of Eden, children.

Additional features that will please and impress potential buyers is the alarm system, the fire hoses designated for each of the three floors and the two safes, because let's be honest children, when your pockets are deep enough to fork over twenty million clams for a house, one safe is simply not enough to stash and secure the family jewels. Okaaay?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Michael S. Smith’s Houses – A Winner!



Michael S. Smith, interior designer from California, has been profiled here a few times before:   as the designer of the fabulous hotel Shutters and more recently, The Canary, and as Cote de Texas’ Top Ten Designers - #9  (obviously he is a HUGE favorite of mine!!!)    Smith’s aesthetic is one that has broad appeal – his interiors are both accessible and sophisticated at the same time.  He prefers to use the finest of surfaces, the rarest of antiques, the most exclusive of fabrics, yet his rooms are always friendly and warm.  Nothing about a Michael Smith interior says – don’t touch - nothing is ever off limits.   How he manages to combine the two – priceless and comfortable - is the mark of his genius.   It’s not easy to make the most rarefied seem so cozy, yet he does, perfectly.    Smith’s first book, Elements of Style, was a runaway hit and his second, Houses,  has been eagerly awaited.  It does not disappoint.    With the dizzying array of design books published these days, it is difficult for an author to have his book noticed.   Even though the competition this holiday season is intense, Smith’s Houses is clearly the standout – a must buy for anyone who is serious about interior design.    With the economy on everyone’s minds,  many people have become  discriminating  while choosing a pricey design book, but Smith’s newest should definitely make the cut.     A well known secret about many design books is they truly are not an interesting read.  The pictures drive the book, not the words.  There are, of course, exceptions.  Rose Tarlow’s The Private House comes to mind immediately.  Tarlow’s pictures are secondary to her fascinating story, though the images are certainly worthwhile.  Another design book great, John Saladino’s Style by Saladino, is a bible.  So educational and enlightening, Saladino’s book should be taught in design schools – “Saladino  101.”   Villa, Saladino’s newest is  due out this spring.  Smith’s newest book competes with Tarlow’s and Saladino’s on every level.  He explains his thought processes on design, breaks it down, and justifies his choices.  Written in simple prose, one is able to take away concrete ideas to utilize in one’s own home or a client’s.  Interesting to note that Smith cites Saladino as a major influence of his, along with Niall Smith, Gep Durenberger, Michael Trapp, and a host of other notables, most of whom he either has worked for or  with. 



This house, inspired by Portugal with walls made of gorgeous tiles, is featured in the new book.  Smith reveals in Houses that these clients actually wanted a Tuscan inspired house.  Smith, characteristically bored with the plethora of Tuscany houses in Southern California, suggested the clients look to Portugal for inspiration.  The result is one of the prettiest Portuguese styled homes in the United States.  Not that there are that many of those!



In his new book, Smith confirms his first love and the inspiration for his own house is the English Country Manor style, with its look of faded beauty.  He especially adores Georgian style architecture and furniture.  No aspect of an English country home is off limits to his critical eye:  he earnestly studies the massive servant kitchens for ideas.   It is no surprise that Smith’s interiors are typically filled with English, not French, furniture.   In Houses, Smith presents several interior projects recently undertaken.  He has many rules for himself which are listed and are intriguing to study:  wood floors should be stained and waxed, always leave off the polyurethane sealant.  Of course it is much more work to rewax your floors once a year or so, but the effect is worth it.  I must agree with Smith on this point .  I have clients with wood floors that are waxed and they are far superior looking to the sealed hardwoods that turn dull and lifeless looking within a few short years.   Another gem:  his hardware was all replated in silver.  How gorgeous!   He describes the plated finish as being “alive.”  Of course, again, the upkeep of the silver plated finish is something that most people would rather not want, yet this exquisite finish should be considered when choosing hardware.  If the upkeep scares one off, try limiting the silver plate to the powder room and master bath, where it can be enjoyed with daily use.   Most fascinating, Smith’s house was not not painted, instead he used venetian plasters in each room, along with lime washed ceilings.   One can only imagine the cost, and the beauty, of his walls.   The doors are especially refined:  are all paneled of solid mahogany – a luxury few of us will ever experience.   Page after page is filled with these musings on design choices and, for that alone, the book is a must have.   



This beautiful house is featured in the new Michael Smith book.  A new home, built in the Italianate style, Smith and the architect worked hard to have the  house appear to have a patina that is acquired only after a century or two.  I find this room stunningly beautiful!


It is fair to note that many of the projects in the book have been published before.  There are some new houses to be sure, but there are many that have already been seen in magazines.    Yet, this does not detract from the value of the book as it is worth having these beautiful images in one place for further research and enjoyment.  And, of course,  Smith’s running commentary that accompanies the houses shown is priceless.    For each house, Smith takes the reader through the process of his initial inspiration up through the purchasing of the furniture, art, and accessories.  Smith is “obsessed” with design and uses that word frequently:  “Right now I am obsessed with……..”” he says over and over again.  His enthusiasm for interior design and great furniture is infectious.   He also confesses a tendency to get bored with certain fabrics or styles.  He is constantly on the lookout for the next thing that excites him.    Trends have little value to Smith and as soon as something does become mainstream, he leaves it in a cloud of dust – off  seeking out a new inspiration.   This passion comes through the book loud and clear.      He feels great furniture is vastly undervalued when compared to works of art on canvas.  To Smith, a beautiful dining room table IS a work of art.    Lovers of interior design will certainly relate with this sentiment.   While it is true his clients are among the wealthiest, and he is certainly making a nice living, he still retains a air of humbleness.   He seems like one of us when he describes his favorite past time  - perusing real estate listings, dreaming of a different life to be lived in a new place.    One never gets the feeling that his work is a business for Smith.  That seems secondary to him.  It is impossible to imagine Smith being willing or even able to be anything other than an interior designer.  He is that passionate about his art. 

In anticipation of the book’s release, there has been a rash of published works by Smith.  Below, are the two projects just published that are from the new book.  

Enjoy!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ms

From Town and Country Magazine:   This opulent home located in London was created out of three apartments put together all one floor.  The owners are American, long term clients, who requested Smith furnish the apartment in a few months time.  Looking at this space, it is hard to believe it was put together so quickly, yet this is the claim.  The space is spectacular.  In this room, notice the glorious rug and the matching bookcases that flank the marble fireplace.  Blue and white porcelain, a favorite of Smith’s, finds a home in almost every Smith interior.   The curtain fabric is a blue and cream stripe.  For expediency, Smith had all the curtains made in New York and shipped over.




The entry hall.  Smith loves the large entrance halls of country houses in England.  In his own home, he put a fireplace in his entry room.  Here, an oversized painting becomes the focal point in a room without much architectural interest.  The leather sofa is quite stunning itself.




The beautiful library shares space with the dining room.  The peacock blue colored velvet of these dining room chairs is a particular favorite of Smith’s – he used this same fabric in his own dining room.  



A surprise, the master bedroom has a Hollywood glamour feel to it.  Smith designed the rug and the Art Deco styled bed and chairs.



The guest room – where Smith stays when he visits his clients who have become close personal friends.  The walls are covered in a Zuber grisaille paper.  Smith uses de Gournay and Zuber hand painted wall coverings repeatedly. A miniscule room, the paper elevates it tremendously.



Elle Decor:   This weekend and summer horse farm was built in Millbrook, New York for a Hollywood major player.  Gil Schaefer III was the architect in charge of the three year project.  The house appears old due to the use of original parts taken from an nearby older house that was bought and dismantled for the project:  the beams, floors, moldings, and hardware hinges were all taken from the older house.   Looking at the design of the facade, it truly does look like an older house added on to over the generations.   There is a realism to the architecture that is usually lacking when a lesser architect tries to “age” a new house.



Michael Smith at his best – cozy, warm and inviting.  J’adore the curtains – made of his own fabric Bentley Rose by Jaspar.  Smith’s fabric line is a favorite of mine – the color ways available are never bold, but instead are muted and “off.”    The prints are reminiscent of Robert Kime’s line and his Tree of Life fabric is particularly satisfying. 




The entry hall with authentic paneling and aged floorboards taken from the other house.


The dining room has a spectacular mural painted to resemble an old paper.  Tufted red leather chairs further the English feel of the room.   The table is an antique with a patina that Smith says is impossible to duplicate from scratch. 



This is actually the mudroom!  The paper, bought at auction,  is a crumbling antique from the early part of the 19th century. 



In the library – notice the wonderful wood ceiling and beams, taken from the old house.  The sofa is covered in Smith’s cotton linen fabric.  The shelves are lighted by charming brass fixtures.   My favorite piece in this room - the wonderful library ladder! 




In the kitchen, the countertops are a flamed granite – giving them a matte and dulled, rather than shiny, finish.  The chairs and pot rack were custom made for the house. 



The sunroom features an elegant Windsor chair and  rustic rattan sofa.  The coffee table is actually an antique French game box.  Fabrics by Smith for Jaspar.   I love the lanterns used as sconces.   The picture in the book of this room is larger and in it you can see the ceiling fan – not just any ceiling fan, but an antique, original ceiling fan!




In the master bedroom – you can really see the beauty of the aged floor boards taken from  the old house – they are so gorgeous!  And the arch – separating the bed and sitting rooms - was also taken from the other house.    The wallpaper is hand painted de  Gournay. 



The bathroom features the hardwood floors again – making it just so cozy.  In the book, Smith states he likes to add a table with a lamp in bathrooms which immediately warms up the room.  What a great idea to use in your own home!  All fittings are from Kallista by Michael Smith.



The guest room features an ebony four poster bed.  The chest at the end of the bed is the standout piece here.  Smith states it is a very rare piece from the Bahamas. 


To read Cote de Texas Top Ten Designers  #9  - Michael Smith, go here.    To order Houses by Michael Smith, go here.

A-Rod and C-Rod List Coral Gables Crib

SELLER: Cynthia and Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez
LOCATION: E. Sunrise Avenue, Coral Gables, FL
PRICE: $14,876,000 (list); $8,500,000 (sale)
SIZE: 8,310 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 5 full and 3 half bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: ...Nothing short of Paradise yet comfortable & inviting, this unparalleled property offers the finest in waterfront yachting, entertaining & living. Completely renovated, with a unique combination of new & old handcrafted, custom designed finishes creating and unmatched setting with an abundance of water surrounding more than an acre of park like grounds.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Last week we had a discussion about the Park Avenue digs of New York Yankees' soon to be dee-vorced third baseman Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez recently listed with an asking price of $14,000,000 during which mentioned that the bay front Coral Gables mansion that he once shared with his soon to be ex-wifey Cynthia had also been tossed up on the market with an asking price of $14,876,000.

At the time, we had little information about the E. Sunrise Avenue estate. However, listing information has been beefed up and we now know the "Old World Mediterranean" mansion in suburban Miami was built in 1952, measures in at approximately 8,310 square feet and includes six bedrooms, five full and three half bathrooms.

Property records show the once convivial couple scooped up this property in December of 2004 when they paid an even-steven $12,000,000 for the 1+ acre property which records also show sits just a few short blocks from the much more modest crib of C-Rod's parents

Listing information shows the renovated and rehabbed residence features a stone floored entrance hall leading to a double height living room with a disturbingly modern and entirely unnecessary row of skylights and an area rug so dizzying Your Mama almost tossed up the candy bar we had for breakfast. The dining room has been wallpapered in a very Palm Beach Chinoiserie style wallpaper that has been smartly toned back with a well sized sisal rug under the too-traditional dining room table.

The eat-in kitchen appears to have been outfitted with pickled wood cabinets, marble counter tops and some rather unfortunate bar stools. Other rooms at the manse include an den/library/office and a media room.

The walled, gated and seriously secured property includes a large circular motor court with additional parking on what we think (but do not know for sure) was once a tennis court, all of which is surrounded by towering palm trees and all sorts of tropical foliage that provide the property with the kind of privacy often craved by rich and famous folks. The backyard offers a free form shaped swimming pool overlooking the Biscayne Bay and it appears to Your Mama there are docking facilities for at least four boats. A pool side pavilion provides an excellent place to get out of the scorching southern Florida sunshine and where we imagine might be a lovely spot for Sven the scantily clad massuer to stop by and give Your Mama a full body rub down.

Although the soon to be ex-Missus A-Rod asked for this property in the dee-vorce, it appears that in the end she's not interested in keeping the couple's house of connubial bliss and in fact, it's reported that C-Rod is out shopping for a new home in the Coral Gables and Coconut Grove areas.

As for A-Rod, when not (allegedly) slinking around and getting himself in some sticky and sweet situations in Noo York City with the soon to be single and man-eating Madonna, word on Miami's art deco'ed Ocean Drive is that the third baseman shacks up on swanky Star Island, the guard gated and pill shaped island where all manner of rich and famous folks like Gloria Estafan and Rosie O'Donnell have homes. It's also where, as far as we know, basketball giant Shaquille O'Neal is still trying to unload the monstrous mansion once rumored the erstwhile Mister and Missus Rodriquez were interested in purchasing.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tori Spelling Is A Valley Girl

BUYERS: Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott
LOCATION: Encino Avenue, Encino, CA
PRICE: $2,495,000
SIZE: 6,718 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: ...Sophisticated inviting entertainer's floor plan. Dramatic 2 stry formal entry, richly appointed cstm finishes, french drs, 4 frplcs, over sized common rms, wood & stone flring, dining rm w/ silver leaf coffered clngs, study, office, gourmet eat-in cntr isl kit w/ Thermador, Bosch, & SubZero apls. Amazing mstr ste w/ sitting area, blcny, frplc, spa tub & multi-head shwr. Landscaped grnds w/ lanai, bbq, pool/spa & putting green.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Like, Oh my gawd! Word on the Los Angeles real estate street is that Beverly Hills born ack-turus Tori Spelling (Beverly Hills 90210, So NoTORIous, Kiss the Bride) and her ack-tor huzband Dean McDermott (Due South, Power Play, 1-800-Missing) are moving up...and over to the San Fernando Valley.

It was recently reported here, there and everywhere that the peripatetic pair listed the 5 bedroom and 3.5 bathroom house in Los Angeles' Westwood neighborhood that they bought only last year and where they filmed their most recent reality show embarrassment Home Sweet Hollywood. (Sorry Tori hun, although Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter are both unrepentant reality show junkies and we think you are a-may-zing, we just don't care for those stinky reality shows you've been doing with your huzbeau.)

It was only a matter of time before all the whispers and rumors would start circulating about where the couple would be moving next and according to multiple of Your Mama's gorgeous informants Mister and Misses McDermott signed the purchase documents for big house in Encino just last week. Yes, children, Encino.

At this point we are unable to confirm the purchase with property records. However, two of our most reliable sources–the wickedly well informed Lucy Spillerguts and an often in the know gal we call Junebug–swear on their mama's lives that the couple scooped up a walled and gated house on Encino's Encino Avenue. Information we received from Junebug reveals the property was originally listed at $3,895,000, was later reduced to $2,995,000 and that the McDermott duo paid $2,495,000.

Listing information for the property reveals the so-called "Tuscan Villa" was built in 2001, measures in at a celebrity-sized 6,718 square feet and includes 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms (plenty of room for Candy to come visit), 4 fireplaces, and a 3 car front facing garage.

While the house hardly compares in size or day-core to the obscenely over sized Holmby Hills mansion in which Miss Spelling was reared, it does include a dramatic double height entrance hall with inlaid stone floors, a curving Scarlett O'Hara style staircase and a long, tubular chandelier that, for better or worse, looks like a column of sparkling diamonds.

Most of the downstairs rooms, including the formal living and dining rooms, the library, the eat in kitchen and family room all appear to have a complicated, and in our humble and meaningless opinion, a not very attractive parquet flooring.

While we appreciate that the large eat in kitchen includes all manner of high-grade appliances and has not been completely ruined by a gigantic and potentially lethal pot rack looming over the work island, we don't think this food preparation center is going to win any kitchen design awards. Functional, big and boring is how we would describe this kitchen.

Upstairs, the long master suite includes a sitting area focussed on a fireplace and a flat screen boob-toob that looks like it's mounted off -center of the mantel, a balcony overlooking the ratty back yard, and an unnecessarily glitzy hotel-like master bath that looks like it's straight out of the 1980s and which we seriously hope Mister and Missus McDermott will have done over by a nice gay decorator right away. Much to our own surprise (and chagrin), we do, however, like that wall to wall leopard printed carpet. Grrr.

The private backyard currently includes a large covered terrace where Dean can paint Tori's toenails in the shade while the kiddies frolic on the jungle gym, a built-in barbecue center, a swimming pool and spa with one of those horrid child safety fences (surely there is a more pleasing option than this), a putting green (pleez!) and a large lawn area that looks like it could use a drink of water.

Now that Miss Spelling has left the West Side behind in order to become a Valley Girl, we expect she'll soon be pushing strollers around the Sherman Oaks Galleria and shopping incognito at the Van Nuys Costco where she can get a family sized bag of frozen potstickers for like four bucks.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Antiquarian Michael Trapp Grows Up



Do you have concrete statuary or rusty iron urns inside of your house? You know the kind - the kind that up until this past decade would only be found outside in the garden.  Do you have that kind in your house?  Have you ever wondered why?  Ever wonder why you bring weathered urns inside your house, or a statue, or shells, or an architectural fragments?  Ever wonder why we are so enamored  these days with having patina indoors instead of out?  Who started that trend -- the decaying, peeling painted urns and statues and fragments inside the house? Do you know?   




The man attributed to starting the trend is Michael Trapp.  Michael who?  Michael Trapp started out as a gardener many years ago.  He had a quirky aesthetic - he coveted the architectural fragments that no one wanted at the time.  The peeling, crusty, rotted French doors and windows from buildings being demolished were all his for the taking - no one else wanted those fragments back then.  He saw beauty in old garden urns and concrete statues and fountains when others wanted only new elements for their gardens.  To develop his business and indulge his style, Trapp bought a piece of wild property in West Cornwall, Connecticut back in 1989.  He bought the property for the landscape, but there just happened to be a Greek Revival home built in 1820 included in the deal.  The house was a mess, with ill advised and falling down additions - just exactly what Trapp liked.  On his property, he plotted to create a mysterious landscape, overgrown and lush, with the atmosphere of an Italian garden or an English one - he couldn't decide.  The house would become not only his home, but also his shop which he set up on the ground level.  Trapp moved his private living quarters upstairs.  He spent time getting the house just right - he opened it up by tearing down almost all of its interior walls.  He ripped off the bad additions and dug a basement.  His house became his laboratory, an experiment in baroque design using antiques from the garden and parts of demolished buildings.  His vision was certainly like nothing that had been seen before.  In a short amount of time, Trapp became quite celebrated.  His gardening business grew, as did his interior design business and his antique business.  He has added on to his property over the years - a swimming pool or two, terraces, follies and a "Garden House."    Bunny Williams, the celebrated interior designer is a neighbor, friend, and client of Trapp's.  Of his garden, Williams says "When you step into Michael's garden, you can't believe you are in Connecticut.  It's not Italy exactly, not England exactly, nor Northern France exactly.  But you know Michael has kept his eyes open in all those places."




As Trapp's reputation grew, so did his following.  He received much laudatory press and devotees started  emulating his look.  Suddenly Trapp's unique vision became quite common.  As his popularity grew, he acquired many fans.  People would come to his store, his house, at all hours of the day and night, even though opening hours were limited to the weekends.  No one, it seemed, paid heed to the posted "Closed" sign.  Trapp says he would find strangers roaming his property, making themselves quite at home, even coming upstairs, uninvited, to his private living quarters.   Finally, it all became too much for the privacy-loving Trapp and he plotted a move.   It took a few years to find a suitable place to relocate to.  But,  he finally found Paradise II, a large spread in the Berkshires, not far from his previous place.  The property was on a cliff, overlooking the vast, gorgeous mountain range.  He was hooked.  The only problem was again, the house.  This time the house was much newer.  A relic from the 80's - it was a ranchburger.  Trapp's friends and fans were horrified that he would give up his Baroque lifestyle for a common ranch house.   But he forged ahead with his plans.




