Model Home Gets a Makeover

Supermodel Heidi Klum, 29, is getting some workdone. But it’s not what you’re thinking.The Victoria’s Secret pin-up, who recently endeda short-term fling with Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis, is in the midst of anextensive renovation of her new bachelorette pad, a$2.495 million penthouse on Bank Street in the WestVillage, just blocks away from where Jodie Foster,Nicole Kidman, and Calvin Klein haverecently bought new places. “It was adump!” said one broker who saw the sprawlingapartment. “It needed a lot of work.” The3,200-square-foot apartment includes two fireplaces, asauna, a steam shower, and 1,800 square feet ofoutdoor space with river views. A broker for theCorcoran Group, which handled the deal, didn’treturn calls.

Joe Millionaire almost lost its butler. PaulHogan, the Aussie manservant who has become a starin his own right since the show debuted on Fox,recently sat next to a high-powered entertainmentexecutive on a flight to L.A. They started chattingabout Hogan’s contract, and the execcouldn’t believe what he was hearing.“Paul said he had no perks or anything,”our tipster reports. “They wouldn’t evenput him up in hotels.” Incredibly, Hogan wasonly getting a few hundred dollars a week, thestandard fee set by the butler-employment agency whereproducers discovered him. Well, that all changed justa day before Hogan was to do his final four shows. Theexec hooked him up with a Hollywood attorney, whowarned producers that they’d better cut Hogan adeal. “He basically called them and said,‘You can’t do this. You’re earningmillions, and you’re making him send in gasreceipts for his car rentals,’ ” says ourtipster. “ ‘Well, guess what? He’snot coming in tomorrow.’ ” After theattorney declined one offer from producers,we’re told, they came back with more money, andHogan accepted. Since then, things have only gottenbetter. We hear Hogan is working on a deal to become acelebrity spokesman for a major hotel chain.

When we called Jennifer Connelly’s rep acouple of weeks ago to ask if it was true that theAcademy Award–winning actress was pregnant, therep insisted she wasn’t and laughed, “Arepeople just saying that because her boobs looked bigat the Golden Globes?” Well, just days later,Connelly’s rep called back to confirm that yes,Connelly is expecting. She declined to give us the duedate, but the daddy is definitely Connelly’shubby of just under two months, Paul Bettany, 31, oneof Connelly’s co-stars in A BeautifulMind. Connelly, 32, has a 5-year-old son, Kai,with former long-term love, photographer DavidDugan.

Patricia Field’s Fashion Week strategy isreally below the belt. Her show on Friday will besponsored by none other than K-Y Liquid—yes,that K-Y. “If we can give K-Y some of ourglamour and they can give us some corporate strings,that will be a wonderful outcome,” she told us.Free samples will be handed out at her after-party atLotus, where Field and partner David Dalrymplewill unveil the new bottle that they designed forCourvoisier. Keeping with the Valentine’s Daytheme, folks from the Astro-to-Go astrology Websitewill provide sex and love readings in the VIP room.But it doesn’t stop there. Field will alsocurate “101 Alternative Uses for K-YLiquid,” a traveling exhibition.

Bridget LeRoy, eldest daughter of the lateWarner LeRoy, the famed restaurateur behind theRussian Tea Room and Tavern on the Green, is eager tocash in her inheritance—a house on herfather’s 50-acre estate in Amagansett. She andher hubby, Eric Johnson, headed north toWarner, New Hampshire, in August with their three kidsto live in a house they bought for $342,000 with moneygiven to them by another LeRoy family member, who hasasked not to be identified. Now Bridget could reallyuse the money from an estate sale for her newestproject, Tend and Befriend, a retreat for up tosixteen women that LeRoy will open in October withbusiness partner Jane Björk. The retreatwill occupy a converted 5,000-square-foot barn on hernew property. LeRoy, 39, whose mom is Warner’sfirst wife, writer Gen LeRoy-Walton, has alsobecome an ordained minister of the Universal LifeChurch after taking a course taught via the Internet,and the property’s icehouse is being convertedinto a nondenominational chapel, where LeRoy will beable to marry people. “This just came tome,” she told us. “I have chills justtalking about it.”

