Monday, November 25, 2013

Did Angie Jolie Buy Fiancée Brad P. A Private Island?

International property gossips have gone hog wild over the rumors and reports (and reports of rumors) that Oscar-nominated actress Angelina Jolie bought her über-famous fiancée, Brad Pitt, a private island on small and scenic Lake Mahopac (NY) with a Frank Lloyd Wright pedigree. So the stories go, the hands on super mommy of six and globe-trotting do-gooder shelled out somewhere in the neighborhood of £12.2 million for the 11-ish acre island, an amount that Your Mama's handy-dandy currently conversion contraption indicates amounts to 19,790,600 U.S. dollars, at today's rates.*

However, the daughter of the current owner says all the hullabaloo just ain't true. In fact, the daughter told a local reporter that, as far as she knows, neither Angelina Jolie nor Brad Pitt have ever visited the island. And—let's get real, children—if Angelina Jolie and/or Brad Pitt and/or any of their representatives visited your parents' $20 million private island, don't you think they might have mentioned it?

Petra Island—sometimes Petre Island, is about 50 miles or 15 minutes by helicopter from Midtown Manhattan and is currently owned by retired local sheet metal contract Joseph Massaro who acquired the heart-shaped islet in 1996 for $700,000. At the time of Mister Massaro's purchase the island had only a (rather intriguing) 1,200 square foot cottage (above) designed and built in 1950 by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright for the island's previous owner, an engineer named A.K. Chahroudi. Mister Lloyd Wright had also designed a much larger, approximately 5,000 square foot main residence for Mister Chahroudi but the plans went unfinished and was the residence realized as Mister Chahroudi wasn't prepared to spend the $50,000 Mister Lloyd Wright estimated for construction.

As part of his 1996 purchase of the island Mister Massarro received Mister Lloyd Wright's renderings and floor plans for the unrealized main residence and subsequently hired architect and Frank Lloyd Wright historian Thomas A. Heinz to complete and execute the unfinished design.

The resulting residence, an angled and muscular mix of concrete, wood, stone and glass was completed in 2008. The result—at least to those not attuned to the nuances of FLW's signature architectural contrivances and conventions—appears much in line with a FLW-designed house: There are wrap-around and cantilevered decks galore; half a dozen monolithic fireplaces, both indoors and out; large if awkwardly shaped public space, not always seamlessly incorporated topography (i.e. boulders); and a ceiling of interlocking triangular skylights; long rows of mahogany-framed glass doors that allow for a smooth integration between indoor and outdoor spaces.

The existing house is not without its critics who scream and stomp their feet that the design is not pure and does not hew closely enough to Frank Lloyd Wright's original intentions and/or architectural conventions. Indeed, to date the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has not certified the house as a Frank Lloyd Wright design, a snub that has long infuriated the current owner who is, technically, only supposed to refer or market the main residence as "inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright."

Whether Miz Jolie and Mister Pitt bought Petra Island—and it appears they did not—they still maintain an international collection of residences that include (but may not be limited to) a multi-residence compound in Los Angeles's Los Feliz area, an oceanfront compound near Santa Barbara (CA), an historic mansion in New Orleans (LA), a rustic spread in Cambodia, and Chateau Miraval, their 1,200-ish acre spread in the Provence region of France.

*Current digital listings for Petra Island don't reveal the asking price but in late 2012 it was widely reported to have a $20,000,000 price tag.

listing photos: Private Islands Online


Anonymous said...

Am I the only one over these no talent retreads?

Anonymous said...

Oh look, it's Jen Aniston at 4:51. Go away you bitter old broad. Don't you have a house to buy somewhere in the world or a new man to snag?

Michael Hampton said...


That pad doesnt look very safe for the Piit/ Jolie brood wouldnt you say? I mean there are boulders throughout the whole place and its surrounded by water. Will be interesting to find out if its true.


Sandpiper said...

Hi Michael. Welcome.

At first I felt this retreat was sort of Fred Flintstone-esque, even with FLW's site specific plans. But after watching a video tour by the island's owner, Mr. Massaro, he built it with so much heart that it captured mine too. Then again, with Wright, it's hard to pick a favorite. All unique in their own way.

Looking forward to LGB/LB's take. :)

Hoyt Clagwell said...

So many corners cut... It's a cheap-ass hack version of what could have been a magnificent FLlW house. It's just...soulless looking. What a wasted opportunity.

If a buyer were willing to put several million more into it, it could be reconstructed more in line with the architect's intentions.

Anonymous said...

Its like living in a rock-climbing gym! At first you see all these classic Wright features, then you look closer and go no no no no no. I can see why the Foundation is balking at its certification, as well they should.

Anonymous said...

