Monday, May 31, 2010

We Have A Winner!!


image Patricia Van Essche at her easel.


In one of my most popular giveaways yet, a custom portrait by PVE Design HERE, we now have a winner.  Thank you to all who participated in this giveaway.   And remember, if you really wanted a custom drawing by Patricia, her prices are very, very reasonable, so please consider commissioning her for birthday and  Christmas gifts. 


image The Winner’s Blog:  Loving Every Minute of It (I LOVE this picture – it’s so Texas Hill Country with its fossil laden paths!!)


Our winner is Ariel, who writes a Mommy blog called Loving Every Minute of It HERE.  I am so thrilled she won and couldn’t have picked a more deserving person – she even lives in the Texas Hill Country.   Ariel wants Patricia to draw the 100 year old cottage she lives in with her husband and three sons.    Hopefully, Patricia and Ariel will be willing to share the finished drawing with us!

Congratulations Ariel – and thank you so much Patricia for your generous giveaway.


COMING UP NEXT:   One of the BIGGEST giveaways ever!  I am soooo excited about this.  You will be too – I promise!!!  Details will be coming, very very soon.

A Wee Bit of Mish Mash for Memorial Day

It's a holiday here in America and like most other Americans Your Mama plans on doing some holiday making. Before we put on our party hat and dancing shooz we wanted to sneak the children a couple of quick celebrity real estate tidbits and morsels that have been piling up on our ever-expanding lap.

Looks like British pop star Robbie Williams is the latest famous face to catch a case of the real estate fickle. In early 2009 the UFO seeking singer laid out £8,100,000–that's about $11,696,300 at today's rates according to our currency converting contraption–for the Compton Bassett House an 18th-century estate with 71 acres near Calne in Wiltshire, about 2 hours by car west of London. Williams recently flipped the property back on the market with a reported asking price of £7,500,000–that's $10,829,900 at today's rates–setting himself up for a substantial loss in the neighborhood of a million clams.

It was reported at the time of purchase that Mister Williams was drawn to the Compton Bassett property due to its proximity to fellow members of Take That–the boy band in which Mister Williams once crooned and hoofed–and/or because it is believed by those who believe these sorts of things that the manicured and recently re-built estate is criss-crossed by ley lines. No babies that's not some sort of fast lane to fornication options, but rather a mystical map to powerful locations and energy hot spots favored by New Agers and visiting aliens. Oh dear.

The historic house, once the stables of the original Compton Bassett House, has 7 bedrooms and 8 poopers including a master suite with his and hers facilities that feature Jerusalem limestone and African red granite floors. Other dee-luxe amenities include a leisure complex, 2 staff flats, a tennis court, a swimming pool in the basement surrounded by Doric columns, formal garden dotted with temples and fountains, an 11th century chapel, and a helicopter hangar for quick commutes back to London.

Mister Williams, who dates American manikin Ayda Field, is reported to be moving back to Los Angeles where he had been living since 2006 and where he still owns a couple of posh properties off Mulholland Drive. His primary pad happens to be located in the same pricey gated community as Jenny Jones and Paris Hilton and the other on which he installed his own private soccer pitch is situated just down the road a short piece.

Expat American actress Gwyneth Paltrow is one pampered ladee. Not only does the Oscar winning blondie and her rock musician huzband Chris Martin own lavish spreads in London, New York City and Amagansett, NY, they tend to spend big to set themselves up in dee-luxe temporary digs in whatever city Gwynnie has to go to work.

It wasn't so long ago, in the spring of 2009, that the Martin/Paltrow family was camped out on a sprawling leased estate on Mandeville Canyon Road in the sleepy but swank Brentwood area of Los Angeles, a property now on the market at $24,000,000. Now, word comes by way Goop, Gwynnie's personal website of smarmy and bloated life advice and positive thoughts, that the family was recently ensconced in a two-bedroom loft condo in Nashville, TN's Gulch area where the Gwynster was filming some sort of indie film in which Our Gwyn plays a fallen country singer.

Instead of just leasing a furnished house in a fancy pants part of town, Gwyn-doll gave some local ladee named Annette Joseph the Herculean task of doing a full scale renovation a condo at the Icon building in just 10 days. Ten days! In true celebrity style, Little Miss Gwyneth didn't just ask Miz Joseph to haul in some leased furniture, she had Miz Joseph hire 30 or more men to gut the place, re-sheet rock and paint, give the kitchen a total re-do, slap some marble up on the walls of the master pooper, and install an iPod station. After the hard labor was done Miz Joseph and her team did up the (temporary) day-core with costly items such as a $1,200 claw footed bathtub and $3,095 bed for the master bedroom, a couple of Ghost chairs ($150 each) and two blue banquettes for the dining room ($1,3456 each), a putty colored couch ($2,875), wing chair ($1,695), coffee table ($1,695), and two leather slipper chairs ($795 each) for the living room.

It all came out looking very serene and cozy and family friendly but it was a lot of damn work for what probably amounted to just a few or several weeks of occupancy by the Martin/Paltrows. Your Mama just hopes that when Gwynnie and clan blew out of town all that moderately expensive furniture wasn't tossed in the dumpters but was instead donated to a needy local family or two.

See more of Gwynnie and Chris' temporary crib in Nashville here.

