Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nip/Tuck's Dylan Walsh Divorces and Lists Former Family Home in Hollywood

SELLERS: Dylan Walsh and Joanna Going
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,425,000
SIZE: 2,480 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Back in December 2010 all the gossip glossies and celebrity-obsessed blogs reported that Nip/Tuck hunk Dylan Walsh filed for divorce from his actress-wife of 7 years Joanna Going. Less than a year later Mister Walsh revealed to the people at People that his new, unnamed lady friend gave birth to a baby girl in late September (2011), his fourth child with three different women. Mister Walsh's personal life certainly ain't none of our bizness but for anyone who might care (and like to pass moral judgement) there's one kid with second wife—that's Miz Going—who gave birth in 2003 almost a year before they were married in 2004 and two shorties with first wife actress Melora Walters who gave birth to their first child just about a month after they were married in 1996. As our last college roommate and on-again/off-again confidante Sheila Sinn told Your Mama recently, "Life is complicated and sometimes things gets messy." Indeed, they do.

Given the state of things with the Walsh-Goings it's no surprise to anyone who understands The Four Ds of Real Estate* that the (soon to be?) divorced former couple have put a $1,425,000 asking price on their once happy family home in the very same upscale pocket of Hollywood that L.A. real estate people sometimes call Sunset Square and where Oscar-winning filmmaker Dustin Lance Black paid $1,455,000 in September 2010 for a 2,866 square foot 1924 Tudor (with detached garage converted to office space/guest house) and actress/style maven Selma Blair and her fashionista baby daddy Jason Bleick just this week put her/their house up for sale with a $1,780,000 price tag. Reality star turned mass market fashion designer turned interweb entrepreneur Lauren Conrad also owns a Spanish casa in the centrally located 'hood she bought in early 2008 for $2,360,000, no longer lives in, and has had on the market since September 2011 for $2,250,000.

*The Four Ds: Death, Divorce, Debt and Diapers. Generally (and unscientifically) speaking, four of the top reasons residential real estate is bought or sold, particularly by the notoriously real estate fickle rich and/or famous who are, let's be honest, more likely in a better monetary position to buy and/or sell a house every time they make a baby, dump their spouse and/or pass a God damn kidney stone.

Anyhoo, Miz Going's big Showbiz break came in the mid-1980s, then in her early twenties, on the long ago canceled soap story Another World. She went on to a number of tee-vee series (Dark Shadows, Going to Extremes) in the early 1990s before becoming a fairly busy bit part gal in a long list of television series (Spin City, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Close to Home) and made for boob-toob movies (Chasing a Dream, My Silent Partner). Miz Going has also been seen a couple of times on the silver screen (Tree of Life, Wyatt Earp).

Lantern-jawed and hairy chested Mister Walsh has also been catting around Tinseltown since the late 1980s and early 1990s when he appeared on a number television series like Kate & Allie and Gabriel's Fire with James Earl Jones. A long slog through the1990s and early Aughts brought in a lot of jobs in little-remembered movies and various television series but Mister Dylan's persistence (no doubt in tandem with his good looks and firm physique) finally paid off when he hit the big time in 2003 with a starring role as the existentially conflicted and often naked plastic surgeon Dr. Sean McNamara on the Emmy-winning series Nip/Tuck. In 2010, the same year Nip/Tuck was canceled, Mister Walsh starred on the big screen in Secretariat and he currently works his hard-bodied and often exposed stuff on the police procedural Unforgettable.

In November 2003, nearly a year before they sealed their love in the eyes of God and government in October 2004 and right about the time she gave birth to the their daughter, the now erstwhile couple coughed up $1,315,000 to purchase a flat-fronted, two-story Mediterranean style residence in a leafy 'hood smack between the Sunset Strip to the west and the touristy, stripper wear boo-teek-lined heart of Hollywood to the east.

Listing information shows the 2,480 square foot Mediterranean was originally built in 1923, extensively renovated by the current owners—that would be Miz Going and Mister Dylan—and contains a 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms plus a detached garage converted to a guest/nanny suite with bathroom.

The landscaping at the front of the house looks a little bit Grey Gardens in a mostly good way that Your Mama thinks playfully (if unintentionally) thumbs its figurative middle finger at the preponderance of obsessively-manicured yards in Los Angeles' more expensive zip codes. An unexpectedly spacious foyer, plenty big enough to house an antique-looking baby grand piano and large-scale faux-Rothko, has lustrous inky black wood floors softened with cement-colored walls and re-sharpened with gleaming high-contrast white trim work around the windows and doors. The front foyer, like the rest of the dwelling's lower level, lacks any sort of ceiling molding. Some of the children will undoubtedly see the lack of moldings as cheap, inexcusable, wretched (and retch-worthy) while others will see it as an acceptable architectural/decorative conceit that lends the vintage house a pared down contemporary aspect.

Although much of the "day-core" appears to have been stripped away in the not especially formal "formal" living room it retains a distinct (and decidedly ho-hum) Shabby Chic-ness with lots of white slip-covered furniture and a distressed star sculpture-thing hung above the wood-burning fireplace at the far end of the room. Get it, y'all? A star over the fireplace in the home of a couple of relatively low-wattage but bona fide stars? Pleeze. But whatever. Two sets of French doors open the long and narrow living room to a small deck that extends off the front of the house and was constructed thoughtfully around a pretty, thick-trunked and somewhat inconveniently located tree.

The chandelier-free dining room takes a delightful turn from the expected with a round (instead of rectangular) table for six or eight and opens directly into the somewhat compact but expensively equipped kitchen complete with top-grade stainless steel appliances, snow white Shaker style cabinets with glass-fronted uppers, polished concrete counter tops (or what appear to be polished concrete counter tops), and a sizable center work island with convenient veggie sink and single-stool snack counter.

Upstairs two family/guest bedrooms overlook the back yard and share a hall bathroom while the master suite, sparely but floridly dressed in white-washed and antique silver furniture and billowy white linens, faces the street. The over-sized frameless glass shower enclosure in the roomy attached bathroom injects a sleek modern edge to an otherwise vintage-inspired space with white subway tiles and free-standing soaking tub. The master bathroom, finished with some rather yummy looking jet black stone tile floors that would be even more delectable if equipped with radiant heat, also has double sinks and an exposed terlit set not particularly privately all but next to French doors that open to a Juliet-type balcony that overlooks the street. We're down with the bathroom's mixy-matchy vibe we just think it'd be a bummer to have to do the dirty bathroom bizness next to that window, especially at night when lights could cast embarrassing and incriminating shadows on the windows....

French doors in both the kitchen and the adjacent, teal-colored den/family room lead out to a dining deck shaded by a bougainvillea-draped trellis. The decks steps down to an oval-shaped salt water swimming pool sunk into a pale flagstone terrace surrounded by thickets of slightly unkempt-looking drought tolerant shrubbery. Heaven knows, no one loves an oval swimming pool more than Your Mama or über-agent Sue Mengers—may she rest in peace—but this one just seems a bit too big for the limited backyard area. Were this our pool to put in we might have opted for something slightly smaller (but still oval) and, natch, The Dr. Cooter would insist on the installation of a sunken spa, maybe one cut into the thin tip of the oval nearest the back fence.

Your Mama happens to like this part of Los Angeles—it has a walkability factor many neighborhoods in Lala Land lack—and the property seems, in our humble and entirely meaningless assessment, well priced right for the market given that the most recent transfer in the 'hood was just down the block in December 2011 when, according to property records, fashion designer Linda Loudermilk sold her 3 bedroom and 2.75 bathroom 1923 Tudor (with detached guest house) for $1,380,000. 

listing photos: Sotheyby's International Realty / Los Feliz

Monday, January 30, 2012

Divorced Duo Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson List Former Love Nest in Los Angeles

SELLERS: Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $3,650,000
SIZE: 2,835 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: In August 2010, just over two years after their hush-hush wagon hitching ceremony in some tiny town in British Columbia (Canada), comely movie stars Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds acquired The Wong House, a single story 1969 wood and glass contemporary located in the celebrity-stocked Los Feliz area of Los Angeles and designed by much-beloved California architects Buff & Hensmen.

This was, celebrity real estate watchers readers will recall, just a couple short months after Miz Johansson finally managed to unload her humongous house in the Hollywood Hills at a pocketbook punishing three million dollar loss; She had paid seven million for the 7 bedroom and 7 bathroom Mediterranean manse in the low-key but star-studded Outpost Estates 'hood in May 2007 and sold in June 2010 for just $4,000,000.

