Thursday, September 23, 2010

Does Martha Stewart Want Huguette Clark's Spread?

Your Mama isn't sure why this little nugget of celebrity real estate scuttlebutt didn't find longer legs because it's 49 kinds of juicy even though it probably doesn't have a lick of truth to it.

According to a September 13th (2010) report on the something called Times of the Internet (via the not always reliable National Enquirer), billionaire domestic diva and trophy property collector Martha Stewart "covets" the 42-room Fifth Avenue spread of reclusive centenarian billion-heiress Huguette Clark.

As the children know, there has been quite a bit of brouhaha and ink spilled the last few months regarding the mysterious copper heiress Huguette Clark, her vast fortune estimated to be around half a billion bucks, and her three residences located in three of the country's ritziest zip codes. It's been reported that Miz Clark has not been inside her titanic apartment New York City at 907 Fifth Avenue at for more than 20 years, visited her vast estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Santa Barbara, CA since sometime in the 1960s and, despite having added an entire wing, never even stepped foot on the secluded New Canaan, CT estate she purchased during the 1950s as a kind of real estate security blanket in the event that the cold war got hot and she wanted to get out of New York City.

According to the National Enquirer's so-called "insider," Miz Stewart, who we hear from several sources already owns a smaller unit in the building with a kitchen that looks like a damn science lab, has "got the whole apartment redecorated in her mind. The deal seems to be all she can think about."

This "insider" also claims that Miz Stewart, a gal who makes other women (and gay men) feel totally and completely inadequate in their crafting and baking skills, is so intent on buying Huguette's 42-room beast on Fifth Avenue that she once sent a plate of her famous cream puffs up to Miz Clark's apartment as a kind of Trojan Horse. But alas, by that point Miz Clark had long been sequestered in a New York City hospital and the cream puffs were returned tout de suite by her staff.

Sometime after her cream puffs were rebuffed, according to this "insider," Miz Stewart went to the doorman of the undistinguished white glove building and "angrily demanded" that he tell her where Miz Clark was. But alas, the doorman did not know and once again Big Bad Martha, allegedly, was thwarted in her attempt to buy the epic-sized crib even before she really got started. Now chickens, please keep in mind that we don't know if these cream puff and doorman stories have a shred of veracity. However, iffin the stories were true it chills Your Mama to the core to ponder the icy resolve and quiet anger that we imagine would have slowly crept across Miz Stewart's face and into the marrow of her 68-year old bones. She is, after all and as we all know (or think we know), not used to not getting what she wants.

What's interesting about this report in the National Enquirer–which we are unable to find online–is that it does not include the most important detail regarding Huguette's 42-room "apartment." In actually Huguette's 42-room digs are two unconnected units on two different floors of the building. One is a full floor prairie like spread and the other a half-floor apartment where it has been reported Huguette keeps her extensive collection of dolls and dollhouses. Getting from one apartment to the other requires a short but inconvenient elevator ride.
A typical 14-room half floor apartment at 907 Fifth Avenue–as it was originally laid out (above)–would have included a 4-5 bedrooms, a 46-foot long entrance gallery, a 31-foot long living room with fireplace, formal dining room with fireplace, small library, and a kitchen with large butlers pantry. Live in staff would be accommodated in 3 cell-sized rooms that share just one pooper and a small servant's hall is where the live-ins would take their meals and quietly complain and gossip about the demands and proclivities of their wildly wealthy employers. According to the materials sent to Your Mama by one of The Children whom we'll call Hamilton Hasthefloorplan the fourteen room half floor units at 907 Fifth were first marketed with yearly lease prices of–are y'all sitting down?–$10,500.
Thanks to Hamilton Hasthefloorplan, Your Mama now has a seizure inducing floor plan for a 28-room full floor apartment at 907 Fifth Avenue that includes two 40-foot long drawing/living rooms, a 30-foot long library, dining room, colossal kitchen with pantry, six family bedrooms, and 5.5 poopers. The apartment's vast staff quarters include laundry facilities (with a drying porch), a maze of hallways, 9 punishingly small staff bedrooms that share 2 poopers, a small servant's hall, and a decent sized bedroom with private pooper for the housekeeper. The full floor apartments at 907 Fifth Avenue, according to marketing materials, were first offered with a yearly lease price of–sit down again and grab a nerve pill, puppies–$30,000. Lo-ward have mercy children that's a damn fraction of what Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter payed in annual rent for a much smaller 3 bedroom and 3 pooper downtown doo-plex.

Listen chickens, Your Mama does not know a peg leg from pin cushion so we haven't any idea whether either of these floor plans reflects an accurate layout of either of Huguette Clark's Fifth Avenue apartment(s). What they do reflect is how the apartments were laid out early in the building's history. Let's be honest though, whether they represent the layout of Huguette's two apartments or not, they are fascinating and jaw dropping bits of floor plan porn to pour over while sipping on an early afternoon gin and tonic.

floor plan image (half floor): Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library

26 comments:

JulianOgalde said...

I just love, love, love your blog, Mama! It is brilliantly written and a treasure trove of information. I've been reading it for quite some time as a 'lurker' but I felt I had to sign in and voice my deep appreciation for all you do for your 'children'.
Back on topic, thank~you for publishing that wonderful floor~plan for what might be Miz Clark's Fith Avenue digs. Oh, to think one could have picked that up for a mere $30K! If only I could get my hands on a really, REALLY good time~machine, I'd take back a few million and buy up a nice chunk of the upper~east side. Where, oh, where are Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux when you need them???!!!
Please keep the children enthralled with your marvelous posts, as we need to read about the hoity~toity and their lives in these precarious times.
Oh, and did I mention I LOVE your blog?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article. One correction though, "10,500-$30,000 would have been the annual rent not purchase price. Almost nobody bought apartments in those days.

lil' gay boy said...

"...they are fascinating and jaw dropping bits of floor plan porn to pour over while sipping on an early afternoon gin and tonic."

As Nana always said, "It's five o'clock somewhere in the world; pour."

Martha Stewart; the original Queen of the Damned ––– is just crass enough to be hot-gluing a basket together to hold her mini-muffins, no doubt to be delivered at Huguette's graveside sometime in the future, complete with a certified deposit check tied neatly with a gingham bow.

Ew.

As the oft misquoted Fitzgerald said in an apocryphal conversation with Hemingway, "The rich are different than you and me." Hemingway's supposedly pithy reply was "Yes, they have more money" (It was actually a misquote of a conversation between Hemingway & Mary Colum.)

What Fitzgerald actually said, in his 1926 short story The Rich Boy was: "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft, where we are hard, cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand."

Not nearly the soundbite of the original misquote, but you get the message.

Julian, love the obscure Rod Taylor/Yvette Mimieux reference to that cult classic, The Time Machine".

The Down East Dilettante said...

the full floor apartment plan is the hottest piece of floorplan porn (florn?) that I've seen in a long time...

And as one who has on a couple of occasions been personally brushed aside by ole Martha, I put nothing past here...cool, cold and focused.

Anonymous said...

A laundry room + a drying porch= priceless.
Mama, you've made my day with the floor plan porn.

Lady J

Rosco Mare said...

"...the icy resolve and quiet anger that we imagine would have slowly crept across Miz Stewart's face and into the marrow of her 68-year old bones. She is, after all and as we all know (or think we know), not used to not getting what she wants."

Wonderful description, Mama! Probably her reaction when she realized she'd soon be wearing a bright orange jumpsuit and baking biscuits in a hot kitchen with a dozen tatooed women asking, "Where you from?"

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:21 PM, Mama said the apartments originally had yearly lease prices, not purchase prices.

N said...

Your Mama, I must confess: sometimes I find your column to be a teensy bit tedious when you post about those California mansions about which I have zero interest.

Today, however, I am simply agog with wonder and the anticipation of how much I am going to enjoy pouring over the full-floor plan porn of 907.

I'd like to point out something that some your readers might not be aware of about 907. All the windows on the west side of the building would, of course, have a direct park view. But also, because 72nd Street is very wide, all the windows on the north side of the building (living room, drawing room, library) would also have a good, though somewhat oblique, view of the park. So this apartment would have a park view from 18 windows!

