Sunday, January 31, 2010
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 4,297 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Before we go on a wild tear about this house, Your Mama wants to make it clear that we don't have anything against Eve Jeffers, otherwise known as Eve. Beehawtcha has come a long ways from the streets of Philly where as a teenager she worked her stuff as Eve Destruction and even farther from the strip clubs of the Bronx where she once buh-jangled her bootylicious backside in order to make ends meet. Today, to her credit, she's a Grammy winning rapper/singer who successfully dabbles in the tee-vee (Eve) and movies (Barbershop, Barbershop 2, Whip It!). Most recently, Miss Eve smartly took a two episode arc as a deceitful glee club director on the gay, gay, gay, Glee program, a role that Whitney Houston rather foolishly turned down. So props where props are due.
Your Mama does not, however, feel quite so charitable towards the not particularly pretty Hollywood Hills house Miss Eve recently put on the market with an asking price of $2,295,000. According to property records, Miss Eve purchased her homely house in the hills of Hollywood in December of 2005 for $1,775,000. Records show that the three story residence, which shares a gated driveway with another, equally architecturally challenged house, measures 4,297 square feet and includes 4 bedrooms and 5 poopers.
The front door–which, the children will note, is also the back door–opens into what amounts to a really wide and really beige hallway with beige Travertine tile floors. At least we think that's Travertine. Straight ahead, stairs go up and stairs go down making this the central traffic hub for the house. Flanking the front door, a pair of floor to ceiling windows have beige curtain panels that are knotted at the bottom in what looks like it might be some half-assed effort to keep a cat from clawing the crap out of them or an attempt to keep the minimum wage cleaning gurl from carelessly sucking them up with the Hoover.
The Travertine tiles–or whatever they are–continue into the "formal" living room, which has a fireplace, a sienna colored ceiling, a couple of arched glass doors that open out to the itty-bitty backyard terrace area–which is, as best as we can ascertain, also the front yard–some equilibrium destabilizing angles and a couple of not particularly well placed windows. But the one thing in this living room that really stands out to Your Mama like a naked man at church are those long, beige curtain panels that–like those flanking the front/back door–have been knotted at the bottom. Oh, Eve. Hunny. No.
To the right of the front/back door and creating one long, narrow space that runs across the full width of the front/back of the house is the dining room where we find more of the Travertine tiles–or whatever they are–and more of those damn knotted curtain panels which are quickly becoming a rather upsetting decorative motif. We never thought something quite so, well, obvious would ever make it into Your Mama's big book of decorating dos and don'ts but sometimes, like all those jumpsuit wearing space explorers on Star Trek, Your Mama must go where no one has gone before. Henceforth Your Mama's decorating rule #1,041 succinctly declares that no curtain panels shall be knotted at the bottom. Ever. Period. End of Story. They can, we'll allow, be temporarily knotted if the carpets are getting cleaned, but once that shag is dry, those knots get immediately undone. Ih-meedy-uhtlee.
Now puppies, credit where credit is due in the dining room: Your Mama actually likes the idea of those three Balinese lanterns–or whatever they are–hanging above the table but we're more than a bit concerned with the execution. It surely would have been much better to spend a few dollars for a damn electrician to come over and install each lantern so it dangles from its own electric cord rather than have them all hanging off that wonky strip of wood–or whatever it is.
The beige Travertine tile floors and the all beige all the time color palette continues into the well equipped but perfectly ordinary upper end kitchen. There are beige and brown flecked granite counter tops, high grade stainless steel appliances, and honey colored cabinetry with flat fronts. Thank heavens for those flat fronted cabinets because Your Mama would have lost our damn minds iffin this kitchen had been done up with all manner of carved corbels, a dreaded pot rack, and a tile back splash depicting "Tuscany" or some other moronic scene. And let's be honest chickens, it could have been. We expected to find that. Be honest, didn't y'all too?
Thankfully, wood floors were installed in the tee-vee room instead of more of that Travertine–or whatever it is. Miss Eve has "decorated" the room with a large, party sized sectional sofa that wraps around a large coffee table and sits opposites a clunky and chunky corner cabinet that appears to house all the electronics and cable boxes. A rug might have been nice but it does not seem that Miss Eve cares for rugs because there's nary a one to be found in the whole house as far as we can see. Wait, actually we do see a bath mat in front of the terlit in the master pooper but that hardly qualifies as a rug.
The other thing we sadly spy in the master pooper is all that messy make-up crap cluttering up the twin vanities. Oh Eve. Sweet pea. Really? Let Your Mama offer you a simple but sage word of real estate advice: If you want to be selling your house in the Hollywood Hills for two million smackaroos or more–and it appears that you do–put all that damn make-up away right quick. Nobody–and that means no-body–wants to walk into a two million dollar master pooper to find a bunch of worn out lipsticks, mucked up make-up sponges and fugged up foundation bottles leaking all over the damn counter. Think about it gurl. Would you? Seriously, would you?
The front/back door opens to a small terrace that not only has two incompatible tile treatments but appears to be the only exterior space besides the wee balcony on the top floor. No grass. No swimming pool. No spa. No sunbathing nekkid. Nothing but the neighbors who can look down from their windows di-rectly into your front/back yard. Pity that.
Anyhoo, we don't know where Miss Eve plans on moving on to once she sells this pile, but we imagine it will be more private and we do so hope with every fiber of our decoratively sensitive soul that Gurl gets herself a nice, gay decorator to help her work out her new interior spaces and find a more suitable storage system for all her make-up in her next home. Listen Eve, hunny, if you need a few names of decorators, you just give Your Mama a ringy-dingy and we'll hook you up. Seriously. You deserve better than knotted curtain panels and we'd be happy to make a dee-ziner connection.
photos: Keller Williams / ScottHoward.com
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 9,691 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: There is a large mansion that presides over the tippy-top of the Bird Streets high above Los Angeles' Sunset Strip area that was listed for sale in September of 2008 with the attention grabbing asking price of $29,000,000. The dee-luxe digs were recently sold, but for far less than the original asking price. Before Your Mama gets to discussing the young buyer, let's have a quick look-see at a brief history of the private property that is flanked by the Ricardo Legorreta designed contemporary casa of recently deceased Fantasy Island star Ricardo Montalban on one side and the former home of Lionel Richie on the other, now owned by motivational speaker–and OT VIII level Scientologist–Grant Cardone.
The property was purchased in 1999 by tee-vee producer Adam Chase for $3,100,000. Mister Chase bulldozed the existing house and built a massive, faux-Tuscan style villa complete with a cypress tree lined gravel driveway and tons of terra cotta urns painstakingly aged to look like the might actually have come from Tuscany. Or maybe they did come from Tuscany, what do we know? Nuthin', that's what. Apparently Mister Chase didn't care to live in the huge house very long because he listed the property for $24,500,000 and sold it in September of 2006 to a Greenwich, CT based hedge hog named Robert Krail who, records reveal, forked over $19,150,000 for the almost new mansion.