Anyhoo, a few very short months after Mister and then-Missus Reynolds purchased their love nest in the upscale hills above Hollywood their high-profile romance swirled down the Tinseltown Terlit of Love. Their divorce (reportedly) became final in June 2011 and now, more than half a year later finally time, the time has come to divide their community assets that include (and may or may not be limited to) their mid-century modern hideaway which where not sure they every actually occupied as a couple and has just popped up the (open) market with asking price of $3,650,000.

A couple of quick and unscientific calculations on our bejeweled abacus shows that's a whopping 30 percent more than they paid for the property less than 1.5 years ago. The price increase likely takes into account the eco-friendly restoration and upgrades added to the house in the last year that include the incorporation of solar power.

Listing information shows the newly gated and video secured post and beam abode sits on a .44 acre triangular shaped lot with sprawling views from downtown to the beach, measures 2,835 square feet and includes 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and an attached 2-car garage with convenient direct access.

Plans for a second story addition are available according to current listing information.

A long row of full-height windows extends almost the full width of the rear of the house from the "formal" living room at one end, past the updated and upgraded open kitchen, beyond the dining area to the den/family room. Listing information indicates the L-shaped residence also includes a library, indoor laundry room,  and a private master suite complete with secluded walled garden and outdoor shower.

The back of the house opens to a deck that extends out towards the salt water swimming pool and steps down to flat grassy yard that encircles the swimming pool and includes an elevated built-in fire pit with curvaceous built-in bench seating.

After Mister Reynolds listed his modest if not exactly inexpensive bachelor pad in the nearby Outpost Estates neighborhood in the summer of 2011 with a $1,599,000 price tag—he paid $1,715,000 for the 2 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom canyon and city view crib in October 2007—Your Mama thought maybe he planned to remain in residence at The Wong House. Alas, Mister Reynolds took his Outpost Estates digs off the market in early November (2011), a decision that may or may not have something to do with the recent listing of The Wong House.

As far as we know Miz Johansson continues to own an approximately 1,200 square foot New York City penthouse with stunning city view terrace that property records and previous reports reveal she snapped up in April 2008 for $2,100,000.

No word on the house in the rural Louisiana farm the couple allegedly purchased in the spring of 2010 and (allegedly) updated and upgraded with all the eco-friendly accoutrement a green-thinking celeb can conceive of and afford.

listing photo: Keller Williams Realty / Beverly Hills

Super Producer Brian Grazer Buys Big Digs

BUYER: Brian Grazer
LOCATION: Santa Monica, CA
PRICE: $12,500,000
SIZE: 10,285 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Not too long ago we heard from Our Fairy Godmother (O.F.G.I.S.M.) in Santa Monica who snitched with some shock and awe that Oscar-winning and spikey-haired super-producer Brian Grazer had, in early December 2011, dropped $12,500,000 on a sprawling, many-winged (and lobster-shaped) mansion in Santa Monica, CA.

It wasn't that O.F.G.I.S.M. found it at all odd or bedfuddling that Mister Grazer coughed up well over twelve million clams on a monstrous mansion that is, by Your Mama's unsolicited and somewhat snotty assessment, in desperate need a full-scale make-over. That is, let's be honest, par for the real estate course for Showbiz power players like Mister Grazer. What O.F.G.I.S.M. marveled about, rather, was that the Santa Monica estate, not quite a mile and a half from the beach, had been listed on the open market back in late 2007 with a magnificently higher price tag of $22,500,000. Eventually the price tag plummeted to $16,500,000 and in fall 2011 the property was made available as a partially furnished lease at a rate of $28,000 per month.

Did Mister Grazer snag a great real estate steal, if twelve and some million bucks for a single family house can ever really be considered a steal? Or was the original price tag for the meticulously maintained but wan-looking spread was laughably bullish? Or, looked at from a slightly different angle, did Mister Grazer pay too much given that the most recent sale of any property that backs up the the manicured expanse of the The Riviera Country Club was back in October 2010 when a stately but also tired and significantly smaller Elmer Grey-designed 1926 Tudor on 1.2 acres—much of its utterly soo-blime original woodwork intact but screaming for an overhaul—went for $7,700,000? Your Mama will let the children, from those with real estate expertise to those with an entirely uninformed opinion, hash out the consensus with their commentary.

The almost two acre estate, privately situated behind electronic gates and a dense thicket of mature trees on a sometimes busy but particularly purrdy boulevard, backs up to the ritzy and celeb-friendly Riviera Country Club and measures 10,285 square feet according to listing information kindly forwarded to Your Mama by O.F.G.I.S.M. The spacious, two-story streamlined traditional—an architecturally unsatisfying and decoratively démodé dwelling by Your Mama's humble and meaningless opinion—was built in 1990 and contains 7 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, 4 fireplaces, garage bays for five cars that encircle a parking-lot sized motor court, and a separate guesthouse.

The architectural and decorative tone(s) for the interior spaces are set straight away in the airy, origami-like foyer where chunky stone pillars anchor towering walls of glass, where honey-colored wood floors have a strangely directional inlay, and the heavy-duty staircase curls around a small pond with rock sculpture and climbs to a serpentine bridge that cuts confusingly through the voluminous space and connects the various wings on the upper level of the house.

Entertaining and living areas include, according to listing information, formal living and dining rooms, den, library/study, media room, and a temperature controlled wine and booze cellar with stone floor and walls lined almost floor to ceiling with individual bottle cubbies. Family quarters include a separate breakfast room and soaring double-height, five-sided center island kitchen with a bulbous, super-sized greenhouse window. The kitchen area connects over a compact, L-shaped snack counter to a long, narrow and voluminous family room area with wood floors and massive stone-faced chimney breast.

The fully-landscaped, notably private and tree-shaded back yard has a meandering, dark-bottom lagoon-like swimming pool bordered by behemoth boulders, a waterfall or two, tropical-looking plantings and a sunken swim-up bar with curvaceous counter top that mimics—blah blah blah—the serpentine bridge that winds through the various double-height spaces inside the house. A broad, sinuous lawn stretches back from the house and terraces towards the bluff's edge where a snaky stone terraces hangs over the unnaturally green golf course. Your Mama is not big on golf course fronting properties—we have zero interest in golf and even less interest in being seen by golfers as we sunbathe in our booze bloated birthday suit—but the geography here sits the house and back yard well above the golf course for maximal privacy and scenic views over the golf course towards the rugged Santa Monica mountains that rise ruggedly to the north and west.

Just before their summer 2007 divorce, Mister Grazer and his now ex-wife writer/reality show host Gigi Levangie Grazer (The Starter Wife, The Arrangement) listed their sprawling Cliff May-designed ranch-style mansion in Pacific Palisades with an asking price of $27,500,000. The superstar-style 9 bedroom and 14 bathroom compound finally and famously sold in March 2009 for $17,550,000 to fast reproducing Tinseltowners Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner.

Mister Grazer has owned a mock-Med ocean front mansion in Malibu with 5 bedrooms (plus an elevator, indoor swimming pool and beach front gym) in the exclusive, guard-gated Malibu Colony community that he bought in 2003 and first and unsuccessfully attempted to unload in the spring of 2007 when it carried a $16,000,000 price tag. At some point—we're not sure quite when—he took the property off the market but re-listed the three-story residence last year, in May 2011, with a higher—and rather nervy—asking price of $19,500,000. The nearly 7,000 square foot beach shack (above), according to Redfin, was taken off the open market just before Jesus' birthday and just a couple weeks after he closed on his new house in Santa Monica but still appears in all its ocean front luxury on the listing agent's website.

listing photos (Santa Monica): Sotheby's International Realty
listing photos (Malibu): Everett Fenton Gidley for Westside Estate Agency

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Actress, Style Maven and New Momma Selma Blair's Hollywood House Up For Grabs

SELLER: Selma Blair
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,780,000
SIZE: 2,918 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Anyone who knows any thing at all about real estate knows there are four main reasons a person—specifically a person of substantial financial means—sells a house and/or buys a new one: death, divorce, debt and diapers, otherwise known in the property bidness as The Four Ds.

Given that actress and celebrity style icon Selma Blair (Kath & Kim, Hellboy, Legally Blonde) had a baby last summer—an out of wedlock boy-child with her much-tatted and adventuresome fashion designer man-beau Jason Bleick—it's not much of a surprise then that this week she hoisted her house in a leafy section of Hollywood on the (open) market with an asking price of $1,780,000.

Property records show Miss Blair paid $1,315,000 for the fully modernized 1922 bungalow in November 2004, shortly after she hitched her marriage wagon to now ex-husband Ahmet Zappa, the actor/writer son of iconic artist/musician Frank Zappa.

