Wednesday, October 31, 2012
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 2,878 square feet, 4-5 bedrooms, 2.75 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: The other day, as we aimlessly sifted though some of the newer listings in Los Angeles, Your Mama ran across a (somewhat) modestly scaled and urbanely-dressed two story traditional listed with a $1,649,000 asking price that set off all our celebrity real estate bells. A cursory tuck into the property records left us stymied but our freakishly well-informed friend and informant Lucy Spillerguts told Your Mama—and we later managed to confirm with a more careful if roundabout perusal of the property records—that the house in question is owned by television and movie actress Brooke Smith and her arty-farty Russian-born cinematographer husband Steven Lubensky.
Miz Smith might not be a household name like Blackman Cruz shopping romcom/sitcom star Jenny Aniston or pop music matron X-Tina Aguilera but, children, she has a downright proper Tinseltown pedigree. Her mother, Lois Smith, was a beloved, quietly powerful—and retired—Old-School publicist to the stars who—may she rest in peace—very recently died in a freak accident whilst staying in a bed and breakfast in Maine. Her long roster of superstar clients included—as per her recent obits in The Hollywood Reporter and The New York Times—Marylin Monroe, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Martin Scorcese, Liza Minelli, Whitney Houston, Rosie O'Donnell and Warren Beatty. This lady was serious Hollywood business, we tell y'all.
The younger Miz Smith, Brooke, grew up in and around New York City and—so the story goes—was once roommates with indie-cult favorite musician Jeff Buckley who drown in a Memphis (TN) river in 1997 at just 29 years old. Daughter Smith—that's Brooke—started up her ladder of Showbiz fame in the late 80s and in 1991 she landed a plum role as the young woman at the bottom of the well in The Silence of the Lambs with that skin-suit sewing and organ eating Hannibal Lector played by a pitch-perfect Anthony Hopkins. Remember that? A few years later she appeared in the splendidly bleak 1994 Louis Malle film Vanya on 42nd Street, which happens to be the very first film Your Mama ever saw in a movie theater in New York City. More recently Miz Smith has had recurring and/or prominent roles on a slew of television programs (Six Feet Under, Law & Order, Crossing Jordon, Weeds and Grey's Anatomy) and will soon be seen in the upcoming silver screen drama Labor Day with Kate Winslet and James Van Der Beek.
Anyhoodles poodles, property records reveal Miz Smith and her Russian hubby paid $1,643,000 in August 2008 for their margarine-colored residence located on a leafy, tree lined street in the Hollywood- and West Hollywood-adjacent Sunset Square neighborhood of Los Angeles. We happen to love this particular neck of L.A. quasi-urban fabric but we've heard more than a few high-nosed real estate snobs we know over-dramatically poo-poo the 'hood as being too, well, 'hoodish. We just roll our boozy eyes at them because—pleeze—this taint the 'hood, children. It's not East Gate Bel Air, but it's hardly Compton, okay?
Current listing information shows the completely updated and upgraded abode sits tightly on a compact, .16 acre lot, was originally built in 1921 and measures a roomy but far from large 2,878 square feet with 4-5 bedrooms and 2.75 bathrooms.
An intimate foyer and stair hall joins the deeply inset front porch to the sparely furnished and internationally flavored "formal" living room that's nicely outfitted with wide-plank peg and groove hardwood floors, a bookcase flanked fireplace and two sets of magnificent floor-to-ceiling French door style windows that—when the curtains are pulled open—expose the room to just about anyone who might be stroll or roll past on the street or sidewalk.
Your Mama is pleased to report that someone had the smarts and took the time and effort to design—or re-design—the main floor living spaces to connect through perfectly aligned double-wide doorways between the living and dining room—where there are more floor-to-ceiling French door style windows—and between the dining room and kitchen. The enfilade-style alignment injects an elegant architectural formality to the decidedly casual and lightly funky but very purposefully curated and decorated main floor living spaces.
The chestnut-colored wood floors in the living and dining room switch to a bright, blood red stain or paint in the galley-style eat-in kitchen. While this isn't exactly our "style" it's none-the-less, by our utterly meaningless estimation, a well-conceived and nicely executed kitchen with beamed and vaulted ceilings, snow white Shaker style cabinets topped with swanky Carrara marble, top-grade commercial style stainless steel appliances and a built-in corner breakfast banquette nicely juiced up with a Eero Saarinen designed Tulip table...or maybe it's the not half bad and considerably less expensive Ikea knock off. Whatever the case...
There's a second built-in banquette in the adjoining, main floor den/library/family room where Miz Smith and Mister Lubensky—and/or their lady or nice-gay decorator—installed a dark patterned wallpaper, played an abstract painting off a simple still life and filled the floor-to-ceiling book shelves with actual books.
