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At 25, Frances Bean Cobain, the only daughter of rock legends Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, has an eye for real estate and design.
In 2011, while still a teenager, she purchased a lovely Spanish Colonial home in the Hollywood foothills for $1,825,000. Seven years later, she’s put the immaculately maintained home on the market for $2.7 million.
Rather than tarting it up as a slick modern rebuild, the young Cobain left many of the period details intact. Those details—including the hand-painted Spanish tiles, original hardware, wrought-iron railings, leaded-glass windows, hardwood flooring, and stenciled beams—harken back to 1930, when the home was built.
“She has a sense for what makes this home really special—what makes the house really sing,” says Agency co-founder Billy Rose, who is representing the property. “That, of course, is the remarkable period detail.”
Living room with vaulted ceiling and stenciled beams
The updates perfectly mesh with the home’s original style. The kitchen now has high-end Viking appliances, a farmhouse sink, and walk-in pantry, as well as open shelving and subway tile backsplash.
The 3,357-square-foot home has four bedrooms and 3.5 baths. The upstairs master suite has a dressing area, ample closet space, balcony, and en suite bathroom with gloriously original turquoise tile. Cobain was discerning enough not to mess with vintage perfection.
Bathroom with original tile
In a nod to the needs of a contemporary artist, she converted the detached garage into a “super cool and hip, sound-attenuated recording studio and screening room,” according to Rose.
Recording studio/media room
Although there’s no pool (yet), there’s plenty of room for one on the 9,784-square-foot lot. Right now, there’s a tile patio with dining and lounging areas. Towering hedges were added for privacy.
Located near the popular Runyon Canyon hiking trail and Wattles Garden Park, the home is close to all that’s hip in Hollywood. It’s also a quick trip down Sunset Boulevard to Beverly Hills.
After a tumultuous childhood marked by custody battles, restraining orders, and the tragic death of her father, Cobain has found success as an artist and model. She appeared most recently in the Marc Jacobs spring/summer campaign.
Variety reports that she inherited 37% of her father’s estate, and that documents filed in connection to her 2017 divorce from musician Isaiah Silva reveal that she receives over $100,000 a month from his estate.
When real-estate agent Jason Haber first viewed Bernard Madoff’s penthouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in 2009, he saw Mr. Madoff’s personal belongings still in the apartment—as if the disgraced financier had just stepped out of the room. White polo shirts were stacked in a drawer. An electric shaver sat on the bathroom vanity.
“It was so awkward because you knew it was all his and it felt weird being there,” said Mr. Haber of Warburg Realty, who was vying to get the listing from the government. “There were federal agents all over the house inventorying everything. They asked me to surrender my phone because no one was allowed to take photographs.”
It has been almost 10 years since Mr. Madoff confessed to his sons that his investment company was basically “a giant Ponzi scheme,” estimated at the time to represent about $50 billion.
His confession set off a chain of events that led to the court-ordered seizure and sale of his four prime real-estate properties, including the Manhattan penthouse where Mr. Madoff had spent several months under house arrest. Proceeds from the sale of the penthouse, his Hamptons beach house, a Florida home and a villa in the South of France, among other assets, were used to pay restitution to his victims.
Today, Mr. Madoff is nearly nine years into a 150-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to 11 counts of financial and mail fraud, money laundering and perjury related to the Ponzi scheme. Meanwhile, the properties, mostly sold at the bottom of the real-estate bust, have gained in value by millions of dollars, partly because of the real-estate recovery and partly because of improvements made by the homes’ new owners.
The infamous Manhattan penthouse where Mr. Madoff and his wife, Ruth, spent most of their time, for example, sold in 2010 for $8 million. Today, its estimated value tops $13 million, according to industry experts. Here is the story behind the sales, most of which were organized by the U.S. Marshals Service, with estimates by real-estate professionals of what they are worth today.
Madoff’s New York penthouse
Dorothy Hong for The Wall Street Journal
New York penthouse
Sold for: $8 million
Estimated value today: $13.268 million
Mr. Haber, who interviewed to get the East 64th Street listing but wasn’t awarded it, recalls the apartment looked dated when he toured it in 2009.