Mister Krail flipped the property back on the market exactly two years later with a much higher and–if we may say–nervy asking price of $29,000,000. According to Redfin, four times the price tag was chopped and dropped until it landed in August of 2009 at $21,900,000. Then along comes a young, purdy and very rich Russian dilettente named Daria "Dasha" Zhukova who, records show, picked up the property in mid-January of 2010 for $19,500,000. That is, by any account, a huge number but it's also nearly ten million clams less than Mister Krail wanted and just $350,000 more than the premium price he paid for the property 3.5 years prior.
Miss Zhukova is, to say the least, an interesting character on the young and fabulous international art and culture scene. Born in Russia, her mother Elena is a molecular biologist and her father is the controversial and wildly wealthy Russian bidnessman Alexander Zhukova. Her folks went kaput and dee-vorced when she was 10 years old–or somewhere around that age–and she and her mother emigrated to Houston, TX. After a couple of years, Elena and Dasha moved to Los Angeles where property records indicate they settled into a modest if not particularly inexpensive house in the affluent Westwood area just a few blocks away from The Manor, Candy Spelling's overblown residential pile on S. Mapleton Drive. After graduating high school, Miss Zhukova went on to university, matriculating at UC Santa Barbara where she, "did pre-med, Slavic studies, and literature."
Not having visited to her homeland in more than 10 years, she opted to spend her last semester of university in Moscow but soon returned to Los Angeles where she and Christina Tang–a pal from middle school–started up a clothing line called Kova & T. After getting the clothing line up and running–presumably with a few shekels from daddy–she packed her bags and moved to London in order to study homeopathic medicine. By her own account she spent scads of time in Moscow where she she dated racket breaking professional tennis player Marat Safin (now retired).
In 2006, Mister Safin just a notch in her Balenciaga belt, she found a new man-friend in the older, property mad contemporary art collector Roman Abramovich, a notoriously big living Russian oligarch with many billions of bucks at his disposal. In September of 2008, young Miss Zhukova shifted "professional" gears again and with some financial assistance from Mister Abramovich opened the The Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in a huge and historic Moscow bus depot that was built in 1926 by noted Russian Constructivist architect Konstanin Melnikov. A few months later, in February of 2009 to be exact and without any publishing experience whatsoever, Miss Zhukova was named editrix-in-chief of the London-based forward thinking fashion and art magazine Pop. The appointment made many in the fashion and publishing world go, "Huh? Wha? Uhm...For real?" Magazine co-founder and current editorial director Ashley Heath had no such reservations and was quoted at the time saying, "Dasha represents a fantastic combination of style, intelligence, youth and cultural clout." Indeed.
Soon after taking on the top spot at Pop, Miss Zhukova turned up preggers with her first child and Mister Abramovich's sixth. In early December of 2009, Dasha popped out a baby boy she and Mister Abramovich named Aaron Alexander.
That's a mitzvah and we wish the three of them happy family and all that crap but what Your Mama really wants to know is how this 28-year bee-hawtcha manages to dart around to all her many international business concerns and jobs and still have time to be the globe-trotting baby momma of billionaire Roman Abramovich who may "live" in Moscow but has more homes around the world that Your Mama has fingers. Among his many homes, Mister Abramovich owns lavish spreads in London, the Cap d'Antibes in the South of France, a couple of houses in Snowmass, CO including the 11 bedroom Wildcat Ridge residence for which he paid $36,375,000, and that $90,000,000 hideaway he recently bought St. Barts, not to mention an armada of yachts so big they have damn helipads.
Yes, pets, Your Mama is aware that flying private saves Dasha darling hours of time and frustration that would otherwise be spent being frisked by "security" and suffering through bag checks with all the little people. And certainly her jet setting is made even more comfortable and convenient when swaddled in the splendiferous bosom–or is it belly?–of Mister Abramovich's custom Boeing 767 jumbo jet that is reported to be soon replaced with an even bigger double-decker A380 super jumbo jet. But still, seriously, how and where does dear Dasha find the time and energy to design, curate, edit and nurse and look casually glamorous in 12 time zones at once? It makes Your Mama's head spin just to think about it. There are, after all, only so many hours in a day and Your Mama can barely find the time to push out the words of our little internet dealy-jobber and still make dinner for the Dr. Cooter let alone hop around the world to attend to three jobs and a dozen houses.
Anyhoo, now that we know who this little miss missy Zhukova is, let's have a look at the twenty million dollar domicile she bought to shack up in when in Los Angeles to visit her mother and check in on her clothing line. Listing information indicates the gated and well secured 9,691 square foot house sits on just over an acre and includes 6 bedrooms, 8.5 poopers and, when not socked in with pore clogging smog, to die for 270 degree views.
The ornate iron gates open to a long gravel driveway that makes a last second bend into a large circular motor court and the, unfortunately, front facing three car garage. Not that Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter will ever be in the market for a twenty million dollar anything–so far be it for us to whine and bitch over details–but for that kind of money we do not want to be looking at the garage when we pull our big BMW up to the front door. Besides, this set up leaves no out of sight parking area for all the minimum wage gurls required to maintain this home to park their beat up Kias. So each and every time you come home to your extravagantly expensive house, you gotta park your Mercedes or Maybach behind Inez's hoopdy Hyundai and Pete the pool boy's scratched up Ty-ota pee-cup truck. That, my friends, would be a deal breaker for many a rich person although not, obviously, for Miss Zhukova.
The ocher colored and tile-roofed villa wraps around the motor court, has minty green shutters–that for twenty million had better be operable–and an unassuming front entry with barely a pediment to announce it. The front door opens into an entrance hall that with all its stone columns, slate floors and reclaimed brick walls looks more like a wine cellar than we might prefer our entry look. Listing information indicates that in addition to the wine-cellar-ish entrance hall, the chunky house has at least 15 rooms including a living room with a reclaimed wood beamed ceiling and fireplace with a carved stone antique surround, a round dining room wrapped in arched French doors, a library, den, sun room, a gore-may kitchen with a wood-burning pizza oven separated from the family room by a wide aged-stone archway, a billiard room, a home gym, state of the art screening room, staff quarters, and an actual wine cellar.
In addition to the staff and family bedrooms and poopers, there is a sprawling master suite with an impressively vaulted ceiling with more antique wood beams, a sitting area with fireplace, a trio of French doors that open to a narrow balcony, and a bathroom with enormous twin vanities with marble counter tops, an intricately tiled floor and a free standing soaking tub for two. We're not sure where the terlit is located, but given that the master pooper looks almost as large as Your Mama's 2-car garage we'd imagine it's located in its own well-ventilated and private room.
