As lawyer Diane Lockhart on the CBS primetime hit “The Good Wife” and its spin-off, “The Good Fight,” Christine Baranski’s on-screen persona doesn’t shirk from a challenge. It’s an attitude that will serve her well in real life when it comes to the fixer-upper duplex apartment on New York City’s natty Upper East Side she’s just nabbed for a not exactly bargain basement price of $2.2 million.
Located on a quiet block in an elegant red-brick apartment house that dates to 1928, the roughly 1,800-square-foot, two-floor spread is a bygone-era technicolor dream brought to vivacious life by a previous owner with an unfettered sense of color and whimsy. However, the wonderfully weird ensemble is hardly in line with the understated, streamlined residences to which many well-heeled Manhattan buyers have become accustomed. No wonder, then, that listing agents Nikki Field and Amanda Field Jordan of Sotheby’s International Realty decided to present some of the rooms with virtually staged companion renderings to illustrate the duplex’s modern potential.
The Emmy and Tony-winning stage and screen veteran, still beloved by many for her role as hilariously caustic alcoholic divorcé Maryann Thorpe on the late 1990s sitcom “Cybill,” clearly saw the potential in the generously proportioned four-bedroom and three-bathroom co-op unit, which underneath the garish, outdated décor, is filled with old-school charm. A foyer leads to a grand living room with a gilt-trimmed fireplace and three oversized windows with leafy treetop views, while an adjoining dining space sports mauve Venetian plaster walls. Listing photos indicate both rooms were partially renovated at the time of the sale, with plastic sheeting over the walls in the living room.
It’s not easy to discern if the eat-in kitchen was meant to be evocative of a William Sonoma on mushrooms or is simply an irreverent old school take on an European-style culinary affair. However, with the addition of a few new items that play along with the mix-and-match culinary fantasy, the spacecould easily be brought up to date. Though it clashes desperately with the patterned tile backsplash and pale blue marble counters, certainly, the imported copper-trimmed range and venting hood are salvageable. As for the white curvilinear cabinets with gaudy gold trim and the gleaming gold crown moldings that encircle the ceiling? Well, those are up for discussion!
Floor plans show a prison cell-sized staff bedroom and bathroom tucked behind the kitchen and three more bedrooms upstairs. One of the upstairs bedrooms, a jaw-dropping spectacle composed of a red-and-white checkerboard floor, red-and-white toile drapery that matches the wallpaper and a curtained niche lined with bubble gum pink tufted fabric, includes an en suite bathroom. The other two bedrooms, which share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom, have been combined into a master suite with the smaller room fitted as a dressing room and the larger room used as a spacious bedroom warmed by a wood-burning fireplace. Presumably (and hopefully) the faded blue wall-to-wall carpeting and eye-popping floral wall paper will be jettisoned.
Additionally, the unit conveniently transferred with a separate staff suite/home office located off the building’s lobby. Residents are also pampered with 24-hour doormen, a landscaped garden, a fitness room, a bike storage space and a laundry room.
Turns out, Baranski is well aware of the building’s charms. The actress, whose big screen credits include film adaptations of the Broadway musicals “Into The Woods,” “Mama Mia” and “Chicago,” owns a neighboring co-op she bought in 2004 for $1.275 million, so there could be plans on the horizon to combine the two units. The East Coast-based thespian also owns a couple of homes in Connecticut, a historic late 18th-century home on almost 1.5 bucolic acres in Bethlehem and turn-of-the-20th-century cottage on the shore of a small, postcard-perfect lake near New Preston.