A Hollywood Hunting Lodge with Stars not Steers

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With a strong Australian tie, this former Hollywood ‘hunting lodge’ is on the market for $USD 2.39m (wow that’s a bunch of dollars for a quirky three bedder, but still….star power and all that) through Coldwell Banker.

All photos Cameron Carothers

What’s the tie? You may well ask. Its currently owned by Australian Director Gregor Jordan . His movie credits go back a way including Buffalo Soldiers (2001) (missed it) , (1999) Two Hands , (strike two – even though it had Heath Ledger in it) and the 2010 film with Samuel L Jackson Unthinkable. You guessed it, strike three … what have I been watching all these years? Me, a gal who used to work in Hollywood too. The shame weighs heavy…

I look forward to deep diving on various streamers to catch up.

Anyhow, great quirky place; built back in 1921 it is private, sheltered, includes just three bedrooms and in a huge break with US tradition, a mere two and a half baths.

Quirky goes down well in the Hills, and the publicity on the place includes reference to maybe the house being occupied at certain times by Robert Downey Jnr, and Daniel Craig. Okay, yes, I absolutely know those names. (Be still my beating heart).

I think it is actually a very cool home, from an interesting architectural period of innocence and optimism.

According the the journos at Dwell, the giant Noguchi pendant lampshade was gifted and presented to the owners by close friend Heath Ledger – a man of very fine taste in all things.

Real estate … every house has a story.

Prue Miller is a long in the tooth property writer.

Bathroom Tiles Are An Art Form – Sometimes.

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Perhaps it’s frustration with my old favourite TV show, The Block, which this season is so bad, I don’t even record it anymore. There’s nothing innovative; no plans afoot that make me so curious I have to see how it turns out … just bullshit and drama, and no product information beyond endless sponsor plugs.

I know ‘out there’ ideas that need to be seen. Decorating, interior design, is an art form, it’s a gigantic palette waiting for daubs of character and passion. Some people are Kandinsky, or Warhol, or Banksy, or Monet or Manet or whatever. Not everyone likes everything, but art causes a reaction. Has an impact. Wakes you up. Makes you think.

Extreme developers, which are mostly found in Melbourne it seems to me, are not afraid to venture into into the wild lands of being non-bland.

I use the spectacular 270A Punt Road South Yarra as an example.

Absolutely, boldly exuberant in every aspect – let’s just for the hell of it, check out the tiles. Check out something different. See what money, time and the heart of a gilt lion can give you.

And just when you think there are no tiles left in Melbourne … the indoor pool produces the Big Finish.

You’ll never swim alone

The whole property is wonderfully shocking. Unique. A statement. Video can be found here .

This is a kitchen. No kidding.

Three bedrooms, six levels and, as one does, an exterior video screen. C’mon. Wild.

No words. Oh, hang on, one word. Wow.

Thinking outside the box, or indeed The Block.

This does however bring me back to Season 13 of said series, when the loveable larrikins Sticks and Wombat took some risks, and produced my favourite bathroom concept the series has ever produced.

If only history would repeat itself.

Prue Miller is a property journo with too many opinions.

Wardrobe? It has its own postcode – and so does His!

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Okay so lockdown has led me down some very shady aisles at Bunnings – then some late night, tequila driven escapades on eBay all in the hope of upgrading my humble wardrobe. Somehow I ended up with a new broom, two new lip glosses and travel alerts on every website known to aviation.

Yep, lockdown is a sad place.

Plus my wardrobe is still pathetic. Not helped AT ALL by this outrageously divine property in Queensland. We’ll get to the other bits and bobs later, because I want to show you these two crazy wardrobes. Clothes throne rooms is more like it, but hell, let’s ogle the obvious.

This is just for the Her of the house … even a coffered ceiling – hooley dooley

So this is just for madame … I just LOVE those islands full of drawers. Probably a drawer for silk scarves, a drawer gloves, a drawer for perfumes that start with C. I mean, I dunno how you fill these things because I do not have the weighty problem of too much stuff.

