Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Little Sunday Morning Floor Plan Porn


SELLER: estate of Randolph and June Speight
LOCATION: 740 Park Avenue, New York, NY
PRICE: $35,000,000
SIZE: 6,700 square feet (approx.), 4 bedrooms 4.5 bathrooms (plus 4 staff bedrooms and 2 staff bathrooms)
DESCRIPTION: Offered for the first time in over forty years, this immense duplex includes a private elevator landing, high ceilings, beautiful hardwood floors, a vast marble Gallery, and a grand staircase. The main level features a baronial Living Room, a handsome walnut-paneled Library, and a tremendous Dining Room. All boast sunny southern outlooks and wood burning fireplaces. A Powder Room and coast closet are conveniently adjacent. There is a Butler's pantry, large kitchen, breakfast room, two staff rooms and a staff bath on the main level. Upstairs off a long Gallery Hall are four enormous bedrooms with over-sized walk-in closets and huge en suite marble bathrooms. A laundry room, two staff room, a staff bath, and backstairs complete this floor.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Today is Sunday, and like the good Lord above, we take this day to rest. However, before we get to mixing up a pitcher of Bloody Mary's Your Mama thought the children might like a little floor plan porn to drool over.

It would seem there is a changing of the guard over at the super swank 740 Park Avenue. First wedding dress designer Vera Wang moved into her parent's gigantic duplex that spread across that 10th and 11th floors. Next came billionaire industrialist Ira Rennart who generously dumped $32,000,000 on an a-line duplex apartment for his lucky lucky daughter Tamara Winn and her even luckier huzband David.

Just a few weeks ago Chinese born investor Peter Huang put his colossal co-op on the market with a blistering asking price of $38,000,000 and now, as first reported by Josh Barbanel at the New York Times, the estate of long time resident and former co-op board president Randolph Speight and his wifey June has hit the market with an only slightly less dramatic asking price of $35,000,000.

The Speight apartment happens to be adjacent to the Huang apartment which means that, pending board approval, natch, a billionaire with boo-coo bucks to burn on renovations could purchase both unit and create on of the largest and most lavish co-operative apartments in all of Noo York City.

Even though that is unlikely and would prolly be nearly impossible to get approved by the notoriously prickly and persnickety board, it would not be the first time two units at 740 Park have been combined. Former Time Warner head honcho Steven Ross and his third wifey Courtney Sale Ross merged two units on the 12th and 1th floors to create one leviathan 32-room spread. Miz Sale Ross inherited the dee-luxe doo-plex when Mister Ross died and reportedly let's it sit empty most of the time as she spends most of her time in East Hampton, NY.

Anyhoo, according to 740 Park eagle eye Michael Gross, Mister and Missus Speight (he a banker type who married into June's oil money family) owned their fourth and fifth floor duplex since 1965. Current listing information does not include any dee-lishus photos of the interiors, but the incredibly well resolved floor plan is pure candy with a ballroom sized living room, a banquet hall sized dining room, a gloriously curving staircase and four principal bedrooms each with a mammoth marble bathroom.

Staff accommodations are spread across the rear of the unit with 2 bedrooms and a bath on the 4th floor and 2 more bedrooms, a bathroom and a large laundry room on the fifth. Your Mama thinks it would be a cruel and inhuman punishment to even suggest that a dignified person live in one of those itty bitty bedrooms, so we can only hope that the room shave either been combined or are used as household offices and storage space. As far as Your Mama is concerned, anyone with thirty some million clams to spend on a New York City apartment should have the decency to spend another few million for a proper and nearby apartment to house the full time staff people.

Now then, have fun trying to imagine where you'd put your brown leather Broyhill sectional sofa and your grandmother's scratched up antique buffet.

31 comments:

Alessandra said...

Oh, I like it. Except for the odd placement of the breakfast room, which I would not expect to be through the butler's pantry and the kitchen and adjacent to the back staircase.

But that is a minor nitpick. Really, the space seems quite livable and graciously proportioned (unless you're Svetlana, the terlet gurl).

StPaulSnowman said...

Mama and LGB have both mentioned it but I would recommend Michael Gross' book about 740 Park Ave. It is really a fascinating read.....and Labor Day weekend is not that far off.