Anyhoo, listing information for Miz Blair's fully-fenced and high-hedged house, tucked in to a leafy, upscale pocket of Hollywood where the foothills turn to the flats, shows there are 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms in 2,918 square feet of almost entirely white interior space with matte, milky white walls, lustrous milky white painted wood floors and scad of cabinets, entertainment units and bookshelves all painted—you got—milky white.

The west-facing, courtyard-like front garden—turned out more like a back yard, perhaps, than a conventional front yard—has a wee patch of grass dotted with a random assortment of concrete stepping stones that link the front walk gate to the deep and wide covered front porch perfect for whittling away shaded afternoons. An impossibly narrow gated driveway hidden by a towering hedge runs up along the opposite side of the property and in between there's a dining terrace and a small, elevated concrete spa (or fountain) with cantilevered wood bench.

From what Your Mama can surmise, Miz Blair's Hollywood digs lacks a proper front door opting instead for two sets of wood-framed glass doors that open from the front porch directly into the main L-shaped living space divided into a sparely furnished foyer/lounge area with fireplace (and Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Couch) and a homier family room/den with a full wall of built-in cabinets with flat-screen tee-vee.

A separate office/library has built-in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with actual books, some sort of antler chandelier, and lots of windows that include wood-framed glass doors that make classic California indoor-outdoor living easy with direct access to the covered front porch and front yard.

Frosted glass panels divide the foyer/lounge area from the dining room where a built-in buffet offers both closed storage and open shelves for art, objet and book display, and a wide wall of wood-framed glass doors open to the backyard. The adjacent sky lit (and all-white) kitchen has snow white cabinets and counter tops, a huge center island with veggie sink, under-counter wine fridge and snack bar, cute little cookbook cubby, a pantry/storage wall with integrated flat-screen tee-vee, and a full complement of commercial style stainless steel appliances.

The master suite, privately situated at the extreme rear of the residence, has a second fireplace, chunky built-in cabinet at the foot of the bed from which a flat screen tee-vee rises at the touch of a button, a small but cozy sitting area with built-in window seat and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves—filled, again, with actual books—and a pair wood-framed glass doors that open to the backyard. A crisp all-white bathroom is anchored by a black floor and kitted out like a five-star hotel with high double sinks, separate make-up vanity, soaking tub and separate stall shower.

Rooms at the back of the house connect to a graphically-minded backyard where a tree-shaded concrete dining and lounging terrace steps down to the grass and gravel lower level where a cushioned, built-in concrete sofa bench makes a sharp right angle around a built-in concrete fire pit.

As for Baby Daddy Bleick, property record show at just about the exact same time in April 2006 he sold a ho-hum house in his hometown of Huntington Beach (CA) for $750,000 he dropped a $1,275,000 wad on an 1,873 square foot, city view mid-century modern residence on quiet cul-de-sac in the star-studded Oaks neighborhood where high profile residents/property owners include Brad Pitt, Christina Ricci, Justin Long, Kevin Spacey, and Mitch Glazer and Kelly Lynch who own a spectacular John Lautner-designed house

In a 2009 interview in Coast magazine Mister Bleick revealed he had leased his house and was then living in a teepee somewhere—we're not sure exactly where—five minutes from the beach.  However, we suspect now that's he's got a youngin in diapers and a stylish celebrity baby momma—and, no doubt, a thousand dollar Bugaboo—he's given up teepee living for the time being.

No word on where Miz Blair and Mister Bleick plan to decamp but iffin we were the betting type, and we're not, we'd wager they'll stick to the artsy-fartsier east side areas of Los Angeles but eventually settle into a larger, more kid-friendly residence with a big(ger) backyard.

listing photos: The Agency

Friday, January 27, 2012

Denise Rich Lists Epic Fifth Avenue Penthouse

SELLER: Denise Rich
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $65,000,000
SIZE: 12,000 square feet (approx.), 7 bedrooms, 9 full and 2 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Perhaps emboldened by the recent record breaking (and bone chilling) $88,000,000 sale of Sandy Weill's Mica Ertugun-decorated penthouse at 15 Central Park West to a twenty-something year old heiress to a Russian fertilizer fortune, or maybe, as stated in the New York Post this morning, with a desire to downsize, songwriter/socialite/philanthropist and big-shit political fundraiser Denise Rich has hoisted her legendary, super-sized Fifth Avenue penthouse on the market with a $65,000,000 asking price.

The price makes it the most expensive co-operative apartment currently on the open market in New York City, edging out the monumentally scaled (if somewhat awkwardly configured) duplex at 740 Park Avenue that Time Warner widow and philanthropist Courtney Sale Ross officially put on the block late last year with a sixty million dollar price tag.

Miz Rich, for those who don't know, was married for thirty years to disgraced (but still filthy rich) financier Marc Rich who famously fled to Switzerland in the mid-1980s after then U.S. Federal Prosecutor—and eventual mayor of New York and pie-in-the-sky presidential candidate—Rudy Guiliani filed charges against him for tax evasion and illegal oil trading with Iran or some such other nefarious money-minting nonsense. Mister Rich, the more politically conscious children may recall, was very controversially pardoned by Bill Clinton in the dying hours of his presidency in 2001.

Miz Rich remained wedded to Mister Rich until 1996, long after he became a fugitive living a relatively quiet, heavily-secured and extremely deluxe life in some of Switzerland's swankier locales. Although divorced five years earlier, Miz Rich is rumored to have been an overnight guest at the White House the night before her ex-husband was pardoned in 2001 and she not surprisingly invoked the 5th Amendment when she was later questioned at a congressional hearing convened to determine if her ex-husband's pardon might have been brought about as a result of her considerable contributions to the Democratic Party in general and the Clinton Library in particular.

Despite her billionaire ex-husband's vast wealth—and her rumored $1-200,000,000 divorce settlement—Miz Rich earns plenty of her own moolah penning pop songs for radio-friendly stars like Natalie Cole, Celine Dion, Jessica Simpson, Marc Anthony, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige. She has thrice been nominated for a Grammy but, sadly for her, always a bridesmaid at the Grammys but never a bride....

Anyhoo, Your Mama isn't sure exactly when Miz Rich purchased her suburban mcmansion-sized penthouse atop the the all but architecturally featureless post-war Park V building. That's pronounced in the French, natch, as Park Sahnk. The limestone-based building sits heavy on the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 60th Street across from Central Park and shares a fah-fah-froo-froo block with the much more swellegant, architecturally articulated, uni-towered (and plainly phallic) Sherry Netherland Hotel. The building offers residents white glove services (all the door men, concierges, and etc. a songwriting chatelaine could require) as well as a access to a private garage and an in-building fitness room. Of course, Miz Rich has no need to embarrass herself in front of her neighbors with visible sweat stains since she's got a small gym of her own located on the lower level of her penthouse with panoramic Central Park and city views, a steam shower, sauna, and bidet-equipped bathroom.

Floor plans included with current listing information (above) show not just one but two elevators open directly into the penthouse. The two entry areas converge in a vast, sky-lit 1,200-plus square foot so-called "grand salon" outfitted with lattice patterned striated marble floors, and over-sized sliding windows that allow access to a narrow wrap-around terrace. We find the plethora of champagne and beige furnishings and dated-looking day-core utterly lackluster (although, we imagine, heinously expensive) but there's some very serious blue chip artwork hanging on the walls that along with the juicy park and city views sort of makes everything else irrelevant.

The comparatively puny formal dining room seats 22—as per listing information—and opens to a slim planted terrace with head on Central Park views. The main service areas of the penthouse, as expected pushed back behind the dining room, encompass an industrially-minded stainless steel and granite kitchen, separate walk-in pantry, spacious laundry room with two washers and two dryers, and 1 full and 1 half bathroom. Just off the kitchen a tucked away staircase winds down to the penthouse's lower level staff and service wing that includes an office, second eat-in kitchen and, squirreled away behind the service elevator, a prison cell-sized staff bedroom and compact, windowless bathroom

Back upstairs on the other side of the penthouse, a library lined with lustrous, custom-milled Fiddleback mahogany offers Miz Rich cozier quarters with a wood-burning fireplace, slim private terrace, hooch-hound lovers wet bar, and a slew of built-in shelves villed with dozens of framed photographs.

The colossal master suite consumes the entire southwest end of the gigantic penthouse's upper floor and includes a living room-sized sitting room, big bedroom with gas fireplace and private terrace, a couple of walk-in closets, a pair of fitted dressing rooms, and two bathrooms, the larger with private cubicle for the terlit and bidey, more counter space than most Manhattan kitchens, and a separate jetted tub and over-sized, double-headed, glass enclosed shower stall.

