BUYER: David Chase
LOCATION: New York City, NY
SIZE: 2,700 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Last June, a 19th-century townhouse on a leafy street in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood was sold for $6,950,000. The seller’s identity was well-shielded behind a generically named trust but was rumored among property watchers and real estate gossips to be seven-time Emmy winner writer/producer David Chase (The Sopranos, Northern Exposure, The Rockford Files).
Thanks to an eagle-eyed informant—let’s call him Tommy Twoandtwo—Your Mama has learned that the very same mysterious trust associated with the sale of the Chelsea townhouse recently forked over $9,650,000 for a pedigreed penthouse pad atop one of the four towers that anchor the titanic London Terrace complex that encompasses an entire city block in the West Chelsea.
Over the years the massive London Terrace complex, partly comprised of high-priced rentals and partly comprised of high priced condos, has attracted it’s fair share of high profile residents including (but not limited to) Debbie Harry (who owns two small combined units), Tim Gunn (who we’re pretty sure has moved uptown now), actress Katherine Helmond, Nicole Kidman (who rented there briefly a number of years ago), Saturday Night Live cast members Chris Kattan and Bill Hader and Rufus Wainwright. It also happens to be the very building where Your Mama and The Doctor Cooter lived for years in a stupendous three bedroom duplex apartment where we would occasionally get mail for actress Christina Ricci whose mother, we were told, previously occupied the apartment.
Anyhoo, for many years the 20th floor penthouse in question was owned by influential author, activist and deep thinker Susan Sontag who died at 71 in late 2004. Miz Sontag’s estate eventually sold the then two bedroom and two bathroom penthouse in October 2006 for $3,950,000 to William Diamond, an internationally renown interior designer/decorator who, along with long-time design partner Anthony Barratta, was famous for his cheeky, vigorous and playfully fearless use of color.
According to Tommy Twoandtwo, the now-retired Mister Diamond gutted the penthouse but ran into some financial difficulties having to do with Ponzi putz Bernie Madoff and was unable to complete the renovation. Mister Diamond put the gutted penthouse on the market in early 2009 and sold it in early May (2009) for $4,400,000 to an obviously well-heeled but un-famous couple who proceeded with a full-scale renovation and reconfiguration that replaced most if not all of the penthouse’s original pre-war architectural details.
Listing information shows the existing, U-shaped penthouse measures about 2,700 square feet with three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, three wood burning fireplaces, nearly a dozen closets and three terraces that provide more than 1,300 square feet of exterior space. Maintenance charges come to a pearl clutching $7,050 per month.
Your Mama might prefer not to be looking directly into the kitchen upon first entering a ten million dollar apartment but the floor plan is otherwise carefully considered unequivocally efficient. There are those who will bemoan the removal of all the original pre-war detailing but if y’all were to ask Your Mama—and no one did— the stripped down architecture allows the wrap around city and river views to take center stage from every room.
Even if one hates the fairly minimal architecture, the finishes are beyond reproach and include marvelously over-scaled white oak chevron-pattern hardwood floors, custom fabricated and absolutely correct casement windows and French doors and a custom, open-concept center island kitchen that looks like a luminescent configuration of sugar cubes.
A nearly thirty-foot long foyer/entrance gallery links the primary living spaces that include a downright spectacular living room with fireplace and windows on three sides and and open plan kitchen/dining room that’s also warmed by a fireplace. The kitchen area is flanked by a laundry room on one side and walk-in pantry area on the other.
The three bedrooms are lined up along the northern side of the penthouse and include two guest/family bedrooms that each have private bathrooms and direct terrace access. The master bedroom isn’t huge but it’s privately tucked back in the northeastern wing of the penthouse and includes a long, closet-lined dressing hall, a spacious windowed bathroom and—count ’em—three separate exits to a secluded section of the 50-plus foot long north side terrace that allows for unimpeded uptown views that include Empire State Building and the Midtown skyline.
listing photos and floor plan: Brown Harris Stevens