Friday, May 28, 2010

New TriBeCa Digs for Daniel, Daniel Craig

BUYER: Daniel Craig
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $1,900,000
SIZE: 1,121 square feet, 1 bedroom, 2 poopers

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: According to the Wall Street Journal and just about everyone else, bewitchingly bodied British actor Daniel Craig and his long time ladee friend Satsuki Mitchell have plunked down a wad of cash for a 007 style penthouse pad in New York City's celeb friendly TriBeCa neighborhood. Your Mama knows that we are a little late to the fiesta on this one, but dealing with our fried Fiona Trambeau's recent antics with booze and men has put us a bit behind the eight ball. Deal with it.

Although his acting resume goes back to the early 1990s, Mister Craig, who has been much in the tabloid news lately since it was reported he was spotted at a homosexual drinking establishment called Roosterfish in Venice, CA smooching on another man, is most widely known as the latest incarnation of James Bond (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace). Your Mama confesses that we've never seen a James Bond film–hush up, we do not want to hear it–so we haven't actually seen Mister Craig in action on the silver screen. We have, however, seen these photographic morsels of dogs in heat goodness. Have mercy, blossoms, pass the nerve pills. We don't know or much care if this gay kissing bizness has any truth to it or not but it looks like Bravo tee-vee executive and budding talk show queen Andy Cohen just might like to test drive that car to find out what's what in regards to Mister Craig's proclivities.

Anyhoo, according to all the previous reports, Mister Craig and Miss Satsuki have proffered a fat roll of cash for a 1 bedroom and 2 pooper penthouse in TriBeCa last listed at $1,900,000. The two-floor pied a terre measures, according to listing information, just 1,124 square feet. We don't know if Mister Craig is coughing up the full asking price or some lesser number, but a few flicks of the well worn beads on our bejeweled abacus shows the asking price represents a cost of nearly $1,700 per square foot. As if that weren't a tough enough financial pill to swallow, listing information shows that monthly carrying costs for the condo will run Mister Craig a hefty $2,265.

Instead of opening into a public hall or directly into the apartment, the purdy penthouse is accessed by an elevator that opens onto one of the penthouse's trio of terraces. This is all well and good when the weather's fine, but Your Mama fears it would be bit of a bother when it's snowing and seven degrees.

The front door of the penthouse, if you can call it that, opens directly into the dining area which not only has a wall of glass with a terrace and city view, but also a vaulted ceiling of glass that soars 20' high. Your Mama feels a little iffy about these glass ceilings. More than likely these expanses of glass in the ceiling are treated with some chemical or film that diffuses the harsh light of the direct sun but we still can't help but feel that sitting at that table in the middle of the day might feel a little too much sitting inside and oven, cooking like a Christmas goose.

The main living space, an open plan living/dining/kitchen area with red tinged chestnut colored hardwood floors, stretches 34-feet from the terrace at the front to an even larger terrace at the back. Both end walls are floor to ceiling glass that gives the penthouse a kind of sexy fishbowl feeling, which may or may not be a good thing depending on how one feels about being seen lolling around nekkid on the living room sofa by folks in neighboring buildings. The wee kitchen area has glossy, flat fronted white cabinets that just about conceal the Sub-Zero refrigerator, a chunky Viking brand range, a built-in under counter wine fridge and white marble counter tops streaked with subtle gray veins. It's not a big kitchen, but most New Yorkers don't care much for a big kitchen and, besides, it's plenty large enough to unload dinner delivery from Nobu and Odeon.

A staircase fashioned from floating hunks of hardwood treads and a glass and steel banister climbs to the penthouse's only bedroom, a pleasantly airy if not particularly private aerie with chestnut colored hardwood floors, two closets–one a walk-in, thank heavens–a private pooper in which the terlit and trough sink are divided from the shower and bathing tub by a frameless sheet of glass, and a small balcony that hangs over the largest of the penthouse's three terraces.

We don't see it called on on the floor plan of the unit, but listing information indicates the condo is equipped with a washer and dryer as well as additional storage in the cellar, which is a good damn thing because as far as Your Mama can tell there are only two closets in the entire apartment and they are both located upstairs in the bedroom. That means Mister Craig and Miss Satsuki's guests will be flinging their coats around the apartment willy-nilly when they come over for dinner. That or they'll have to pay their house gurl extra to tramp up and down the stairs every time someone wants their cigarettes–or nose candy–out of their coat.

Mister Craig reportedly spent £4,000,000 for a two-floor flat in a house near London's Regent's Park in late 2008 so it's unlikely he'll be relocating permanently to his new, nearly closetless penthouse in New York City anytime soon.

No More Granny Wicker!



It’s amazing how something as simple as a new finish can come along and make everything else look so dated and out of style.  Lately, this phenomenon has happened to wicker.  Suddenly, gray wicker – or a gray washed wicker - has exploded on the scene and all other wicker stains and finishes look so…. granny.   

No one loves wicker more than I do – especially dark, deep brown stained wicker.  But, that’s all over now.   The end of dark brown wicker came when I started noticing the gray wicker finish here and there.   I also used to love white wicker.   No more.   Does anyone out there want to buy some white and dark brown wicker?    I’ve got a few pieces for sale!



image My guest room – yep, there it is, hiding its ugly face in the corner!  A dark brown stained wicker chair, just waiting to be replaced.  It thinks if it keeps hiding it will go unnoticed. 



image And oh, I used to love white wicker.  No more.  Sold to the highest bidder!



image Ah…there she is.  The most gorgeous wicker chair in the world.  Gray wicker.  It’s color is subtle:  light brown with a hint of a whitish gray paint covering it.  This chair is perfect either inside or out.   I especially love it in a dining room paired with a limed wood table.



image Just like this!  Jill Brinson’s gorgeous dining room.   The chairs look especially good when placed near the gray faux finished cabinets.   PERFECTION!



image These gorgeous chairs were seen in the Kirby Mears designed house in Veranda.   They are sold at Thompson Hanson in Houston as “Belgian Wicker.” 



image Brooke Giannetti of Velvet and Linen pairs her gray wicker with grayish old shutters.   So beautiful!



image The same chairs then go outside on Brooke’s gravel courtyard.  