There are outrageous views from every room that overlooks or opens to the simply landscaped back yard, which includes wide lawns, several stone terraces and loggias with herringbone brick floors and dee-lishus groin arched ceilings fashioned from reclaimed bricks that make a delightful pixelated pattern that makes Your Mama go all goose pimply with delight. Mister Chase and his people made the somewhat surprising choice to buck Bird Street swimming pool tradition and forwent the proverbial infinity edged pool in lieu of a less dramatic but no less inviting rectangular swimming pool and a slightly raised spa surrounded by by a wide terrace of randomly sized cobblestones. The truth is, or at least as far as Your Mama is concerned, when you've got a dazzling view like this property has, the added histrionics of an infinity edged swimming pool seems like a gilding of the lily. So, bravo!
As far as we know, lucky, lucky, lucky Miss Zhukova continues to maintain a £1,500,000 penthouse on London's Kensington Church Street–that's about $2,400,000 American at today's rates. Her penthouse pad is conveniently located just a hop, skip and a jump from where her baby daddy is combining a couple of Lowndes Square townhouses into one hulking, 30,000 square foot beast that will reportedly have 8 bedrooms, 5 floors above ground, 3 levels below ground–one of which will contain an indoor swimming pool–and 4 flats above the garage for staff. Of course Your Mama don't know a grape from a tennis court but we have to assume that Miss Zhukova and her maliysh will be taking up residence in Mister Abramovich's big ol' townhouse once the extensive renovations have been completed.
photos: Everett Fenton Gidley
Friday, January 29, 2010
SELLER: Diandra Douglas
LOCATION: Montecito, CA
SIZE: 7 and some acres, 7 bedrooms and a lot of bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Late in the night, well into our second pitcher of gin & tonics and about half way through a particularly disturbing episode of The Housewives of Orange County, Your Mama received a thoughtful missive from Big Dave over at Celebrity Address Aerial who linked us over to an opulent estate in Montecito, CA. Turns out the ocean view spread and it's Italian Villa style mansion, called La Quinta, belongs to a ladee named Diandra Douglas, the wealthy ex-wife of two-time Oscar winning actor Michael Douglas. Your Mama will always remember Mister Douglas for his Emmy nominating spin on Will & Grace as the lunky and closeted private eye who dances (poorly) with and rubs up on Will in the most vulgar and entirely unattractive manner. However, the Hollywood scion has also starred in dozens of films including iconic cinematic treats like Fatal Attraction, Wall Street, War of the Roses, Basic Instinct, and Coma, the very first film that scared the skin clean off our body. Oh, Mary, mother of God, all those people just hanging there, connected to tubes, still as death. Just thinking about it makes Your Mama need a damn nerve pill.
But we digress/ Mister and first Missus Douglas, that would be Diandra, married in 1977 and the following year first Missus Douglas pushed out a baby whom they named Cameron. Gossip glossy readers will already know that just yesterday, Cameron pled guilty to being a meth dealer and is expected to be sentenced from 10 years to life. A meth dealer! Making matters worse, while on house arrest awaiting his arraignment or trial (or whatever), his stoopid gurlfriend got caught smuggling the bad boy heroin tucked up in an eklectric damn toothbrush. Gurl, Pleeze. Dumb ass move on both of these people's part, but sad, sad, sad for Cameron's family.
Anyhoo, Mister and Missus Douglas remained coupled for a couple of decades but went kaput sometime before the year 2000 when Missus Douglas legally became ex-Missus Douglas. There was quite a bit of tawdry, tabloid style drama concerning the demise and dissolution of the Douglas' 23 year marriage. Before the ink was even dry on the dee-vorce decree–or rather, before there was any decree to be inked–Mister Douglas had hooked up with Welsh siren Catherine Zeta Jones wooing her, it is said, with the utterly icky and completely inappropriate line, "I want to father your children." Lo-ward have mercy children, it just makes Your Mama's skin crawl to think about some 50 something year old man saying something so ridiculous to anyone, let alone a woman who is 28 years younger. It's just so damn cliché, we can. not. bear. to. think. about. it. Miz Zeta Jones, on the other hand, was in her prime birthing years and clearly wasn't creeped out by Mister Douglas' dreadful and disturbing overture. Au contraire, mon frère, the May-December duo, who reportedly met at the Deauville Film Festival in France in 1998, quickly mated and made baby out of wedlock who was born in August of 2000, the very same year Mister and Missus Douglas' dee-vorce became final. Miz Zeta Jones had a few months to shed her baby weight and work out the pre-nup details that reportedly guarantee her somewhere around $2,800,000 for every year she stays married to Mister Douglas. That sounds a little like...Well, we all know what that sounds a little like. She wed he in November of 2000–also the same year Mister Douglas got dee-vorced–in a decadent ceremony at the Plaza Hotel. See why there might have been some nasty feelings on ex-Missus Douglas' part? No wonder she took him to the cleaners. The newlyweds took up residence in Bermuda, maintain a Manhattan apartment on the Central Park West and soon popped out another shortie.
As interesting and all that may be, we're not here to yammer on about the Viagra popping senior citizen and his young enough to be his daughter wife, but rather to discuss ex-Missus Douglas who, it was widely speculated and reported, received a settlement somewhere in the neighborhood of $45,000,000 when she kicked Mister Douglas to the curb. She was also, apparently, granted substantial alimony–we'll get to that in a minute–and given that property records only show her name on the deed(s) it would appear she also received their sprawling Montecito, CA estate that she recently heaved on the market with a brain burning asking price of $29,000,000.
Before we get to all that, let's all have a bit of real estate fun and go back in time so that we can weave in some of ex-Mrs. Douglas' other real estate transactions and romantic doings because, puppies, they are fascinating and deeply intertwined. Soon after getting a lucrative dee-vorce from her famous huzband, ex-Mrs. Douglas became entangled in a tempestuous relationship with a hedge hog with the comical, can't-make-this-shit-up name of Zack Hampton Bacon III. Mister Bacon wanted to marry ex-Mrs. Douglas. She refused, the story goes, unless he agreed to pay her the hundreds of thousands of clams in alimony she'd be giving up if she remarried. They did not marry. They did, in March 2004, have have twin piglets by surrogate–they are biologically Mister Bacon's–and lived in a New York City townhouse on East 69th Street owned by Mister Bacon.
Not long after the couple's twin bundles of boy joy were born, ex-Mrs. Douglas and Mister Bacon went splitsville. They squabbled about custody and she packed up her expensive things and moved a couple of blocks north to a 6-floor townhouse on East 71st Street that she bought in August of 2005 for $5,450,000. By the middle months of 2007, ex-Mrs. Douglas had a new huzband, gee-tar maker Michael Klein, and had hoisted her Upper East Side townhouse on the market with a gutsy asking price of $10,250,000.
