The iconic Kessler House at 15 Tower Drive — a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home in the Upper Wyoming neighborhood of Maplewood, NJ — has sold for a township record of $2,151,000.
The home previously made news when it appeared in Season 3, Episode 5 of Amazon’s Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. In that episode, Lenny Bruce (played by Luke Kirby) and Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) spend a night on the town in Miami. The mid-century Kessler House is used as a stand-in for the set of a fictional Playboy’s Penthouse-esque TV show called Miami After Dark.
Read former owner Ken McLaughlin’s story of how the home was transformed for its Marvelous Mrs. Maisel spotlight here: Maplewood Mimics Mid-Century Miami for Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Find out more about the architectural history of the home from Coldwell Banker Realty in Maplewood:
Ben Garrison, a real estate affiliated with Coldwell Banker Realty in Maplewood, recently made history with the most expensive home ever sold in Maplewood, NJ (per Garden State MLS). The Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home, 15-19 Tower Drive, closed on Jan. 15 for $2,151,000. Garrison represented both the seller and the buyer in the sale, and marketed the listing with outstanding historical and cinematic videos. The mid-century modern “prairie style” home was designed by John Rattenbury, a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright with interior design by John Hill and Olgivanna Lloyd Wright (Wright’s widow). Commissioned by the Kessler family in 1968, the home retains its authentic period details and was prominently featured in Episode 5, Season 3 of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
After the home failed to sell with another real estate agent, the seller reached out to Garrison. “Ben had a vision,” said Michael Pennisi, branch vice president of Coldwell Banker Realty in Maplewood. “He studied the marketing plan of their current agent. He knew what was being done correctly and what wasn’t. He came in prepared. He didn’t try and sell a house. He told a story. He dove into the history of the home. He learned all there was to know about the architecture, the furniture, the art. He became an expert on all of it.”
Garrison also employed a wide variety of creative marketing techniques. Said Pennisi, “He hosted a wonderful cocktail party to invite local brokers into the home. He paid for multiple videos to help highlight the beauty and history of the home. He did multiple photo shoots. He built a website. He utilized social media, email marketing, internet ads and more. He also engaged Coldwell Banker’s public relations team to get published in The New York Times and Curbed.”
Finding the right buyer for such a special property took time—more than 333 days and three listing periods. During that period, Garrison gave interested buyers personal guided tours, met with contractors and navigated the seller through a number of offers with challenging terms. “Ben fought through it all. Nothing is easy, but every once in a while, the expertise, the passion, the diligence and the grit pays off,” said Pennisi.
This historic home features 7,000 square feet on almost 2 acres of lush professionally landscaped grounds. Unique features include a magnificent two-story entry hall, a huge window-enclosed living and dining rooms, a cook’s kitchen and breakfast room, a family room with sunken fireplace and wet bar, a spa-like main bedroom suite with dual baths and dressing rooms, six additional bedrooms with en-suite baths, a finished lower level with second kitchen and wet bar, billiards and media rooms, an exercise room, and laundry and powder rooms. There are 36 skylights, custom lighting and teak built-ins throughout, as well as a heated Pugliese swimming pool with waterfall and whirlpool.