Houston interior designer Sally Wheat used these gray wicker chairs in a breakfast room – paired with a Wisteria steel table. 



image In this house, Sally Wheat used the gray wicker with painted legs as bar stools.  





For this client, Sally took a paint brush to white wicker, turning it luscious gray.  Hmm.   That’s not a bad idea!!!





Heaven on earth!  I ordered three sets of three wicker baskets – all heavenly gray. 



 image The smallest sized basket sits on my kitchen counter – filled with take out menus.



image  The medium sized basket on my bakers rack holds Elisabeth’s school books.




My Albans client is borrowing a set of the baskets until she finds a Mora clock for that wall. 




Noir Furniture LA is a great wholesale company for this chair.   Doxa Home HERE carries this chair for retail clients.







Of course Restoration Hardware is all over the gray wicker.  They call it their Provence Collection.  And of course the French would want credit for this gorgeous wicker. 



image  Restoration Hardware:  It is a pretty collection.  Not as fluid or sensual as the chairs with curved lines though.



image Restoration Hardware:  These make great chairs for the inside dining room.





OKA – the best catalogue in the world.  They get it.   HERE.




Pottery Barn – you need to wise up.  These two shades are out, finished, over, done-with, out of style.   Get with the program, Pottery Barn!



While I am dying to get with the program myself – and change out all my wicker to the new gray - for the moment, I am going small.  I recently bought two tiny gray wicker baskets with filled with succulents at Thompson Hanson (of course!)    For now, I will be happy with my small nod to the new gray wicker.   Ben is hoping this will get me through the trend.   Somehow, I doubt it.   But – we’ll see!!!  It might!



image For now, I will be happy with my small nod to the new gray wicker.   Ben is hoping this will get me through the trend.   Somehow, I doubt it.   But – we’ll see!!!  It might!



REMEMBER:   PVE Design give away ends on Saturday -  hurry and sign up!!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Diddy's Baby Momma Gets a New Mansion

BUYER: Sean Combs for Kim Porter
LOCATION: Toluca Lake, CA
PRICE: $5,250,000
SIZE: 9,655 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Listen butter sticks Your Mama's a bit short on time today as we are settin' at the airport waiting on a delayed plane for an unexpected trip to San Francisco where our boozy bff Fiona Trambeau fell down in the wee hours of the morning and can't get up, at least not without some assistance. That's really just a sort of nice way of saying beehawtcha has been on a bender and is nine kinds of blottoed, bombed and bungfued...again. Since Chow Lee's bizzy raising babies in the Midwest and Falsetta Knockers is too busy grooming her cooch for tonight's premiere party–Falsetta tends to shed her clothes as an evening wears on and likes to be primped proper down there–that means it's up to Your Mama to bust up into Fiona's studio apartment, squeeze her into one of her vulgar, spandex traveling costumes and get her newly enlarged breasts to some rehab or another...again.

Anyhoo, getting back to the real estate bidess at hand, sometime last year Your Mama heard from Ladonna Likestoblab that P-Diddy–or Diddle Fiddle or Puff 'n Stuff or whatever damn dumb thing music mogul Sean Combs calls himself nowadays–went and bought one of his baby momma's a big house in Toluca Lake, CA. However, like we usually do when it comes to Diddy Puffer–or whatever–Your Mama quickly let the information run out of our mind until yesterday when we received a lovely missive from our informant Lucy Spillerguts asking us if we knew about said purchase by Daddy Diddler–or whatever.

Our first task was to figure out which of Diddy Daddy's three baby momma's for whom the house was purchased and all signs point to his on again off again laddee friend Kim Porter who is the mother to three of Puff D's 5 biological children.

Property records show the newly built, two-story, white clapboard Georgian style mansion was purchased in June of 2009 for $5,250,000. Your Mama, clever thing that we are, managed to squirrel some listing and marketing information out of the interweb that indicates the mansion measures 9,655 square feet and includes 6 bedrooms, 6.5 poopers, a glitzy entrance hall with black and white checked marble floor, formal living room, dining room with a temperature controlled wine room, screening room, library, gym, eat-in kitchen with Viking brand appliances and adjacent family room with fireplace. We can't be bothered to discuss the day-core in the listing photos since it was clearly installed by Staging Lady in a Pink Toyota.

The walled and fully landscaped grounds include a gated driveway, large motor court and three car garage, a covered loggia on the ground floor and a huge sun terrace overlooking the back yard on the second floor, a built-in barbecue center with Viking brand griller, a pergola shaded outdoor living room with outdoor fireplace, large flat expanses of unnaturally green lawn that is studded with flagstones near the heated in-ground swimming pool and spa.

Listen up bunnies, before any of you silly children who think it would be cute to hop in your hoopdies and head on over to Toluca Lake for a little celebrity spotting, Your Mama recommends that y'all keep in mind that the electronically gated estate is likely to be equipped with the finest, most expensive and scariest security and surveillance systems known to man including cameras for filming your ass as you scoot slowly by.

