Friday, November 4, 2011

The Big Livin' Barnetts Snag the Rosekrans Residence in San Francisco

photo: Google

Bay Area real estate watchers are all well-acquainted with the years-long but now-settled legal wrangle and tangle between Oracle bajillionaire Larry Ellison and his down slope San Francisco, CA neighbors the von Bothmers. In summary, the tops of a quartet of old-growth trees on the von Bothmers property grew to obstruct the otherwise panoramic view from the back of Mister Ellison's modern mansion in the posh Pacific Heights neighborhood. Bickering led to a lawsuit that was settled earlier this year out of court. We have no inside intel on the full scope of the resulting terms but it was widely reported the von Bothmers agreed to "cut three redwoods and an [80-year old] acacia to open views from Mr. Ellison's four-level house.

In the summer of 2011, at the tail end of the neighborly dispute, a real estate rumor slipped down the gossip grapevine that Mister Ellison was prepared to spend somewhere around $40,000,000 to purchase the massive historic mansion immediately next door to his very contemporary 10,742 square foot mansion.

The primary theory behind the scuttlebutt at that time was that  house next door (above) to Mister Ellison's concrete, stainless steel and glass mansion does not have any bothersome 80-year old trees that obstruct the magnificent, head-on view of the great San Francisco Bay. After news of the alleged purchase hit the tabs and real estate gossip blogs Mister Ellison released a statement that claimed he had not and did not plan to purchase the mansion next door for $40,000,000 or any other amount of money.

The 17,000 square foot mansion next door had been owned since 1979 by Dodie and John Rosekrans Jr. a filthy rich, internationally social and admirably philanthropic couple. He was a toy tycoon (and heir to the substantial Spreckels sugar fortune) and she an iconoclast fashionista born in to a privileged San Francisco family, her father owned a theater chain that later became United Artists. She died in San Francisco last year, her mister went in 2001 in Paris where they also maintained a home.

Certainly some were suspicious Mister Ellison was obfuscating about the alleged purchase of the Rosekrans residence next door. After all, Mister Ellison is well-known for buying contiguous properties. But he wasn't and he didn't. The latest real estate reports out of San Francisco reveal the Rosekrans mansion was indeed recently sold for $33,00,000 but not to Mister Ellison but to Roger Barnett and his wife Sloan Barnett (née Lindemann). They ain't Tinseltown types–at all–but Your Mama has none-the-less on a number of occasions previously discussed and dressed down the real estate activities of both the well-heeled Barnetts and the even more well-heeled Lindemanns.

Mister Barnett, a former investment banker who founded and ran (until he sold it for $42,000,000), has long toiled as the Chaiman and CEO of Bay Area-based Shaklee Corporation, a multi-level marketing juggernaut that purveys nutritional supplements, weight management and beauty products, and environmentally friendly household cleaners.

She's the environmentally-conscious former New York City assistant district attorney turned best selling author (Green Goes With Everyything) and financially fortunate daughter of billionaire businessman George Lindemann who made his first millions with his invention of the soft contact lens and his first billion from a cell phone company he sold in the early 1990s for around $2.5 billion.

The Barnett's big new 4-story house in San Fransisco, according to property records and previous reports, was designed by noted architect William Polk, built in 1916, encompasses 22 rooms and 17,286 square feet with an unknown number of bedrooms and 7 bathrooms. The relatively somber facade belies the grand and decidedly decadent interior spaces that fan out around an airy, tree- and plant-filled atrium wrapped in towering walls and columns covered with elaborate carved friezes and stonework said to be copied from the Casa de Zaporta, a Rennaissance palace in Saragossa, Spain.

 photos: Lisa Romerein via The Style Salonist

The suave and savvy Rosekrans hired San Francisco-based interior designer lion Michael Taylor to do over the vast interior spaces (above). The result was playful, multi-layered, deeply cultured, and impossibly chic in that snooty, globally-minded California casual sort of way that Mister Taylor essentially invented. Miz Rosekrans apparently told somebody that Mister Taylor's original work was so sublime she never touched a thing in all the years she lived there.

In addition to the atrium the primary entertainment spaces include a ballroom-sized living room with arched windows that open to a stone-balustraded terrace with open view of the Golden Gate Bridge and a wood-paneled formal dining room with fluted pilasters, marble fireplace, and a 90-inch travertine-topped table lit by a crystal chandelier that once hung in the Paris apartment of Maria Callas.