“I remember I said to one of the marshals, ‘Madoff certainly didn’t use the money to keep up the house,’” he recalled. “Whoever bought it was going to need to put a lot into it.”
The property had been purchased by Ruth Madoff in 1984 and was valued at about $7 million by the authorities. It sold for $8 million in 2010 to Alfred Kahn, the former chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment and the executive behind the Cabbage Patch Kids phenomenon, and his wife, Patsy. Mr. Kahn said he thought the penthouse was a value proposition at the time.
“I thought no one would buy it, period,” he said. “The government was vetting everyone before they’d let you see it. I thought it would take out a lot of buyers who didn’t want to be vetted.”
The Kahns later divorced, and Patsy Kahn relisted the home for $17.25 million in 2013, later reducing the price to $14.5 million. It ultimately sold for the lower figure in 2014 to Lawrence Benenson, a real-estate executive, public records show. Mr. Benenson didn’t respond to a request for comment. Ruth Madoff, who was never charged with any crime pertaining to the scheme, couldn’t be reached.
The duplex apartment, located in a building dating to 1927, had Neo-Classic-style features, including Greek-inspired window frames, attenuated pilasters and a Vitruvian wave in limestone, according to a listing for the property from that period. It had three bedrooms and 4½ bathrooms and a sprawling terrace with triple exposures
Michael Graves of Douglas Elliman, Ms. Kahn’s real-estate agent at the time, said the Madoff name was good for publicity but also worked against the seller, because some prospective buyers found the connection off-putting. They couldn’t imagine hosting friends in the former home of the swindler who had possibly lost their friends’ money, he said.
“It was a complicated affiliation,” Mr. Graves added. “Over time, it’s gotten better. But at that time, it was a little more poignant. There were people still grappling with their losses. There were people who simply turned away from even looking at that home based on the historical context.”
Ms. Kahn recalled first visiting the home out of curiosity but quickly saw how she could improve it. “There were big awnings that hung over the windows, so you never saw a glimpse of sky,” she said. “It was as if he was consciously, or subconsciously, trying to hide.”
When she moved in, Ms. Kahn invited her friends over for a so-called smudging party, she said, where they burned lavender and sage, and recited prayers and poems, to rid the home of negative energy.
Mr. Graves said it helped that his client had banished the dark-colored drapes and brightened up the home with whimsical art. She also hosted charity fundraisers there and would have guests write their names on the door. “She had this rainbow collection of permanent markers everyone used as they came in,” he recalled. Anyone willing to see the home, he added, would be met with a cheerful image.
If the apartment were to sell today, it would likely trade for a similar price to its 2014 sales price, provided no further work has been done, Mr. Graves said. In 2014, the median price for a three-bedroom Manhattan home was $3.728 million, compared with $4.094 million in 2017, according to a report by Douglas Elliman.
Appraiser Jonathan Miller said the market for luxury New York sales—classified as the top 10% of homes—had dipped by about 8.5% since 2014. All other factors being equal, that would equate to a value for the apartment of about $13.268 million today.
Cap d’Antibes villa
Sold for: About $1.3 million
Estimated value today: $1.6 million
Mr. Madoff’s home in the Cap d’Antibes area of the South of France was a three-bedroom apartment in a Mediterranean-style villa with terra-cotta roof tiles and green shutters, according to Guillaume Turquois, the agent who represented Mr. Madoff in his purchase of the property.
It was located in the Chateau des Pins development, a luxury community with tennis courts and sea views. It has 24 apartments across seven villas, Mr. Turquois said.
The Madoffs bought the property in 2000 or 2001, according to a filing by Mr. Madoff’s lawyer in 2009.
It was sold by public prosecutors in France to a Russian businessman for about $1.3 million in 2009, Mr. Turquois said, confirming reports in the French press. Mr. Turquois didn’t represent the French government in that sale of the property.
Mr. Turquois said the apartment was unremarkable. “It was nice. I won’t say luxury fixtures. There was nothing extraordinary,” he said.
If it were to come on the market today, the apartment would likely be valued at roughly $1.6 million, based on current market conditions, Mr. Turquois said.
