SELLER: Joan Rivers
LOCATION: White Oaks Road, New Milford, CT
SIZE: 5,730 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Stone & clapboard sprawling country house. High standards. Incredible taste. Swimming pool. Pool house. Caretaker’s cottage. Barn/garage. Pond. Amazing Views.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: In late May of 2009, much nipped and tucked comedienne Joan Rivers hoisted her Manhattan penthouse apartment on the market with a toe curling asking price of $25,000,000. It was reported in the New York Times that Miz Rivers put the apartment on the market because she plans to spend more time on the West Coast where her also much nipped and tucked look-alike daughter Melissa lives in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles.
All the real estate gossips and celebrity watchers wondered if Miz Rivers, who bulldozed her way to winning the most recent season of The Celebrity Apprentice, would also list her country house in lovely Litchfield County, CT. And she has, with folks at Klemm Real Estate, for $6,500,000.
Property records and previous reports indicate Miz Rivers scooped up her multi-parcel estate in New Milford which totals more than 75 acres in December of 2000 for $1,438,400. The existing house on the property, according to Miz Rivers in a February 2003 article in Architectural Digest (requires registration) was, “the ugliest house [she’d] ever seen. It looked like a Denny’s.” So she hired a retail merchandising queen friend of hers named Joe to give the place a full face lift and turn into a “small and cozy” house where her beloved pooches could get up on the sofas with impunity.
The “squat” mid-century modern style house was razed except for the foundation, a few stone columns and the sizable stone fireplace in the living room. The result of the redo is, according to property records and listing information, a 5,760 square foot single story stone and clapboard sprawler with 4 bedrooms, 4.5 Carrara marble bathrooms, 22-foot ceilings, 100 year old chestnut wood beams, four fireplaces and a dozen or more French doors that open to a free-form stone terrace that stretches along the back the house and looks out over a bucolic vista of rolling lawns, old-growth trees and the mountains in the distance.
Although Miz Rivers posseses a mouth as foul as they come and she can shred a person as quickly and easily as she can slice through fresh bread with a sharp knife, she’s actually a woman of discerning style and traditional decorative taste as is evidenced by the acres of fringed and mismatched Scalamandré fabrics, 18th century bird engravings, Hudson River School paintings, antique doo-hickeys, picture frames and dust collecting gew–gaws that clutter up almost every damn flat surface in the house.
Although we are not entirely convinced Miz Rivers even eats, there is none the less a large country kitchen with a soaring beamed ceiling, bacteria collecting butcher block counter tops, distressed wood floors, a lot of white cabinetry and a full complement stainless steel appliances. Sitting high above the stove top and hood is a large oil painting and shelves with pewter looking this and thats that Your Mama imagines are caked with cooking grease and hopes are stuck down with museum putty lest they fall off and crack Cook’s head right open.
In the Architectural Digest article Mrs. Rivers says about her cotton candy pink and blush colored bedroom, “This is the bedroom every little girl wants.” Do we even need to tell the children that it makes Your Mama queasy just to think of a senior citizen doing up her bedroom as a gurlish fantasy? The only thing worse is when a grown woman (or man) has stuffed animals on their beds which is just plain creepy, desperate and wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Far more upsetting than a grandma having a bedroom decorated for a pre-pubescent gurl, however, is the mirrored and marbled master pooper where a pair of female Blackamoors with with ferns on their damn heads flank the bath tub. We do not care that these statues are from the set of Babs Streisand’s Hello, Dolly!, they still give Your Mama goose bumps but not in a good way.
Not pictured or mentioned in listing information, but lovingly lauded in the Architectural Digest article, is a decoratively whimsical (if sort of silly) hallway lined with antique mirrors and trompe l’oeil windows that depict the homes of some of Miz Rivers’ hoity–toity friends and family including Prince Charles’s Highgrove. Your Mama is dying to know if Miz Rivers hauls out her potty mouth when sitting around sipping Chardonnay with Prince Charles and his former mistress turned wifey Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
The extensive grounds include an (approximately) 1,200 foot long driveway ending in a large circular drive, a detached barn/garage (just try to imagine Miz River’s driving a car without getting hysterical) and a vast expanse of grass that rolls down to a private pond. Away from the back of the house and tucked into a stand of trees is a swimming pool and pool house. If there is anything more comical than trying to imagine Joan Rivers piloting an automobile, it’s Joan Rivers paddling around her pool in a demure swimsuit and flowered bathing cap.
Miz Rivers moving is without a doubt the East Coast’s loss and the West Coast’s gain and we imagine that Miz Rivers and her drum tight and increasingly Madame-esque face will soon be sitting in the back of a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce touring multi-million dollar homes in Los Angeles. We’re on pins and needles waiting to hear from one of our informants what she buys and look forward to our invite to the house warming.