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125 East 70th St., NYC.

Scanning the internet for interesting and everything ‘French’ I stumbled upon this new real estate listing in New York City’s upper east side. It’s the former townhome of Paul and Bunny Mellon, one of the most iconic and talked about couples in the United State of America. The name ‘Mellon’ is synonymous with great wealth, philanthropy, and prestige. This sumptuous 11,000 sq.ft. townhouse, now on the market for $46,000,000 reflects all of this and more.

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I love the trelllis work and everything about this typically French ‘Neo-classical’ design. This looks as fabulous as it did when originally created in 1965.

Paul Mellon, heir to one of America’s great banking fortunes, and his wife, Bunny, (Givenchy had a special bedroom set aside for Bunny when she visited the South of France) built this extraordinarily beautiful 40’ wide townhouse on a fabled Upper East Side block in 1965. Featured in The World of Interiors magazine, the townhouse, designed in the neo French classic style evoking the charm of the French countryside, reflected the passions of its owners. Paul Mellon curated his art collection in the library overlooking the exquisite garden with reflecting pool and gazebo, where Bunny Mellon, designer of the White House Rose Garden and friend to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, indulged her love of gardening. The high-ceilinged drawing room and dining room lead to a spectacular terrace, the center of celebratory parties. The townhouse has 5-8 bedrooms, with flexibility for guests, and staff, 8 baths, chef’s kitchen, wine room and elevator. Most rare, however, the house has 3 exposures, affording brilliant sunlight into some of the most beautiful rooms on the Upper East Side.
The house last sold in 2006 for $22.5 million, and is now, somewhat ambitiously, asking more than twice that, although it doesn’t look like the new owners made any changes since the Mellon’s decorated it in 1965. ( a true testament to how classic French furniture and design remains timeless and withstands the test of time ) However, for anyone asking twice the price the least they could have done was updated the color schemes to bring the place into the 21st Century.

Living Room or Salon

Living Room or Salon. The two Directoire Armchairs are probably period, as well as the rest of the French Antiques in this living room.

I find the use of this brilliant yellow a little dated as well as the use of the faux finished mirrors.

I find the use of this brilliant yellow a little dated as well as the use of the faux finished mirrors. I do love the period French ‘barometer’ of the 18th Century. This atypically large and unusual ‘barometre’ probably cost the legendary ‘Bunny’ several thousand U.S. dollars.

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Its beautiful the way the French doors off the living room allow access to the French terrace. A wonderful way to bring the outdoors in.

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The ‘royal blue’ paint is a little dated by today’s standards. I do love the French Neoclassical dining table as well as the console against the wall. I do find it a bit strange that such an enormous townhouse would have a rather small dining room. I can only assume that the owners have leaves and extra chairs for this set or maybe they entertained like French nobles of the 18th Century never sitting at a dinner table but merely grazing throughout the day on delicious tid bits served by the household staff. (French nobility of the 18th Century rarely had sit down dinners unless it was a banquet or wedding.)

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Another viewpoint of the dining room. A painted Louis XV console appears in the right hand side of the photo.

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This foyer does not appear to be the entrance, however it does have a lovely little French settee of the Neoclassical era or Louis XVI C.1760.

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Note the ‘La Cornue’ Chateau range in blue. These are available in Canada at a very hefty price.

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Love this simple Louis XVI bedroom in soft French white. The upholstered bed looks typically French as well as the sidetables, and Louis XV French marble firesurround. We have both these styles of beds, nightstands, and ocassionally ( if we’re lucky ) the marble firesurrounds at the Antique Warehouse.

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The bed is French and very rare. So is the Secretary. I’m thinking the secretary could be Italian and not French. If you notice the side of the bed, it’s neither single or double which tells me this is an authentic Continental bed from France or Italy. The settee at the foot of the bed is typically Louis XVI or Neoclassical in design. It appears to be period dating it at 1760 – 1780. I think the sidetables are matching which would immediately tell me they are not period but probably very good reproductions of the 20th Century. The French seldom if ever made matching nightstands. The English typically had two.

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