BUYERS: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones
LOCATION: Bedford, NY
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