Presumably ex-Missus Douglas wanted to sell the East 71st Street townhouse because prop records reveal that in May of 2007 she and her new Mister paid $15,250,000 for a much more grandiose townhouse with 8,000 square feet on 6 floors supremely located on a particularly swank block of East 65th Street. Before moving into the new house, the newlyweds–who must have been doing some renovation work on their new townhouse–reportedly took up temporary residence in the West 12th Street townhouse owned–but never occupied–by Band-Aid heiress Libbet Johnson who bought it for $9,100,000 from brilliant but faux-humble actress Meryl Streep. Why ex-Missus Douglas and the new Mister would need to hole up in Libbet's house when ex-Missus Douglas still owned her for-sale townhouse on East 65th Street is a mystery to Your Mama.
But alas, cupcakes. Romance again eluded ex-Missus Douglas and by late 2008 Mister Klein had dumped the dee-vorcée–so the story goes–and high-tailed it back to his raw food chef ex-wifey Roxanne. Oh what a tangled and woeful web some folks weave. At the time Mister Klein ditched her, ex-Missus Douglas had still not sold her East 71st Street townhouse and the asking price had plummeted a million clams to $9,250,000. Finally, in December of 2008, prop records reveal that the once again newly single ex-Missus Douglas–and now ex-Missus Klein–sold the East 71st Street house for the complicated price of $9,382,700. Property records also show that ex-Missus Douglas/ex-Missus Klein continues to own the East 65th Street townhouse where, presumably, she and her twin boys live when in residence in New York.
Now then, let's shush on back to the scenic coast of Caleepornya and get on with discussing ex-Missus Douglas' Montecito manse currently listed with the scorching asking price of 29 million smackers. As best as we can tell from a peep and a poke through the records, Mister and ex-Missus Douglas purchased their Montecito manse in January of 1979 for–are you sitting down, children?–$275,000. It's hard to believe that number reflects the total purchase price, but that's what we found kiddies.
The estate encompasses two stunning, private and very desirable ocean view parcels way up in the hills where Montecito becomes the fire-prone Los Padres National Forest. Records show the individual parcels measure 3.19 acres or 3.86 acres or 2.74 acres or 4.17 acres because we found records that show all four of those figures. Adding to our property size confusion, listing information indicates the property measures 7.03+- acres and the plat included in marketing material shows that one lot measures 4.04 acres and the other 3.01 acres for a total of 7.05 acres. Let's just put this to bed and say there are two lots totaling a hair more than seven acres.
A long, gated and tree covered driveway leads to a large motor court where carved antique carriage doors with pedestrian inserts open into the foyer, which has handmade tile on the floor and a groin vault on the ceiling. A 52-foot long galleria with groin arched ceilings and arched French doors directs traffic into to the 37-foot long living room with its heavy beamed ceiling, random plank and pegged oak floor, antique hand-carved limestone fireplace surround, and three fan-top French doors that open to a long loggia with panoramic ocean views–not to mention silly, billowy and gauzy curtains–and a groin arched ceiling. Heaven's to Betsy children, all this jibber-jabber about groins is driving Your Mama to drink and distraction.
The library and the baronial sized dining room, like the living room, have heavy beamed ceilings, random plank and pegged oak floors, fireplaces, French doors that open onto terraces and into the garden, and blah, blah, blah. What Your Mama finds most inneresting about this room is that ex-Missus Douglas has put a high-gloss baby grand piano in there so that her dinner guests can dine to the tinkle of the ivories. Is that the very picture of elegance, children, or is it just pretentious and a bit strange?
The 800-square foot kitchen has white cabinetry, blue granite counter tops–which is unusual and not entirely pleasant to see–a fully equipped butler's pantry, a built-in banquette and fireplace in the breakfast area, and the full complement of high-grade and uber-expensive appliances one should find in a $29,000,000 kitchen even if no one but Chef Lamar will ever use them. There is, according to marketing information, a half-pooper just off the kitchen and next to the back stairs the lead to the 2 bedroom and 1 pooper staff quarters.
The family room, according to listing information measures 37 feet by 18 feet. A few flicks of the well worn beads of our bejeweled abacus reveals those measurements work out to a devilish–if you believe in such nonsense–666 square feet. The architecture and day-core is more of the same: heavy beamed ceiling, hand made tile floor, fireplace, and three sets of French doors that open into the garden courtyard.
According to listing information, ex-Missus Douglas' domicile contains 7 bedrooms. As best as we can tell, that count includes the 2 staff rooms and the manager's/guest apartment which in addition to its own bedroom has a living room, kitchen and, we have to assume, a private pooper. There appear to be four principal bedrooms in the main house, each with a pooper of its own. The master has not one but two poopers, a gentleman's bath done up in Italian marble and a ladee's bathing and evacuation center with Jacuzzi tub, a double shower bathed in Italian marble, a corner fireplace and two walk in closets. The master suite also includes a large sitting room and a bedroom with, you guessed it, random plank pegged oak floors, French doors that open to a large brick terrace, panoramic views, and a corner fireplace. We will not discuss the shades in the bedroom. They are simply to horrible to deal with.
The back of the house opens up to terraces, patios, loggias and vast meticulously maintained gardens that tumble down to the 70-foot long swimming pool and the adjacent vine-covered pool/guest house. The pool/guest house contains a large living room with–yes–a beamed ceiling and French doors that open to the tennis court on one side and the pool deck on the other. There is also another damn fireplace, which makes nine by our count. There is also full kitchen with Corian counter tops, a full pooper with hot-air sauna, and large room that can be utilized as an exercise room or, better yet, as a bedroom for Sven, our hard-working Sveedish masseur who does not speak a word of English or Spanish or any other language we can understand. Not only would Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter d.i.e. to have Sven as a full-time masseur, so would our imperious house gurl Svetlana who doesn't, the poor dear, know better than to bark up the wrong tree.
Moving on...The gardens are without question spectacular and without question spectacularly high-maintenance. The gardens, which surely require several bare chested men be on the property 7 days a week pruning, mowing, and sweating in the most attractive manner, include acres of rolling lawns, overflowing beds with flowering plants, palm trees, fountains, stone urns by the dozen, secret spots where Sven can work his magic outdoors, and magnificent vistas over the treetops and towards the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands. The views alone, children, are worth many millions. Montecito is a bit staid for our real estate tastes, but it is gor-gee-uhs and we certainly wouldn't say no to an opportunity to live up with all those elegant rich people. The grounds also include an elaborate Japanese water garden with a tea house or some such thing stuck in the middle. Now children, riddle me this: Iffin Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter were in the market for a 29 million dollar mansion–which we will never, ever be–and we cottoned to this lovely spread, would we in addition to Sven and Svetlana need to keep a couple of Japanese girls on retainer who know the intricate tea rituals? Would a couple of Brits suffice?
