Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday Morning Mish Mash

We've got a few celebrity real estate items we need to get off our chest.

In early March of 2009 singer/actor/songwriter Jessie McCartney listed his house in the Hills of Hollywood for lease at $4,900 per month. While Your Mama has no idea if anyone actually leased the modernized 2 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom cottage, we do know that the entertainment mini-mogul who currently appears on some program we've never heard of called GRΣΣK, recently listed the modest and comfortable looking La Granada Drive domicile for sale with an asking price of $1,199,000.

Last week, Your Mama discussed the real estate melodrama facing toothy Manhattan socialite Marisa Noel Brown and her (former) financier husband Matt who bought an East 78th Street townhouse in January of 2008 for $13,500,000, gutted it, had plans drawn up for a multi-million dollar renovation and just last week flipped it back on the market with a much lower than they bought it for asking price of $12,000,000.

At the time we discussed the brouhaha, we had not seen the floor plan but since then a plan has popped up and since Your Mama knows all the children love them a little floor plan porn we figured it might be fun to peruse the plans Missus Noel Brown had for her new crib before the primary (if not sole) source of their riches–her father's failed hedge fund–went belly up.

A quick peep over the layout (below) tells Your Mama that Mister and Missus Brown hired the right architect for the job because for a somewhat narrow townhouse the floor plan appears well resolved, easily lived in and almost entirely free of the funky formations and awkward transitions too frequently seen in these skinny New York City townhouses.
Of special note is the full floor master with a generously sized sitting room that looks to Your Mama's boozy eyeballs to have two fireplaces, a bedroom that features a large if not exactly private window looking out over the wee gardens behind all the neighboring properties and a long dressing area and bath that connects the two spaces.

We would also like to point out that both the elevator and the elegantly oval staircase service all seven floors, that each of the 5 family bedrooms has a private pooper as do the 4th floor study and the garden level staff room which is, we have to say, punishingly puny. Up on the top floor we're thrilled to see not only a front facing terrace that probably has a sliver view of Central Park, but also an outdoor kitchen for summertime grillin' and chillin'.

We're sure the new owner will want to hire their own architect and put their own stamp on the design, but they might consider saving themselves a few pennies by working with the plans Mister and Missus Brown's plans because they're good. We know y'all like to sass and complain but you do gotta admit, they are good.

We do not normally discuss properties featured in films because they don't generally belong to rich and famous people. However, since we have been getting dozens of emails about the glassy suburban Chicago house featured in Ferris Bueller's day off that has been listed for sale at $2,300,000, we're going to flip you over to Mister Big Time who has all the 411 anyone might want on the stunning property that is in serious need of a complete restoration/redo.

In late February of 2009, Your Mama discussed the 21 terlit Bel Air behemoth that noted philanthropist and art patron Iris Cantor heaved onto the market with a toe curling asking price of $53,000,000. Turns out the ladeee has also listed a New York City penthouse (floor plan below) with an asking price of $11,900,000.
Missus Cantor, for those who do not know, is the wildly rich widow of Bernie Cantor, the founder of the financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald. Some of the children will recognize the Cantor (Fitzgerald) name as the company that suffered devastating human losses on 9/11 due to their location on the 101st-105th floors of One World Trade Center. Others will recognize the Cantor name from one of New York City's greatest outdoor treasures, the soo-blime Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Anyhoo, as pointed out by Mister Abelson at the NY Observer, the real story isn't that The Widda Cantor listed the 3,906 square foot co-operative at 110 Central Park South. Oh no. The juicy news is that she bought the 4 bedroom and 4.5 bathroom spread in May of 2006 for "about $15,000,000" and, as mentioned above, currently has it on the market at $11,900,000. Missus. Cantor's wizened real estate agent told Mister Abelson that Mrs. Cantor never occupied the 24th floor apartment that carries colossal monthly maintenance of $13,500.

Listing information on StreetEasy shows that Mrs. Cantor listed the 4-terrace aerie in May of 2008 with an asking price of $16,000,000. Four months later the price was hacked to $14,000,000 and just last week she had a go at the asking price again, chopping off $2,100,000 bringing the current number to $11,900,000 which is somewhere around $3,000,000 less than she paid for the place. Less!

Now surely Missus Cantor can afford to lose three million clams without having to go on the food stamps. However, Your Mama does not care how rich a person may be, it still hurts like the dickens to lose three million smackers on an ill-timed real estate purchase.

P.S. Iffin eleven and some million isn't in your budget but you still want to live up in 110 Central Park South, listing information indicates that Missus Cantor would also be willing to lease the apartment at $35,000 per month.

We hear from Babbling Babette that American Idol judge and (former?) pill popper Paula Abdul is house hunting. In Tarzana, CA. It is Your Mama's understanding that she made a three million dollar offer on a house in the guard gated Mulholland Park community which was not accepted. Ugh. Yawn. Whaaaat?

