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MELISSA GORGA: Home Comparison in NJ… Gorga’s Say “Love Me… Buy My House!”

June 29, 2012 10:45 pm   NYTimes

In eastern Monmouth County, the name Hartshorne has plenty of resonance. In addition to Hartshorne Road and Hartshorne Woods Park, there’s the Hartshorne Mansion, a brick Tudor-style home on the banks of the Shrewsbury River in Little Silver. It was built in 1929 by the Olympic figure skater Harold Hartshorne.

 Hartshorne Mansion…

A home built in the ’20s for an Olympic figure skater in Little Silver.

In eastern Morris County, it is the Gorga name that rings bells. One of the “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” Melissa Gorga, with her husband, Joe, has drawn much local attention since joining the show’s cast two years ago. But the couple’s palatial Montville home, built by Mr. Gorga, has in a way upstaged them. It draws a steady stream of celebrity hounds; they knock on the door and, when the famed owners appear, snap pictures.

 Gorga’s House…

Both of these unusual houses are on the market, and even with their 80-year age difference, a comparison confirms a proverb: the more things change in the luxury real estate market, the more they stay the same.

To begin with, they each total about 11,000 square feet. They have slate roofs, numerous windows and alcoves, hardwood paneling and floors throughout, multiple fireplaces, and formal living rooms with soaring ceilings. They have billiard rooms and other entertainment space: a theater in the Gorgas’ home, and an in-ground pool at the Hartshorne house.

Now for some stylistic differences: the Hartshorne living room’s ceiling is crosshatched with beams imported from the Black Forest in Germany, while the Gorgas’ is trimmed in decorative gold, with an enormous crystal chandelier descending halfway into the room. The Hartstorne home has 217 leaded-glass windows, many inset with stained-glass images of historical or allegorical figures. At the Gorga home, some windows are shaped like oversized Coke bottles; others run room height and width. Harold Hartshorne left his mark by including his initials in bas-relief on the gutter downspouts. Joe Gorga tipped his hat to his heritage by including limestone from Italy in the exterior.

In addition to all the custom styling, the houses each have elements linked to their creators’ career choices. For Harold Hartshorne, a five-time national champion, an Olympic silver and bronze medalist, and a primary force in ice-dancing, that meant building a skating pond, where he and his fellow skaters, including the Olympian and movie star Sonja Henie, could skate when the Shrewsbury River failed to freeze over. In the basement of the Gorga house, Mr. Gorga installed a state-of-the-art recording studio for his wife, who has produced several songs there, including two that have reached the Top 10 in downloads.

Entertaining family and guests has been a central activity at both homes, and each has an enormous kitchen, though the Hartshorne kitchen wasn’t expanded to its current size until 1987, by the house’s current owners, Blair and Herb Richter. The Gorgas — whose family feuds with Mr. Gorga’s sister Teresa Giudice, a fellow “housewife” on the program, are legendary — felt it was necessary to have a large central island with a wraparound granite counter, for producing the kind of Italian feasts their relatives have come to expect.

 Melissa Gorga… “Just BUY the house… please!”

“We have a huge family and I love to entertain,” Mrs. Gorga said. “But we also wanted it to be kid-friendly so it would feel like home for them.” She pointed out her 2- and 4-year-old sons, who ran between the kitchen and two playrooms on a recent steaming hot day. (Her 6-year-old daughter was at school.)

Selling a house owned or once occupied by a celebrity has its challenges. And in the case of a historic house, so does setting the price. Two doors down from the Hartshorne mansion, which is listed for $5.9 million, a similarly sized 11-year-old house is on the market for almost $2 million more; it is viewed as having all the latest modern conveniences. But the difference doesn’t bother Sarah Pomphrey of Coldwell Banker, the agent for the Hartshorne property, who knows she has something unique, on 4.5 acres edged on three sides by 870 feet of waterfront.

“I can show you waterfront houses all day long, and I can show you big houses all day long,” she said, “but here you have a historic house, in great shape, on the water. How many of those are there out there?”