StPaulSnowman said...

Are the three "WCs" off of bedroom 3 walk-in closets? If they are water closets, I can understand Alessandra's concern for Svetlana's work load.

StPaulSnowman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Isn't this the building were Jackie O grew up? I think her grandfather was the developer.

Flora said...

I second the poor breakfast room placement. Better to have breakfast in the main dining room and leave the butlers pantry/servery to the staff.

Worse than that, I see no shower in the Master Bathroom, and no dressing room either, just a miserable small closet. I can't imagine anyone with the moolah to buy this place having so few clothes that would fit in such cramped quarters. One of the staff rooms would have to be fitted out as a wardrobe-dressing room.

lil' gay boy said...

Snowman,

You can rest your furrowed brow; a little Photoshop magic reveals those spaces as WICs–walk-in-closets.

I'm sure that Mama takes care of her own, and that Svetlana is well compensated for her terlit-scrubbing duties (pun intended). It's not Mama's fault that the Ballet Russe rejected Svetlana and her thunder thighs.

As for the FPP, there's plenty of potential here; personally I'd prefer my morning coffee & croissant in the sunny, south-facing library, and turn over the breakfast room for the staff to use.

I dream of putting a double door entry over the vestibule between the master and 2nd bedrooms and combining them into one sweet suite, complete with a stall shower and dressing & sitting rooms.

No rugrats or family to accommodate here, so two guest rooms should be sufficient –– after all, they, like fish, begin to stink after three days.

Anonymous said...

If I owned this home, I would take breakfast in the dinning room and wouldn't much think about the placement of the breakfast room.

Sandpiper said...

Form followed funtion in the day this grand building was designed...and it rocks. No getting around the some of the inherant quirks, short of a major A-2. No complaints here. Where do I sign?

Anonymous said...

Jackie O's family did reside in this very building as he was trying to fill the place up with choice tenants, not an easy time as this was during the depression.
The girls Jackie and Lee use to run through the building as most of it was empty.

Anonymous said...

Nice spread. Too bad about the location of the breakfast room, considering how huge the dining room is. For a quick breakfast, the dining room might be a bit much, unless you had a full house and one of those British breakfast buffet setups.

Kevin Tomlinson said...

Mama
You know that this is my "most favorite" building in the WORLD!!

Anonymous said...

Am i the only one who for that amount of money is missing some decent private outdoor space?
Agree with what has been said about the breakfast room and the missing shower/ a proper walk-in-closet, but those are things that could be rearranged (do need board approval for that?). Adding a nice roof terrace will be much harder ;-).

thornysf said...

I still prefer a park view/terrace; Park Ave is not the same thing...

Jamie's Girl said...

Mama, you know I love to get off on the floor plans! It just let's my imagination run!

Jamie's Girl said...

4 Staff room? How many fricky staff do they have?

Anonymous said...

Jewyork, NY!

StPaulSnowman said...

Anonymous 10:44 meant New York, NY. His poor Parkinsonian right index finger zigged when it should have zagged.

Anonymous said...

As a California born and bred girl, these swanky floorplans leave me breathless. Sooo Bonfire of the Vanities! Gorgeous. Thanks for sharing the love mamma!

As to the breakfast room, they probably just have breakfast served in bed, or the mister just gets his to go in his private town car. I seriously doubt the owners spend much time the breakfast room. You have to run a gauntlet of service areas to get to it.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the number and size of the staff rooms, these are quite typical of buildings of this era. Rarely would they be any larger than that.

As for the breakfast room, I'm pretty sure this was originally labeled a "servants' hall" or "servants' dining", and this, the kitchen, and the pantry were really never meant to be used by the owner, who probably always took breakfast in the dining room. I would imagine that a modern owner would reconfigure the space so that either the breakfast room was incorporated into the kitchen, and/or the butlers pantry and staff room to it's left (in the plan) would be combined to make a larger breakfast area.

As for the MBR and closets - I think it's easy to forget how large these rooms are. The master bath is almost 21 feet long (including the wc area) - plenty of room to add a stall shower (I wonder if the plan is actually accurate in this regard, as it might very well already be there). The closet isn't too small either. I also believe the plan was originally designed for the possible incorporation of BR Two into the master, perhaps as a dressing room or sitting room.

It's funny - even in this price range, apartments are "compromised" - in this case, by virtue of the fact that only part of the apartment faces out, onto 71st Street (which is a beautiful street), and the service areas and one bedroom face into a (probably dark) courtyard.

Anon 8:28, if you're a floor plan junky like me, check out any of Andrew Alpern's books on the great buildings of NYC.

Anonymous said...

"its", not "it's", should have been used towards the end of second paragraph above. Drives me crazy even when I do it.

bentley said...

Interestingly, I would imagine the family use the back stairs often in their day to day lives.

The scale of these places is such that it's often more direct and less lonely to stick to the smaller corridors and less formal, more welcoming spaces.

It's still 740 Park Ave, so even the 'less desirable' parts of the apartment are pretty fucking sweet.

Chris said...

I would suppose the cramped rooms for staff reflect the disdain for them that was common when this building was constructed. I wonder that any today would be willing to live like serfs. The other oddity is the size (small) of the kitchen compared to all the rest. I suppose again that when the apartment was built the cook was supposed to work miracles whatever the conditions provided him/her. In short I think that, more than anything else, the plan is testimony to the indifference the rich have or had for their servants.

Anonymous said...

12*17 is a perfectly fine size for a kitchen.

StPaulSnowman said...

12x17 may have been a fine size for a kitchen when it was purely a service area for food preparation and inhabited only by cooks and scullery maids but in a world where the kitchen is as much a living space as a food preparation area.........I think it is too small. Kids doing homework and families eating there requires more space. Of course these activities would probably not take place in an apartment with staff quarters. The owners probably never enter the kitchen....."Another pitcher of gin and tonic please, Arbuthnot!"

Anonymous said...

Stpaul,
Of course, many people today would consider this kitchen too small, but you'd be surprised by how small most NYC kitchens are, regardless of the price. A few of the top prewar buildings have large kitchens - in fact, other lines at 740 have larger kitchens than this one. Pretty much only apartments that have been substantially renovated and reconfigured would have large kitchens, and maybe some of the new, highest-end apartments have them too. Just another compromise that one often makes to live in Manhattan.

StPaulSnowman said...

Anon 1:09. Thanks for the information. Your comment takes me back to the Kramden, (Ralph and Alice) apartment from the Honeymooners. I think it was in Brooklyn but it has always been my template for what kitchens in New York apartments must be like. I thought that all the really large and wonderful houses in Manhattan had been razed to build the skyscrapers. With the loss of so many of the great mansions, I am wondering if wealthy city dwellers created these larger apartments by combining smaller units or if truly enormous apartments were there in the original designs for these buildings.

Anonymous said...

Stpaul,
I loved the Honeymooners, but I never understood why all they had was a kitchen and (I assume) a bedroom. Nowhere to sit except at the table. At least the Nortons had a couch.

Many large mansions were razed to build the apartment houses (and office buildings) that exist today, and the builders built the top buildings with extremely large apartments to cater to the former house owners so that they wouldn't feel like they were giving anything up. It was later that many of these apartments were sliced up into smaller units when there were no takers for the super large apartments. This usually happened in the buildings that were built as rentals. It's been in more recent times that you've seen combinations of aparments made to create large units once again. You really need to check out any of the Andrew Alpern books. I'm sure there are others on the subject of NYC housing history, but his are the ones with which I'm most familiar, mainly because they have a high concentration of floor plan porn:)

pezgary said...

this place is much better than the huang apartment.
and three million less.
the gay decorator can spend that!!!!!

StPaulSnowman said...

Anon 7:11.....thanks for the exposition. I will check out the Andrew Alpern books. My frame of reference has been sections of the wonderful book, "the Vanderbilts and the Guilded Age"....wonderful stories and houses but heartbreaking that they are all gone.

Anonymous said...

I have been inside there...nothing to be jelous off... Small kitchen and huge dinning room for what? She cant entertain or cook... She has no staph other than nanny... No chefs empty fridges