LOCATION: Franklin Lakes, NJ
SIZE: 6,050 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: After oceans of rumors circulated about a possible foreclosure in early 2013 and a bevy of more recent, but also tongue-wagging reports of nearly $500,000 in unpaid taxes,* The Real Housewives of New Jersey's Jacqueline and Chris Laurita have heaved their long-time residence in Franklin Lakes, NJ, on the open market with an asking price of $2,850,000.**
Besides her co-starring role on the immensely popular reality series The Real Housewives of New Jersey and her newly taken up autism advocacy—for which we applaud her—we're not sure if the frequently (over-)emotional and sometimes a little screwy Jacqueline Laurita has an out-of-the-house job-job. Unlike some of her entrepreneurial cast mates who have made a made dash to branch out into cook books, auto-tuned pop songs, self aggrandizing marriage advice manuals, booze and jewelry lines, cannoli kits, and other money-making ventures Missus Laurita seems plenty content with only the approximately $250,000 she reportedly hauls in to willingly trot out her personal dramas and dirty laundry on national television.
Before he hawked that crazy, fulvic enhanced blk. water stuff—sorry, folks, but expensive bottled water that is black seems to Your Mama like an obviously really bad idea, regardless of whatever the benefits of fulvic may be—Mister Laurita co-owned a successful apparel manufacturing business with his Westport, CT-based brother Joseph. The New York City-based company once produced branded and licensed clothing lines for Eve and Jay-Z but the whole thing went down in 2009 in a public blaze of bankruptcy and, later, lurid allegations of fraud.*** As delicious (and disturbing) as the schadenfreude brought on by the onion-like inner-workings of their professional and financial lives may be it's Mister and Missus Laurita's current real estate plans that are Your Mama's primary concern.
Property records show Mister and Missus Laurita acquired their 1.75 spread in the un-gated South Gate Urban Farms development in upscale and semi-rural feeling Franklin Lakes in either late 2001 or early 2002 for $1,720,000. Listing details don't show the size of the house but the builder's website calls it a "French Manor" and puts it at 6,050 square feet while the Bergen County Tax Man puts it at 5,674 square feet. (Either way we're not sure if those figures take into account the sizable, fully-finished walk-out basement.) Digital marketing materials, which make not secret of the home's association the The Real Housewives of New Jersey, show the hulking, stucco and stone-faced faux-French Manor macmansion has six bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms.
Archways lined with stone—or possibly imitation-stone—flank the very brown and beige double-height foyer. To one side there's an office/library with wood floors, built-in bookcases, and a wood coffered ceiling and on the other a formal dining room done up in an ersatz and quintessentially suburban eleganza that Your Mama does not quite understand and certainly can't encourage. There are swagged and pasamentereied draperies, padded and brocade upholstered dining room chairs, there are elaborate (if confusing) ceiling detailing, and the entire room is wrapped in a hand-painted mural that depicts an idyllic Tuscan countryside. But children, the murals that depict idyllic Tuscan scenes don't stop there, not by a damn long shot. There's a also mural that wraps partway around the main floor powder pooper and, in the kitchen, there's a bucolic scenario painted on the vent hood.
Speaking of the kitchen, it has a center island the size of a small car, liberally carved and corbeled cabinetry, the customary suite of high-quality appliances, and both a snack counter and an adjoining breakfast room that opens to a large deck.
Upstairs the spacious (if drearily decorated) master suite has wood floors, high ceilings with another vexing ceiling treatment that we think is meant to impart a kind of elegance, two custom-fitted walk-in closets, and an attached bathroom that is not shown in listing materials Your Mama peeped but we would none-the-less bet both our long-bodied bitches, Linda and Beverly, would send shivers down our delicate decorative spine.
The aforementioned, fully-finished walk-out basement includes, as per listing materials, a children's play room, a card room, and office, a full bathroom, and a glass-fronted and temperature controlled walk-in wine cellar because, as anyone who's ever watched the show knows, these people like their wine and other liquors.
Other features of note include: radiant heated floors in the foyer, a gym, wiring for sound through in the house and exterior, a night vision camera equipped security system, and a heated four-car with convenient direct entry.
Outside there are limestone walkways, an acre (or so) of lawns, mature shrubbery and trees, and a good-sized deck on the back of the house with an outdoor kitchen set up. There is not a swimming pool, although listing information says one is available to the buyer.
For anyone who cares—and, make no mistake, children, there are millions and millions who care about these trivialities—Your Mama imagines the couple's journey from this house to their next will be documented by the reality t.v. cameras that both provide the Lauritas a hefty income but also expose the dark pockets of their lives to a public that—for better and worse—is hungry to mentally marinate themselves in someone else's personal issues and problems.
*According to Missus Laurita, the family home was never close to foreclosure and the liens and other things were somehow related to a mortgage modification situation and a 2006 tax audit.
**Your Mama first heard it from The Barefooted Postman but, credit where credit is due, after we worked out way through almost our entire discussion on the matter figured out that the Laurita's real estate affairs were previously discussed here and there and very well may (or may not) have been first reported nearly two weeks ago by the RHONJ-obsessed folks at Fame-Whorgas.
***Mister and Missus Laurita were both named and deposed as defendants in a still-pending $8 million legal action for "improperly using funds and assets" of the company to fund a lavish lifestyle of fancy cars, private jets, luxury vacations, and more than $1.5 million in undocumented disbursements. As any self-preserving sane person probably would, the couple claims it's all nonsense.
listing photos: McBride Agency