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January 2010


REAL ESTATE

Deeds & Don'ts
By Lily Oliver

INSIDE STORIES BEHIND AREA
REAL ESTATE DEALS

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LONG LIVE THE QUEEN (click photo for larger view)

Your Deeds editors are doing what TV networks do this time of year: We're hosting an awards show! What follows is our best attempt to bring some heat to the coldest selling season of all. The envelopes, please…

MOST EXPENSIVE HOME SOLD
Our gratitude to Tommy Hilfiger—and his listing broker Renee Gallagher of Round Hill Partners—for selling his Greenwich manse and, at the 11th hour, giving 2009 a $20 million residential sale. The stylish Stone Hill, as it's called, first came on the market for $28 million in February 2008—a home the fashion designer and longtime Greenwich resident purchased three years prior for $18 million. Its extensive upgrades have been much drooled over in the press, and that includes us: Who can resist cashmere and crocodile walls? An in-home spa and movie theater? A 2,000-bottle wine cellar? The 20,000-square-foot Georgian also offers eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms, an indoor basketball court and, on its four acres, a pool and tennis court.

MOST EXPENSIVE DE-LISTED LISTING
This one goes to a 262-acre estate called Hillandale, the summer residence of the late Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger, daughter of the onetime publisher of The New York Times. Straddling the Stamford-Westchester line with property in both states, the $95 million listing was pulled from the market in late 2009.

BEST BOLD-FACED NAME
Fame slept here! In the New Milford home owned by Joan Rivers, that is, which takes the award for "Best Bold-Faced Property," along with the award for the "Most Improved" property, if the comedienne is to be believed. As C&G reported last year, Miss Rivers famously, crudely characterized her first impression of it as "the ugliest house I'd ever seen. It looked like a Denny's." The estate sits on 75 elevated acres with breathtaking views over the Litchfield Hills, a pond, a pool and pool house and several outbuildings, including a stone caretaker's cottage and a barn with a studio. It has been reduced from $6.5 million to $5.9 million and is listed with Carolyn Klemm of Klemm Real Estate in Washington Depot, (860) 868-7313.

BIGGEST PRICE DROP
In life and death, the late Leona Helmsley was never one to blend in with the crowd: Dunellen Hall, the home owned by the bossy, brassy Queen of Mean, is a 23,000-square-foot, 40-acre estate that was put on the market two years ago for $125 million. After a series of reductions, the property was marked down by a whopping $50 million to its current ask of $75 million (listed with David Ogilvy Associates, 203-869-9866). But it's unclear whether Dunellen holds a world record for price drops. That award would appear to go to the listing that was once considered the world's most expensive: Villa Leopolda on the Côte D'Azur, a 29,000-square-foot villa that Forbes magazine reported as reduced from $750 million to $102 million.

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NEW IN NEW CANAAN (click photo for larger view)

BEST NEW LISTING IN
DARIEN'S BEST NEIGHBORHOOD

For sheer beauty, Tokeneke—a private coastal enclave in Darien—rivals any neighborhood in any Connecticut town. Just a few minutes down Arrowhead Way is a Tokeneke classic: grand and vintage, but in a family-friendly way, with two acres that have been landscaped to take advantage of the area's dramatic topography. The seller is former New York Giants kicker Peter Gogolak, who now makes his living buying, renovating and selling homes in Connecticut. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Gogolaks purchased this circa-1920s, five-bedroom Colonial—their 11th—in 2005 for $3 million. It's listed for $5.5 million with Chris Merritt and Janet Olmsted, both of Halstead Property, (203) 656-6510 and (203) 656-6542, respectively.

BEST NEW CONSTRUCTION
NEW CANAAN

New Canaan has no single knockout neighborhood. Rather, the town is characterized by grand and leafy roads that radiate from its bucolic center and form long and lovely rows of mansion after mansion. The property that sold for the highest price in 2009 is off North Wilton Road, listed for $7,995,000 and sold for $7 million—to a Greenwich attorney, we hear. Our nomination for the nicest newly constructed home is so new that its buyers will have the opportunity to choose some of the finishing touches. Built by Hemingway & Mercede, the 6,000-square-foot Colonial offers five bedrooms and six bathrooms, with interiors designed by D & D Fine Homes in Darien. Rachel Walsh of William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty has the $3,995,000 listing, (203) 912-5908.

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TONY IN TOKENEKE (click photo for larger view)

BEST LISTING IN (ONE OF)
WESTPORT'S BEST NEIGHBORHOODS

Green's Farm is Westport's most gracious address, with its pastoral, rolling roads lined with a mix of Shingle-style, Colonial and Victorian homes, both old and new. On the corner of Green's Farm and Maple—just a few minutes from the train station with hour-long express trains into Grand Central—there's a Queen Anne that's among the coolest antiques we've ever seen. From the exterior, the circa-1870 Franklin Whitehead House gets her glam on from "hello" with animal-print carpeting running up the staircase, a "hers" bath-and-dressing area and handmade silk wall coverings. The nearly 8,000-square-foot interiors also offer five bedrooms, a 4,000-bottle grotto with wine-tasting room and a fitness center. It's listed for $5,750,000 with Billy Nistico of William Raveis of Westport, (203) 227-4343.

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