Last spring, hedge fund director and billionaire Philip Falcone listed a rather spectacular estate on St. Bart’s; the two-acre hilltop property known as ‘Grande Maison des Etoiles’ is still on the open market, and features enough dazzle to intoxicate the jaded, including three swimming pools, custom stonework and woodwork, and private terraces for all nine bedrooms.
More recently, Mr. Falcone has listed his primary residence in Manhattan with an asking price of $39 million. The townhome’s level of detail out-dazzles the St. Bart’s estate in many ways, working with upscale New York City tropes of formality that include forays into overblown ornament. Some design elements veer into near-rococoland, where negotiation gets very tricky.
Of the more eminently extroverted spaces in the five-story townhouse, the mixed Victorian/Enlightenment dining room has to take the prize for most heavily stylized. Between the harlequin-pattern inlaid oak floors, the burled and gilt-tinged fireplace mantel, the period-style cloth wallcovering, and the coffered gilt ceiling, there’s a lot to process here. It’s fascinatingly excessive, as is the ethereal conservatory with its crystal chandelier, extravagant crown moldings, and carved limestone fireplace. Full-throttle effect.
Elsewhere, the townhome drifts into near-minimalism; the living room and kitchen are wide-open, uncluttered, and nicely balanced between cool and warm influences. The library might be the crown jewel in the townhouse, though. The paneling, onyx fireplace, and built-in bookcases are the kind of comforting tropes that pave the way for quiet solitude of the best kind.
Falcone founded Harbinger Capital in 2001. He is currently the fund’s Senior Managing Director.