Monday, May 20, 2013
LOCATION: Greenwich, CT
SIZE: 13,519 square feet, 12 bedrooms, 7 full and 2 half bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Buckle your real estate safety belts, butter beans, because—in case any of y'all have managed to not already hear—timber tycoon John Rudey has heaved his epic Greenwich, CT estate on the open market with a equilibrium altering and publicity ensuring $190,000,000 price tag, a sky-high figure that blows to smithereens the U.S.'s next most expensive residential real estate listing—Tom Hicks's equally epic but land-locked Dallas (TX) estate—by $55 million
Copper Beech Farm, as Mister Rudey's vast Long Island Sound-front estate is known, encompasses two mainland parcels plus two tiny undeveloped islands that all together total 50.6 acres with about a mile of private shoreline in the heart of Greenwich's hyper exclusive Mead Point area.
The main residence was originally erected in 1898, according to online marketing details, and was previously owned and long-occupied by Harriet Lauder Greenway, the late daughter of industrialist George Lauder who, along with Andrew Carnegie, created the industrial juggernaut U.S. Steel. Mister Rudey quietly acquired the estate in an off-market deal about 31 years ago, according to previous reports, and hasn't been publicly available for purchase in more than a century.
An 1,800 foot long driveway passes through entry gates before snakes through the thickly treed grounds to the main house, a hulking, twin-turreted stone edifice somewhat vexingly described in listing details as a "Neo-French Renaissance Victorian." Listing details go on to show the robber baron worthy 13,159 square foot behemoth has a dozen bedrooms—some with fireplaces and/or adjoining sleeping porches—and a total of 7 full and 2 half bathrooms.
A cavernous, three-story high wood-paneled foyer is sure to impress guests—not to mention the FedEx delivery guy/gal—and sets the stage for the grandly scaled and elegantly appointed public rooms that include a formal living room with marble fireplace and French doors that connect through to a solarium wrapped in windows on three sides. The oak paneled formal dining room has a second fireplace and a decorative tracery ceiling while the paneled library has yet another fireplace, built-in bookcases and a bowed window with curved glass. A family kitchen adjoins the dining room and sits in convenient proximity to a sky-lit wing that contains a long, oval-shaped family room. The original, dumb-waiter equipped staff/catering kitchen kitchen is located in the basement—as was customary in a late 19th-century house of this magnitude— as are a wine cellar, one of several laundry rooms, storage space, staff quarters and more.
The second floor master suite has a fireplace, a private sleeping porch, dressing room and a marble bathroom. There are five more family bedrooms on the second floor—two of them oval shaped, one with a fireplace and a sleeping porch. Four more family bedrooms and a massive multi-purpose room share the uppermost third floor with a domestic staff wing.
Additional buildings on the property include—but may not limited to—at least two greenhouses, a stone carriage house with clock tower and parking for half a dozen vehicles and farm equipment, and a three-bedroom stucco and shingle gate house with rocking chair front porch.
The expensively and meticulously maintained grounds include extensive, stone-walled formal gardens and allées, an apple orchard, vast swathes of lawn the roll down towards the rocky coastline, and a tree-shaded waterside grass tennis court with viewing pergola. The geometric-minded, 14-sided swimming pool (and spa) stretches 75 feet and is serviced by a nearby octagonal pool house with changing and bathing facilities.
Some of the other exceptionally well-heeled homeowners on Mead Point, according to property records and other online resources, include a bevy of financiers and captains of industry such as William Fertig, Michael Urfirer, Michael Petrick Maurice Cunniffe, George Lindemann Sr., and Thomas O'Malley whose entire estate sits on a private island accessed by a long bridge.
Pastoral and posh, Greenwich is renown for its exceedingly high priced residential real estate. However, hunties, even swanky enclaves like Greenwich have their real estate glass ceilings and it would seem that Mister Rudey has a high mountain to climb to get anywhere near his remarkably tumescent $190 million asking price. After first being listed in 2007 at $125 million, Leona Helmsley's Dunnellen Hall finally sold in 2010 for $35,000,000. The following year a four acre waterfront spread sold for $39.5 million and back in 2004 an 80-acre horse farm in the bucolic, equestrian oriented Conyers Farm area sold for $45 million.
listing photo: David Ogilvy & Associates
Posted by Your Mama at 1:04 PM
LOCATION: Tequesta, FL
SIZE: 6,383 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Over the weekend Your Mama received a friendly digital missive from a self-described "crazy huge fan" of Olivia Newton John who snitched to Your Mama that the English-born Aussie singer and her natural herb remedy mogul husband John "Amazon John" Easterling have hoisted their recently rehabbed water front residence in Jupiter, FL, on the market with an asking price of $6,200,000.*
The four-time Grammy winner and herbal medicine man paid $4,100,000 for the two-story Plantation-style pad just over four years ago, shortly after they were secretly wed in an Incan ceremony in Cuzco, Peru.** The lushly landscaped and quintessentially south Floridian spread backs up to the crystalline turquoise waters of the Intracoastal Waterway in the affluent Jupiter Inlet Colony community, the same ocean side enclave, as it turns out, where in February 2012 country-rock-rap star Kid Rock dropped $3,225,000 on an ocean front fixer-upper.