The Master bedroom itself isn't particularly large but it does have a closet lined and privacy promoting entry vestibule, lots of windows including a Juliet balcony, a bedroom-sized walk-in closet/dressing room and an attached bathroom with marble topped double sink vanity, separate glass-enclosed stall shower and a jetted tub for two set into a window- and sky-blue tile-lined niche with palm tree views.
The slim, gated concrete driveway that runs up along side the house stops short of the detached two-car garage at the back corner of the property that may or may not currently be used for parking cars.
Where the Smith-Lubenskys plan to decamp—they have two small children—isn't known. Until the lat few years they maintained East Coast outposts but, as far as Your Mama can tell they don't currently own any property in New York and it. In May 2008, right about the time they bought the house in Los Angeles they now have for sale, the couple sold a small property in High Falls, NY to actor Willem Dafoe for $393,000 and in December 2010 they sold a renovated and updated two bedroom and two bathroom co-operative apartment in a dignified pre-war building on Riverside Drive for $1,250,000.
listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
LOCATION: Edgewater, NJ
PRICE: $2,199,000 (list)
SIZE: 4,200 square feet (approx.), 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms
NOTE TO THE CHILDREN: In light of the devastating effects of the psychotic storm Sandy, Your Mama thought maybe today we should just give it a damn rest. "Who needs this kinds of stoopid celebrity real estate frivolity at a time like this?" we said to The Dr. Cooter as he scooted out the door at the crack of dawn. For Chrissakes. We can be a real beotch, but we are not heartless. Sometime in the late mid-morning, having touched based with most of our East Coast people who all—thankfully—made it through rattled but unharmed, we grew weary of the non-stop cable news coverage. We needed a break and thought that maybe a little celebrity real estate dish could maybe be a momentary respite for one or two of the children. We sincerely mean no disrespect to anyone who grappled with and/or continues to deal with the destructive seriousness of Sandy. Okay? Onward we go now...
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama does not (regularly) watch the reality program Ice Loves Coco but iffin we did we'd know that Grammy-winning rapper-actor Ice-T (Law & Order: SVU, New Jack City), his Showbizzing wife Coco and her SUV-sized backside recently acquired a very contemporary—and still under construction—single family residence just across the Hudson River from Manhattan in the river side community of Edgewater, NJ.
Before we set our celebrity real estate sights on their new digs, let's have some background education and a short go at their current crib, shall we?
The couple legally hitched their life and love wagons in 2001 and in August 2003 they sold Ice's long-time bachelor pad in Los Angeles, a nearly 4,000 square foot roost high above the Sunset Strip on sexy and dangerously curvy Sunset Plaza Drive. Property records show Ice had owned the house since at least the mid-1990s and unloaded it for exactly $2,000,000 to a gentleman who owns—or once owned, we're not sure if he still owns it or not—a high profile nightclub in West Hollywood that caters primarily to homosexuals and those who like to pal around with them and where a whole gaggles of those shade-slinging painted ladies from RuPaul's Drag Race* perform every Monday night at 10:30.
Anyhoo, the sassy, brassy and suh-waggy yet genuinely likable couple decamped for the East Coast—Ice was raised up in Newark and Alpine, NJ—where they settled into a penthouse rental on the Upper West Side with a glorious view of the Hudson River. At some point, we don't really know when because we don't actually know them, Ice T and Coco decided they were ready to plant some real estate roots in the New York City area.
We have no idea how the tri-terraced penthouse looked at the time of their purchase but we do know from at least one video easily accessible on the internets that they made the decoratively inexplicable decision to cover the Brazilian hardwood floors with plum-colored wall-to-wall carpeting, added custom built-ins for the flat screen and audio/visual equipment and—natch—put in a big ol' fish tank that glows blue at night.
They converted one of the three original bedrooms into a walk-in closet/dressing room for Coco and her extensive collection of high-heeled shoes and kitted out a windowless, bathroom-sized space hidden behind a paneled wall in the living room as an office/music studio—ahem—"man cave" for Ice.
Somewhere in there they installed—brace yerselves, butter beans—a goddamn stand-up tanning booth that ever-tan Coco uses to keep her skin that unnatural tawny tone she seems to prefer. Well, bless her heart. Doesn't she know that a lot of doctors, scientists and researchers surmise that tanning beds might have something to do with the uptick in melanoma rates, particularly with young women? Let's call her warned.
Other notable features of the top floor duplex include a living room area with soaring ceiling and sweeping river and city views, a separate dining space, an open-concept kitchen, a master bathroom with separate shower and jetted tub and a state-of-the-art home automation system that controls the lighting, window treatments and a/v equipment. The boutique building offers doorman services, a residents only fitness facility and on-site parking—there are two covered spots deeded to Ice T and Coco's penthouse, according to listing information.
