E. 81st Street Tannin-house Uncorked on Market for $45 M., Wine Grotto Included

People with 57-foot-wide, 26-room, 14-bathroom, 13-bedroom, nine-fireplace, four-story Upper East Side townhouses do not like to discuss what they have. Good for them; uptown modesty is lovely.

“I’m sorry, I really don’t want to talk about this,” Christine Saurel told The Observer this week, just after her late parents’ triple-wide Georgian mansion at 152-156 East 81st was listed for $45 million. “If you have questions about the house, do call the realtor, that’s all I can tell you.” Two e-mails and a call to the realtor, Louise Beit of Sotheby’s, were not returned.

Ms. Beit’s listing says the mansion is “one of the widest houses on the Upper East Side,” and there’s a 3,000-square-foot garden to go with the 12,000-square-foot house, where, according to floor plans, there’s a 38-foot-wide drawing room overlooking the garden; a formal dining room off the garden terrace; three pantries and two kitchens; two libraries and one sitting room; a parlor-floor dry bar and a “wine cellar/grotto” in the basement; a gym; and a planned roof garden.

A housekeeper who answered the phone there this week said that since Louise Hoguet Saurel died this winter (aged 92, according to a Times notice), the house has been quiet. “Just me, the housekeeper. And Christine”—Saurel’s daughter—“lives here, too. She’s here, she’s there.”

A few months ago, after working Mondays through Saturdays, the housekeeper moved in from her old place near Hunts Point. “It’s not a hard house to clean,” she said. “It’s pretty easy, because every day I do a little bit here, a little bit there.

“There was no woman like Mrs. Saurel,” she said about life there. “She was loving, giving, patient; she didn’t care if you were black, white; always smiling, positive. Whoever lives in this house is going to be happy.”

But they won’t have super-prime location: the $45 million mansion is between Lexington and Third avenues.


E. 81st Street Tannin-house Uncorked on Market for $45 M., Wine Grotto Included