A 30-foot long media room and adjoining billiards/dining room at the extreme rear of the lower level both have easy access to a small(ish) third kitchen and three family/guest bedroom suites, each with ample closet space, private bathroom and access to a planted terrace, line up along the north side of the apartment. Besides the family quarters and service areas, the lower level of the penthouse also includes the aforementioned park view gym, a room marked "bedroom" on the floor plan but more likely—we imagine—to be used for massages and yoga, and a separate (elevator) entrance that connects to Miz Rich's own million dollar (and we hope fully sound-proofed) recording studio.

The third level roof terrace measures, by our rudimentary count, nearly 4,000 square feet and is only accessible, apparently, by traipsing through the apartment's service area and climbing one of the building's two interior service stairs. While access to the roof terrace lacks a je ne se qua one might logically expect in a $65,000,000 penthouse, it does offers the exact sort of city and park views of which many New York City real estate dreams are made.

Miz Rich is a well-known party thrower, both for fun and to support her various philanthropic involvements. She's an impressively Rolodexed, globe-trotting gal with her bejeweled finger in lots of social pots who can pull in a lot of high profile power players from the media, entertainment, social and political worlds. It is at one of Miz Rich's dinner parties where conversation companions might include the likes of Patti Labelle, the Dalai Lama, Donna Karan, Nancy Pelosi and Guy Laliberté.**

**Use yer noggins nuggets, we have no idea if any of those people have ever, actually set a foot in Miz Rich's penthouse. We're just illustrating the genre and tenor of the guests one could easily expect to find wolfing down canapé, sucking down white wine and marveling vapidly about the view during one of Miz Rich's notoriously lavish dinner parties or fundraisers.

So the story goes, one winter Miz Rich hosted a party at her penthouse for which she—no doubt at great expense—transformed her roof terrace into an outdoor ice skating rink. While guests nattered on about the weather and the G8 Summit—or whatever fancy people talk about at winter-time parties held in 12,000 square foot Fifth Avenue penthouses, professional ice skaters dressed in little more than gold body paint swooped and salchowed across the ice. We're not sure whether to be amused, flabbergasted or depressed by such an (alleged) occurrence.

A 2001 article in Vanity Fair, which succinctly and accurately described Miz Rich's penthouse as a "mammoth two-story creamy-beige marbled apartment," revealed the jet setter rolls with small army of staff that at that time included, "six maids, two butlers, a cook, and a secretary, as well as two drivers, two masseuses, a hairdresser, a trainer, a yoga instructor, and a personal photographer on call." She also, at that time, maintained staffs at her luxury homes in both Southampton (NY) and Aspen (CO). A later report from 2007 in the New York Observer stated Miz Rich "reportedly has a staff of 20 (personal healer and yoga guru included)," that includes "something named a 'wardrobe calibrator,'" whatever the holy crap that is.

In July 2007 one of Missus Rich's daughters, stand up comic Daniella and her money manager man-mate Richard Kilstock, dropped $3,900,000 for a lower floor crib with a mirrored entrance hall, formal living and dining rooms, 2 bedrooms, 3.5 marble bathrooms, and a staff room/office with Murphy bed.

The Park V is the same building, New York City real estate watchers will recall, where Los Angeles-based billionaire businessman David Geffen dropped $14,170,000 in early 2010 on a full floor, two unit combination spread he purchased from entertainment industry executive Robert A. Daly and his extraordinarily accomplished Oscar- and Grammy-winning singer/songwriter wife Carole Bayer Sager. Your Mama hears from someone in the position to know that Mister Geffen's newly remodeled spread—all worked over by Rose Tarlow, we're told—includes a major park view master bedroom where an entire panel of glass in the bathroom can, at the flip of a switch, go from fully opaque to completely clear so that Mister Geffen (and his shower sharing friends) can have a view of the park through the bedroom windows.

We're a bit muddled on the exact holdings currently in Miz Rich's real estate property portfolio. She once owned (and may still own) a ski house in Aspen—but, of course, dahling—and property records show in the late 1990s she paid $3,200,000 for a near 3-acre estate a block from the beach on the expensive shore of Coopers Neck Pond in Southampton (NY) with a 7 bedroom and 9 bathroom main mansion. At some point, we're not sure exactly when, records show Miz Rich sold her Hamptons house for an undisclosed price to New York City-based investor and property developer Steve Witkoff. We'd be somewhat shocked if Miz Rich doesn't own another high-maintenance mansion in the Hamptons where she spends but a few summer weekends each year but our not particularly thorough or unscientific crawl through the internets didn't turn up any direct evidence of such a thing.

Since 2007 Miz Rich has owned a 150-plus foot long yacht she dubbed Lady Joy (above). She says she bought the boat after decades and millions spent on yacht charters with male captains who sometimes balked and/or copped a 'tude when she—as ought to have been her privilege as the lessee—requested the boat be moved here or there. The four-deck Lady Joy—equipped with an elevator and helmed by a female captain, dontcha know—has a crew of 11, accommodates 12 guests in 6-en suite staterooms, and includes an armada of water toys plus two Vespa scooters for land explorations, Big spenders can, should they be inclined, charter Lady Joy for about a quarter million clams a week, not counting fuel costs or dockage fees.

Miz Rich told the New York Post she planned to downsize into a smaller apartment—one that will no doubt be three or four times the size of the average American home—and split her time between New York City and Europe where her both of her surviving three daughters—and ex-husband—live.

listing photos and floor plans: Corcoran
boat photo: Charter World

Thursday, January 26, 2012

N.Y. State of Mind Two: Thierry Mugler

SELLER: Thierry Mugler
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $7,995,000
SIZE: 4,100 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: In 2003, amid crushing financial losses and with much boo-hooing by the stiletto-clad fashion elite, gleefully unconventional French couturier Thierry Mugler closed his eponymous label and all but disappeared from the public eye. More accurately, the Clarins company, who owned the brand since 1994, shuttered the operation. Anyhoo, the French phoenix not only emerged four or five years later with a long list of new fashion world ventures but utterly and disarmingly transformed into 240 titanic pounds of pierced, tatted, plastic surgified and muscle bound (senior citizen) beefcake.

Despite the loss of control of his professional baby and his essential evaporation from the dernier cri fashion scene, Paris-based Monsieur Mugler had the inclination and dough-re-mi to acquire and maintain a penthouse pied-a-terre in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood that property records reveal he bought in July 2004 for $4,500,000. Monsieur Mugler recently if not very quietly listed his luxurious and sparely dressed Big Apple crash pad with an haute asking price of $7,995,000.

An April 2010 article in The Old Grey Lady revealed the vexatiously vainglorious Monsieur Mugler only makes use of the spacious, high maintenance New York City duplex penthouse about two months of the year. That's a colossally costly two months when one considers whatever mortgage payments Monsieur may (or may not) be responsible for and the $7,555 per month—$90,660 annual—in property taxes and common charges not to mention the must-be-considerable expense of maintaining the fully decked and landscaped roof terrace partially shaded, the children will note, by an impressively mature pine tree.

Listing information shows the duplex penthouse, "perched atop a prime Chelsea prewar building," was originally designed as two separate (but now fully integrated) apartments that together span around 4,100 square feet with two bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and open city views to the south and west.

An intimate vestibule—with well-placed if windowless powder pooper—acts as a welcomed buffer between the front door that opens into the building's public hall and the lofty apartment's entrance gallery done up in de rigueur impress-the-guests glam with a gold-leafed ceiling and a couple of rather forbidding sculptures of humpback javelinas, hoofed hyenas or some other phantasmagorical creature Your Mama decidedly does not much fancy coming across in the woozy dark of a boozy late night.

The 500-plus square foot corner living/dining room, minimally done up in grey, black, red and white, has espresso stained hardwood floors underfoot that anchor the ethereal space. Two long walls of over-sized windows do not appear to have any window treatments whatsoever and wide expanses of crisp white walls work well for artwork display and/or movie projection. Vintage red glass decanters and a floating staircase, fashioned Donald Judd-like with a rhythmic (if precarious looking) procession of cantilevered treads, breaks up the otherwise linear room with a few feminine forms and one electrifying diagonal. That's right, puppies, love it or hate it, we're talking contemporary architecture that mimics modern art.