Even Liz Hurley can’t always get what shewants. Harry Winston arranged for a security man topick up the $3.5 million worth of diamond jewelry thatHurley borrowed for last week’s AMFAR benefit assoon as the gala ended. Hurley, however, had otherplans. “Come with us to a Burger King in TimesSquare,” she cooed when the guard arrived atCipriani 42nd Street. No thanks, said the guard.“Come on,” Hurley pleaded. “It wouldbe so much fun to walk through Burger King in allthese diamonds.” But apparently thatdidn’t sound like fun to the guard, and heinsisted she hand over the 33-carat earrings and20-carat ring. Hurley did, but no word on whether shegot her fast-food fix. Speaking of Harry Winston, wethought we recognized the $6 million, 80-carat yellowdiamond dangling from the Isadora necklace that KateHudson wears in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.It’s the same one we reported on after lastyear’s Oscars, when host Whoopi Goldberglost it for a short time after it dropped into hercleavage.

Carter Coleman, founder of the AfricanRainforest Conservancy (ARC), has made JamesGandolfini an offer he couldn’t refuse: theopportunity to name a flower recently discovered inTanzania. Coleman first got in touch with theSopranos star last year when the actor agreedto co-host ARC’s annual fund-raiser.Unfortunately, Gandolfini got caught up shooting anepisode in a Pennsylvania quarry and couldn’tmake it. Months later, Coleman approached Gandolfiniand asked him not only to host this year’sbenefit on April 5 at 24/Fifth, but to name ayellow-petaled weedlike flower. Gandolfinihasn’t divulged any of the names he’sthinking about. (The Bada bingus?) ARC’sbecome very good at getting stars in touch withnature. Last year, Harrison Ford named a raresubspecies of butterfly.

It seems like the East End hasn’t seen the lastof insider-trading poster boy Sam Waksal. Theformer CEO of ImClone and friend of Martha Stewarthas decided not to sell his Wainscott hideaway. Wehear that about six weeks ago, a woman made an offerto buy the house not far below the asking price of$5.9 million, but she backed out just before signingthe contract. Shortly thereafter, another buyer camealong and offered the full asking price, but Waksalapparently changed his mind. However, Waksal stillwants to unload his other house, on Potato Road inSagaponack. That one’s listed for $6.5 million.(In October, he sold the adjacent lot for $3.125million to his music-industry-mogul neighbor, PeterMensch.) Meanwhile, it’sofficial—Renée Zellweger isbi-coastal. As we recently reported, theChicago starlet was looking for a house in theHamptons. We hear she signed papers for a manse inEast Hampton. She already has a Bel Air home that shebought in October for $6.8 million.

THE WAY IT IS: He turned 86 in November, butWalter Cronkite isn’t slowing down. Weran into him at Blue Smoke during the recent partycelebrating the release of CBS newsman BobSchieffer’s memoir, This Just In: What ICouldn’t Tell You on TV. He was asked tojoin Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, TomBrokaw, and Schieffer for a group photo across theroom. “Could you bring them to me?,”Cronkite asked. “I don’t want to lose myplace at the bar.” Naturally, they complied.Meanwhile, Cronkite is appearing OffBroadway—sort of—in Classic Stage’smodern telling of Shakespeare’s AWinter’s Tale. He has an uncredited role asthe Oracle of Delphi. But don’t look for himonstage. The Oracle appears as a voice played on atape recorder wheeled onstage at the show’sclimax.IN THE RAW: First, Lizzie Grubman saysshe wants to open a bakery; now her lawyer, EdBurke Jr., is getting into the food business.Burke and restaurateur Jeff Resnick are openingJeff and Eddie’s Seafood in the Sag Harbor spacethat used to house Phao, Resnick’s Thai place onMain Street. Manager Tora Matsuoka told us,“It will be New England clam chowder mixed witha raw bar.”SWIM FAN: Hogan, the high-end leather-goodscompany, is thinking about starting a swimwear line.We hear execs are in talks wtih bikini designerMaria Buccellati about creating swimsuits thatwill match with a variety of Hogan bags. Buccellatithought of the idea during the opening ofHogan’s new store in Miami.

With Deborah Schoeneman.

Model Home Gets a Makeover