Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Emeril Lagasse Flips Out in New York City

SELLER: Emeril Lagasse
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $15,000,000
SIZE: 6,900 square feet, 6 full and 2 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Today we've opted for reasons well not explain to ride the coat tails of New York Post who appear to be the first to report that celebrity chef and culinary mini-tycoon Emeril Lagasse has flipped his nicely dressed limestone-clad New York City townhouse on the market with an asking price of $15,000,000.

Just because Your Mama ain't never eaten in one of Mister Lagasse's eateries, made use of one of his numerous cookbooks, watched a single one of his television programs or purchased any of the many products he endorses does not mean he isn't a very big fish in the culinary world. In addition to the dozen-plus restaurants he owns and executive chefs, the James Beard Award-winning thrice-married father of four, known for his Cajun and Creole spiced dishes, is a prolific cookbook author, television personality and, probably most lucratively, an eager endorser of a slew of products that range from dry goods (pasta sauces and etc.), to fresh produce, kitchen knives, cookware and electrical appliances. In 2008, the multi-tasking foodie sold the rights to all his various Emeril branded and licensed products (but not his restaurants) in a $50,000,000 deal with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, a deal that sorta makes him, with all due respect, one of Martha Stewart's bitches. BAM!

Interestingly and although he paid a pretty penny to own a mansion-sized townhouse in Manhattan, as far as Your Mama knows Mister Lagasse does not own a restaurant in New York City instead opting to plant his mostly eponymous professional feet in places like New Orleans, Orlando, Las Vegas and Bethlehem, PA.

Some of the children who have long paid rapt attention to the New York City celebrity real estate scene may recall it was only just over two years ago that the puissant hash slinger purchased the fairly recently renovated six-story (plus basement) residence that had a long and arduous listing history. The fine folks at StreetEasy reveal the approximately 18-foot wide townhouse had been on the market since August of 2006 when it showed up with as asking price of $11,250,000, a figure that over the first couple of years, as the soup-to-nuts renovation progressed, climbed to $14,995,000. After a year at that number, the price tag plummeted to $12,995,000 and three weeks after that it dropped dramatically again to $11,500,000. Mister Lagasse soon moseyed along and paid the full asking price.

A quick and entirely unscientific comparison of current listing photos with listing photos from the time of his acquisition indicate Mister Legasse hasn't made many (if any) significant alterations to the the townhouse so we're not quite sure what warrants the $3,500,000 increase in price/value but we'll let all y'all New York City property experts duke that one out in the comments iffin you so chose.

The symmetrical Georgian style townhouse, originally erected in 1910, has an all-new Indiana limestone front facade that towers over a small planted garden that separates the busy city street from the front door that opens into a windowed entry vestibule with dual coat closets. The intimate vestibule opens into a grand, marble floored foyer with heated limestone floor and antique marble fireplace.

At the rear of the residence on the street/entry level a full-width eat-in kitchen has a radiant heated floor that makes Your Mama's cold-blooded house gurl Svetlana ache with envy, walls lined with custom walnut cabinetry, a Chevy-sized Carrara marble-topped center island lit by a glitzy chandelier, two side-by-side Sub-Zero fridge/freezers, commerical-grade range with double over, a 150-bottle wine fridge, walk-in pantry, and a wide bank of open and glass-fronted shelves for displaying cook books and other culinary knick-knacks and gew-gaws.

The kitchen is open to and steps down to an informal dining room with herringbone patterned oak floors, a built-in banquette opposite a marble-columned built-in entertainment center, and a wall of windows and French doors that open out to a fully landscaped formal garden with outdoor dining table.

The fully-finished basement level, accessible only by stair and not by elevator, contains a playroom/gym, full bathroom, laundry room with sink, multiple utility and mechanical closets and a wood-paneled temperature controlled wine cellar that even the fussiest sommelier swoon with oenophilic aphrodisia.

The parlor floor, one floor up from the street/entry level, has regal 14-foot ceilings and a discreet wet bar with built-in ice maker tucked off the center all where it's easily accessible from the both the formal dining and living room. In the north facing dining room, located so far from the kitchen a hot meal could easily go luke warm in transit, there's an antique marble fireplace, a trio of windows with street view, luscious herringbone patterned oak flooring, a brassy-looking crystal chandelier huge far too high–it should be no more than 36" from the top of the table–and a beautifully articulated ceiling with wide moldings and quatrefoil detailing that we can only hope was rendered in plaster. The rich-looking herringbone patterned hardwood floors extend into the sizable but not baronial south facing formal living room that features yet another antique marble fireplace plus a wall of windows and French doors that open to a narrow terrace that overlooks the backyard.

The full-floor master suite encompasses a sunny south facing bedroom with fireplace and French doors to deep private terrace, two walk-in closets plus a custom-fitted dressing room, and a bedroom-sized bathroom with yummy heated floor, Carrara marble accents, a free-stranding Agape soaking tub, separate step-in steam shower, double sinks, and an enclosed terlit cubicle with window for p.p.p. That is, as so-labeled by one of the children, proper pooper placement.

Each of the two floors directly above the master suite encompass two bedrooms with private facilities. One floor has a convenient kitchenette  for the two a.m. candy and hooch runs and the other has a second laundry room–the other is in the basement if y'all recall–that even the most hardcore and/or athletic of housekeepers can appreciate.

A barrel-vaulted sky light runs the length of the penthouse level comprised of a full kitchen (with dishwasher), half bathroom, and a sun-splashed multi-functional room–it could be a home office, media room/den, Pilates or quilting studio–that opens through a wide wall of French doors to a definitely considerable but far from capacious roof terrace.

Because the townhouse mansion was recently and completely renovated the old-school finishes hide a new-fangled under carriage that includes all new mechanical systems and high-tech luxuries such as home automation, integrated security, six-zone heating and cooling, water filtration, and sprinklers.

The New York Post reported the the rather rotund Mister Lagasse, who has two young children with his third and (as far as we know) current wife, wants to relocate to a smaller residence in the city.

In addition to the purchase and subsequent recent listing of the Manhattan townhouse, Mister Lagasse has a couple other recent real estate transactions under his belt. In May 2010, not long after he acquired the townhouse he no longer wants, Mister Lagasse sold a substantial apartment at the Beekman Regent Condominium complex at 351 East 51st Street. The 4,022 square foot loft-like 2-unit combination condo encompasses 4-5 bedrooms, 4 full and 2 half bathrooms, an open plan living/dining/kitchen area, a second kitchen. He first heaved the apartment on the market in mid-February 2009 at $7,650,000. By March 2010 the price had been chopped half a dozen times to $4,850,000 and finally in May (2010) the apartment was sold for for $4,600,000

Property records show that three or four months later, in August 2010, Mister Lagasse also sold a manor house in gated English Turn Golf and Country Club community in New Orleans for $1,400,000. Listing information Your Mama enticed out of the interweb shows the three-story stone mansion (shown above) sits on a private 1.19 acre peninsula bordered by a narrow canal across which is the manicured golf course. The manor-ish mansion measures in at 8,175 square feet and contains 5 bedrooms each with private facility, two additional half bathrooms, formal and informal living areas, a super-sleek stainless steel kitchen, 3 car garage, shaded terraces, a screened porch–a feature Your Mama loves like the dickens–and a swimming pool and spa for submerged pursuits and entertainments. Given the Mister Lagasse has deep personal and professional roots in New Orleans we expect he maintains or plans to maintain a residence in The Big Easy however we're unaware of him owning any residential real estate in New Orleans at this point.

listing photos (New York): Gumley Haft Kleier
listing photos (New Orleans): Talbot Realty Group

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Real Estate Tale of Amar'e Stoudemire: Part II

Yesterday Your Mama started our lengthy two-part odyssey on the many recent real estate activities of professional basketball player Amar'e Stoudemire that included a spin 'round the decidedly meretricious single-story mansion in Southwest Ranches, FL he recently scooped up for a hefty $3,700,000. Today we continue our delve into the depths of Mister Stoudemire's real estate matters with a more complete looks see at his once prodigious property portfolio and the recent sell off a number of his luxury residences that have resulted in a multi-million dollar gut punch to his pocketbook.

