Kelly Wearstler—it was recently featured in Elle Decor, well-compensated movie star and producer Cameron Diaz is rumored and reported by the celebrity gossip juggernaut TMZ to have scooped up a $9 million apartment in the so-called Walker Tower, a freshly converted Art Deco edifice in lower Manhattan's hot-to-trot Chelsea nabe.*
Smallbone kitchen with limestone counter tops.
On the Left Coast Miz Diaz still owns a modestly sized but multi-million dollar contemporary residence up behind the forever chic Chateau Marmont above the Sunset Strip and avid celebrity real estate watchers will recall the former fashion model shelled out almost $9.5 million in 2010 for veteran Showbizzer Candice Bergen's long-time compound in a celebrity packed enclave in the Beverly Hills Post Office area.
*The upper of the two rather spectacular, 6,000-ish square foot simplex penthouses at Walker Tower is currently in contract with an unknown buyer for—so the scuttlebutt goes—above fifty million but below its heart-stopping $55 million price tag.
listing photos and floor plan: Douglas Elliman
Thursday, December 12, 2013
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 1,379 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 1.75 bathroom
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Every now and then a property pops up on the open market that proudly bills itself as celebrity owned as does a well-groomed, mid-century modern cottage in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles listed with an asking price of $1,175,000. A quick comb through property records shows the compact abode, just down the street from Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's multi-residence compound and around the corner from Zac Efron's post-rehab residence, is owned by Constance Zimmer and Russ Lamoureux.
Mister Lamoureux isn't a household name but he is, children, an award winning commercial director, photographer, and short film maker. Miz Zimmer isn't exactly a household name either but she's a smoky voiced veteran actor with a long Tinseltown resume that dates back to the mid-1990s. We think she's under rated, but what does this property gossip know about that? Miz Zimmer is perhaps best known for her early- to mid-Aughts role on the critically well-regarded (but long ago canceled) television dramedy Boston Legal and/or for her long-running gig as movie exec Dana Gordon on Entourage. More recently she nabbed a lead role the ensemble-oriented but very short-lived boob-toob turkey Love Bites as well as a recurring role on Grey's Anatomy and an ongoing featured part on The Newsroom. She currently co-stars on the big budget, David Fincher-directed Netflix original series House of Cards as a tightly wound political journalist.
Property records show that Mister Lamoureux purchased the modestly sized, late 1940s era contemporary on his own in July 2006 for $1,149,000. (We're not sure they were even a couple back then, actually. But anyways...) Listing details show the 1,349 square foot dwelling, set hard up on the street atop a street level two car garage, has just two bedrooms and 1.75 bathrooms and has been "enhanced by celeb owners with newer systems, lower level deck and hot tub bamboo retreat." There are, also as per listing details, original oak floors, (non-original) designer wallpaper accents, and "heaps of natural light."
Listing details suggest the humble but high-mindedly conceived and hardly inexpensive residence may be the work of somewhat a lesser known and too-little lauded modular-minded mid-century modernist architect, Harwell Hamilton Harris. Early on Mister Harris apprenticed with modernist mandarin Richard Neutra. He worked repeatedly with eminent Southern California modernist architect Gregory Ain, and very much a part of the early modernist architecture movement in southern California. Indeed, in 1937 Mister Harris was commissioned to design the itty bitty, 850 square foot Santa Monica (CA) home of John Entenza, the influential editor and publisher of Arts and Architecture magazine, the publication, of course, that sponsored the ground breaking and legendary Case Study Houses program.
A locked entry gate on the street opens into a supermodel slender exterior courtyard that leads to the elevated front entry. An also painfully thin entry hall pops blessedly open, as per the floor plan included with digital marketing materials, into a compact but rather glorious, zig-zagging open plan main living area with long expanses of floor-to-ceiling windows, unexpectedly high ceilings, and transom-topped French doors.