Madoff’s Palm Beach waterfront home
Palm Beach waterfront home
Sold for: $5.65 million
Estimated value today: $12.1 million
The Madoffs bought their Caribbean-style Palm Beach, Fla., property in 1994 and didn’t do much work on it. Mr. Madoff and many of his clients were members of the Palm Beach Country Club.
The real-estate agents marketing the property for the Marshals Service in 2009 called the five bedroom, roughly 8,800-square-foot property a “classic island home.” It had high vaulted ceilings, a covered loggia, a pool and a private deepwater dock for a yacht.
While it lagged behind the other Madoff properties during a weak Florida luxury market, the home was purchased from the marshals by the Texas-based Bray Children’s Trust for $5.65 million in 2010. The buyer hired Michael Perry of MP Design & Architecture in Palm Beach to renovate it.
The trust then resold the home in 2013 for $9.1 million to a Garden City, N.Y.-based company identified in public records as Algonquin Partners LLC. Records link that company to Austrian Prince Alexander von Auersperg. Neither the trust nor Mr. von Auersperg could immediately be reached for comment.
As for what the property might sell for today, prices for high-end homes in Palm Beach have risen substantially since the home last sold in 2013, according to findings by Mr. Miller. For luxury homes, defined as the top 10% of sales, they increased by 33%, meaning the home could be worth as much as $12.1 million, all other factors being equal.
Madoff’s Hamptons beach house
Hamptons beach house
Sold for: $9.41 million
Estimated value today: $21 million
The Madoffs’ Montauk, N.Y., home was decorated in a similarly dark aesthetic, with Formica countertops and dark oriental rugs.
Mr. Miller, an appraiser with Miller Samuel, recalled watching a video tour of the property offered to the media, and remembered that the host, a U.S. Marshal with a bulge from a firearm on his side, speaking of the property’s “understated elegance.”
Owners Steven and Daryl Roth bought the roughly 3,000-square-foot beachfront home, which has unobstructed views of a public beach and a gunite pool overlooking the ocean, for $9.41 million in 2009 and completed a huge renovation spearheaded by designer Thierry Despont. They installed a new staircase and moved the master suite from the ground floor to the second floor.
The Roths are selling because they have two other homes nearby in East Hampton and don’t have much time to spend at the Montauk property, listing agents Gary DePersia and Joan Hegner of the Corcoran Group previously told The Wall Street Journal. The property is on the market for $21 million. Mr. Roth is chairman of Vornado Realty Trust, a real-estate company. The Roths declined to comment.
Mr. Miller said he rarely saw a substantial premium or a discount on a property based on its connection to a boldface name such as Madoff’s.
“For every example that can be provided for someone that paid a premium, you can provide one or more examples of a discount,” he said.
Until the 1920s, Whiskey Island in Clayton, NY, was called Coral Island for the shoals surrounding the 3.1-acre isle. But those shoals and the isle’s strategic location on the U.S.-Canadian border made it the perfect “drop and run” point for smugglers during Prohibition, earning the name change.
Today, Whiskey Island has a better reputation as an idyllic spot to spend a summer weekend. One of New York’s Thousand Islands, it’s located on the Saint Lawrence River and accessible by boat or seaplane, according to listing agent Michael DeRosa.
Featured on HGTV’s “Island Hunters,” Whiskey Island is home to one of the oldest cottages in the archipelago, which is in the northern reaches of the state near Lake Ontario. Built in 1875, the grand lodge has eight bedrooms, four bathrooms, a family room, library, and commercial-grade kitchen.
Whiskey Island at night
View from Whiskey Island
Wood panels, wood floors, Palladian windows, and multiple fireplaces create cozy spaces to host family gatherings, corporate retreats, artist residencies, or even romantic getaways. With five porches, including a covered and screened rotunda, it’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset while sipping a completely legal cocktail.
A few yards down from the grand lodge is a two-bedroom guest cottage tucked into the trees. A boathouse with attached skiff house can accommodate multiple boats—or a 70-foot yacht, if you’ve got one lying around. A separate swim dock allows for swimming without boat traffic.
