Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Find the Best Information for All Things Porn Related

Someone once said that it is easier to recognize than to define pornography it. Overall, we can say that pornography is the depiction of nudity and human sexual behavior with the goal of producing sexual excitement. This representation is made by moving images (movies, videos, and computer), photographs, and drawings, texts written or spoken. Pornography explores sex, treating human beings as things, and in particular, women as sex objects.

The word pornography comes from the Greek and literally means "writing about prostitutes." Over time, he began to refer to any material, written or graphic sexual content. The term is used today in a negative way. The porn industry that produces films, magazines, videos and Internet sites, prefer to use other terms, such as "adult material." You can find all those information through Twitter Porno. It is important; however, make a distinction between erotica and pornography. There is a healthy eroticism, which is the exploration of sexuality within marriage. The book of Proverbs gives us an example of this: "Drink water from your own cistern, and the chains of your pit.

They would pour out your sources, and the squares, the rivers of water? Let them be yours alone and not to be shared with strangers. Blessed be thy fountain, and rejoice with the wife of thy youth, Doe loves and graceful gazelle. You satiate your breasts at all times, and always intoxicate you with his touch. Why, my son would walk blinded by the strange and embrace the bosom of another? These passages show that the Lord created us with sexuality and that it can be explored and enjoyed within the environment of marriage. Pornography is different because it seeks sexual excitement by displaying images of explicit sex, nudity and sexual organs without making any moral distinction or considers adultery, prostitution, lesbianism, and perverted forms of sex.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Maroon 5's Adam Levine Buys in Beverly Hills

BUYER: Adam Levine
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $4,380,000
SIZE: 6,539 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Its no surprise to anyone in the celebrity real estate gossip game that tatted-up and famously promiscuous model-squiring Maroon 5 lead singer turned televised singing contest judge (The Voice) has been on the hunt for new digs in Tinseltown.

Back in early September, in fact, our trusted informant Butty Butterlips tattled to Your Mama that Mister Levine was allowing one of Tinseltown's more successful real estate agents to quietly shop his house—a low-slung, contemporary art-filled one-bedroom bachelor pad perched on a private hillside above Bronson Canyon in the star-studded Los Feliz area—with an asking price in the high three millions and back in March 2012 the property was featured in a glossy and adoring article in Architectural Digest, often but not always a sign a celeb-owned home is or will soon go up for sale.

What did come as a bit of a surprise, at least to Your Mama, was an covert communique we received today from an inside source who snitched that Mister Levine has already quietly acquired up a new crib in the Benedict Canyon area of Beverly Hills. Redfin agent Corina Galen says, "Benedict Canyon in Beverly Hills is a great area for celebrities. There are a lot of homes with spectacular views and plenty of privacy, which makes it a hot spot for high profile clients."

A quick perusal of property records confirms that Mister Levine, through the same trust that shows up on the deeds and documentation for his home in Los Feliz, paid $4,380,000 for the so-called Benedict House, a 3.66 acre gated estate on a canyon view ridge in a small, gated enclave high above Bev Hills called Wallingford Estates.

Listing information shows the sprawling, single story ranch house was originally built in 1940, measures in at 6,539 square feet and contains a total of six bedrooms and seven bathrooms. Although "meticulously maintained," listing information suggests there's more than enough room to custom build a monstrous 20,000 square foot house. As he did with his previous home, Your Mama fully expects Mister Levine will bring in Mark Haddawy—or some other equally skilled and well-compensated lady or nice-gay decorator-designer—to doctor up transform the undeniably deluxe but decoratively anemic ranch style residence into something more befitting a sexed-up rock star. However, we don't have any reason to think he'll knock the house down to make way for a behemoth Beverly Park-style faux-French chateau or massive mock-Tuscan extravaganza. That just doesn't seem his style but, then again, what do we know? Nuthin', that's what.

Anyhoo, a long, gated driveway adds to the property's serene sense of privacy and seclusion as it sweeps across the property to a large motor court partially girdled by the main house, attached two car garage and separate studio space suitable for conversion to a screening room, guest house and/or music studio.

Pegged wood floors in the small, lackluster entrance hall continue into the formal living and dining rooms as well as into a spacious den/office complete with a fireplace and a wide bank of windows that reach from the floor almost to the ceiling.

The open plan informal living space(s) include a roomy center island kitchen with granite counter tops, ordinary white raised-panel cabinetry, a pair of dishwashers and a freakishly expensive range. A high breakfast bar separates the kitchen from a wood-floored family room with vaulted sky-lit and wood-beamed ceiling, a built in entertainment center, fireplace and French doors to the outdoor entertaining areas. An adjoining home office/craft space has a wrap-around built-in desk and cabinetry.

The back of the house opens to a tree-ringed backyard with multi-level, brick-accented stone terracing, a flat grassy pad, a vaguely piano-shaped swimming pool spa and an elevated circular spa. Set mostly out of view below the driveway towards the front of the property, a lighted championship-sized tennis court overs over the canyon in the tree tops.

As of today, based on a quick study of various property record data bases, Mister Levine continues to own his Los Feliz area residence that is not listed for sale on the open market.

listing photos: Rodeo Realty via Redfin

Leontyne Price Lists Worn Out Downtown Townhouse

SELLER: Leontyne Price
PRICE: $5,000,000
SIZE: 2,800 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Over the weekend Your Mama received an unexpected missive from a musically-inclined informant we'll call Ari A. Appreciator who thoughtfully let us know that word had begun to make its way though the international opera community that the New York City townhouse of the near-peerless soprano Leontyne Price has popped up for sale with a $5,000,000 price tag.

Miz Price, long retired and now in her late 80s, picked up her downtown townhouse located in the bustling SoHo adjacent southern flank of the West Village way back in 1962 for an unknown amount of money that we can all be assured was a slim fraction of its current asking price. This real estate acquisition would have been the year after her legendary debut at The Met in January 1961, a debut, children, that brought down the damn house with a electrifying ovation that lasted 35 minutes—or 42 minutes, depending on what one reads. Either way, people hooted, hollered and clapped 'til their palms burned and throats went hoarse with adulation and adoration for Miz Price's rare, richly fluid and diligently controlled vocal acrobatics.

Among her many subsequent accolades and accomplishments, Miz Price sang at the 1965 inauguration for and 1973 state funeral of President Lyndon B. Johnson and, in 1978, at the invitation of President Jimmy Carter, she gave a nationally televised recital at the White House. She was selected as a Kennedy Center honoree in 1980, was given a prestigious National Medal of the Arts in 1985, and in the late 1990s wrote a children's book version of the Verdi's Aida that Elton John and Tim Rice turned into a Broadway musical of the same name. She maintained a recital and concert career well into her 70s and earned herself 13 Grammy Awards plus a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Oh, and did Your Mama mention Miz Price is black? It might seem like an unnecessary detail to mention nowadays but, children, when Miz Price rose to the pinnacle of the operatic mountain top in the 1950s and '60s and bought herself a townhouse in New York City, Jim Crow was still the law of the land in the United States. Think about that for a moment, because what Miz Price achieved both on and off the stage was, quite simply, extraordinary.