Trapp spent a few years completely remodeling his new house and landscaping the property.  Today, the former ranch style house  is barely to be found, instead, it has been renovated into an eclectic house, with Asian and Arts & Crafts Movement influences.  The house is 3,000 sq. ft., as is the outdoor living spaces - crowned by a large deck on which the Berkshires can be seen in all their glory.   Stone terraces surround the house and the deck.  While the interiors are quite tame by his old standards, they are still quirky, but in a more sophisticated way.  Dead birch trees fill his living room - a Trapp touch that can only be called wholly original.   Outside, unlike West Cornwall, there are no flowers, only greenery and succulents, another extreme change for Trapp.  While the country and the world are still embracing the crusty, peeling urns and columns that he introduced us to, Trapp has moved on.  The store in West Cornwall is still open, but Trapp's aesthetic has changed, he has grown up.


Where it all began:  The gardens and house at West Cornwall, Connecticut:



The 1820 Greek Revival house.    Originally Michael Trapp painted the house cream with a Prussian blue trim.  The store, Michael Trapp Antiques, is located on the ground floor.  His living  quarters are on the second floor.



Reclaimed cobblestones taken from freshly re-paved streets make up the garden paths that wind through the property.  Urns, pots,  and columns are everywhere.



Large Chinese junipers guard over the reflecting pond, placed between the cobblestone paths.  Finials and fountains are found throughout the property.



The view of the pond and the house - notice how high the same junipers have grown in this photo compared with the photograph above!



Looking from the house, past the pond, is the Garden House, formerly the garage.  Inside the Garden House, Trapp lowered the floor three feet to accommodate French windows taken from the Rhode Island State Capitol building during a refurbishing.  The Garden House is used as an extra dining room and the upper floor is used for guest quarters.



The house also has windows taken from the Rhode Island Capitol building.  In the photo above, where the arched windows are, is Trapp's private dining room/kitchen.  Cobblestone pathways lead from the house on the right back  to the Garden House. 



In an attempt to control the crowds of wandering customers and uninvited guests, Trapp installed old shutters between the shop/house and the private Garden House. 



Besides bringing outdoor furniture inside, Trapp brings inside furniture outside! Here an antique eastern bed becomes a garden bench.  Shown here is the patio between the stop/house and Garden House.



A view of the terrace with a dining table.  The terrace is  bordered with reclaimed balustrades.



The property which overlooks a river, is divided into two areas - the upper garden and the lower garden.  Here, you can see the Garden House on the upper level and the stairs leading down to the lower level garden.  Old, discarded balustrades and columns were used for the staircase.



This vine covered arch leads you down the stairs to the lower garden area.  



This views looks past the lower garden's reflecting pool back up to the stairs that lead to the upper garden.



Large Spanish pots mark the reflecting pool in the lower garden.   Trapp used stacked stones for the pool and the retaining walls found on the property.



With a quote from Trapp:  "I wanted to make the house and the garden seem as though they were 500 years old," this photograph of the reflecting pool and the garden shed seems to confirm he achieved his goal.



Today, a new pool house and swimming pool sit in the lower garden.  The stairs lead back to the upper garden.



The pool, looking back the other way with the stone wall fountain on the right.



Inside the pool house  with it's old French doors and columns and non-electrified chandelier.



The back wall of the romantic pool house with a console and chandelier, giant clam shell, garden seats and mirror.



A site plan of the property.

The Shop inside the House:



The shop's entrance decorated for Christmas. 



The shop - inside the house, this area was set up as a dining room.  I adore this chandelier and the large urn in the background.



Decorated for Christmas, Trapp was the first to feature beautiful, gold antique frames  without the paintings inside.  Today, this is a common trend.



In the shop,  Trapp added on a conservatory and filled it with plants, old pots and urns.  Everything is for sale, Trapp says, downstairs in the shop and upstairs in his private living quarters.



Pure theatrics, pure Trapp!



The conservatory - an antique armoire holds shells, another trend Trapp is credited with starting.  Trapp especially loves ferns and large leafed plants.



Inside the house, past the shop is the romantic entry hall to the private living quarters.  Stairs lead to the living quarters on the upper level.  The dining room/kitchen is behind the mirrored door on the right.  In the corner, atop a tall column, Trapp rests an oil painting.



The stair hall in the house sets the tone for the romantic, Baroque style of decorating Trapp uses:  statuary, urns, columns, pedestals, mirrors, balustrades, and loose linens - all add to the look.  A huge tapestry takes up the wall space on the left of the stairs.