Plus, you get here by walking down a sexy curved stairway from the ensuite.

The stairway is just off to the right beside la tub.

On a different level, on so many ways, is then His throne room.

Oh my ….

C’mon – this is gorgeous, is it not?

The rest of the property is drop dead too – though I for one, am not a fan of grand pianos. Something cold about those suckers.

Check out the living areas and okay, last OMG for this listing, the sunken lounge at the waters edge is just beyond.

This property is with Ray White Gold Coast Prestige, price unknown, but location is the very swish Sanctuary Cove.

Such a long, long, long way from my life in aisle 29 at Bunnings.

Prue Miller is a property journalist, but that’s just an excuse to look at other people’s homes.

A Turtle Bay Tale of Dreams and Stars

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New York City..sigh.

Turtle Bay; for those of us who live far away from the USA, it sounds very Hampton-esque, Boston-esque … rich-est kind of place.

One out of three ain’t bad with Turtle Bay being in, of all places, Manhattan. Still a bit lost? – well the neighbourhood encompasses the Chrysler Building (a little thrill just went through me) and the United Nations building.

Turtle Bay has long been a cog in the mighty wheel of NYC – dating back to when the Dutch ran the place, and celebrities such as Edgar Allen Poe, were to be found on its streets.

However, it entered a very untidy period after the Civil War, taking on a rather industrial shabbiness and the beautiful historic homes were all but deserted. A fall from grace, until….

In 1919 Mrs Charlotte Martin, a visionary with money (and aren’t they always the best visionaries to have?) decided it would be super fun to buy 20 properties, renovate them and create a Medici inspired common garden. She must have spent a bomb renovating all the homes, and in the end, she remained holding only 226-228 East 49th St., selling off the rest to ‘arty types’ as they were called.

The original development of Turtle Bay, 1920. Photo from the Library of Congress

Kathryn Hepburn, Bob Dylan, Stephen Sondheim, the brilliant screen play writer Garson Kanin (just love Kanin’s stories of life in early Hollywood) and earlier the writer E.B White, have all been attracted to living here over the years, with the glorious hidden courtyard gardens, an almost secret escape from the cheek by jowl life in Manhattan.

What a fabulous film. A publicity shot from Philadephia Story, stars included Kathryn Hepburn

In the post war period, around 1949 E.B. White wrote what some have called a ‘love letter’ to New York in his book Here Is New York, in which he uses a willow tree in Turtle Bay garden as a metaphor for his beloved city.

A block or two west of the new City of Man in Turtle Bay is an old willow tree that presides over an interior garden. It is a battered tree, long suffering and much climbed, held together by strands of wire but beloved of those who know it. In a way, it symbolises the city: life under difficulties, growth against odds, sap-rise in the midst of concrete and the steady reaching for the sun” *

Ah, the inspiring history of this town is too often overshadowed by its boisterous and boastful reputation of bright lights and booze.

This week a part of that marvellous Mrs Martin dream has come back to the market, in a state of, well, undress.

Digitally altered to show the enormous potential of the courtyards ….

Olivier Sarkozy (yes, of those Sarkozys) bought the property (is 8,700 square feet, over five floors) seven or so years ago, just before he wed the diminutive Mary-Kate Olsen.

Sarkozy and Olsen

It was supposed to be a huge renovation, the house not the marriage – but in the end neither came to a happy ending and the now divorced millionaire has put the home on the market through Sotheby’s.

He is reported to have paid, via a limited liability company) $USD13.5m, but due to the ‘mid reno’ condition of the mansion, is now asking a mere $USD11.5m

My elder son has been living in the states for years now, the last couple in NYC – not far from this address. It has energised me to find out more about this rather mythic metropolis.

*The famous willow tree came to a natural end in 2009, but not before professionals took cuttings which have been successfully grown. The trees are planned to be planted, appropriately,  across the parks New York City .

Prue Miller is a property journalist who loves spending a freezing Christmas in New York ..and hopes to again one day soon.

Kitchens are Where Life Happens

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You may crave a country kitchen, with dented wood and a soothing Aga.

You may enjoy a kitchen where all the accoutrement are hidden, just as a magician makes their assistant disappear.

You may fear lemon juice for fear of staining your carefully crafted concrete island .

But your kitchen, is your home.

Here is an example of breathtaking design, beautiful and overtly open, filled with ocean breezes and sunlight. Sigh. At the time of writing it is on the books of Sydney Sotheby’s International Realty in Double Bay (now there’s a mouthful for a story about kitchens). It’s in Sydney’s coastal Bronte, and you can read all the nuts and bolts on the listing, and let me assure you, they are GORGEOUS nuts and bolts.

But this is an homage to the wonders of kitchens.

Here are the things I love about kitchens, and I have been lucky enough to inspect some of the most amazing kitchens in Australia, and lingered in more than a few of my family’s.

A kitchen is where somehow or other, you can turn love into a quiche, or a roast or a souffle.

In a kitchen a broken heart can be stuck back together – at least for a while.

In a kitchen a furry friend with a wet nose lingers with hope in his eyes, and a slowly wagging tail.

In a kitchen you can talk about difficult things without having to make eye contact, while plaiting pastry over a pie shell.

In a kitchen you can gather more than ingredients, you can bring together the people you love, and bask in the joy of sharing love, food, wine and time, while a plate of goodies is devoured, refilled, and devoured once again.

In a kitchen a stolen kiss tastes even more delicious.

In a kitchen, for some reason, it is easier to laugh about disaster – whether it be wimpy red wine jus, or a lost job.

And finally, kids in the kitchen. I don’t care about mess, I never really have, and there is no greater mess than a kitchen full of kids; your kids, the next door neighbours’ kids, kids from school mooching about for a piece of cake, kids with breathless news and whispered secrets. It happened in my kitchen. The heart of my home.

Prue Miller is a property journalist with a mad dog, and a pretty good kitchen.

Making it on the Outside

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38 Burwood Road, Whitebridge NSW Australia

Okay so maybe lockdown lunacy is getting to me but homes with space, room, fresh air, nature well, they are really appealing right now.

And this one, this fab home near Newcastle in NSW has managed to deliver up the ideal mix of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, with the out being just GORGEOUS.

Sure decks and patios and terraces are nothing new – but so often those outside spaces have ceilings that are appallingly low – they make you feel like a cheese and ham croissant squashed into a sandwich toaster.

However the very clever folks at Anthrocite Architects in NSW have created the most spacious, open outside zone, that there is an almost cathedral-esque feel, worshipping the two and a half acres of grassy, sunny, leafy land upon which is resides.

That sentence ran on a bit – but I’m all gushy about this place; from the perfect brick choice, to the heated floors, the exciting shapes and levels. It’s a great property from every perceivable angle.

Near the coast, not far from Newcastle city and a couple of hours to Sydneyh, it is a great spot to enjoy life. At the time of writing the property if for sale through Walkom Real Estate with a guide price on it of between $AUD 3.9-$4.2m

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfMI-h2DF3Y

Listing link

Prue Miller is a property and architecture journalist, but just writes this for fun.

Nobody Mention the (COVID) War, okay?

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Prue Miller – June 21

There is no nice way of saying this without coming off as a complete snob, BUT nothing makes the old ticker skip a beat as much as a luxury, acreage property.

I guess I can be a little flexible on what constitutes luxury – it is as I see it though the lens of a woman in need of comfort and beauty, with the odd bell and whistle on the side.

This week two Australian beauties caught my beady eye – one has sold this weekend, one is still in the offing. If I could just scrounge around the sofa cushions and find a lazy five or ten million I’d be in the running. Though the first one, in Yass, was FAR less than that.