Anyhoo, current listing information shows the fairly unassuming and clearly down-on-her-heels red-brick Federal style townhouse was originally built in 1829 and asks prospective buyers to note that the "faded beauty" sits within a designated Landmarks District. Its Landmarks District location will require the next owner(s) to seek and obtain permission from the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) in order to repair and/or alter just about anything and everything both inside and outside the house. Some people might find the requirements and restrictions of the LPC to be cumbersome and constricting, but preservation-minded people might suggest to those folks they simply ought not buy a building in one of the city's numerous landmarks districts, thereby sparing them that particular headache and hassle.

As depicted on the floor plan included with current marketing materials, the four-story townhouse measures in at about 2,800 square feet with three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, at least 4 fireplaces that may or may not be in working order, four over-sized storage rooms and an unusually deep but pitifully neglected backyard.

The parlor floor living room—with mirrored fireplace flanked by built-in floor-to-ceiling book cases and some truly tawdry, olive green wall-to-wall carpeting that looks like it saw its better days two decades or more ago—is hardly huge but at 24-feet long does stretch almost the full depth of the house. At its rear end, the living room connects to a puny, nine-foot-square study that overlooks the un-tended backyard. Also on the parlor level, just off the foyer that, like the living room, elegantly extends the full length of the house, there's a privately located half bathroom for guests and a large, walk-in storage room.

Along with a somewhat useless vestibule and a street-side dining room with a fireplace, the kitchen—miniscule such as it appears on the floor plan—is located in the partly below street level basement. There's also an over-sized utility room and, tucked way way way in the back and accessed only through one of two walk-in storage rooms stuck like warts to the back of the house, there's a supermodel slender bathroom that has, as far as Your Mama can tell, just two redeeming qualities. The first is that it exists at all—an inconveniently located closet size pooper is better than none at all—and the second is that it offers a wee window for ventilation.

Miz Price's private chamber—the exact same size as the living room as per the floor plan—occupies the entire third floor and offers a fireplace, four closets plus a linen closet in the hall and a separate dressing room. The master bathroom, with separatd tub, shower and street view, appears on the floor plan to only be accessible by exiting the bedroom and crossing the stair landing. This is, obviously, not ideal and—with an o.k. by the LPC, natch—would require immediate remedy should Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter buy this house, which—of course—we aren't.

There are two more bedrooms and a walk-in storage room tucked tightly under the eaves on the top floor. No doubt due to the sloping roof lines, the lone bathroom on the top floor is only—and unfortunately—accessible to occupants of one bedroom by passing through the other.

It's not difficult for Your Mama to see how a smart architect—a whole lotta money and the LPC's approval—could maintain and enhance the architectural integrity of the structure and transform Miz Price's worn out and chopped up townhouse into a well-organized if somewhat petite townhouse that meets with the demands and requirements of a wealthy New Yorker who isn't looking for a 12,000 square foot Beaux Arts behemoth with a swimming pool in the sub-basement and a hot tub on the roof.

We have no inside intel on where Miz Price plans to decamp but Your Mama hopes she will realize enough proceeds from the sale of her long-time New York City residence to keep her comfortably for the rest of her life.

listing photos and floor plan: Brown Harris Stevens

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ross Bleckner Gives It Another Go in Sagaponack

SELLER: Ross Bleckner
LOCATION: Sagaponack, NY
PRICE: $15,000,000
SIZE: 4 acres, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: It was just yesterday that Your Mama learned that a-list abstract expressionist artist Ross Bleckner had re-listed his bucolic and legendary compound in the Hamptons with a $15,000,000 price tag. We first heard word from our tireless and much-appreciated aide de camp Hot Chocolate but, before we could sing a single stanza of Yankee Doodle Dandy, those ever-industrious kids at Curbed had done chawed that bone.* C'est la vie in the increasingly crowded and cut-throat world of (celebrity) property gossip, right? Onward we push anyways. Okay?

Mister Bleckner's comely compound sits about equidistant between the swank, boutique-filled East Hampton and Southampton communities and spans about four, L-shaped acres located just a gloriously short stroll (or roll) to the sand in the bare-footed and beyond beautiful but ego-bruisingly expensive beach side enclave of Sagaponack.

The estate's main house was, quite famously, the long-time home of fey and fantastic and fantastically fey writer/social chronicler Truman Capote who owned the property for nearly 25 years before he went to meet his Great Editor in the Sky in 1984. Mister Capote (Breakfast at Tiffany's) is said to have put the finishing touches on his phenomenal, genre pioneering true crime novel In Cold Blood while living here. This property is, for many artists and writers, hallowed ground.

In 2002, Architectural Digest published a delightful collection photographs of the Mister Capote and his simple, contemporary, custom-built cottage. We imagine, natch, the interview and photos were done years earlier since, as just mentioned, Mister Capote, may he rest in peace, had met his maker 18 years earlier.

Anyhoo, Mister Capote bequeathed the property to his long-time man-friend companion, writer Jack Dunphy, who passed it to the Nature Conservancy upon his death in 1992. Mister Bleckner purchased it the following year for—we suggest the real estate weak-willed snatch up a nerve pill—$800,000. That's right, children: eight hundred thousand dollars. That is, of course, an unimaginable amount of money for minimum wage workers and middle class earners alike but—all things real estate being relative to their locations—it was a downright enviable and fractional pittance of its current value. Mister Bleckner certainly did his pocket book a favor when he put this piece of Hamptons heaven into his property portfolio, didn't he?

Current listing information shows the beach-close compound has four legal buildings with a total of four bedrooms and 4 bathrooms in about 3,500 square feet of interior living space.

As best as Your Mama can figure from a careful reading of current listing information, the recently expanded ocean view main house—approximately 2,000 square foot with a crisply rustic and warmly austere day-core—has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. A wee, achingly sweet cedar shingled guest cottage has two more bedrooms and one more bathroom and a detached, 1,900 square foot, clerestory windowed art studio claims, we unscientifically deduce, the fourth and final bathroom.

The compound's gorgeous grounds have that painstaking and perfectly un-fussed look that makes the Hamptons so damn dreamy. They are, people, they're dee-voon.  To be sure, the Hamptoons are hardly a douche bag free zone and the traffic alone can be enough to make you slit your wrists on a sunny Saturday in August. Plus—let's get real for a moment, shall we—it's downright preposterous that any person—no matter how rich or gauche—would ever pay $100 bucks for a single pound of unbelievably delicious lobster salad from that little gourmet shop in "downtown" Sagaponack. (All you Hamptonites know exactly where we mean.) But, children, as Your Mama lives, breathes and drinks gin and tonics like water, they are absolutely spectacular. They really are.

Anyhoo, towering hedges line the long driveway and curve and bend to define various outdoor "rooms." The "room" just behind the main house holds the rectangular swimming pool dropped effortlessly into a broad swathe of very green lawn. On the other side of the main house, the west side, another broad expanse of lawn unrolls towards the beach. At the far end an abrupt cut in the dense foliage marks the entrance to the long, curving outdoor hallway that connects main house to Mister Bleckner's art studio.

