Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up – March 6, 2011

You Mama just loves the part of this video that we first saw on The Real Deal when Oprah Winfrey's b.f.f. Gayle King tells nice gay decorator turned chat show host Nate Berkus that although she may go all around the country and all around the world and see houses bigger and nicer than her New York City apartment, she never feels that she wants to live in those bigger and nicer homes because despite the puny galley kitchen she likes her $7,000,000-plus penthouse pad just fine. Listen Miz King, you seem like a very nice ladee who loves her some Nate Berkus. You do. But bitch, pleeze. You might as well have told all those shell-shocked haus fraus in the audience to go eat some damn cake.

There's a real estate cautionary tale being played out in the backwoods of Forsyth County, GA where former train conductor Hubert Humphrey and his wife Norma built their Barbie Dream House, a real hot damn doozy they dubbed La Rêve. Our French translator tells us that means 'the dream.' The focal point of the manicured 72-acre estate is the 47,000 square foot house that encompasses 82 rooms and is equipped with 65 security cameras, 62 televisions, 10 fireplaces, at least 9 full and 11 half bathrooms, 7 bedroom suites and 2 elevators. Just for recreational kicks there's also a movie theater that's a replica of Atlanta's Fox Theatre, a bowling alley, arcade, virtual golf room, Olympic-sized swimming pool, formal gardens galore, a private 18-hole golf course that can be played in multiple directions and a separate carriage house for guests or staff.

Just thinking about the electric and water bill at La Rêve makes Your Mama's head spin so terribly that we need a damn nerve pill and a stiff gin & tonic to put our feet back on the ground.

Most reports say it cost those crazy Humphreys fifty million bucks to build and furnish their steroidal estate located a not-particularly-upscale area outside Atlanta. But alas, the Humphrey's La Rêve has turned into quite the cauchemar.

Two short years after completing the hotel-sized monument to their wealth and success they attempted to sell their hyper-custom white elephant in 2008 with an asking price of $45,000,000. The asking price was reduced in big chunks until, apparently, they could no longer bear the massive mortgage and insanely high upkeep costs and eventually the bank seized the property. That's right, La Rêve is now owned by the bank, an "asset" we imagine they'd rather not have sitting on their books.

The property has been on and off the market a number of times since 2008 but the bank recently re-listed the country-clubby estate with a new and improved price tag of–hold on to your Jockey shorts children–$16,750,000. A few quick flicks of the beads on our bejeweled abacus shows that's a staggering and stunning $28,250,000 reductions; Put another way that's a shocking 63-percent reduction in price. Will it be enough of a slash?

Your Mama read on Luxist that the real estate agent representing the property for the bank recently went on the tee-vee and and stated that "now, our new strategy is, the house needs to go." Call us a cynic, but somehow we think that the pool of multi-millionaires who would could and would purchase this particular palace for $16 and some million is about as large as the number who were willing to pay $45,000,000 for it.

Has anyone called unrepentant real estate size queen Tyler Perry?

The moral of this story, Easter bunnies, is that those with super-colossal real estate eyes and even deeper pockets would be wise wise wise to show a modicum of restraint when spending an obscene amount of money to erect an elephantine and high-maintenance house. There really are so few people in the world who want (and can afford) an airport-sized residence and–think about this kiddies–finding just the right one who has the dough and the desire to live exactly where you've plunked your high-priced palace is exactly like finding a needle in a haystack. Just ask Candy Spelling who's had an price tag of $150,000,000 on her hotel-sized house in Los Angeles for years or couture-mad divorcée Suzanne Saperstein who's had her historically-correct mega-mansion in LaLa Land listed since the damn Dark Ages for $125,000,000.

We question the wisdom of, confess to being more than just an itty-bitty bit embarrassed about and recognize we're deserving of all of y'all's scorn for what we're about to do: Remark on the "celebrity" real estate bizness of large-lipped V.I.P. hostess Rachel Uchitel who recently caught a case of The Real Estate Fickle. Miss Uchitel's sole claim to fame is, of course and perhaps, that she was once the main squeeze of super-philanderer and professional club swinger Tiger Woods. We're not really sure what she's doing now but we wonder if her agent and/or public relations flackety-flack is trying to get her on Dancing With The Stars. We don't care much for that saccharine show of twinkle-toes but that, butter beans, would be a tasty reality tee-vee morsel if there ever was one.

Anyhoodles poodles, in early September 2010, Miss Uchitel paid $1,625,000 for a 1,650 square foot condo with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms at The Griffon building on ho-hum stretch of Park Avenue just below the heavenly Grand Central Station. Beehawtcha must have thought better of the acquisition because just six months later her lightly remodeled spread is back up for sale with a price tag of $1,950,000. Your Mama don't know a beach umbrella from pixie stick so we just can't fathom how, even if this place were drenched in brand-spanking new hand-troweled Venetian plaster, it's gained $325,000 in value in just six months.