Although the couple's penthouse does not appear to be listed on the open market, as of early August (2012) it was shown on the the website of the couple's camera-friendly real estate agent as being available for private showings with an asking price of $979,000.
A few quick clickety-clacks of the well-worn beads of Your Mama's bejeweled abacus reveals that even with a full price sale—it could happen, right?—Mister Ice T and his lady Coco are still faced with a jolting loss of $521,000, not counting carrying costs, improvements and customizations and the attendant real estate fees.
The couple have used their reality show to showcase their decision to sell their penthouse and purchase a new and larger residence where they'll have more room for man-caves, shoe shelves and guests, like, say, one of Mister Ice's children or grandchildren. That's right, hunties, Coco is the step-grandmother of two young children. Imagine that! That really takes the cherry off Your Mama's step-grandmother story. Ours was a worldly and wickedly smart, Mercedes-driving professor of economics who happened to deal a little dope on the side. Swear. To. God. Ask Sister Woman.
on her blog in November 2011 that "Law & Order star, Ice T and his entrepreneurial muse Coco" had "unexpectedly found their perfect home" in a not-yet-completed contemporary under construction on the cliffs of Edgewater (NJ). The blog report showed a photograph*** of a sun splashed open-plan living/dining/kitchen space (above) with fireplace and wall of nearly floor to ceiling windows through which can be seen a slender, negative edge pool and an unimpeded view across the Hudson River towards the always spectacular, sky-scraper strewn New York City skyline.****
According to listing information squirreled out of the interweb plus a few tidbits revealed by their real estate agent on her blog Your Mama surmises that, when completed sometime near the end of this year (2012), Ice and Coco's new crib in Edgewater will sit up a gated—and heated—driveway and have about 4,200 fully customized square feet on four floors with an elevator and a 12-zone geothermal heating and cooling system "plus a 'man cave' for him (a six car garage) and a 550 sqft closet for her, which Ice affectionally [sic] calls the 'bitch cave.'" Now that's, klassy with "k," ain't it?
To be honest, puppies, Your Mama hadn't given any of this Ice and Coco real estate bizness more than a fraction of a second of thought until we heard from those Bizzy Boys at Celebrity Address Aerial who snitched to Your Mama that, after a great deal of research, they managed to locate Ice and Coco's new house in Edgewater, even though the various property records data bases they make use of do not yet reflect their ownership of said house. Listing images still accessible online are, however, a dead match to the one on Ice and Coco's real estate agent's blog. Make of that what you will.
Their real estate agent promises in a November 2011 blog post that the couple's brief property search and their first tour of the house they actually bought will be chronicled on the second season of their show, Ice Love Coco, and Your Mama presumes that should there be a third season, the new house and it day-core will be prominently featured. Well, at least in the hideous aftermath of Sandy we have that to look forward too, don't we?
Back in November 2011 their real estate agent revealed, again on her blog, that Ice and Coco also maintain residences in Arizona and Florida. Your Mama doesn't find any immediate evidence they own any property in Arizona. That doesn't mean Ice and Coco don't own any property in Arizona, only that we could find no evidence of such a thing.
They actually sold their three bedroom and three bathroom penthouse in Sunny Isles, FL—that's due north of South Beach just south of Golden Beach—back in June (2012) for $1,290,000, a significant amount less than the $1,530,000 they paid for the place back in August 2007.
UPDATE (Next day): It seems the couple have yet to move into their new crib yet as Coco posted a video on the YouTube of her (and her colossal cleavage canyon) standing in the wind and pelting rain on the balcony of their Edgewater penthouse as Sandy barreled ashore.
*Neither Your Mama nor The Dr. Cooter will apologize for thinking that the world is a better place with RuPaul's Drag Race in it. It just is.
**We have no information at all about the couple's current or previous financial capabilities and they very likely opted to live in Jersey for any or many reasons that may may not have had anything to do with their pecuniary position.
***It might be a rendering, we're not sure.
****At least it's "always spectacular" to those who feel urban vistas.
*****The two adjacent homes that share a gated driveway and garage apron may or may not be exact mirror images when completed although they appear that way on the online available listings and marketing materials.
exterior photo (North Bergen): Google Maps
listing photos (Edgewater): Liberty Realty via Zillow
Monday, October 29, 2012
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
SIZE: 6,539 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Its no surprise to anyone in the celebrity real estate gossip game that tatted-up and famously promiscuous model-squiring Maroon 5 lead singer turned televised singing contest judge (The Voice) has been on the hunt for new digs in Tinseltown.
Back in early September, in fact, our trusted informant Butty Butterlips tattled to Your Mama that Mister Levine was allowing one of Tinseltown's more successful real estate agents to quietly shop his house—a low-slung, contemporary art-filled one-bedroom bachelor pad perched on a private hillside above Bronson Canyon in the star-studded Los Feliz area—with an asking price in the high three millions and back in March 2012 the property was featured in a glossy and adoring article in Architectural Digest, often but not always a sign a celeb-owned home is or will soon go up for sale.
