YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Our friend and informant Hot Chocolate regularly sends Your Mama links to posh properties in New York City that catch her fancy. Recently, our Miss Chocolate sent over the 411 on a sprawling two-unit combination apartment on East 66th Street that just hit the market with a fat asking price of $8,500,000. A little peep and poke around the property records revealed to Your Mama that the well-groomed if somewhat awkwardly laid out pre-war residence belongs to financier David Conrod–a Managing Director at the hoity–toity Guggenheim Partners–and his far more famous wife, fashion journalist turned reality tee-vee star Nina Garcia.
Lanvin loving Miz Garcia, born in Barranquilla, Colombia and educated in Boston, Paris and New York City, is the privileged daughter of a globe trotting shipping tycoon father and a fashion maven mother who, according to a recent profile of Miz Garcia in the New York Times, pranced about in Pucci and Céline.
Miz Garcia got into the glamour bizness in the late 1980s when she worked it as a publicity gurl for the Perry Ellis label, during the reign of glad rag wünderkind Marc Jacobs. She quickly moved on to fashion journalism. Miz Garcia started out as the low gal on the sartorial publication totem pole at the now defunct Mirabella. She later moved over to the more fashion forward Elle where she successfully navigated the treacherous internal politicking and became the powerful Fashion Director in the year 2000. Amid a lot of in-fighting, name-calling and spit-balling, Miz Garcia was unceremoniously ousted from Elle in April of 2008. She was very quickly–and quite wisely–scooped up by the people at the venerable Marie Claire, where she currently plies her trade and industry knowledge as the Fashion Director.
Miz Garcia is, of course, best known as the eye rolling, tough talking and tawny skinned judge on Project Runway, a gal with a meticulously tussled mane of highlighted hair who dishes out smart but often snippy and astringently brusque criticism of the clothes concocted by the show’s melodramatic melange of contestants. She is, to use a cliché fashion-ism, fabulous, far more entertaining even than that other eye rolling, tough talking and tawny skinned judge on Project Runway Michael Kors.
Property records show that in November of 2005 the currently preggers with her second child Miz Garcia and her man-mate Mister Conrod forked over $3,700,000 for the larger of the two units that make up their combination co-op. In June of 2006 they snatched up the smaller adjacent apartment for $1,221,900. A few quick flicks of the well worn beads on Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus shows that the well-heeled couple’s total outlay for the not yet combined units came to $4,921,900. Presumably they spent a lot more moolah to merge the two cribs into one commodious apartment with a couple of ungainly and unfortunate floor plan moments. More on that later.
The building, an exuberantly ornate and intricate architectural combination of Elizabethan and Flemish Gothic details, was built in 1906 and lords over a very bizzy but exceedingly stylish corner of Madison Avenue, one of the most well-known and insanely expensive retail strips in all of the world. Miz Garcia, a clotheshorse with a clean lined and frivolity-free fashion sense, need only step out her doorman building to be surrounded by the chic big ticket boo-teeks of Oscar De La Renta, Giorgio Armani, Nicole Miller, Emmanuel Ungaro, Valentino, BCBG Max Azria, Isaac Mizrahi, Chanel, Hervé Léger–breathe, breathe, breathe–La Perla Dolce & Gabbana, and Jill Sander plus the high-priced jewelers Fred Leighton, Bulgari, and Cartier. And that, puppies, is just within a two-block walk of Miz Garcia’s fancy front door.
According to listing information, the building’s board requires a hefty but hardly unusual 50% down payment and the 4 bedroom and 3.5 pooper apartment carries monthly maintenance and common charges of $4,080. While thoroughly modernized with state of the art amenities and open plan public spaces, the pre-war pad retains much of its historical interest and architectural magic such as the magnificent and tall 12 over 12 double hung windows that exacerbate the height of the already lofty 11.5-foot ceilings.
A private hall leads to the front door that opens into a long entry vestibule with two windows that look into the building’s courtyard. Opposite the front door the entry vestibule gives way to an over-sized corner living room with hardwood floors and fireplace. It appears to Your Mama that the original living room was combined with an adjacent room to create a 24-foot wide and 29-foot long prairie-like space with an impressive row of five south-facing picture windows.
Dee-voon double pocket doors separate the generously proportioned formal dining room from both the living room and entrance hall. The sparse barely there day-core, the bare bulb over the table, and the fixtures in the ceiling that light the unadorned walls do not–we can promise the children–suggest that Miz Garcia does not have the good sense to hang some artwork and a too-expensive show stopping chandelier in the dining room. Au contraire mon frères. These things indicate to Your Mama that the snazzy Conrod-Garcia clan have already packed up their fancy chandeliers, good artworks and other dynamite decorative doo-dads and decamped for elsewhere. where we do not know.
