Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tony Dovolani Dances Out of Connecticut Crib

SELLER: Tony Dovolani and Trebelina "Lina" Jani Dovolani
LOCATION: Stratford, CT
PRICE: $399,000
SIZE: 2,020 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: This morning Your Mama received—along with every other property gossip, we presume—an entirely unexpected press release that announced Albanian-born professional ballroom dancer Tony Dovolani has listed his humble (and perfectly ordinary) home in historic and suburban Stratford, CT with a $399,000 price tag.

Stratford, in case some of the children aren't familiar with the Greater New York metropolitan area, is about 62 miles from Midtown Manhattan along the jam-packed and traffic choked I-95 corridor between Bridgeport and Milford. The community was founded in the late 1630s by Puritans who probably found its geographic location at the mouth of the Housatonic River that pours into the Long Island Sound ideal for all the obvious reasons.

Since 2006, Mister Dovolani—now pushing 40 but still in possession of the firm body of a 25 year old—has twinkled his fox trotting toes on the long-running and still wildly popular Dancing With the Stars program. Over his 15 consecutive seasons the champion dancer has shaken his money maker with a long list of celebrity and semi-celebrity ladies such as professional wrestler turned actress Stacy Keibler, the legendary Jane Seymour, baby factory Kate Gosselin, Kathy Ireland—the model not the decorator, radio sassy pants Wendy Williams, and tennis great Martina Navratilova. Early on Mister Dovolani received an Emmy nomination for his Jive dancing choreographic efforts and last fall he won the hotly contested dance competition for the first time with partner Melissa Rycroft.* Mister Dovolani, so our research reveals, co-owns a small but growing chain of dance studios with—among others—the Chmerkovskiy brothers Maksim and Valentin, also of Dancing With the Stars fame, and their father Sasha.

Property records show Mister Dovolani and his wife‚ Trendelina "Lina" Jani Dovolani,** purchased the residence in March 2005 for $391,000.

The Dovolani's middle-class-modest, vinyl sided residence was built in 1999 near the tail end of a cul-de-sac on a .17 acre lot according to the Fairfield County Tax Man and the 2,020 square foot house—listing information called it a raised ranch, whatever that is—has three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and, unusually enough, two kitchens.

The upper level living area is an open-concept living/dining/kitchen space with (molding-free) cathedral ceiling and smooth yellow-blond hardwood floors where Mister and Missus Dovolani can quickly and easily clear out their few bits and pieces of "formal" furniture and cha-cha, quickstep and tango themselves into a frenzy in front of a (gas) fireplace. A sliding glass door in the dining area steps out to a small deck with stairs down to the lower level terrace and backyard. The kitchen certainly looks neat, tidy, functional as well as, well, economically outfitted.

Two not particularly big family bedrooms on the upper floor share a small hall bathroom while the fairly compact, wood-floored master bedroom, also on the upper level, has direct access to a private bathroom. Listing photos show the stylistically challenged and already outdated but well-maintained bathroom has a soaking tub set into a beige-tiled corner and a separate shower stall with one of those molded plastic inserts that—quite frankly—give Your Mama the heebie jeebies.

In addition to an attached two car garage with convenient direct entry, the lower level walk-out basement has a half bathroom and a fully-carpeted family room furnished with little more than a black fabric sectional sofa so big it extends onto the tile flooring in the home's adjoining second kitchen and dining area. Multi-paned sliding glass doors open to a stone-tiled terrace set into the reasonably flat lawn in the partially fenced and not particularly private backyard. Listing photos show a free-standing shed around the side of the house for storing the lawn mower and other gardening implements.

The press release reveals that Mister and Missus Dovolani plan to pack up their belongings and their three children and move to a larger house that better accommodates the size and needs of their family of five.

A thorough sift through various property records data bases reveals Mister Dovolani not only previously owned homes in South Salem, NY, and Ellenton, FL, but may currently own a two-family situation in Bethel, CT, bought in August 2003 for $305,000. Could be occupied by family. Could be an investment property. Could be it's owned by another guy also named Driton Dovolani.

*Truth: Your Mama had never heard of Miz Rycroft before. So, natch, we did a little digging on the internets and discovered she's a bit of a reality show denizen. In 2004 she won a coveted spot as a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader on some reality show competition about winning a spot as a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. In 2009 she popped up as a contestant on the 13th season of The Bachelor, a televised match-making throw down in which a stiletto-shod pack of romantically hungry (and arguably desperate) women compete for a single eligible (and usually well-built) bachelor-man. Miz Rycroft was selected as the winner by her bachelor catch but, bless her heart, was quickly and unceremoniously dumped for the gal who came in second place or the the runner-up or whatever you call it. 

**How much, children, does Your Mama l.o.v.e. Mister Dovolani's wife's name: Trendelina "Lina" Jani Dovolani. Say it out loud. It's magnificent the way it rolls across the tongue, really, but anyways...

listing photos: Coldwell Banker


Anonymous said...