What did come as a bit of a surprise, at least to Your Mama, was an covert communique we received today from an inside source who snitched that Mister Levine has already quietly acquired up a new crib in the Benedict Canyon area of Beverly Hills. Redfin agent Corina Galen says, "Benedict Canyon in Beverly Hills is a great area for celebrities. There are a lot of homes with spectacular views and plenty of privacy, which makes it a hot spot for high profile clients."
A quick perusal of property records confirms that Mister Levine, through the same trust that shows up on the deeds and documentation for his home in Los Feliz, paid $4,380,000 for the so-called Benedict House, a 3.66 acre gated estate on a canyon view ridge in a small, gated enclave high above Bev Hills called Wallingford Estates.
Listing information shows the sprawling, single story ranch house was originally built in 1940, measures in at 6,539 square feet and contains a total of six bedrooms and seven bathrooms. Although "meticulously maintained," listing information suggests there's more than enough room to custom build a monstrous 20,000 square foot house. As he did with his previous home, Your Mama fully expects Mister Levine will bring in Mark Haddawy—or some other equally skilled and well-compensated lady or nice-gay decorator-designer—to doctor up transform the undeniably deluxe but decoratively anemic ranch style residence into something more befitting a sexed-up rock star. However, we don't have any reason to think he'll knock the house down to make way for a behemoth Beverly Park-style faux-French chateau or massive mock-Tuscan extravaganza. That just doesn't seem his style but, then again, what do we know? Nuthin', that's what.
Anyhoo, a long, gated driveway adds to the property's serene sense of privacy and seclusion as it sweeps across the property to a large motor court partially girdled by the main house, attached two car garage and separate studio space suitable for conversion to a screening room, guest house and/or music studio.
Pegged wood floors in the small, lackluster entrance hall continue into the formal living and dining rooms as well as into a spacious den/office complete with a fireplace and a wide bank of windows that reach from the floor almost to the ceiling.
The open plan informal living space(s) include a roomy center island kitchen with granite counter tops, ordinary white raised-panel cabinetry, a pair of dishwashers and a freakishly expensive range. A high breakfast bar separates the kitchen from a wood-floored family room with vaulted sky-lit and wood-beamed ceiling, a built in entertainment center, fireplace and French doors to the outdoor entertaining areas. An adjoining home office/craft space has a wrap-around built-in desk and cabinetry.
The back of the house opens to a tree-ringed backyard with multi-level, brick-accented stone terracing, a flat grassy pad, a vaguely piano-shaped swimming pool spa and an elevated circular spa. Set mostly out of view below the driveway towards the front of the property, a lighted championship-sized tennis court overs over the canyon in the tree tops.
As of today, based on a quick study of various property record data bases, Mister Levine continues to own his Los Feliz area residence that is not listed for sale on the open market.
listing photos: Rodeo Realty via Redfin
SIZE: 2,800 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Over the weekend Your Mama received an unexpected missive from a musically-inclined informant we'll call Ari A. Appreciator who thoughtfully let us know that word had begun to make its way though the international opera community that the New York City townhouse of the near-peerless soprano Leontyne Price has popped up for sale with a $5,000,000 price tag.
Miz Price, long retired and now in her late 80s, picked up her downtown townhouse located in the bustling SoHo adjacent southern flank of the West Village way back in 1962 for an unknown amount of money that we can all be assured was a slim fraction of its current asking price. This real estate acquisition would have been the year after her legendary debut at The Met in January 1961, a debut, children, that brought down the damn house with a electrifying ovation that lasted 35 minutes—or 42 minutes, depending on what one reads. Either way, people hooted, hollered and clapped 'til their palms burned and throats went hoarse with adulation and adoration for Miz Price's rare, richly fluid and diligently controlled vocal acrobatics.
Among her many subsequent accolades and accomplishments, Miz Price sang at the 1965 inauguration for and 1973 state funeral of President Lyndon B. Johnson and, in 1978, at the invitation of President Jimmy Carter, she gave a nationally televised recital at the White House. She was selected as a Kennedy Center honoree in 1980, was given a prestigious National Medal of the Arts in 1985, and in the late 1990s wrote a children's book version of the Verdi's Aida that Elton John and Tim Rice turned into a Broadway musical of the same name. She maintained a recital and concert career well into her 70s and earned herself 13 Grammy Awards plus a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Oh, and did Your Mama mention Miz Price is black? It might seem like an unnecessary detail to mention nowadays but, children, when Miz Price rose to the pinnacle of the operatic mountain top in the 1950s and '60s and bought herself a townhouse in New York City, Jim Crow was still the law of the land in the United States. Think about that for a moment, because what Miz Price achieved both on and off the stage was, quite simply, extraordinary.
