Sunday, March 14, 2010

Paul Giamatti Buys In Brooklyn Heights

BUYER: Paul Giamatti
LOCATION: Brooklyn Heights, NY
PRICE: $1,300,000
SIZE: 1,400 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama has spent the better part of the last three days curled up under a cashmere blanket coughing up a lung and doped up on some kind of medicine that makes us feel like we don't have any legs. Needless to say, we are a little out of the celebrity real estate loop. So, even though we're still drippin' and trippin' we're going to try to get back in the saddle today, the day of the Lord, and ride, ride, ride.

We're going to jump back into the celebrity real estate fray on the back of a little tip from The Rolling Stone about Oscar nominated (Cinderella Man), Emmy and Golden Globe winning (John Adams) actor Paul Giamatti snatching up a $1,300,000 condo crib in the Brooklyn Heights section of–natch–Brooklyn, NY.

Although Mister Giamatti's entree into mainstream fame only came in 2004 when he deftly played a maladroit oenophile in the 5-time Oscar nominated and 1-time Oscar winning film Sideways, he'd long been around the Hollywood block with various roles in movies like Mighty Aphrodite, Donnie Brasco, The Truman Show, Saving Private Ryan, Cradle Will Rock, Big Momma's House, Planet of the Apes, Big Fat Liar, and the Oscar nominated American Splendor. So, ya-know, he sorta paid his Tinseltown dues.

A little click-clacking around on the interweb reveals that Mister Giamatti comes from a priviliged background. As it turns out his father, A. Bartlett Giamatti, was not only a former professor of Renaissance Literature at Yale University he also became the youngest president of Yale University. In 1986, the elder Mister Giamatti was appointed the president of major league baseball's National League and in 1989, shortly before his unexpected death, he became Commissioner of Baseball. As a result the younger Mister Giamatti was provided a top-notch and very pricey education that included graduating from the exclusive Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, CT before obtaining both undergraduate and masters degrees from, of course, Yale University.

Perhaps the most unexpected tidbit Your Mama dug up on the internets about Mister Giamatti was that he was inducted into Yale's uber-exclusive Skull and Bones secret society. Other illustrious members of the S. & B. include major power brokers like William F. Buckley, John Kerry, Steve Schwarzman, three generations of the Bush dynasty–George, George, H.W., and Prescott, political reporter Dana Milbank who writes about many of his fellow Bonesman on Capital Hill, and Austan Goolsbee, one of President Obama's economic advisers.

Anyhoo, according to listing information, the condo that Mister Giamatti and his wife Elizabeth recently scooped up is located in a lovely pre-war building in the upscale Brooklyn Heights neighborhood and measures around 1,400 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 2 poopers. Despite the inelegant situation of the front door opening directly into the kitchen–an undesirable set up that allows the nosy bizzy-body in 4-A who's always knocking on doors complaining about noise to see deep into your private quarters–it is non-the-less a decently considered and architect designed apartment well suited to a couple or small family.

From the front door one walks through the kitchen, past the secondary pooper and hangs right into a long gallery from which most rooms orbit. There are two archways from the gallery–which is really just an extra wide hallway–into the living/dining room that stretches an impressive 29-feet with eight windows on two walls including a gracefully bowed window in the living room.

The kitchen, not large, but still fitted with a breakfast bar, sits in the literal heart of the condo and besides seeming a bit enclosed does have light and air coming in from two windows, satisfactory grade stainless steel appliances and white Carrara marble counter tops.

Each of the three bedrooms are well situated and separated for maximum privacy from each other if not maximum privacy from the neighbors. The smallest bedroom, located behind the kitchen and just to the right of the front door would make a perfect home office. The room's only window opens into an air shaft. As anyone who has ever has a New York City apartment that opens to an air shaft knows, this room lack a kind of privacy one might want in a bedroom. The second bedroom measures a generous 17 feet long and has another bowed window that looks out into the tree tops on the street side of the building.

The master boo-dwar, it can hardly be called a master "suite", consists of a smallish bedroom, a windowed hallway, a walk-in closet and a small pooper. We'd say that the only saving grace of the master pooper is the double windows that provide for light and ventilation, but from the looks of things, those windows look directly into the apartment across the light well which means that the apartment opposite can look directly across the light well into Mister and Missus Giamatti's pooper. This situation will ensure that those windows not only get frosted and/or covered up but will seldom if ever be open lest the neighbors be within earshot of some pretty intimate Giamatti family moments.
Your Mama took the liberty of making a few tweaks to the floor plan (above) that would provide for that more open, lofty sort of space that so many people seem to prefer these days. In all honesty, Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter like well defined rooms that flow easily into each other rather than one big multi-purpose room like a damn elementary school. None the less, we flipped the second bedroom to the other end of the apartment which allowed for the kitchen, living and dining areas to function as one large room. The thing we like best about this scenario is the light and air it brings into the kitchen. The thing we like the least is the same thing we like the least about the existing floor plan, which is that the guest/family pooper opens through a pocket door di-rectly into the kitchen, making the kitchen an olfactory disaster zone.

Anyhoo, property records show that Mister and Missus Giamatti also own a wee house on the west coast, in Venice, CA. According to the tax man, the Giamatti's close to the beach house measures only 880 square feet with 2 bedrooms and 1 pooper. The couple paid $665,000 for the puny pad in June of 2002.

Call us crazy–and we're sure some of y'all will–but we're rather smitten with the relative real estate modesty of Mister and Missus Giamatti. There really is little more pleasing to Your Mama than seeing someone famous and rich–or, at least, rich by the standards of the average American–who buys property based on what he or she needs in a residence rather than what he or she wants. Bigger is not always better, babies. At least not when it comes to houses. If more celebs sat down and pondered that for a good long time before signing the deed's dotted line we might not see so many famous folks selling their homes a jumbo jet sized losses. Are you listening to Your Mama Scarlett Johansson and Alex Rodriguez?


Madam Pince said...

"In all honesty, Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter like well defined rooms that flow easily into each other rather than one big multi-purpose room like a damn elementary school."

Me too, Mama. My first home was open plan, and although I liked the cathedral ceiling, it was a NIGHTMARE trying to actually live in it. I was glad to bid that property goodbye and move into a ranch house with proper walls.

"We're rather smitten with the relative real estate modesty of Mister and Missus Giamatti."

Again, I agree 100%, Mama. Mr. Giamatti has always struck me as an actor of substance who has no need for the empty style so many in show bizness cultivate.

Continued get-well wishes, Mama!

Cookie Annenberg Ford Newirth Del Nunzio said...

no no no never ever enter through the kitchen in an apartment over $250K. Honestly, with a major design flaw like that why even bother going any further? He could have done so much better. But, there's a buyer for every home they say. The seller was lucky. A flaw like that can keep an apartment on the market for years.
Good to have you back, Mama.

Anonymous said...

I love Paul Giamatti.
He should be in more movies.

Anonymous said...

Do people actually prefer Brooklyn Heights over Manhattan? The prices there are higher than Manhattan for comparable space! I know it's a lovely part of Brooklyn but really!

Flora said...

The bathroom problem is easily remedied. Add a tiny lobby to the side of the fireplace of the living room, with a door facing the hall. Move the bathroom entry from the kitchenside to open from the new lobby. Voila. A double door concealed entrance and modesty preserver, with minimal loss of floorspace.

jl13 said...

I saw this saturday 10 minutes

shoot'em up. I doesnt get any worse.

The current floorplan is better because it gives the illusion that its grander then when you create one big living area.

Sister George said...

I'd put the wall back where that breakfast bar type thingie is. As dark as it might be, it would restore a proper entry foyer. The full bath off the hall/living area is still problematic. Nothing more awkward than walking through the public rooms pre and post shower! I'd still prefer to be in Manhattan in a more traditional floor plan but to each is own!

Anonymous said...

A lovely space. Keeping it simple. A nice reminder of what high ceilings, polished floors and lots of white paint can do!

Carla Ridge said...

See, this is why I admire Mama. I just woulda thrown my hands up and thought the space was unimprove-able. Walked out and on to the next one. But through sheer grit, determination and a CAD program, Mama schooled the children, showing them how to make a rayon purse out of this sow's ear.

Hmmm, maybe it was the drugs?

Anonymous said...

Get Well Mama!
I actually think your floorplan edit looks a lot better -you have a geat eye!

Mr. Giamatti has the right attitude, live below your means and you can afford to be very picky with roles...Buy one or two or three $20million mega-mansions and suddenly you're calling your agent with a pitch for Ghost Rider part 2-4 instead of not returning those calls...

jentastic said...

The guy drives a Subaru Outback and takes the subway. Go PG!! you go!

Anonymous said...

You mean you don't like the big bedroom right off the kitchen? But think how convenient for mid-night snacks. Right next door. What could be better? Of course it could be a maid's room, but it's pretty big for a lowly maid.

Anonymous said...

weird. Paul G has lived in Brooklyn Heights for many years (I've almost run him over many times on my bike). I wonder why he's just now buying?

Anonymous said...

This Svetlana, i scratch your eyez out anonymous 11:58 you say that to my face. you get live in clean house, I get big room. No like? Watch your back

Anonymous said...

He has been in BH for years, I believe on Pierrepont. Are we sure he didn't buy an adjacent apartment in the building he already lives in for an expansion? I'm envious anyway -- I've batted my eyelashes at this listing before.

Anonymous said...

I heard Will Ferrell bought this unit in the Meatpacking District: