Donald Trump’s former Greenwich estate is a virtual time capsule—a flashback to the opulent 1980s when gold leaf ruled and greed was good.
The massive, nearly 20,000-square-foot mansion where Trump and ex-wife Ivana lavishly spent their glory years, rests spectacularly atop a secluded peninsula on the Long Island Sound and recently hit the market for $54 million. Not bad for a town whose average home sale is $2 million.
Ivana extensively renovated the Colonial mansion while she was simultaneously restoring the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. The two had a common theme—opulence nearly as aspirational as the those of Gold Coast super estates across the Sound.
Although the current owner tried to tame the Trumps’ bling ambition with more recent remodeling (Tiffany glass windows, three-story rotunda with commanding views, etc.), the heavy-handed Trump card still garishly plays over the estate like a poker bluff daring to be challenged.
"Ivana did a lot of renovations," listing agent Tamar Lurie of Coldwell Banker told the Connecticut Post. “Décor-wise, it was all gold leaf—all of this was gold leaves all over the place. It was kind of dramatic.”
Would we expect anything less of the Trumps? Of course this was before he acquired “The Donald” moniker, pre-The Apprentice, and way before he diversified his ego with presidential exploratory committees.
Trump, a billionaire master of location, is the most famous real estate magnate. He knows the “art of a deal,” but the art of décor? Not so much. He can always blame that mistake on his ex who received the Indian Harbor home as part of their divorce settlement (before eventually selling the mansion herself). If it were anyone else, Trump might have barked, “You’re fired!” before the wallpaper dried—that is, if he knew such grandeur in the modern era (even the 1980s) is unbecoming.
Location, pedigree and the estate’s roughly six acres play in the seller’s favor much more than the decorative ambitions of Donald and Ivana. The eight-bedroom, 11-and-a-half-bath property now boasts an additional 4,000-square-foot guest quarters with luxury suites, three staff apartments, a tennis court, putting green, indoor and outdoor pools, and a sauna.
Built in 1939, the estate at 21 Vista Drive (near the tip of Indian Harbor Point) retains much of its original exterior charm—a large white portico, Greyhound dog welcome statues, waterfront dock, privacy trees and manicured lawns.
The interior design style is virtually indefinable—part Great Gatsby, part ski lodge, part Marie Antoinette, part pastel 1950s diner. Your guess is as good as ours. Interiors showcase a grand double staircase foyer, archways, fireplaces, an occasional hint of retro wallpaper, a home theater with movie posters and purple seats (purple?), and enough fancy chandeliers to swing from room to room. Getting our drift now?
Fortunately for $54 million, you get to make this mansion your own—hopefully via a capable interior designer (and not merely a spouse). It will take a while to un-Trump this estate. To his credit, Donald Trump has moved on. In 2016, he may even vie for the only house he can’t buy—the White House. If he attains it, get the gold leaf ready for the Oval Office.