As a lavishly compensated Knick, Amar'e Stoudemire makes his home base in downtown New York City where he's reported to lease a multi-terraced full-floor penthouse atop a full-service mid-rise building on the trés-sheek and dernier cri border of the West Village and Meatpacking District neighborhoods. At least one report posits the power forward ponies up a mouth-drying $37,500 each month to occupy the downtown penthouse owned, as per property records, by a Rebecca and Bruce Bent II.

Missus Bent, iffin anyone might be curious, is an entrepreneurial gourmet condiment queen and Mister Bent is an (in)famous money market fund financier who has long been entangled in an ugly legal imbroglio with the SEC over gruesome financial matters far too vexing for Your Mama to properly parse or even, frankly, understand.

Property records show the penthouse, actually a combination of two separate but essentially equal penthouses, was purchased by Mister and Missus Bent in two transactions, the first portion in November 2000 for $2,100,000 and the second half in February 2005 for $5,300,000. A few quick flicks of Your Mama's bejeweled abacus shows the Bents spent a total of $7,400,000 for two apartments not counting the high costs of combination and customization nor the monthly common charges and taxes that run, as per StreetEasy, just shy of $7,000 per month.

Your Mama can not confirm Mister Stoudemire actually pays $37,500 per month to occupy the sprawling penthouse pad but we can confirm, based on our research on the internets, that from March until August 2009 the natty nest was available at a listed rate of $29,000 per month. Our admittedly haphazard investigation also turned up a number of (no longer active) online listings that show Mister and Missus Bent put their contemporary aerie up for sale in December 2008 with a $16,500,000 price tag, a figure that was later lowered to $14,500,000 before it was taken off the market in August 2009.

floor plan: Brown Harris Stevens via StreetEasy

The floor plan for the Bent penthouse included with several of the (now inactive) online listings accessible via Streeteasy indicates the apartment spans approximately 4,365 square feet and contains 4-5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, 4 exposures, 3 terraces that total more than 3,500 square feet with sensational Hudson River and city views, 2 fireplaces, 2 living rooms, and a completely kitted-out open-plan kitchen plus a recreation room and a bi-winged library. Now inactive online listings also reveal monthly common charges and taxes for the combined penthouse–paid by the lessor and not the lessee, natch–run just shy of $7,000 per month.

Mister Stoudemire reportedly also leases a house in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles (CA) we know nil about but assume ain't cheap and, until recently, he leased a modestly-sized apartment at the not-exactly-inexpensive Trump Tower at City Center in White Plains, NY. The 20th floor apartment in White Plains, located in Westchester Country just north of New York City and near where the Knicks practice their dribbles, passes and swish shots, is reportedly owned by Golden State Warrior David Lee, whoever that is.

The freshly procured (and, as far as we're concerned, beastly) mansion in Southwest Ranches, FL is not the first piece of Florida real estate owned by Mister Stoudemire. In addition to an itty-bitty and unequivocally humble abode in his hometown of Lake Wales purchased in August 2003, Mister Tall, Dark and Handsome also briefly owned a sexed-up penthouse in Miami Beach at The Residences at W South Beach. Property records reveal he sold the South Beach penthouse in August of this year (2011) for $5,200,000.

 photos: Sotheby's International Realty

Mister Stoudemire acquired the airy and very contemporary penthouse (shown above), as per records, in July 2009 for $5,575,000. Anyone with eyeballs and a third grade mathematics education can plainly see the property-mad ball player took a $375,000 loss on not counting carrying costs or the $3,300 per month he paid in maintenance fees for the libidinal penthouse.

Listing information we persuaded out of the interweb shows the glassy penthouse has 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and was all done down with a crisp but cliché black, white and gray palette. In addition to the 2,428 square feet of interior space that includes an open plan living/dining/kitchen area with ocean view, the posh pad has more than 2,700 square feet of city and ocean view balconies and terraces that offer spacious lounging area(s) with at least one outdoor television, a partially shaded dining area with summer kitchen/barbecue center, and a private plunge pool where Mister Stoudemire and his lady-guests could skinny dip with a clear view of the aquamarine Atlantic Ocean.

Prior to working his stuff for the New York Knicks, Mister Stoudemire did his basketball thing for the Phoenix Suns for 7 or 8 seasons so it's really not very surprising the man's property portfolio has included a fair number of high-cost and high-maintenance properties in the southwestern desert city, most of which have been sold off in the last 10 or 12 months at significant losses.

photo: Realty Executives via Home Finder

As best as Your Mama can tell Mister Stoudemire purchased his first property in Phoenix in March 2004 when he scooped up a 3,542 square foot condominium situated on the 8th floor of the 14-story Esplanade Place complex for which he paid $1,675,000. In June 2006 the budding property mogul splashed out another $1,775,000 to snatch up the 2,928 square foot condo next door. The full-service building includes a roof-top swimming pool, a clubroom with catering kitchen for larger parties, conference room and 24-7 security.

Redfin shows the first unit was first heaved on to the market (at an unknown price) in mid-February 2008. The 2 bedroom and 3 bathroom condo crib was on and off the market until late September 2011 when, at long last, the white elephant was unloaded for $1,300,000. Once again it doesn't take many if any flicks of Your Mama's bejeweled abacus to see that, like with his Miami Beach penthouse, Mister Stoudemire took a hefty $375,000 loss on the property.

The second condo (shown above) was also first listed in mid-February 2008 and has also been taken off and put back on the market a number of times over the succeeding years. In June of this year (2011), the 2 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom condominium was re-listed (and is currently listed) with an asking price of $1,375,000. The asking price as it stands means that even if Mister Stoudemire manages to pull a real estate rabbit out of a hat and coax a buyer to pay full price for the unit he still stands to lose another $400,000.

In October 2005, between the purchases of the two above mentioned adjacent condos at Esplanade Place, Mister Stoudemire dropped another $4,750,000 to secure a 2-plus acre pond-front estate in the swanky Biltmore Estates enclave that girdles the Arizona Biltmore Country Club. More on this property in a moment.

photo: Google

Property records show in October 2006, just a year after buying the big estate at the Biltmore Estates, Mister Stoudemire paid $1,325,000 for a 3,954 square foot single-level residence (shown above) with a clover-shaped swimming pool in an affluent but perfectly ordinary neighborhood in central Phoenix. As far as Your Mama can tell, the property is not currently on the market and remains in Mister Stoudemire's slimmed down portfolio.

photo: Google

Although he needed another house in Phoenix like a person needs a damn hole in their head, in November 2007 Mister Stoudemire coughed up $1,900,000 to purchase a 5,570 square foot mini-mansion in south Phoenix with 6 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms (shown above). Redfin show the two-story southwestern-style quasi-contemporary was pushed on to the market in mid-September 2011 with an asking price of $1,499,000 and quickly sold for the substantially lower price of $1,300,000, a sale price that represents an astonishing $600,000 loss for Mister Stoudemire.

listing photos: Realty Executives via Sawbuck

Now then, let's get back to that multi-parcel property at the Biltmore Estates in Phoenix that Mister Stoudemire picked up back in 2005 for $4,750,000 and first listed at a million dollar loss on the open market in January 2011 with an asking price of $3,800,000.

