SELLER: Steve Martin
LOCATION: Saint Barthélemy, French West Indies
SIZE: 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Late last night Your Mama received a covert communique from a friendly fella we’ll call Bart St. Barts who thoughtfully forwarded a digital press release meant to get the word out about semi-retired and famously private comedic deity Steve Martin putting his mountain top vacation villa on the swish Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy up for sale on the open market with a multi-millionaires only asking price of €8,750,000.*
Saint Barthélemy, the trendily chic and prolifically pricey crown jewel of the French West Indies, is typically more simply referred to by the international jet-setters and globe trotters who can afford to vacation there—as well as those of us who only wish we could afford to vacay there—as St. Barth or, for all us American English speakers, St. Barts.
Over the last ten or fifteen years the tiny island has become a winter time hot spot—especially over New Year’s—for sun seeking celebs and demi-celebs such as Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, Rachel Zoe, Michael Kors, Andy Cohen—here he is a few years ago doing the beach thing with Daniel Craig, Demi Moore, Simon Cowell, and Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. In addition to the hordes of spendy Showbizzers and ridiculously rich media mavens like Martha Stewart, all manner of moguls, royals and potentates also congregate in great numbers on the French-controlled collectivity.
Frequently seen hobnobbing and cavorting around the ultra-exclusive island during the winter holidays are big time movers and shakers like tech tycoon Paul Allen, diversified businessman Ron Perelman, paper and media pasha Peter Brant and his aging gracefully supermodel wife Stephanie Seymour, art dealer Larry Gagosian, famed fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier, and late night chat show honcho David Letterman. Last year, the children may recall, Russian gajillionaire and inveterate trophy property collector Roman Abramovich paid—so the stories go—about $90 million for a 70-ish acre, multi-pavilion beach side compound built on land once owned by rich and profoundly powerful banker David Rockefeller.
Your Mama doesn’t know how much Mister Martin paid for his St. Bart’s getaway that he picked up sometime in 2008 and was last listed for $9,000,000.** What we do know is that Mister Martin, a card-carrying Mensa member and an astute collector of name brand modern art who is surprisingly proficient at throwing a lasso as well as playing the harmonica and the banjo, recently became a father for the first time at the ripe old age of 67. That may seem, children, like a clunky segue and it very well may be nothing more than a real estate coinky dink but every celebrity real estate gossip knows that when people as famous and/or rich as Mister Martin have a baby, get married and/or get divorced they very often also shake up their real estate portfolios. Anyhoo…
Current listing details show Mister Martin’s gated, tropical Colonial style villa occupies a private perch high in the hills of Lurin where its mountain top vantage provides postcard perfect, 180+ degree views over and beyond the sleepy, swank, and duty-free port city of Gustavia as well as across the yummy, sparkling blue waters of St. Jean Bay and directly down on busy Gustaff III Airport.***
The single-story house has four en suite bedrooms and a total of 4.5 bathrooms, according to listing information, in an unknown amount of air conditioned square footage. At the heart of the boomerang-shaped residence is a multi-winged, open plan living area with red tile flooring and airy, exposed beam vaulted ceilings. One end of the central living room opens through collapsing glass doors to a lush, wind protected interior courtyard while the other end has floor to ceiling windows that suck up the quintessential Caribbean views.
The living room is flanked by a casual “formal” dining room on one side and a media lounge with built-in entertainment cabinet and a couple of humble but comfortable-looking couches on the other. For a man who collects museum quality contemporary art, the photo-realist paintings (or whatever they are in the media lounge and throughout the house strike Your Mama as painfully and, well, pitifully banal. It’s not that we think he ought to have hung one of his Diebenkorns of Fischls up in there but, holy moly that looks like some seriously cliche, low rent “art.” Frankly, we’d rather stare at a blank wall but—let’s get real, people—what does it matter since Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter are neither in the market to buy nor lease a ten-plus million dollar villa in St. Barts?
The living and dining areas, as well as the angled, galley-type kitchen that the press release rather generously described as “state-of-the-art,”open to a deep veranda with panoramic views and a built-in barbecue station. The media lounge, on the other hand, links through to a smaller covered porch that online marketing materials suggest is punished with fitness equipment.
Online resources indicate the four bedroom suites are well separated for privacy. Two smaller suites occupy their own wing behind the media lounge. Both have exterior entrances, private bathrooms, private terraces, and—oo la ls—private outdoor showers. A larger, third guest suite, on the opposite side of the house behind the dining room and kitchen, also has an exterior entry, a private deck, and an attached bathroom with French doors that open to a fence-ringed deck with outdoor shower.
The master bedroom is contained in a separate building that all but butts up to the far end of the house beyond the largest of the three guest bedrooms. The suite is complete with an elevated bed area, a sunken sitting area, and an unexpectedly large walk-in closet/dressing room. The attached wood and stone themed bathroom has a wall of glass in the shower that opens to a secluded deck with outdoor shower. French doors in both the bedroom and the bathroom open to a large, wrap around deck with sunken spa and a view that’s enough to make even the most jaded globe trotter pee their pants with vacation glee.
The shaded verandas off the main living area(s) give way to multi-level sunbathing and dining terraces that embrace a two-tier, infinity edge swimming pool. Steps at either end of the pool lead down to a curved deck cantilevered slightly over the hillside with dreamy views over all of St. Jean Bay. The interior courtyard provides a serene balance to dramatic views that consume the eyes on the other side of the house. A narrow, red tile lined water channel cuts across a flat lawn and connects a gurgling urn fountain just outside the living room to a a flourishing lily pond the wraps around three sides of a slightly elevated Balinese-y pavilion.
Mister Martin’s private residential property portfolio includes at least three additional residence. Since at least 1995, the actually quite shy funny man has owned a 5.86 acre (two parcel) estate in Santa Barbara—on the east side of Montecito—with a very contemporary 7,300-plus square foot residence that’s partially submerged in the knoll top on which is sits. In Los Angeles Mister Martin owns a pair adjacent mini-estates on a little known cul de sac nestled into a holler high above the trendy and hideously expensive Trousdale Estates ‘hood in Beverly Hills. Property records show he purchased the first of the two Bev Hills properties, with its 7,005 square foot main house, in the early days of 1995 for $3,175,000 from actor Corbin Bernsen and his long-time actress wife Amanda Pays. He scooped up the neighboring property in October 1997 from a not-famous person for an unknown amount.
*Listing details show$11,328,327 (USD) but quick consult with Your Mama’s currency conversion contraption shows the current listing price of €8,750,000 equals $11,363,500, at today’s rates.
**Not long after he purchased the property, Mister Martin offered it out for least at $28,000 per week. The press release indicates it can still be leased by the week but did not provide a price.
***Just for shits and giggles: In 2010 The History Channel ranked Gustaff III as the third most dangerous airport in the world behind Toncontín International in Honduras and Tenzing-Hillary Airport, a remote air strip in Lukla, Nepal where most mountaineers begin their hike up the Mount Everest Base Camp.
listing photos and floor plan: St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty