One of my favorite movies growing up was “The Money Pit” with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. Because I was only 11 when it came out, I couldn’t appreciate the depth of humor and the despair that comes with homeownership and renovation. At the time, it was just hilarious watching Tom Hanks lose his mind over this house. But now, as an adult and a homeowner, I know just how easy it is to be driven to laughter madness by a house that never seems to get fixed while you’re hemorrhaging money left and right.
Just in case you’re one of the 10 people who haven’t seen this awesome movie, I’ll fill you in on what you’re missing.
Walter (played by Tom Hanks) and his girlfriend Anna (played by Shelley Long), are being kicked out of their apartment (which is owned by Anna’s ex-husband and current boss). They need a place to live, so Walter’s friend tells them about this fixer-upper mansion that’s for sale for $200,000. A steal! But from the minute they move in, everything starts falling apart. The front door falls off, the staircase collapses, the electrical system catches fire, and on and on and on. They hire a couple of contractors to help fix the house, but even that falls apart. The contractors promise it will only take “two weeks,” but naturally two weeks turns into several months. Eventually, their relationship falls apart with the house, and they vow to sell the house once restoration is complete. I won’t spoil any more for you, but take my word – you should see this movie.
So what does a movie have to do with a mortgage blog? Well, “The Money Pit” house is now for sale! Located in Lattingtown, NY, the mansion is ready to go on the market for $12.5 million, and according to Zillow, the annual property taxes are a paltry $65,992. Chump change, am I right? But just to give you an idea of the type of area in which this home rests – Lattingtown is part of the North Shore of Long Island, NY. The North Shore, aka The Gold Coast, is famous for its mansions and private estates of people like the Vanderbilts, the Roosevelts and J.P. Morgan. In fact, the North Shore is where “The Great Gatsby” took place.
In 1986, the home, known as Northway, was owned by Eric Ridder, an Olympic gold medalist and publisher. He allowed the studio to film the front and back of the home while most of the interior scenes were shot in a studio. However, according to the current homeowners, Rich and Christina Makowsky, the studio could have easily shot the movie inside the home instead of wasting time and money building a set.
When they bought the three-story home in 2002, it “was falling apart when you went from room to room,” according to Mr. Makowsky. They spent the next year and a half completely renovating the home. A crew of 30 gutted the home, took out ceilings, replaced the cast-iron radiators, completely redid the plumbing, heating and electrical systems, and restored the home to its original 1898 glory.
The home has eight bedrooms, eight full and two half bathrooms, a pool, pool house and a six-car garage, and it sits on nearly 6 acres of perfectly manicured landscape. Three out of eight fireplaces are visible from the foyer, and the dining room alone fits 28. And if you feel like hosting movie night, the media room has an imported 500-year-old fireplace from France and a refrigerated “wine wall” that holds about 80 bottles of your finest vino.
Three rooms were combined to create a chef’s kitchen, and a 9-foot-long, 4-foot-high oval window in the breakfast nook overlooks an English rose garden. Just to give you an idea of how palatial this home is, the pool house alone is 800 square feet of luxurious living. That’s 200 square feet less than my house that I live in with three other people, two cats and a dog. Insanity!
From the plaster ceiling medallions to the driveway and the landscaping, every single surface of this home was overhauled. In fact, according to Shawn Elliott of Shawn Elliott Luxury Homes & Estates, the Makowskys spent close to $10 million restoring and renovating the home, with $2 million spent on landscaping alone. Now, it’s the “anti-Money Pit,” he says.
Take a look at the listing and see what a cool $12.5 million could buy you on the North Shore of Long Island.
Even if you’re not in the market for a new home, you should sit down and watch this movie. It’s something every homeowner should watch before deciding to do major renovations. You’re pretty much guaranteed a better experience than Walter and Anna, so everything you go through will be a piece of cake in comparison!