Listing information we managed to cajole out of the interweb shows the architecturally vague and stylistically undefinable (mc)mansion measures 7,500 square feet–the Maricopa County Tax Man shows it as 6,523 square feet–and includes 5 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms.

The all-beige, -tan and -taupe interior spaces encompass a double-height foyer with some truly mortifying glass and iron front doors, a marble-floored step-down formal living room with too small black marble fireplace mantel, a formal dining room with built in china/stemware cabinet, an eat-in kitchen with white cabinetry and black granite counter tops, and a 400-square foot family room/den with full-sized built in bar-pub, built-in entertainment cabinet and a long bank of French doors that open to outdoor entertainment areas and expansive grounds.

The acre-plus landscaped backyard, which listing information calls "resort style," offers an over-sized swimming pool with nearby ramada for escaping the punishing summertime desert sunshine, a separate elevated circular spa surrounded by towering palm trees, a lighted and walled tennis court, and rolling lawns criss-crossed and ringed by a concrete walking/jogging/golf cart path.

It's all a bit nouveau for our particular and snooty taste in residential real estate but apparently there are any number of wealthy folks who covet such cribs that lack any authentic architectural integrity. After Mister Stoudemire slashed the asking price of the property in June (2011) from $3,800,000 to $3,100,000 along came such a person in the form of a local tire tycoon named Gerald Fletcher who, according to the deeds and documents we peeped, paid $2,750,000 for the remodeled 1978 mansion. That purchase price represents a truly staggering $2,000,000 loss on the property for Mister Stoudemire.

A tall and stiff gin and tonic steeled Your Mama's jangled nerves before we dared to take on the task of tallying up the total amount Mister Stoudemire's ill-timed real estate purchases and sales have cost him; Not counting the four hundred grand he stands to lose when the second of his two condos in Phoenix finally sells, the fortunately well-paid and undeniably accomplished professional basketball player has lost a whopping $3,350,000 in just the last year.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Real Estate Tale of Amar'e Stoudemire: Part I

BUYER: Amar'e Stoudemire
LOCATION: Southwest Ranches, FL
PRICE: $3,700,000
SIZE: 14,555 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms (total)

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Before any of y'all get to sassin' do hear this: Your Mama well knows we are tardy to this here celebrity property party. None-the-less, we think can offer, in our shamelessly and shamefully wind-baggish two-part series, a more complete picture of the real estate picture of New York Knick Amar'e Stoudemire who has been on a bone fide real estate tear this year that includes the recent purchase of a $3,700,000 (mc)mansion in the quasi-rural suburbs between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, FL.

In early November 2011 there was bit of business in the New York Post about professional basketballer Amar'e Stoudemire putting the squeeze on his pocketbook due (in part, so goes the report) to the recent (and now tentatively ended) NBA lock-out, an event Your Mama does not know a damn thing about other than it means the 2011-12 season has been on hold while the players and the owners duke it out in mediation, adjudication, arbitration or whatever it is people do in big time labor disputes. It should surprise few that Your Mama had never heard of Amar'e Stoudemire–'tis entirely true–and we certainly hadn't (and haven't) an iota why such a daring and unexpectedly placed apostrophe dissevers his name. We took a half-hearted moment to peruse the piece in the Post and quickly scampered along without giving neither his name nor his financial matters another thought.

A few weeks later along came gossip juggernaut TMZ who dropped a humid real estate nugget about this Amar'e Stoudemire person splashing out $3,700,000 to purchase a prodigious mansion in some place called Southwest Ranches, FL. That seemed to Your Mama like a pretty big purchase price for a place in sub-prime mortgage ravaged Florida that we've never heard of before. Our interest piqued and prodded we did some research on Mister Stoudemire that included a look-see at his recent real estate activities, which, as it turns out, have been prolific if quite costly for the highly-compensated professional dribbler.

With all due respect for our scuttle butting compadres at TMZ, we discovered Mister Stoudemire's real real estate story isn't only about the gigantic, garish and architecturally suspicious (mc)mansion he bought in Southwest Ranches, FL for $3,700,000 but rather the several millions of dollars he's lost on the significant number of other properties he's recently dumped from his once-considerable property portfolio.

Before we delve in to that bit of real estate bidness, let's do the right thing and cover our celebrity real estate bases–or goal posts or whatever they have in basketball–and quickly educate the less athletically inclined puppies about just who this unusually named Amar'e Stoudemire person is and why he qualifies to be included in our (admittedly not very exclusive) celebrity real estate sights.

Besides tennis and curling, as all the children know, Your Mama doesn't know a solitary thing about sports, partick the golden triad of organized, American-style professional athletics: football, baseball and basketball. Having no recognition, recollection and/or knowledge whatsoever of just what makes Amar'e Stoudemire sports-world famous we picked up our Princess phone and dialed up our ball crazy b.f.f. Fiona Trambeau who, after shaking of her mid-day boozy-wooze with a few gargled shrieks, informed us Mister Stoudemire is a "quite young, sensationally strapping and deliciously tatted up cup of steaming hot chocolate who can handle [my] her basketballs at any time and at any place of his choosing." She implored Your Mama, in fact, to post her mobile phone number here so Mister Stoudemire could contact her directly and–natch–we told her we would but only so as to get her to shut her lascivious trap and move on to the meat of the matter, so to speak.

Of course, we have no intention of posting Miss Trambeau's ring-a-ling digits. Your Mama could not in a thousand years subject just any curious person who might make an impromptu call to the often agitated, always saucy (and usually sauced up) Fiona Trambeau. Our Fiona would probably pee with glee were Mister Stoudemire to actually ring her telephone bell but–trust chickens–that crafty beehawtch would figure out a way to transmit mortal violence through the phone wires were just any ol' person who isn't Mister Stoudemaire to call because they thought it would be cute to chat up Fiona Trambeau. Besides, she'll never read this. Fiona does do celebrities but she absolutely does not do celebrity real estate, so she'll never know. She's probably already forget she asked us to post the damn number anyways.

Between a lathered up Fiona Trambeau and a few easily accessed articles on the interweb, we did finally learn all sorts of things including that Mister Stoudemire was a late bloomer to basketball. He only started passing and shooting in organized leagues at age 14. He took to the sport elementally and advanced quickly to become one of the best high-school ball players in all of the state of Florida. It's not clear to Your Mama if Mister Stoudemire ever finished college or even matriculated and, honestly, either way it's irrelevant to our tale of real estate highs and lows. What we did confirm is that in 2002, when just a young but tall ball player of 19 or 20 years old, Mister Stoudemire was drafted by the Phoenix Suns for whom he pounded the hardwoods to great acclaim and award with his hard and powerful 6'10" frame until sometime in 2010.

At that point, in early 2010, the accomplished ball player signed the necessary papers to switch his professional affiliations over to the New York Knicks who, according to some reports, were so hot and bothered to sign the then 27 year old 5-time All-Star player they agreed to pony up just shy of $100,000,000 over the course a five year contract. One hundred million dollars, puppies, and that's not counting the additional multi-millions he can easily rake in each year from endorsement deals and the many more potential millions from his outside-basketball business endeavors that include a record label (Hypocalypto) and a recent assist to fashion designer Rachel Roy to create a limited line of ladies clothing described as "court side apparel for the fashion-forward female."