Imagine for a moment that this might be your commute to work, as it is for Mister Bleckner when he is in residence in Sagaponack. Gone are the blaring horns and all those hazardous moe-rons who are too cheap to buy themselves a goddamn Bluetooth device. In their place, lucky Mister Bleckner hears the sound of the distant surf and the rustle of the salty sea breeze as is skitters smoothly through the reeds. Maybe there are birds chirping and unseen swarms of crickets doing their high-pitched buzzing-thing too. There be birds chirping, right? Whatever there is, we'll take us an extra dollop of that daily during the summer, thank you very much.

This is not, as it turns out, Mister Bleckner's first time to ride this particular real estate merry-go-round. In 2008, he had the property listed at $14,600,000, almost ten percent less than its current price tag.

The Old-School Hamptons-lover that Your Mama is hopes the next owner will maintain the modesty of the property. However, without any special stipulations laid forth for the preservation of the property—which there may or may not be—the cynic in Your Mama thinks a hot-shot spec mansion builder could easily swoop in, buy it and bulldoze this beeotch to make way for a 20,000 square foot shingled "cottage" with a bowling alley in the basement and a $35,000,000 price tag.

Knock on wood, child.

*This is a recurrent theme today. We also first learned from Hot Chocolate that Susan Soros, the ex-wife of billionaire George Soros, put her New York City apartment on the market at $50 million before we figured out that the New York Times was already on that real estate nugget like white on rice.

listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty

Susan Soros Lists $50M Upper West Side Sprawler

SELLER: Susan Soros
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $50,000,000
SIZE: 4-6 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Does the extended family of lefty-liberal gajillionaire financier/philanthropist George Soros know something about the extreme upper end of the New York City real estate market the rest of us less financially fortunate don't?

Two days ago Mister Soros' only daughter, Andrea Soros Columbel, listed a 19th-century Greek Revival-style townhouse in the West Village with an asking price of $29,500,000 and yesterday—we first learned from our aide de camp Hot Chocolate and later saw was first discussed by the New York Times—Miz Columbel's former step-momma, Susan Soros, the much younger second ex-wife of the newly engaged octagenarian macdaddy super-tycoon George Soros, hoisted her exceptionally spacious, family-friendly Upper West Side sprawler on the open market with an eye-popping but hardly-unheard-of-for-Manhattan asking price of $50,000,000.

Is this just a real estate coinky-dink between two not actually blood related Soros family members who—we don't know—may or may not have communications with each other?* Could be. You decide. Does it even matter? Anyhoo...

Miz Soros and Mister Soros were legally wed for 20 years, made two children together and divorced in 2006. But she ain't just any ol' primped, pampered and generously alimonied ex-wife of a billionaire. Child, no. She's a serious person, a scholar. This lady earned a Ph.D. from London's Royal College of Art—maybe we should be calling her Dr. Soros?—and in 1993 founded and funded the distinguished Bard College Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture.

Miz Soros picked up her post-divorce apartment, according to the peeps at Property Shark, in June 2006 for $25,000,000 in an off-market deal with investor turned movie producer David J. Mimran. Mister Mimran had only acquired the apartment himself in 2004 when he shelled out about $12,200,000 to boutique hotelier Ian Schrager.

Mister Schrager bought the apartment in 1997 for about $9,000,000—so the story goes—and had it worked over by avant garde architect/designer Philippe Starck. Mister Starck's decorative handiwork—no doubt an absolute extravaganza of whimsy—remained intact when Miz Soros picked the place up in 2006. She told the New York Times shortly after her purchase that she wasn't sure if she would keep or replace Starck's day-core. Iffin Your Mama was the wagering sort—and we are definitely not—we'd bet Big Daddy's farm she removed most if not every inch of Mister Starck's handiwork. As far as Your Mama knows, we have never met or even put our actual eyeballs on Miz Soros. None-the-less, she does not strike Your Mama as a woman who would have a nine-foot tall bergere chair in the powder pooper.

Perfectly perched on the northeast corner of the 19th floor of the Art Deco-tastic Majestic building on Central Park West at West 72nds Street, the two-unit combination crib contains four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and a media den easily convertible to a fifth bedroom plus a brutally puny prison cell-sized staff bedroom and three-quarter bathroom tucked at the tail end of the service hall at the very back of the apartment.**

The $50,000,000 price tag, according to current listing information, also includes a fully renovated one-bedroom staff apartment on a lower floor as well as all of the furniture in the main apartment.*** The Majestic, an impeccably maintained full-service white-glove temple to upscale urban living, allows up to 50% financing and—for what it's worth—the monstrous $13,759 monthly maintenance for Miz Soros' spread is 41% tax deductible, whatever that means.

The apartment—of unknown square footage—has direct elevator access into a spacious formal living/dining room prominently nestled into the apartment's northeast corner with wrap-around views and a monolithic stone fireplace. A large library on the backside of the fireplace has walls lined with built-in book cases and powerful, head on park views.

On the other side of the living/dining room there's a generously proportioned, multi-purpose kitchen/great room with five sets of French-style doors that open to the slender terrace that snakes its way along the entire northern length of the apartment. Depending on where one stands on this terrace there are wide city vistas to the west and north that sweep over the roof top of the legendary Dakota building, take in almost all of the Central Park including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and continue along the long row of swish and swanky apartment houses that line up like limestone soldiers along Fifth Avenue.

Beyond the kitchen/great room, the north wing contains a media den with built-in sofa banquette and three guest/family bedrooms that each have direct access to a private or semi-private bathroom. The windowless half bathroom in the corridor that extends north from a small vestibule behind the kitchen/great room appears to be the only powder pooper for guests in the entire apartment. A half bath for guests is great to have—of course—but this one isn't, by our humble and utterly meaningless estimation, very conveniently located for the hoitier of the toity dinner guests who might find it less than elegant to have to traipse through the culinary cross-hairs of the kitchen in order to cop a squat mid-cocktail party or -chef-prepared dinner soiree.

The long, multi-chamber guest/family bedroom corridor makes a hard left at its end to yet another but not quite as long hallway with laundry area, service elevator access, mechanical equipment and the aforementioned, brutally puny prison cell-sized staff bedroom and three-quarter bathroom.

The opposite end of the apartment—that would be the east-facing southern flank—is devoted entirely to the super-sized master suite comprised of a privacy-enhancing entrance hall, a roomy sitting room, an equally roomy separate bedroom and a compact but well-equipped windowed office space that connects through from the sitting room to the adjacent library. There's also a giant bathroom with free-standing soaking tub set askance almost in the middle of the room and two, fully kitted and customized walk-in closets and dressing rooms. Finally there's exclusive use of a private terrace with an astonishing view that encompasses a significant portion of Central Park and the Upper East Side all the way around and down to Midtown and Central Park South.