Whiskey Island at dusk
Whiskey Island boathouse
With its lush foliage, deep waters, and cheery red and green buildings, this former rum runner’s haven feels like it’s a thousand miles from New York’s speak-easies and gin joints. However, it’s only 350 miles north of Manhattan.
“It’s a fascinating property, truly an experience,” says DeRosa, who’s doing showings by boat and seaplane.
“You can land on the Saint Lawrence River and pull the plane right up to the island,” he explains. At $2.4 million, it’s worth a look!
Sellers hoping to get the highest prices for their homes this summer should forget about opening up their kitchen or installing a free-standing bathtub. Instead, they should amp up their home for summer with some of the most popular outdoor features. The right ones could increase a home’s value by 10% over comparable listings, and one extra-special amenity is worth a 97% premium, according to a recent realtor.com® report.
Those trying to get the biggest return on their investment should have an outdoor shower installed ASAP. Some may debate whether these are the most awesome, get-back-to-nature inventions ever—or the worst. Homes with the outside bathing areas saw a 97% price-per-square-foot premium, according to our research.
(To come up with our findings, we scoured our listings for summer-related, outdoor features in single-family homes on the market for $150,000 and above.)
“Outdoor features can give a home a special quality in the market,” says Javier Vivas, realtor.com’s director of economic research. “And anytime you have a unique feature, it can bolster the prospective value of a home.”
Outdoor showers are likely appealing to buyers, because the homes that have them are more likely to be on the water (the showers are great to wash off the sand from the beach before stepping inside) or attached to more expensive properties with other luxe amenities.
And in some parts of the country, outdoor showers are worth more than others. In New York state, homes with them are listed for 256% more per square foot than other residences for sale in the state.
Other outdoor features that increase property values
Nothing says summer like throwing some burgers and ears of corn on the grill. So it makes sense that homes with barbecue stations are 26% pricier than those without.
Barbecues are mentioned in nearly 10% of all listings on realtor.com and are most popular in Arizona and California. But the biggest payoff is in Utah, where homes that mention barbecues are listed for 58% more per square foot compared with other homes in the state.
Pools with enough space around them for friends and family to lounge about also gave home prices a 26% lift. But these so-called entertainer’s pools gave New York state homes the biggest increase—at a whopping 224% more per square foot. This basically tripled the price of these homes for sale.
Meanwhile, fire pits gave residences a 25% premium. Why not? There are few things more satisfying than sitting in front of crackling flames, roasting marshmallows. The outdoor amenity is the most popular in Indiana, where it is included in 7.2% of listings, according to the report.
“It’s an entertaining feature,” Vivas says of fire pits. “It’s one of those things that can let you enjoy your home with more people.”
“Real Housewife of New Jersey” Melissa Gorga and her husband, Joe, have knocked $200K off the price of their “dream home” after it sat on the market for months. They recently relisted the property for $3.3 million.
The home, which the couple built in 2009, has every over-the-top feature any respectable New Jersey housewife would ever require, plus a little extra.
The home is located in the affluent Pond section of Montville, NJ, and has six bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms, and nearly 10,000 square feet of living space.
As soon as you enter, there’s the double bridal staircase, which was inspired by the movie “Scarface.” There’s also a billiard room, library, two-story great room with Juliet balcony, gym, home theater, and glass wine cellar. Of course, there’s also the recording studio the couple built to launch Melissa’s singing career, where she recorded the song “On Display.”
The outside of the home has plenty to offer too. The more than two acres of manicured landscaping include a pool and a roomy spot for entertaining with its own bar and outdoor kitchen.
Joe and Melissa are still living in the home with their three kids, Antonia, Gino, and Joey, according to NorthJersey.com. There’s no telling where the family will move after the home is sold. Earlier this year, the family shuttered the restaurant they were running with Joe’s sister and fellow “Housewife” Teresa Giudice, Gorga’s Homemade Pasta and Pizza in East Hanover, NJ.
“They are a great couple ,and I can see why they are successful,” the estate’s new listing agent, Michele Kolsky-Assatly told NorthJersey.com. “Lovely parents. They were interesting and fun, extremely charming. This house fits right in with the high-end listings in Bergen County.”
