If there’s one thing that sets “The Real Housewives of New York City” apart from other reality TV stars, it’s their real estate portfolios. From Sonja Morgan‘s swanky Upper East Side townhouse to Dorinda Medley‘s mansion in the Berkshires, the homes on “RHONY” are just as memorable as the ladies who live in ’em.
So it’s fitting that some of the long-running reality show’s most unforgettable feuds and drama-filled moments have involved the ladies’ homes.
On Wednesday night we say adios to the 10th (and arguably best!) season of “RHONY.” The finale may be upon us, but many of this year’s frequent rumbles regarding real estate were never fully settled.
And that’s where we come in!
Below, we dive head first into three of the heated house-based squabbles that played out on-screen. We tried our darnedest to get to the bottom of it all, but as any “Real Housewives” fan knows, a final answer always requires receipts. Which we don’t have … yet.
Is Bethenny Frankel’s Hamptons house really south of the highway?
Last year, Bethenny Frankel purchased a century-old house on Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton with the intention of flipping it. On the Season 10 premiere, she spilled the deets of her new project to the other housewives during Medley’s Halloween party.
Clearly disturbed about the Hampton home’s location, Frankel’s frenemy Ramona Singer immediately piped up.
“I would never buy on the highway,” Singer says. “In Southampton—or any of the Hamptons—being south of the highway is preferred.”
Frankel insists her property is “technically south of the highway,” but Singer disagrees. “Being on the highway is not south of the highway … it’s just not,” Singer insists.
Sure, it’s a vapid argument. But such squabbles are the coin of the realm for the “Real Housewives” franchise. So who’s right?
The verdict: We sorta hate to say it, but Singer’s correct.
Ask anyone who’s familiar with Hamptons real estate and they’ll tell you that Frankel’s house is not south of the highway.
When it comes to Hamptons real estate, south of the highway is best, north of the highway is second best, and on the highway is a distant third.
Why? It’s the location, silly.
“Pollution, noise, it’s hard to turn into driveways,” says Lenz. “Everybody knows that if you’re on the highway just past Topping Rose [house], it’s a terrible location.”
Is Sonja Morgan’s $32K-a-month townhouse priced too high?
This season, viewers became very familiar with Morgan’s five-bed, 5.5-bath, 4,600-square-foot Upper East Side townhouse. Let’s all observe a moment of silence for the broken sink in the downstairs bathroom.
Her property has luxe bells and whistles: an elevator, a 1,600-square-foot garden, four fireplaces, and a chef’s kitchen. But the 119-year-old home needed a heavy dose of TLC to show it to prospective tenants, so Morgan enlisted broker Kristi Ambrosetti to determine what needed to be fixed and help her find a renter.
They agreed that $32,000 a month would be a fitting price once the updates—which include fixing various cracks, peeling paint, and the aforementioned sink—were complete.
After the work was done, renters remained scarce. Ambrosetti encouraged Morgan to drop the price (especially because the neighbors behind Morgan were doing construction), but she wasn’t budging.
“I’m not taking less than 32! I’m not going to lose money on the rent,” she said. “Somebody will come along and pay the price it’s worth.”
Props to the toaster oven queen for standing her ground, but two questions remain: Is Morgan’s townhouse really worth $32,000 a month? And did she find a renter?
The verdict: When it comes to the townhouse’s value, Ryan Serhant of “Million Dollar Listing New York” says the monthly rent is in the ballpark for the area, although he would have priced it at $30,000 a month.
Lenz, on the other hand, thinks Morgan could have gone higher.
“It’s an amazing house where you could hold a big dinner party—just pristine, livable, grand rooms, with a really phenomenal garden,” she says. “It’s a home for an elderly, wealthy woman, and I mean that in the best way.”
Did the perfect renter—elderly or otherwise—ever come along? According to public records, the house is no longer being offered for rent, which could mean it’s currently occupied (the brokerage couldn’t be reached for comment).
If we know Morgan, she’ll be tight-lipped about the townhouse—especially if she didn’t get her price. But we’re sure it will be a topic of discussion at the always raucous reunion!
Is Ramona Singer’s all-white Hamptons home renovation déclassé?
Frankel wasn’t the only cast member to take on a massive renovation. Singer fixed up her six-bedroom Southampton manse—the first major overhaul she’d done on the place in 23 years. Singer referred to it as her “life project.”
In Episode 18, Singer invited some of the cast members over for a big reveal. Expectations were high, but it was Luann de Lesseps (aka the countess) who shared her honest opinions on Singer’s style. Or is it lack thereof?
During the house tour, the countess counted a bunch of bum notes. “Not a flower in the house. Not even a Chia Pet,” the countess said with a sigh.
The countess proceeded to trash the all-white color palette, remarked that the kitchen countertop looks like a headstone, and told her pals the place is freezing cold.
“No warmth, no charm, no character” was her harsh verdict.
From the listing photos, you can see Singer’s interiors are, in fact, void of color except for the artwork above the mantel.
While ripping on Singer’s house, the countess falls back on her signature catchphrase: “Money can’t buy you class.” But is Singer’s Long Island remodel really such a fail?
The verdict: Singer’s home is part of Pheasant Close, an area Hamptons insiders refer to as “the Birdcage.” The nickname is a dis directed at the fairly new homes built in the past two decades.
“‘Development’ is a very negative word in the Hamptons,” Lenz says.
As for the interiors, Lenz opines the home’s all-white palette feels “a little like a hospital.” Aside from the living room, the rest of the place has “super low ceilings.”
Lenz adds that she knew a personal friend who stayed at the home, and the finishes and hardware left lots to be desired. “I wouldn’t recommend anyone buy or rent it,” says Lenz.
But if you don’t want to listen to Lenz, the house is currently for rent for $165,000 a month.
The home does have a few features that shine, however. We’re particularly in love with the tennis court, a much-desired Hamptons amenity.
If Singer’s goal is to rent out the house, it makes some sense to keep the design flourishes to a minimum and opt for neutral decor. And sure, the kitchen island may look a bit funereal to some, but just imagine how many bottles of pinot grigio you can fit on it during a Labor Day weekend party?
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