Friday, October 29, 2010

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones Go Country (Plus some floor plan porn for good measure.)

BUYERS: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones
LOCATION: Bedford, NY
PRICE: $5,075,000
SIZE: 6,300 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: This sunny Friday morning Your Mama's going to piggy-back on a recent report in The Post about the purchase of a country house in the rolling hills of pretty and preppy Bedford, NY by two time Academy Award winning actor Michael Douglas and his one time Academy Award winning wife Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Bedford and the surrounding communities of Westchester County claim a wide array of high profile property owners such as domestic arts tycoon and ex-con Martha Stewart, the soo-blime actress Glenn Close, Matthew Bronfman (heir to the Seagrams booze fortune), aging but still hot to trot actor Richard Gere and his ladee Carrie Lowell, multi-billionaire financier George Soros–breath, breath, breath–Abigail Disney (of the Disney family), comedian and actor Chevy Chase, and fashion fat cat Ralph Lauren whose clothes sort of exemplify the high-nosed horsey vibe of the über upscale semi-rural Westchester County bedroom communities located just north of and easy commuting distance from New York City.

Clarification: Before any of you people start getting sassy and smart mouthed with Your Mama, be aware that we are well aware that there are plenty of areas within Westchester County that are actually pretty trashy or, at least, not nearly as genteel or stiff lipped as some of the more quietly ritzy areas. Okay?

The astonishingly beautiful Miz Zeta-Jones Douglas has been doing the Entertainment Bizness Shuffle since she was just a wee lassie in Wales. In the early 1990s she shot to stardom when she appeared on the British tee-vee dramedy The Darling Buds of May. She got her big break in the U.S. cinema industry in 1998 with The Mask of Zorro. It wasn't until she hooked up with her Hollywood hotshot huzband that her career as a siren of the silver screen really took off like Secretariat out of the gate. Since gettin' with Mister Douglas–in what may or may very well not be a coincidence of timing–Miz Zeta-Jones Douglas has landed plum roles in blockbuster movies such as Traffic, Chicago, Ocean's Twelve, and the upcoming biopic of painter Salvador Dalí in which she's rumored to play Gala Dalí opposite Antonio Banderas as the mustachioed master of surrealism.

The impressive and long resume of the quickly-becoming-an-iconic-actor Mister Douglas includes starring roles in major motion pictures that include the bone chilling Coma, The China Syndrome, Fatal Attraction, Wall Street, The War of the Roses, Basic Instinct in which our favorite koo-koo bird Sharon Stone flashes her down there bits for the world to ponder, Traffic, Solitary Man, and the successful but unfortunate sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. We can't help it, we just hate sequels. Why not just leave well enough alone. Anyhoo, in addition to being an honest to goodness movie star, Mister Douglas has done quite well for himself on the boob-toob earning four Emmy nominations, three for the 1970s cop drama The Streets of San Francisco and one in 1998 for playing a leering and creepy but endearing closeted detective who took a sexual shine to Will on Will & Grace.

The first marriage for Mister Douglas–the eldest son of legendary 3-time Oscar nominated dimple chinned actor Kirk Douglas–was with a ladee named Diandra who, as it turns out, has her magnificent and fabled mansion in Montecito, CA–called La Quinta–on the market for a breath taking but not unheard of for Montecito $29,000,000.

Mister Douglas and the first Missus Douglas finalized their dee-vorce, which reportedly cost Mister Douglas around $45,000,000, in June of 2000. In August of the same year, a preggers Miz Zeta-Jones Douglas–who was still, technically, Miss Zeta-Jones at the time–popped out the first of the pair's two children. A couple months later, in mid-November, Mister Douglas made an honest women of Miss Zeta-Jones and hitched his celebrity wagon to her rising star.

There seems to be some dispute and guffawing over just how old Missus Zeta-Jones Douglas actually is; She is officially, professionally and more than likely 41. What is not in dispute is that her father is younger than her huzband. Now listen, butter beans, Your Mama has nary an issue with a May-December fling, romance or marriage but when your father is younger than your huzband you've done pushed on through to something a little more like an icky and ill-fitting February-December sort of thing. You know we're saying, puppies?

Anyhoo, getting back to the real estate matter at hand, as the story goes in The Post, Mister Douglas and Miz Zeta-Jones Douglas leased the house they bought in Bedford for "at least six months" before signing on the deed's dotted line. Listing information Your Mama scared up out of the interweb shows the serene estate, purchased for $5,075,000, stretches across 5.7 acres dotted with mature stands of trees. Surrounded on three sides by a famous horse farm, a long gravel driveway streaks across the plush property to a privately situated 1930s white brick center hall Colonial style mansion with six-over-six sash windows and classic black shutters.

The 6,300 square foot two-story manse, according to listing information, includes 5 bedrooms and 5.5 poopers as well as a separate guest house or caretaker cottage. Inside, past the petite portico entrance, a wonderfully long living room features hardwood floors, a library nook and the first of five fireplaces. The formal dining room, wrapped in wallpaper that like a Gordian Knot depicts a countryside and house that looks suspiciously like the actual house in which the wallpaper is hung, has a discreet corner fireplace.