We also hear from a gentleman we'll call Famous Freddie that word on New York City's West 12th Street is that Scientolofreak Tom Cruise and his baby maker Katie Cruise bought a mid-block townhouse that records reveal recently sold for $15,075,000. Now children, Your Mama has zero confirmation about whether there is any truth to this real estate tale so do not go speaking on this like it's gospel. It's just rumor and gossip at this point. Besides, we always took Mister Cruise as the full-service doorman building type of guy rather than a townhouse sort of fella if only because a townhouse would put him at the mercy of doorbell ditchers and fervent fans who might think it's cute to stand out front of the building flashing their naughty bits and hollering about how much they loved Top Gun.

And lastly, Your Mama received a very lovely and friendly email from a ladee named Lynne Langdon who is the listing agent (and owner) of a house in the Hollywood Hills we discussed earlier this week. She kindly asked that we correct a error regarding the listing information indicating the house is "celebrity owned." See kids, we thought the celebrity being referred to was Miz Langdon, who was indeed a bit of a star in China as it turns out. However, the celebrity Miz Langdon was referring to in the listing, she says, is her huzband, a celebrity photographer named Harry Langdon who may not be much of a household name himself but has snapped photographs of and head short for dozens of famous folks including Aretha Franklin, Tyra-nosaurus Banks, Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ryan Seacrest and Mister Missy Elliot, Halle Berry and Christina Applegate.


JB in Silver Lake said...

Ummmm, Mama, I'm guessing that the monthly maintenance that the Missus Cantor pays for her money loosing venture is more like $13,500 instead of the nauseating millions you have suggested.

angeleyes said...

Very interesting roundup article Mama, many thanks. I thought Jessie McCartney's home redo was quite nice at the time you discussed it in detail. I believe it's priced right, so the only reason I can think of to explain it's lack of a buyer is *drum roll* the economy, what else.

I don't know how you keep up with the updated information, but am very glad you do. Love today's floor plan porn, expecially the plans Marisa Noel Brown and her ex had drawn up. I agree the architect did a superb job, and can't think of even one improvement or change to suggest.

So Tom Cruise is setting down some roots in NYC now huh. Thrilling.. well, not really lol. He forever lost me in that strange and upsetting year of self-revelation he indulged in following his stoopid mid-life crisis decision to dump Nicole Kidman of all people for a younger model. Puhleeze.

Viva! said...

Lynne Langdon is ridiculous. Not only does she have a hideous, overpriced house...but who the &*^% is Harry Langdon, if he hasn't worked for Vanity Fair or Vogue he's a nobody to me.

Anonymous said...

I dont care what ya say Mama (ducking from the wooden spoon) The Brown's townhouse with the kitchen on the other floor makes no sense to me, should not a kitchen be placed adjacent to the dining room?
Excellent post btw, thanks for taking time out for us East coasters!!

Anonymous said...

Having a kitchen one floor lower than the dining room in a Manhattan townhouse is very traditional. Back in the day, the servants were the only ones who used the kitchen so the owner's didn't want to hear the commotion in the kitchen and thus, the kitchen was more suited on a lower floor where their quarters were in the house. Even though times have changed, many have kept this tradition by incorporating family rooms and informal dining rooms to the kitchen level. The parlor floor of a townhouse is traditionally the formal, impress the guests floor. Usually, as you see in this floorplan, there is a dumbwaiter or elevator so food can be brought up to the formal dining room where there is a butler's pantry. One thing about this floorplan is a problem to me. On the fourth floor, there is a bedroom with NO WINDOW. In NYC, you can't call a room without a window a bedroom, it's illegal.

Lilithcat said...

I will never understand why, with so much money and so much square footage, a house like the Browns' doesn't have a formal dining room! It makes me crazy to have the dining room and living room all smooshed together in one space, however large.

(P.S. to anonymous: there's a "butler's kitchen" next to the dining room. The kitchen slaveys do the work downstairs, and dumbwaiter the food up to the butler/footmen who are standing at attention waiting to make sure all is perfect before serving the guests.)

Anonymous said...

A dining room is nice, I'll agree (and I love mine), but many modern people do not entertain in the same sort of formal ways so dining rooms are often wasted spaces used just once or twice a year. This set up doesn't bother me in the least in this situation because clearly, the family "lives" on the lower floor.

and echoing what has already been said, a dumbwaiter allows for moving food from the kitchen to the dining room.

It sound inconvenient unless you understand that if the Noel Browns (or whomever) were going to be entertaining, they would have staff (or caterers brought in) who would manage that so it's quite unlikely the homeowner would be stuffing a turkey in the dumbwaiter and then tramping up the stairs to the butler's pantry in a dinner dress. Rich people have people for these things.

luke220 said...

I'd buy Iris Cantor's before buying the Brown townhouse. Maybe I'm more apartment dweller than townhouse owner. Second thought, renting Cantor's unit is a better value.