Now children, Your Mama don't know a perspiring glass of swate tay from a god damn tater tot but we do know enough about the business of women's garmentry to make the uneducated judgement that Rachel Roy knows a thing or two about how to dress a gal on the go with a yen for clean-lined sophistication and a modest budget. However, children, in our itty-bitty pea brain, that edging-on-wanton description of the Roy/Stoudemire clothing collaboration describes something rather more dire sounding, an habiliment short on yardage and probably a little bit (too) tight and/or one-sleeved, something that aches to be worn with either a pair of sky-high porn pumps with girlish ankle-socks or some sort of faux-sporty wedge-heeled sneaker-style situation that makes a twisted mockery of both the high heel and the hard working athletic shoe.

Anyhoodles poodles, in addition to spending a few million for a new (mc)mansion in Southwest Florida, Mister Stoudemire has recently divested himself of a number of other properties at considerable financial loss, a magnificent sell-off that may (or may not) have something to do with budget concerns. Simmer down, buckaroos. We're not saying Mister Stoudemire's broke or anything like that. We certainly ain't privy to the particulars of Mister Stoudemire's pocketbook and we make no claims as to his net worth, income and other cash flow, complete list of assets and/or cash reserves (or lack thereof). We're just saying there sometimes comes a time in a very young and filthy rich man's life–maybe a time like when an all-but-ruined 2011 season could, by his own account, keep about twenty million George Washingtons from walking their way into his coffers–when it's prudent and wise to prune the property tree to ease up on the amount of dough required to maintain, make the mortgages and pay the rent on more than half a dozen high-priced properties on both coasts and in between.

At one point in the not so distant past, before he acquired the (pseudo-)palatial pile in Southwest Ranches (FL), the property portfolio of the now New York-based power forward and center ballooned with a leased a pied-a-terre in a Donald Trump-developed complex in White Plains, NY (near where the Knicks training grounds are located), a pricy penthouse in downtown Manhattan (NY), and a house in the Hollywood Hills (CA). He also owned a sexed-up penthouse in Miami Beach plus a pair of adjacent condos in a fancy building in Phoenix, AZ as well as three high-priced and high-maintenance single-family (mc)mansions, also in Phoenix.

Before we get Mister Stoudemire's portfolio thinning, let's first take a brief spin through Mister Stoudemire's most recent real estate acquisition, the aforementioned mansion in Southwest Ranches, FL he picked up last month for, as per property records and previous reports, $3,700,000.

A quick consult with our high-tech atlas shows this Southwest Ranches place is 35 miles northwest of South Beach, 25 miles or so southwest of the beaches of Fort Lauderdale and just a few short miles from where Flahreeduh's Escalade-saturated suburban civilization turns to the swampy, alligator-infested Everglades.

Listing information for sprawling single-story mcmansion shows it sits on 2.33 gated and landscaped acres in the Landmark Ranch Estates enclave, measures in at a considerable 14,555 square feet and includes a total of 6 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms.

A dead-straight pavered driveway leads from the street to a perfectly harrowing porte cochere held aloft by six round columns and bizarrely topped by a petite cupola. Etched glass front doors open to a marble-floored foyer that steps down to the formal living room complete with fireplace, built-in bar area, and a swimming pool view from a wall of towering windows. A short corridor off the living room opens to a library, small home office, 4-car garage and the master suite.

A butler's pantry connects the formal dining room to the family quarters, a large laundry room and the colossal kitchen complete with commercial-grade appliances and more faux-antiqued, totally custom, no doubt shockingly expensive, eggshell-colored cabinetry adorned with copious corbels and other carved details than we've ever had the misfortune of seeing in one kitchen at one time. A door in the kitchen leads directly into another attached 4-car garage and a wide snack counter separates the kitchen itself from an approximately 800-square foot family room/breakfast area.

The adjacent state-of-the-art home theater done up by the sellers–a man who made some of his money selling aggressively banal "art" on cruise ships–like a god damn bordello with blood red shag carpeting, red and black patterned fabric-covered walls, carved wood pilasters and nine jet black recliner-style theater seats with built-in cup holders. We get the desire for decorative drama and a spot of cliché Hollywood glamor in a home movie theater, but lowerd have mercy, no.

Three family bedrooms pinwheel around a playroom space and share three bathrooms in a separate wing off the kitchen/family room complex. The master suite occupies it's own private wing at the opposite end of the house and includes a large bedroom and sitting area with built-in entertainment center, a wall of windows and French doors that open to a covered veranda, two bedroom-sized walk-in closets, a separate exercise room, and a super-sized beige marble bathroom with twin vanities, his and her enclosed crapper cubicles–hers has a bee-day too–and a jetted soaking tub for two and separate  double-entry shower.

An outdoor (but covered) summer kitchen connects the main house to an entertainment pavilion/guest house comprised of 2 bedrooms, 1 bathrooms and an almost 600-square foot living/billiard room with stone tile flooring, soaring ceiling, and a carved wood built-in wet bar with more than enough shelf space and cabinetry to please even the most hardcore booze hound.

Rooms at the rear of the residence give out to about 3,000 square feet of deep and wide covered veranda space that includes various lounging and dining areas as the previously mentioned a fully-equipped summer kitchen complete with sinks, refrigerators, warming ovens, and even an Fiat-sized ice maker which sound absurdly huge until you remember that it gets obscenely hot and humid in Florida and a commercial-grade ice maker is, as Marthat Stewart famously said, "a good thing." The stone tile flooring continues beyond the veranda and summer kitchen areas to surround a free-form, lagoon-style swimming pool with party-sized spa and faux-rock formation with swirling water slide.

Beyond the swimming pool area there's some vegetated gardens and lawns that give way to a narrow, sad little canal that looks in aerial images like a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other flying vermin.

Stay tuned for part two during which we'll discuss the many and various other properties Mister Stoudemire has recently sold at a hair raising loss.

listing photos: Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate / Weston Town Center via Planomatic

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pam Anderson Puts Malibu Beach House Up for Rent

OWNER: Pam Anderson
PRICE: $20,000/week or $75,000/month
SIZE: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms (plus a backyard wigwam)

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A little birdie out in the Bu came chirp-chirping along this morning to let Your Mama know that bodacious (h)actress Pam Anderson has put her recently completed "Romantic Malibu Beach House" up for lease on the Vacation Rental By Owner website (VRBO) at the sky-high but not unheard for Malibu rates of $20,000 per week or $75,000 per month.

Back in the fall of 2009 there were scads of scandalous reports that Miz Anderson–then living in Malibu's trendiest trailer park while her house in the Colony was under (re-)construction–had fallen on hard financial times and didn't have the dough-re-mi to complete the multi-million dollar renovations. Miz Anderson admitted she was in dispute with a number of subcontractors who filed legal claims over unpaid bills for work they performed at the residence but denied the issue wasn't whether she could afford to pay the bills or not, but rather whether the bills were fair and accurate.

A personal note from Miz Anderson on the VRBO listing declares the curvaceous sexpot and mother of two is "willing to share her [my] masterpiece" in Malibu because she's "traveling so much these days" and "enjoying a lot more time in her [my] native Canada."

Listing information shows the teak-sided and pet-friendly contemporary sits on the landward-side of the guard-gated and celebrity stocked Malibu Colony enclave, includes 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms and was decorated by Miz Anderson herself. Given that the listing photos are so high contrast and bizarrely blown out Your Mama's boozy eyeballs cain't make heads or tails of the interior spaces other than to say that white appears to be the dominant color, if white can indeed be a color.