Listing details show the Newton John-Easterling residence, originally built in 1997, has a total of four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms in 6,383 square feet of recently renovated eco-luxury.*** Listing details reveal the couple spent "Over $2 million" on renovations that included the installation of high-quality hurricane impact rated glass doors and windows, a whole-house water purification system, five air conditioning units and two central vacuum systems, a rainwater harvesting irrigation system, and an extensive home automation system that controls the audio/visual equipment, windows shades and lighting.
Chicago brick pavers pass under a quartet of arched palm trees to a small walled motor court at the front of the house. The voluminous, 1,000+ square foot Great Room stretches nearly forty feet long with cool, coral stone tile flooring under foot and an airy, vaulted tongue-and-groove cypress wood ceiling over head. A high efficiency gas fireplace warms damp and chilly seaside evenings and a long row of wood-framed glass doors that connect to a covered lanai with a long view over the verdant backyard to the water.
The coral tile flooring extends beyond the adjoining "formal" dining area in to the open-concept galley kitchen expensively outfitted as per online marketing details with poured concrete counter tops, custom-crafted driftwood cabinetry and high grade stainless steel appliances. The kitchen opens to a small den/family room that spills out to the backyard through more wood-framed glass doors. Listing details show somewhere in the house there's a full-sized built-in wet bar with cabinetry custom crafted from the same rustic-organic driftwood as the kitchen.
The coral tile floors switch to wall-to-wall carpeting in the media room that's wrapped on two walls with even more custom cabinetry that looks more like limed cypress than driftwood to Your Mama but we really can't say with any authority what sort of wood that actually is. That the media room is furnished with little more than a lonely pair of striped bean bags—not to mention the walk-in closet in the master bedroom is empty—makes Your Mama think the couple have already vacated the premises and that that house has been at least partially staged.
The second floor master suite is a complete private retreat with sitting area, a built-in pop-up t.v., a handy-dandy morning bar that's also convenient for midnight candy snacks, a custom-fitted walk-in closet, and a private balcony with spiral stairs that corkscrew down to the backyard. The attached, modern-romantic master bathroom has a free-standing vanity surmounted by a floridly baroque mirror, a claw footed soaking tub, and a custom glassed-in steam shower lined with shimmering eggshell colored opalescent glass tiles.
Water craft are accommodated with a sturdy, ipe wood dock that can comfortably accommodate a boat up to 80 feet long and automobiles are pampered in a fully finished and air-conditioned detached garage with loads of storage cabinetry and eye-vexing black and white checkerboard tile floor. Listing photos show Mister and Missus Easterling stocked one corner of the garage with a whole bunch of exercise equipment.
In addition to the private dock and vine-draped and Dominican coral tiled lanai that runs along the back of the house, outdoor living spaces and recreational amenities include a small but swanky curvilinear zero-edge swimming pool and spa, a hammock nestled into a small stand of palm trees, and an Old-Timey porch swing charmingly hung between a couple of palm trees. The broad lawn, surrounded by lush tropical foliage, sweeps down to the water front where mangroves frame a sandy beach suitable for waterside sunbathing and kayak parking.
Your Mama really hasn't any idea where Miz Newton John and Mister Easterling plan to settle once they sell their Tequesta digs so all you hardcore Olivia Newton John fans shouldn't even bother with an enquiry about such. Okay?
*Technically, according to the Palm Beach County Tax Man, the property is in Tequesta, FL.
**The couple held a second wedding ceremony on a beach in Tequesta (FL).
***For the record, some online listings show the house has 5,500 square feet while the Palm Beach County Tax Man shows the house sits on a .35 acre lot and has a total of 7,429 square feet with 5,521 square feet of air conditioned space.
listing photos: Seawind Realty
Posted by Your Mama at 10:34 AM
Friday, May 17, 2013
SELLER: Maurice Benard
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 4,637 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: This one's for all the music hipsters and indie-pop aficionados out there who—like Your Mama—were swept up in the viral video cyclone that developed and raged over the last couple of years around a catchy little ditty called Pumped Up Kicks.