Mr. Richter, the seller, said it hadn’t been the original occupant who had drawn him to the eight-bedroom house 25 years ago. (Hartshorne died in 1961 in a plane crash, en route to coach a skating competition in Belgium. Before the Richters, the house had two other owners.) “That Harold Hartshorne lived here was not as important as the style and charm,” Mr. Richter said. “I’m European by nature, and this house spoke to me.” He and his wife decided to sell because their children have grown and moved away.

The Gorgas say they’re selling because they want to move back to Franklin Lakes, where they lived before coming to Montville. They say they plan to build a house as big as this one — perhaps larger. (They denied recent reports that they can’t afford to live in their Montville house and are planning to scale back.)

Listed with Jerome Sahlman of Re/Max Village Square at $3.8 million, the house has a limited market, but that hasn’t stopped people from trying to get a look inside. To sort bona fide potential buyers from the merely curious, the agent requires visitors to qualify for more than $5 million in financing, according to Mrs. Gorga. Also, there are no open houses planned.

That said, Mr. Gorga, who has built custom houses throughout Bergen, Morris and Passaic Counties, feels their notoriety can’t hurt.

“I believe if someone’s really a fan and they have this type of money,” he said, “they can say, ‘I love them, and I bought their house.’ ”

 

Missy STILL can’t sing!!!

 

 

(Thanks to SH reader “LV”!!)

76 comments on “MELISSA GORGA: Home Comparison in NJ… Gorga’s Say “Love Me… Buy My House!”

    • If you squint and look at the front of the house then focus on second then first floor window (set to the right or left of entryway) it ‘might’ look like a soda bottle. Or not?? :-))

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      • I have seen the house in person. It’s got every shape imaginable stuck on it. I would say its Disneyesque but I actually like Disney.

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  1. I don’t want to insult anybody but I am a working class person, doing the 7 to 4 grind 5 days a week. I can’t imagine that wealthy, affluent people are watching this stuff. I tuned in to see what living was like when you didn’t live paycheck to paycheck. These people have really busted my dang fantasy with all their pretentiousness and phony wealth.

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    • Rahrah — that actually may be the entire point of all the HW franchises — to show that the grass really is NOT greener on the other side. I have more respect for you, Ms. Rahrah, doing your daily “grind” and keeping yourself well anchored, then I do for many of these HW characters whose only source of conversation is gossip.

      Here’s to you, girlfriend! :)

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      • Do any of them have real wealth …maybe the elder Manzo’s but way I see it they are all broke asses who are playing rich.

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        • You mean NJ speccifically? I would say comfortable not wealthy but now I am not even sure about that with all the bankruptcy crap going on. It’s more like the secret scammers society of New Jeresy.

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            • I hate to point this out to the douche-nozzle that this article but Melissa had one song that made the top ten for a day or two because her husband bought a ton of downloads and the other was a complete flop. Additionally, the Gorga house has to be fumigated and sterilized because of all of the poison that dwarf-twat has left all over the house.

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  2. Say whatttttttttt? From someone who has had family members that are builders, developers, etc…I know a broke builder when I see one. This dude Gorga is BROKE.

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    • Hey, Lauren! Hope all is well — listen, have you seen some of these tweets Melissa receives and RTs? BTW, 99 percent of her tweets are all RTs of gushing compliments or self promotion. By contrast, cousin Kathy’s tweets frequently consist of RTing charitable or awareness tweets, giving shout outs/support to foundations and some businesses.

      So, judging from some of the tweets Melissa receives, I would imagine that if those tweeters had the moolah, they’d buy the house and turn it into a shrine. “Oh, Melissa and Joe actually POOPED in this toilet! I will NEVER wash it again!”

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      • I haven’t looked that closely at her tweets but you’re probably right about all of that! Haha! I think the Gorgas just have such inflated egos its insaneeeeeee.