Mama, you overuse the word natch. And, natch, it's not even a word!

Shopgirl said...

Mama -- It's hurting my eyes. This type of residence is NOT why people come to your site! Never again, Mama.

Anonymous said...

I applaud you for profiling a TALENTED television person (when so few are) these days. Here we have an immigrant father of three, living WITHIN his means and not desperate to be a tabloid darling. Yet, he still was not immune from being, Mama'd, regarding his (help me) decorating choices. Which is afterall, why I tune in everyday.

Isn't that style of house, a splt level or split foyer with an inlaw suite?

luke220 said...

Seeing this house makes me like him even more.

Anonymous said...

Mama, puh-lease, no, no, say it ain't so: a raised ranch on real estate stalker? :- ( time for a whiskey. I don't care if he has the body of a 25-year old (well that's not 100% true), and her name rolls of your tongue. I don't want to see a raised ranch. Uuugh. Love you to pieces but think the libido was leading on this one ;- )

stolidog said...

Being an original nutmegger myself, I can tell you that that house is a split level, not a raised ranch, both of which styles proliferate the lesser to do suburbs along the traffic choked i-95 corridor. Oh, and it's totally icky.

Anonymous said...

mama you need to print a redaction... kathy ireland the supermodel also designs furniture etc.... please do better research before putting something online.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it sure is ugly and seems a bit overpriced, but I applaud Mr. and Mrs. D for living what appears to be modest lifestyle. Congrats to both on their success and impending escape. I used to live very near this house and have been much happier since leaving the ole Nutmeg state.

Rosco Mare said...

I expected to see a more stylish house for the elegantly talented Tony, who has glided around Los Angeles in a Rolls-Royce Corniche.

Mama Dearest, thanks for your even reporting of celebrity housing that's great, and in this case, not so great.

DC Guy said...

Oh Mama ... slow news day? By the bysies, that is a split foyer. I grew up in that exact same style house many many years ago. Brought a tear to my eye, today's post did ... some childhood memories of days gone by.

Sandpiper said...

It’s refreshing to see an honest to goodness real home representing the majority of America. This is where people work hard, raise a family, and enjoy a quality life. The exteriors display pride of ownership, as does the nicely maintained interiors. I’m smiling.

Anonymous said...

Hey, credit to Tony's hard work, they're moving on up. However, it's absurd to think that a press release is somehow going to create a bigger market for this house. Even the people who are actually looking for a house in Stratford know about this house -- even if they don't know about this particular house.

In regards to the comment above, I am actually not at all surprised that Tony lives like this. I doubt any of the "professonals" on DWTS live much better. These are not x class artists They are working class folks for whom being a ball room dancer is a step up from installing alarm systems, etc.

Anonymous said...


Isn't your 2nd paragraph also applicable to most entertainers?

Anonymous said...

A raised ranch house is a ranch home with a basement, where the basement is only partially sunk into the ground- hence raising the house portion up higher than ground level.

When you live in an area with cold winters and ground that freezes every winter, you need a basement- houses built on slabs are nearly impossible to keep heated and the slabs crack because of the ground freezing and thawing.

Basements stay pretty much the same temperature all year round, around 60-ish degrees, and help heat and cool the house above them as appropriate.

You don't see a lot of homes in CA with basements, they aren't needed because the winters are so mild, the earthquakes are guaranteed to crack them and they are expensive to repair. And after they are cracked, water leaks into them, and then you get a flooded basement.

ParkAvenueGrinch said...

This is not the kind of Home that requires or invites any serious scrutiny.

It is not the home of someone with deep pockets and pedigree (either real or imagined).

It is the home of someone doing the best they can with what they have and really trying HARD to make it all look nice.

This is not a house of cotillions and sit-down dinner parties for 24.

There will be no clever masquerade balls or photo shoots or ceilings brought in and installed from some crumbling manse in Portugal.

There will be LOTS of pasta dinners and meatball subs and special care will be taken to protect the Living Room suite from Raymour and Flannigan from getting stained.

This is not the type of Home We Dragons can floss our teeth with.

This is the kinda Home where someone works REALLY hard just have a little piece of a dream.

It ain't galmorous.

It ain't soe-PHIS-ticated...

But it is clean

and reasonably well-maintained.

And for the right buyer, it is a Palace.

Now let's get back to Beverly Park and trash some disco inspired, fur-lined screening room in a 97,000 square foot Mock Med Tudor Gothic Norman Castle where instead of wall sconces they have naked Men holding candles!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Actually its quite refreshing to see a post that isn't about the Ecclestone hos or whoever...

Anonymous said...

may be you could review some general NYC pre-war coop history

or some grand old mansions where ever.

cuz the above is just depressing ...and boring

its deporing !

Anonymous said...

This is an example of the dreaded RAISED RANCH, one of the most hideous housing types ever conceived. Evil developers and hack contractors have been infecting the Northeast with this disease for well over thirty years. Surely these perpetrators should be punished. However, we must feel pity for the people who choose to buy and live in these domiciles. Perhaps someday there will be a cure for their utter lack of taste, style and self-respect.

