Walking into Ivana Trump’s Manhattan townhouse, with its limestone facade and ornate gilt entryway, is like stepping back in time to the 1980s, when the late socialite and her ex-husband, former President Donald Trump, were the ultimate power couple. The home’s décor — leopard print, pink marble, crystal chandeliers and lots of gold — reflects the glamorous, over-the-top aesthetic that helped define that era and Trump’s real estate portfolio.
“My mom loved that house,” her son Eric Trump said, noting that it reflected her “style and elegance.” Opulence, she said, “embodied Ivana Trump.”
Mrs. Trump’s estate is now putting the property on the market for $26.5 million following his death earlier this yearEric Trump said. Mrs. Trump was found dead in the house in July. The proceeds from the sale are scheduled to go to her three children: Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump.
Mrs. Trump bought the row house for about $2.5 million in 1992, the same year her divorce from Donald Trump was finalized, records show. While Mrs. Trump also had homes in Florida and France, Eric Trump said the New York property was especially important to her. “She was so comfortable there,” he said. “It was the last possession in the world that she would have gotten rid of.”
On a recent Tuesday, Mrs. Trump’s little Yorkshire terrier, Tiger, greeted visitors at the door of the roughly 8,725-square-foot townhouse, which sits between Fifth and Madison avenues. Since Mrs. Trump’s death, Tiger has remained in the home with Mrs. Trump’s longtime assistant, to whom he is linked, Eric Trump said.
The entrance hall has blood-red carpeting, red and gold upholstered fabric walls, pink marble moorings, a crystal chandelier, and a Romanesque statue. The upper floors are accessed by an antique birdcage elevator and a curving marble staircase with red carpeting and a painted mural.
In her 2017 book, “Raising Trump,” Mrs. Trump described her design style as “lavish” and “whimsical.” When she bought the house, she wrote to herself, she needed a lot of work. No one had lived there for about 12 years, and the last incarnation of the property had been as a dentist’s office, with many small rooms.
The second floor now has two formal entertaining areas. To the front is a sitting room heavily upholstered in shades of red and green, with a pleated gold fabric ceiling and velvet chairs. The space is decorated with ornate figurines and other collectibles such as watches and silver jewelry boxes. In her book, Mrs. Trump described the room as “how Louis XVI would have lived if he had had money.”
The dining room has walls covered in gold fabric and a chandelier hanging above it. Two tables, one round and one elongated and rectangular, have high-backed chairs upholstered in golden yellow. Eric Trump said the furniture could be negotiated with the sale of the property, should a buyer be interested.
Between the two rooms is a white grand piano. While Mrs. Trump never played the piano, she wrote, she did have professional pianists who came to entertain guests at parties. Eric Trump said that his sister also played the piano.
On the third floor, there is a library outfitted almost entirely in leopard print, with spotted wallpaper and upholstery. On the walls hangs a painting of two leopards playing and a framed photograph of Mrs. Trump hugging a young Ivanka. Where there is no animal print, there is gold. On the couch rests a Mrs. Trump-inspired doll, complete with blonde hair, an embellished silver jacket, and a fur stole.
The master bedroom embodies the whimsical aesthetic that Mrs. Trump describes herself. The color palette is muted pink, green and gold. A four-poster bed sits in front of an embossed gilt fireplace. On the walls are Chinese-style murals. The en-suite bathroom is a Pepto Bismol-pink blast, from the marble floors to the double sinks, tub, cabinets and walls. Faucets and hardware provide gold accents. Then there is the closet. In her book, Mrs. Trump described it as so large that it seems to go on “and on and on.”
“I call it Indochine, because by the time you get to the end, it’s like you’re on another continent,” he wrote.
At the rear of the house, there is a south-facing garden and terrace off the master bedroom, which receives plenty of light in the mid-morning and early afternoon.
“I used to go out on the private balcony every morning with coffee and read the paper,” said Eric Trump.
Eric Trump said that he and his siblings lived in the house during their teenage years. He has happy memories of the family chatting around the dining room table and of his mother’s parties, which sometimes included famous actors and even royalty, he said.
At one point, Mrs. Trump converted Donald Trump Jr.’s former bedroom into a gym. From there, she could see the house across the street, where fashion designer Donatella Versace lived, Eric Trump said. He was waving at Mrs. Versace from her treadmill. “They loved each other,” she said.
The five-story, 20-foot-wide home is currently configured with five bedrooms but could be redesigned to accommodate more, according to listing agents Adam Modlin of Modlin Group and Roger Erickson of Douglas Elliman. Two of the floors are currently divided into multiple rooms, but those spaces could be combined to take advantage of the full width of the house, agents said.
The only service conspicuously absent: a large kitchen. There are two small galley-style kitchens, one next to the dining room on the second floor and one next to a study on the garden level. Mrs. Trump, by her own admission, did not cook much in her later years. Agents said a buyer could probably build a larger kitchen on the garden level.
Agents said most prospective buyers will want to do a significant renovation. Eric Trump said his mother once made plans to build a pool in the basement, which already includes a sauna, but she changed her mind.
The block is one of the most illustrious in the city, according to real estate agents. In addition to versace mansionNow owned by hedge financier Thomas Sandell and his wife Ximena Sandell, the street has attracted big names like billionaire Len Blavatnik and record mogul Tommy Mottola, according to public records and people familiar with the properties.
“It’s like being between Boardwalk and Park Place on a Monopoly board,” Modlin said.
Trump’s property goes on the market as New York townhouse market picks up speed. In recent months, a number of major townhome deals have closed on the Upper East Side, despite what brokers say is a cooling market for luxury homes across the country. They include the $50 million sale of a Beaux-Arts mansion that was owned by the Permanent Mission of Serbia to the United Nations, and the $48 million sale of row house of real estate investor Keith Rubenstein.
Mrs. Trump, a former model, hailed from the former Czechoslovakia. While she was married to Mr. Trump, she held various positions at the Trump Organization, including vice president of interior design. She also oversaw the construction and design of Trump Tower and the Trump Plaza Hotel. Later, she had her own fashion line.
“She wasn’t a ‘Let’s put on a pair of sweatpants’ type of person,” Eric Trump said. “She believed in looking good.”