Let’s hope the new price is enough to attract a new family to the huge home with an aesthetic that Gorga says is best summed up by “Hollywood Hills glam meets East Coast style.” Reality-TV camera crew and endless drama not included.
Melissa and Joe Gorga's Custom Built New Jersey Home - YouTube
A museum-quality Tudor with a built-in pipe organ made beautiful music this week on realtor.com®. The Ohio home featuring original European decor and hand-carved woodwork everywhere is this week’s most popular home.
The home is listed for $2.4 million, but listing agent Lisa Deuschle told us she doesn’t expect a quick sale. “It’s going to be someone who really appreciates the quality of the home and wants to be part of the history,” she says. Judging from the clicks we’ve seen, many already do appreciate the place.
This week’s runner-up is an unfinished Georgia castle with a recent price reduction. Set on 242 acres, it offers a number of possibilities for a future monarch. Is that you?
Other homes causing you to click this week included an amazing ’70s-era time capsule in California, a cool Mid-Century Modern in the unlikely location of Alabama, and, strangely enough, yet another home with a massive pipe organ, also located in Alabama.
Whether you can play the pipes or not, there’s something for everyone in this week’s most popular properties.
Price: $395,000 Why it’s here: The custom-built four-bedroom home offers one very out-of-the-ordinary pipe organ. The ginormous musical instrument takes up one huge wall in the living room. If you want your house to sound like an old-timey pizzeria, or maybe a church, we’ve found just the place. The home also offers a gourmet kitchen and “gigantic” dining room. Sounds like sweet music to our ears!
Price: $135,000,000 Why it’s here: Last week, the Wallingford Estate splashed onto the market as the most expensive new listing. This week, the massive mansion with eye-popping amenities continues to attract attention. The 38,000-square-foot spread features a 5,000-square-foot penthouse suite, an indoor sport court with a glassed-in viewing gallery, and the “biggest zero-edge pool in Beverly Hills.”
Price: $619,000 Why it’s here: While the price might be present-day, the interior of this home is a step back in time. Built in 1970, the place looks as if it hasn’t been touched since the Me decade. For retro aficionados, there’s a mustard-yellow kitchen, an Army green bath, and plenty of wall-to-wall carpeting. Along with formal living and dining room, there’s a breakfast nook, a family room with a fireplace and sliders to the outdoors, plus a substantial backyard.
Price: $2,184,000 Why it’s here: Designed by local architecture firm Prugh and Lenon, this is one lavish mountain retreat. Complete with ski-in, ski-out access directly from the property, the contemporary space features a floating staircase, a two-story great room, an open kitchen and dining area, and a wine room. The 5.2-acre property also includes its very own zip line, but we recommend using that feature before retiring to the wine room.
Price: $925,000 Why it’s here: The scary cool ghost town and abandoned mining operation topped our most popular list last week, and it’s still receiving plenty of attention. The property comes with 300 acres and mining claims, along with multiple buildings, including a hotel, bunkhouse, bar, a cemetery, and “substantial numbers of reported hauntings,” according to listing agent Jake Rasmuson. Go ahead, be afraid.
Price: $449,900 Why it’s here: Alabama, meet California? Built in 1965, the wood-and-glass structure is “one of the city’s purest examples of Mid-Century Modern style.” The interior includes an entire back wall of glass, a glass pyramid roof over the breakfast room, a master suite with spa bath, an open floor plan, and wood-plank ceilings.
Price: $65,000 Why it’s here: This charming cottage is an absolute steal. For the price, it’s an ideal second home for a vacation getaway. The rustic retreat offers three beds, two baths, original hardwood floors, beamed ceilings, and stone fireplace, plus a sleeping porch, a covered deck, and a modern kitchen. The adorable abode is also within walking distance to the local community pool, tennis courts, and hiking trails.
Price: $1,370,000 Why it’s here: Feel like you’re on vacation every day at this resort-like property. Set on over 14 acres, this updated Colonial offers an updated kitchen, refinished hardwood floors, and a cozy great room with fireplace. The outdoor space boasts a private beach, dock, plus a pool and hot tub with a waterfall. The home is designed for entertaining, boasting an outdoor kitchen, fireplace and firepit, and a multilevel patio overlooking the pond.
Price: $999,999 Why it’s here: Hear ye, hear ye, here’s a project. The unfinished castle requires a buyer unafraid of a regal renovation. It was originally built in 2006, and only about one-third of this royal residence is finished. The listing suggests that the property could someday be a resort, second home development, or a golf club.
Price: $2,400,000 Why it’s here: Built in the 1920s by George Kalbfleisch, this first-class restored Tudor is on the open market for the first time. The home’s current owners retained the original decor from the time it was built, including hand-carved reliefs from a French chateau, bronze and Tiffany chandeliers, and Dresden light fixtures, with many of the pieces hand-picked in Europe by the original owner.
Even the refrigerator and baths are original to the house. The music room features a rare, built-in Skinner organ with ceiling panels designed as speakers and pipes in the walls. The 9,825-square-foot interior is set on 33 acres and includes a 1,100-square-foot guesthouse. “It really is like walking back in time when you walk into the home,” says listing agent Lisa Deuschle. “It’s beyond incredible.”
President Donald Trump‘s sweeping plan to shrink the government could have a very real impact on the housing market, particularly for lower- and middle-income buyers seeking mortgages. And it could make home buying either cheaper—or more expensive—depending on whom you ask.
On Thursday, the administration unveiled its long-anticipated government reorganization proposal. Among other things, the plan would privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-backed enterprises that help home buyers obtain mortgages. It would also limit Fannie and Freddie’s role in the housing market and move their programs to assist low- and moderate-income buyers to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The administration argues that privatizing Fannie and Freddie would lead to more competition in the private sector—and ultimately lower prices. And moving housing affordability programs to HUD, the theory goes, would allow the government to better target the assistance it offers. But some experts claim the reverse is true: that mortgage rates will rise as a result of the privatization, and fewer available programs will instead make it harder for lower-income buyers to become homeowners.
The impact of these proposed changes on home buyers could be seismic. In 2017, about 70% of mortgages used to buy homes was backed by Fannie, Freddie, or Ginnie Mae, another federal entity.
Congress still must approve many of the proposals in the plan, which include combining the labor and education departments, restructuring the post office, and creating the Bureau of Economic Growth.
“This proposal would transform the way the Federal Government delivers support for the U.S. housing finance system to ensure more transparency and accountability to taxpayers, and to minimize the risk of taxpayer-funded bailouts, while maintaining responsible and sustainable support for homeowners,” says the plan.
Fannie and Freddie don’t make mortgage loans, but they make it easy for lenders to dole out the relatively inexpensive, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages popular with buyers. They do so by buying mortgages from lenders, bundling them into securities, and guaranteeing them to investors. This basically insures them.
The pair have been under government conservatorship since the housing bubble burst in 2008. The Fed bailed them out to the eventual tune of $187 billion. Over the past decade, many politicians and experts have advocated for removing them from conservatorship to shield taxpayers from footing yet another steep bill.
But critics say this move could make buying a home more expensive—not less.
“Practically everybody will have to pay higher mortgage after the privatization,” says Andres Carbacho-Burgos, a senior economist focused on housing at Moody’s Analytics. “The question is how much.”
That’s because without government backing, Fannie and Freddie will need to build up some cash to protect themselves against another housing bust. They’ll also likely to need to eventually pay back that $187 billion the government used to stabilize them after the crash.
Now, if there is another housing crisis, the government will step in. But it would want to charge an unspecified fee to create an emergency fund if the unthinkable occurs again. While the plan claims it will reduce liability shouldered by taxpayers, those costs are likely to be passed on to those seeking mortgages.
A federal entity would also be charged with overseeing Fannie and Freddie going forward, but the proposal didn’t specify which one.
In addition to taking over Fannie and Freddie’s loan programs for low- and moderate-income buyers, HUD would also take over the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s housing loan guarantee and rental assistance programs.
The plan boasts that these changes would allow more targeted subsidies to go to these aspiring homeowners as well as potentially toward affordable multifamily (building with five or more units) housing.
