listing photos: Coldwell Banker Previews International
SELLER: Lisa and Donald J. Pliner
BUYER: Trudy and Paul Cejas
LOCATION: Miami Beach, FL
SIZE: 10,160 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: We really can’t say what their future real estate plans may be but it appears to Your Mama that shoe and accessories tycoon Donald J. Pliner and his co-executive creative director wife Lisa in the mood to lighten their luxury property portfolio.
Last June (2011) they quickly unloaded a mid-floor condo in a full-service high-rise building on Los Angeles’ Wilshire Boulevard—more on that later—and this month, after at least a year on the market, the casually- but expensively-dressed, high-gloss couple sold their Miami Beach, FL mansion for $14,325,000 to Cuban-born/Miami-based businessman Paul Cejas, a famously close crony of both Bill & Hill Clinton and the former ambassador to Belgium.
Property records show Mister and Missus Pliner paid $11,800,000 for their essentially Moroccan-style estate on Miami Beach’s star-stocked Star Island in October 2004, the same year, it turns out, Mister P. was inducted into the Footwear News Hall of Fame.
When the good people at Luxist discussed Mister and Missus Pliner’s casually opulent mansion in March 2011, Villa Stella, as the property is dubbed, was listed with what we now know in hind-sight to be a rather rose-colored price tag of $24,000,000. We’re not sure what the last asking price put on Villa Stella was but a few quick clicks of the well-worn beads on Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus reveals, in the end, Mister and Missus Pliner opted to hack an eye-popping 40% off their original asking price in order to get the deal done with Mister and Missus Cejas.
Mister Pliner, back in his good-lookin’ youth, owned a few high-end retail shops in Beverly Hills, CA before launching his an eponymous product line that now encompasses shoes, handbags, and accessories. A number of years ago Mister Pliner branched out into accoutrement for pooches called BabyDoll Pliner, after the Pliner family’s fluffy white Maltese named—you got it—BabyDoll Pliner. Supermodel slender wife Lisa Pliner works side-by-side with Mister P. and, according to the company’s website, inserts her “artist’s vision into the designs, colors and textures” of each new collection. We’re not sure which of these two first thought this was a good idea.
Anyhoo, the undeniably successful shoe sellers purchased Villa Stella—a sort of Moroccan-Italianate mish-mash built in 2000 and painted a daring, chalky azure—from a couple sur-named Ifergane. In 2005, after the property was damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, Mister and Missus Pliner saw fit to file a lawsuit against the Iferganes that asserted they were victims of fraud because, the Pliners claimed, the Iferganes sold them Villa Stella without, as is legally required, disclosing that some of the windows (allegedly) leaked. Natch, the Iferganes lawyered up and got busy with their brass legal tacks. At least one article on the lawsuit reveals the Iferganes had previously leased the property to both Gordon Sumner—a.k.a. Sting—and Denzel Washington, neither of whom reported any leaky windows; Neither did a local real estate agent who showed the house 50 times, including during rain storms. Long story short the Pliner’s lawsuit was tossed out—or whatever the legal term is—in spring 2008 as a “sham.”
Gigantic driveway gates with lattice-like iron grill work set into a massive Moroccan keyhole-shaped arch part to reveal a short, double-height arched tunnel that connects through to a party-sized motor court paved with bricks painstakingly laid in a herringbone pattern. Listing information claims upwards of 15 cars can be parked in the motor court plus 8 more can be stashed in the various detached and attached garages, at least two of which are luxuriously air conditioned.
Another extra-tall Moroccan arch with glass and iron grill work doors open to the mansion’s airy foyer defined by a shiny inlaid tile floor, a series of extraordinarily high archways, a number of carved wood columns, and a gigantic glass-topped table thick with framed family photographs.
Various listings we dug up online indicate the interiors have high-end finishes that include Venetian stucco walls, imported limestone and Brazilian cherry floors, and lofty ceilings that in the main living room soar upwards of 30 feet to a dome that took south Florida-based muralist Yves Lanthier six months to hand paint. The easy-breezy (and probably very expensive) day-core feels like a colorful mash-up of African safari meets Moroccan souk meets Balinese seaside resort mixed with some New-Age American southwest and medium dose of South Beach boo-teek hotel sprinkled on the top.
In addition to the cavernous main living room with it’s hand painted dome, the Pliner cum Cejas mansion on Star Island has a banquet hall-sized dining room with arched windows and an elk antler chandelier, a library, and a billiard room.
Listing information shows the house has 5 bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms. Downstairs there is a staff room (with bath) and garden-view guest suite while upstairs there are two guest/family chambers plus and capacious master suite with chunky, stenciled wood beams across the soaring ceiling. At leaston of the his and her bathrooms is outfitted with glinting floors and counter tops inlaid with glinting semi-precious stones, a multiple head shower, heated towel racks, and a lipstick red whirlpool tub. Did y’all get that? A lipstick red whirlpool tub. We. Are. Speechless. Did anyone know such a thing even existed before today?
