Friday, March 11, 2011

British MP Shaun Woodward Wants to Lighten His Heavy Real Estate Load

SELLER: Shaun and Camilla Woodward
LOCATION: East Hampton, NY
PRICE: $18,500,000
SIZE: 6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Summer's a-comin' buggaroos so let's grab our bikinis and surf boards head out the the hoity-toity Hamptons where our research amigo Hot Chocolate discovered an East Hampton mini-estate owned by a couple of Brits by the name of Shaun and Camilla Woodward and recently heaved the market with a not so mini asking price of $18,500,000.

Listen babies, we may be three sheets to the wind and half in the bag due to an extra-long liquid lunch but Your Mama still recognizes that neither Shaun nor Camilla Woodward are household names for many of the children, particularly those who know nothing about supermarkets and/or politics in the U.K.

Since 2001 Mister Woodward, who previously worked as a television researcher and producer, is a sitting Member of Parliament (MP). That's kind of like an American Senator for anyone without a high school diploma. From June 2007 to May 2010 Mister Woodward acted as the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and he currently operates as the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, a specious sounding by very real and important position. Our Mister Woodward is widely known among those who know about such things as one of the better-heeled members of Parliament and for his dramatic switch from the conservative Tory party to the more left-leaning Labour Party after a big ol' brouhaha erupted in 1999 over his public support to repeal a law that prevented the "acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship" from being taught in public schools.

Mister Woodward and his wealthy wife Camilla–an heiress to the substantial Sainsbury's supermarket fortune–are also well known in the British press for their famously fat property portfolio, reported to include half a dozen or more bloody expensive homes around the globe. In 2003 the very-well-to-do Woodwards sold a luxury townhouse that overlooks St. James's Park in London for approximately £6,500,000 to rock star turned global do-gooder Sting and his tantric sexing second wife Trudie Styler.

In 2006 Mister and Missus Woodward unloaded Sarsden House, a sprawling 459-acre spread in Oxfordshire with a titanic 17th-century mansion; It was reported to be sold to filthy rich real estate tycoon Tony Gallagher for around £24,000,000; That's a bone-chilling $38,741,000 at today's rates, butter beans, but in 2006 that amount converted to an even more staggering number in the $45,000,000 range. The Woodwards were reported to have traded down to a 2.5-million pound townhouse in the center of the historic city of Oxford.
In late 2008 it was reported that the posh pair shelled out around £5,00,000,000–about eight million bucks at 2005 rates–to acquire a very contemporary six bedroom holiday home called Hummingbird on the island of Mustique, a private paradise favored by royalty and various other luminaries like Mick Jagger who hobnob with the international glitterati. Luxury amenities of the island hideaway (shown above) include a media room, fitness room, staff of six including a butler and "creative cook," a 65-foot long infinity-edge and travertine-lined swimming pool, a private plunge pool off the master suite and a separate one-bedroom cottage with its own lap pool.

In early 2010 it was reported in the British tabs that Mister and Missus Woodward added to their already over-stuffed real estate portfolio with a £1,000,000 apartment in an very upscale but unnamed Alpine ski resort. We'd guess it's in Gstaad, but we really have no idea what we're talking about so it wouldn't be wise to go around telling people that like you know what you're talking about. Anyhoo, one of the Woodward's new neighbors in this unnamed Alpine resort town snitched to the tabs that the condo-style apartment located in a large chalet-style structure includes a "massive lounge, huge bedrooms, a state-of-the-art kitchen and a modern sound system throughout." That sounds a little more like real estate speak than the words of a wealthy neighbor, but again, we don't know a green grape from a cuckoo-bird.

The large-livin' couple are also reported to own a penthouse flat in London, a modest house in Merseyside, a house in the South of France and the aforementioned mini-estate in the Hamptons now up for grabs at $18,500,000.

Property records reveal that in March of 2005 Mister and Missus Woodward spent $12,000,000–that's £6,140,870 at today's exchange rates–to purchase a lovely 1920s Colonial-style mansion in a particularly posh, pricey and lily white East Hampton enclave tucked up behind Hook Pond and adjacent to the exclusive, private and remarkably waspy Maidstone Club. The seller of the house is listed on public records as entertainment industry executive Eric Ellenbogen of Boomerang Media, who has owned numerous and very pricey properties in some of the Hamptons's most uppity 'hoods.

According to listing information the 1.2 acre mini-estate includes a 6 bedroom and 7 pooper main house of indeterminate square footage and separate guest cottage or staff quarters above a detached two-car garage. At least four fireplaces alleviate any seaside chill and scads of custom mill work throughout the manse maintains the integrity of the home's original architecture. Wide plank wood floors refinished in a sexy high-gloss chocolate brown anchor the casual, elegant and somewhat chilly-feeling interior spaces and provide a counter-balance to all the gleaming white walls.

Mister and Missus Woodward's team nice, gay decorators gave the rambling residence a rigorous and restrained day-core severely restricted to black, white, gray and various shades of taupe. The decorative monotony gets unexpectedly broken with little bits of soft colors such as the rose-colored pillows slung cavalierly on a crisp white sectional sofa, the ever-so-pale yellow 1930s-style tiles in one of the guest bathrooms, the sea foam green glass tiles in the master bathroom and the steely blue in the artwork above the fireplace in a second floor sitting room. Although we swoon for all the white walls and we do so love us an impractical white sofa, this is decidedly not what Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter might do decoratively speaking with an eighteen million clam casa in an especially waspy enclave. We'd be inclined to paint the shutters lime green and fill the house with near vulgar pieces artwork but we're a bit of a contrarian about these things. None the less, we freely admit to feeling a not unpleasant visual serenity in this house. Let's be honest, children, it could be exponentially worse.