Anyhoo, current listing information shows the fairly unassuming and clearly down-on-her-heels red-brick Federal style townhouse was originally built in 1829 and asks prospective buyers to note that the "faded beauty" sits within a designated Landmarks District. Its Landmarks District location will require the next owner(s) to seek and obtain permission from the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) in order to repair and/or alter just about anything and everything both inside and outside the house. Some people might find the requirements and restrictions of the LPC to be cumbersome and constricting, but preservation-minded people might suggest to those folks they simply ought not buy a building in one of the city's numerous landmarks districts, thereby sparing them that particular headache and hassle.
As depicted on the floor plan included with current marketing materials, the four-story townhouse measures in at about 2,800 square feet with three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, at least 4 fireplaces that may or may not be in working order, four over-sized storage rooms and an unusually deep but pitifully neglected backyard.
The parlor floor living room—with mirrored fireplace flanked by built-in floor-to-ceiling book cases and some truly tawdry, olive green wall-to-wall carpeting that looks like it saw its better days two decades or more ago—is hardly huge but at 24-feet long does stretch almost the full depth of the house. At its rear end, the living room connects to a puny, nine-foot-square study that overlooks the un-tended backyard. Also on the parlor level, just off the foyer that, like the living room, elegantly extends the full length of the house, there's a privately located half bathroom for guests and a large, walk-in storage room.
Along with a somewhat useless vestibule and a street-side dining room with a fireplace, the kitchen—miniscule such as it appears on the floor plan—is located in the partly below street level basement. There's also an over-sized utility room and, tucked way way way in the back and accessed only through one of two walk-in storage rooms stuck like warts to the back of the house, there's a supermodel slender bathroom that has, as far as Your Mama can tell, just two redeeming qualities. The first is that it exists at all—an inconveniently located closet size pooper is better than none at all—and the second is that it offers a wee window for ventilation.
Miz Price's private chamber—the exact same size as the living room as per the floor plan—occupies the entire third floor and offers a fireplace, four closets plus a linen closet in the hall and a separate dressing room. The master bathroom, with separate tub, shower and street view, appears on the floor plan to only be accessible by exiting the bedroom and crossing the stair landing. This is, obviously, not ideal and—with an o.k. by the LPC, natch—would require immediate remedy should Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter buy this house, which—of course—we aren't.
There are two more bedrooms and a walk-in storage room tucked tightly under the eaves on the top floor. No doubt due to the sloping roof lines, the lone bathroom on the top floor is only—and unfortunately—accessible to occupants of one bedroom by passing through the other.
It's not difficult for Your Mama to see how a smart architect—a whole lotta money and the LPC's approval—could maintain and enhance the architectural integrity of the structure and transform Miz Price's worn out and chopped up townhouse into a well-organized if somewhat petite townhouse that meets with the demands and requirements of a wealthy New Yorker who isn't looking for a 12,000 square foot Beaux Arts behemoth with a swimming pool in the sub-basement and a hot tub on the roof.
We have no inside intel on where Miz Price plans to decamp but Your Mama hopes she will realize enough proceeds from the sale of her long-time New York City residence to keep her comfortably for the rest of her life.
listing photos and floor plan: Brown Harris Stevens
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Happy Sunday my beautiful readers!
I still don't know how I pulled it off, but I came up with my Halloween costume Friday morning, spent the entire day making it and was able to wear it out last night. I honestly didn't think that I was going to celebrate Halloween this year, but I am so happy that I did because my Black Swan costume was a hit! I was always a procrastinator in college and it was that last minute pressure that always brought out my creativity to the extreme. I guess that is what happened for me this weekend!
MY BLACK SWAN RECREATION!
I already had a tutu skirt from H&M but it wasn't big enough, so I bought tulle and spent a few hours sewing layers on top of layers all around the skirt. I had a bustier top from Target, so I just needed to glue on the rhinestones and feathers. Both pieces together made it look like one! I googled images from the movie and tried my best to recreate the look.
After watching a few different tutorials on youtube, I finally mastered the makeup. I didn't want to make my face too white, so I mixed in the white with my foundation and it was perfect. I used black eye liner, black and white eye shadow and a sparkle liner for my eyes to create that dark feather like look. On my lips I mixed MAC Rebel & Russian Red. I also did a little bit of contouring on my cheeks. The final touches were creating a feather like illusion on my hands and of course the bun and crown!
The best part was that I got to wear flats all night! I had a great time with my loves and got a lot of compliments :)
I always prefer to make my costumes instead of buying them. It's less expensive and even though it can be very time consuming, it really allows you to show off your creativity! And even if someone is the same thing as you, your costume will still be unique!