Diddle Puff's baby momma's house happens to be located in what is arguably the best section of Toluca Lake where other residents include Billy Ray Cyrus and all his wannabe famous children, Bob Hope's 101 year old widda Dolores–whose birfday is today, so happy birfday Dolores–and comedian du jour Steve Carell

Diddy Daddy–whose been known to refer to himself as Ciroc Obama lately after the Vodka he shills and the president of the United States–had been living up in a leased house on St. Ives Drive above the Sunset Strip, but it's Your Mama's understanding his done left those premises.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Wonderful Custom Giveaway!!!!!



Above - The country house of the famous French chef Michel Guerard and his wife Christine was featured in a foreign design magazine some time ago.  The couple own a Relais and Chateau hotel, Les Prés d’Eugénie, whose rooms are located in over five separate and beautiful dwellings.  For more information on their hotel, see HERE.   Besides wonderful meals, the hotel offers cooking lessons and has a highly touted spa.  

Note:  I love the gravel driveway that so many French country houses have – so much better looking than the drab concrete drives we Americans cling to!!!  And I love the simple landscaping – using just boxwoods – especially around the house itself.  




The bedroom at the Guerards mas with traditional terra cotta tiles and French antique furniture.  I love the antique Swedish stove, pictured on the left!


image Of course the Guerards would have a fully functional kitchen – that stove – to DIE for!!!!!





image Same room, different view:  – I love how the inside of the armoire is painted.  Makes me want to run home and paint the inside of my armoires.  But, Ben would probably have me committed. 




Close up of the house, an inspiration for PVE Design.


Because the article is written in French, it was hard for me to completely understand the story.   But the pictures were enough to capture the eye and imagination of Patricia van Essche, the author of the blog PVE Design and a long time email friend of mine.  Patricia is a noted artist who specializes in hand drawing charming illustrations for her clients – many whom place orders for greeting cards, notecards, or branding logos.   Patricia emailed me to say that she had seen a house I would love – and just a few weeks later - I received this article of the Guerards mas, along with an original illustration of the house, framed!!!




Close up of Patricia’s original illustration of the Guerards house, taken from the magazine article.  I love how Patricia perfectly captured the landscaping with the sculpted box.



image Here’s a picture of Patricia’s illustration of the Guerards house – showing where I hung it in front of my bookcases.  Unfortunately the glass picks up the glare in the photographs!!!    I was so excited to get such a wonderful gift from Patricia!    And, this wasn’t even the first time Patricia had been so generous to me.  A few years ago, she created an illustration celebrating my birthday – AND she then made the illustration into notecards which I loved using!!!




Here’s a close up of her charming birthday greeting!!  Patricia added so many personal details – the Texas and French flags, the design books, my two dogs, my zebra pillows, sea shells, the Texas armadillo!! – even my flower urn.  She has such a great eye for detail.    



imageThe beautiful and elegant Patricia van Essche at work.    I love this photograph!  It looks like a painting itself.

The Giveaway:

Today, we are having a giveaway – generously donated by Patricia, pictured above at her easel.  The giveaway will be one of Patricia’s custom illustrations – based on either the winner’s house or pet!!!  That’s right – the winner will receive a personal, custom illustration!  And the winner picks the subject matter!!!




Here is a Christmas card that Patricia did for a family – featuring six of her drawings.




Here’s another custom watercolor of an estate.


Now, in order to win this giveaway – you only need to visit Patricia’s web site and decide if you would choose either a watercolor of your house or your pet – something else.  Look around at all her examples she has created for other clients to get ideas.  To visit her web site, click HERE.   Then, return here to my blog and leave me a comment telling me which subject you choose!   If you are an anonymous poster – be sure you add your email address in case you win!!!  Drawing closes this Saturday – so *hurry up!!!!!


As always - GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hot Shot Photographer Tony Duran's Picture Perfect Pad

SELLER: Tony Duron
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $2,195,000
SIZE: 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama was going to spend the morning discussing the dee-luxe Los Angeles, CA mansion purchased last year by an egotastic music mogul for one of his three baby mommas. Then late last night we heard from Beachwood Betty who directed our attentions to a dramatic and libidinous Los Angeles residence owned by celebrity photographer Tony Duran and we decided to shift gears.

Your Mama realizes that many of the children may not recognize Mister Duran's name. If you've ever opened a magazine with pretty pictures of celebrities y'all have certainly seen some of his sensual, adoring, sometimes homoerotic, and famously flattering photos of stars who are frequently shot in some state of undress and/or with nood or nearly nekkid men with chiseled faces and bodies that could make a gay porn star weep with envy.

Mister Duran is perhaps most widely known for his long photographic relationship with Jennifer Lopez, who he began shooting when she was still Jenny on the Block. He's also snapped memorable and sometimes iconic images of famous folks and Hollywood heavyweights such as Brooke Shields–some of the fiercest photos you will ever see of the woman, big booty Beyoncé, that whackadoodle Tom Cruise fella, Jamie Fox, Brad Pitt, Adrian Brody, Jude Law, Orlando Bloom, a young Justin Timberlake, Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman, Lindsay Lohan before she was a total tabloid train wreck, Penelope Cruz, Cindy Crawford, Sharon Stone, Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Halle Berry.... Need we go on?

Property records show that Mister Duran picked up his house high above Beachwood Canyon and in the morning shadow of the Hollywood sign in September of 2007 when he paid $1,900,000 for the provocatively designed pad that listing information indicates contains 3 bedrooms and 3 poopers. Property records show the home measures 2,490 square feet but we're not sure if that's a pre- or post-renovation assessment of size.