Your Mama has not an iota if Miz Garcia plans to keep the ten straight backed antique chairs covered in emerald green velvet that surround the clean-lined contemporary dining room table, but iffin she opts to not we’re hoping she’ll donate all ten of those mouth watering chairs to Your Mama’s Private Fund for Our Future Dining Room Day-core.
The Garcia-Conrod kitchen may be on the wee side but it’s well equipped with top-of-the-line appliances and boasts an itty-bitty breakfast room. A hallway, where a stacked washer/dryer has been stuck up into a closet, extends back from the kitchen where a guest room with built-in cabinetry and a puny closet shares a three-quarter pooper with a small staff room that has no closet at all.
Your Mama is all good with the layout of the more public areas of the house, but things get klutzy when it comes to the private quarters that open off the wide corridor that snakes awkwardly west from the living room to the semi-circular library where four gigantic windows look south down Madison and west down East 66th Street towards Central Park just one block away. Unfortunately because the Conrod-Garcia apartment sits on a low floor, the views from the library are obstructed and marred by criss-crossing wires and traffic lights.
Things get really ugly between the living room and the library where a clunky cluster of rooms includes a well-placed powder pooper, a bedroom with walk-in closet that shares tight terliting facilities with the library and, much or our perplex and dismay, a divided master suite is comprised of a bedroom and custom-fitted walk-in closet on one side of the hallway and a second custom-fitted walk in closet and dee–luxe pooper on the other. This means that when Miz Garcia wakes in the middle of the night and needs to relieve herself, she must exit her bedroom with its elegant seal gray silk wall to wall carpeting, cross the corridor where she could be seen by her children and/or her staff, and pass through a custom fitted walk-in closet in order to get to the damn terlit. Oh, hell no. For eight and some million clams Your Mama refuses to have to cross a public hallway in order to do our bizness. No way, no how.
Listen chickens, Your Mama is well aware that for many rich and famous folks getting a new bambino often means buying a new crib. However and because Your Mama lurvs us some Nina Garcia, we’re going to try and save missy–hoo–hoo a little bit of money by giving he mid-section of her combined unit co-operative a bit of a re-org (shown below) so that it makes more sense and so that Miz Garcia would not have to move iffin she didn’t really want to move…although we suspect she really wants to move otherwise she’d just, well, do a remodel.
The first thing Your Mama would do is to restore the wall between the original living room and what was originally a bedroom or possibly a library. While it erases some of drama of the existing airplane hangar sized living room, the new living room remains impress the guests long at 29 feet and provides a smaller less formal room where the Garcia-Conrod kiddies can watch Barney or the Teletubbies or whatever other damn fool thing today’s toddlers watch on the tee-vee.
Your Mama would not mess with the dining room, kitchen, breakfast room, and laundry closet. They are all perfectly acceptable, even for a very large apartment. Even though they share a single pooper we’d not bother to reconfigure the guest room and staff room either. Chances are that Miz Garcia does not have a live-in domestic–so few modern people do–and iffin she does she ought to just do the right damn thing and turn over both the staff room and the guest room to him or her. How can one really justify making the minimum wage gurl live up in less than 75 square feet when the rest of the family lives so large, you know?
Anyhoo, we’d also leave the powder pooper alone but convert what’s currently marked on the floor plan as the master bath to a smaller, but still dee-luxe hall bathroom to be shared by the two family bedrooms carved out of the space presently occupied by the master bedroom, the attached walk-in closet and a portion of the second bedroom.
The newly formed master suite would then be pushed down to a more secluded and cohesive location at the far end of the apartment where the current semi-circular library and existing tiny terlit room become the actual master bedroom. What remains of the existing second bedroom would be fashioned into a large pooper and the existing walk-in closet–formerly located across the hall from the master bedroom but now located within the confines of the master suite–would be enlarged.
The result would be a 3 bedroom and 2.5 pooper residence with additional guest room, staff room and pooper behind the kitchen. This new configuration would allow for private bedrooms for both of the young Garcia-Conrod children, a lavish bath with separate tub, shower and terlit cubicle and one quite large if not huge custom fitted walk-in closet where Miz Garcia hang her clothing, like all good fashion people, in a color coordinated manner.