Also scattered about the gardens, according to listing information, is a fence dog run–a punishment we would never inflict on our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly–a citrus orchard, large and muh-tour shade trees, a fenced vegetable and herb garden with raised beds and extensive exterior lighting for impressing garden guests in the night.
We certainly don't have any idea why ex-Missus Douglas is selling La Quinta, but we certainly can't blame her. Not only will she likely pocked tens of millions of dollars, we imagine an estate like this–even with paid help–is a lot to manage for a single lady with two young children and another huzband to catch.
photos: Sotheby's International Realty
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Olivine, the wonderful home decor store in the Rice Village. There’s a 20% off sale, store wide going on right now.
When Olivine, a home decor store, moved their location to the Rice Village last September, Helen – it’s charming owner – ordered a truckload of merchandise from French Laundry Home. That small furniture and bedding company is heavily invested in the feedbag look, which I am slightly crazy for. All the new merchandise had not yet arrived by the time of the grand opening - but it’s in the store now. So exciting! Some of you might not be devoted to the feedbag and burlap look, but I am totally obsessed with it. Last year I used feedbags bought on eBay for a client’s living room:
A client’s living room where I used feedbag pillows. I also included pillows made out of the Ikat fabric for when the client wants a change.
L.A.’s Dan Marty is often credited with helping fuel the feedbag/burlap decorative trend last year. His fabulous showroom is sadly now closed. While Marty’s furniture was upholstered in lowly burlap and feedbag instead of pricey fabrics – his pieces were still very, very expensive.
At Olivine in Houston, they carry French Laundry Home, a furniture collection very similar to Dan Marty’s, but with much lower price points. This chair in the front window caught my eye – I’d been anxiously waiting to see the new merchandise in person.
The chair from the back. The lettering is on both the front and the back. Notice too how French Laundry Home leaves the very small nails exposed – a tiny detail taken from antique French chairs that is seeing a resurgence.
French Laundry home – a child’s sized armchair – too cute!
Side view with a close up of the exposed nails.
This stool could be used for multiple reaons. I love the attached metal handles.
Top view. Two together would be a great substitute for a coffee table.
French Laundry Home also has many fabrics to choose from to upholster their different frames on custom orders. Loving these two fabrics, of course.
French Laundry Home also sells bedding – notice the blanket cover looks like the heavy ticking linen.
Another bedding ensemble from French Laundry Home. Helen at Olivine can order any other of these items. Unfortunately French Laundry Home’s web site is not working!?!!
Olivine also carries a great assortment of merchandise from another company - Bella Notte Linens. I used this same whisper linen in white on my daughter’s bed.
Elisabeth’s room with the Bella Notte whisper linen duvet and pillow in white – it’s so thin and soft, like tissue almost.
The web site for Bella Notte is gorgeous – all the different combinations, fabrics and colors are shown.
I think Helen ordered the entire Vagabond Vintage catalogue for her store. These make great market totes or travel bags.
Vintage Vagabond’s feedbag collection of totes, pillows and cushions. They also sell feedbag runners.
I bought this large VV bag from Olivine – I store all my camera equipment in it.
Besides French Laundry Home, Vagabond Vintage, and Bella Notte Linens, there were other new items at Olivine that I especially liked: these linen slipcovers are readymade for chairs. Much cheaper than having them custom made – that’s for sure.
Olivine has this great copy of the turquoise chandelier.
These are a favorite new item on the market – in case you never have seen these, they are battery operated “candles” that look remarkably real. Perfect for candeliers – especially since they are remote control.
And, Olivine also carries the entire line of Les Indiennes, the wonderful cotton hand blocked fabrics.
It’s a small, small world. A few weeks ago HERE I wrote about my husband, Ben, aka Mr. Slipper Socks Man, going out to pick up dinner, in his slipper socks, on New Years Eve, no less. While in line, a woman recognized him after she looked down and noticed his sexy choice of footwear. Imagine my surprise and sheer amazement when I walked into Olivine a few days ago and a shopper whispers to Helen, “Is that Joni?” Sure! That’s Joni. The shopper was none other than the same sweet woman who recognized Ben on New Years Eve! Small, small world of the Houston inner loopers. We had a good laugh and I begged her to let me show her picture on the blog. Isn’t she beautiful? Maybe I should have some sort of award for any reader that spots both Mr. Slipper Socks Man AND me in two separate locations within the same month?
The eagle eyed reader who recognized Ben’s shoes first.
For any questions or information about merchandise found at Olivine, contact Helen or Kathy at the number above!
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
SIZE: 7,942 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Although former talent agent turned tee-vee tycoon turned multi-billionaire Jerry Perenchio is an elusive and fiercely private man who eschews publicity or attention of any kind, he lives in one of the most dramatic and recognizable mega-estates in all of Los Angeles. Chartwell, as he calls the estate, sits smack dab in the center of Bel Air and includes a real ding-dong doozy of mansion surrounded by vast gardens that defy any real estate obsessive's ability to ignore. The property positively screams at the top of it lungs, "Look at me! Look at me!" It's also one of the few properties that Your Mama would happily go cold turkey on the daily gin & tonics in order to have just one hour to poke around and have a wee look-see at the unabashed splendor with our own boozy-woozy eyeballs.
According to property records, the powerful and prodigious property owner Mister Perenchio recently added to his already gigantic homestead, dumping $9,200,000 on a fixer upper across the street from the main entrance gates of his shamelessly lavish estate. The new addition brings the total size of his colossal compound up to almost thirteen acres. Listen bunny-hunnies, Your Mama is going to get to Mister Perenchio's newest real estate acquisition, however we have a lot of background to cover so hold on tight, grab a nice drinky-poo and settle in for the long haul while Your Mama takes one of our lengthy and (in)famously circuitous routes to the meat of Mister Perenchio's real estate matter.
Jerry Perenchio, who hails from the dusty city of Fresno, CA where his family owned a vineyard or two, migrated to Hollywood in the 1950s. His Hollywood beginnings are almost cliche: Snatched out of the mail room at MCA by the legendary Lew Wasserman who groomed him to become a top talent agent to superstars like George and Martha–that would be Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, Dame Elton John and, back when he was to die for gorgeous and before he became morbidly obese, Marlon Brando. In the early 1970s Mister Perenchio went into sports promotion and is at least partially responsible for the iconic Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight at Madison Square Garden in 1971 as well as the much ballyhooed tennis "Battle of the Sexes" in 1973 when the great Billie Jean King humiliated Bobby Riggs in three straight sets after he blathered on about the superiority and strength of male tennis players.