Like most houses tucked into the hills above Hollywood, Mister Duran's dwelling sits right up on the road, its privacy protected by tall walls and even higher hedges. Your Mama suspects this was a pretty ordinary house before it was transformed into a dizzying piece of architectural origami with cattywompus walls, a Daedalean puzzle of acute and obtuse angles and planes, unexpected voids, chaotic roof lines, cozy nooks and crannies, disappearing corners and large expanses of glass that work overtime to both modulate transparency and provide proper privacy. The house has a kind of Alice in Wonderland quality that would seem whimsical if it didn't have the more sinister–but not entirely unappealing–sensation of seeming like there is a house inside this house struggling to get out.

The interior spaces, a purposefully if self-consciously cacophonous display of architectural chutzpah and bravery that makes Your Mama feel edgy, off-kilter and a little drunk, have been unified by a single minded day-core that exercises itself with a generous tactility created by a delicious use of yummy textures. The fusing effect goes into overdrive as it works itself out in every corner of the crib with a strict and somber palette of black, gray, brown, and gut punches of white. Although we freely admit to being drawn to and interested in the demanding, quirky, and dynamic architecture, this sort of sexed up, almost lurid, I live in a nightclub sort of day-core isn't exactly Your Mama's ideal notion of home. None the less, iffin this kind of glammy theatricality is one's decorative wet dream, many lessons can probably be learned from Mister Duran's lusty and charismatic digs in the Hollywood Hills.

Although Mister Duran's domicile possesses an unassuming, single story street frontage, the house tumbles down three floors at the back. Several outdoor patios and terraces expand the carpeted and concrete floored indoors into the outdoors. One elevated gravel pad offers a sofa and a couple of chunky chairs with soft white cushions sunk into crisp wood cubes. A few steps down from there, a concrete pony wall wraps around the barbecue and beyond that a dining room table–an obvious and affectionate homage to the great George Nakashimia–fashioned from a gigantic, rustic and irregularly shaped slice of wood surrounded by a mess of metal chairs on three sides and a large, high backed upholstered banquette on the fourth. The armless and headless statue looming above the dining table appears to be a full size replica of The Winged Victory of Samothrace. Uhm, hmm, well, no. Not only is this a conceit we can not abide, that thing would surely scare the skin right off Your Mama as we came around the corner of the house in dim light of a boozy dusk not to mention the hysterical fits of voodoo rituals it would likely induce from our superstitious house gurl Svetlana.

Anyhoo, an exterior stair between the barbecue pit and the dining area tunnels under the house and leads down to the property's lowest level where campy, no maintenance fake grass surrounds the angular infinity edged swimming pool. We're certain some of the children are going to spit and whine over the fake grass, but with the exorbitant and ever escalating cost of water in California, fake grass is the new black when it comes to landscaping options. Trust Your Mama on this one, puppies. A deck stretches out from below the house and cantilevers seductively over the pool where Mister Duran (or his nice, gay decorator) has placed a couple of loungers for sun soaking and afternoon massages by Big Sven and his Big Hands. However, it causes Your Mama uncontrollable panic and jerky episodes of hyper ventilating just to think of sitting under that sculptural, spiky, arched thing that looms above those chaise lounges. A multi-sided spa is attached to the swimming pool, a feature likely to please the Dr. Cooter who like little more than sitting in a boiling vat of water with a large glass of expensive red wine.

Beneath the house and adjacent to the swimming pool is a large outdoor living room complete with travertine (or maybe it's limestone or marble) floor tiles, a plush chocolate brown sofa covered in what looks like suede, a couple of modern and "masculine" leather slipper chairs, a large black and white photo of a man's unclothed and breathtakingly beefy backside and yet another disturbing, armless and headless statue, this time of a muscular man's torso. Honestly children, Your Mama is simply speechless that anyone with even an ounce of taste–and Mister Duran clearly has much more than an ounce–thinks it's appropriate to use statues of naked men as day-core. It's just so Rock Hudson we can't bear it.

Mister Duran's house is clearly not for the architectural feint of heart or for someone who prefers a more traditional style of home or a more conventional layout. However, in Los Angeles these sorts of sexified and architecturally aggressive houses are beloved, cherished and desired by many, particularly when priced in the two million dollar range because, let's be honest, if this house were located above the Sunset Strip it would probably be listed at nearly twice it's current list price of $2,195,000.

photos: Rose + Chang

Kate Moss Has a Basement Full of Crap

Catwalker Kate Moss is having a bad month.

Last week a gang of thieves broke into her house in London's well heeled St. John's Wood area and absconded with a trio of art pieces including a portrait by the somewhat mysterious graffiti artist Banksy reported to be worth over $115,000. Miss Moss, her daughter, her mother, and her musician man-friend Jamie Hince were all in the house sleeping when the burglary occurred but no one, as far and Your Mama knows, was bothered or busted up by the burglars. Fortunately for her, a 24 year old believed to be connected to the break in has been arrested.

The next bedevilment to befall the manikin was a malfunctioning basement pump that flooded the lower level of her home with raw sewage, untreated liquid waste that can contain so many unsavory things we can't bear to mention them. Lo-ward have mercy children, just the thought of that much terlit waste sloshing around the house is enough to make Your Mama gag and grab a nerve pill.

In addition to some household appliances and pricey rugs, the severely unsanitary and often hazardous material reportedly wrecked and ruined some furniture, a few photographs by legendary lens man Mario Testino, and Miss Moss's shoe collection, which you know was extensive, valuable, and fa-bew-lus.