I can almost see Audrey Hepburn walk up the front door …

First 16 Walgrove Road, Yass – not all that far from the country’s capital, but far enough away from anywhere to be considered urban. And dare I say it? Covid war appropriate.

Twenty three acres (I hate hectare conversios …sorry), a 1905 residence draped in elegance and white trim, with five bedrooms and loft.

Have a look at it – that lounge room shot? I felt my shoulders drop at least 2 inches as the anxiety of Sydney life took a temporary back seat.

It sold this weekend for $1.8m through Ray White, with the underbidder trying their hardest via phone from Tokyo.

So chilled …. and charming.
On the river no less….

On a different plane entirely is this all whipped cream and caviar; 652 London Road, Chandler in Queensland.

A tad Georgian, and very grand. Seven beds, six baths it is called Motifex Mansion and sits up on a mowable one hectare or so … mowable because an awful lot of the grounds is actually water or topiary. Control freaks would just adore this place…

Go into the listing/s and note the wallpaper. Please. You won’t regret it.

I have no idea how long or how often it’s been on the market – or which agent has what agreement and with whom – I really don’t care and it has a complicated history.

Check out the video – enjoy.

Prue Miller is a freelance property aficionado with a chequered history in media. @PrueMiller

Earthy Suave; HIA-CSR home of the year 2020

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Prue Miller – June 4

Queensland is spoiled. It has great weather, great beaches, an easy lifestyle and increasingly, more and more fabulous homes.

The HIA CSR Awards were just this week (or so, I do lose track at the moment) and this BJ Millar constructed / Justin Humphrey (with substantial inspiration from the home owner) designed Sanctuary Cove property took out the blue ribbon 2020 Home of the Year for The Cove House.

Organic by design, with timber, rock and slate all featured in the specs the waterside property has also not shied away from lashings of black. Gorgeous.

The Cove House
Stone and timber – a winning combo in the tropical climate

Prue Miller’s Real Estate Hits and Misses – May 30, 2020

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Confused much? It’s never been this cra cra in the real estate world, and I’ve been playing in the field for more years than I care to mention (okay, a decade or two … I don’t even want to add it all up because I haven’t had a botox top-up since Covid hit and I look my age).

There is still strong vendor discounting to be found (i.e. Unsure sellers and taking lower than advertised offers seriously) in the mid market, while the pointy end of the game is actually looking very healthy indeed. Luxury developer Crown Group is reported to have sold a staggering $63 million worth of top drawer properties between Feb and March.

I thought perhaps I might do some digging in the rich garden of the weekly listings to see what would interest me, or horrify me if I were in the market.

With any luck, although you will come out just as confused as when you started, you may have discovered some interesting bits and pieces.

Let’s start with a little gentrified luxury in the form of shady verandas and a gate house (!) at Kin Kin, Queensland. For those without an encyclopaedic knowledge of regional Queensland, let’s just say Noosa adjacent.

Eight bedrooms, lots of bathrooms, tastefully renovated plus a self contained, ever so pretty, studio.

They’re looking for $2.3million – through Ray White

I have long dreamt of having a place in Leura, the prettiest village in the Blue Mountains. It’s always worth a look there as the prices have this huge arc, yet you get the same picturesque village atmosphere no mater where you plonk your bags.

The lovely property in designer grey (I’m am becoming very sick of grey let me tell you) is a beauty which is looking for more than $1.28m. In a semi-main street at 170 Megalong it has four bedrooms and rather unusually for the area three bathrooms – but why you ask? Because there is studio/loft space above the back garden garage. The listing is with Belle Property.

Literally just up the road five minutes and there is this diamond in the rough for over $595-$650k. Whaaaat? Four beds three baths and and some pretty ordinary decor, complimented by dated layout BUT all that can be fixed. The block is huge – and there’s even a (sort of) undercover swimming pool. Wentworth Falls has some fabulous properties, and some not so fabulous properties with great potential. This is one of those. Have a squizz at 11 Page Avenue, it’s listed with Purcell.