A hulking and asymmetrical but beautifully balanced fireplace fashioned from stacked stone, tile, and concrete anchors the airy, clerestory-lit central living room. Mister Lamoureux and Miz Zimmer did up the room in a spare yet intimate manner with little more than a cluster of small artworks hung salon style on the back wall, a patinated metal sculpture on the chimney breast, and, floating in the center of the room, a sleek pair of low-slung chrome armchairs with leather cushions and a stout hunk of tree stump doing its thing as a cocktail table in between them.
The adjoining family room feels to Your Mama more family friendly—or at least television watching accommodating—with a upholstered, navy-blue low-profile sectional sofa and wall-mounted book shelves. Now listen, children. Those of y'all that have perused and understood the (tiny) floor plan can plainly see there's a closet-sized three-quarter bathroom directly off the family room area. While we recognize that a second bathroom is a welcomed convenience that borders on luxury in a house of this size and era we are none-the-less unquestionably and probably melodramatically concerned that a plus-sized person such as Your Mama could never get out of that ultra-bantam bathroom and thats if we could even wedge ourself into the damn thing. Your Mama thinks that bathroom ought to have a posted warning for guests. Maybe something like, "For the safety and sanity of all concerned, no fat asses allowed. Plus sizers please make your way to the more amply proportioned hall bathroom back by the bedrooms. Thank you." Anyways...
The dining area, furnished by Mister Lamoureux and Miz Zimmer with a quartet of era-appropriate molded plywood dining chairs by Charles Eames, has a wall-wide row of floor-to-ceiling windows and direct access to the rear deck. The adjoining kitchen, as per listing description, "has been custom designed around vintage detailing" and links through to a convenient mud room and back entrance.
As is expected in a small house from the 1940s, both of the bedrooms are on the wee side, have—at least by today's standards—less than adequate closet space, and share an updated hall bathroom. The wrap around deck and fair if not exactly jaw-dropping over-the-tree-top views and steps down at the back of the house to a second, bamboo-enshrouded deck with built-in sunken hot tub.
We're not sure exactly what Miz Zimmer and Mister Lamoureux's future real estate plans but but we found clear evidence in property records that they're much in the mood to shake up their property portfolio.
listing photos and floor plan (Los Angeles): Sotheby's International Realty
listing photos and floor plan (New York City): Douglas Elliman
Posted by Your Mama at 12:06 PM
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 12,435 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Its seems to Your Mama that self-made nonagenarian billionaire David Murdock has a strong itch to shrink his property portfolio of personal residences and, in the service of such, listed his 1.5 acre estate in Los Angeles's Bel Air area with an elephantine but hardly rare anymore price of $30,000,000.
The high-school drop out, former gas station attendant, and traveling salesman managed through perseverance and what must have been an extraordinary force of will to turn himself into an international powerhouse businessman with extensive interests in the mining, petroleum, healthcare, and real estate industries. In the mid-1980s he took the reins at the real estate concern Castle & Cooke, a Hawaii-based operation that owned a considerable chuck of the pineapple and banana growing behemoth Dole Foods. He moved the company headquarters to suburban Los Angeles and, in the early 2000s, acquired the sprawling conglomerate, an epic deal that gave him 98% controlling interest in the Hawaiian Island of Lana'i.
In May of 2012, the healthy living billionaire sold a pair of adjacent Bel Air lots on pedigreed North Perugia Way to London-based international property developer Allessandro Crivelli of EST4TE FOUR who is currently building what real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak hissed to Your Mama as "a massive, uber-modern spec beast." The company's website describes the planned residence, nestled into a hillside with views over the Bel-Air Country Club, as a "12,00 square foot dual-aspect villa...with cantilevered external terraces and an infinity pool enjoying the most impressive aspect of the site."
Also in May of 2012, Mister Murdock unloaded a 2,070 square foot New York City pied-a-terre for $4.8 million. Listing details Your Mama dug up on the internets shows the 19th floor of a full-service (but not particularly notable) luxury building on East 85th Street, one block off Fifth Avenue, has three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, two balconies, and both city and Central Park views.