The pearwood and limestone galley kitchen isn't very big by suburban mcmansion standards, but it's absolutely well equipped with fully integrated Euro-style appliances, is plenty sizable enough to cook a proper meal and un-pack the moo goo gai pan, and bends unapologetically towards the architecturally (melo)dramatic with a soaring ceiling topped by a gigantic shed-roof sky light. The sky light pokes up through the planted roof terrace which may have allowed Monsieur Mugler to peer down from the roof terrace and make sure his willow wisp thin house boy (or whomever) salted his lunchtime greens (or whatever) in just the right manner.

Cozier quarters can be found in the moody and manly mahogany-paneled library with wood-burning fireplace, glass-enclosed display and book shelves, and humongous windows fitted with a intricately geometric grid of black shutters. Mister Mugler—and/or his nice-gay or lady decorator—balanced the electrifying coral red sofa with a pair of earthy milk chocolate leather arm chairs, gleaming waterfall glass coffee tables, and a few cow skins tossed out on the rich wood floors.

Each of the two, 28-foot long master bedrooms has substantial closet space and plenty of room to maneuver. One bedroom offers a custom-fitted dressing room (with window) and a hotel-type bathroom with glass-enclosed, party-sized shower while the other claims an uncomfortably compact crapper, a 17-plus foot long separate office space with three windows on two walls and—conveniently—a separate entrance to the building's public hall, a set up perfect for secreting late night trysts in and out without having to reveal the true magnitude of the penthouse and, hence, the real depth of one's bank accounts.

The vulnerable-looking but no doubt powerfully engineered cantilevered stairs, which Your Mama could and would never attempt to negotiate without a nerve pill and at least two good sized gin & tonics, ascends with high impact minimalist style into a glass-roofed and glass-walled green house and adjoining conservatory/sitting room space that spills out through multiple steel-framed glass doors to an 800 square foot fully planted terrace made totally private with high hedges and tall fences.

The bi-level terrace features a trellised dining area, built-in barbecue area and, it may surprise some to learn, a hot tub. A properly private hot tub on the roof in the middle of Manhattan does offer intriguing and lascivious possibilities, to be sure, but what neither the terrace nor the greenhouse/conservatory do have, alas, is a facility. That means Your Mama, Monsieur Mugler and any one else up on the roof with an bulging bladder will have to make a Sophie's Choice, to navigate the theatrical staircase down to the penthouse's privately situated powder room off the entry vestibule or to more simply but far less privately scootch behind the pine tree for a quick whiz.

It should surprise no one that Your Mama doesn't run in the same gym-toned high fashion circles as Monsieur Mugler so we haven't any idea why he's opted to sell his Chelsea penthouse aerie. It could be the significant potential profit or maybe he's just decided it's much simpler (and so much less headache) to dump the high maintenance penthouse and book himself into a swank suite of rooms at any of the many high-priced boo-teek hotels that have popped up at an alarming rate all over downtown New York in the last 5 or 10 years.

listing photos and floor plan: Sotheby's International Realty

N.Y. State of Mind One: Naomi Watts and Liev Schriber Buy

BUYER: Naomi Watts and Liev Schrieber
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $3,950,000
SIZE: 4,315 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: After several years kicking the real estate tires of a scads of six-and-a-half and fifteen million dollar downtown townhouses, much in demand Oscar-nominated actress Naomi Watts (21 Grams, J. Edgar, King Kong, I ♥ Huckabees) and always working movie actor/Tony Award winning thespian Liev Schreiber (Glengarry Glen Ross) are reported to have finally, at long last settled on a multi-million dollar parking lot-sized loft on a cobble stoned street in the celeb-friendly and trés trendy TriBeCa neighborhood.

The two-unit, semi-combined spread sprawls across an entire, low floor of a relatively unadorned 8-story, solid steel and concrete building put up in the 1920s. The pair of co-operative cribs were last listed at $4,500,000 but online documentation reveals the no-board-approval-necessary units were previously listed in late 2009 and early 2010 at just $4,000,000. The New York-based Hollywood hot shots are said to have paid $3,950,000 for the essentially raw units that together measure 4,315 square feet and feature key-lock elevator access, airy 14 foot ceilings, old school (and down market) painted linoleum tile floors, 13 windows of varying sizes on three walls, and "only 6 structural columns for optimal flexibility."

The current configuration (as seen on the floor plan included with listing information, above) shows the two units combined include three small but proper bedrooms—one marked as an office, all with windows, and none with built-in closet space, two basic (and/but window-free) bathrooms, and two kitchens tucked deep in to the (possibly darkish) rear of the loft(s). Each of the two units currently have vast, prairie-like living/dining/working spaces and one of them claims limited but protected Hudson River views from the southwestern corner or the building.

From the looks of things, the Watts-Schreibers will need a smart architect and nice-gay or lady decorator to smoothy combine the two adjoining but fully independent condos into one cohesive living space suitable for a high-profile but low key family of four. Or not.

These long time lovers and happily unmarried procreators both come from wildly eccentric and not entirely stable mothers who hauled them around to various hippy-dippy ashrams and cultish compounds so it's not such a stretch for Your Mama to imagine they might seek a more Old School sort of living situation in a massive downtown loft that retains more than just a whiff of the neighborhood's roots as a warehouse district where artists and other space seekers leased leviathan lofts for pennies on the dollar because, once upon a time, nobody even vaguely Uptown or Wall Streety wanted to live in TriBeCa. Today, of course, the neighborhood is beyond upscale, known for is well-regarded public school, upscale shopping and dining options, baby buggy choked sidewalks, and spacious "loft" residences affordable, generally speaking, only to financially fortunate folks like Wall Streeters and Uptown types.

So, despite the four million clam cost of their new TriBeCa crib(s), maybe Miz Watts and Mister Schreiber will go boho and simply add a few walls for bedrooms in one of the units and use the other for work and Showbiz things like, say, a state-of-the-art hair and make-up station and a willy nilly mess of rollings racks draped in Thom Browne suits and bedazzled red carpet gowns. Or not.

Anyhoo, we're not entirely sure where the comely couple and their two kids currently reside in New York City although we used to see them on a regular basis in the Cooper Square area in the East Village. What we do know is the artsy-fartsy and deep-pocketed couple maintain at least two additional residences, one in Los Angeles and the other in the Hamptons.

In October 2010 Miz Watts and Mister Schreiber very briefly listed their house of unwed bliss in the leafy Brentwood area of Los Angeles with an asking price of $5,995,000. The vine-covered house, long owned and sold to Miz Watts in June 2004 by sublime Tinseltown royal Sally Field, was purchased by the British-born actress just after she and now deceased actor Heath Ledger split up and at least a year before she hooked up with her handsome and articulate Baby Daddy.

In September 2007 the couple did what so many wealthy New Yorkers do, they snatched up a swanky house in the Hamptons that's a five (or so) minute stroll from the beach and and even shorter amble in to miniscule downtown Amagansett (NY). Property records reveal the high-hedged and shingled house, on nearly three-quarters of an acre with a swimming pool and separate guest cottage/pool house, cost the comely couple $4,300,000.

listing photos and floor plan: Corcoran

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jorge Posada Retires and Shakes Up Real Estate Portfolio

SELLER: Jorge Posada
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $11,500,000
SIZE: 5,400 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Much to our own chagrin, Your Mama woke up much later than usual this morning, hung over like a wet blanket from all the gin, candy and late night Australian Open watching. When we finally managed to pour ourselves a cup of coffee and check out the incoming emails and news feeds we quickly found all the international property gossips squawking like wild hogs about how lauded and applauded New York Yankee Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez has done sold a New York City condo he snatched up in March (2011) for $5,500,000 then brazenly flipped back on the market a few months later with an audacious but apparently not unrealistic eight million dollar price tag. No word on the agreed upon sale price but it was sufficiently high enough for Mister A-Rod  to "lock in a significant profit" New York City real estate sources "familiar with the sale" told The Wall Street Journal.

Fascinating as Mister A-Rod's professional accomplishments, eternal parade of usually blond, typically hard-bodied and often high-profile gal pals, and fickle-seeming real estate doings may be, he ain't the only Yankee with an itch to unload a high-priced and art-filled New York City condo crib. Rather than talk trash about Mister A-Rod's almost entirely white, Warhol print filled full-floor bachelor pad on the 35 floor of the Rushmore, a towering Upper West Side condo complex that looms over the Westside Highway with sweeping Hudson River views, we've opted instead to head over to the Upper East Side where Mister A-Rod's long-time teammate Jorge Posada and his va-va-voom wife Laura have had their full floor condominium residence listed since early December 2011with a major league asking price of $11,500,000.

It was only yesterday, we learned on the interweb just this afternoon, that Mister Posada officially announced his retirement from professional baseball, a turn of events that may or may not have something to do with him and the missus listing their deluxe and decidedly contemporary Manhattan homestead.