A discreet gate at the street leads to a small front courtyard where listing information states an "ultra-wide swinging door" opens to the teak-floored open-plan interior spaces that include an airy living room with fireplace, baby grand piano and massive sliding glass doors that when open obliterate the division between indoors and out. The well-equipped kitchen has high-grade appliances and push activated cabinets and drawers.

A teak staircase climbs to the second floor where two guest/family bedrooms each have computer desks, flat screen HD tee-vees with surround sound and wireless Apple systems. The bedrooms share a bathroom with steam shower.

The master suite, also on the second floor, has a white marble wood-burning fireplace, burled wood closet doors, a wall of sliding windows that open to a large private deck that overlooks the backyard swimming pool and mountains. The bedroom is open to the bathroom just in case anyone wants to watch their bed-mate bathe in the free standing soaking tub that's plainly visible from the bedroom. There's also a glass-enclosed shower, detoxifying Finnish sauna equipped with tee-vee–what wants to watch the damn news or reality television while taking a sauna?–and a long vanity with plenty of room for perfumes and make-up applications.

A private staircase accessible only through the master bedroom climbs up to a roof terrace with poured concrete fireplace, views over the Malibu Lagoon and media mogul Jerrold Perenchio's private golf course.

A deep deck with a "green egg charcoal barbecue"extends off the rear of the residences main floor and surrounds a saltwater swimming pool with swim-up wet bar. The backyard also has a "huge tipi"–whatever that is–fig and avocado trees, a vegetable and herb garden, and a wigwam. That's right, a wigwam.

Other amenities include two-car enclosed garage, direct and nearby access to one of the most prized (and all but private) stretches of sand in all of Malibu, celebrity-style security complete with closed-circuit cameras, WiFi, an integrated home theater system and a high-tech home automation system controlled by custom remotes and iPads set into flush-mounted iPorts. The high monthly price covers housekeeping services and a vegetarian chef can be added for additional charges.

listing photos: Vacation Rental By Owner

Friday, November 25, 2011

Is Bruce Willis Bailing on Hailey?

SELLER: Bruce Willis
PRICE: $15,000,000
SIZE: 8,403 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: The turkey tryptophans have left Your Mama more than a little drowsy today but we none the less want to give the children who aren't shopping their little holiday hearts out a little celebrity real estate tidbit to chew on this Black Friday.

As was reported earlier in the week by various celebrity real estate gossips, Golden Globe and Emmy winning actor/action star Bruce Willis listed one of his many properties in the rural and rugged mountains of Hailey, ID with an asking price of $15,000,000.

Mister Willis's big break in Tinseltown came in the mid-1980s with a role as a cavalier detective on Moonlighting opposite actress Cybill Shepherd. However, he is perhaps most known as an action movie star who remains in high demand even as he gets longer in the tooth.

Mister Willis, who purchased and then extensively renovated the property near the Sun Valley ski resort in 2003, says he's selling because he doesn't spend much time there anymore. Of course i was only in 2009 Mister Willis married much younger moe-dell/(h)actress/designer Emma Heming (Perfect Stranger, Perfume) and last month it was announced the May-December newlyweds had a baby on board and all the children know that for rich and famous types a new wife and/or a new baby often means a new house.

Listing information and earlier reports show the secluded and thickly wooded 20-ish acre lake-front spread includes luxurious main house that measures 8,403 with six bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms plus a separate guest house and gym custom-built by the still fit-as-a-fiddle at 50-something year old Mister Willis.

A long and wide entrance hall lined with French doors leads to a substantially-sized sunken living room with hardwood floors, vaulted and beamed ceiling held aloft by sturdy log posts and a full wall of shelves for knick knacks and other paddy whacks. The living room is twice anchored by two hulking stone fireplaces, one with massive stone chimney breast flanked by towering windows with view of the swimming pool and surrounding mountains and the other with a simple, chunky wood mantelpiece where Mister Willis displays some of his professional accolades including his two Emmy statuettes.

The capacious but cozy Craftsman-style kitchen has high ceilings, a large pantry and vast center island with snack counter, a window-wrapped east-facing breakfast room, and a complete complement of commercial-grade appliances including two dishwashers and two refrigerators that combined surely cost more than many if not most people earn in an entire year.

One of the five family/guest bedrooms in the main house has a fireplace–not to mention a bed frame festooned with Tibetan prayer flags–and the expansive master suite offers a fireplace of its own plus a private sitting area, built-in desk and bookshelves, two heated decks, a multi-winged walk-in closet with built-in dressers and shelves, and a big ol' bathroom with dual sinks, jetted soaking tub and a gigantic glass and granite steam shower that includes a window with view of the surrounding mountains.

A vast terrace extends off the rear of the residence and wraps around a humongous, pond-sized heated swimming pool and spa with water slide, rope swing and a waterfall or two. Mister Willis reportedly added several ponds and streams around the fenced and secured property that includes electronic drive gates that open to a long heated driveway.

Besides his extensive property holdings in Idaho Mister Willis's property portfolio bulges with owns a goodly number of other luxury properties that include a Caribbean getaway on the private island of Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos and a pair of combined condos situated on a high floor of Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan that property records indicate the Die Hard star acquired in November 2000 for $5,250,000.

Mister Willis also owns a number of impressive and expensive properties in the Los Angeles Area that include an 11 bedroom and 11 bathroom pile in Beverly Hills he picked up in June 2003 for $9,000,000. Some of his nearest neighbors/property owners in Bev Hills include multi-billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, recently deceased Tinseltown legend Peter Falk, and the inestimable coochie-cooer Charo.

Property records also show Mister Willis owns a swathe of remote acreage nestled in to the Santa Monica Mountains between Malibu and Calabasas as well as half a dozen or more vacant parcels that comprise an entire ravine off Mulholland Drive above Sherman Oaks, CA. A separate but contiguous Mulholland Drive parcel contains a 2,905 square foot ranch style residence he snatched up way back in August 1987 for $1,175,000.

Your Mama doesn't know if Mister Willis plans to unload all his property in Idaho but we do know he is in the mood to shake up (and slim) his fat property portfolio. In July (2011) he sold a 2,318 square foot condo at the Trump Place complex in New York City for $3,900,000 and in April (2011) we discussed a nightclub in Hailey (ID) he had listed with an asking price of $5,995,000. The nightclub, called The Mint, remains on the market but with a reduced price tag of $4,500,000.

Mister Willis and his ex-wife Demi Moore still own a number of vacant parcels, commercial buildings and private residences in and around Hailey including the Soldier Mountain ski area and a estate just up the road from the one Mister Willis recently listed that he quit-claimed over to Miz Moore last yea.

listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty / Sun Valley

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving...

...From Your Mama, the Dr. Cooter, our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly, our mean ol' pussy Sugar and a few classic mid-century modern houses in Palm Springs. 

 photos: Your Mama

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Let's Look-see at Sue Mengers' Bev Hills Party Pad

SELLER: estate of Sue Mengers
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $4,995,000
SIZE: 4,434 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: All the children know that brevity ain't Your Mama's strong point. However, because we're well beyond fashionably late to this particular real estate party and because we have a very complicated pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap cookie crust to make–from scratch, natch–we're going keep our prattle to a bare minimum today.

About a month ago legendary talent agent turned Hollywood hostess-with-the-mostess Sue Mengers died at the age of 79...78 or or 81 depending on who you ask and where you read. Miz Mengers, in case any of y'all don't know, was a diminutive Tinseltown dynamo, a wonderfully zaftig powerhouse über-agent who often wore over-sized round glasses and possessed what surely was one of the most extensive collections of caftans in the entire world.