Listing information and previous reports on the matter indicate that Miss Uchitel is also willing to lease the 3 bedroom and 2 pooper place out for $8,900 per month. Of course she is. We have no specific knowledge of but previous reports also reveal that actor Chris Noth (The Good Wife, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Sex and the City) had a serious look-see at the apartment but in the end did not pull the real estate trigger.

In addition to her condo in the Big Apple, Miss Uchitel has real estate woes out in Sin City where she has a condo done up and did over like a damn nightclub on the market for $1,350,000. Missy Hoo-hoo Uchitel has been trying to unload that place since at least late 2009 when it was also listed at $1,350,000. Here's a little tiny tidbit of unsolicited real estate advice Miss Uchitel: If you really want to sell your condo in Las Vegas, try lowering the damn price. In case you did not know, the real estate market sucks in Las Vegas right now and if you couldn't sell it in 2009 for $1,350,000 there's a pretty good chance you wont sell if for anywhere near $1,350,000 in 2011 either.

It was revealed this week that Mary J. Blige also caught a case of The Real Estate Fickle and flipped her 18,000-plus square foot beast of an abode in Saddle River, NJ on the market with an asking price of $13,900,000. The 9-time Grammy winning Miz Blige only bought the 25-room residence in the spring of 2008 when, according to property records, she paid $12,300,000 for the 8 bedroom faux-chateau that has a total of 8 full and three half poopers.

The gated quasi-rural 4.2 acre estate includes resort-style amenities that include a 14-seat movie theater, wine-tasting room, fitness facility, indoor basketball court, elevator, massive motor court, six-car garage parking and walk-out basement level that leads to the swimming pool and spa with adjacent full-service cabana.

Interestingly, current listing information for Miz Blige's crib uses the identical descriptive text as listing information from the time Miz Blige purchased the property. Make of that, children, what you will.


angie said...

Great weekend wrap up Mama, thank you. To your moral of the story re: La Rêve, I would add that further narrowing the field of potential buyers when it comes time to sell is finding someone willing to pay that kind of money for another person's architectural taste (not that 47,000 square feet is an expression of good taste regardless of architecture).

Anonymous said...

60 Minutes tonight had a segment on homeless people that was heart wrenching. Somehow when I read this blog (that I enjoy, please understand) and then let my mind wander to the number of homeless and poverty stricken people in the USA, I get sick to my stomach and in the head, realizing that something is VERY WRONG in this land of ours.

Anonymous said...

I do get some satisfaction reading about real estate size queens ending up in trouble. There is no punishment quite so delicious as self punishment, particularly when it is not expected.

Anonymous said...

In addition to everything else Gayle King seems to a bit of steatopygy in her build.

Anonymous said...

Ditto to all of the above.

The Let them eat cake attitude is such a disappointment coming from anyone, but it's particularly disturbing coming from someone who rides on the coattails of another. Makes me appreciate those who use their wealth, privilege or education for the benefit of the commons even more.

Anyway, back to the real estate - to Mama & everyone else, at what square footage is there absolutely no chance for good taste? 10k, 15k, 25k? Survey says...

Lady J

angie said...

lol, Lady J. In the area of 10-15k (depending on the house) used to be my approximate cutoff point regarding what could conceivably fall within the range of good taste, but due to the increasing popularity of more elaborate master suites, media rooms, exercise gyms, etc, I bumped it up to 15-20k to take things like that AND even the largest of families into account AND be generous To-A-Fault. Anything beyond that has got to be compensation for some ego deficiency because it's clearly such a ridiculous and immature waste on so many levels.

Carla Ridge said...

Not that I want to increase my chances of never getting invited to hang with Gayle and frayunds, but I just can't get past her constant and misguided insistence on the Laboutin footwear. Girl's built like a line-backer to begin with, so when she totters out she's clearly uncomfortable, as if she hasn't had enough practice. Plus the flawless, unscratched red soles always let you know they're not the only pair she has. And the cost of each pair prolly exceeds 90% of her viewers' monthly mortgage, so, you do the math.

Apart from that -- and, to me, worse than that -- is that she never seems to have anything really insightful or witty to say. No keen observations. I'm sure she's STELLAR at winnowing the opinions of others to find the best or bust of the bunch (isn't that what editors do?), but I prefer the company of the creative and perhaps less well-coiffed and swaddled.

Well, I have a Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles right down the street so I don't need her old brunch invitation anyway, *hrumph* LOL.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Gayle King must be incapable of listening and accepting advice. To be sure, there are many talented people in her orbit who must be aware of the fact that her hair color is awful, an orangey shade that does not complement her skin color, her hair style is always very stiff and not sexy, and her clothes are way too tight for someone of her, uh, stature. She seems to think that her huge butt is something to show off in form fitting stretchy dresses. And, oh yeah, as mentioned above, the shoes. Honey, no, it doesn't work. But I guess there is no saying so to Miss King, You'd think, at least, Miss O would tell her. Because Miss O gets it.

Anonymous said...

20k sq ft seems like the limit to me as well, Angie. Mama, do you have a number for the far reaches of good taste?

Lady J