How did I do?! Did any of you dress up yet or are you going to?
I would love to see!
*This post is a submission for the IFB project*
Friday, October 26, 2012
LOCATION: Sagaponack, NY
SIZE: 4 acres, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: It was just yesterday that Your Mama learned that a-list abstract expressionist artist Ross Bleckner had re-listed his bucolic and legendary compound in the Hamptons with a $15,000,000 price tag. We first heard word from our tireless and much-appreciated aide de camp Hot Chocolate but, before we could sing a single stanza of Yankee Doodle Dandy, those ever-industrious kids at Curbed had done chawed that bone.* C'est la vie in the increasingly crowded and cut-throat world of (celebrity) property gossip, right? Onward we push anyways. Okay?
Mister Bleckner's comely compound sits about equidistant between the swank, boutique-filled East Hampton and Southampton communities and spans about four, L-shaped acres located just a gloriously short stroll (or roll) to the sand in the bare-footed and beyond beautiful but ego-bruisingly expensive beach side enclave of Sagaponack.
The estate's main house was, quite famously, the long-time home of fey and fantastic and fantastically fey writer/social chronicler Truman Capote who owned the property for nearly 25 years before he went to meet his Great Editor in the Sky in 1984. Mister Capote (Breakfast at Tiffany's) is said to have put the finishing touches on his phenomenal, genre pioneering true crime novel In Cold Blood while living here. This property is, for many artists and writers, hallowed ground.
In 2002, Architectural Digest published a delightful collection photographs of the Mister Capote and his simple, contemporary, custom-built cottage. We imagine, natch, the interview and photos were done years earlier since, as just mentioned, Mister Capote, may he rest in peace, had met his maker 18 years earlier.
Anyhoo, Mister Capote bequeathed the property to his long-time man-friend companion, writer Jack Dunphy, who passed it to the Nature Conservancy upon his death in 1992. Mister Bleckner purchased it the following year for—we suggest the real estate weak-willed snatch up a nerve pill—$800,000. That's right, children: eight hundred thousand dollars. That is, of course, an unimaginable amount of money for minimum wage workers and middle class earners alike but—all things real estate being relative to their locations—it was a downright enviable and fractional pittance of its current value. Mister Bleckner certainly did his pocket book a favor when he put this piece of Hamptons heaven into his property portfolio, didn't he?
As best as Your Mama can figure from a careful reading of current listing information, the recently expanded ocean view main house—approximately 2,000 square foot with a crisply rustic and warmly austere day-core—has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. A wee, achingly sweet cedar shingled guest cottage has two more bedrooms and one more bathroom and a detached, 1,900 square foot, clerestory windowed art studio claims, we unscientifically deduce, the fourth and final bathroom.
Anyhoo, towering hedges line the long driveway and curve and bend to define various outdoor "rooms." The "room" just behind the main house holds the rectangular swimming pool dropped effortlessly into a broad swathe of very green lawn. On the other side of the main house, the west side, another broad expanse of lawn unrolls towards the beach. At the far end an abrupt cut in the dense foliage marks the entrance to the long, curving outdoor hallway that connects main house to Mister Bleckner's art studio.
Imagine for a moment that this might be your commute to work, as it is for Mister Bleckner when he is in residence in Sagaponack. Gone are the blaring horns and all those hazardous moe-rons who are too cheap to buy themselves a goddamn Bluetooth device. In their place, lucky Mister Bleckner hears the sound of the distant surf and the rustle of the salty sea breeze as is skitters smoothly through the reeds. Maybe there are birds chirping and unseen swarms of crickets doing their high-pitched buzzing-thing too. There be birds chirping, right? Whatever there is, we'll take us an extra dollop of that daily during the summer, thank you very much.
This is not, as it turns out, Mister Bleckner's first time to ride this particular real estate merry-go-round. In 2008, he had the property listed at $14,600,000, almost ten percent less than its current price tag.
The Old-School Hamptons-lover that Your Mama is hopes the next owner will maintain the modesty of the property. However, without any special stipulations laid forth for the preservation of the property—which there may or may not be—the cynic in Your Mama thinks a hot-shot spec mansion builder could easily swoop in, buy it and bulldoze this beeotch to make way for a 20,000 square foot shingled "cottage" with a bowling alley in the basement and a $35,000,000 price tag.
Knock on wood, child.
*This is a recurrent theme today. We also first learned from Hot Chocolate that Susan Soros, the ex-wife of billionaire George Soros, put her New York City apartment on the market at $50 million before we figured out that the New York Times was already on that real estate nugget like white on rice.
listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty
|Danielle Dale, 2012 American Honey Princess|
I met John a few years ago on "my space" and we've become friends ever since. My friends thought I was crazy to go to Mexico to meet a stranger (it was a little crazy) that I met online but I took a chance and I'm glad I did.
