When the 8,000-square-foot triplex penthouse high atop Manhattan's City Spire building came on the market at the end of July, two things catapulted the unit to fame: one, its $100M price tag—it was the first of two homes in that stratosphere to list in NYC within the span of two weeks—and two, its sheer homeliness. In a rare moment of, well, agreeing with each other, Curbed commenters called the place "hideous" and "ghastly" with "gaudy developer-grade interior detailing" and "flaming queen decorator touches."
So whodunit: the developer and owner Steven Klar, or the decorator, AD100 designer Juan Pablo Molyneux (whose own masterpiece of a townhouse is listed for $48M)? That's precisely the question the New York Times explored this weekend. And what a battle it is: while Molyneux "downplayed his involvement in the classical decoration of the 8,000-square-foot octagonal apartment" and "prepared only the original plans," Klar admits to executing Molyneux's plans himself but "hewed almost religiously to [them], down to the style of curtains, use of marble and columns—even, in one case, the exact placement of a painting in his office."
Some choice Molyneux quotes:
· "The way he did the curtains, the moldings, the type of furniture, it is not me," Mr. Molyneux said. "To a point where it is almost funny."
· He said he received phone calls "from all over the world" and the reaction was not good. "They say it is a little gaudy and they are so happy that I changed my style."
· "I never thought that this horror would be published and then everybody would blame me for having done it," he said.
Meanwhile, Klar shows total dedication to getting the place sold by talking up the, er, positives:
· "We used his decorating designs totally," Mr. Klar said. "It was all his plans."
· "These columns are exactly what he specified; they are in the exact place he specified," Mr. Klar said as we walked through the marbled foyer that he said represented Mr. Molyneux's "trademark" design style.
· "I didn't gild anything," Mr. Klar said. "I don't like gilt."
· "Whoever comes in is going to put their own imprint on it, and either bring in another decorator or do it themselves," Mr. Klar said. "And they will rip this out, which is a shame, but that's fine for me."
· Triplex Manhattan Penthouse Asks Mind-Numbing $100M [Curbed National]
· Monied AD100 Designer Moves to Sell New York Townhouse [Curbed National]
· The Torment of High-End Decorators [New York Times]