Last summer (2012), amid much hooting and hollering in the business press and property gossip columns, Mister Murdock sold his 98% interest in the island of Lana'i to high-tech bajillionaire and real estate baller extraordinaire Larry Ellison for somewhere around $300,000,000.*
In May of this year (2013), Mister Murdock re-listed an undeveloped 2.4 acre, two-parcel residential estate property—on Bellagio Road directly across the street from the almost ludicrously high-brow Bel-Air Country Club—with a $20 million asking price. Digital evidence Your Mama turned up shows Mister Murdock has had the undeveloped parcels on and off the market since at least early 2007.
But let's get back to the brick built mansion in Bel Air that Mister Murdock recently heaved on the open market for $30 million and is described in digital marketing materials as an "American Colonial Revival" built in 1927 and designed by esteemed architect Gordon B. Kaufmann, the same fella who designed the Los Angeles Times building, Hoover Dam, and the epic Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. Frankly in Your Mama's humble and entirely meaningless opinion—and despite the prime lower Bel Air location—this turreted and obviously substantial abode does not rank amongst Mister Kaufmann's more scintillating endeavors but that's, perhaps, a catty alley we'll leave for the the children to drive down and debate about.
Property records (and reports from the time) show Mister Murdock purchased the property in early 2001 for exactly $10,000,000 from Italian fashion designer and lifestyle mogul Mossimo Giannulli and actress Lori Loughlin who had the house done up by nice-gay decorator Michael Smith and photographed for Elle Decor in 2000. Mister Murdock's acquisition of Giannulli/Loughlin house came shortly after he sold the near mythic Casa Encantada estate in Bel Air to telecom tycoon Gary Winnick in a complicated cash and property swap worth a mind jellying $94 million. Some of the children may recall that earlier this year Your Mama heard from plugged in informant Shanahnduh Rotahnda might be available for a ear drum busting $225 million to the right trophy property shopping buyer who knows the right real estate people to contact. But that's just rumor and gossip, kids. Anyways...
The estate occupies 1.6 gated and manicured acres above the exclusive Bel-Air Country Club. The Los Angeles County Tax Man shows the house has 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms in 9,657 square feet while current listing details show it encompasses 12,435 square feet with six bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms. Your Mama doesn't know why all the discrepancies but it may (or may not) have to do with the estate's various outbuildings that include a separate guest house, a pool house, detached garage, and what listing description calls a "tropical greenhouse."
Current online listings are stingy with interior photos. There are exactly none available on publicly accessible listing sites. However, someone Your Mama knows who's been in the house says that, although elegantly proportioned, the day-core veers towards frowsy and "frumpy" with a lot things hauled over from the much, much larger Casa Encantada.
Listing details do, however, give a few tantalizing specifics about the interior spaces that include a "freestanding staircase," a gallery with 14 foot ceilings and "softly lit arched ceilings," and "exquisite parquet and walnut plank floors." In addition to the formal living, dining, and powder rooms, public and semi-public reception and entertaining spaces include an office, a sun room that opens onto a grassy terrace that overlooks the swimming pool and, attached to the formal dining room, a "gentleman's bar." A gentleman's bar? Your Mama wonders, of course, where all the booze imbibing females are meant to partake of the ever-so-delicious devil's water? Hello? Less formal family spaces include a kitchen and breakfast room with adjoining family room.
We're not sure exactly how many bedrooms there are in the main house but we can determine from listing descriptions that there are "maid's quarters" of unspecified size and location and, upstairs, in addition to a second office and a fitness room there are two guest/family suites with private sitting rooms as well as a master suite with dual dressing rooms and bathrooms.
Brick pathways meander along the rolling lawns and mature landscaping and an unexpected and unusually roomy second floor roof terrace at the rear of the residence has a chunky, free-standing outdoor fireplace and over the tree tops views of Beverly Hills and Century City. A second, semi-circular terrace that extends off the second floor at the southern side of the house also has—we imagine—lovely city views and creates a columned portico off the main floor.
Given that he's got a net worth estimated to be somewhere close to $2.5 billion Mister Murdock can afford live where and however he wants and Your Mama has no idea at all where Mister Murdock intends to live when his big ol' house in Bel Air is sold off to someone who will, undoubtedly, alter it substantially or knock it down entirely because that's how the world's super rich roll nowadays. A quick, unscientific, and most assuredly incomplete perusal of property records indicates the elderly but still vigorous Mister Murdock owns a handful of homes in the L.A. that seem way too modest for a man of his means and he does own a larger (and luxurious) but much less lavish 4.25-ish acre spread in Bev Hills' Stone Canyon. A more likely a locale to spend his sunset years might might be—we speculate on exactly zero inside intelligence—his 2,000 acre Arabian horse ranch, organic lavender farm, and residential estate near Thousand Oaks—Ventura Farms—that he picked up way back in the late 1970s.
*Early reports of the island sale suggested the deal went down for $500-600,00,000 but more recent reported use the $300 million figure.
listing photos: Hilton & Hyland
Posted by Your Mama at 11:48 AM
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 7,919 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Given that construction appears to be close to completion on his titanic new ultra-modern hilltop villa on a private promontory in L.A.'s swank Bel Air area it comes as no surprise to this property gossip that action film director Michael Bay has—as we first heard in rapid succession last night from three separate celebrity real estate good samaritans—put his long time residence that's also in Bel Air up for sale with a $13.5 million asking price.
Mister Bay, a veteran of and a polarizing figure in the entertainment industry, started out as a director of music videos and commercials. He won, in fact, a prestigious Clio Award in 1992 for a spot he did up for the venerable international disaster relief organization Red Cross. In the mid-1990s the chisel-chinned canine lover shifted away from advertising and found his Showbiz sweet spot in big budget blockbuster action flicks. His directorial debut—Bad Boys with Will Smith—hauled in nearly $150 million in global box office against about $20 million in production costs. Not bad for a rookie, right? Some of his other higher-cost and ever higher grossing movies include The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, The Island, and the ridiculously lucrative Transformers movie franchise.
His special effects enhanced movies are frequently panned by the critics and movie goers alike, not to mention quite decidedly not the sorts of films Your Mama and/or The Dr. Cooter would pay 11 or 14 dollars to see at a movie theater. But that doesn't stop movie goers around the world from flocking to theaters like bugs to a busy bug zapper to watch Mister Bay's grandiose movie-making handiwork. By some estimates, Mister Bay's movies have raked in more than 4.5 billion dollars in worldwide box office receipts, more than half of which comes from the three Transformers movies.
Whether or not Mister Bay pines for the mostly elusive critical approval and/or some sort of public validation from his peers for his cinematic spectacles—and we really have no idea how he feels about anything at all—Your Mama likes to imagine he struts and laughs all the way to the bank on the back of his hefty handful of Golden Raspberry nominations.
Anyways, property records how Mister Bay acquired his long-time Bel Air digs, perched on a city view hillside of nearly one, gated acre in a desirable section of lower Bel Air much coveted by both high- and low-profile rich and/or famous types,* back in April of 1999 for $5,160,000. The two-story house was designed by the late, Santa Barbara-based architect Jack Warner** and currently has, as per digital marketing materials, a total of four bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms in 7,919 square feet of sparely done but none the less costly and finely finished interior space.
A long driveway lined with a low stone wall fashioned from rough cut Indiana limestone—or some other high-priced stone—snakes deep into the property along a sylvan hillside to a small (and not very attractive looking) motor court at the front of the house. Inside wood floors finished in an almost ebony dark chocolate make a grounding counter point to elegantly high ceilings and crisp and art flattering white walls.
At the center of the house, a roomy formal living room looks large enough to host a raucous cocktail party and opens through sliding glass doors on either side of a monumentally-manteled fireplace to a loggia with city views and a double-pyramid glass roof. In the formal dining room a rhythmic row of three frameless, single pane windows extend from the floor almost to the ceiling, two of which appear to slip into the wall and open to a terrace with elevated built-in fire pit.