Aunt Gina said...

according to the Manhattan DA, Ms. Clark is "not lucid":

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/09/22/2010-09-22_heiress_not_lucid__probers_da_checking_for_suspicious_transfers.html

no word on Martha's mental state...

MarkyMark said...

OMG the servants quarters! You can practically hide a small army away in there, in this mansion-in-the-sky. Instead of "Upstairs, Downstairs" its more like "East Side, West Side".

Now to put things in perspective, so far as I can tell this was built in 1916; according to my inflation calculator contraption, $10,500 in today's $$ is very roughly $210,000 or $17,500/month, and $30,000 is about $600,000 or $50,000/month, which is not exactly cheap any way you slice it.

I can't imagine what on earth Martha is going to do with it, but if she does snag it at least we'll see many many published photos of what she has proudly turned it into.

lil' gay boy said...

"...no word on Martha's mental state..."

Aunt Gina, have I told you lately I love you?

;-)

marlee said...

I love, love, love this piece. I think Martha Stewart is the perfect person to acquire the property from Huguette. I am fascinated with Martha's acquisition of the Ford estate on Mt. Desert Island, Maine. She got the whole damn thing - right down to table napkins. I would think she might do the same with this property.

I can also picture Alexis and Kevin Sharkey taking up residence in, oh, about 25 years to live out their solo, yet united lives in grand style.

937 Sigsbee said...

MSNBC shows this as the floorplan:

http://msnbcmedia2.msn.com/j/MSNBC/Components/Slideshows/_production/ss-100205-Clark-family/floorplan.grid-6x2.jpg

Anonymous said...

The MSNBC floorplan appears to be the floorplan for those floors with two-apartments.

Anonymous said...

I think the staff blew it. They should have consumed the cream puffs and then told Martha that their mistress was "too ill" after eating them to talk to her. That might have stopped Martha from pestering them any further.

rdsf said...

Mama, I can't BELIEVE you came up with this floor plan. I've been dreaming of this for ages. Thank you so much - you rock!!

Luis said...

907 has been cut up into this:
http://nyre.cul.columbia.edu/projects/view/17207
only the Clark apartment on the 8th floor and the half of the 12th floor remain in original layout form. mama's full floor porn is most likely the layout of the Clark apartment. the msnbc media link is for the original 2 per floor apartments. The building also seemed to have duplexes facing the park on the 6, 10th floor.

Anonymous said...

One is not a "billion-heiress" if one has merely half a billion dollars in net worth.

Doesn't language mean anything anymore?

Sheesh!

miss margo said...

Oh Marlee I soooo agree.Martha needs this property for her next project.Who else but her could take this on and do it right?The Ford Estate is absolutely stunning.Martha has preserved something very special there and could do the same for the Clark property.As for Alexis,she needs to spend some time living in a cardboard box so she can appreciate all that she has been given...just my opinion...

Anonymous said...

You can say she isn't a Billionaire heiress all you want - but she has $240MM just in personal real estate! Calling her a multi-millionaire is like saying Martha Stewart is has a bit of controlling and ambitions ways....

Anonymous said...

Of course she wants Hugette's properties, hell I want them.
I am sure that half of the super wealthy in the world are trying to acquire them as we speak.

Lilithcat said...

Somehow, I can't picture Martha condescending to speak to a doorman, despite the power we all know they wield. She'd have sent an underling.

Anonymous said...

oh mama! reading your blog tonight and thinking - Martha Stewart makes gay men feel inadequate? girl its gone way past that. I get an awful twitch in the right eye just at the thought of her - its not explainable. Arrived at the end of your post, looked down to my own left hand and found my own gin and tonic. keep it up!

Anonymous said...

oh gurl a drying room! ladies clutch your pearls (and Celine doesn't even show up until the next reel).

Anonymous said...

Long live Huguette Clark. Hopefully she will have arranged for the next era of her properties in NY, Conn and SB in some meaningful public way. Martha Stewart can just initiate a meltdown for not getting what she wants. Please move on Martha. We have had enough of you usurping all the creative ideas of "the little people" and calling them your own.

Mrs. Stephen Haines said...

can you really make that much damn money with sake cups made from cucumbers? Good Lord.