“If those government programs are well-funded, then low- and moderate-income buyers will be OK,” says Chief Economist Danielle Hale of realtor.com®. “But the plan doesn’t say explicitly what’s going to happen to those funding levels.”
In addition, “it could be harder for folks on a tighter budget to get a mortgage because there will be fewer options and programs available to them,” Carbacho-Burgos says.
A three-level penthouse in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood on the market for $65 million is the most expensive new listing on realtor.com® this week.
The sellers gut-renovated the pricey spread after purchasing it for $17.8 million in 2011, according to Mansion Global. Should the sellers get close to their asking price, it could potentially break a record for downtown Manhattan.
The building, located in the Soho–Cast Iron Historic District Extension, gained fame when Heath Ledger, who had reportedly rented one of the lofts, was found dead in his bedroom of an accidental overdose in 2008.
Before the building was converted into condos in 2010, it housed a typewriter factory, a dust removal company, and an art gallery, according to the New York Times.
Kitchen with fireplace and vaulted barrel ceiling
Master floor with bedroom suite and 20 closets
Bath on master level
The sellers are distressed asset investor David Matlin and his wife, Lisa Matlin, who are now looking to downsize after embarking on a deluxe reimagining of the space, according to the New York Times.
Despite Matlin’s background, there’s nothing distressing about this investment. Let’s take a tour.
The “bespoke residence” is a “one-of-a-kind” Soho loft transformed into 8,000 square feet of living space, with four bedrooms, six bathrooms, three levels, and 3,700 square feet of outdoor space.
The Roman and Williams–designed abode took four years to complete. Custom features include fabricated steel doors, windows, and skylights. Starting on the fifth floor, a direct-access elevator opens into the great room, with six oversize windows overlooking Soho, 15-foot ceilings, and opposing wood-burning fireplaces encased in granite.
The eye-popping kitchen includes a 20-foot-tall brick barrel ceiling with a black granite counter, wood-burning fireplace, butler’s pantries, and wine rooms.The floor also features a second master suite with private terrace, guest room with bath, and an office.
A staircase with bronze railings and cantilevered black marble leads to the floor entirely devoted to the to-die-for master bedroom, which includes dual bathrooms, 20 custom closets, a dumbwaiter, coffee bar, fireplace, and dual private terraces.
One flight up, the top level opens to entertaining terraces with an indoor-outdoor glass canopy, fireplace, fitness room, a second kitchen, and dining room. Additional terraces boast a heated spa, garden with fountain, and dining room. There’s also a staff room and a bathroom on this level.
The boutique-style building from 1880 features just four units with 24/7 door attendants. A new owner also receives exclusive access to a rear yard, two parking spaces, and 700 square feet of cedar storage rooms.
The Soho neighborhood is filled with shops, restaurants, galleries, and proximity to public transit.
J. Eric Becker of Corcoran and Emily Beare of CORE hold the listing.
A dome-shaped house called “Eye of the Storm” on Sullivan’s Island, SC, is now on the market for the first time. Built in 1991 to weather hurricanes, it’s listed for just a hair under $5 million.
“It’s storm-resistant and designed to withstand hurricanes,” says listing agent Michael Royal, whose grandparents owned the place and who has fond childhood memories of the round residence. The original owners have since passed away, and their family members have decided to sell the home.
After Hurricane Hugo destroyed the owners’ more traditional home in 1989, they vowed to build a new home that Mother Nature couldn’t rip asunder. They asked their son, George Paul, who had been designing dome structures in Colorado, to mastermind the construction of a dome home.
“The idea is that this home is aerodynamic, kind of like a race car, and can manage its way through the wind,” Royal says. “There’s no roof and no corners.”
The structure’s unique design and construction (made of an estimated 600 tons of reinforced concrete) make it a storm’s worst enemy. The resulting residence—4,000 square feet of living space with three bedrooms and five bathrooms—offers a priceless amenity: peace of mind. It’s the only dome-shaped domicile on the island, which is just off of Charleston.
While nothing matching the ferocity of Hugo has touched the coast in the intervening years, there have been hurricanes in the area, and the dome has held up.