Mister Taylor, a decorative genius to be sure, filled the mansion with an quirky but oh-so-elegant mix and match of pedigreed things that included (as per The Style Saloniste) a twelve-panel 17th-century Chinese Coromandel screen, at least one twig wall sculpture, 18th century William Kent chairs covered in chartreuse silk-velvet, at least one leopard print sofa with fringed skirting, gilded Neoclassical chairs from Russia, contemporary blue chip artworks, Old World Greek antiquities, and New Age-y Brazilian amethyst crystals.

The Barnetts undoubtedly have great style, discerning decorative tastes and, lucky for them, pockets deep enough to indulge such things. Your Mama imagines the Barnetts will re-fashion their new house in a manner that both befits a mansion of such magnitude and provenance and suits their own decorative proclivities. Such is their privilege and right as the new stewards of the old house. However, even though we were never inside the Rosekrans residence to actually see shit with our own eyeballs, we can't help but mourn the loss of this well-preserved master work of Michael Taylor that will be lost down the swirling terlit of decorating history. As Doris Day famously sang, "Que sera, sera."

photo: Google

The Barnetts won't have far to schlep their furniture and art collection that includes pieces by modern masters such as Sol LeWitt, Damien Hirst, and Gilbert and George. In fact, they could save a few pennies if instead of hiring a high-cost moving company they went on down to the Home Despot and hired a handful of minimum wage workers to load and haul their belongings in a parade of shopping carts. See children, the Barnetts live just one block away from their new house in an 11,455 square foot English Tudor cottage-style mansion built in 1931 (above). The Blockshopper website shows the Barnetts acquired the 9 bedroom and 9 bathroom residence in March of 2005 for $23,000,000 from a scion of the Hills Bros. Coffee fortune.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the Barnett's sold their old house "in a private deal for $23,500,000." Public property records show the sale price more specifically as $23,473,000 and, strangely, according to the deeds and docs Your Mama peeped online this morning the house was sold from one corporate entity controlled by Mister and Missus Barnett to another corporate entity with the exact same name. Could be a mistake in the records. Could be the Barnetts sold the house to themselves. Could be something else entirely. Make of that what you will.

photo: Google

It was only a few months ago that Mister and Missus Barnett made all the real estate gossip head lines when they quietly sold a top-tier New York City townhouse in a private deal that went down without any real estate agents. In the late 1990s and into the early Noughts the then newly-wedded thirty-something year old Barnetts lived in a 12-room Park Avenue spread. In 2000 they got ants in their real estate pants and splashed out $11,050,000 for a monumental 33-foot wide red-brick Georgian style townhouse mansion half a block from Central Park on New York City's impeccably swank East 69th Street.

The townhouse was originally built in 1881 and in the early decades of the 20th century was home to lice Gwynne Vanderbilt, widow of Cornelius Vanderbilt II and maternal great-grandmother of grey-maned CNN stud Anderson Cooper. It later became the headquarters for The Union, an organization that teaches English as a second language and connects immigrants with English speaking residents to help smooth their geographic transition.

The Barnetts had the 5-floor and 12,111 square foot townhouse worked over by much lauded and applauded architect Peter Marino. Various previous reports on the property and/or the Barnetts reveal the mansion includes an impress-the-guests-style marble foyer, a formal living room that spans the full width of the house, a baronial dining room with 14 foot ceiling and at least 5 bedrooms including a full-floor master suite plus additional staff quarters. At the time the purchased the house there were two elevators, one for residents and the other for domestic staff and less-favored guests.

The Barnetts quietly shopped the behemoth townhouse in 2007 with a rumored and reported price tag of $62,000,000. That figure might seem to some a bit optimistic if not ludicrous even for 2007 when upper-end New York estate was still relatively brisk but the Barnetts finally sold the house in a private deal in July 2011 to Band-Aid heiress Libet Johnson for, according to reports and records, a much lower but still staggering $48,000,000.

photo: Bing

For many years the Lindemann family seat has been a 9-plus acre waterfront spread in supah-swank Greenwich, CT (above) that includes a stately 12,639 square foot Tudor-style main mansion with 12 bedrooms, a detached guest house, acres of broad, tree-dappled lawns that stretch from the house to the water's edge, boat dock, tennis court, waterside swimming pool and pond, and a private beach.

The property is now in Miz Lindemann-Barnett's name but we've heard rumor through the real estate grapevine that the property is still used by the entire Lindemann family. But then again, what do we really know about anything?


Anonymous said...

This San Francisco Lair will be over the top stunning and is calling for a spread in A.D. This of course if far from the spread Ms. Lohan is doing today for Playboy. Love the history and the deets on the CT and NY abode's... Oh Libett Johnson.... now there is a real estate portfolio!

Anonymous said...

