Hollywood Stager Meridith Baer Updates Legendary New York Home

A storied Manhattan spread, now listed at $12.5 million, is given new life.

Despite boasting celebrity neighbors like Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert De Niro in the famed Brentmore building and enough Hollywood history to fill a book, Rona Forstadt’s Central Park West home refused to budge when she put it on the market in 2012.

The 3,800-square-foot home, built in 1907 with grand proportions, old-world craftsmanship and a perfectly eye-level view of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, nevertheless languished on the market.

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So Forstadt, who is the daughter of Nat Lefkowitz, a former head of the William Morris Agency, tapped Hollywood home stager Meridith Baer (clients have included Gwyneth Paltrow, Sharon Stone and Brad Pitt) to work her magic on the two story apartment with three kitchens. Forstadt purchased the home 16 years ago from the estate of Albert Hackett and Florence Goodrich, the original screenwriters of It’s a Wonderful Life.

Baer, who has set up a New York outpost of her booming L.A. business -- she also opened offices in Miami and Connecticut last year -- says the project was more about targeted TLC than construction.

"The main thing was to show what the house could be, and we didn’t want anything to distract from that," says Baer, who removed every last piece of furniture, art and accessories to create a clean slate. She didn’t use any paint, and the master bedroom’s pink carpeting and pink silk fabric walls stayed.

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"As a stager, you often have to work with what you have," she says. "My approach is to design rooms in a way so that certain elements disappear."

Two truckloads of furniture were hauled up to the unit. Baer and a team of six people took two and a half days to decorate every room, down to books, slippers, and eyeglasses, to give it that perfectly lived-in, glamorous look.

The result? "I think everything that she did is just brilliant," says Forstadt.

The apartment is now listed at $12.5 million with Linda Reiner of Warburg Realty Partnership Ltd.