This Lake Mahopoc property inspires the Rabbi to Talmudic debate: Who retains the criteria to determine and award posthumous design attributions? Five hundred years after the passing of Andrea Palladio, one regularly sees and reads of new homes described as Palladian, and not in the Palladian style. And in the grand Jewish tradition of answering a question with another question: Does copyright retention, in this case the Frank Lloyd Wright name, confer instant macher (Yiddish for expert and occasionally used with sarcasm), status upon the Foundation and remove it from the Wright historian?

There is one absolute: There are absolutely no karate chopped pillows, no orchids, no white slip covers and, alas, no sign of Staging Lady. Rather, with integrated planetary boulders, this inspired home reminds the Rabbi of the Jupiter II spaceship following an ever-so-brief meteor shower: "Danger Will Robinson! Danger!"

So, nu, who are the machers retaining the rights to confer ultimate design attributions? Why, Mama and the Kinderlach, of course!

Rabbi Hedda LaCasa

lil' gay boy said...

Could not really care less about "Brangelina", but this particular project has fascinated me for years.

The location is unparalleled, and the original Chahroudi Cottage resembles other Wrightian efforts, most notably Wright's most successful version of this design in San Anselmo, CA, the Berger House, for which he even designed a matching dog house at the behest of the owner's son (lucky dog!)

I admit to a certain ambivalence; despite the long-running disconnect between the Foundation & Taliesin Associated Architects (a spinoff of the school Wright founded during the Depression), I'd have to say I agree with the Foundation on this one -- it's like going to see a movie of one of your favorite books (say, The Great Gatsby, *meow*) and finding, once again, that the mark was missed.

Comparisons to Fallingwater were bound to be made, and thus the bar was set way too high for anything but a meticulous recreation of FLLW's design.

What resulted was a disappointing glimpse of what could have been -- Wright invented the "rubble stone wall" construction technique (seen in the Berger House & Taliesin West), where a wire frame was filled with loose stones & concrete poured into the form to "knit" it together -- here we see bits & pieces that resemble nothing so much as architectural acne.

But the siting of the house is true to the original design, and the fabric slightly less so; with a few million and the proper archtects, FLLW's vision might still be realized -- but it will take a wealthy zealot to make it so.

Petra's said...

I wonder if maybe the stories are true and the sellers were made to sign some strict NDA. The woman says, "it didn't sell yet" - well, that could simply mean that it's still in escrow and hasn't closed yet.

Sandspiper said...

LGB/LB, One of my big Meows back at cha. I was trying to be polite before, but you say what I didn't. My appreciation was for the infrastructure, granting that it's sound.

Those veneer specs of rock on the walls make me want to poke my eyes out. Just now zoomed in on Mama's pics, which I didn't do before. The place is a clusterfuck of wrong. Of course fit and finish is included.

Has been said that Mr. Wright had a somewhat erratic temperament. We'd have to peel him off the ceiling on this one.

Don't know where to start but do know it's self evident.

Anonymous said...

Marsha, honey..get over yourself. Your named after the eldest Brady female and a diet supplement. No wonder you are smitten with these two trolls.

Jessica said...

LOL @ 1:45. Obviously a Jennifer Aniston fan. Probably a barren old spinster just like her. Can't stand that ugly boring vanilla trash. She's obviously seething in jealousy that she's an ugly betty compared to Angelina and Angelina who had the kids she's always wanted with the man that left her. A big happy family meanwhile this pathetic vapid nobody of Aniston is buying up a real estate storm. How much money has she spent in real estate in the past 2 years? Does she do ANY sort of humanitarian work? All she does is buy homes.

Why does Aniston, an unmarried, childless loser need such big houses across the country? Obviously filing the void that was left when Brad went on to better and more beautiful things.

Anonymous said...

Nice readers out there: please know that seven of these posts are the product of one troll.

lil' gay boy said...

Jessica, hunny, get your panties un-bunched; Anon 1:45 mistakenly posted to this thread instead of the Fogarty one.

If it weren't for the fact that Ms. Jolie seems to be a confident woman who needs no defending, I'd suspect you (and your bitter diatribe against Ms. Aniston) were the product of her camp. And I suspect both Ms. Jolie & Ms. Aniston are highly amused by your comments.

And for my fine feathered friend; your remarks brought to mind this quote from John Greenleaf Whittier:

Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been.'

robroy said...

Other than the geometries and materials that house doesn't look a darned thing like FLW to me. More like a 1960s-70s civic building. And then when you look at the detailing- no way in heck! I almost wonder if the owner either wore the architect out or made revisions in the field. Even a second year design student would have mustered a better attempt.

But mostly I want to bleach my eyes after viewing about 4 iterations of what looks like a warm gray gyp board wall with faux stone intermittently glues on....

jim said...

inspection what the

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Unknown said...

great mahn..lucky pitt..i m also planning to find one in patna real estate to get some projects like this..