The sleekly-done kitchen looks like it was fitted with some saturated taupe-tone and sleekly unadorned but probably preposterously pricey cabinetry from one of the fancier European kitchen outfitters and, through double doors off the living room, a family room has direct outdoor access, a wall-mounted flat-screen discreetly tucked into a corner, stone tile floors laid at a 45-degree angle to the rectangular room, and—deep pocketed hardcore boozers can breathe a sigh of relief—a professionally equipped, four-stool wet bar.
Listing photographs show an additional office/lounge with another monumentally-manteled but more portly fireplace strikingly similar in design to the one in the formal living room as well as a den/library with a third, also monumentally-manteled fireplace, this one an even chunkier, vaguely Escher-esque, and geometrically-angled poured concrete confection of minimalist modernity. And, as is customary of a movie director of Mister Bay's success and attendant financial abilities, the house is fitted with a temperature controlled wine cellar and a state-of-the-art screening room.
Digital marketing materials indicate there are two guest/family bedrooms with en suite facilities plus a staff room—presumably and one hopes also with private en suite facility. The deluxe master suite is complete with sky lights, triple-wide gas fireplace surmounted—naturally—by a large flat screen television, and a adequately spacious but hardly humongous bathroom handsomely fitted with in modern-Zen style with a double sink vanity, an all-glass shower stall, and a separate soaking tub set into a slab stone shelf in front of a curving wall of frameless glass with a through-the-palm-tree-tops city view.
The backyard, due to the apostrophe-shaped parcel and its hillside topography, isn't particularly large but does appear well organized with several defined but interconnected outdoor living spaces. The aforementioned glass-roofed dining loggia gives way to a tiny, flat patch of tree-shaded lawn and is flanked by open terraces, an elevated fire pit on one side and and a row of sun loungers on the other. A wide set of steps at the foot of the sun loungers descends seductively to the swimming pool and inset spa that cantilever over the hillside with views that sweep from the San Gabriel mountains in the (smoggy) distance over L.A.'s compact cluster of downtown skyscrapers to the glimmering towers that comprise Beverly Hill's commerce- and business-oriented next door neighbor, Century City.
Does anyone else think that Berry Gordy could buy this house to add to his neighboring, multi-residence compound? Or maybe a high-end developer will snatch it up, tear the existing house down, and spec-build something more than twice the size? Is that just Your Mama who feels that way? Anways...
In late 2009 Mister Bay spent $10.9 million to acquire a nearly five acre private promontory in lower Bel Air. The property, with it's spectacular if dated, Burton Schutt-designed and Billy Haines-decorated 1950's atomic-modern compound had been owned for a lifetime by politically connected (and deceased) steel magnate Earle Jorgensen and his (also deceased,) well-born and philanthropy-focused wife Marion Jorgensen. Much to the chagrin of preservation-minded modern architecture enthusiasts, Mister Bay razed the sprawling 6,000-ish square foot single-level residence and its trio of matching outbuildings so that he could spend an honest to goodness small fortune to erect an aggressively modern 30,000 square foot residential monument to his Showbizness success and financial prowess.
Although he sold a 5,400 square foot modern tucked into the posh mountains of Montecito in May 2012 for $4.9 million, Your Mama's research on the internets indicates that along with his new super modern mega-mansion in Bel Air and the much smaller and less ostentatious contemporary Bel Air mini-estate he just put up for sale, Mister Bay still owns the super-modern, 17,000+ square foot bay front micro-compound in Miami Beach he bought from Hulk Hogan in August 2007 for $17,000,000.
**In addition to the Bel-Air Country Club clubhouse, a wing of the Santa Barbara Museum, and a bunch of luxury residences from Hawaii to Kuwait City the late Mister Warner and his still-running Santa Barbara-based firm are well known for their work on club houses at exclusive country clubs.
listing photos: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
Posted by Your Mama at 2:12 PM