Little did I know but Topsfield fair is the oldest American fair that is held at the same place each year since 1910. I've been to a few fairs across the country and I have to say that this one is most likely the nicest one I've visited thus far.
|John, Ellyn and Butch|
I would highly recommend attending your local state or county fair. You might be surprised at what you will find. Here are some images of what I saw during my day at the fair.
Be a fan of the Bubble Show on Facebook by clicking HERE They are touring all over the states so be sure to catch a performance!
LOCATION: New York City, NY
SIZE: 4-6 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Does the extended family of lefty-liberal gajillionaire financier/philanthropist George Soros know something about the extreme upper end of the New York City real estate market the rest of us less financially fortunate don't?
Two days ago Mister Soros' only daughter, Andrea Soros Columbel, listed a 19th-century Greek Revival-style townhouse in the West Village with an asking price of $29,500,000 and yesterday—we first learned from our aide de camp Hot Chocolate and later saw was first discussed by the New York Times—Miz Columbel's former step-momma, Susan Soros, the much younger second ex-wife of the newly engaged octagenarian macdaddy super-tycoon George Soros, hoisted her exceptionally spacious, family-friendly Upper West Side sprawler on the open market with an eye-popping but hardly-unheard-of-for-Manhattan asking price of $50,000,000.
Is this just a real estate coinky-dink between two not actually blood related Soros family members who—we don't know—may or may not have communications with each other?* Could be. You decide. Does it even matter? Anyhoo...
Miz Soros and Mister Soros were legally wed for 20 years, made two children together and divorced in 2006. But she ain't just any ol' primped, pampered and generously alimonied ex-wife of a billionaire. Child, no. She's a serious person, a scholar. This lady earned a Ph.D. from London's Royal College of Art—maybe we should be calling her Dr. Soros?—and in 1993 founded and funded the distinguished Bard College Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture.
Miz Soros picked up her post-divorce apartment, according to the peeps at Property Shark, in June 2006 for $25,000,000 in an off-market deal with investor turned movie producer David J. Mimran. Mister Mimran had only acquired the apartment himself in 2004 when he shelled out about $12,200,000 to boutique hotelier Ian Schrager.
Mister Schrager bought the apartment in 1997 for about $9,000,000—so the story goes—and had it worked over by avant garde architect/designer Philippe Starck. Mister Starck's decorative handiwork—no doubt an absolute extravaganza of whimsy—remained intact when Miz Soros picked the place up in 2006. She told the New York Times shortly after her purchase that she wasn't sure if she would keep or replace Starck's day-core. Iffin Your Mama was the wagering sort—and we are definitely not—we'd bet Big Daddy's farm she removed most if not every inch of Mister Starck's handiwork. As far as Your Mama knows, we have never met or even put our actual eyeballs on Miz Soros. None-the-less, she does not strike Your Mama as a woman who would have a nine-foot tall bergere chair in the powder pooper.
Perfectly perched on the northeast corner of the 19th floor of the Art Deco-tastic Majestic building on Central Park West at West 72nds Street, the two-unit combination crib contains four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and a media den easily convertible to a fifth bedroom plus a brutally puny prison cell-sized staff bedroom and three-quarter bathroom tucked at the tail end of the service hall at the very back of the apartment.**
The $50,000,000 price tag, according to current listing information, also includes a fully renovated one-bedroom staff apartment on a lower floor as well as all of the furniture in the main apartment.*** The Majestic, an impeccably maintained full-service white-glove temple to upscale urban living, allows up to 50% financing and—for what it's worth—the monstrous $13,759 monthly maintenance for Miz Soros' spread is 41% tax deductible, whatever that means.
The apartment—of unknown square footage—has direct elevator access into a spacious formal living/dining room prominently nestled into the apartment's northeast corner with wrap-around views and a monolithic stone fireplace. A large library on the backside of the fireplace has walls lined with built-in book cases and powerful, head on park views.
On the other side of the living/dining room there's a generously proportioned, multi-purpose kitchen/great room with five sets of French-style doors that open to the slender terrace that snakes its way along the entire northern length of the apartment. Depending on where one stands on this terrace there are wide city vistas to the west and north that sweep over the roof top of the legendary Dakota building, take in almost all of the Central Park including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and continue along the long row of swish and swanky apartment houses that line up like limestone soldiers along Fifth Avenue.
Beyond the kitchen/great room, the north wing contains a media den with built-in sofa banquette and three guest/family bedrooms that each have direct access to a private or semi-private bathroom. The windowless half bathroom in the corridor that extends north from a small vestibule behind the kitchen/great room appears to be the only powder pooper for guests in the entire apartment. A half bath for guests is great to have—of course—but this one isn't, by our humble and utterly meaningless estimation, very conveniently located for the hoitier of the toity dinner guests who might find it less than elegant to have to traipse through the culinary cross-hairs of the kitchen in order to cop a squat mid-cocktail party or -chef-prepared dinner soiree.
