x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

The five-storey town house on New York's Upper East side is on the market for 169 million dirhams.

The Mellon House in New York. Courtesy Sotheby's International Realty, Inc
The Mellon House in New York. Courtesy Sotheby's International Realty, Inc
Mellon House, the French-style former home of the late billionaire and philanthropist Paul Mellon and his second wife, the fiercely reclusive Rachel 'Bunny' Mellon, now 103, has had its fair share of high- profile admirers.

Bunny, whose friendship with a young Jacqueline Kennedy started with a phone call from the former first lady: "I loved your house, but I don't like mine", oversaw every aspect of this 40-foot-wide property, built in 1965.

Now on the market for US$46 million, the 14-room town house, located between Park and Lexington Avenues, boasts the distinction of having three exposures - bathing the charming interiors in brilliant sunlight.

In their quest for privacy, the Mellons sought out a long list of decorators, including the legendary John Fowler.Accordingly, the high-walled gardens, stencilled wood floors and butter yellow and cobalt blue colour scheme, reflect quiet luxury, although there was nothing quiet about the parties when the Mellons's friends - Bette Midler, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jack and Jackie Kennedy - came calling. Of course, the pied-à-terre was a home away from home, the couple's main residence being an estate in Virginia, once visited by Queen Elizabeth.

Most of The Mellon House's trimmings have been retained by the current owners, the Irish businessman Tony White and his wife Clare, who bought the house in 2006 for $22.5 million. Additions include a lily pool, and lighted bookcases in the library where Paul Mellon displayed his art collection, which included works by George Stubbs, Bonnard and Homer. The only thing missing is a garage, mostly because the Mellons owned a carriage house nearby, and, presumably, had several chauffeurs.

The ground "garden" floor is flanked by two exquisite green spaces as well as the library and a study. The second floor houses the informal family quarters: a kitchen, breakfast area and one of two laundry rooms. On the third floor, the high-ceilinged drawing and dining rooms lead to an elevated garden, while on the fourth are two adjoining master suites with separate dressing areas.