Your Mama has no inside intel on the future real estate plans of Dr.-Miz Soros. With both her children now young adults it would certainly make sense to downsize. Then again, who would be surprised if she upsized? People of extraordinary financial means frequently make what seem to mere financial mortals like capricious and downright inexplicable real estate decisions. Larry Ellison maintains more high maintenance residences than Your Mama can count on both hands, including the entire Hawaiian island of Lanai that he bought this year for nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars. Entertainment industry honcho David Geffen—child-free and nearly 70—already owned a suburban mini-mansion-sized apartment on Fifth Avenue when he coughed up a blood-chilling $54 million to buy the tremendous, 12,000-ish square foot duplex penthouse upstairs. It just doesn't make sense. Howevuh, butter beans, if Your Mama has said it once we've said it 87,000 times too many, it ain't nuthin' but an effort in futility to try to comprehend the wild, wacky and often fickle real estate ways of the rich and famous.

*For the records, Your Mama has absolutely no notion of and makes not real claims about whether Daughter Soros and Second-Ex-Missus Soros are bosom buddies, sworn enemies or something in between. Okay?  

**Listing information actually shows the apartment has six bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms (plus the separate staff apartment)

***All the furniture? Really? Your Mama would bet Big Daddy's farm every stick and scrap of Miz Soros' furniture and day-core is among the most expensive money can buy but—let's get real children—who pays fifty million bucks for a New York City apartment and wants the previous owner's highboys, sideboards, sofas and commodes? Does that include the mattresses?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ice Hockey Hottie Loui Eriksson Lists Dallas Digs

SELLER: Loui Eriksson
PRICE: $2,495,000
SIZE: 7,141 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A few days ago Your Mama chit-chatted with the children about a glassy, modestly scaled mid-century modern that beau-hunky Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård purchased in the hills above Hollywood. Today—thanks to an informant we'll call Wanda Slipsomedish—we roll out Your Mama's celebrity real estate red carpet for another strapping Swede, this time professional ice hockey player Loui Eriksson who recently heaved his contemporary twisted traditional mini-mansion in Dallas, TX on the open market with an asking price of $2,495,000.

Your Mama does not follow ice hockey any more than we follow the lesbian rodeo circuit, but children, you should hear our boozy b.f.f. Fiona Trambeau go on a tear about the ice hockey. If there's anything in this world that Fiona loves more than the big ol' backside of a swarthy professional baseball player—word to the wise, Angel Pagan, Fiona is coming for you—it's the sturdy blond haunches of a foreign-born puck pusher like Loui Eriksson.

Anyhow, once Fiona stopped screeching and hollering she told us young Mister Ericksson—six-foot-two and just 27 years old—hails from scenic Gothenburg, Sweden, and currently plays the left winger position (whatever that is) for the Dallas Stars, who first drafted the Nordic bruiser in 2003. During the 2008-09 season he played all 82 games, then he played for Sweden in the 2010 Winter Olympics and in 2011 he was selected for the NHL All-Star Game in which he scored the game-winning goal. So, clearly, he's kinda a big deal on the ice. Indeed, Mister Eriksson is such a big deal that his current, six-year contract with the Stars (2010-2015) compensates him with an average of $4,250,000 per year.

According to the various property records we peeped, Mister Eriksson and his long-time spouse/baby momma, Micaela Kanold, purchased their quarter acre-plus Dallas spread, located on a leafy lane in the posh Preston Hollow neighborhood in December, 2009 for an undisclosed amount of money.*

Current listing information shows the chunky, Prairie House style contemporary was custom built in 2007 by Geoffrey Grant, a bigwig builder of luxury homes in Dallas. The un-gated and undeniably airy two-story domicile includes, as per listing information, six bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms in 7,141 square feet of interior space, every inch of it all done up and did over in a glitzy but casual, whimsy-tinged and downright feminine decorative style Your Mama might inadequately describe as Tastefully Flashy Period Pastiche meets Corporate Boutique Hotel Chic.

As we do whenever we come across some intel about an upscale residence in Dallas, we queried Candy Evans, the sassy, entrepreneurial—and legally embattled—Dallas-based property gossip who works over real estate but good on her fab online endeavors Candy's Dirt and Second Shelters. Candy got back to Your Mama immediately—she's good like that—and, natch, she knew all about the Eriksson mini-manse. She was, she told us, at that very moment, sipping champers and typing her manicured fingers to the nubbins on a rather gushing report of Mister Ericksson and Miz Kaland's thoroughly and opulently decorated Dallas digs. Candy did take a quick break from her scuttlebutting duties—told y'all she was good like that—and, to our delight, further elucidated re: the house, "This is what we in Dallas call a Mini Honey Pot. You are east of the big acreages where the likes of Kelcy Warren and Tom Hicks and George W. nest. This is where you find those who want gigunta homes on a little less land so they can hop in their G-5s and go off to their Vail pads!" A Mini Honey Pot! Die-ing.

Anyhoo, glass and wood front doors painted a high gloss jet black and set into a colonnaded porch open directly and—some will surely feel—abruptly into a Texas-sized formal living/dining room that stretches than 30 feet with impressively lofty 13-foot ceilings, espresso-colored maple floors and wide banks of extra-tall windows and French-style doors. A fireplace centrally set into a paneled wall anchors the living room end of the capacious space and two walls in the dining room are slathered in an over-scaled red, white and pink floral print wallpaper that Your Mama really wants to detest, believes we really should loathe and would never, in a million years install in our own home but none-the-less inexplicably—and much to our own decorative chagrin—sort of has a cotton for.

The living/dining room opens on its long, rear wall—directly opposite the front door—to a central stair hall that steps down into second, less formal but equally as decadent family room that's all decked out in a monochromatic yet glittery, sophisticated lady palette of cream, crystal, dusty rose and chrome. A second fireplace is flanked by open display shelves backed with a shimmery brocade-pattern wallpaper and zhuzhed up with framed photographs and perfectly balanced clusters of decorator-curated tchotchke.** Eight foot French-style doors and windows look out and open the family room up to a deep, covered porch with monumental steel fireplace. 

Two steps up from and open to the family room a sleek-and-chic galley-style Balthaup-brand kitchen was designed and installed with a center island snack counter (for four), snow white slabs of quartz counter tops, a complete collection of commercial-style stainless steel appliances and a built-in breakfast banquette. A nicely equipped butler's pantry conveniently connects the kitchen to the dining room.

Behind the kitchen—at least we think it's behind or, maybe, beyond the kitchen—a window-lined room currently used as a children's play space (above, top right) has, matte black walls with cutesy artwork, a wall-mounted flat-screen t.v. for tuning the child out, a super-stylish modern-style play kitchen and direct access to the backyard.

A second family room (above, bottom), on the second floor, is perfect for keeping the kids out of the more adult-oriented areas on the main floor and is finished with a row of built-in homework desks and a complete wall of floor-to-ceiling cabinets and shelves custom-built around—of course—a wall,mounted flat-screen television.