Believe it or not puppies, Your Mama had never even heard of Mister Posada before this morning so we did what we always do when it comes time to discuss a professional athlete: We picked up our bedraggled Princess phone and warily dialed our moody, boozy, sleep deprived and ball-obsessed b.f.f. Fiona Trambeau who when asked what she knew of Mister Posada moaned feverishly with an obvious lust in her loins and described the six-foot-two slugger in her typically lewd manner as a "Hot, uncut Cuban by way of Puerto Rico with big ears!"When we warily queried how she knew such inappropriately personal things, Fiona haughtily replied, "I just know. I can see it in his eyes." Ugh. Anyoo, Miss Trambeau eventually went on elucidate that during his 17 year career catching and batting for the Yankees Mister Posada was a god damn superstar, a five-time All-Star player who possesses a handful of chunky, diamond-encrusted World Series championship rings.

Property records suggest Mister and Missus Posada purchased and subsequently combined two adjacent mid-floor condo residences in to one mansion-sized sprawler at The Seville, a 31-story, full-service white glove condo tower that lords over a busy but fairly ordinary corner of East 77th Street and 2nd Avenue. The glassy tower offers residents round-the-clock door people, direct access to a private garage, and a state of the art fitness center complete with the requisite body torture devices, an outdoor terrace, swimming pool, spa, and sauna. We're not entirely sure when they snatched up the first piece of their hoity-toity New York City real estate puzzle but we do find clear evidence Mister and Missus Posada paid $3,600,000—or $3,500,000 depending on where one peeps—for the nearly 2,300 square foot condo next door in August 2007.

Listing information and marketing materials for the Posada's now- and rather smartly-combined 10-plus room urban oasis show it spans approximately 5,600 square feet of interior space—and 0 square feet of exterior space, offers four highly desirable exposures—those would be north, south, east and west, of course—and is currently configured with 4 bedrooms and 5 full and 2 half bathrooms.

A pre-war sized foyer serves as the gateway to the amply proportioned living and dining rooms hat anchor the outside central corner of the residence. The dining room seats 10 or more at a very glossy wood table and the rather casual "formal" living room, sheathed in a shimmering silver wall covering, has a built in entertainment center along the back wall that contains a giant flat screen tee-vee surrounded by open shelves with various multi-colored objet on display. The cluster of ancient looking statuettes on the side table next to that kooky but comfortable-looking leather Euro-recliner would have to go since we'd probably make a panicked call to the security people and/or wake up our violent tendencied (and occasionally armed) housekeeper Svetlana every time we passed by that room in the hoochy haze of a dark early morning and imagined we saw an intruder out of the corner of our eye.

The apartment makes an unusually long and powerful 80-plus sweep from the dining room in the northwestern corner of the condo clear past the suburbs-scaled kitchen, beyond the breakfast area—used by Mister and Missus Posada as a sitting room—and clear through the home office/den area tucked cozily in to the condo's sunny southwest corner. Whatever one may think of this apartment and it's lackluster location too far east to be really posh, that 80-foot long stretch is a rare and jaw-dropping thing to behold in a city where a $4,000-a-month two-bedroom apartment with 900 square feet is considered spacious.

A sybaritic, Poggenpohl kitchen has, as per listing information, a Chevy-sized center work island with long snack counter, miles of teak cabinetry, several over-sized windows with city views, and a boat load of high-grade and high-cost appliances that include twin Sub-Zero fridge-freezers. A service hall with laundry room and two separate powder poopers runs behind the kitchen and connects the front foyer to the service entrance and breakfast room that includes a wet bar (with full-height wine fridge) and opens into a convertible bedroom space used by Mister and Missus Posada as a casual home office/den built out with full wall of custom-designed open and closed shelving perfect for bong stashing and displaying knickknacks, photographs and various other paddy whacks.

Three family/guest bedrooms, each with generous closet space, huge windows and an attached private bathroom, along with a half dozen additional closets make up the eastern flank of the multi-winged apartment and the celebrity-style and clothes horse-accommodating master bedroom stretches back to form the west wing behind the family quarters and encompasses a private entry vestibule with closet and over-sized bedroom with additional closet space plus a built-in entertainment center with wall-mounted flat screen boob-toob. There are custom-fitted his and her dressing rooms—his dark and manly with frost glass fronted wardrobes and hers gleaming white lacquer with a glammy crystal chandelier—as well as his and her bathrooms, hers all in white with decked out hair and make-up center and his outfitted with a steam shower, wall-mounted tee-vee and walls sheathed in over-scaled chocolate brown crocodile that is more likely embossed leather than actual crocodile hide. Either way it's a hidebound pooper that could easily give an animal activist involuntary and uncontrollable fits of hysteria and peristaltic paroxysms.

With Mister Posada now retired, the Florida-based pair, who have three children, including one who grapples with craniosynotosis, no longer have a professional need to be in New York City for long periods of time. Of course we don't know a Snookie from a snooker table but we can imagine Mister and Missus Posasda no longer feel the need to pay for and maintain a substantial apartment in the Big Apple that listing information shows carries common charges and taxes that total $10,545 per month. Your Mama's bejeweled abacus calculates that comes to a pocketbook draining $126,540 per year not counting the costly repairs that always creep up, unnecessary but much desired improvements and, if there is one to maintain, mortgage payments, not to mention the thousands spent each year on tipping the building staff during the holidays.

That may be entirely financially manageable for man like Mister Posada who in his last years as a Yankee earned well upwards of $13,000,000 a year (as well as some wordy jeers from articulate places) but as a retiree whose income will likely drop precipitiously—but no doubt remain substantial compared Average Joe and Middle Class Mindy—the downsizing of his real estate load is a prudent and savvy maneuver.

Like many Yankees, Mister and Missus Posada have long maintained a mansion in Florida, in Tampa where the Yankees do their pre-season spring training. Your Mama and The Dr. Cooter both have been to Flah-rih-duh gajillions of times but have never set a toe in Tampa. In fact the only factoids we know about Tampa is that it embraces the Gulf of Mexico with a giant and busy harbor, that actress Butterfly McQueen was born there, and it has long been the home base of the Home Shopping Network.

Records indicate the couple acquired two acres in the upscale guard-gated enclave that winds through and around the Avila Golf and Country Club in Tampa, FL over the summer of 2001. It's not clear if Mister and Missus Posada custom-built their huge house in Tampa but the Hillsborough County Tax Man shows the existing residence wasn't built until 2003.

Mister and Missus Posada put their electronically gated Tampa estate on the market in early 2010 with an asking price of $7,250,000. Listing information we managed to cajole up out of the interweb shows the 2-story mock-Med mansion (shown above) measures 9,788 square feet and includes a total of 6 bedrooms, and 6 full and 2 half bathrooms.

The interior spaces include one of those ubiquitous impress-the-guests type foyers so often found in suburban mcmansions all across America, all the usual high ceiling formal entertaining spaces one expects in a near 10,000 square foot house plus vast informal family quarters that include a "state-of-the-art gourmet kitchen." The sprawling house also includes, as per listing information, a library, home theater, paneled game room with custom bar and wine cellar, a separate playroom for the kiddies and, natch, a fitness room attached to the expansive master suite.

The estate looks over the golf course—an maniacally manicured vista that does nothing for Your Mama but is quite desirable for many—and include a gated motor court, garage space for five cars, and a resort-style swimming pool and spa complex with deep sunbathing and dining terraces, a lagoon-style pool with shallow shelf entry, a pair of water slides and a Playboy-like grotto with with water fall and secluded spa designed, we imagine, with—ahem—privacy in mind.

The price for Mister and Missus Posada's Tampa digs eventually plummeted to $5,950,000 and property records show they finally unloaded their white elephant in early November (2011), after more than 600 days on the market, with a drastically lower sale price of $4,500,000.

Long before the Posadas sold their Tampa mansion property records reveal they'd already shelled out $6,250,000 to buy a significantly larger waterfront mansion on a much smaller .51 acre lot almost 300 miles away behind the guarded gates of the Old Cutler Bay community in the Miami bedroom community of Coral Gables. The recently completed mock-Med pile was once listed as high as $10,450,000 and measures, according to information we found on the interweb, more than 13,000 square feet with 8 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms and includes a water side negative edge swimming pool and private 70-foot dock for parking the family watercraft.

exterior photo (New York City): Property Shark
interior listing photos (New York City):  The Modlin Group
listing photos (Tampa): Smith & Associates Real Estate via Trulia and Dream Realty

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jennifer Aniston Buys Big Digs in Bel Air

BUYER: Jennifer Aniston
LOCATION: Los Angeles (Bel Air), CA
PRICE: $20,970,000
SIZE: 8,500 square feet (approx.), 4 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: It seems sit com queen and rom com royal Jennifer Aniston is moving on up to a twenty-some million dollar mid-century modern in the hoity toity Los Angeles, CA community of Bel Air. Before we address the newest real estate rumors swirling around Miz Aniston's latest (and alleged) acquisition let's quickly recap some of the notoriously real estate fickle celeb's most recent real estate activities.