The song, which has a much darker lyric than its bubbly beat might suggest, first showed up on the You Tube in 2010 and quickly made its way to commercial radio where it shot up the charts in 2011. In a prime example of how social media affects and, arguably, shapes and even dominates the dissemination and digestion of art, culture and, even more so, pop culture, Pumped up Kicks has been remixed and remixed and remixed to death, hunties. To. Death. Key of Awesome did an awesome parody with Ducked Up Lips and bazillions of professional, au courant singers like Karmin—not to mention an army bedroom performers like Lizzy Land and Angelika Eide—gave the song their own spin. Miracles of Modern Science did it with classical string instruments and this young gal did it with a banjo. A slow moving but addictive video of a lithe young dancer doin' his thang to a Butch Clancy dubstep remix has already been viewed on the You Tube more than 87 million times. If you haven't been hit by this viral music train yet, well, you must be even older and more out of touch than Your Mama. And, good night children, we're old enough to have gray hair in places nobody wants it or ever thinks they're gonna get it. Anyways...
Last year (2012) Pumped Up Kicks earned the smiley, shaggy-haired front man Mark Foster and his semi-eponymous trio Foster the People* a Billboard Music Award for Top Rock Song plus two Grammy nominations, one for the song and another for the band's debut album Torches. We got it on the iTunes, puppies. We're not ashamed.
Foster the People may not be the next Rolling Stones—or Whitesnake or whatever band makes your personal Legendary list. None the less, in just the few short years they've surfed and sailed the wild popularity of a single song, front man Mark Foster has earned himself enough do-re-mi to buy himself a two and some million dollar country spread nestled into a secluded cranny of the Hollywood Hills where some of his nearby neighbors include Tinseltowners like Adam Carolla and Olivia Munn.
Digital resources show the property in question was sold in late March or early April (2013) for $2,155,000 by Daytime Emmy winning soap story veteran Maurice Benard who, along with his wife, Paula, purchased the first of the two parcels that comprise the mini-ranch for $420,000 in mid-1997. The following February Mister Benard and his missus paid another $274,000 for a much larger, undeveloped adjacent parcel. Based on property records we perused and our own rudimentary calculations Mister and Missus Benard shelled out a total of $694,000 for the two lots that combined span 54,450 square feet, a figure otherwise known as 1.25 acres.
Selling the property was a long slog for Mister and Missus Benard, a very long slog indeed. As best as we can surmise from online resources, the couple had the house on and off the market numerous times at a number of prices since they first heaved the unwanted ranch-ette on to the open market in September 2008 with an in-hindsight woefully optimistic asking price of $3,599,000. Four long years later—and at least one deal down the tubes—the semi-rural property was re-listed for the umpteenth time with a significantly lower $2,399,000 price tag. Property records show it took another 8.5 months before the Benards were kissed by the real estate leprechaun and, at long last, sold their white elephant in the Hollywood Hills. The buyer appears in property records as a vexingly named trust that our impeccably well-informed informant Lucy Spillerguts tattled to Your Mama is connected to—you got it, kitty cats—Mark Foster.
A ratty-looking black top driveway arcs up to an unreasonably and unnecessarily unattractive facade. Check, children, that architectural pearl clutcher of a two-car carport the juts angrily off the front of the otherwise nearly featureless, wood-clad facade. Yeesh! Not surprisingly, listing details Your Mama managed to tease out of the internets shows the residence was originally built in 1975—the pine plank siding is quintessential mid-70s and looks great with ferns—and is currently configured with three bedrooms and three bathrooms in 4,637 square feet of interior space.
Despite the two unfortunately placed doors on either side of that carport, it's through the Southeast Asian-looking wood and steel entry gates and down the full length of a deep, shaded veranda that one must go to find the residence's rather reclusive front door. Wood-framed glass front doors, slate tile flooring, wood treads and wrought iron spindles on the open staircase, and a soaring, double-height exposed wood ceiling pretty much sum up the earthy materials palette found throughout the loft-like, open-concept main living spaces on the ground floor.
Wood floors run on the diagonal in the living room area that's well lit via the sky light that pierces the pitched exposed wood ceiling. A full, trapezoidal wall of windows and sliders connects to a tatty looking courtyard-like outdoor space that, in the right hands, could be a fantastic garden lounge and dining terrace.
The floor switches to giant, square slate tiles that runs throughout a handful of flexi-use spaces—dining, den, sun room, family room, music lounge, reading nook, whatever—and right on into the cook-friendly kitchen. The kitchen is well-equipped with a center work peninsula and a bumper crop of high-grade stainless steel appliances that include a six-burner commercial-style range with built-in griddle section, and a side-by-side fridge/freezer set up. Dark raised panel cabinetry that we don't care for is topped by mottled gray granite counter tops and, opposite the fridge freezer, there's a lowered breakfast counter held up by a pair of disturbingly giant carved stone (or molded concrete) corbels that makes it a week bit difficult to access the inset microwave cubby.
A fully-equipped screening room—located in a space that Your Mama is pretty darn sure used to be a garage—has at least seven boxy black leather seats with built-in in drink holders in the double-wide armrests and an exterior entrance through one of those aforementioned unfortunately located doors that flank the carport.
