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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pretty Penny

Pretty Penny, a storied Victorian house in Nyack, N.Y., that once was owned by actress Helen Hayes and later by former talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell, seemed the perfect weekend home when Graham Arader purchased it in 2003.

For art dealer Graham Arader, it was love at first sight when he came across "Pretty Penny," a 19th-century home in New York's Rockland County. He paid about $6 million for the house, but the family has rarely spent time there. WSJ's Sushil Cheema reports.
.But the 60-year-old art dealer is now planning to sell. He says the getaways he envisioned didn't mesh well with the schoolwork, piano lessons, Chinese lessons and other extracurricular activities his wife schedules for their children in Manhattan, where the family lives during the week.

"They wake up in the morning, they are constantly being tutored or at school, at the time of their last lesson at 8 o'clock in the evening, they collapse," says Mr. Arader, who describes his wife as a "Tiger Mom" after the controversial book by Amy Chua. "Guess how much time there is to go to Nyack?"

Nyack's 'Pretty Penny'
View Slideshow

Sushil Cheema/The Wall Street Journal

The living room in the Victorian home in Nyack, N.Y., once owned by Helen Hayes and Rosie O'Donnell.
..His wife, Bo-In, who is Korean, says they're selling partly because her husband tracks mud into the house after gardening. "I cannot live in [the] country and have a yard because who is going to clean? Me," Ms. Arader says.

Regardless of the reason for the sale, the riverfront house first was listed at $7.75 million in November 2006. The price was reduced to the current $5.9 million in August 2009. Mr. Arader says he has spent about $1 million installing some 600 conifers on the roughly one-acre property and renovating the terraced garden, which includes a koi pond and a pool.

The 7,000-square-foot house has six bedrooms, five bathrooms, hardwood floors and several fireplaces. Ms. Hayes, who lived in the house for decades until her death in 1993, named it "Pretty Penny," supposedly for the amount it cost to buy and maintain it. Ellis Sotheby's International Realty is the broker.

Write to Sushil Cheema at sushil.cheema@wsj.com

You can see the video by typing in "Arader WSJ" It is amusing. My darling wife, Bo-in, rips it well.

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