'World's Oldest Houseboat' on Market

Times Staff Writer

"The world's oldest houseboat": That's how De Zwerver (The Wanderer) is being described. Or: "the oldest boat in existence that was originally built to be a residence."

It's for sale through Sotheby's New York real estate office at $300,000, including furnishings and delivery to any major U. S. seaport from where it is docked in the Netherlands.

The Dutch boat, with living space for a family of six (it is 100-by-17 feet in size), is fitted with 17th-Century cabinetry, Delft blue tiles, mullioned windows and a cast-iron stove. It was built at the turn of the century by Wynand O. J. Nieuwenkamp, a Dutch architect, painter and graphics artist who supervised every detail of construction and carved his own designs into the doors and panels. Nieuwenkamp built the boat as a wedding present for his wife.

The boat's current owner, businessman Marinus Brandt, restored all of the handwork to its original state.

An 18-month escrow? Not common, but they do happen, said Gary Fowler of Chesshire Gibson Fowler in Beverly Hills. His firm represented all sides (buyer Ali Ebrahimi and his Ersa Grae Corp. of Houston and seller Henry Gaw) in one that closed a couple of weeks ago.

It was for a property at 2701 Ocean Park Boulevard, Santa Monica, where a $20-million, 100,000-square-foot office development is planned. A tennis and racquetball club is there now.

Why did the escrow take so long? "It was one of the first office projects approved by Santa Monica in a long time," he explained, "and we had to modify the design." Originally, the project was going to have some residential units along with the office space. Now it will have two stories with offices and some "community retail" space--"you know," Fowler explained, "places like a hair salon, travel agency, savings & loan." Construction is expected to start this spring with occupancy in April, 1987.

Typically, commercial transactions take an estimated four to six months to close.

Actress Shelley Duvall, who is currently executive producer of the cable TV network Showtime's Faerietale Theatre, is reportedly buying a home in Sherman Oaks. Affirmative Mortgage Inc. of North Hollywood arranged the loan.

It's the last part of the puzzle: a two-building, $12.3-million project that will complete a one-block square condo community started in 1982.

And it's in Beverly Hills at Swall Drive and Clifton Way.

It is Somerset Condominiums, now being built by Prestige Homes Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Goldrich & Kest, where units are anticipated to sell from $270,000-$350,000. Targeted completion: early 1987.

Double-sized bathtubs with water massage systems and 24-karat gold fixtures, hand-carved doors with etched-glass panels and hundreds of feet of ornately carved ceiling and window moldings: All part of some fancy and very private mansion?

Right and wrong. They're part of a 7,000-square-foot mansion, but it will be public April 4-27, because it is Design House 1986 of the International Society of Interior Designers/San Fernando Valley chapter.

Starting with a black-tie gala on April 4, the Design House will be held to benefit the American Cancer Society's San Fernando Valley Unit. The Encino house--known as White Oaks--belongs to comedian Tim Conway.

Though planned since last June, actual reconstruction and renovation just began with more than $500,000 worth of home decoration goods and services donated by local and national manufacturers, distributors and craftsmen.

General admission will be $10 a person. Tickets for the black-tie gala will be $75 each. More details from the San Fernando Valley Unit, American Cancer Society, 14602 Victory Blvd., Van Nuys.

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