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        • I often wonder how many of the gushing Tweets are legitimate or shell Twitter accounts a la their friends, family and their shady PR firm. A lot of them are either new accounts with a few followers or very young girls. It just seems so out of whack that anyone would worship these people — I live on LI and do business in NJ (my biz partner grew up in Franklin Lakes) and we do not know ANYONE in any age group who even likes the Gorgas. Their reputation was pretty awful before they got on the show.

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          • Hey Veruca…I’m a Long Islander too….and I suspect the Gorgas have shell Twitter accounts, people can’t REALLY like her songs, can they??

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            • Veruca and Mary — Long Island has such incredibly beautiful towns and such great people! It’s been too dang long for me (Monmouth County, NJ resident) — but I do look forward to enjoying LI again soon.

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            • Lisa and Mary — I guess we should be happy that there hasn’t been a RH of LI … yet ;)

              PS Ms. SH — Watching 20/20 now — waiting for your mention!

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            • Veruca and Mary: I was born and lived on LI my entire life, except for the past couple of years (NJ and now FL). I miss LI every single day. It’s such a beautiful spot, especially on the east end.

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            • Especially this time of year, donewithbravo. Except when MeHo invades my neighboring town to sign vodka bottles — BTW — I was by that wine store that night and I tell you there was NO buzz and NO lines waiting for her. I even decided to pop in to get a bottle of wine for dinner — no problem. That’s when I started figuring that all of those gushing “fans” were not legit.

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            • I actually heard an article the other day saying there are now companies that create fake followers on twitter and facebook. weird huh?

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            • Very interesting. Perhaps all the lovey doveys on MeGo’s twitter are fake. I thought it was funny that MeGo and JoGo, in the car scene, were trying to make like only one person said her music sucked on twitter then cut to JoGo’s TTC talking about people not having lives…. hum, So that one person got you so upset Joey?!?! Really?!?!? Not buying it.

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            • Jill Zarin did. She put a ton of fake glowing reviews of her (& sis/mom’s) book on Amazon. Of course she probably denied it.

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            • And I noticed the timing of the really gushing ones — started moreso at the end of May/beginning of June — right around the time the college kids are home from school. A lot of PR firms hire them as interns to scan social media pages, blogs, etc and create a buzz for their clients.

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    • I think its a nice house, Much better then the Guidice Tomb decorated in Early American whorehouse

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  3. I really doubt that anyone with that type of money is a fan of the Gorgas or would even know who they are for that matter.

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    • I agree. And if they did by chance find out who the Gorgas were, they would be appalled. The fact that that house has been tainted by the Gorgas is hardly a selling point.

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  4. I’m sorry the Harthstone Mansion is way better on the eyes (IMO). I think the Gorga’s house is UGLY! I don’t like one thing about it (inside and especially outside)!

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    • I was thinking the same thing. If I had no idea what the history behind either house I would pick the Harthstone. I could never do all the gold and crystal in the Gorga house.

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    • I agree. The Harthstone House looks classic and elegant while the Gorga House looks like something Roger Rabbit would live in.

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  5. How much would it cost to have a bio-hazard crew de-skank the house before it could fit for human habitation again?

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    • I believe they converted the construction loan to a conventional mortgage, eliminating the balloon payment. They used the shore house and another property in Paterson as collateral, which is why the shore house is also on the market. The mortgage payment is somewhere around $14k/month. My guess is they just can’t swing that $14k.

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      • $14K/month??? I think I’m going to loose the lunch I just ate.
        They deserve to be in bankruptcy. Little f’ers showing off with sh*t like that.
        Sowwy they have to sell that itty bitty shore house too.
        Gee, what would happen if they had to raise their kids in a normal house with normal things that people are generally perfectly happy with. Hope Missy wouldn’t be too embarassed living like one of us ‘regular people’ being that she’s on display, on display, on display and everything.

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  6. Omg. Shame on them for even comparing these two houses. As if the Gorgas crap Mcmansion has the same quality and significance as the historical Hartshorne.