Just to add insult to Miss Moss's month of vexation and exasperation, no one was willing to cough up the minimum bid for a group of nekkid portraits of the celery stalk thin model by photographer Albert Watson that recently came up for auction at Christie's. The enlarged contact sheet was expected to sell for between $29,000 and $43,000. But alas....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Big Loss for former Dodger Derek Lowe

If the children will put on their thinking caps they may recall that way back in September of 2008 Your Mama discussed former Dodger Derek Lowe who'd listed his 4 bedroom Manhattan Beach, CA residence with an asking price of $5,700,000.

Mister Lowe, who signed a bank account filling 4-year and $36,000,000 deal with the Dodgers in January of 2005, picked up the Mediterranean style house located just a half block from the beach in July of 2006 for an even-steven $5,000,000 according to property records.

The end of 2008 brought the end of Mister Lowe's lucrative time with the Dodgers and a half million dollar chop to the asking price of his 4,260 square foot house. By mid-2009, the price had plummeted to $4,599,000. But alas, the million and some clams in price hacking didn't entice any serious buyers eager to sign on the dotted line, at least not for another 9 or 10 months.

According to the man at Manhattan Beach Confidential, Mister Lowe finally managed his real estate white elephant in late May of 2010 for $3,900,000. A few flicks of the well worn beads on our bejeweled abacus shows that's a heart stopping $1,100,000 loss, not counting the fat real estate fees that easily could have cost Mister Lowe another $150-200,000.

Listen chickens, Your Mama is not one to dance on the real estate graves of anyone but we've had a tough time feeling financially sorry the leviathan loss Mister Lowe took on his Manhattan Beach crib since learning that after leaving the Dodger's he signed a 4-year contract to throw balls for the Atlanta Braves worth a brow furrowing $60,000,000. So, you know, as crass and callous as sounds, Your Mama can't help but think that as unfortunate as it may be for Mister Lowe, the professional game player can easily absorb the million dollar plus blow to his bank account. We should all be so damn lucky to earn $15,000,000 or more a year running around in tight pants swinging bats and slapping ass with a bunch of other manly men in tight pants.

Property records show that in April of 2009, long before he sold his house in Manhattan Beach, Mister Lowe laid out $3,450,000 for a French Country style house in the Haynes Manor neighborhood of Atlanta that records and online sources show contains 4 bedrooms, 4 full and 2 half poopers, a wine cellar in the basement and a heated in-ground swimming pool in the back.

Comedy Queen Tina Fey Lists Condo

SELLER: Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $2,295,000
SIZE: 1,873 square feet, 2-3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: In April of 2009, much lauded and applauded funny ladee Tina Fey–who will, bless her heart, be receiving the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this year–and her composer huzband Jeff Richmond splashed out some big bucks for new digs on the Upper West Side of New York. No longer in need of their previous Upper West Side condo, they recently hoisted it on the market, as first reported by the guys and gals at Gawker, with an asking price of $2,295,000. They also, the children might be interested to know, recently listed a second, smaller condo they own on nearby West 85th Street.

Miz Fey, who was promoted to head writer of sketch comedy juggernaut Saturday Night Live in 1999, came to the attention of the general public when she began delivering the fake news on the hit or miss program. In 2006 she quit her lucrative job at SNL in order to create, write, produce and star in her own boob-toob series. That would be 30 Rock, the usually very funny and sharply sarcastic show that limped along in the ratings until beehawtcha slipped into a conservatively cut power suit and started doing a pants peeing funny dead ringer impression of folksy former governor and former vice-presidential nominee turned Tea Party princess Sarah Palin. All of the sudden, Tina Fey was a household name and 30 Rock was winning accolades and Emmys faster than she could line them up on the mantle.

Property records show that Missus and Mister Fey purchased their former apartment at 500 West End Avenue in early 2005 for $1,900,000. Listing information shows the "mint condition" condo has 2 bedrooms and two poopers plus a prison cell sized staff bedroom and pooper smashed between the dining room and the eat-in galley style kitchen. Each of the three terliting facilities has been renovated, according to listing information, and has a window for light and ventilation.

The corner condo is entered through a 31-foot long entrance gallery that provides access to both the living and dining rooms that feature blond herringbone pattern hardwood floors with a double strip of inlay that runs around the perimeter of the rooms and appears to be mahogany or some other dark wood. The living room, divided from the dining room by a wide set of French doors, has a wood burning fireplace and near the window a big ol' black grand piano.

The windowed eat in kitchen has beige cabinetry, marble counter tops, stainless steel appliances and a small office area that appears to have been built into what was once a closet. The condo is equipped with it's own laundry facilities located in what was probably once a closet in the staff bedroom.

A short hallway off the entrance gallery leads to a guest bedroom, hall pooper, and the master bedroom that contains two closets, corner windows for a cool cross breeze on summer evenings and private pooper.

Miz Fey was hardly the most famous (or rich) resident of her former West End Avenue building. That honor goes to Calypso king Harry Belafonte who for decades lived in a legendary semi-combined, 6-bedroom full floor spread with 7 full and 2 half poopers. In 2006, Mister Belafonte sold the prairie like pad to Mickey Mouse heiress and philanthropist Abigail Disney and her writer huzband Pierre Hauser for $10,750,000. Eighteen months later, reportedly disconcerted by the amount of time and money required to fully combine the two units, Miz Disney had a real estate change of heart and sold the apartments separately for a combined total of $7,200,000. A few flicks of the well worn beads our our bejeweled abacus shows that amounts to a heart stopping $3,550,000 gut punch to Miz Disney's porcine pocketbook.
In May of 2006, Missus and Mister Fey forked over $550,000 for a 659 square foot studio apartment on West 85th Street that they reportedly used as an office. A few minutes of snooping around on the the interweb and Your Mama discovered that the newly anointed queen of comedy has also put that apartment–an 8th floor unit in a full service, pet friendly post-war apartment tower with on-site fitness facilities–on the market with an asking price of $595,000 and hefty monthly fees of $1,406.