Tre wonderful post Mama. Dodie was truly one of a kind.

Anonymous said...

Looks like they're no strangers to the neighborhood, as they recently were hosted by the Ellisons at Larry's Pac Heights manse. Shopping from next door?

The Devoted Classicist said...

That block of Broadway is my favorite in all of San Francisco.

Arun said...

Sigh. Just an outstanding post, Mama. I love your tales of sprawling fortunes and histories and mad, mad real estate. And oh how I miss San Francisco. Fantastic, and thanks.

Rosco Mare said...

Great posting today, Mama Dearest. Love the Chinese screen. Thanks for the San Francico day-core porn.

Anonymous said...

Damn, these are some certified ballers with excellent taste in real estate.

StPaulSnowman said...

I know it is off topic but enquiring minds want to know what Mumzie will be wearing to the Michael Gross shindig at Gra(e)ystone to celebrate the book launch. I hope it will be the Dame Edna vibe.

SusieQ said...

Oh Mama, I can't even begin to wrap my pretty little head around just how much money our 1%-y friends all have--great post.

FonHom said...

According to The Style Saloniste the Rosekrans's (?) bought the home in 1979 and hired Michael Taylor shortly afterward. 30 years on, it looks like he just finished working his magic. The fabrics look fresh, the furniture and other decor is in good shape - amazing.
And Mama, love the TSS pictures of her Tony Duquette-decorated Venetian palazzo!

midTN said...

I attended the Michael Taylor estate auction so many years ago at Butterfield and Butterfield in San Francisco which was held it seems before the ink was even dry on poor Michael's obits, (much unpaid income tax/IRS trouble donchaknow), and it was a very special treat.

Treasures galore, and prices to match of course. I did come home with a pair of gilt lamps and several Chinese carved jade items which I still own. It is sad to think that the time capsule so meticulously maintained by Dodie Rosenkrans will no longer exist, but just like the Rosenkrans and Michael, everything has a life span.


Anonymous said...

"lice Gwynne Vanderbilt" mean she has cooties? And. if she does, how do you know?
I hope the SF stuff is earthquake proof. There was just now a noticeable tremor in the SF area. More to come?

Anonymous said...

Who owns the modern estate across the street from this property? The one that spreads block to block from Broadway to Pacific Av. The one next door to the white elephant $65M property that's been on the market forever. Anyone know? Just curious ...

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mama... thank you for greed, evil, selfishness, ugliness, bad taste, pretentiousness, sloth, gluttony,
corruption, vanity, folly, stupidity, ego, garishness, arrogance, superficiality, shallowness, meglomania, the pompous, the snobby, the venal, the vain, the vulgarian, the petty,
the poisonious, the scum, sleazy, tawdry, tacky, villainous, banal,
philistine, bourgeois, gross, infantile, grotesque, bilious,
nauseating, gag-reflex inducing,
eyeball-rolling, neck-stiffening, brain-pounding, tongue-lolling teeth-chattering, hair-pulling, ass-tightening, mind-bending,
eye-searing, ear-flaming, laser-immolating, tranductive MRI skin removing spine exposing chest congesting delamination process bearing patent number 4958588858003
39939939 confiscating stolen state secret of the wealthiest Evil Ones readying the rocketships to Mars aka The Gemstone File to leave earth knowing full well of the Mayan 2012 DATE 12-21-12 (anagram) that denotes the End of Days with nothing left for the barbarian impovershed hordes as the New Master Race is born in the
Cosmos, earth a mere cinderblock, the Out of the Closet Thrift Shop Store in a Saks Fifth Avenue Universe.

Here, have a salami on rye.

midTN said...


Anon: 8:36.....honey, get least have the doc adjust those meds.

You KNOW you shouldn't mix pills
with booze.

Also...your tent mate down in that NY park..whateveritscalled...said you wet your sleeping bag again.

This will NOT be tolerated!!

Now go to sleep!

Calgary Realtors said...

Another great post. I sprayed coffee on my screen when I got to the $62,000,000 and the $48,000,000 for the townhouse. I wouldn't fit in with these people.

Anonymous said...

There should have been a provision in Dodie's will that would preclude the sale of the property to such people. Undoubtedly the buyers are interviewing with the likes of that Hoppen woman to decorate it.

Anonymous said...

Who owns the modern estate across the street from this property?

That place (2835 Broadway) is owned by Nicola Miner & Robert Mailer Anderson. Ms. Miner is heir to Robert Miner's fortune (he co-founded Oracle). Mr. Mailer Anderson is an unsuccessful author of 1 or 2 books, they both collect art and host cheritable parties.