You can’t make up a view like this – beautiful.
Yes, there is work to be done …..

In Melbourne and I just stopped dead in my tracks when I came across this over the top number, at 6 Boston Road. Lordy. When enough just isn’t enough – and why stop there? Architect designed – and with very cool Jack Merlot designed gardens, this 2005 built property is the current Wow! factor in a suburb that frequently has hot properties. William Chen at Marshall White has the listing.

There are still too many faux chateaus for my liking around Melbourne, but at the same time, so much really great eye candy as well. Kay & Burton have this one – very sleek. Found at 11 Reid Street, it’s all about the space … and the calm. Understated. Too chilled for me – but I am becoming more eclectic in my doteage.

And a little Hollywood one caught my attention – because I have been there! Well, loitered on the lawn actually during my time as an LA resident a few years back.

Treat yourself and watch this episode – it’s simply wonderful nostalgia

This was the original Ozzie & Harriet house from the 50s TV show (what they would have thought of as a reality show, but was of course scripted’ish) – and since then (though it is reported to be haunted by Ozzie who died in the house) it has had several high profile owners, including the current vendor Chris Meloni of LAW & ORDER (though I loved him in VEEP too) fame.

It’s looking for $USD6.5m, and sadly is not being rushed with offers. It IS a little pedestrian but, BUT it is Hollywood history, with a nice lawn.

One more before I go – I delved into my file (yes, I actually do have a file) of alarming real estate shots – it’s just my opinion, so don’t sue me. Some people may find this bathroom wonderful. I dare you to find them.

More soon.

The Mews is Delicious, Delightful and Delovely says Prue Miller

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Auntie Mame (1958) Directed by Morton DaCosta Shown: Rosalind Russell

In the words of Auntie Mame …

“Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.”

The wonder dog and I hit the road this week, for a property inspection in NSW Southern Highlands. The pics on line had grabbed my attention, and while my column in the Saturday Telegraph is more often than not about Dream Homes of a certain style, 542 Moss Vale Road pretty much crossed those boundaries. But I cared not one tit. It looked delicious, rich, lavish and more to the point, interesting.

The Mews - Foyer

PRINT_5The floorplan is single level, but the decor is another level all together. Murals, amazing murals, which the agent estimates would cost a million dollars to replicate, illuminate spaces – the dining room?

The Mews - Dining

The design of this room could only encourage the most retiring  guest to add full throated opinion to discussion, adding to the enjoyment of lucky guests seated around a large and inviting table.

The living areas are more salons than rooms – the furnishings  (much of which may be negotiated as part of the sale) are silk and brocade and guilt and perfect for these most wonderful spaces.

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PRINT_f2What I wouldn’t give to have been lucky enough to have attended a big ‘do’ here as a guest of the former owner who I am reliably told just loved to have folks over.

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The pictures tell so much of the story – I mean look at that Teppenayaki kitchen/dining bar, it opens onto the INDOOR POOL!

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The master bedroom, a study in pink, includes a sunlit sitting area, and measures a staggering 50sqm. The word ‘palatial’ came to mind again, but I may have been influenced by all the guilt furniture.  The ensuite does not exceed expectations despite columns around the sunken bath, a flawless marble statue, and a shower encased in etched glass.

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And the gardens – oh my giddy aunt! Three acres of towering conifers, swathes of rose beds and winding paths that tke you past waterfall endowed ponds surrounded by gnarled and bountiful weeping cherry trees.

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Amazing, I could have wandered the halls and pathways for another hour or more, but the wonder dog was giving me that look from the front seat and it was time to go.

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Di Jones Southern Highlands has the listing, and its looking for around $AUD3.9m

Prue Miller is a freelance property and architecture journalist in Sydney Australia.

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prue@pruemiller.com