Missus and Mister Fey's new crib, an estate condition spread located in a dignified pre-war doorman building just a couple of blocks from their previous pad, cost the couple a not insignificant $3,400,000 and features a private elevator vestibule, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 poopers, peek-a-boo river view, and significant monthly maintenance and common charges of $4,455 per month.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Conan O'Brien Snags a Deal for his Doo-plex Digs

According to former New York Times celebrity real estate gossip turned Walls Street Journal celebrity real estate gossip Josh Barbanel, ousted late night talk show host Conan O'Brien has found a buyer for his sprawling doo-plex digs at the magical Majestic building on New York City's Central Park West.

In March of 2007, the ginger haired "comedian" and his wife Liza–that's Liza with a "z" but not that Liza and a "z"–spent about $10,000,000 for an 18th floor apartment in the twin towered Art Deco dowager that they combined with the 17th floor apartment they already owned. Their newly combined, south facing super-sized doo-plex digs includes 7 bedrooms, 8.5 poopers, 2 libraries, and 3 terraces according to reports. The gigantic apartment was never on the open market but rumors put the asking price as high as $35,000,000. According to Mister Barbanel, a man likely to know the real poop, the asking price was $29,500,000 and the current deal is for "at or close" to the asking price. According to Vanity Fair, the big bucks buyer is the same "distinguished New York society fixture Anonymous Buyer" who recently paid $106,500,000 for Picasso's Nude, Green Leaves and Bust and $32,600,000 for a self portrait by Andy Warhol.

Some of the Majestic's most famous (and infamous) former residents include cross dressing comedian Milton Berle, actor Zero Mostel, and a number of big time mafioso. Several heads of the Luciano/Genovese crime syndicate called the Majestic home including Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano and Frank Costello who was shot–but not killed–in in the lobby of the Majestic by Vincent "The Chin" Gigante in 1957.

Back in early 2008, in anticipation of a move to the west coast where Mister O'Brien was contracted to take over the hosting duties of Los Angeles based The Tonight Show from the depressingly unfunny Jay Leno, Mister and Missus O'Brien plunked down $10,750,000 for a newly completed 6 bedroom and 8.5 pooper mansion in the quietly swanky Brentwood area of Los Angeles.

But alas, due to lackluster ratings and amid controversy and an avalanche of hoo-haw in the press, Mister O'Brien was ousted from his hosting duties in early 2010, a humiliation that earned him a reported $33,000,000 payout plus another $12,000,000 for staff members. In April of 2010, it was announced that Mister O'Brien will host a new late night show on TBS, a late night program Your Mama can assure the children we will never lay eyes on.

photo: Property Shark

Milla Jovovich Re-Lists West Village Townhouse

SELLER: Milla Jovovich
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $7,500,000
SIZE: 3,098 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Supermodel, musician, mommy, fashion designer, action film actress and all around Renaissance woman Milla Jovovich has re-listed her Greek Revival style Manhattan townhouse. The folks at StreetEasy show the townhouse was first listed in May of 2008 with an asking price of $8,750,000. By July of 2009, when it was removed from the (open) market, the price tag had dipped down to $7,000,000. Now, almost a year later, Miss Jovovich and her real estate people have seen fit to re-list the townhouse with a curiously higher asking price of $7,500,000.

Miz Jovovich–who is married to action flick meister Paul W.S. Anderson–has also been trying to lease the townhouse since March of 2009 when she put it out at $20,000 per month. A month later the lease listing was removed–perhaps it was leased, perhaps not–and last week it reappeared with a new and also curiously higher lease price of $24,500 per month.

Miss Jovovich, a Ukrainian born and Los Angeles bred babe–fell into international fame at the pre-pubescent age of 11 when she was discovered and photographed by the late great Richard Avedon for Revlon's Most Unforgettable Women in the World advertisements. By the time she was twelve when she appeared in the pages of Interview Magazine looking far more sexed up than a 12 year old gurl probably should, Little Miss Milla was an honest to goodness supermodel. She eventually appeared on more than 100 magazine covers, a multitude of advertising campaigns and innumerable fashion spreads.

Miss Milla became one of the first of only a few (super)models to successfully traverse the rocky road between pretty face and actress, or ack-turuss depending on your point of view. Early on she appeared in a variety of films (Return to the Blue Lagoon, Chaplin, Dazed and Confused) and later in some comedies and dramas (The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, Zoolander, Your Stupid Man) but it wasn't until she appeared in her second ex-huzband Luc Besson's 1997 sci-fi film The Fifth Element that Miss Milla found her footing as an action film dynamo. Since then she's starred in the Resident Evil film franchise (directed by her huzband Paul W.S. Anderson), Ultraviolet, and The Fourth Kind.

The insanely attractive Miss Milla has also dabbled in music and fashion design. At the age of 16 she released a sad and moody folksy music album (The Divine Comedy) and she later fronted the not particularly successful band Plastic Has Memory. In 2003, with fellow model and bff Carmen Hawk, she launched Jovovich-Hawk label, a line of floaty and flirty fashions for rich gals with a bohemian meets rock and roll sense of style. The label met with some success but shuttered its offices in 2008.

