SELLER: Thomas Hesse and Gwendolyn Bellmann
LOCATION: New York City, NY (West Village)
SIZE: less than 2,000 square feet, up to 6 bedrooms, 3 puny bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A real estate obsessed pal and informant we call Hot Chocolate sometimes slips Your Mama listings for a wide variety of apartments and townhouses in New York City that sometimes turn out to be owned by celebrities, (in)famous Wall Streeters and/or some other of sort of filthy rich and high profile person or persons.
This morning, like many, we awoke with our customary hangover to a simple communique from dear Hot Chocolate who submitted for our perusal the online listing for a petite and notably narrow four-floor townhouse situated on a quintessentially cute, tree-lined street in the almost ludicrously gentrified West Village and recently popped on the market with an asking price of $5,250,000.
A few minutes poking around public property records revealed to Your Mama the super-slender single family dwelling is currently owned by music industry honcho Thomas Hesse who paid film and television actor Andrew McCarthy $3,250,000 for the historic house in July 2005. Mister Hesse, as per and for the record, acquired the twig-thin townhouse with gal pal Gwendolyn Bellmann who may (or may not) be his wedded wife but with whom he co-owns other property—more on that later—and was expected to attend a June 2011 State Dinner at The White House in honor of Germany’s Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel.
Mister McCarthy—one hopes well past his ugly 1999 über-chagrin for his real and/or perceived association with the so-called Brat Pack actors who appeared in varying combinations in scads of zeitgeist-y and iconic mid- to late-1980s movies such as St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink, Less Than Zero, and Weekend At Bernies—picked up the teeny-weeny West Village townhouse in the late 1980s for an unknown amount of money. (We can’t confirm it and we’ll outright deny it iffin any of y’all ever quote us about it but all evidence we peeped in the public property records indicates Mister McCarthy paid under a million clams for the property.)
Impressively accomplished and Brussels-born Mister Hesse, for any of y’all who might be curious, was educated at some of the U.K.’s best schools including the London School of Economics, trained as a concert pianist at the Universität Mozarteum Salzberg (Austria), and currently is currently responsible for Sony Music Entertainment’s global digital businesses, whatever that means.
Listing information and property records for the slivery abode shows it was originally built in the late 1800s, measures less than 2,000 square feet over 4 floors (not counting the cellar level) and, at a pinchingly slim 12.75+- feet wide, won’t likely appeal to widely-wing spanned or over-amply buttocked potential buyers.
Listing information goes on to explain that many of the homes original architectural features remain intact including (but probably not limited to) the dee-voon wide-plank pine floors throughout, the seven wood-burning fireplaces with original mantels, and the glorious, sky-lit nautilus-shaped staircase that corkscrews tightly up through the center of the house.
Floor plans included with listing information (above) show there are three squeezy (and windowless) bathrooms—in all fairness the top floor restroom does have a skylight—and up to 6 bedrooms, depending on how the various rooms are furnished and used.
A tomato red door set atop the slightly elevated stoop opens directly into a L-shaped space that might make for a generous entry/reception room but would most assuredly make for an uncomfortably claustrophobic living and/or dining room. The 10-foot ceilings on the parlor floor help to amp up the volume of the slim but well-equipped kitchen outfitted with high-grade stainless steel appliances, contemporary white cabinetry, slab marble counter tops, and lots of windows plus a back door that connects to the small but still much-desired 250-ish square foot backyard.
One floor down, the garden level also opens directly to the backyard. The floor plan shows two rooms divided by a very compact bathroom outfitted with the townhouse’s only bathtub and labeled as bedrooms but are certainly usable for any number of other utilities as the occupant desires.
The second floor has two intimately-scaled rooms also usable as bedrooms—or any number of other ways—and also divided by a hall bathroom hardly larger than a decent-sized coat closet. The floor plan pattern repeats itself on the top floor where an itty-bitty (sky lit) facility that opens into the hall sits between two rooms labeled as bedrooms.
Iffin this were Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter’s house—and, of course, it never will be even though we are in the minority of folks who could probably tolerate the ridiculously tiny terliting facilities—we’d occupy the entire top floor as the master suite with the bedroom at the rear and a fitted dressing room at the front. We’d do up both the second floor rooms as a pair of living/lounging/television watching rooms, and stick the “formal” dining room down at the rear of the garden level where we’d connect it to the parlor level kitchen directly above with a small dumbwaiter installed to the right of the fireplace in each of the rooms.
Guests would be installed in the front room of the garden floor where they’d have convenient and separate access to the street and wouldn’t need to bother us every time they wanted to sneak out for a candy snack or step out for a Broadway show. Of course, we’d have to bolt and Super Glue that door closed when our hussified b.f.f. Fiona Trambeau came to visit lest we’d have a constant cluster of questionable gentleman standing around on the sidewalk waiting for ol’ Fiona to appear in the doorway and give them a lascivious and heavy-lidded nod of her head.
We haven’t any idea of the condition of the cellar but the floor plan shows that’s where the laundry machines are located so one hopes for five and some million smackers it’s not a dank, spiderweb strewn nightmare.
Mister Hesse and Miz Bellmann together also own an historic converted church in bucolic Barrytown, NY originally built in 1875 and at one time owned by famous Fluxus artist Alison Knowles and fellow Fluxus artist/theorist Dick Higgins who—those poppycocking creative types—married each other not once but twice, first in 1960 and than again in 1984. But we digress…
Property records we peeped reveal Mister Hesse and Miz Bellmann dropped $459,000 on the 1.3 acre spread that has additional structures besides the converted church and where, like some of the converted church’s previous owners, Mister Hesse and Miz Bellmann plan—so says a random YouTube video page we came across in out research—to host occasional readings and performance pieces on the property.
listing photos and floor plan: Sotheby’s International Realty