“Eye of the Storm”
Michael Royal (Pareto Group)
Open kitchen and living space
Michael Royal (Pareto Group)
Open spaces and beach views
Michael Royal (Pareto Group)
Living room with fireplace
Michael Royal (Pareto Group)
Outdoor dining space
Michael Royal (Pareto Group)
Michael Royal (Pareto Group)
The home’s early ’90s decor has been updated with concrete floors, light fixtures, new paint, and an updated master bath. The wooden deck that leads to the beach was also rebuilt.
The interior includes a great room with fireplace, a new kitchen with views of the living space, a master suite with private balcony, two guest bedrooms, and a study with a skylight. There’s also a multicar garage under the house.
Royal has embarked on an Instagram contest to stir up interest and introduce the home to the world. Residents know the place as a local landmark, and some refer to it as the “Star Wars” house, thanks to its other-worldly profile.
On this planet, the structure is certainly practical for the storms that will inevitably come. The agent wants people to appreciate the other aspects of the home as well.
“I’m trying to show off the design intent of the home and show people why it’s so special,” he adds. “I’m trying to connect with the person who really falls in love with it, and sees the work of art it really is.”
Where will Barack Obama and his family vacation this summer? If recent history is any indication, it would be Martha’s Vineyard.
This upscale, beachy island off Massachusetts has served as their summer vacation spot for seven of Barack’s eight years as president—as well as long before and after he was in office. Yet if the Obamas are hoping to return to one place they rented that became known as the “summer White House,” they may have to look elsewhere—because news has just surfaced that this home has been sold.
Dubbed “Chilmark house” for the lovely, sparsely populated town it resides in, this 7,000-square-foot, six-bedroom, 5.5-bathroom modern mansion served as the Obamas’ vacation rental in 2013. Located on 9.5 acres of land, it’s plenty private, with access to a secluded beach, basketball court, heated infinity pool, and private dock.
Chilmark house, the home the Obama family rented in 2013 in Martha’s Vineyard.
In June, the house was sold for $18 million. That may seem high, but the real estate listing trumpeted its famous past, calling it a “presidential paradise,” which might have helped attract a buyer.
While the home’s new owners might have plans to rent it out, they might not—even to a former first family.
The real estate listing called the home a “presidential paradise” and even included a photo of Barack and Michelle.
The dining room inside Chilmark House
The living room with a view
Granted, if the Obamas are indeed returning to Martha’s Vineyard this summer, they’ve likely nailed down a new vacation rental already. After all, anyone who visits such a popular summer retreat like Martha’s Vineyard knows that the most coveted homes are booked up fast.
Still, the Obamas are a busy family, so if they’ve dragged their feet on finding a place to stay, we figured we’d help them out by highlighting some other great vacation rentals in the area they might want to consider. Feast your eyes on a few of the gorgeous vacation rentals that could serve as the next crash pad for this former first family.
A luxurious lap pool is just one of the many luxurious water features on the property.
Privacy is key for a high-profile family like the Obamas, so this exquisite four-bed, 4.5-bath house on a hill overlooking Menemsha, Quitsa, and Squibnocket ponds—and the Atlantic Ocean—would be ideal. Several water features can be found on the property, including a waterfall, koi pond, and lap pool. Bonus: It’s just a hop from the most beautiful public beach on the island.
Sheep graze on the front lawn of this working farm in Chilmark.
Chilmark is a rural town, so if the Obamas are looking for an authentic experience, this four-bed, four-bath farmhouse would be worth a stay. It’s a working farm on 4.3 acres where sheep graze on the front lawn. Fun! Renters have full access to the home’s private south shore beach, where they can sunbathe, swim, or kayak.
This ranch-style home has a separate guesthouse on the property.
Does Malia plan on stopping by with her boyfriend? Is Sasha bringing along a friend? A separate guesthouse where the kids can hang will probably be much appreciated for Barack and Michelle—and their two teenage daughters. This five-bed, four-bath, and two half-bath home is surrounded by trees and is set right on Tisbury Great Pond, where they can canoe or kayak.