In the mid 1970s, Mister Perenchio partnered with the legendary Norman Lear and Alan "Bud" Yorkin, establishing and growing a production company that churned out a long list of hit programs such as The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time, The Facts of Life, Square Pegs, Silver Spoons, Who's the Boss, and Diff'rent Strokes. Mister Perenchio and his partners became wildly rich in 1985 when they sold their solidly successful entertainment concern to Coca Cola for $485,000,000.
Mister Perenchio subsequently bought the Loews Cineplex theater chain and flipped it in less than a year, a ballsy maneuver that earned him a stunning $140,000,000. However, his real money, the bulk of his billion dollar plus fortune, comes from a $550,000,000 investment he made in five Spanish language television channels that eventually became the juggernaut Univision Communications. As best as we can tell, Mister Perenchio, now a bit long in the tooth, no longer assumes day-to-day responsibilities at Univision, but he continues to be the controlling stockholder owning somewhere in the neighborhood of 16% of the cyclopean conglomerate.
Not long after Mister Perenchio and his former partners sold their production company to Coca Cola in 1985, he began scooping up high-priced properties just east of and above the secluded, exclusive, and closed for renovations Hotel Bel Air. Property records show that Mister Perenchio picked up the first and largest piece of his sprawling estate back in December of 1986 when he forked over $13,500,000 for a 6.3 acre parcel with panoramic views of Los Angeles and a hulking and somewhat somber looking 21,523 square foot limestone-clad mansion . The purchase was, at that time, the second highest price anyone had ever paid for a house in Los Angeles. At least some of the children ought to recognize Mister Perenchio's monster manse as the house used for the set of The Beverly Hillbillies, where the lovably naive Jed Clampett moved his hillbilly kinfolk after striking black gold, Texas tea, bubblin' crude, oil that is.
The huge house, done up the style of a French chateau, was built in the early 1930s by a developer as a gift for his wife who–the children might be amused to know–never moved into the monumental mansion because, the wee lassie, she hated it. The house sat empty until it was purchased in the mid-1940s by hotel magnate Arnold Kirkeby who at one time owned the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Mister Kirkeby died in an airline crash in 1962 but the opulent estate remained in the Kirkeby family until Mister Perenchio picked it up in 1986.
Mister Perenchio, who was married for the third time shortly after buying the property, hired near mythic French decorator Henri Samuel–whose other clients included Rothschilds, Vanderbilts, Gutfreunds and even Valentino–to give the place a total overhaul. He reportedly spent another $9,000,000 rebuilding the 10 bedroom and 12 pooper beast that includes entire rooms of buttery boiserie that were dismantled, shipped from Europe and painstakingly pieced back together, an underground motor court capable of parking 30 cars, and an elevator that descends into the bowels of the home and opens into a couple tunnels that lead out to the gardens.
Mister Perenchio's new estate (a portion of which is shown above) wrapped itself around a smaller property next door and the following February the entertainment mogul shelled out another $3,600,000 to absorb the 1.299 acre property that records show includes a 5,704 square foot residence with 5 bedrooms and 6 poopers. Not content with 7.5 prime acres and two gigantic houses in the heart of Bel Air, in April of 1987 Mister Perenchio, an indisputable property hog, forked over $3,050,000 for a third property on Bel Air Road, this one measuring 1.732 acres according to the tax man. It's unknown to Your Mama if at the time of purchase the property contained a residence, but this portion of the estate is now used for little more than a long and wide driveway that connects the massive motor court to an electronically controlled entry gate onto Nimes Road.
A few years later, in May of 1989 to be exact, Mister Perenchio snatched up a fourth property to fold into his fast growing estate. Your Mama was not able to sort out how much Mister Perenchio paid for the .98 acre parcel but we do know that it currently contains little more than a helipad. That's right puppies, a damn helipad right in the middle of Bel Air. We don't imagine his nearby neighbors–who include Cheryl Tiegs, Nancy Reagan, and Francois-Henri Pinault and Salma Hayek–much care for that noisy extravagance. Or, maybe, they don't care. Who knows?
Anyhoo, after incorporating the fourth property into his estate, Mister Perenchio cooled his real estate heels...or at least the ones he was exercising in Bel Air...until October of 2006 when records show he bought a bare piece of land from directly across the street from the mansion's main gates on Bel Air Road. Records show that he paid businesswoman Bren Simon–the philanthropic widow of billionaire shopping mall magnate and Indiana Pacers co-owner Melvin Simon–$8,500,000 for the 1.4 acre lot that, as far as we know, has been landscaped but remains essentially vacant, or at least free of any built structures.
Now that we've discussed the first five properties that comprise Mister Perenchio's titanic estate we can finally get to his most recent real estate acquisition that adds a sixth property to his bulging Bel Air property portfolio. As mentioned above, records reveal Mister Perenchio paid $9,200,000 in an all cash deal for a Nimes Road estate that was last listed at $12,500,000. Listing information indicates the property spans 1.28 acres with glittery views of Los Angeles and includes a 7,942 square foot single story house built in 1951. The current house contains, according to listing information, 4 bedrooms and 5 poopers plus a staff suite with living room, bedroom and private pooper. There is also, according to listing information, an attached guest house.
The sprawling, "C" shaped house, with its stone front facade that gives it a distinct John Elgin Woolf architectural vibe, wraps around a large, gated motor court. The back of the house opens through long walls of sliding glass doors to the large, flat back yard that has room for but does not currently have either a tennis court or, somewhat surprisingly, a swimming pool. But that's no matter, perhaps, because a well-connected Beverly Hills real estate insider snitched to Your Mama that she heard through the gossip grapevine that Mister Perenchio plans to use the supremely positioned property as an auxiliary parking area in order to increase the already large number of parked cars his estate can currently accommodate. That's right puppies, it's (rumored to be) a nine and some million dollar private parking lot.
In addition to the half dozen properties that make-up his behemoth Bel Air spread, property records show that Mister Perenchio also owns a penthouse unit at the Museum Tower in New York City and no fewer than 12 properties inside the gates of the star studded Malibu Colony. No butter beans, that is not a typo. Your Mama's admittedly rudimentary research turned up a dozen Perenchio owned properties in The Colony including three on the ocean side. Presumably Mister Perenchio leases a large number of these homes. The Colony properties are in addition to his extensive commercial holdings in Malee-boo and in addition to the the private golf course he built and continues to own that sits adjacent to The Colony.
Now then, Your Mama to walk the long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly so that we can get home and settle in for a long afternoon and evening of the Australian Open and those orange skinned, jewel encrusted sandal wearing, over-processed bee-hawtchas on The Real Housewives of Orange County.
photos: Hilton & Hyland (top) Bing (bottom)
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
LOCATION: Monte Cristo Way, Las Vegas, NV
SIZE: 16,461 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms (some full, some half)
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Buckle yourselves in for a bumpy ride babies because Your Mama is about to discuss the dead, or at least the former home of a dead person. It has come to Your Mama's attention that the massive Las Vegas mansion that deceased pop superstar Michael Jackson leased for about six months in late 2006 and part of 2007 has been sold for $3,100,000.