The long, multi-chamber guest/family bedroom corridor makes a hard left at its end to yet another but not quite as long hallway with laundry area, service elevator access, mechanical equipment and the aforementioned, brutally puny prison cell-sized staff bedroom and three-quarter bathroom.
The opposite end of the apartment—that would be the east-facing southern flank—is devoted entirely to the super-sized master suite comprised of a privacy-enhancing entrance hall, a roomy sitting room, an equally roomy separate bedroom and a compact but well-equipped windowed office space that connects through from the sitting room to the adjacent library. There's also a giant bathroom with free-standing soaking tub set askance almost in the middle of the room and two, fully kitted and customized walk-in closets and dressing rooms. Finally there's exclusive use of a private terrace with an astonishing view that encompasses a significant portion of Central Park and the Upper East Side all the way around and down to Midtown and Central Park South.
Your Mama has no inside intel on the future real estate plans of Dr.-Miz Soros. With both her children now young adults it would certainly make sense to downsize. Then again, who would be surprised if she upsized? People of extraordinary financial means frequently make what seem to mere financial mortals like capricious and downright inexplicable real estate decisions. Larry Ellison maintains more high maintenance residences than Your Mama can count on both hands, including the entire Hawaiian island of Lanai that he bought this year for nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars. Entertainment industry honcho David Geffen—child-free and nearly 70—already owned a suburban mini-mansion-sized apartment on Fifth Avenue when he coughed up a blood-chilling $54 million to buy the tremendous, 12,000-ish square foot duplex penthouse upstairs. It just doesn't make sense. Howevuh, butter beans, if Your Mama has said it once we've said it 87,000 times too many, it ain't nuthin' but an effort in futility to try to comprehend the wild, wacky and often fickle real estate ways of the rich and famous.
*For the records, Your Mama has absolutely no notion of and makes not real claims about whether Daughter Soros and Second-Ex-Missus Soros are bosom buddies, sworn enemies or something in between. Okay?
**Listing information actually shows the apartment has six bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms (plus the separate staff apartment)
***All the furniture? Really? Your Mama would bet Big Daddy's farm every stick and scrap of Miz Soros' furniture and day-core is among the most expensive money can buy but—let's get real children—who pays fifty million bucks for a New York City apartment and wants the previous owner's highboys, sideboards, sofas and commodes? Does that include the mattresses?
Happy Friday lovies!
I haven't done an instagram recap in awhile, and since my photographer (mom) is out of town this weekend, I figured this would be the best time to do it!
A lot of times I post photos on instagram that I don't get to put on here so I picked 9 of the most recent to share with you all :)
Before fashion, there was music. Some of you know already that I have been singing all my life. I finally got back in the studio last night and this is me with my producer and good friend Shy.
Jacket & Jeans: Forever21/ Scarf: H&M/ Boots: Mandee/ Bag: C/O F&WStyle
Yesterday's casual Fall outfit! Felt good to wear flats. Wish I had time to take more photos for a full outfit post.
I'm doing a contest just for my instagram followers that actually ends tonight. They had to upload photos of their outfits that were inspired by me or looks of mine that they recreated and tag it to #natyinspired. These were just a few that I shared with my followers. How amazing?!
Another look at my new accessories!
The goodies that the winner of my instagram contest will be getting!
I went to H&M and picked up my favorite necklace and ring that I wear all the time, the bun maker that I use to do my buns, a cute & colorful makeup travel bag, citrus passion body spray and Essie As Gold As It Gets nail polish.
Dress: Keepsake/ Shoes: C/O Bakers
This is what I wore last weekend to celebrate my friend's birthday :)
Wearing one of my favorite shades for Fall, MAC Ruby Woo <3
Jacket: Forever21 / Top: Siwy / Leggings & Bag: H&M / Boots: Mandee
Wore this when I worked with another client to do closet cleaning and shopping. Very casual and comfy!
I mentioned awhile back that I did a photo shoot and I finally got the pics. This was my favorite one. I've done a lot of modeling, especially when I was doing my music more frequently, and my favorite shoots besides fashion editorial have always been the super creative and artsy ones. I absolutely love to transform!
Please follow me on instagram: @natybaby if you aren't already. I just hit over 20,000 followers!
What are your Halloween plans? I have no idea if I am even taking part in it this year :( I have so much going on that I haven't even been able to focus on a costume. I am still trying to plan my birthday which is 2 weeks away and I also have another wedding and event coming up. So just in case I don't dress up this year, I am going to share with you my costume that I made in 2010!
I was the twitter bird!
By the end of the night that "what's happening" board was filled up with some really funny things lol
Have an amazing weekend!