SELLER: Richard Tyler and Lisa Trafficante
LOCATION: Greenwich Street, New York
SIZE: 9,200 square feet
DESCRIPTION: (reduced from listing agent’s website) Behind this mysterious early 19th century Romanesque brick facade awaits an extraordinary residence. There are massive scale entertaining rooms with 20 foot ceilings and a magical atrium with serene reflecting pool. Unique space with a roof that opens to the sky above and is wonderful in all seasons. Beautiful, bright, and utterly private residence.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: For the last week or two, Your Mama has been camped out over on the West coast discussing homes in Beverly Hills and Bel Air, so we thought we’d head back to the East coast and talk about one of New York’s most interesting homes that has recently come up for sale. Located in the far West Village, this townhouse-like property currently belongs to famed stitch bitch and notorious nice guy Richard Tyler and his bizness partner/wife Lisa Trafficante.
Originally a designer of men’s clothing, Tyler fabricated his designs with an extreme attention to detail that was more Saville Row than rock and roll. It’s even been said his clothes are so perfectly crafted they can be worn inside out.
Tyler spent the early part of his career as a penniless and virtually homeless darling of the Los Angeles nightlife celebrity glitterati and it wasn’t until he met Lisa Trafficante at a dinner party in Los Angeles that his career began to hit it’s stride and provide him with a proper income. In the late 1980s Tyler opened and eponymous boutique on Beverly Boulevard that became such a magnet for celebrities that they often hung around the shop after they staggered out of clubs in the middle of the night. The success of the store was rapid and money began to pour in and pile up.
Tyler’s flame burned brightest in the late 1980s and 1990s when he was deluged by requests to dress celebrities, society princesses and rock bands. Impressively he was awarded three consecutive CFDA awards in 1993, -4 and -5. More recently he decked out lady celebs like Marcia Cross, Catherine Zeta Jones, Heather Locklear and Sarah Jessica Parker for their struts and preens down the red carpet.
Tyler and Trafficante have always been based in Los Angeles, but since the mid 1990s have maintained a New York residence. Before buying this house on Washington Street, the couple owned the Stuyvesant Fish-Benjamin Sonnenberg house in Grammercy Park. Against the better judgement of their business manager, they purchased the 37 room white elephant in 1995 for $3,500,000. After five years and an extensive renovation, they sold the place in 2000 for a reported $16,500,000.
According to property records these fashionistas purchased the Washington Street house in December of 2000 for $5,795,000. No doubt they’ve put a few million into the place, but even still, the couple will walk away from the sale of the house with millions in their well-tailored pockets.
Many years ago, before Your Mama had wrinkles and a fat ass, we remember walking by this shabby and decaying facade and being told by one of New York’s most celebrated and sassy magazine editors that the interior was “all James Bond with a retractable roof.” Even though this queen claimed he had been in the house, we still didn’t believe him. This was actually before Tyler and Trafficante owned the place, but the house’s exterior still looks pleasantly dishevelled and nearly abandoned.
The ground floor of this building sweeps front to back in one large open space. At first Your Mama was a little pissed off and peeved by the utter pretentiousness of that large room with all those silly round balls on the floor. Then we realized we are just a little jealous. Your Mama is lucky enough to have some nice square footage in Manhattan, but unfortunately we don’t have the sort of space to create kooky indoor landscapes like this.
With many thousands of square feet of Appalachian granite floors, this house surely kept an entire town of hard working West Virginia hill-billies fed and clothed for half a year. And of course, all that granite has a radiant heating system so there is no need to worry about getting cold feet in the dead of winter when you’re navigating all that square footage looking for a midnight snack.
Children, please note the reflecting pool in the atrium. No babies, that is not a swimming pool, unless you’re a Chihuahua or Tyler’s Yorkie Poo Violet. At any rate, this feat of engineering sits on the third floor of this building below a glass roof that automatically retracts at the the touch of a button. Just imagine what that cost to install and maintain.
The listing agent at Prudential Douglas Elliman wrote a long, long description of the property, but oddly did not include a list of the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. We glean from her description the house has at least 3 bedrooms and anywhere from 2 full and 2 half bath, to 4 full bathrooms. You know not having these specifics irritates Your Mama to no end, so if any of our readers who are New York City real estate professionals would like to fill this gap, be sure to get in touch. We promise to keep your name out of it.
In the last couple of years Tyler as scaled back his fashion empire, laid off most of his employees, and closed his boutique in Los Angeles. He continues to run his couture and bridal business out of his Pasadena atelier. We suspect now that Mr. Tyler is pushing geriatrics, the fashion legend might want to slow down a bit and enjoy his family and money.