LOCATION: North Haven, NY
SIZE: 6.19 acres, 12,000-ish square feet, 12 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Golden Globe-winning actor and global humanitarian Richard Gere and his estranged second wife, internationally sophisticated former model and part-time actress Cary Lowell—Mister Gere's first wife was supermodel Cindy Crawford, slapped a rose-tinted $65 million asking price of Strongheart, their serene and picture perfect 6.19 acre compound in the low-key Hamptons community of North Haven, near Sag Harbor.
Your Mama does not know wedding cake from a crab cake so we really don't know how many, or even if any hedge funders, captains of industry, and/or entertainment industry big shots had a look-see at the property at that astronomical price but—as we first heard from Heidi Hamptonian and subsequently read on the Hamptons section of Curbed—the price tag has plummeted by a hefty $9 million to a much lower but still exceedingly substantial $56 million.
The decision to sell may or may not have to do with the fact that the comely, middle-aged couple—parents to one teenager—parted romantic ways sometime in 2012 or 2013. According to a gabby unnamed "insider," Mister Gere spends most of his time at the erstwhile couple's even more expansive country spread in pastorally posh Pound Ridge, NY, and Miz Lowell spends the bulk of her home time at the bucolic bayside compound North Haven.
Purchased between 2005 and 2008 in three separate transactions that totaled $11.3 million, the largest of the three parcels—the water front one with 300 feet of private bay frontage—measures 4.01 acres, according to the Suffolk County Tax Man, and was purchased by Mister Gere and Miz Lowell in December 2005 for $6,900,000. In October 2007 they paid $1.675 million for the smallest of the parcels—this one on the street—that measures .91 acres and, finally, in November 2008, they completed their North Haven property puzzle when the middle, 1.27 acre parcel was acquired for $2,725,000 million. Renovations ensued.
A tall thicket of evergreen shrubbery and a pair of remotely operated driveway gates make for a formidable if not exactly hostile visual barrier from any looky-loos who might find themselves on this little traveled cul-de-sac lane. A long graveled drive—or maybe it's crushed granite, we're not sure—gently bends its way deep into the compound to a circular drive between the main house and one of the two guest houses.
Between the cedar-shingled main house—originally built in 1902 but since renovated, updated and expanded—and one of the two generously proportioned and also cedar shingled guest houses the compound has 12 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms in about 12,000 square feet of casually sumptuous interior space.
For what it's worth—and it may not be worth a damn thing—the Suffolk County Tax Mans shows the main house has six bedrooms and two bathrooms in 6,552 square feet. The guest houses on the middle parcel opposite the swimming pool has three bedrooms and three bathrooms in 3,100 square feet and the other guest house up near the street has four bedrooms and two bathrooms in 3,185 square feet. A couple quick tabulations on Your Mama's bejeweled abacus and we count 13 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms in 12,837 square feet, although we think it's probably pretty same to assume there are far more than two bathrooms in the main house. Anyhoo...
Many rooms in the main house have seriously mesmerizing views that sweep across a vast lawn and private pond before they skitter over the glimmering Peconic Bay to the pristine, 2,000+ acre Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island. Those rooms include at least two of the upstairs bedrooms, including the master suite, a formal living room with glossy black grand piano, a less-formal den with chunky stone fireplace, and an adjoining family room with another albeit not stone fireplace. A bank of windows over the white porcelain apron sink in the kitchen adds to the upscale farmhouse rusticity of the fantastic, cook-friendly kitchen with its wide plank wood floors the color of milk chocolate, dove grey (or maybe it's pale robin's egg blue) Shaker-style cabinetry, barely veined marble counter tops and sleek-top grade appliances.
The extensive and fully landscaped grounds include acres of well-watered lawns bordered by well-tended shrubbery and properly trimmed trees. A vine-draped pergola connects the parking area to the front door and a roomy, water-view terrace on the east end of the main house leads to an open air pavilion with vaulted, open beam ceiling and massive stone fireplace. On the front side of the main house there's a swimming pool with simple and elegant blue stone coping set into a verdant big of grass. Beyond the swimming pool, up towards the guest house that sits nearest the road, there's a half-count basketball court, an athletically recreational feature that would get zero use from Your Mama and The Doctor Cooter but probably appeals to all sorts of people.
While some of the Hamptons' glitzier enclaves grab much of the glory and publicity in the media, North Haven and some of the other wooded and blessedly quiet communities on the northern, bay side shore of the Hamptons attract a bevy of rich and/or high profile people. Right next door to the Gere-Lowell compound is an equally large, multi-residence compound that belongs to sick-rich singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett. Other water-front property owners in the immediate area, according to public property records, include retired Morgan Stanley CEO David Sidwell, financier Jonathan McCann, Bridgehampton-based architect Frederick Stelle, and oil and gas executive James Christmas.
This is not the first house Mister Gere and Miz Lowell have owned in the Hamptons. In 2009 they listed their seven-bedroom farmhouse in Water Mill with an (optimistic) $8.8 million asking price. It sold later that year for $5.9 million after being reducted to $7.2.
Children who have played in the celebrity real estate sandbox for a while now may recall that Mister Gere was a staple in the property gossip columns back in 2007/2008when he (and Miz Lowell) shelled out $12,000,000 for a 3,500 square foot apartment at the Palazzo Chupi—an eccentric and comically polarizing boutique residential building in New York City's Far West Village conceived and commissioned by bigger than life über artist Julian Schnabel—only to flip it back on the market six months later for $17,995,000. More than a year and a half later, in November 2009, the four bedroom and four bathroom apartment sold to a mysterious buyer for $11,000,000.
This property gossip has no inside intel as regards to the future of the aforementioned 25+ acre country estate in Pound Ridge but if we were the betting type—and we're not—we'd wager both our long-bodied bitches Linda and Beverly (along with our mean ol' pussycat Sugar) that Mister Gere will retain ownership since our research indicates was purchased by him in the mid 1980s, long before he married either of his ex-wives.
listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty