Thursday, March 21, 2013

Shoe Mogul Steve Madden Lists Townhouse

SELLER: Steve Madden
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $8,995,000
SIZE: 6,040 square feet

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Once again our New York-centric aide de camp Hot Chocolate tipped us off that mid-priced shoe tycoon Steve Madden has put an $8,995,000 price tag on his 6,040 square foot Upper East Side Italianate townhouse located on a tree-lined block between Lexington and Third Avenues, hardly Timbuktu but perhaps a bit far east to be fashionable.

The 20-foot townhouse, one of only two left of the original row of six, was built in 1860 and converted in the late 19th century to a blacksmith's shop and residence. The mid-block building, set well back from the sidewalk stands five floors above ground plus a full basement. The townhouse was purchased, according a 2011 report in the New York Observer, in 1978 and converted a couple years later to a four unit coopertive apartment house.

As best as Your Mama can tell the shoe peddler and his missus acquired the four units in four separate transactions for a total of $8,850,000. The first purchase, a three bedroom quadruplex with two outdoor spaces, came in September 2006. This was about a year after Mister Madden was released from 2.5 year long stint in the pokey for securities fraud. Three years later the Maddens scooped up an adjoining, street-facing duplex on the third and fourth floors and just over a year after that they picked up the fourth and fifth floor duplex at the rear of the building. Finally, in late 2012, they bought the fourth unit in the building, a multi-level set up with one bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms, a large living room with fireplace, a brutally compact kitchen and a nearly 200 square foot south facing roof terrace.

Listing details describe the townhouse as currently being used as a single family home with a "unique layout." As far as Your Mama can tell from a thorough study of the floor plan included with current online marketing materials, what's "unique" about the layout of this house is that the four separate units have only been combined in the most cursory and awkward of manners and the six floors connected via a dizzying array of internal staircases.

The elevated front stoop—oh, how Your Mama keens and keels for an urban stoop—makes an elegant entry to the residence. But it all quickly fizzles like air from a pin pricked balloon just as soon as the parlor floor entry vestibule gives way to an impossibly narrow corridor and equally slender switchback main staircase that ascends to the top three floors but does not descend to the lower two floors, at least not on the floor plan.

The "unique layout" includes numerous, relatively ambiguous purpose rooms that include multiple living/dining rooms on at least three different floors including a parlor floor dining room with terrace access. The floor plan show four small kitchens, all of which may (or may not) be expensively outfitted but none of which are larger than what might reasonably expect in just about any small Manhattan apartment.

Other "unique" features include: a windowless, basement level office with private attached bathroom; six variously sized guest/family bedrooms—some of them garden shed sized—that share four hall bathrooms; a garden level master suite (with closets, a dressing hallway and a large private bathroom) through which is the only direct access to the backyard, a garden level living room space and—have mercy—the basement.

Just for shits and giggle, children, check out the necessary route to get from the basement to one of the ambiguously utilized living rooms on the fourth floor. We can't speak for anyone else but Your Mama would have to make a pit stop in one of the parlor floor sitting rooms for a breather and a gin & tonic. Anyhoo...

Although currently weighed down by a crazy-ass and all but unsolvable floor plan, the townhouse itself is not without desirability. There's that stunning stoop, of course, and the deep set back entry that might hinder light exposure a bit too much but just about makes up for it with an enhanced sense of privacy. There's also the sensible 20 foot width—many Big Apple townhouses are less than 16 feet wide—the aforementioned 350-plus square foot back yard, the almost 10 feet deep full-width terrace off the rear of the parlor floor and two of nearly 200 square foot roof terraces.

Just as Your Mama and the children all should expect of wealthy and (presumably) stylish and urbane New Yorkers with an bizarrely configured townhouse, Mister and Missus Madden hired a name brand architect, a residential specialist, to re-imagine and reconfigure the interior spaces into a much more cohesive, proper and modern single family residence of just over 6,000 square feet. And their architect(s) of choice, Gordon Kahn And Associates, did an honest to goodness bang up job with the space planning. We suspect much of any remaining original architectural details would have to be removed to accommodate the vast transformation achieved by Mister Kahn (and co.) but it would seem to Your Mama he succeeded in, if nothing else, setting up the layout for

Plans call for the convoluted system of switchback staircases and zig-zagging corridors to be replaced with an elegantly proportioned central traffic hub with elevator, powder rooms, coat closets and a semi-circular main staircase that connects all floors of the townhouse, from the basement clear on up through to the fifth floor.

The proposed new layout shows a total of four bedrooms: a penthouse floor guest bedroom with private bathroom and roof terrace; two full-width family bedrooms on the fourth floor, each with three closets and en suite facility. Plans call for the entire third floor to be given over to the master suite with fireplace, fitted walk-in closet and dressing hall and over-sized bathroom with twin sink, crapper cubby, free-standing soaking tub and separate stall shower.

The architects retained an informal living area on the garden level but repurposed the master suite into a spacious, family-friendly center island kitchen complex complete with a built-in breakfast banquette, a walk-in pantry, direct access to the garden through the casual dining area and a very smart dumbwaiter that swiftly lifts food (and etc.) from the kitchen to a butler's pantry that adjoins the parlor level formal dining room.

The new and improved floor plan calls for a finished basement level with home gym set up, bathroom and walk-in wine cellar and a sky-lit top floor solarium that spills out to a south-facing street side roof terrace.

Your Mama has not specific intel on where Mister and Missus Madden plan to decamp but if we were the wagering type—and we're not—we'd bet both our long-bodied bitches, Linda and Beverly, that the Madden family's next residence won't require such and extensive, expensive and time consuming overhaul.

listing photos and floor plan: Douglas Elliman

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