The center stairwell in the Brown home takes about one quarter of the floor area. Too bad to lose that space in living areas. I too would want a formal dining room.

luke220 said...

PS I see no second means of egress in the Brown home and no fire balconies. The building dept here in Boston wouldn't approve those plans.

Alessandra said...

Mama, I love you!

What a delightful laundry list of real estate dish.

sandpiper said...

Geez Louise Mama, you're so on top of things ... as always. Kudos and hugs. Wish I could pay your mortgage. <3

Anonymous said...

Harry Langdon who?

Never heard of him...but with a house that ugly.
.and overpriced...I'd expect as much.

Ernesto said...

Hey mamma
I am a photographer, so I had a look at and saw that he is a 'headshot' photographer...and not a particularly good or inventive one. Like Viva! said up won't find his work in Vogue or Vanity Fair...LOL. That is not enough of a celebrity for me to qualify as a 'celebrity' owned house!!!

Anonymous said...

Harry Langdon was a huge photograper in the 70's and 80's. Yes he did headshots, but he also shot majot ad campaigns (cosmetics, perfumes,etc), usually with celebrities,

Anonymous said...

The Noel house looks like it was designed for modern day living. It's a house of average width, 20 feet, not grand width of 25 feet, which is much less common. As it's been noted here, the kitchen was traditionally on the floor below the formal dining. But even in a modern, completely redesigned town house, the dimensions do not really allow for having formal living, formal dining and a modern, good-size kitchen all on the same floor, so you either have the kitchen and formal dining on one floor, or, as most prefer, the formal dining and living on the same floor. In this case, they've combined the dining and living - some like this, some don't.

Luke, as for the egress, there's the main entrance on the parlor floor, a door at the front on the garden floor (near the staff room), and the door to the terrace in back - pretty typical for a NYC townhouse.

As for the stair hall, it's much less than a quarter, and includes the short hallway between front rooms and back rooms. True, the curved staircase takes up more room, and maybe it's not ideal in a house of this width, but it really adds to the richness, and with six floors plus a cellar, there's a lot of space.

Not crazy about the powder room access through the butler's pantry on the parlor floor, and that windowless BR must be an error, since it's not legal, but for the most part, this looks like a pretty good plan, although there are a few compromises, like in almost all townhouse plans and NYC apartments.

Great location, but $12M for a 20 foot gut job might be too much.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Paul Abdul was maybe looking at Chris Tucker's place that is in Mulholland Park Estates for $3.8M. If that is it, I can't believe he wouldn't take $3M.

Anonymous said...

Harry Langdon huge in the 70s? No - Scavullo, Penn, Avedon, and Newton were huge, not him. Rather a nobody today to qualify as celebrity. We all know what great art celebrity cosmetic ads are...LOL.

Anonymous said...

No 2nd means of egress? There's rooftop and back door, that makes three ways out.

luke220 said...

Building codes here require two ways out from every floor, even in sprinklered buildings. The back door doesn't cut it.

Anonymous said...

Don't tell me Cruise is buying Meryl-and-then-Diandra's (I think Diandra's) house at #19? Busy block.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm getting old but I can't believe some of you have never heard of Harry Langdon. Maybe it's a West Coast - East Coast thing? His studio is/was in Beverly Hills on Wilshire near Rodeo Dr. He does or did a lot of celebrity photography - album covers, press photos, concert photos. Don't konw that he did much fashion photography so maybe that's why some don't know of him.

To be honest, I would have thought him to be retired by now.

Anonymous said...

You don't need two means of egress from every floor in a residential single family home in NYC. I've been to plenty without it.

Starck Mad said...

I LOVE floorplans! Visually, I can relate to them the best.
THANKS for your groovy postings. 'Curbed LA' seems so, so 'blahhh'

Thanx Mama!

Anonymous said...

" skinny New York townhouse..."

8 floors people!

Mom, don't ever complain about multi level, califor-nine-a hill side real e-state again.

8 fookin floors. 8.

Anonymous said...

How many floors was that again?


Anonymous said...

The size of the Browns' master bath is proof positive that rich New Yorkers have NO priorities. You KNOW if Paula Abdul went house shopping in TARZANA, and they showed her one that dinky, she wouldn't even look at the rest of the house.

Hey Browns! You got sitting rooms all over the house already, you need ANOTHER one on this floor? eally? Come on loosen up, live a little, let the sun shine in!

To paraphrase Gertie Stein: "One can not Live like a King, if One does not Shit like a King."

MH Critic said...

Harry Langdon is a famous photographer in Los Angeles. He was very famous in the 80's. He did the cover for Donna Summer's Bad Girls, iconic photos of Ann-Margret and Cher. Jane Fonda's Work Out book. Hard worker.

May said...

Where can is see pictures of these houses.