Upstairs the pleasantly roomy master bedroom is blessed with a vaulted, exposed wood ceiling and punished with nappy-looking wall-to-wall carpeting that any sensible person would switch out before ever moving in. No shade Mister Benard, but do we really need to think about all the stuff that gets trapped in deep pile wall-to-wall carpeting...in the master bedroom? Anyways, a bank of windows and glass doors open to a private terrace that serves up an expansive if not exactly electrifying canyon view. According to an 2008 listing Your Mama teased up out of the internets the closet in the master suite is—or was—cedar lined and the attached bathroom is slathered in multi-toned slate tile with a double sink vanity, a sizable soaking tub and a separate shower space. There's at least one other bedroom on the upper level with direct access to a private terrace and listing information indicates there's also a "Sep. gym/maids & laundry room w/ loads of storage."
The kitchen and family room area wrap around a small dining deck that over looks a down-sloping swathe of bougainvillea encircled open space. It's a big ol' dirt patch, really. There's an over the tree tops canyon and mountain view and it seems just enough space for Mister Foster and his band mates to host a mini, backyard version of Coachella, although some of his neighbors might not be so keen about that idea.
*In addition to Mark Foster, Foster the People is composed of Mark Pontius and co-founder Cubbie Fink.
listing photos: Unlimited Style Real Estate for Hilton & Hyland
Posted by Your Mama at 1:22 PM
Thursday, May 16, 2013
LOCATION: New York City, NY
SIZE: 8,300 square feet, 6 bedrooms,
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: In 2009 property gossips in New York City and around the globe went plain ol' berserk over the wildfire celebrity real estate rumor that Tom Cruise and his then third and now ex wife Katie Cruise just might be the mysterious buyers who shelled out $15,075,000 for a stunning six floor townhouse on West 12th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in the heart of the Gold Coast in New York City's Greenwich Village.
The speculation and rumors apparently got started by chit-chatting doormen on the block and they persisted even after both Mister Cruise and Missus Cruise—through their representatives, natch—issued denials of the much-alleged townhouse acquisition. Based on our own research into the scuttlebutt, Your Mama is not now and never was convinced that Mister and ex-Missus Cruise were the real buyers of the elegant1860 townhouse.
Whoever the owner may be, it has come to Your Mama's attention by way of a short missive from our ever-intrepid aide de camp Hot Chocolate that the townhouse long alleged to have been bought by Mister and ex-Missus Cruist back in 2009 has popped back up on the market with an attention getting $28,000,000 price tag, and, well, it's pretty damn spectacular.
Current listing details show the 21-foot wide and approximately 8,300 square foot townhouse, blessed with a magnificent wrought iron railed stoop, stands six stories above ground with an additional finished basement level below grade. There are a total five terraces, seven working fireplaces, 7.5 bathrooms, state of the art built-in surround sound and humidification systems, and an hydraulic elevator that conveniently services all but the penthouse level. Listing details show the townhouse was worked over but good by accomplished New York City-based architect Steven Harris.
The parlor floor hosts the primary public entertaining spaces and includes a vestibule entry and foyer, a cozy front parlor, and, separated by a short gallery that runs behind a well-placed powder pooper and elevator shaft, a more stately-scaled rear parlor. Beyond the rear parlor there's a sunny sun room that could also be used as a formal dining room or den). On the garden level below, a den—or possible dining room—generously spans the full width of the house and has a could-be-awkward attached three-quarter bathroom. A short corridor links the den/dining room to a top quality double-wide galley kitchen that opens at the back through a bank of French doors to a slender garden/terrace that wraps around to an interior courtyard nestled in between the kitchen and the den/dining room.
A glassed in solarium on the penthouse level opens on opposites ends through vast panels of glass to a pair decks that have been well planted for privacy. The smaller, south-facing street-side deck is equipped with an enclosed outdoor shower and—buckle your safety belts for this one—a partially sunken Japanese soaking tub for which Your Mama is living, hunties, living. Not because we like to sit like stew meat in a vat of near boiling water—we decidedly don't—but but The Dr. Cooter sure does, and on a regular basis. Had we a Redwood number like this on a drop-dead deck like that we might never have packed our bags and headed west. Anyways...
Whether Tom Cruise actually owns this show stopping townhouse or—as Your Mama thinks—it's owned by a much less famous but even richer businessman, it's a stunner sure to be a hot property, don'tcha think? Fer chrissakes, kids, about the only thing that might make this place better, really, would be a private garage. And, seriously, a person could suffocate holding their breath for an 8,000-plus square foot townhouse with a mid-block location on a prime street in the Greenwich Village Gold Coast with a private garage, you know? All real estate is a compromise even if it cost $28,000,000.
listing photos and floor plan: Brown Harris Stevens
Posted by Your Mama at 3:33 PM