“Pretty Penny,” the elegant, former Nyack mansion of Helen Hayes, for 61 years, and Rosie O’Donnell, for four years, has hosted its share of celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe, Laurence Olivier, Katharine Hepburn, Vivien Leigh, Russell Crowe, and Madonna, to name a few. Just 22 miles from NYC, the 1858 wedding cake-style Italianate Victorian with stunning Hudson River views has hit the market for $4,750,000, after trying to sell for the past five years. In addition to the celebrity pedigree, a lucky new owner will also get 6,000 square feet dripping with period details, a 60-foot Olympic-style pool, and incredible landscaped grounds with terraced gardens, a koi pond, and more.
When actress Helen Hayes and her husband, playwright Charles MacArthur, were living in the home, they entertained everyone from Ronald Reagan to Ed Sullivan, to Katharine Hepburn. Rumor has it that Cole Porter played the piano here and F. Scott Fitzgerald came and gave the couple a signed copy of one of his books. Edward Hopper even painted the house! In more recent years, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Ben Stiller have checked it out when it was for sale. And in 2006, Russell Crowe rented it for six months while filming “American Gangster.”
O’Donnell originally bought the home in 1996 for $770,000, $1.2m below the asking price. She then spent $2 million renovating the house, some of the improvements included building a brick wall around the 1.15-acre property, opening the layout of the kitchen, and combining three bedrooms to create a luxurious master suite. Richard Ellis, the listing broker and owner of Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty, commented that the home is “not only extraordinary but has soul.” Rosie sold Pretty Penny in 2000 for $2.25 million. It then sold again in 2005 to art dealer W. Graham Arader III, who has been trying to sell it since 2013.
She then bought another property in Nyack, a five-building estate, which she put on the market for $11 million this past November. Over in Manhattan, she sold her chic Greenwich Village penthouse in 2014 for $9 million, and three years later bought a swanky Midtown East penthouse for $8 million.
Pretty Penny was built in 1858 for an old Nyack family, the Gurnees, when Nyack was a prosperous, shipbuilding village with active quarrying of the red rock or sandstone in the Nyacks. The exterior is brick behind the clapboard which was a building technique that was common at the time to provide insulation from both heat and cold.
This 6,000-square-foot home is centered on a light-infusing atrium with a sweeping staircase.
The house has six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, eight fireplaces and amazing views of the Hudson River. There is also a 60-foot “Olympic style” in-ground pool with cabana, many rare tree specimens, such as redwood trees, terraced gardens with koi pond and fountain.
Of the eight fireplaces, seven are period marble mantels, which match the ornate crown moldings, panel doors, ceiling rosettes, and period chandeliers.
The bright kitchen has a modern, open layout with a large window overlooking the Hudson.
The master bedroom and bathroom are spacious and light. The master has four large windows overlooking the view and the bathroom has a double vanity and soaking tub.
A secondary bedroom has even more charm with the vintage fireplace and built-in bookshelves.
- Rosie O’Donnell lists sprawling five-property Nyack estate for $11M
- Rosie O’Donnell drops $8M on a swanky Midtown East penthouse
- Rosie O’Donnell Sells Chic Greenwich Village Penthouse for $9M
- Helen Hayes’ former Nyack home asks $719K
Photos courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty
Neighborhoods : nyack