The sizable eat-in gourmet kitchen is well-equipped with silky white Shaker-style lower cabinets, glass-fronted uppers and all the stainless steel Viking-brand appliances that once can and should expect in a recently renovated residence with an 18.5-million dollar price tag. Your Mama strongly urges the new owner to immediately remove the Mini-Cooper-sized pot rack that looms ominously over a large center work island and under-counter wine fridge.

The spacious master suite occupies a private wing and includes a bedroom with fireplace, private office, fitness room, access to a pond-view balcony, a spa style bathroom and an additional powder room so the Lord and Lady of the house can conveniently do their dirty business at the same time.

An expansive tree-shaded terrace of concrete pavers set into a precise grid stretches off the back of the house and includes a dining area, outdoor fireplace and built-in barbecue for grilling up the gorgeous lip-smacking corn that can bought from one of the many local farm stands that dot the picture perfect lanes that wind through the Hamptons. The terrace wraps around the short end of the 60-foot long swimming pool where a vine-draped pergola offers respite from the direct summer sun and marks the entry to the guest or staff unit above the garage.

On one side of the property offers views over the golf course at the Maidstone Club and at the front there are direct views of Hook Pond. Both of which are lovely if you like those sorts of things. But it's the proximity of the property to an all-but-private beach that's just a hop, step and a jump down the street that probably adds a couple million to the high-price of the house.

Mister and Missus Woodward may own half a dozen or more high-priced homes but they're not dummies and, like a surprising number of the very affluent who own multiple homes, don't seem the least bit averse to covering some of their out-of-pocket expenses to maintain the high-maintenance homes by leasing them out to other rich people at astronomical sums of cash. It appears from information we cajoled out of the interweb that Mister and Missus Woodward have their three-story ocean-view villa in Mustique up for lease at a published rate of $40-45,000US per week and online listing information shows they'll let their house in the Hamptons out at a rate of $495,000 for the 2011 summer season.

listing photos (Hamptons): Corcoran
listing photos (Mustique): Mustique Island Company


lil' gay boy said...

Oddly enough, whilst perusing other East Hampton listings last night, I came across the one for the Woodwards.

Once one makes the decision on "Whichampton" ––– East-, South-, West- or Bridge- (and the surrounding hamlets), referred to as Carla Ridge recently reminded us, "Wronghampton", when one applies the real estate rule of thumb, location, location, location, this property has Location down pat with a capital "L".

Which one can also use for lovely, which it indeed is. On a narrow spit of land betwixt ocean & pond, and a provenance that hard core aficionados would kill for.

Regardless of whether the desire is for old money low profile, East End glitz, rubbing elbows with blue bloods, celebrities & white trash at the Hamptons Classic, this is one hell of a house at any price. Despite the economy, this is one residence that could conceivably go for more than the asking price.

StPaulSnowman said...

Please tell me those first photos are in black and white. Even for an inveterate angloarchiphile like myself, this place has little to tweak the pleasure centers. The concept of "the rambler" lives!

Anonymous said...

The color palate leaves me very cold. Brown and white and little else??!! Strange.

Anonymous said...

The house is in a superb area of EH in general, but to be that close to the ocean and still not be able to see it for $18.5M, I'd keep looking for something without another house looking back at you from over the back hedge.

Major thumbs down to the decor and colors; drab, drab, drab, and predictable, predictable, predictable. No sense of a home; no signs of one's life, travels, treasures,... So store-bought at once.

Miss Lily Pond

Anonymous said...

This house was completely renovated by Eric Ellenbogen, ten or more years ago. Sawyer Berson was the landscape architect, and they may have done the house work as well, which involved a fair bit of re-styling of the facade. AD did a piece on the pool area with pictures back then.

Doesn't look like the Woodwards did much beyond furnishings, although I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of that also belonged to Ellenbogen. It's very much in the style that he and other men of his ilk were using at that time. As Mama alludes to, there is a whole generation of interiors in the Hamptons that completely rejected the idea of the unpretentious, casual, waspy beach aethetics that had prevailed out there for so long. On all of ultra-exclusive West End Road, I would go out on a limb and say there are maybe two left in that style. One is the famous Grey Gardens, owned by Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn, and the other is owned by the old monied Scheerer family, whose son is a very well known decorator based in New York, named Tom.

The real estate bordering Hook Pond, whether it be on the Woodward's road or the little lanes off of Ocean Ave. on the other side of the pond, offers the most magnificent of all settings in the Hamptons. The light in the afternoon as it reflects off the water with the moisture and various atmospherics that the adjacent ocean provides is very special. People appreciate that situation and even today are willing to pay a premium for the privilege.

The house slightly down the road at the turn up to the beach, which was owned by a very old actress, sold post-crash in the 20m range to some people who famously had been looking at properties for years. That house was the former cow barn of the estate that existed on the Maidstone grounds, and was in poor condition. I believe it's the new owners intention to tear it down and build a new one.

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely no way that house in Mustique was £5M. On Mustique £5M barely buys you a cottage & a property like that is more likely to be £15M. If you look at the few properties that are currently on the market they're £12M+ up into the £20M's ...