Your Mama didn’t find any mention of closet space or dressing rooms in any of the (online) listings we perused, but it’s probably pretty safe to assume these two footwear and accessory designers fashioned custom closets and dressing rooms for their master suite that may (or may not) include necessities like bejeweled sandal cabinets, retractable purse racks, and beaded men’s slipper drawers, not to mention a state-of-the-art, automated computer system that catalogs every shoe, shirt, every everything and tracks when said shoes, shirt, handbags, or any anything gets worn.
A window-enclosed rooftop conservatory—accessed, we think but can not say for sure, by a slender spiral staircase, has views over the mansion rooftops of Star Island to Miami proper and over the sparkly Biscayne Bay towards the apartment towers that line the western shore of South Beach.
Lush, tropical landscaping and a wide herringbone pattern brick terrace encircles a dy-no-mite, keyhole-shaped saltwater swimming pool and nearby spa. At the bay’s edge an octagonal open-air pavilion shades a built-in barbecue center/wet bar and lounge and an L-shaped deep-water dock extends into Biscayne Bay from the 100-foot bulk headed waterfront.
The Pliner cum Cejas spread sits just down and around from Star Island estates owned by Sean Combs (a.k.a. P. Diddle, Daddy Puffer or Diddy Don’t or whatever), the Queen of Latin Pop Gloria Estefan, and lip-flapping comedienne Rosie O’Donnell who hoisted her 11 bedroom and 12.5 crapper compound on the market a few weeks ago with an asking price of $19,500,000. Shaquille O’Neal sold his Star Island mansion in June 2009 for $16,000,000 to Russian multi-billionaire Vladislav Doronin, otherwise known as Naomi Campbell’s unusually handsome, decidedly beau-hunky, and technically still married man-friend who embarked on a full-scale renovation of every square inch of the mansion and grounds.
Previous to buying the Star Island estate they just sold to Paul Cejas, Mister and Missus Pliner maintained a Bal Harbour penthouse condo at the so-called Majestic Tower bought in August 1999 for $100,000 and sold in May 2005 for $2,400,000.
In June 2011, as we touched upon earlier, Mister and Missus Pliner sold a 2 bedroom and 3.5 bathroom condo at The Remington along the tower-lined Wilshire Corridor in Los Angeles, CA (building shown above). Property records and other online documentation shows Mister and Missus Pliner purchased the 2,400-ish square foot condo in September 2002 for $1,350,000, listed it in March 2011 for $1,695,000 and sold it within a month for $1,350,000 to Irvin and Joan Levy of Houston and Dallas, Texas.
Paul Cejas and wife Trudy, the buyers of Mister and Missus Pliner’s fantasy land on Star Island, are frequently mentioned in the real estate gossip columns in south Florida and New York City where in May 2010 they sold a 10-room apartment in at the hoity-toity and high-toned 834 Fifth Avenue. The buyer, Swiss security ink mogul Maurice Amon, paid $15,000,000 for the spacious two bedroom and 3.5 bathroom unit that includes an two additional (and tiny staff) bedrooms with shared bathroom tucked up behind the kitchen.
photos and floor plan: Prudential Douglas Elliman
A few months later they went on to spend $5,601,000 on an 11th floor apartment at the supah-swank Carlyle House. The park view apartment has—or had at the time of the sale—a private elevator landing, marble foyer, and sunken living room with 13-foot ceiling, corner fireplace, and elaborate wedding-cake moldings. The floor plan included with listing information also indicates a formal dining room, paneled library, windowed kitchen with laundry facilities, and a master bedroom with three walk-in closets and a dressing room plus. There’s an additional guest suite with private bathroom plus a prison cell-sized staff room with closet-sized attached bathroom. Residents/owners of apartments at Carlyle House pay exceedingly high monthly maintenance—$6,011 per month for the Cejas unit, according to listing information at the time of the sale—that in addition to all the usual white glove services (porters, doormen, security, etc) provides access to the the hotel’s fitness center, spa, room and laundry services.
Mister and Missus Cejas have already off-loaded their old Miami-area estate, a 2.71 acre water front spread on insanely exclusive and punishingly expensive Indian Creek Island (above). The buyer, idiosyncratic, transcendental meditating hedge fund honcho Edward S. Lampert, paid somewhere near $40,000,000 for the property, so the property gossip goes, that includes a coral-colored, custom-built 17,000 square foot Italian mansion with 7 bedrooms, a reflecting pool and an arrival court.
Mister Lampert, in case anyone might be curious, resides in a large mansion on a fully landscaped waterfront parcel (above) in Greenwich’s über-fancy Belle Haven enclave where his neighbors include Her Highness Diana Ross and slew of other financial fat cats like Paul Tudor Jones, Peter Briger Jr., Israel Englandeer and Ray Dalio who heads up Bridgewater Associates, one of the if not the largest hedge fund in the world.