Thursday, October 7, 2010

Leona Helmsley’s $125 Million Estate

Dubbed the “Queen of Mean” and notorious for not paying her taxes and going to jail for same, Leona Helmsley, or rather the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, has sold the “Dunnellen Hall” estate  for $35 million, a $90 million dollar reduction from the original asking price of $125 million.  The Helmsleys bought Dunnellen Hall in 1983 for $9 million (paying an extra $2 million for the furniture) and later picked up another 14 acres bringing the total to 40 acres.   The home apparently is in a major state of disrepair and will cost millions to fix.   The property taxes are rumored to be $183,000 a year.

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All photos by Stephen Rossi Photography, Norwalk, CT

David Ogilvy & Associates currently has the listing on their website, where you can read, with more detail, about this palatial estate.  I’m going to hit some of the highlights for you!   I don’t know if this home has been occupied for years, but the decor definitely reads dated, as you will see below… (let’s have a little fun with this, shall we?)…

Located in The Great Estates in Greenwich, Connecticut, the main residence is 22,000 square feet, the property 40 acres, and the estate designed by Architect William Tubby.

 

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Magnificent 70-foot marble reflecting pool with a three-tier fountain.

 

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The grounds include an incredible koi pond with its own waterfall.

 

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The entrance is very unassuming and not very impressive for such a massive estate!  Topped with a limestone pediment in the Roman style.  Perhaps this is a secondary entrance?

 

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This looks to be a secondary hallway off of the entrance hall.  The marble floors, ornate console table and hanging tapestry warm up this space nicely.  What is on the top of this console table though?  Inlaid marble?  A glass insert with something underneath?  Hmmmm….

 

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Part of the entrance hall.  I love the shadows on the wall from the iron doors.  The urn base table looks a little cheesy though.  And, I would have put the flower arrangement in a differently shaped vase… one that didn’t mimic the table base.

 

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Entrance hall with a cove ceiling and the spectacular cross arched center hall with a Travertine marble floor, limestone walls running the 86-foot length and a double-height plaster tracery ceiling.

 

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From another view.

 

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The major stairway divides into two from the mid-level landing.  They need some artwork on the walls!

 

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The 45-foot living room with a massive carved stone fireplace with Ionic columns has the same tracery ceiling, gorgeous wide-board teak floors (covered mostly with the massive area rug).  Ok…. Can we talk about that green coffee table for a minute though?  I know the designer was going for a punch of color, but really? 

 

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The library has a 15th century fireplace mantel, paneling throughout and another lovely tapestry.  What is your take on tapestries?  Do they work for the typical homeowner?  Leona was definitely NOT your typical homeowner!

 

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Another view of the library.

 

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Hallway reminds me of the cathedral ceilings in Europe.  Beautiful architecture.  I love the view of the fireplace in the far room.

 

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Gorgeous landscape lighting.

 

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The paneled dining room has a fireplace, a bay window and a tracery ceiling.  Balloon shades and chair fabric could be updated.  Ok, the chairs too!

 

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Adjoining the dining room is a smaller, more intimate dining room.  Another tapestry hangs in the room.  This one not so nice I think.

 

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This sitting room needs some definite updating.  The emerald green walls with gold trim is very 80’s.  Even the bay window and chandelier harken back to that decade.   Do I spy fake topiaries in those urns in the background?

 

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The family room has a lovely fireplace, coffered ceiling, and rather loud red velvet sofas that are competing for attention with that rug!

 

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Where did they go wrong in this room?  Let us count the ways….  One, the rug… Two, the gold tiger print chairs… Three, the sill-length drapes… Four, the lion artwork on the back wall…. Five…. Six…. Seven…. oh my…..

 

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The 52 foot indoor pool/winter garden has marble floors, areas for sitting and a changing room and bathroom.

 

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The lower level has a wine cellar.  Nice, but could use a little more personality and chairs that are scaled more properly for the room.

 

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Basement entrance to the wine cellar.  If they were going for “dungeon decor”… they succeeded!  Very drab and feels more like going through a coal mine with that ceiling all the way down the hallway. 

 

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Probably the most disappointing space of the entire estate… the kitchen.  The burled wood cabinets are hideous… even back when this estate was built!

 

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Now you get to why it sold for $35 million!  Look at this property!

 

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Beautiful landscaping. 

 

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The 75-foot outdoor swimming pool has a terrace and a cabana with a kitchen, and it adjoins the tennis court.

 

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Beautiful estate… needing a major renovation!

All photos Stephen Rossi Photography, Norwalk, CT

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your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy.

3 comments:

Katie said...

Am I the only one that finds humungous homes scary? It would take me forever to check all the closets to make sure the boogie man wasn't somewhere hiding. Nevermind the $183,000 tax bill/year.

Yes, it needs some updating. The statues around the pool would definitely give me nightmares.

Great pix, though! The landscaping is fantastic!

Rebecca@Harmony and Home said...

Katie... I'm with you on that! I wouldn't know what to do with all that space! (or that tax bill!).

Becky

Karena said...

Rebecca, I am not too thrilled (except for the adjoining land, it is amazing. The kitchen the dungeon, dear me!!

Be sure to come and enter my fabulous Giveaway from Metis Linens!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

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