Much of the seller's day-core reeks of dignified but boring Grandmas and Grandpas but, just as a pimento gets stuck up into an olive, the vintage house contains a country style but contemporary and fully equipped kitchen recently redone to include white Shaker style cabinets, marble counter tops, multiple work zones, two dishwashers, a breakfast bar and built-in desk area where, iffin we lived here, Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter's stink-eyed housekeeper Svetlana would sit and yakkety-yak on the phone in a foreign language for hours at a time.

The ground floor also includes a library and breakfast room both with fireplace, a sun room with a row of French Doors with arched fan lights, a powder pooper and a bedroom with private terliting facilities that Your Mama suspects might be a pinched room where the housekeeper or live-in terlit gurl is supposed to live. Upstairs, in addition to the master suite with its Delph blue and white toile covered everything, there are two more en-suite bedrooms and a fourth, the only bedroom with a fireplace, that shares a pooper with an office and the laundry facilities.

A tree-shaded brick terrace off the back of the house steps down to vast swathes of lawn kept green by a sprinkler system. At one back corner of the property, surrounded by trees, a small pond or maybe the swimming pool and at the other back corner what looks to Your Mama might have been a grass tennis court.

Since word of the purchase slipped down the celebrity real estate grapevine, Your Mama has heard two interesting bits of entertainment to supplement our real estate story. The first is that we heard from a well-connected fella' named Imogene Imnotaboy that super star professional baseball stud Derek Jeter bought–or is in the process of buying–a house on the very same street as Mister Douglas and Miz Zeta-Jones Douglas. We're not really sure why Mister Jeter, who reportedly owns homes in Marlboro, NJ and Greenwood Lake, NY, would want or need a house in Bedford too. But children, who are we to question or make sense of the wacky real estate ways of the rich and famous? Mister Jeter currently has his apartment in Manhattan on the market at $20,000,000 and he's currently building a colossal–some might say colossally overbuilt–crib on Davis Island in Tampa, FL.

The other tidbit we heard but can not confirm–which means its just rumor and gossip–was that Miz Zeta-Jones Douglas was recently seen leaving the local discount retail emporium Target with a red basket full of bargains for her and her family's new house in the country. See puppies, even ridiculously famous multi-millionaires like a bargain just as much as someone struggling to put food on the table.

The Douglas/Zeta-Jones Douglas clan reportedly have more than half a dozen homes including a luxury apartment in New York City, where it is Your Mama's understanding they have a significant spread at the Kenilworth, an ornate, 1908 architectural wedding cake of an apartment block on Central Park West built in the French Second Empire style. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones are not the only entertainment bigwigs to live up in the Kenilworth. Two-time Emmy winner Dick Cavett owns an apartment in the building as does two-time Oscar nominated and 5-time Emmy winning actor John Lithgow.

Our research shows that in addition to the apartment in the Big Apple and now the country estate in Bedford, NY, Mister Douglas and Miz Zeta-Jones Douglas own (or owned) a home base in the Bermuda, a ski house in Aspen, a cliff-top compound in Majorca, an apartment in Los Angeles' Century City, a large house in her native Swansea (Wales) and a 5 bedroom beachfront hideout on a private island in the Turks & Caicos islands.

Based on Your Mama's rudimentary and wholly unscientific research, we've determined that apartments at the 42-unit Kenilworth building rarely come up for sale. According to Streeteasy, there have been only 4 recorded sales in the building over the last five years plus a fifth transaction that appears to be an intra-family transfer of some kind.
Currently, only one apartment at the Kenilworth appears on the open market: a 3,200 square foot, medium-high floor beauty with 2 actual bedrooms, 3.5 poopers and another a cell-sized staff room tucked up into the back of the apartment behind the kitchen. The unit currently carries a screaming $17,500,000 price tag with painful maintenance charges of $5,500 per month.

Before any of y'all get to conclusion that we're suggesting this might be Mister Douglas's digs, we're not. In all honesty, we don't know who owns this apartment that grandly claims 50 feet of de-voon and deeply desirable direct frontage over Central Park. A small foyer with a couple of coat closets opens into a gallery with intricate dentil molding where a couple of muscular square columns separate the gallery from the formal dining room with its direct park views. Also opening directly off the gallery, a library also has enviable park views. However, the cherry on this real estate sundae is the corner living room with panoramic over-the-tree-top views east over Central Park towards the dee-luxe apartment towers that line Fifth Avenue and south toward Midtown and Rockefeller Center.

The service area was nicely squirreled away at the rear of the apartment and connected to both the public and private quarters by a couple of cleverly placed corridors. The eat-in kitchen has honey colored cabinets with glass-fronted uppers, granite counter tops, a 6-burner Viking range and two Sub-Zero refrigerators. A couple of Parisian café chairs and a two-sided banquette upholstered in a fuzzy beige fabric surround the table for six in the breakfast area of the cookery. To one side of the kitchen, a decent sized private laundry room with service elevator access and, on the other, a slim room better used as a home office than a staff bedroom.