She used her sharp wit, fearlessly blunt manner and innate showbiz savvy to become the most powerful agent who over the years represented just about anyone and everyone who was or became anyone important in Hollywood including Barbra Streisand, Jack Nicholson, Mike Nichols, Ali McGraw, Peter Bogdanovich, Faye Dunaway, Bob Fosse, Cybill Shepard, Sidney Lumet, Cher, Michael Caine, Ryan O'Neal and on and on and on.

Besides engineering and steering the careers of countless Hollywood icons, Miz Mengers was equally well-known for her low-key but star-studded salon-style dinners, first at a small modern house on Dawnridge Drive in Beverly Hills where, according to a 1987 article in the L.A. Times, "Julie Christie met Princess Margaret" and "John Travolta met Laurence Olivier" and later at the gigantic French Normandy-style mansion on Bel Air Road she bought in 1977 from Zsa Zsa Gabor.

In May 1988, shortly after Miz Mengers officially retired, she shelled out $2,000,000 to acquire her final home and party pad, a spectacular salmon-colored John Elgin Woolf-designed Hollywood Regency-style residence on Lexington Road in Beverly Hills that was listed in the weeks after her death with an asking price of $4,995,000.

Listing information shows the immaculately maintained (if not entirely updated) single story residence was built in 1959, measures 4,434 square feet and includes a total of three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The house, according to someone Your Mama knows who knows such things, was originally built for Los Angeles ranching and real estate scion and politician Alphonso Bell Jr. That's Bell, people, as in the cities and communities of Bell, Bell Gardens and–you got it–Bel Air.

The primary entertaining rooms include a sizable living room with fireplace that opens to the central courtyard through a curved wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, an intimately scaled oval dining room, and a library with second fireplace and full wall of built-in bookshelves. Your Mama is quite certain we'd pass out from envy just from perusing the titles of Miz Mengers' collection of books.

The master suite, according to listing information, has "dual closets" and two bathrooms, one oval-shaped with a campy-glam pink marble floor and oval-shaped soaking tub set into a mirrored niche. The children will know the "Oui Oui" pillow on the chair in the bathroom. It's really dumb but sort of brilliant all at the same time, right?

The house wraps around a magnificent oval-shaped courtyard lined with what listing information calls "slender Greek Revival columns. At the center of the courtyard an oval shaped swimming pool that makes Your Mama's knees go weak with real estate desire and envy. At the far end of the courtyard, directly opposite the living room, a wide set of stone steps that ascend to a small but very private and grassy yard enclosed by thick foliage and mature shade trees.

The trustee responsible for the sale of the property is none other than billionaire entertainment mogul David Geffen who has set up the sale of the property so that all best and final offers on the house be submitted by December 7, 2011. According to the listing agent's website more than 125 interested parties have toured the property and with that Your Mama expects the house will have many and multiple offers and will eventually result in a sale price well above the $4,995,000 asking price. We predict the sale price will be millions more but then again, what do we know?

Your Mama and we imagine every other architectural enthusiast and (arm chair) historian can only hope Miz Mengers' manse is purchased by someone who will cherish and maintain the house in a manner respectful to Mister Woolf's original design but would anyone who knows anything at all about real estate in Los Angeles be surprised if the property was purchased by a developer who plans to blow Miz Menger's Woolf-house down and replace it with an horrifically over-articulated and belligerently bloated mcmansion? We shall see bunnies, we shall see.

listing photos: Nourmand & Associates

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chris Brown Snags Sexy New Crib in Hollywood Hills

BUYER: Chris Brown
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,550,000
SIZE: 2,473 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Listen chickens, Your Mama wouldn't know a Chris Brown ditty if it walked up, kicked us hard in the soft of our shin and called us a jive-talkin' turkey. What little we know about the young R&B/pop musician comes exclusively from what we've read on the blogs and in the tabs and gossip glossies, which is to say, what we know ain't not particularly flattering.

We know he smacked (or otherwise assaulted) former gal pal Rihanna a few years ago and we know that more recently he's worked the last nerves of at least a few of his neighbors at the 7-unit West Hollywood condo complex where in February 2011 he paid $1,600,000 for a penthouse pad with 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.

A few minutes research on the interweb turns up various and scads of stories about young Mister Brown (and/or his guests) parking their luxury automobiles in two of the building's underground parking spots marked for use by handicapped folks. However, for the record, his big-name legal man Mark Geragos claims Mister Brown's deed shows the two handicap parking spots belong to his penthouse and in September (2011) 95 of 117 pending parking tickets incurred by Mister Brown were dismissed after the a court determined the parking spaces were indeed assigned to Mister Brown's penthouse.

Mister Brown's neighbors' complaints do not, alas, end with the in-the-end not-illegal parking matters. They also say he and his entourage blast music at all hours of the day and night, race dogs in the building's corridors–What?!?–and over the summer the po-po were summoned to the premises after it was reported someone carved the initials "C.B." into the elevator doors. Mister Brown alleges it was one of his disgruntled neighbors who carved on the elevator doors in order to make him look bad. Could be. Stranger things have certainly happened.

Whatever the case, Mister Brown was clearly not well liked by his neighbors and smartly opted to get out of Dodge, or out of West Hollywood anyways. The tatted-up 22-year old was widely reported to have vacated the premises in early November (2011) and in mid-November it was reported by Radar Online he'd "bought a swanky Hollywood Hills Mansion for a cool $1.5 million."

Your Mama would surely have looked right on past Mister Brown recent real estate activities–he's not really in our orbit of interest–were it not for the rather surprising number of queries we've had about his new digs. It took us a day or two to get things sorted out but after a few queries, a couple of dead ends and a report on The Daily forwarded by Jezebel Justwantstoknow, Your Mama has ascertained that Mister Brown decamped to a fairly recently built and decidedly contemporary crib that clings dramatically to a precariously steep slope in a rugged (and quiet) ravine above Lake Hollywood in a neighborhood known as the Hollywood Dell. Yes, children, there is an actual (man-made) lake in Hollywood.

Anyhoo, it's not entirely clear to Your Mama if Mister Brown leased or purchased the hillside house in question but property records do indicate that a mysterious corporate entity did indeed acquire the residence in mid-October (2011) for $1,550,000. Whether he bought or rented–it does appear to Your Mama, who does not know a gnat from a violin, that he bought the sexed-up residence–Mister Brown's ludicrously painted Lamborghini Gallardo was reported by The Daily to have been seen parked in the street-level two-car garage that has a clear glass door, which ain't the best way to keep the prying eyes of anyone from identifying one's easily identifiable whip, you know?

The multi-level residence, designed by noted and accomplished L.A.-based architect Jay Vanos, sits high–very, very high–above the narrow and winding street. One old listing we dug up states that the top of the house soars more than 100 feet above the street, high enough to make someone with even a mild case of acrophobia to sweat like a sow and shriek with anxiety. The main portion of the house is accessible by either a butt-busting exterior staircase or private elevator that more easily whisks residents and guests up from the street level interior entry, past the separate guest quarters atop the garage to an exterior glass-railed bridge that spans a plunge-sized swimming pool and spa below and connects to the main entry to the glassy, multi-story main house.

Inside there's a double-height living room with towering walls of glass with canyon views, fireplace with flat-screen mounted above and ebony wood floors under foot. The living room is open to a sleek Boffi brand kitchen with charcoal-colored cabinetry and what looks to Your Mama like stainless steel counter tops but may very well be something else entirely. Above the kitchen there looks to be a lofted office/sitting room.