In 2006 Miz Aniston dropped $13,500,000 for a Hal Leavitt-designed mansion in Beverly Hills then spent five years and many more millions on an extensive overhaul spearheaded by talented star-friendly architect and designer Stephen Shadley. Just as soon as the paint was dry Miz Aniston had a real estate change of heart and flipped the house on the market in early 2011with an oh-no-she-di'int asking price of $42,000,000.

Earlier in the year she'd told the people at People that she'd been on the hunt for a little place in New York so she could spend more time on the east coast. She also explained to the People peeps that she'd woke up in a London hotel room one night in the not so distant past and just at that moment came to the realization her life "felt really cluttered" and decided she needed to "simplify" her life, a process that included selling her big house in Beverly Hills which was "just too much" for the then single actress.

Of course, celebrities sometimes have a funny way of simplifying their lives. 

The Bev Hills house quickly sold the house to an Orange County-based mutual fund magnate in June (2011) for $35,000,000 but not before Miz Aniston had already dropped more than seven million clams on two apartments in a low key but swankety-swank pre-war building in the West Village, one a puny 1-bedroom penthouse wrapped in planted terraces she bought from hairstyling honcho Sally Hershberger and the other a 1-bedroom apartment directly below. If the work has not already been done (or begun) the two adjacent but unconnected apartments will require extensive work to cohesively combine. That doesn't really sound very simple but then again who are we to know from simple?

Anyoo, it looked then like the long-time L.A. resident did indeed plan to high tail it back to New York City where she grew up and lived until she landed her defining (and exceedingly lucrative) role on Friends. But, not so fast said the little green man in the purple pants. It wasn't long after Miz Aniston sold her house in Beverly Hills that she and her new New York-based man-beau Justin Theroux—who left his live-in gal pal of 14 years to get with Miz Aniston—settled into unmarried (and leased) bliss in a high-priced love nest in the Bird Street neighborhood high above Los Angeles' Sunset Strip and it wasn't long after that bit of bizness hit the property gossip blogs Your Mama began to get wind of  Miz Aniston house hunting in the Platinum Triangle, interested primarily we were told in architecturally significant homes with lots of privacy and seven figure asking prices.

Next up came all the hoo-ha and hullabaloo about Miz Aniston ditching her plans to combine her newly acquired West Village apartments in favor of a much more contemporary condo crib listed at $8,700,000 and located in same high-brow boo-teek building in Gramercy Park where Chanel's exceptionally prolific German-born fashion goddess Karl Lagerfeld owns a pied a terre he's had on and off the market in the last year. Miz Aniston quickly shot down the rumor, admitting she did tour the place but had not made an effort to purchase.

Back on the west coast the rumors of Miz Aniston's desire for a permanent residence began to heat up and about two weeks ago we heard from Hermione Hightower, a trusted informant who sometimes has very accurate intel on Miz Aniston's real estate doings, who passed along the scuttlebutt that Miz Aniston was in the process of acquiring a clean-lined A. Quincey Jones contemporary in Bel Air on and off the market since 2008 an last listed with an asking price of $24,900,000.

We (stoopidly) sat on the tip. Naturally we asked around and received some "I hear that too" responses but nothing concrete enough we felt we wanted to move forward with the information. Alas. We snoozed and we losed. Today gossip juggernaut TMZ reported Miz Aniston has indeed snatched up the very same A. Quincey Jones-designed mansion in Bel Air that Hermione Hightower told us the superstar was buying weeks ago.

Another valued source told us earlier today that word on the Platinum Triangle real estate street is that Miz Aniston will pay around $22,000,000 for the approximately 8,500 square foot residence perched on a 3.25(ish) acre promontory high above the Bel Air Country Club.

A uniform grid of trees shade the gated, plaza-like gravel motor court and directly reference the rigorous geometry A. Quincey Jones applied to the architectural elements of the property that include a U-shaped main house with 4 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms plus a separate guest house tucked into a quiet corner of the estate and a brightly colored poolside pavilion with outdoor dining and lounging area with fireplace.

Interior spaces have gleaming honey-colored hardwood floors, vast planes of gallery white walls, long banks of full-height windows and sliding doors, and purposeful pops of bright colors that include a cobalt blue wall that surrounds a courtyard outside the formal dining room, lipstick red fireplace column that separates the front entry from the formal living room, and cobalt blue chimney breast in the master bedroom.

The back of the house opens up balconies and terraces with canyon and city views. A wide lawn stretches back the swimming pool (with spa and poolside pavilion) that sits on a lower terrace between the house and the small hillside vineyard that undulates along the lowest slope of the terraces estate. Certainly she'll pay someone to grow her grapes, mow the lawns, trim the trees, and skim the pool, but employing a small army of horticulturalists and botanists, a shirtless pool man, and a part time viticulturist doesn't sound like the simple life to Your Mama but then again....

listing photos: Everett Fenton Gidley for Westside Estate Agency

Monday, January 23, 2012

Brandon Boyd Double Whammy: Two

BUYER: Brandon Boyd
PRICE: $2,750,000
SIZE: 2,909 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Earlier today Your Mama discussed the somewhat unconventional Venice, CA residence that Brandon Boyd, much-inked visual artist and comely lead singer of the radio-friendly rock bank Incubus, currently has up for sale with an asking price of $3,195,000. Mister Boyd listed his long-time abode back in August 2011 at a notably higher price ($3,495,000) and although the situation was much covered by many of our celebrity property gossip compatriots Your Mama did not, for reasons we don't recall, delve in to the matter at that point and time.

Mister Boyd may have yet to sell his quirky (and deluxely done) crib near the beach but it was recently tattled to Your Mama by an informant we'll call A. Nonny-Mouse that the slim-hipped (and apparently long-haired) singer-artist has already purchased another property, also in Venice.

Making use of very specific information provided by Missus Nonny-Mouse Your Mama was able to confirm the same trust and trustee Mister Boyd used to acquire his house in Venice—purchased from actress Maria Bello in November 2005—now shows up as the new owner of a fully fenced, gated and secured property just a momentary stroll off busy Abbot Kinney Boulevard, the primary arty-farty/hippy-dipy and increasingly upscale commercial heart of the still rough around the edges, left leaning Los Angeles beach community of Venice, a geographical and historic magnet for (among others) political radicals, hippies and hipsters, successful creative types, assorted freaks and geeks, arty-farty showbizzers, and a sizable and very visible homeless population. Resources and documentation available online indicate the lofty-residence in question, somewhat smaller that Mister Boyd's commercial conversion just over a mile to the north and west, went for $2,750,000.

Listing information Your Mama teased up out of the interweb shows the 3 bedroom and 3 bathroom residence measures 2,909 square feet, a figure that may or may not include an office space above the detached 2-car garage. The house was custom designed and built in 2007 "by a prominent interior designer." Said designer turns out to also be the seller who property records reveal as Amy (Devault) Acuna and her fashion designer/wardrobe stylist huzband René Acuna who acquired the property in the final days of 2002 for $573,000.

A gated walkway shoots up the side of the property and house to a brick-lined inset entryway where a black steel-framed commercial-style glass door swings open to a proper and intimately-scaled entrance hall with radiant heated polished concrete floor and full wall bathed in a high-glam, white silhouetted silvery wallpaper that we like because it's shiny and we like shiny things but also worry its well past its Warholian 15 minutes. The cozy-compact foyer explodes into the voluminous main living space with staggering 30-foot high exposed wood bow truss ceiling, bleached wide-plank wood floors (unnecessarily) laid at a 45-degree angle, a wood-burning fireplace, vast expanses of white walls for bouncing light and displaying artwork, and a pair of french doors with custom hand-forged hardware that open to a decked, fenced and high-hedged courtyard where a cushioned built-in bench hugs a tire-shaped concrete fire pit.