Property records show that Miss Jovovich picked up the West Village property in February of 2005 when she paid $6,375,000 for the four floor townhouse conveniently located across the street from Benny's Burrito and just a half block from the disconcerting curvy glass tower at One Jackson Square. Records show the moe-del's mini-manse measures 3,098 square feet and listing information indicates there are four bedrooms and 3.5 poopers even though Your Mama's boozy and beady little eyes count just 2 full and 2 powder poopers on the floor plan. Whatever the case, there are four terlits, one per floor.

The front door opens to a small foyer that in turn opens into a petite parlor overlooking the street with an adjacent coat closet and guest terlit. Your Mama is quite fond of this set up because that antechamber/foyer keeps the Chinese food delivery man and those door knocking religious types from being able to peek inside your private quarters.

French doors swing open to a larger living room at the back of the house which hangs, balcony like, over the garden level below where the dining room and gore-may kitchen are located. The two floors are connected by a staircase with intricate wrought iron balustrades and mahogany banisters and the kitchen/dining room have stone floors warmed with radiant heat, a feature every one's tootsies appreciate in the freezing winter months. The garden floor opens out into the, natch, garden, a lushly landscaped space with stepping stone pathways and a small patio.

The third floors is devoted entirely to Miss Jovovich's private boo-dwar and includes a large dressing area with a cedar lined walk in closet, and a bedroom with an Hermes bedspread, wood burning fireplace with a carved stone mantelpiece, and two sets of narrow French doors that open to a small terrace with antique cement balustrades. The suite includes another walk in closet lined with mirrored French doors, a small atrium, and a large bee-day equipped bathroom. The home's laundry facilities are also located on this floor, in an itty bitty room off the stair landing.

The fourth floor consists of two smallish bedrooms overlooking the rear gardens, a large bedroom at the front with a fireplace, and a single pooper that services all three bedrooms. Since the kitchen is three lung busting flights down, someone has thoughtfully installed a handy dandy and much appreciated kitchenette in the hallway on this floor. Another flight of stairs leads to the decked roof terrace that includes an outdoor shower.

Miss Milla has long owned property on the left coast. Property records show that in July of 2009 she sold her much in need of a remodel John Woolf designed digs on Heather Road in the Beverly Hills Post Office for $2,750,000 leaving her with only the 5 bedroom and 6 pooper property in the much maligned Mount Olympus neighborhood that records reveal she picked up in January of 1998 for $775,000. All signs point to the occupant of that house being Momma Jovovich. Records also show that Miss Milla's man-mate Paul W.S. Anderson owns a home on the same Beverly Hills Post Office street as Queen Latifah and it is Your Mama's understanding from a couple of well connected sources that this is the residence the Jovovich-Anderson clan occupies when in Los Angeles.

Your Mama has no knowledge of such, but we assume that a bi-coastal and cosmopolitan couple like Miss Milla and Mister W.S. Anderson will–if they haven't already–snatch up another place to call home in New York City.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Lady In Yellow



If you are like me, this cover of Veranda is instantly recognizable as an interior done by Mary Douglas Drysdale, the iconic interior designer from Virginia.  In the 90s, Mary was featured on this cover of Veranda and for several years, this color combination became her trademark.  Who could forget those gorgeous silk plaid curtains?  I never did.  In fact one of my earlier jobs had curtains exactly like this in a shameless attempt at copying her! 



imageMary is known for using classic antiques mixed with contemporary art work.  Her interiors aren’t exactly minimalist, but clutter is banished in favor of over scaled accessories:  a large rooster, a sunburst mirror (before they were “in”),  and wind vanes – all favorites of Mary’s.  



imageHere, the yellow had become deeper – more vibrant, leaning toward orange.   During her career – Mary has been on over 60 covers!  An amazing achievement for someone with a small overhead - her staff numbers only four.  




image Yet, as often as Mary uses classic architecture and furniture, she also is comfortable designing using Americana motifs such as quilts and wind vanes.   She is as competent designing a large mansion as she is a centuries old stone farmhouse.  This  yellow and white bedroom shows the quilts Mary is known for, along with her famous plaid curtains and the large sunburst mirror. 



Beautiful period antiques mixed in with contemporary art – a trademark.   Mary’s interiors often have classical architectural elements – elegant moldings and columns.  Mary does it all – she is actively involved in the plans from the ground up.  




imageModern art work mixes with  traditional furniture.  Mary loves to paint floors.   Rarely is a floor finished with just a plain wood stain.  Here the plaid curtains have become stripes.



image Gorgeous architectural elements - something Mary likes in her interiors.  She studied in Paris for three years before she opened her interior design business.  Notice the gorgeous gilt wind vane!  



imageAt her centuries old stone farmhouse, Mary was inspired by her neighbor’s pumpkins for her kitchen palette. 



image Yellow becomes orange!  Mary admits she loves white backgrounds with bright pops of color. 




A recent Veranda cover story showed this guest room in soothing greens with pops of pink.





Mary says that many fabrics she uses are actually put together by herself using several different pieces sewn together.  In this recent project, the grand entrance hall is white with small pops of soft yellow and black accents.





In the same house, the formal living room is all creams and ivories.  Notice the beautiful painted floor! 



Mary Douglas Drysdale – a legend of our times, highly intelligent, hugely talented, and wonderfully talkative - visits the Skirted Roundtable this week.  Be sure to listen – you’ll be as enthralled as Linda, Megan and I were.  As always, your support and comments are most appreciated!!



To listen to Mary Douglas Drysdale on The Skirted Roundtable go HERE.