Each of the home's half dozen bedrooms was, clearly—as seen in the delicious listing photos, worked over but good by a lady or nice-gay decorator with a lot of ideas, a thing for wallpaper and a decent but not unlimited budget.*** The roomy, white and silver-toned master suite (above, left) has a humongous, wallpaper and lattice headboard structure stuck to the wall behind the bed and an attached bathroom with a glass-enclosed—if not particularly private—open-plan bathing suite (above, right) comprised of soaking tub platform and separate multi-head shower area.

One family/guest bedroom doesn't have any wallpaper at all, another has super-graphic black and white vertical striped wall paper on at least three walls and another yet has shimmery silver- and mint-hued brocade-patterned wall paper up on just one wall plus the damn ceiling. Candy's very accomplished and regularly published lady decorator told her a wallpapered ceiling is de rigueur in au courant Dallas decoratin' circles.**** Well—all due respect, gurl—we are not convinced. It kind of gives Your Mama the vertigo, like we're standing on the wall, iffin that makes any sense. Anyhoo, you say luminescent patterned wallpaper on the ceiling we say super-matte white paint. Whatever.

Another bedroom—probably intended for a young girl based on an entirely stereotypical reading of the listing photograph—has plum colored walls that we think might be a soft fabric stretched over batting and a fifth bedroom—for an infant, duh—was done entirely—and we mean in its entirety, hunties—in a stunning but not particularly stimulating-to-baby blush kissed beige color.

A (thankfully) removable child-safety fence separates the covered outdoor living/dining area off the kitchen and family room from the over-sized concrete pavers that surround the slightly-raised spa and large, rectangular swimming pool with tanning shelf. There's also a diving board, the fulcrumless kind that hardly bends a smidgen even when ferociously pounced upon by a husky diver and that we imagine an insurance company would label as an attractive nuisance.***** A flat, but fairly petite patch of grass at the back of the house is the perfect spot to let the dogs do their business and/or install a super-sized and high-cost swing set and play structure.

Your Mama has no inside intelligence on where Mister Eriksson and Miz Kaland might be headed next but would anyone be surprised it it wasn't over to the east a little bit where, as Candy said, all the big acreage estates are located? No. We wouldn't either.

*We can not confirm the figure, but Dallas-based property fiend Candy Evans reported this week on her blog that the couple paid somewhere around $1,400,000.

**We can not confirm the pottery clusters and etc. seen on the shelves on either side of the family room fireplace in the listing photos were actually curated by a decorator. We only speculate they were because they're just so, well, so that it's a tell-tale sign a professional decorator has been all up in the house.

***We can not confirm the day-core in any or all of the bedrooms—or any other room in the house, for that matter—is the actual handiwork of a professional lady or nice-gay decorator. Maybe this was an singular effort by the lady of the house. It could be. It probably isn't. But it could be. We also can't confirm that Mister Eriksson did or did not have "a decent but not unlimited budget" for his furniture and other decorative items. We have absolutely no knowledge of what sort of budget he did or did not have for his obviously very thoroughly decorated residence.

****What Candy's Dallas-based lady decorator, Michelle Nussbaumer, actually said about wallpaper on the ceiling was that it's, "very NOW" and not, as we said, "de rigueur in au courant Dallas decortin' circles." It wasn't specified in Candy's report whether Miz Nussbaumer  thinks a wallpapered ceiling is NOW only in Dallas or if it's also NOW in well-dressed, upscale homes in other parts of Texas, the U.S. and/or the entire world.

*****We really have no idea if an insurance company would term this diving board or any other thing on this property as an "attractive nuisance" or any other kind of nuisance. 

listing photos: Dave Perry-Miller & Associates

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Alicia Keys Buys Bubble Hill

BUYER: Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz
SELLER: Eddie Murphy
LOCATION: Englewood, NJ
SIZE: 25,000 square feet (approx.), 7 bedrooms, 9 full and 4 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: According to the ever-in-the-know property gossips at the New York Daily News, 15-time Grammy-winning superstar singer/songwriter Alicia Keys and her hip-hop producer/entrepreneur hubbySwizz Beatz have agreed to cough up "around $12,000,000" for Bubble Hill, the lavish Englewood, NJ estate of comedian Eddie Murphy.

Depending on how you see the sitch, that just might be a pretty good deal when you consider Mister Murphy first hoisted his Garden State real estate white elephant on the market seven or more years ago with an in-hindsight grossly optimistic asking price of $30,000,000.

The 25,000 square foot, Georgian mega-mansion sits on five gated and manicured acres and is approached from a long driveway that passes under, what Your Mama opines, is an architecturally unnecessary porte-cochère that only makes the place seem like someplace where you go for an upscale Bar or Bat Mitzvah, an upper management executive's retirement party or, maybe, a charity benefit hosted by one of those excessively spray-tanned drama mommas on The Real Housewives of New Jersex. We humbly but very strongly suggest a removal of said porte-cochère.

Anyhoo, the unapologetically grand—and quite possibly even grandiose—residence includes, according to listing information and previous discussions of the property, 7 bedrooms, 9 full and 4 half bathrooms and numerous formal and informal living rooms and dining areas. The gigantic red brick pile is also said to contain a recording studio, a two-lane bowling alley, a pub room, a wood-paneled billiards room and a spa area with—natch— multiple hair and make-up stations. There's also a detached structure with multiple automobile garage bays and, at the opposite end of the massive manse, an attached, glass-roofed indoor swimming pool pavilion.

Mister and Miz Keys-Beatz will, so the celebrity real estate gossip goes, will also purchase a contiguous two-acre lot, also owned by Mister Murphy, with additional living space, a children's playground and a tennis court.

In early 2010 Miz Keys and Mister Beatz paid design-minded rocker Lenny Kravitz $12,750,000 for his long-listed duplex penthouse loft in New York City's SoHo 'hood. In March of this year (2012) the procreating couple heaved the nearly 6,200 square foot, four-terrace spread on the market in March 2012 with a much higher $17,950,000 price tag.

Mister Murphy still owns another opulent mansion in the guard-gated Beverly Park community in Los Angeles that's almost as big as Bubble Hill as well as a 200-plus acre country spread in rural Poughquag, NY that he had on the open market back in mid-2007 with an asking price of $5,995,000, reduced from $8,995,000.

listing photos: Prominent Properties Sotheby's

Actor Adam Scott Sells Silver Lake Abode

SELLER: Adam Scott
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,049,000
SIZE: 2,171 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 1.75 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Last week word slipped down the celebrity real estate gossip grapevine and into Your Mama's inbox that slim-hipped and prominently-jawed sitcom and movie actor Adam Scott's hillside house in Los Angeles's Silver Lake 'hood* was quietly put up for sale and quickly whisked into escrow with an asking price of $1,049,000.