The top level master suite, separated from the staircase by a glass wall that stretches from wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling, is open completely open to the bathroom that includes a free-standing soaking tub, separate glassed-in shower stall, and long, double sink vanity. It's all terribly sexy in that Miami hotel suite sort of way but we can imagine it could be awfully annoying for a couple who have different schedules and routines to have to listen and watch their partner do their morning and/or evening ablutions.

The custom-designed house is, as per listing information we teased out of the internets, was designed with a green roof and is kitted and fitted with all the latest high-tech electronic gadgetry that includes a Crestron home automation system, state-of-the art audio and video security systems, and LED lighting displays throughout including in the swimming pool and jacuzzi that lights up like a damn disco at the flip of a switch.

As far as we know and/or can tell, Mister Brown has yet to lease or list his West Hollywood penthouse although we don't expect he'll want to keep it since at least some of the other residents of the complex seem to loathe the entertainer with every fiber of their real estate beings.

listing photos: Nicholas Property Group via Southern California Homes

Monday, November 21, 2011

Beyoncé's Momma Doin' It Again in Manhattan

SELLER: Tina Knowles
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $5,600,000
SIZE: 1,729 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: It was just a couple too-short months ago that Your Mama dissed and discussed the 2.6 acre Houston, TX estate owned by Tina Knowles–that's Beyoncé's momma–and listed with an asking price of $3,499,000. If the children will put on their thinking caps they might recall we naughtily described the nearly nine thousand square foot manse as looking "disturbingly like an upscale country club, Holiday Inn, or squat suburban office building done in a half-baked Brutalist style." We twisted the knife a bit further when we described the "riotous" chandelier in the "hotel lobby-like" living/dining room as looking "like it could have been ripped right out of the ballroom of an outdated Hilton Hotel or one of deposed dictator Colonel Qaddafi's too-garish palaces in Tripoli." Oh. Ouch.

Beside being Beyoncé's mother and Jay-Z's mother-in-law, Miz Knowles has long (self-)identified as a fashion designer and stylist. She worked up many of the whack-a-doodle couture creations for Destiny's Child but as their fame and fortunes improved they gravitated towards designer duds done up by big name fashion people. Eventually Beyoncé and her momma Miz Knowles started their own fashion label called House of Deréon. As per the company's website they produce and purvey a ready-to-wear line of women's wear comprised mostly of extremely short skirts and dresses and a small line of bedding (with matching drapery). Yes, that's right, pets, bedding with matching drapery.

Anyhoodles poodles, in addition to her huge house in Houston and couple of other smaller but still high-end properties in the vicinity, Miz Knowles has owned a pied-a-terre at the sleek and swank One Beacon Court building in Midtown Manhattan since May 2005 that is now in contract to be sold with the last asking price set at $5,600,000. Property records show she paid $2,927,468 for the 42nd floor condo crib in the dee-luxe mixed-use tower that includes monthly maintenance of $2,522 plus another $1,436 in real estate taxes.

Listing information shows the glassy pad comes in at about 1,729 square feet and contains two split bedrooms–on on either side of the apartment for maximum privacy, each with private facility, plus a powder pooper for guest. The floor plan shows a small vestibule entry with big coat closets connects to a larger entry gallery at the heart of the apartment that could, in a pinch, probably do double duty as a small dining room.

An entire wall of floor-to-ceiling glass in the 27-foot long living room frames the exact sort of city and park view folks with the means to do so will happily pay many millions. The floors are a rich chocolate brown, the ceilings pleasantly high, the walls a sandy beige and the furniture, besides the glass water fall coffee table and the fab 1940s era chairs covered in tur-qwahze (p)leather near the window are beyond atrocious. The two-toned faux suede sofa? OMG. No. We want to like the orange chair because orange is Your Mama's favorite color but we just can't get past the Mickey Mouse ears shape of the thing.

The dark wood floors extend into both of the bedrooms that each have panoramic city and park views and marble bathrooms. The master has not just one but two good-sized walk in clo sets and a gawd-awful suite of silver-leafed furniture that we'd say has an Art Nouveau/Gaudi-esque quality iffin it weren't so, well, gaudy. The over-sized tufted leather –headboard in the guest room is a zillion times better but the swagged drapery–and that there is what we call drapery, hunties, and not curtains–invokes painful spasms of decorative disharmony and discord.

A wee but well-equipped kitchen, tucked into a dark corner off the entrance gallery/dining area has pricey Poggenpohl cabinetry and high-grade appliances that include a Wolf range and Sub-Zero fridge/freezer. We're sure it's lovely–if teeny tiny–but we'd like it a whole lot more if it had a window. What is a nice feature, one surely appreciated by the minimum wage maid of this and future homeowners, is the stacked washer and dryer in the short corridor between the entrance gallery and master bedroom.

The (not surprisingly) high monthly maintenance fees at One Beacon Court provide its affluent residents and guests white glove service with 24-7 doorman and concierge, valet parking, fitness facility, party room and a play room for children where we'd bet our long-bodied bitches y'all would be far more likely to find a Nigerian nanny or French au pair than an actual parent.

Earlier reports on the matter in The Real Deal and elsewhere explain that Miz Knowles opted to sell the Central Park view condo –and we paraphrase–because she got a good price for the place and because when in New York City she can just as easily make use of another apartment in the building, one located on a higher floor and owned by daughter Beyoncé who, we presume, lives downtown with her husband Jay-Z in the 8,309 square foot duplex penthouse pad in TriBeCa he acquired in September 2004 for $6,850,000.

listing photos and floor plan: Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Monday Morning Link: Huguette Clark

Buckle up butter beans because Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Dedman filed his latest installment on regarding the saga of wickedly rich and recently deceased copper heiress, doll collector and hardcore recluse Huguette Clark. And, children, it is a doozy.

Mister Dedman combs through, chronicles and details court documents filed in relation to the legal battle brewing over the dispensation of Miz Clark's approximately $400,000,000 fortune. The documents (and Mister Dedman's report) shed a bit of light on just how Miz Clark's closest advisers spent her money in the last years of her isolated life.

With no children or close relatives, the aged heiress communicated with almost no one the last 20 or 25 years of  besides a small coterie of assistants, doctors, nurses, an attorney (Wallace "Wally" Bock) and an accountant (Irving Kamsler), all of whom benefited financially from Miz Clark's largess and the latter two under criminal investigation for possible misuse and misappropriation of Miz Clark's fortune.

Despite owning a massive ocean front estate in Santa Barbara, CA with a 23,000 square foot stone mansion (Bellosguardo, pictured above), a sprawling 52-acre spread in New Canaan, CT (in which she reportedly never slept even a single night), and two vast apartments on two different floors in the same Fifth Avenue building where Martha Stewart has long maintained a pied-a-terre, Miz Clark lived the last 22 years of her life in an unmarked hospital rooms. She died in May 2011 at Beth Israel Medical Center in Lower Manhattan. She was 104 years old.

photo: Bing

Friday, November 18, 2011

Beau Bridges Lists (Again) In Horsey Hidden Hills

SELLER: Beau Bridges
LOCATION: Hidden Hills, CA
PRICE: $2,850,000
SIZE: 7,000 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Always working actor and Tinseltown scion Beau Bridges–his father is Emmy-nominated Lloyd and his younger brother is Oscar-winner Jeff–briefly had his house in the horsey Hidden Hills enclave in the far western suburbs of Los Angeles, CA on the market in the spring of 2010 with an asking price of $3,250,000. Alas, there were no immediate takers and the 1.16 acre estate was taken off the (open) market. In real estate what comes around often (and doesn't sell) often comes back around at a lower price and sure enough Mister Bridges and his wife Wendy have recently re-listed their long-time estate with a new and much lower price tag of $2,850,000.