It appears to Your Mama that two smaller bedrooms may have been combined to create a 27 foot long master bedroom with entry vestibule, walk in closet, private pooper, and book-shelf lined sitting room with peripheral southern views of Central Park. Iffin that is indeed what's happened, the original master bedroom became a generous if not huge second bedroom with private facilities, double exposure with western and southern views plus a lateral park view.

photos: (Bedford): Vincent & Whittemore, Inc.
photos (New York City): Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate

18 comments:

Madam Pince said...

I am NOT a fan of Miss Zeta-Jones or that hideous dining room wallpaper.

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing Zeta-Jones and Douglas interviewed by Barbara Walters in their apartment back when she was pregnant in 2000, and the walls were the same color as in that picture.

Anonymous said...

Mama, my friend has a friend who was their nanny when the children were infants and they have a big family compound in Bermuda, where Michael Douglas's mother still lives.

Aunt Gina said...

Gordian or knot, that wallpaper is just cheese-y.

Charaze said...

Umm.... the dining room wallpaper is just disgusting. But whoa! for the amount of the house, though. $5M? Wicked!

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Anonymous said...

I think that we woould all love it if you could get some international spies and informants to get the low down on Antilla the billion doller27 story mansion in Mumbai (maybe even some of that good floorplan porn for us)

Anonymous said...

This looks like the house that belonged to a very nutty lady named Jean Tilt on Harris Road just across from the old Berol place. It was calm and understated and doesn't look a bit changed. Martha is actually in Katonah.

Anonymous said...

I saw some gossip sheet at a supermarket check-out that gave Michael three months more to live. Perhaps I should not mention that. But is this house purchase an attempt to bolster his spirits? Pretending that he will enjoy his old age in a lovely house or something like that?

luke220 said...

Maybe it is just a hand painted mural in the dining room?

MarkyMark said...

Personally, I find it somehow deeply reassuring to see that Sister Parish is still alive and well somewhere...

Anonymous said...

The living room looks like a day room in a retirement home and the dining room looks like a country club private dining room. Neither objectionable, just predictable.

Anonymous said...

mama i think this is the original floorplan:

http://nyre.cul.columbia.edu/projects/view/17326

Anonymous said...

Lovely, serene, tasteful. And that expanse of lawn at the back is simply divine. A place to die for.

Anonymous said...

On the "icky" May-December thing, I couldn't agree more. I was once was presented with this type of situation by the father of one of my friends, whose mother had passed away. Truly a much more elegant individual that Mr. D., I just couldn't get beyond the father of my friend thing and old enough to be my father. I was young and wanted a real life and adventure. So I passed it up along with houses in Ponte Vedra, Palm Beach, NY, Cap Ferat, Mustique and more and also the offer to take a younger man when the occasion suited me. Needless to say I moved on and never looked back. He eventually married his daughter's step mother whose husband had passed away. So it all turned out beautifully.

Anonymous said...

The apartment is owned by a venture capital bachelor who decided to sell because he spends most of his time at his girlfriend's home in Soho. I know this for a fact

lil' gay boy said...

Mama, your precis of Bedford was spot on; as a college friend of mine was an estate manager in the area, it took me back to the days when her employers traveled extensively & our close circle of friends availed ourselves of their "hospitality".

Compare & contrast this Bedford property with Clover Hill Farm that the Clintons have been sniffing & snorting around ––– this is what the cognoscenti would consider the more "authentic" of the two (although I must agree with Anon 8:49 vis-a-vis the predictable décor). And that dining room mural is just clumsy; it borders on outsider art.

An aerial view of the property (from certain angles) shows a free form swimming pool with stone coping in the southeast corner of the property and what appears to be a disused clay tennis court in the southwest corner. But as Anon 8:29 pointed out so well, "...that expanse of lawn at the back is simply divine. A place to die for."

Or in,
if one wants to be crass. As undignified as this February-December mating might appear, they've made a good show of it & had a good run; far be it for me to begrudge them an enviable real estate portfolio.

Since the provenance of the Kenilworth property is unverified, I'll refrain from any comment other than, yes, please!

Stacey said...

While they may own property in other Caribbean locales, as another poster pointed out they were most famous for owning property in Bermuda and that's where they were spending most of their time before setting up shop in NY. Michael said recently they did so because one of their children has special needs and Bermuda did not have the appropriate services. He also owned a hotel there, although I believe now he has minority ownership of several hotels. You can find alot of info by googling.

Anonymous said...

Mama,
I love your analyses on the rich and famous habitats. This May-December thing you have brought out ducky, is not for too long. That Jones broad is not too young. She had explored the lie of the land way before she hitched her wagon to the star.Just when her hollywood shelf life began to expire in the land of the lovelies, she found the rich old Man, prized him off his first wife, popped out the spawns, and coincidentally got roles and undeserving awards.That real estate portfolio is astounding. That is quite a haul. The Jones are set for generations. She must be checking off his bucket list/ Cant be too hard with all her help, moolah, and the ladidah homes in the poshest locales.