Mister Scott has toiled in Tinseltown since at least the mid-1990s but for the last few years—five seasons, to date—he's shaken his wry-humored professional tail feathers on the idiosyncratically charming and often very funny, 8-time Emmy nominated sitcom Parks and Recreation. In addition to the numerous television programs on which he's appeared and/or starred—they include Party of Five, Six Feet Under, the under-rated Eastbound & Down, and the silly, smart and canceled cable sitcom Party Down that also starred the pre-Glee Jane Lynch—Mister Scott often appears on the silver screen (Our Idiot Brother, Monster-In-Law, The Aviator). His upcoming movie projects include the next Ben Stiller vehicle (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) and a feature-length version of the t.v. show Party Down that is slated to star most of the original cast along with the usually quite funny—except for that fuh-reeky, fake butter shilling gig a few years ago—two-time Emmy-winning Will & Grace star Megan Mullally.

Property records show Mister Scott and his writer/producer wife Naomi (Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Andy Milonakis Show) purchased the three-story Silver Lake abode in March 2007 for $889,000 and current listing information shows the tree-ringed, taupe traditional was originally built in 1935 and offers a flexible floor plan with 2 bedrooms and 1.75 bathrooms in 2,171 square feet of interior space.

This is not—as our stair-avoiding house gurl Svetlana vehemently pointed out—a home for the lazy, the weak hearted and/or the glutially frail. A locked entry gate next to the street-level two-car garage hides a fairly long slog up an exterior flight of hedge-lined concrete stairs to the front door that opens to an especially voluminous double-height entry where a sturdy stone staircase with wrought iron railing requires even more grocery-hauling stair climbing to reach the residence's main living, cooking, eating and sleeping areas located on the upper-most floor.

The top floor "formal" living room spans the full width of the front of the house with peg and groove hardwood floors; a shallow-beamed ceiling; a cutesy, built-in display niche; an Old-School bay window; and glass doors that slide open to a covered balcony with long views over the hilltops towards the iconic Hollywood sign.

The peg and groove wood floors run into the back of the house where a flexi-use room with tray ceiling and corner windows could be utilized, according to listing information, as a dining room, a third bedroom or—as it is by Mister and Mister Scott—a "children's creative play space." Without question, we'll take the dining room option, thank you very much.

The unexpectedly roomy, country-meets-modern eat-in kitchen looks to Your Mama like it might have been recently remodeled and equipped with a built-in breakfast banquette seating set into a sun splashed corner; the usual collection of higher-grade stainless steel appliances that include a muscular, extra-wide commercial style range; charcoal colored counter tops of unknown but probably high quality material; and two-toned painted wood cabinetry, white Shaker style stuff around the outside and a glossy, deep turquoise center work island outfitted with two seat snack counter and under counter wine fridge.

The wall-to-wall carpeted lower level living space is currently used as a media den/liquor lounge with vintage built-in bar—check the Old School porcelain slop sink—and an attached three-quarter lavatory with built-in toiletry dresser, pedestal sink, light camel-colored honey-comb tile floors and a white tile-lined corner stall shower. Sliding glass doors open the den/lounge, also convertible to home office, domestic quarters, home gym or—ahem—"children's creative play space," to a delicious roof terrace set atop the street-level two-car garage with over the roof- and treetop views

The terraced and fully landscaped areas that step up the hillside behind the house are somewhat constrained due to the upsloping geography but include a kitchen garden planted with herbs and heirloom vegetables and an elevated deck for dining and lounging with big sky and cottage-dotted canyon views.

A brief and entirely unscientific perusal of various property record data bases did not turn up any evidence that Mister and Missus Scott own any additional residential real estate. That does not, of course, mean that they don't. Since they'll soon have to vacate these premises, one imagines they're on a mad search for—or, perhaps, have already moved forward with the acquisition of—their next family homestead, one that Your Mama would bet both our long-bodied bitches, Linda and Beverly, will have fewer stairs and be better set up to accommodate a pair of Tinseltown adults and their two young children.

*Silver Lake, in case y'all don't know, is where you go if you're an arty-farty, East Side type of Angeleno who wants delicious and affordable homemade pasta at Speranza on Hyperion or a $47 cup of custom-brewed, single origin goor-may cwawfee at Intelligentsia on Sunset Boulevard.** One friend of Your Mama called Silver Lake the Williamsburg of Los Angeles, a characterization that willno doubtoffend any number of Williamsburgians and Silver Lakers.

**A single cup of single origin coffee at Intelligentsia doesn't really cost $47, but it is, like, five or six bucks for a pretty damn wee cup of coffee. That's not six clams for a 17,000 calorie, half-caf-frap-crap thing drizzled with butterscotch (or some other gooey dessert topping), but a single cup of black coffee. If you're a somewhat snooty, eco-conscious coffee connoisseur, you'll totally get and happily cough up the eye-popping price. If you think Folgers does you just fine, well, you'll probably think it's foolish bordering on financially reckless to cough up $23 bucks for a pound of "refreshing and juicy" Fleca Roja from Costa Rica.  

The high prices are no deterrent to some heavy duty commerce. The shop—at least the one in Silver Lake—is jammed-packed almost all the time and snagging a hotly coveted table on a Saturday or Sunday morning involves an exhausting amount of stink eyed obstructionist maneuvering wrapped in a slouchy, I-might-be-hung-over sort of nonchalance because no body wants to actually look like they'd cut a bitch for the four top in the corner...but they would. Anyhoo...

listing photos: Michael McNamara, Shooting LA for Sotheby's International Realty

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Alexander Skarsgård Buys Hillside Hideaway

BUYER: Alexander Skarsgård
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,850,000
SIZE: 2,479 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Despite living and working in Los Angeles for more than half a dozen years, Swedish-born film and television actor Alexander Skarsgård resisted setting down real estate roots in Tinseltown until March (2012)—we first heard from a clever canary we'll call Fatima Figgereditout—when he shelled out $1,850,000 to acquire a sensitively preserved and thoughtfully updated mid-century modern residence pneumatically perched on a private promontory at the tail end of a quiet cul-de-sac in the the celeb-studded hills above L.A.'s upscale, boho-hipster Los Feliz neighborhood.**

The ever-so-slightly but deliciously buck-toothed Mister Skarsgård is probably best known as the powerful, powerfully sexy and emotionally complicated 1,100+ year old vampire Eric Northman on the boob-toob hit series True Blood. Since he arrived in Tinseltown in the early Aughts, the versatile actor has also appeared in a variety of projects including the eye-crossingly stoopid male-model spoof Zoolander, the Emmy-winning mini-series Generation Kill, the recent—and not-particularly-successful—remake of Straw Dogs, and Lars van Trier's psyche-disrupting bone-rattler Melancholia. Several years ago he shook his comely money maker as Lady Gaga's elegant and scrumptiously scruffy man-friend in her music video for Paparazzi. Remember that, kids?