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  7. I see that many of the readers on SH seem to have the ability to find out a lot about the finances of all the housewives. It seems to me that Bravo also would have the ability to see what they are really worth. Maybe Bravo likes seeing people flush out their own poop on national TV. I remember when Jenna was laughing at all the short sales going on, than when it hit her she sure was not laughing that hard. Now let’s see if Vicki the financial wiz will soon be parted with her monies now that she is with that guy. He will surely get her in some kind of business that will fail and people will want their money they were promised. But I do think that Joe and Melissa’s home is pretty from the outside. I do not get the white picket fence that Theresa and Joe have in their front yard. It does not fit at all. But out of all the housewives homes, I do think that the New Jersey housewives actually have the best homes. They look like they are lived in and real people live there. Now that Joe and Tree are buying furniture. I love Jackie’s and Caroline’s homes. They look comfortable. Heather’s and a few of the BH’s wives homes look like fine hotels, but not warm. Too much marble makes it look like a place where we place our dead. Just couldn’t spell it for the life of me.
    s

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    • Dina decorated both Jackie’s and Caroline’s home. Caroline lived there without a full house of furniture and a lawn for a few years (her own words).

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      • Caroline lived like that? Wow, how ever did those “children of privilege” survive such deprivation?

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  8. I think this article was an attempt by Gorga’s to sell there house nothing more. By comparing it to another house which has history they are saying see we are in the same boat, buy our house. They can’t handle the 14k a month mortgage, that is why they are selling. The problem is that the house is valued for 1.9 million (and that is before the negotiations) and they are wanting 3.8 million and the mortgage is 2.5 million. They won’t be able to pay off the mortgage, it will be a short sale.

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    • Yep, totally agree with you. These two thought they would make big bucks with her music career. They must be sweating bullets each month to make their mortgage payment. Definitely foresee a short sale.

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      • I think this is not only an attempt to market their house, but to appear like they’re lord and lady of the manor to UP the price (or justify the current inflated listing price) and offers. It won’t work though. Number 1. – TERRIBLE market STILL and 2. The TINY chance it had of working is significantly diminished by the fact that the whole country knows them ( well, most ) and knows they’re LOW CLASS. And if anyone doesn’t know them, and they have a little interest in the house, once they get to know who they really are – cheesy reality show “stars”, they’ll get turned off. I have no doubt this is something their real estate agent told them to do, and generally speaking, it WOULD make sense if they were unknown wealthy ppl, or part of an honorable, old, acting family, but they’re NOT. They are a former stripper and a horny chimp.

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        • With no pool, and the anemic looking driveway…I don’t know…it sure wouldn’t be my first choice. You can get a lot more bang for your buck in today’s market.

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  9. Former stripper and a horny chimp, bio-hazard de-poison, dwarf twat….dear lord. I’m dying here laughing sooo hard. Ooooh my side hurts.

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  10. Wow, $14,000 a month??? That would be $168,000 a year, plus all of the taxes and utilities, insurance – no wonder they hardly have any furniture and have to film in the closet. She spends a bundle on clothes, so the closet is full. I cannot fathom having that large of a mortgage payment. We should have a poll, how long before they move? Will the house sell, or will they just move out and pretend that it is all okay? I think they will just move out, into something smaller, lie and say that they had to be in Franklin Lakes before school starts, lie that they are going to build their dream home, yadda yadda yadda – hoping that nobody knows they skipped out on the mortgage in Montville. They think we are all stoopid.

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  11. I hesitate to post this comment as I don’t want to insight jealousy… but, if all goes as planned and Joe can get the permit and build a Heli-Port on the property – I plan on buying the Gorga Mansion. They did take a bit off of the asking price. Not much though, Joe is a tough negotiator. Melissa did say that she would give me a signed CD… Free! :-)

    A Friday afternoon giggle!

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    • Awwww….now now you take pictures after the deal ok. But i have a question, if the house is worth on $2mili, why must the buyer be approved for $5mili…DON’T MAKE SENSE

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  12. Little Silver, the town of the Hartshorne Mansion is beautiful. The homes there are just amazing. I like biking through the town and looking at the properties.

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