September 24, 2013

Bunny Mellon’s $49 Million NYC Townhouse For Sale

From the Sotheby’s Real Estate site:

Paul Mellon, heir to one of America’s great banking fortunes, and his wife, Bunny Mellon, built this extraordinarily beautiful 40’ wide townhouse on a fabled Upper East Side block in 1965. imageThis iconic townhouse, designed in the neo-French classic style and evoking the charm of the French countryside in the middle of Manhattan, reflected the passions of its owners. imagePaul Mellon curated his art collection in the library overlooking the exquisite garden with reflecting pool and gazebo, imagewhere Bunny Mellon, designer of the White House Rose Garden and friend to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, indulged her love of gardening. The high-ceilinged drawing room imageimageand dining roomimage lead to a spectacular terrace, the center of celebratory parties. image

The townhouse has 5-8 bedrooms, imagewith flexibility for guests, imageand staff, 8 baths, chef’s kitchen, imagewine room and elevator. Most rare, however, the house has 3 exposures, affording brilliant sunlight into some of the most beautiful rooms on the Upper East Side.image

This is what is known as a des-res. A desirable residence! And Paul Mellon’s the only non-museum person who can curate a collection – the word curate is bandied about a bit too much these days!

My one question is who decorated the house? Maison Jansen?

59 comments:

  1. Stunning, I love the exterior and gardens! The dining room is fabulous. A Landmark definitely!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Tom Scheerer Decorates:
    Book Giveaway!

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  2. Thank goodness for bankers. the world needs bankers to loan money and charge interest. I do find this house Interest ing.

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  3. I think I could live there, weather not great, but I guess I could give it a try...Phyllis

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    1. They had houses in Cape Cod, Virginia and several other places, so weather wasn't a factor!

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  4. Now that's style. I particularly like the trellis work through the French windows drawing the eye further away; not a new concept, but this shows it off very effectively.

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    1. Col... it is a great concept. Who do you think did the house?

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  5. Astounding! At first I thought Jansen. My bet is Sister Parish!

    Exquisite! Warm, cozy , lovely. Actually, perfect, in my view. Good call on the treillage. I think it is two stories high!!!

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  6. I'd love to know who decorated it as well. Bruce Budd is too young to have done the original -- I think.

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    1. We will have to play detective and find out!

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  7. Okay, I'll take it - as is. Doesn't need a thing, does it? Maison Jansen gets my vote. Not fussy enough for Sister Parrish. Oh Meg, can you loan me $49 mil? I will pay it right back, I promise ;-)

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    1. Cynthia... i am sure i can find it for you in the sofa cushions!

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  8. Although there are vestiges of the original decoration for the Mellons (such as the blue glazed walls in the dining room and the painted floors), what we are seeing here are the schemes of the current owners.

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    1. Interesting... Sotheby's sure makes it seem like this is still the Mellon's house.

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    2. ...BTW, do you agree that the dining room walls were glazed? If this were not a $49M Manhattan townhome I might guess faux painting (although I don't think that was a hot decorating trend among the well-heeled in the '60s), but I'm guessing these walls are either upholstered in a linen fabric or that it's a grasscloth wallcovering. Creating a texture like that with glazing is a way of achieving a similar look for those who do NOT have unlimited budgets!

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    3. I stand corrected -- I found higher res photos on Sotheby's and the walls are definitely glazed.

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  9. Yes I have visited the White House--- and i tell you the rooms look as if they belong in the White House in Washington DC!! Ms Mellon knew Jackie O and well.... Mrs JFK redecorated the White House during the 60's ....and well, one could say good taste is timeless. I am sure Ms Mellon was a (Vanity Fair) Ladies that Lunch what a kick that was to read. On the subject of great style in homes What's in your closet.. what is your go to outfit jeans or a dress.?? And since it is football season does one dress up as to go to a tailgate party or Do you rock fashion a'la Miller Gaffney when Out and about during the day?? Just Google Miller Gaffney if you have never heard of her !!

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  10. Correction Ms Kennedy did not redecorate the White House it was a restoration... she felt everything should have a reason for being placed in the WH good grief should have done some background research before my comment not after.... boohooo

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  11. Bruce Budd...he's been one of her closest friends as as her ONLY decorator forever. He lived in her carriage house down the street upstairs from the 12 car garage which sold for 22million last year...look him up, you'll see the same deft hand swept thru ALL Ms. Mellon's INCREDIBLE abodes!

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    1. Thanks! Someone had suggested him earlier and now we get some confirmation.

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  12. I could live there in a heartbeat + now it's about that loan. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  13. Jaw-droppingly gorgeous...no overstatement there. Love the light, the proportions, the gardens...Well, what's not to love? Thanks for sharing this stunner with us!

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    1. Even though the house is beautifully decorated, it's understated compared to what it could have been!

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  14. This is how my life went wrong; my parents did not name me Bunny at birth. I therefore was not destined to create greatness and live in a des-res. What a magnificent home. The guest rooms are stunning but it's that blue (grass cloth?) in the dining room that is the show stealer.

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    1. ...You know, HER parents didn't name her Bunny, either. Her given name was Rachel Lambert. Bunny is a nickname.

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  15. Pure beauty....thank you so much for this little tour, Meg. Today I received a copy of Cape Co HOME Magazine "Special Kitchen Edition." It features a lovely article about the recent renovation of "The Dune House" on the Mellon property in Osterville, MA - another lovely and tasteful restoration. www.capecodlife.com

    Loved the little impromptu tour or Balti yesterday and was so happy to read about some of my favorite people and places.

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    1. I knew that there was another property that sold last year or so in Osterville, But no pix of the house!

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  16. OMG... I'm now dying to update that dining room! I love the cobalt blue walls and chandelier, but I'd ditch the draperies and replace them with one of my fave Scalamandre screen prints, Stravagante -- google "Scalamandre Stravagante" images if you're not familiar with that pattern. It would be gorgeous with the wall color, and it's such a vivid, detailed, breathtaking floral print that it would be a fitting tribute to Bunny Mellon's gardening legacy. I don't want to buy the town house -- just wish whomever DOES buy it would hire me to decorate it! ;-)

    Thanks for sharing this one. Meg.

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    1. I just looked up Stravagante. WOW

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    2. Well, I couldn't resist -- I engaged in a bit of virtual design banditry. If you want to see what the Stravagante fabric would look like in the blue dining room: http://cheekycognoscenti.blogspot.com/2013/09/new-draperies-for-bunny-mellons-dining.html :-)

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  17. This was from Curbed NY yesterday...So, as you may have gathered, the house is extremely nice. Designed in the Neoclassic French style, it includes three exposures, gardens in the front and back (the one in the back has a reflecting pool and a gazebo), and pretty much every different type of room you can think of—drawing room, study, library, formal dining room, powder rooms, staff rooms, breakfast room, etc. The house last sold in 2006 for $22.5 million, and is now, somewhat ambitiously, asking more than twice that, although it doesn't look like the new owners made any changes (as well they shouldn't).

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    1. I found it on the Sotheby's site, didn't know it was in Curbed.

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  18. Just a gem! What an amazing light!

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  19. This IS NOT the house that sold for 22.5mil...that is the Carriage house down the street nearer to Lexington. This has never changed hands.

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  20. Sorry, I was wrong - it did sell in 2006 - to someone who loved across the street who sold their home to Woody Allen.

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    1. I think that they're de-accessioning all of their real estate in preparation for Mrs. Mellon's death. At 105, it can't be too much longer that she's with us.

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  21. I saw a big red, white & blue eagle pillow at an antique shop in Maine that said it was off Bunny Melon's [sic] yacht. I thought, did someone steal it?

    I do love the outside of this home.

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    1. It is a stunning exterior... and interior!

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  22. Back in the day-mid 60s-I think that the Mellons wanted John Fowler to do-up the house. Fowler was too old and ailing or too chicken to fly to NY. He might have worked remotely from London, using photos of the rooms. It still looks great- I wonder who'll buy it?

    Best, Herts

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    1. The dining room is certainly John Fowler. He did indeed work for the Mellon's - by post !

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  23. As to who decorated it when the Mellons lived there, who lives there now, and what was or was not altered, the November 2013
    issue of World of Interiors will give you the answers.

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    1. Ohhhhh! Thanks Toby! I will make a point to pick it up!

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  24. Pal Mitchell Owens of AD Magazine finally answers the question of who designed the interiors of this house!

    http://www.architecturaldigest.com/blogs/the-aesthete/2013/10/bunny-mellon-townhouse-painted-floors-paul-leonard

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  25. The original interiors were by John Fowler, with Imogen Taylor ... not sure who oversaw the current interiors ... perhaps Colefax & Fowler had a hand in it.

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