Mister Skarsgård—in case you didn't know—comes from high-profile (if intellectually-minded) Showbiz roots in his native Sweden. His father, Stellan Skarsgård, well-known as a nuanced actor in Sweden and beyond. In addition to the scads of European movies Your Mama has never heard of because, well, we don't follow Swedish cinema very closely the elder Mister Skarsgård has also had notable parts in any number of movies likely to be well known by the average American movie goer (Good Will Hunting, The Avengers and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) as well as his fair share of roles in haute-indie films such as the upcoming, two-part Lars van Trier-directed soft-porn psychodrama Nymphomaniac. At the age of 61—and apropos of absolutely nothing pertinent to the real estate related matter at hand—the vigorous and virile elder Mister Skarsgåed recently sired is eighth child with his significantly younger second wife. Imagine for a moment, butter beans, having a (half-)sibling 36 years your junior, as does the younger Mister Skarsgård.

Anyhoo, for the record, Mister Skarsgård's name does not appear on any of the property records Your Mama peeped —it was officially purchased with a generically-named trust—but our mysteriously but always impeccably and accurately well-informed friend and informant, Lucy Spillerguts, seconded Fatima's well-researched celebrity real estate scuttlebutt. None-the-less, puppies, let's use them noggins: This ain't, technically, nuthin' but some silly rumor and gossip.

Listing information from the time of the purchase that Your Mama located on the internets shows the single-story contemporary was designed by modernist-minded architect Phil Brown and built in 1963—for his parents, our research reveals—with 2-3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in 2,479 square feet of sun-flooded, steel-framed and glass-walled interior spaces that are dominated by satisfying, gasp-worthy views that stretch over a wide swathe of Los Angeles.

The front door, discreetly set into a deep recess ott of view from the street, opens into a roomy front entry space that melts effortlessly into a buoyant, 30+ foot long living/dining combination space with yellow blond wood floors, lofty ceilings with clerestory windows, an open-sided gas fireplace with floating hearth, and thrilling expanses of paneless windows and glass sliders that peel back to an eave-shaded wrap around terrace that hovers over the hillside with toe-tingling city vistas.

At the time it the property was purchased, the kitchen, easily accessible to but separate from the living/dining area, had a spacious and sleek, and very expensive Euro-brand kitchen. An adjoining breakfast area with corner windows and glass sliders connects to the cantilevered deck that girdles two sides of the living/dining area. Just off the kitchen a flexi-purpose room with scintillating city view could be used as a third bedroom, home office, Pilates studio or t.v. watching lounge.

On the other side of the house a master bedroom has two, not-very-big closets and a through-the-pine-trees view of the city as well as a slightly obstructed city view across a semi-enclosed atrium and clear through the living/dining room. The attached master bathroom has a long, floating double vanity, a two-person soaking tub set into a glass-tiled platform, a separate stall shower partially enclosed by a transparent sheet of glass, and a separate cubby from the crapper.

At the time of the purchase, the second bedroom had almost an entire wall of windows shielded by plantation shutters, a privacy-ensuring but somewhat out of context decorative decision Your Mama would not have recommended or installed in a house with this sort of quintessentially mid-century modern architectural integrity.

The hillside lot is a decent-size quarter acre but usable outdoor space is—or was at the time of the purchase—limited to the wrap around deck on the backside of the house. However, should Mister Skarsgård—or whomever—desire more space in the future, marketing materials Your Mama dug up out of the murky morass of the interweb show a significant extension was designed with additional living space that juts out like a broken bone from the original structure, an ample roof deck and a lap-length swimming pool.

**Settle down, Angelenos, we're not hatin'. We love us some Los Feliz. Child, Your Mama and our oldest lesbo gal-pal The Chicken were hanging out at The Dresden back before sequined-slathered singers Marty and Elayne ever put on their first body-shaping undergarments. Even though it is desperately compact and, well, a little dingy, the Vintage on Vermont is a goddamn indie film oasis in blockbuster-driven L.A. and all of y'all who frequent the 'hood ought to buy books on a regular basis at Skylight Books, also on Vermont. Okay? We j'adore Los Feliz. It wasn't so long ago the still pretty low-profile 'hood was a little down on its heels  butlet's get real, gurl—the area has gotten markedly upscale over the last decade in that liberally tattooed, Audi- or Prius-driving, Open Ceremony-shopping, I-only-look-like-I-haven't-showered-in-three-days sort of way.

listing photos: Michael Andrew McNamara Photography for Sotheby's International Realty

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mark Zuckerberg (Allegedly) Buys San Fran Pied-à-Terre

For years, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was one of the Bay Area's wealthiest renters who, until last year, leased an ordinary if heavily fortified and not exactly cheap house in the College Terrace neighborhood in Palo Alto, CA.

That changed last March (2011) when he coughed up $7,000,000 for a gated and fully renovated five bedroom residence in Palo Alto's Crescent Park neighborhood where he and long-time gal pal Priscilla Chan legally hitched their love wagons in a small ceremony earlier this year.

For months now the baby-faced billionaire has been regularly spotted—with security detail in tow—walking his dog near the once drug infested but recently refurbished and downright spectacular Dolores Park, standing in line like everybody else at Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen, and downing a few beers at local dive bars like Phone Booth fueling internet scuttlebutt that Mister and Missus Z. recently added to their slender but high-end property portfolio with a pricey pied-à-terre in San Francisco's once gritty and edgy now almost ludicrously gentrified and hipster filled Mission District neighborhood.

However, thanks to a little neighborhood gossip tattled by our S.F.-based bestie Fiona Trambeau who has lived in a second floor walk up two blocks from Dolores Park since the dawn of time, a little reading around on some of the San Francisco property blogs and a deep dive into a multitude of property records data bases Your Mama surmises that Mister and Missus Z. did not purchase a multi-million dollar pied-a-terre in the Mission District but rather a multi-million dollar pied-a-terre in the quiet, affluent and more tech tycoon-ish Liberty Heights 'hood that clings gloriously to the steep hillsides that rise above the southwest corner of Dolores Park.

There has been some speculation amongst readers of the always informative and always well-informed San Francisco-based property blog Socketsite that Mister and Missus Z. may have purchased a fully-renovated contemporary crib on Liberty Street between Church and Sanchez streets. They didn't.

Now children, keep in mind we can't directly connect neither Mister Z.'s nor Missus Z.'s name to the property in question—making this all just a juicy tidbit of real estate rumor and gossip—but our research indicates that, back in April (2012), a generically-named corporate entity that links directly back to the same tax consulting firm in Palo Alto as Mister and Missus Z.'s primary residence in Palo Alto (CA) paid exactly $3,000,000 for privately situated house on a double-wide lot on a fairly steep street with panoramic views over Dolores Park towards the compact but dynamic downtown skyline. The property was not, as far as we can tell, on the open market so there aren't any listing photos to share with the children.

Ol' Fiona called to tell us rolled by several times this morning in her banged up Subaru hoping to catch of glimpse of Mister Z. or—better yet—get stopped and forcibly frisked by one or more of Mister and Missus Z.'s burly security men but alas...all was whisper quiet.

Steven Gottlieb Gives it Another Go

SELLER: Steven Gottlieb
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $35,000,000
SIZE: (approx.) 5,000 square feet

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama thought it might be a nice change of pace to start the week off with a little New York City fabulosity in the form of a unfinished duplex penthouse set high atop a particularly stunning and iconic park-fronting Art Deco building on the Upper West Side that's popped up the open market with a knee-knocking $35,000,000 price tag.

