Philip Johnson House for Sale; Brook Astor’s Home Reduced to $10.5M

For the first time in 54 years, Philip Johnson’s first-commissioned residence, built in 1946 and true to form with walls of glass, is for sale in Bedford for $2 million.

It’s been tweaked and added on to by its owner, Sirkka Damora and her late husband, Robert, over the years. (Both architects, they purchased it in 1955 for $23,500, gave it a new kitchen, and added more living space.) But it is intact and continues in the spirit of its great designer, which is most important.

Two years ago, another Johnson house (often called the Alice Ball House) in New Canaan, Connecticut, was the subject of a much-heated argument about demolition to make way for a newer, more modern structure (probably something tres gauche like a Colonial with all the bells and whistles). No wonder that caused a mighty uproar in the neighborhood. What is wrong with this world that money-hungry sellers have forgotten the elegance of simple beauty? According to the New Canaan Historical Society, the house was saved and is still standing.

By contrast, no one that we know of has tear-down plans for Brooke Astor’s enormous Holly Hill estate on 64.6 acres in Briarcliff Manor. The house, with 24 rooms and more than 10,000 square feet of living space, is still for sale. It came on the market for $12.9 million in November 2008 (not a propitious time from a real estate point of view) shortly after Mrs.Astor’s death and her son’s trial (he’s currently serving time). The circa-1927 stone manor was designed by legendary New York architect William Delano and can be had these days for $10.5 million. David Turner at Houlihan Lawrence has the listing.

Phillip Johnson House

Alice Ball House

Brook Astor House

Brook Astor House


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About This Blog

White Plains resident and writer Karen Odom has a passion for interesting architecture, especially when architecture and history collide. Her extensive experience as a real estate feature writer has led her in an around Westchester's distinctive homes uncovering the fascinating stories behind the houses, their owners, architects, and designers with awe, admiration, and more than just a little amazing curiosity.

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