The kitchen, tucked under the stairs and open to the dining area of the main living space, seems a wee bit wee maybe for a 3,000 square foot loft-style residence but is generously equipped with a chunky white marble-topped center work island with snack counter, ebony flat-fronted cabinets with thickly veined black marble counter top, high-grade stainless steel appliances, and an awkward built-in buffet with plenty of space for cook books as if anyone actually uses cook books anymore. We tease. A butler's pantry with under-counter wine fridge connects the kitchen to the foyer and a bathroom facility that may be uncomfortably close to where food is prepared and served for Your Mama's preference but does offer dinner and drinks guests a relatively private place to do their dirty business.

An open stair leads up to a loft/den with grey-brown hardwood floors underfoot—notably different that the bleached stuff on the floor in the living room below—a built-in entertainment/storage cabinet at one end and a built-in desk and book shelves on the other.

A double-wide wood door in the loft/den slides back on sleek barn-inspired hardware to a wide corridor and master suite. A bedroom-sized walk-in closet with custom built ins and spa-like earth tone bathroom with separate soaking tub and over-sized shower flank the broad corridor that connects to the wide (if somewhat narrow looking) bedroom outfitted with wood beamed ceiling, gigantic concrete wood burning fireplace, and an extra wide sliding glass door that join to a small private balcony.

A grassy patch runs up the side of the house to a professionally landscaped postage stamp-scaled courtyard that separates the main house from the aforementioned alley-facing detached 2-car garage with office space above. A small deck between the two buildings marks the outdoor shower area that is, as best as we can surmise, totally open to the rest of the small but usable backyard area. Now listen, hunties, no one loves an outdoor shower in the cool evening of summer time more than Your Mama but, have mercy puppies, there does not seem to be a shred of privacy for the showeree here, just a too visible corner of the yard where people can just stand and around gape and guffaw while you inelegantly try to wash beach sand out the crack of yer damn ass.

Anyhoo, in addition to the 2-car garage there are four more off-street parking spaces (one of which doubles as a fenced dog run). Now children, we realize some of y'all are gonna gripe about the gangs in Venice and how it's little more than an expensive and glorified ghetto but regardless of what one may think of the admittedly sometimes less than savory shenanigans that go on in Venice it's impossible not to take not of the rare and valuable luxury six off-street parking spaces is in a tightly packed and parking challenged community where some of the otherwise often liberally-minded homeowners and residents literally fight with the essentially homeless (and not always respectfully hygienic) occupants of the scads of campers and RVs that sometimes dot and line the narrow streets of Venice.

Your Mama, who does not know a balloon from an artificial hip about Mister Boyd's actual plans as regards to his new digs, would bet both our long-bodied bitches Linda and Beverly the office space above the garage will wind up converted into a music/art studio where thirty-something year old Mister Boyd can brandish his paint brushes, blow his didgeridoo and sing his pretty heart out.

Whatever Mister Boyd does to customize his new house and whatever real estate and home day-core traditionalists might think of his idiosyncratic (but hardly avant garde) decorative ways, Your Mama fully expects the end result will be thoroughly infused with his well-honed personal style that exudes an authentic-seeming (if inescapably curated) modern day bohemian point of view.

listing photos: Abbot Kinney Real Estate

Brandon Boyd Double Whammy: One

SELLER: Brandon Boyd
PRICE: $3,195,000
SIZE: 3,500 square feet (approx.), 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Brandon Boyd—writer, artist and plaintively-voiced front man for mainstream rock band Incubus—may hail from the archetypal-suburban streets of Calabasas, CA but he's long made his home in the nitty gritty beach community of Venice (CA) where in August 2011 he put his arty-farty if prohibitively pricey for most artists residence on the market with an optimistic $3,495,000 price tag. In early December, a few months after he dropped almost three million bucks to snatch up another house in Venice—more on that later—the rather becoming, sinewy slender and fearlessly tattooed Mister Boyd dropped the asking price of his boho beach side bedsit to it's current figure of $3,195,000.

Listing information indicates the once-commercial two-story structure was built in 1905 and used as a hotel "sometime in the 1940s." Your Mama was told or read somewhere—we can't recall which—the building once operated as a bordello but we aren't able to verify the veracity of such so we don't recommend the children spread that bit about without a caveat. Anyhoo, property records and previous reports on the matter reveal Mister Boyd's abode—situated a short block from the beach and, by Your Mama's assessment, desirably unconventional—was briefly owned by two-time Golden Globe nominated actress Maria Bello (Prime Suspect, ER, A History of Violence, The Cooler) who owned the unorthodox domicile for only 13 months (or so) and sold it in November 2005 at a near quarter-million dollar profit to Mister Boyd for $2,715,000.

The exterior of the mint green structure belies little of the bohemian luxury inside the fully-renovated and upgraded concrete- and cork-floored crib that feature 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, airy 12-foot high pressed tin ceilings with articulated moldings, earthquake-retrofitted exposed brick walls and low-key but high-brow kitchen and bathrooms that resonate of a quasi-industrial upscale Parisian garret, if there is such a thing as a quasi-industrial upscale Parisian garret.

The residence sits hard up on the street with nary an inch of buffer between the sidewalk and the front door opens that directly into the spacious main living space. Mister Boyd (or his nice, gay or lady decorator) wisely installed some sort of curved screen between the front door and the base of the staircase. Not only does the ancient art of Feng Shui require such an interjection to keep the money from flowing right down the stairs and out the front door, it adds a much needed smidgen of visual concealment from anyone who may be walking along the street when the front door is opened.

The "formal" living room, not surprising littered with musical instruments and chock-a-block with art and other objects that ooze with Mister Boyd's personal interests and fascinations, may suffer from a lack of clear glass windows—glass block was used on the exterior wall to maintain privacy but still bring natural light in to the room—but does benefits from a full wall of built in bookshelves filled with actual books and other ephemera that may or may not include some avian taxidermy. A clean-lined, custom-built floating steel staircase with chunky wood treads provides the necessary tension between the vintage nature of the original architecture and the kick-up your feet casual (if costly) and animal skin-draped day-core.

A towering pair of solid wood raised panel doors connect the living room to the ample, open plan combination dining room and kitchen kitted out in High Urban Loft style with simple, white Shaker-style cabinetry and commercial stainless steel appliances that include a restaurant-grade sink, super-size range with separate griddle, and a $10,000 glass-fronted Sub-Zero fridge/freezer that makes Your Mama sweat and swoon with unrequited appliance lust. Several sets of French doors connect to a narrow ground level courtyard tiled with Mexican pavers, hung with a myriad of cheap capiz shell chandeliers and furnished with a variety of wired things that include a vibrant, sunshine yellow cafe table and chairs.

Reclaimed warehouse-type windows line portions the upper level landing where the cork floors extend into the street-facing master suite complete with oddly off-center fireplace, exposed brick walls and pressed tin ceiling. Mister Boyd's boo-dwar offers the style maven a boo-teek sized and naturally-lit closet/dressing room and a beauteous bathroom designed by "a famous local architect" according to listing information and finished with well-worn antique herringbone wood floors—like one might find in a quasi-industrial upscale Parisian garret—white subway tiles smartly grouted in a contrasting grey, twin sinks atop a Jean Prouvé-inspired base, and a fireplace with tile surround adjacent to a free-standing soaking tub set into a greenhouse-like nook with steel-framed frosted glass wall and ceiling.

Listing photographs show Mister Boyd used a large, sky-lit space at the upper rear of the residence as a den/office area and a separate detached addition at the back of the property encompasses a two-car garage that opens to an alleyway and a 640 square foot sound-proofed music studio/guest quarters wrapped in theatrical red curtains and conveniently equipped with a kitchenette.

An unadorned exterior staircase, the sort of thing one might expect to find tucked into an unseen section of an office building or civic structure, climbs up to a wood-decked roof top terrace with an elevated, pergola-shaded shelter perfect for lounging, napping and—for those so inclined—getting frisky outdoors. Tall corrugated metal fencing along the sides may look a bit harsh to those who prefer more traditionally residential materials—we happen to l.o.v.e. the utilitarian nature of the humble and undulating material—but does ensure privacy for anyone who might like to soak up the sun and/or have an open air lunch snack and beverage in their birthday suits. Listing information indicates the roof deck is plumbed for a spa—a feature that pleases our mate The Dr. Cooter to no end—and there's a peek-a-boo view of the glimmering Pacific Ocean over the urban chaos of the surrounding roof tops and telephone wires.

We're not sure why Mister Boyd would want to vacate this obviously much-treasured residence in Venice for another, slightly smaller (and much more polished) loft-like residence in Venice located just over a mile away, significantly farther from the beach and much closer to the busy Abbot Kinney shopping and dining district. But, if we've said it once we've said it 78 times too many, such are the sometimes inexplicable and frequently capricious real estate ways of the rich and famous.

listing photos: Abbot Kinney Real Estate