SELLERS: Baz Lurhmann and Catherine Martin
LOCATION: Darlinghurst, Sydney, Australia
PRICE: $16 million
SIZE: 9 bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: Now that dashing Australian theater director-turned-anachronism-loving Oscar-nominated auteur Baz Lurhmann has settled with his family into a townhouse in the busy bosom of New York City’s Greenwich Village, he and his longtime wife and frequent creative collaborator, four-time Oscar-winning hyphenate designer Catherine Martin — most commonly known simply as C.M. — have hoisted their elegantly idiosyncratic 20-plus room mansion in Sydney, Australia, up for sale with an undisclosed asking price rumored and previously reported to be in the neighborhood of $16,000,000.
The posh property, originally built in the 1880s for pastoralist painter Edward Chisholm and regally dubbed “House of Iona,” has been owned by the powerhouse showbiz couple since 1997 and is situated for optimal privacy at the end of a short cul-de-sac in the once gritty now affluent and pleasantly cosmopolitan Darlinghurst suburb. Described in listing details as an “heirloom of unrivaled elegance, distinction and pedigree,” the posh manor retains numerous original and/or re-created architectural details such as intricate stained glass panels, spiky wrought iron railings and some very serious, heavy-duty moldings. A trio of grandly proportioned and comfortable if theatrically dressed public rooms orbit the ample entrance gallery and adjoining stair hall that sport a gorgeous geometric marble tiled floor that makes a sophisticated if somewhat madcap visual cacophony with a starburst-print wall covering. To the left is a drawing room hung to the high ceiling salon style with a trove of photographs and professional memorabilia; around to the right a moody, monochromatically all-black formal dining room has a fireplace and grand piano placed at the far end in a deep bay window; and straight ahead a nearly 45-foot long ballroom has another deep bay window, another fireplace and direct veranda access.
Less formal although no less dramatic family quarters include a commodious kitchen with island breakfast bar, commercial-grade range and a huge walk-in pantry; a voluminous, double height dining area ringed by a second floor library gallery; and a petite lounge and a smaller adjacent sun room that opens through French doors to a courtyard with fountain. There’s also a slender study/bedroom, a fitness room with courtyard access and a good-sized bedroom that due to it’s proximity to the kitchen and back stairs is perhaps best suited for a live in domestic. A small basement offers loads of storage and a walk-in temperature controlled wine cellar.
On the floor plan included with digital marketing materials we counted six or seven bedrooms, depending on use, and 5.5 bathrooms. At least two of the three principal guest/family bedrooms have private, en suite bathrooms, while the spacious master suite comprises a private sitting room with dining area, direct access to a wraparound veranda, a separate bedroom lined with bespoke wardrobes, and a decent sized but hardly huge bathroom with soaking tub and separate shower. Two attached but independent guest suites on the upper floor — one with exterior entrance and balcony — each encompass a sitting room, bedroom and private bathroom and bring the total bedroom and bathroom count to eight or nine, again depending on use, and 7.5, respectively. The gated grounds include a generous roundabout motor court and parking area, a small lawn ringed by dense and mature gardens and, alongside the rear of the residence, a heated lap-lane swimming pool, spa and convenient pool bath with exterior entry.
Mister Luhrmann’s cinematic extravaganzas, along with those of his wife, include “Strictly Ballroom,” “Moulin Rouge” and “The Great Gatsby,” and he is currently at work on a Netflix original musical/drama series (“The Get Down”), which he created, wrote, directed and produced, and on which C.M. is listed as an executive producer and costume designer. The show, sure to be a spectacular auditory and visual boob-toob experience, will be set in late 1970s New York City and mines the rich origins and histories of the pop culture defining hip-hop, punk and disco genres.
listing photos and floor plan: Sotheby’s International Realty