Mister Bridges successfully skipped around Hollywood since the early 1960s with a professional resume a mile or more long. Over the course of his long career he's earned 10 Emmy nominations, mostly for guest appearances on hit shows (My Name is Earl, Desperate Housewives, The Closer) plus three Emmy statuettes for starring roles on a trio television mini-series (Without Warning: The James Brady Story, The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom, The Second Civil War).

The 70 year old actor shows no sign of retirement from the Business of Show. He's got a number of film projects in the hopper and in the last couple of years Mister Bridges has appeared numerous times on both the big screen (Rockford Files, The Descendents) and the small screen, most notably on Brothers & Sisters, a guest starring role that earned him yet another Emmy nomination.

Property records indicate Mister and Missus Bridges purchased his house in the upscale, semi-rural equestrian community back in May 1988 for $1,200,000. Current listing information shows the multi-winged Marshall Lewis-designed English Tudor-style residence measures around 7,000 square feet and includes a total of 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms.

The open-plan main living areas have wood (and wall-to-wall carpeted) floors, stained glass windows, wood ceilings criss-crossed by heavy wood beams. Many of the main rooms pinwheel around a monumental brick and mortar fireplace and include country-casual formal living and dining rooms, a billiard room with curved carved wood staircase, and a massive L-shaped family room with wet bar and sunken conversation pit with fireplace.

Despite the basket weave-patterned brick floor, heavy wood beams and lethal-looking pot racks, the eat-in kitchen takes on a (more) contemporary vibe with streamlined Shaker-style Poggenpohl cabinets, granite counter tops, and every high-grade appliance money can buy including Viking-brand warming drawers, double ovens, side-by-side Sub-Zero fridge and freezers. In kitchen dining and snacking can be done at the snack bar or in a greenhouse-style breakfast nook with garden view.

Listing information indicates four of the six bedrooms are on the second floor and include three sizable family/guest bedrooms each with direct access to a bathroom, all with vaulted and beamed ceilings and at least one with a sleeping loft accessed by a tightly spiraled staircase. The expansive master suite has a massive brick fireplace, sitting area, high-pitched beamed ceiling, a stained glass window or two, multiple closets plus dressing room, private bathroom and adjoining office with steeply-peaked wood-beamed ceiling, green and black marble fireplace and wine closet lined with custom-built bottle racks.

The acre-plus grounds are mostly landscaped and include a long drive way that sweeps around to motor court at the side of the house with three-car attached garage, wide-swathes of gently undulating lawns dotted with mature shade trees and at least one hanging tepee, extensive vegetable gardens, a greenhouse, a fountain or two, and a big ol' brick-lined entertainment terrace with built-in barbecue that extends off the rear of the house. Between the house and the fenced tennis court there's an azure blue heated swimming pool and spa. Beyond the swimming pool and spa there's a tennis court but what there isn't, unlike the vast majority of the other estates in Hidden Hills, are equestrian facilities.

Currently listing information does not include many photos but the fine folks at Luxist presented the property back in April 2010 and many images of the interior spaces and grounds can be seen there.

Property records show that Mister Bridges has owned a 6.25 acre spread a fair distance from the beach near Kilauea on the Hawaiian island of Kauai since at least May 1997.

listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Oprah Wants To Lease Never Lived In Chicago Co-op

OWNER: Oprah Winfrey
PRICE: $15,000/month
SIZE: 4,607 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: This afternoon we happily ride on the coat tails of reporter (and venerable real estate gossip) Bob Goldsborough at the Chicago Tribune who discovered and revealed this week that billionaire chat show host turned magazine tycoon turned television network owning mega-mogul Oprah Winfrey recently put a swank Chicago, IL co-operative apartment she owns up for lease at $15,000 per month.

Miz Winfrey reportedly purchased the posh apartment in the urban-upscale Streeterville neighborhood in 2006 for $5,600,000. Despite securing the approval of the co-op board with a promise to make it her full-time residence, Miz Winfrey quickly had a real estate change of heart and never moved in to the 4,607 square foot apartment. From June 2008 until January 2009 Miz Winfrey had the mansion-sized apartment on the market for $6,000,000 but it did not, as far as we can tell, sell.
Entered though a private elevator landing and a series of squeezy vestibules, the chunky floor-through apartment cleaves dramatically along a central spine, an enfilade that extends more than 80 feet from the bowed bay window in the lake-view formal living room clan through the reception gallery, formal dining room and solarium at the rear of the residence.

The living room opens into a cozy wood-paneled and wood-floored library with fireplace wide bank of windows that afford of view through the tree tops to Lake Michigan and the popular Oak Street Beach. Extensive service quarters, tucked discreetly behind the elevator and formal dining room, include a well-equipped, galley style kitchen with antiqued white cabinetry, granite counter tops and breakfast area, separate laundry room, access to the service elevator, and a kitchen-size butler's pantry with dark cabinets and granite counter tops. There's also an oddly shaped home office with built-in desk and a separate wine/booze storage room with brick walls, floor-to-ceiling built-in bottle racks and a full height wine refrigerator.

A guest suite has an enviably large walk-in closet, fireplace, private bathroom with window, and French doors access to a small terrace shared with the master bedroom. The approximately 1,300 square foot master suite wraps around the guest suite and stretches from the front of the apartment clear through to the back. In addition to three walk-in closets there are additional built-in storage cabinets and a substantial entertainment unit. The master includes not just one or even two but 2.5 bathrooms. Up front there is both a full bath–well, a three-quarter bathroom anyway–plus a completely separate bedside half bathroom. At the rear of the house-sized suite, in an area that was probably originally designed as a third bedroom with private bathroom, there's another and significantly larger bathroom with jetted tub for two, separate party-sized steam shower for two or more, a private cubby for the crapper, double sinks and–harumph!–gold-plated fixtures. French doors open out to the small terrace shared with the guest suite.

As far as we know, when in the Windy City, Miz Winfrey continues to occupy in her 15,000(-ish) square foot 4-unit combination duplex condominium at the mixed-use Water Tower Place complex in downtown Chicago where she's lived since, well, we don't know but a long time.

Since she closed up shop on her long-running, hugely-successful and frighteningly-influential talk show–the eponymous Oprah Winfrey Show–Miz Winfrey has all but permanently relocated to the West Coast where her also eponymous Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) offices are located. Of course we don't know a turnip truck from a fire hose but we none-the-less presume the still busy businesswoman and philanthropist now spends a considerable amount of time at her manicured 42-acre estate in the low key but eye-poppingly affluent coastal resort community of Montecito, CA.

The OWN offices are located in Los Angeles Miracle Mile district, far to far to comfortably commute on a daily basis even by helicopter. We recently had lunch at the SoHo House in West Hollywood with gabby tattletale we'll call Knelly Knowsathingortwo who swore to Your Mama on her seared Ahi tuna salad that Miz Winfrey is actively on the hunt for a bolt hole in Tinseltown. We have no specific intel but it makes sense. Iffin we were the betting type–and we're not–we'd wager our long-bodied bitches Linda and Beverly she'll gravitate towards a multi-million dollar condominium. She has a long history of owning apartments in urban and semi-urban locations, after all, but has she considered Ellen Degeneres' house nestled privately into the rugged mountains above Beverly Hills? Just a thought.

listing photos and floor plan:VHT Studios for  Prudential Realty / Rubloff Properties