As was recounted in a deliciously detailed article in New York magazine in 2005, again in 2008 in the New York Observer and, finally, a couple days ago in The New York Times, the two-unit combination cooperative penthouse has a rather illustrious chain of ownership that goes back to the 1970s when two-time Tony award winning Broadway composer and lyricist Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly!, Mame, La Cage au Folles) paid $160,000 for the sun-splashed 19th and 20th floor duplex.

Mister Herman, who reportedly tore down some walls and mirrored others, occupied the terraced aerie until fashion tycoon Calvin Klein came for a visit in 1983 and, on the spot, offered Mister Herman a million bucks for the penthouse.

Not long after Mister Klein moved in he got into a kerfuffle with building's board after he illegally installed a hot tub on the rooftop terrace. We're not sure if the hot tub brouhaha had anything to do with Mister Klein's desire to dump the penthouse but in 1989 he agreed to sell to movie producer and Planet Hollywood co-founder Keith Barish for $3,900,000. Alas, Mister Barish caught a case of The Real Estate Fickle, backed out of the purchase and, as a result, lost his $390,000 deposit.

Mister Klein quickly shifted real estate gears and sold the penthouse for $4.3 million to music and media mogul David Geffen, a well-known trophy property collector who—the children surely recall—recently dropped $54,000,000 on socialite songwriter Denise Rich's woefully dated 12,000-ish square foot duplex penthouse across the park on Fifth Avenue. Anyhoo, Mister Geffen clearly caught a case of The Real Estate Fickle too because he never moved in and flipped the penthouse a little over a year later for $4,600,000 to—are you ready for this?—Keith Barish who—so the story goes—used a Jasper Johns painting as partial payment.

Like Mister Geffen, Mister Barish never moved in to the penthouse but did quickly cough up another two (or so) million bucks for an adjacent 19th floor apartment owned by four-time Oscar-nominated actress Marsha Mason (Only When I Laugh, The Goodbye Girl). When his planned combination and renovation become more cumbersome than he could stomach he sold both the still-uncombined units in 1993 or '94 for $6,000,000 to—buckle your real estate safety belts—Calvin Klein. Such are the wacky real estate ways of the rich and famous, right?

The second time around, Mister Klein didn't move in to the penthouse but did once again run afoul of the board when he removed all non-structural walls in anticipation of a major overhaul. Again we're not sure if his battles with the board had anything to do with his decision to unload the penthouse a second time but in 1998 Oscar-winning movie maker Mike Nichols and his Peabody Award-winning Broadcast journalist wife Diane Sawyer agreed to to pay Mister Klein $7.5 million for the now combined but gutted penthouse.

When Mister Nichols and Miz Sawyer realized their sales contract omitted ownership of the sprawling second floor terrace they queried the board who—dontcha know?—told them they would need to cough up another million dollars to buy the outdoor space. They agreed to the board's monetary demands but, before they knew it, were were outbid by the penthouse's current owner, music industry bigwig turned social networking entrepreneur Steven Gottlieb who already owned an18th floor apartment in the building and who scooped up the unfinished penthouse in 1999 for $8,600,000.

Like the penthouse's previous owners, Mister Gottlieb planned an extensive and expensive renovation but, after a dozen years planning—and no doubt millions in various upgrades and improvements—has chosen to sell.

As it turns out, this isn't the first time at the real estate rodeo for Mister Gottlieb who very briefly had the duplex penthouse on the market in February 2008 with a $36,000,000 price tag. The Street Easy website shows the penthouse was re-listed (at an undisclosed price) and put into contract in June of 2008 but, for reason to which we're not privy, the sale was never completed.

At the time Mister Gottlieb first and unsuccessfully attempted to sell the cooperative penthouse it carried with it monthly maintenance fees of $10,691. Current listing information shows the monthlies have increased to $11,632.

Current listing information includes a floor plan that depicts a proposed built-out that would transform the approximately 5,000 square foot unfinished space into a lavish and lofty park side perch with three bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, three fireplaces, a capacious 1000-square foot living/dining room, a slender wrap around terrace on the lower floor and, on the upper level, a double-height library and a contiguous glass-walled pavilion and glass-roofed conservatory that both open to an approximately 1,000 square foot wrap around terrace with heart stopping park and city views.

Given that New York City is flooded with buyers willing to pay almost any price for prime residential real estate now may be the perfect time for Mister Gottlieb to finally unload the penthouse. Given the plethora of deep-pocket buyers willing to spend vast and shocking sums of money on prime residential properties in Manhattan do any of the children think this place just might go for more than the asking price?

exterior photo: Kate Leonova for Property Shark
interior renderings and floor plan: Brown Harris Stevens

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Effective Home Improvement Ideas and Tricks

Why the need for tricks? Well, some jobs are known to be intimidating, and downright scary. One perfect example is redoing or improving the home. The costs alone are enough to turn over to the other side of the bed, cover our heads with our pillows, and go to sleep. Then we may also have to contemplate a "not-so-great" job with it, the neighbors starting to sense something awkward, and we will be left alone to live with it. The good news is we can always do something about it. All we need are simple tricks and home improvement ideas so we can get around these concerns.

Remodeling can become an inexpensive activity that is capable of changing or improving the living conditions inside your home. Aside from that, it can also increase the livable spaces within, thereby giving you more options on what you may want to add in it. All these are possible with simple home improvement ideas. Focusing your attention on your house's exterior is a good start. The exterior can give neighbors that impression that things are much better inside. Simple activities like putting fresh paint can do just that.

Modern times call for so many home improvement ideas. But it would be much better if you can introduce the element of affordability in it. Low-cost improvements will not only improve our homes, but it also saves you money in the long run. And this is what really matters these days, given the hardships we are in. Here are some of these great ideas.

• Introducing "Green" technology - Because everyone is now realizing the importance of taking care of our environment and this great big home that we are living in, having green technology inside your home is a trick that sets the tone for your home improvement ideas. You can put together solar panels, environment-friendly cleaners, efficient cooling and heating systems, and of course, the very dependable energy-saving light bulbs. Some of these may seem too heavy for your budget right now, but it sure will carry you in the long run. Generating your own electricity is very efficient and cost-effective; however you may want to look at it.

• Redecorating and painting your home's living spaces - These are very simple tricks that can do so much to beautify your home. And it really works! Introducing fresh new paints to the rooms using cool and soothing colors plus the accents helps in creating a more relaxed atmosphere, making you and the rest of your family want to stay home more often.

• All effective ideas to improve your home must come in complete packages. And your home improvement activities will never be successful if you are unable to address more serious concerns, like maintenance issues, or re-insulating all corners of your home. A well-insulated home will help you save money on electric bills. You won't need to worry about cool air leaking out during summers, or warm air during winters.

There are many more home improvement ideas and simple tricks to help you in your cause. Costs should not hinder you from improving the comfort and living space inside your home.