Sandpiper said...

The lower level kitchen, popular with first generation US, is often called a summer kitchen intended to keep heat of cooking away from the main floor(s). I think it's a charming tradition and associate it with fellow first generation US friends.

Not to ramble, and you may of course skip the following if you wish. I risk sharing it this may be somewhat useful as a backstory, especially because the Dovolani family may also relate. Many of us are here because our families fled the horrors of Nazi-occupied Europe and surrounds after the WWII for a better life, gratefully settling into homes very much like this one. My mum witnessed Hitler and troops parading the cobblestone streets of her lovely western European city. Survival was heartbreaking. I applaud my grandparents for scraping together enough money to immigrate and begin new lives here, sadly leaving behind loved ones, good friends and the memory of good friends that couldn't leave, instead boarding trains to the concentration camps. Hope this doesn't come across as melodramatic and rather fosters a better idea of why this country is called the melting pot and this home is indeed a castle.

Sandpiper said...

Sorry about the typos. It's early!

Anonymous said...

Mama this is SO sad!! You're truly scraping the bottom of the barrel with this. The children are hungry for mansions! Six figure mansions! Preferably with Maloof-like interiors.

SO delicious!!!

Anonymous said...

Today, Friday had better be incredible good Mama, after THIS!!

Anonymous said...

uhm, Preferably __NOT__ with Maloof-like interiors.

but there are plenty of 6-figure mansions across the US in many old communities, which were built in the old days with incredible workmanship and detail which would be fun to see.

Anonymous said...

So it's not April Fool's Day..... Did I miss the memo?

Anonymous said...

Meant to say 8 figure, not 6 figure!! Soooooooorry!

Unknown said...
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Anonymous said...

My grandparents lost everything in the Dust Bowl during the Depression and became "tenant farmers"- which was Nebraska-speak for sharecroppers.

My grandfather died when my father was just 15, and my grandmother was left with 1 grown son and 3 children under 18. They were destitute, and struggled. My father had to drop out of high school to support my grandmother and aunt. My father was drafted in WWII, and by the time he was done, was awarded a Silver Star AND a Bronze Star.

As you can see, I came from absolutely nothing. But I am deeply proud of my family, we built lives and educated ourselves and overcame terrible adversity and did it without whining. Nothing was handed to us, we earned everything we have.

I have lived in a raised ranch, and was happy and proud to do so. It was clean, safe, affordable, and sheltered my husband, my son, and myself. Unlike some, I know what counts in life- and it's not a house. It doesn't matter where people live, it's HOW people live that matters. I have also lived in a low-income housing project. I am truly the living embodiment of the American dream and what can be accomplished in our country.

It's too bad that some people are so superficial and shallow that they can't appreciate that. My self-respect is just fine, thanks, but I think some people need to rethink what taste, style, and self-respect REALLY mean- and it's not about a house.

Anonymous said...

^ I agree! Bravo!!

Anonymous said...

My grandparents were sharecroppers too. My grandfather had a 6th grade education. Couldn't read or write worth shit. They worked hard and lived in an ugly ranch house in an ugly part of Calif. So what? What's your point? That the house you live in does not reflect a person's style or taste, only their pocketbook?

Or did you just need to tell your family's story so others could applaud you for your American stoic-ness? Whatevs.

And P.S. that particular American dream you speak of is no longer accessible to a whole lotta people but it seems most people don't really want to talk about that. They prefer to push on with the illusion that if you just work hard you too can buy yourself an ugly house in some ugly soulless suburb.

Dovolani has done well for himself. Most professional ballroom dancers probably never earn enough money to live in a 400k house. Good for him. Seriously.

But the house is still ugly as a wart on a witch's chin.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:09 You're one sick puppy.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a raised ranch in upstate New York. This style of house was very popular in the 1960's. I have alternatively heard it called a bi-level or a high ranch. I disagree with stolidog's description of this house as a split level. Split levels have a ground floor that you enter on usually with a foyer, garage, family room and powder room. The house pictured here you enter on a landing with a stairway going up on one side, and one going down on the other.

I'm shocked to learn the construction date of this one. Clearly the builder had architect Mike Brady on his payroll.

turesta, said...
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Anonymous said...

To May 4, 2013 at 5:34 PM
stop being a silly troll; it shrinks your gonads and is boring to the rest of us.

and besides ANON:8:09 AM was correct and on topic.

it is you that are confused what this Blog is about. (Hint: its about real estate , interior and exterior decor of homes of celebs' of their respective industries)

Anonymous said...

8:09 aka 8:22
You are the same troll, and foremost an offensive ass. Your venomous remarks remind me of the mean kid on the block that hides behind the bushes and throws rocks.

Anonymous said...

Mama, both of these children need to get acquainted with the wooden spoon.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.