Perhaps some of you puppies are as bone-brained as Your Mama–who can barely remember what we had for breakfast even though it's still sitting on the damn kitchen table–so let's have a re-cap regarding how Mister Jackson and his children ended up in Las Vegas just before the Christmas holly-days in 2006. In the ugly aftermath of Mister Jackson's humiliating child molestation trial in 2005 (wherein he was acquitted of all charges), he scooped up his trio of toddler children, covered their little faces with gauzy head scarves and fled Neverland Ranch, his long time home/sanctuary/private amusement park in Santa Ynez, CA. Mister Jackson decamped for the Middle East where he was hosted for several months by a member of the Bahraini royal family and occasionally wore a burqa. That house guesting situation, as we all know, ended in tears, nasty allegations and, later, a lawsuit.
Mister Jackson then hightailed it for Ireland's scenic County Cork where he and the kiddies were put up at Castlehyde, the 18th-century estate owned by Michael Flatley, otherwise known–we're afraid–as the "Lord of the Dance." The so far over the top it's back on the bottom Castlehyde must have appealed to Mister Jackson who clearly craved theatrical, Busby Berkeley-esque residential accommodations. The Lord of the Dance's historic and epic manor house reportedly includes such amenities as climate controlled coat rooms, a 3-story library filled with first editions, a sound-proofed music room, an African safari room, two "Jesus juice" cellars, a whiskey room, a 20-seat theater, a Roman spa with a mechanical massage room (whatever the hell that is we absolutely do not want to know), a hair salon–natch–and a gym. In addition to the massive master suite and a reformatory school sounding "children's dormitory," Mister Flatley had each of the many guest bedrooms lavishly did up and done over in themes that include the China room, American Presidents room, the French room, the Napoleon room, the Venetian room and the Beecher-Wrixon room. Your Mama will take any Four Seasons or even a Motel 6 any where else, thank you very much.
Anyoo, after about six months mooching off the Lord of the Dance, Mister Jackson packed up his children and his ladees' garments and headed for the glittery city of Las Vegas, NV where he leased a humongous house about three miles west of The Strip. Your Mama thinks Las Vegas was really the perfect place for Mister Jackson. While he was, technically, still referred to as the "King of Pop," by early 2007 he was in actuality little more than a strange and riveting tabloid side show with a fervent fan base who worshiped him and his music with an unapologetic and near religious zealotry. He was reportedly lured to Las Vegas by local biznessman Jack Wishna who hoped to engineer a comeback concert series he called "Rock City" that was designed to put Mister Jackson back on tippy top of the pop heap. But alas...that all came to naught, according to Mister Wishna, due at least in part to Mister Jackson's increasingly erratic behavior.
Anyhoo, Michael Jackson always was a real estate size queen–the main house at the 1,200+ acre Neverland Ranch topped 10,000 square feet–so it's really no surprise that he chose a hotel sized house in Las Vegas from which to stage his comeback and for which, it was rumored and reported, he paid $1,000,000 in rent. If that figure is true–and we're not convinced it is–Your Mama imagines that was for the entire lease period and not a per month cost because, let's be honest, what moron would pay a million dollars a month for a house in Las Vegas that looks to Your Mama like a tawdry highway-side motel outside Cleveland?
The walled and gated 1-acre corner property and the severely architecturally challenged house, which–the children may be amused to know–was bank owned at the time of the sale, was listed with an asking price of $3,950,000. According to listing information and listing agent Carolyn Mullany of Coldwell Banker Premier Realty, the house recently sold to a doctor and attorney couple from California who paid $3,100,000 for the dubious privilege of walking the same halls and using the same terlits as Michael Jackson.
According to listing information, the 16,461 square foot residential beast includes a squat looking porte-cochere with valet stand and coat check area that opens into a double height entrance hall that looks to Your Mama more like a mall in Sherman Oaks than a private residence. The all-beige interiors include a great room with a fireplaces and several seating areas, a dining room with scads of wooden built-ins, a vast kitchen/breakfast/family room area with chestnut colored cabinetry, black granite counter tops, commercial grade appliances and a built in breakfast table complete with, we regret to inform, a large lazy susan. What is it about lazy susans that cause Your Mama to recoil if decorative fright?
In addition to the 2 bedroom and 1 pooper staff suite, the mansion includes 7 bedroom suites including a sprawling 2,000+ square foot master bedroom complex with a couple of sitting areas–one in front of a fireplace and one in front of a large entertainment center, dual dressing rooms, a behemoth pooper with a 10-head shower with steam, jetted bathtub for two, and his and her terlits. There is also, according to listing information, a secret exit to a very private rooftop deck situated in such a way that, should he have so desired, Mister Jackson could have sunbathed in all his pale skinned glory without being seen by any neighbors even though the mansions in the area are squished up against each other just like they are in all the far less expensive tract developments that comprise the bulk of Las Vegas's housing stock.
Other amenities of the former Jackson rental include a home theater room, an orchestra loft–just what everyone needs at home, 3 office suites with a separate side-gate entrance, an elevator, a swimming pool with adjacent pool pavilion, a tennis court that does double duty as a basketball court, and a fitness room complete with a dry sauna and a dance floor.
According to the always entertaining and often obfuscating Raymone Bain–who was then Mister Jackson's aide-de-camp/PR princess and who later filed a $44,000,000 lawsuit against her former cash cow–Mister Jackson and family moved from the mansion on Monte Christo sometime in mid-2007 due to security concerns. Although it was confirmed that Mister Jackson left his Christmas tree up from December until he moved out in the following June, we have it on very good authority that, contrary to published reports, Mister Jackson left the property in, "impeccable condition."
We're not entirely sure where the Jackson Four lived immediately after vacating the leviathan Las Vegas mansion in June of 2007, but eventually they wound up in an opulent and gigantic mansion on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and N. Carolwood Drive in the Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles where, as every man, child and animal in the world knows, he died on June 25, 2009 of "acute propofol intoxication" administered by his personal physician, cardiologist Dr. Conrad Murray.
The Jackson children, bless their little hearts, reportedly live with their grandmother Katherine and any number of other Jackson family members at the family's long time estate in Encino, CA. We may poke fun of their pappy, but Your Mama wishes nothing but peace and happiness for those three children who will, no doubt, have a rough go of it just by the circumstance of their being Michael Jackson's (enormously wealthy) children.