Upstairs, off the stair hall, is Trapp's living area and office.  Urns, sconces, old rugs, statues, finials, branches, and velvet - all  hallmarks of his "Baroque styled look."



Trapp sells fine antiques as shown here and not-so fine antiques, also shown here.  Together the mix of the high and low combines to create Trapp’s vision of his romantic Baroque style.



His bathroom - this  floor is his take on a Versailles patterned parquet floor.  The old zinc tub is shielded by linen sheets.   The large bathroom was once actually a bedroom.   On the right of the tub is a daybed.



Styled differently with wintery fabrics, the daybed in the bathroom was made from French paneling.  Notice the urn filled with shells.  The base was taken from a Civil War monument.



Inside the dining room/kitchen, looking out back towards the reflecting pool and the Garden House.   At dinner parties, guest will have drinks and appetizers in the Garden House then walk across the patio to the dining room for the main course.



The dining room/kitchen.   Trapp never electrifies his chandeliers.  The large windows here also came from the Rhode Island Capitol building.    On the right is a picture of Michael Trapp, the antiquarian.



The table set in the dining room with various antiques.



Again - the dining/room kitchen, Trapp was at the forefront of the shell craze years ago.  Large clam shells mix with small clams, statues, pedestals and capitals.



In a guest room,  Trapp uses linens to drape off the bed and to cover windows.  On the right, a bed from France is placed inside the wall.

The Garden House:



The Garden House:  built in what was once a garage, the Garden House is used for dinner parties, cocktail parties and overnight guests, who sleep upstairs.  Notice the charming marble topped table with French chairs around it. 



The Garden House - a charming window seat is built in. 



The Garden House:  a large capital takes the place of a table, again, a trend today.



The table set in the Garden House – look at the huge napkins and plates he uses!




The Garden House:  Close up of the window seat made out of reclaimed wood.

Besides gardening and selling antiques, Trapp does interior design for clients.  Here is a project of his:



I love, love love this room - it's just a perfect blend of old and older!  Love the chandelier, the fireplace, the tapestry, the blue and white porcelains and lamps.  The best thing, though,  is the floor - hard to see in this picture, but it looks like large, old flags from England.  Gorgeous.



The bedroom, using an architectural  fragment for the headboard, old flooring, tapestries.



Another wonderful space - the dining room.  Mismatched chairs, antiques, great chandelier.



And finally, the kitchen and keeping room, again with the old flag floor.



He still specializes in garden design and landscaping, mixing his love of statuary with plants.



And now for something completely different:  Trapp Moves On:   A few years ago, the very private Trapp tired of living above the shop and having strangers wondering through his house and his gardens, even when the shop was closed!  He bought this spread below, with a view of the Berkshires.  Here is the ranch house before it was remodeled.


The Berkshires property.  The ranch house before it was renovated.  Nothing special and totally unlike the famous West Cornwall property.



The same view with the remodeled house and terraces.  There is also a large deck off one side of the house.



The living room - totally different in feel from his previous house, but still quirky enough to be Trapp.  Large birch trees that had died were brought inside the house for their sculptural quality.  Empty frames hanging on the wall look like part of the molding.  Notice how the bottom part of the wall is painted black.



Another view of the living area with a view towards the deck outside.



The dining room.   Again, such a stark contrast the old house.   Beautiful chandelier.



Another view of the dining room- I love the table with urns for its base!



The bedroom design says:  Michael Trapp - all grown up.   With matching contemporary styled lamps, this space is as far removed from the Baroque inspired West Cornwall house as possible.  I think I prefer this look to the other more bohemian look. Which house do you prefer?  The old house or the new one?



The deck with the view that sold Trapp on the house - the Berkshires are in the background.

The Merchandise:



Michael Trapp has a wonderful, extensive web site with all his press available to read online.  He also sells select items from his store.  I love these cane and wood chairs.  Beautiful, and so cheap!



The back of the chair.



This sofa is for sale, pictured here in Trapp's living room.  Notice the dinosaur skeleton in the background. 


Besides furniture, Trapp sells tile floors, stone, and other goodies.  Be sure to visit his web site here and see what else he has for sale.  I hope you've enjoyed this look into Michael Trapp and you have come away with a better understanding of the trends he created.