SELLERS: Mary J. Blige and Kendu Isaacs
LOCATION: Saddle River, NJ
SIZE: 13,173 square feet, 8 bedrooms, 10 full and 3 half bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: It looks like Mary J. Blige, the universally anointed “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul,” is one the move as she has her multi-acre estate in suburban New Jersey on the market at $13 million. The Bronx-born music industry superstar, a nine-time Grammy winning R&B mandarin with a powerhouse-voice that can melt metal and sell records by the tens of millions, acquired the approximately 4.2-acre spread in the affluent community of Saddle River with her music executive husband, Kendu Isaacs, in April 2008 for $12.3 million. Current listing details show the 16-room manse, a luxuriously appointed if brazenly ersatz French Renaissance-esque château about 25 miles northwest of Midtown Manhattan, measures in at 13,173 square feet with a total of eight bedrooms, ten full and three half bathrooms, front and rear staircases, and an elevator that services the all three floors.
A gated and tree-shaded driveway makes a short zigzag to a paver-tiled and parking lot-sized motor court and inside guests are greeted and meant to be impressed by a grandiose, double-height and marble-floored foyer that includes a floating, wrought-iron-railed staircase that makes a sweeping curl up a second floor gallery. Though dressed up with all manner of elaborate and traditional architectural embellishments such as intricate moldings, carved friezes, wall tracery, and classic, volute-adorned Ionic columns that support paneled archways, the capacious main floor living and entertaining spaces are arranged with a decidedly contemporary, open plan configuration that includes a trio of spacious living rooms, all with stately herringbone pattern wood floors and two of them — booze lovers will note — conveniently linked by a pass-through wet bar. Like the adjacent living room with which it shares a back-to-back fireplace, the formal dining room opens through two sets of transom-topped French doors to a prairie-sized terrace with a broad vista over the backyard while a paneled and coffer-ceiled library/office lined with built-in bookshelves and anchored by a television-surmounted fireplace has a deep bay window that less elegantly looks out on the front motor court. The kitchen, commodious and fitted with granite counter tops, high-grade appliances, and a truckload of carved and exuberantly embellished cabinetry, opens on one side to a family room with fireplace and at its far end to an octagonal breakfast room with airy, high-peaked ceiling.
While it’s entirely possible and maybe even highly likely Miz Blige and Mister Isaacs made numerous and significant alterations and customizations in their seven years of ownership, a floor plan turned up at the time of the couple’s purchase by occasional research assistant B.S. Beaverman shows the upper floor divided into two wings, one for the sprawling master suite and the other for guest and family bedrooms. The family wing has — or had — three generous en suite bedrooms and a playroom/children’s den plus a good-sized guest/staff apartment with bedroom, separate sitting room, bathroom, and wet bar. (Another bedroom and bathroom was wedged between an over-sized laundry room and the attached four-car garage on the main floor and was likely designed to accommodate a live-in domestic worker.) The amply proportioned master suite encompasses a large sitting room with fireplace, an even larger bedroom chamber that opens to a private terrace, dual bathrooms — one with fireplace, make-up vanity, and a gold footed soaking tub — and a couple of custom-fitted walk-in closets. The finished basement level incorporates a slew of recreational luxuries that include a professional-grade theater with carved wood pilasters, walk-in wine cellar, mirror-lined fitness room with sauna, and half-court basketball court. The rear of the residence stands three stories and towers over a swimming pool ringed by broad stone terrace and an adjacent pool house possessed of unknown amenities.
This property gossip freely confesses we’re completely ignorant of Miz Blige and Mister Isaacs’ future real estate plans but current listing photographs show the couple’s Saddle River mansion cleared of nearly all furnishings and personal belongings which suggests they’ve already relocated to their next home or, less likely but not impossibly, perhaps they’ve returned to the 6,152-square foot, circa 1990 contemporary on 1.1 acres in nearby Cresskill, NJ, that Miz Blige scooped up in May 2000 for $1.65 million and, per property records, continues to own.
Listing photos: Engel & Völkers