P.S. This is almost entirely unrelated except for that Michael Jackson and his sequined glove is referenced, but it's so brilliant Your Mama had to share with the children.
photos: Coldwell Banker Premier Realty / Carolyn Mullany
Today the New York Post reports they've "learned" that tight T-shirt loving CNN silver fox Anderson Cooper forked over $4,300,000 for a Greenwich Village firehouse–complete with a brass pole for him to slide down–that he plans to renovate and occupy.
Didn't Your Mama tell the children about these real estate rumors swirling and swishing around lower Manhattan way back on the 4th of November of 2009 and then have the scuttlebutt about Andy and his new pole confirmed by our well connected source Lehteeseeuh Littlebird on the 6th of November of 2009?
Yes we did, children, yes we did.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Some of the children may recall that Your Mama discussed the Janklows, their downtown townhouse and its rather recherché day-core back in June of 2009 when it was listed with an ear piercing and undeniably audacious asking price of $24,975,000. To summarize, the Janklows–he a sexy literary agent and she a musician turned owner of the hotsy-tosty West Village eatery Sweetiepie where the mac and cheese costs fifteen bucks and something called a Sweetiepig will snatch $75 our of your designer handbag–bought the 25-foot wide, 5-floor townhouse on a much desired block of West 12th Street in April 2004 for $4,500,000. They bought the house, the children my be pleased to know, from hotelier Andre Balazs and his now ex-wife Katie Ford who had bought it from Johnathan Newhouse of the Condé Nast Newhouses. The then happy couple, who are now headed for the court of dee-vorce, spent several if not many millions more transforming the space into their own, very personalized Barbie DreamHouse with 3 bedrooms and 5.5 poopers plus two punishingly small staff rooms that share a single pooper.
Some real estate watchers got on their high horses and and huffed and puffed about the obscenely high price and the somewhat challenging day-core vehemently declaring that the townhouse would sit, sit, sit until the the price was chop, chop, chopped. All the naysayers and bitter Bettys were right on at least one account: The price tag was subsequently sliced to $19,500,000 and by October of 2009 it had sank to $17,950,000.
Now then, buckle your safety belts because before Your Mama gets to the end of the Janklow's (former) townhouse story, we're going to do a six degrees of real estate separation sort of thing and circle back to the late 1990s and bring international socialite Lily Safra and mass market clothing retailer/designer Tommy Hilfiger into the picture.
In June of 1999, Mister Khaki Pants managed to curry favor and gain approval to purchase the 4th floor of the impeccable and notoriously restrictive co-operative apartment building at 820 Fifth Avenue from the estate of poet and philanthropist Louise Crane. Mister Hilfiger paid, reportedly, around 10,000,000 smackers for the dee-luxe full-floor digs but never moved and, shockingly, quickly flipped it back on the market. This is, quite frankly, just not done in the whitest of white glove Manhattan co-ops. After all the hoops and hoopla required to get into a proudly pedigreed building like 820 Fifth Avenue, flipping the place back on the market is strictly verboten and hoisting it back on to the market at an outrageous mark up as did Mister Hilfiger is even more scandalous. Well, it is if you care about such things. If you don't, it's just a silly disply of theatrical shenanigans that rich people go through to remind themselves that they breathe rarefied real estate air.
Anyhoo, sometime in the early 2000s, not long after Lily Safra's huzband Edmund and their posh penthouse apartment in Monaco went up in flames, the four times married and twice widowed doyenne of high society snatched up the full floor unit paying Mister Hilfiger around $18,000,000 for the long-unoccupied apartment. Not surprisingly, The Widda Safra didn't move in either. Presumably that's because she was happy as a clam in sand in the penthouse unit of 820 Fifth Avenue that she's owned for decades and, it was rumored (and reported), that she purchased the prodigiously pricey pad for one of her children who, after a multi-million dollar renovation probably paid for by Mummy, didn't move in either.
With none of her children opting to move in downstairs from mommy, The Widda Safra put the colossal and still unoccupied crib on the market. Given that The Widda Safra was already a resident of the clubby and high fallutin' building, it probably wasn't quite as sordid as when Mister Hilfiger did it. The apartment, which was originally designed with seven–yes, seven–staff rooms, eventually sold in 2003 for around $23,500,000 to home building honcho Ara Hovnanian and his artist wife Rachel.
Are the children keeping up because it's about to get interesting...
Even though The Widda Safra had just completed a re-do of the apartment, the Hovnanians spent beau coup bucks having dee-voon Dutch architect Piet Boon work the place over in a gleaming high concept Cheslea art gallery meets pre-war dowager sort of thing. Presumably the Hovnanians were, like The Widda Safra upstairs, happy as clams in sand wrapped in the contemporary luxury of their sprawling spread. That is at least until sometime in 2009 when they floated their pristine and nearly all-white apartment on the market with a rumored asking price of $36,000,000. In May of that year, it was reported by Max Abelson, who at the time penned the dee-lishus and mighty Manhattan Transfers column in the New York Observer, real estate developer Jeff T. Blau–the forty-something year old president of the Related Companies–was quietly discouraged from submitting an application to the board even after Mister Mayor Michael Bloomberg himself called influential 3rd floor resident Jayne Wrightsman to make a case for Mister and Missus Blau. But, alas. Miz Wrightsman...or someone...said, "Uh, no. Don't bother," or whatever it is that co-op board people say to those they consider undesirable and unworthy of setting up camp in their castle.
Sometime towards the end of 2009, much to the surprise of real estate gossips like Your Mama, penthouse princess Lily Safra made it known that she was willing to pay a teeth clenching $33,000,000 for the apartment that she had, the children will recall from above, previously owned but never occupied. Your Mama is flummoxed and driven to the brink of insanity when we consult our bejeweled abacus that reveald The Widda Safra's most recent purchase price is $9,500,000 more than she sold the place for just 5 years earlier and a near criminal $15,000,000 more than she paid for the apartment less than 10 years before. Lo-ward have mercy children, sometimes the wacky real estate ways of the unfathomably rich make Your Mama seize up with anxiety and reduce us to spending the rest of the day popping nerve pills chased by a stiff gin & tonic.
Now that The Widda Safra has (once again) taken ownership of the 4th floor at 820 Fifth Avenue for the second time in 10 years, the Hovnanians, natch, needed a new and swanky crib in which to live and–that's right kiddies–along comes Lucas and Julie Janklow's Greenwich Village townhouse. According property records (and Chloe Malle), the heavy hitting Hovnanians scooped up the Janklow townhouse in early January 2010 for $15,350,000. That's less than half the amount they sold their Fifth Avenue co-operative, a stunning–but not surprising–$9,625,000 less than the dueling Janklows originally wanted, and a stunning $10,850,000 more than the Janklows paid for the house just six years earlier.
This, chickens, is just one of the many ways the rich get richer. Buy high, sell higher.
Phew. We're off now to swallow a nerve pill and mix up our first of today's pitchers of gin & tonics. Your Mama suggests you do the same.