SELLER: Tom Jones
LOCATION: 960 Stradella Road, Bel Air, CA
SIZE: 4,320 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Sensational mid-century Modern on private 2.5 acre knoll. Prime Bel Air location with stunning city views. This sophisticated home is perfect for indoor/outdoor lifestyle, with open floor plan, walls of glass and high ceilings. Marble entry leads to step down living room with library/study adjacent. Step outside the living room to the black-bottom pool surrounded by decks. Upper level master suite has wood-burning fireplace, wet bar and view deck. Exceptional in every respect.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Somebody get the smelling salts quick because Your Mama has done passed out looking at all that vexatious statuary spread around this property. Damn, you know Your Mama does not like to be such a hater, but we have a difficult time tolerating such seriously deficient taste from people with enough scratch to hire themselves a nice gay decorator.
If for some reason any of the children are asking themselves how many statuettes of urinating cherubs one yard can endure, listen to Your Mama when we tell you the answer is ZERO. We count seven pissing baby angels in the photos, and we know deep in our hearts there are easily six more sprinkled about that pool deck and yard. Unfortunately that count does not take into account the multiple and random busts or that upsetting horse thing on the lawn.
The LA Times' resident celebrity real estate scribe Ruth Ryon reported in her Hot Properties column that this house was purchased in 1981 by crooner Tom Jones and used as a guesthouse for his sister and parents to stay when visiting Los Angeles. That's right, the goateed crooner never actually lived in this house.
Therefore we can't really be sure who is responsible for the disturbing number of plaster figurines. Whomever is responsible and whatever the case, we can only imagine the new owners, the Spanish design duo Miguel Rueda and Mario Ruiz, first call after taking possession was to a company that provides BIG dumpsters.
Mister Tom Jones holds a very high place in the pantheon of old school singers of the sexy male variety. In the 1960s this man had teenage girls swooning to hits such as What's New Pussycat, Delilah, and Your Mama's favorite, She's A Lady. In more recent times, the Mister Jones has scores of middle aged women swooning and improbably tossing their granny panties up on the stage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to the very same songs he was singing in the 1960s.
But that doesn't really tell the whole story of this man in the ex-treem-lee tight pants. He may have a campy and kitchy image, but Mister Jones has not rested on the laurels of his 1960s successes. To his artistic credit, in the last 15 years he has collaborated with many interesting and notable musicians and groups such as The Art of Noise (1988), The Pretenders (1999), and 1999s Sex Bomb with Mousse T. In 2002 he released the well received album Mr. Jones which was produced by the very talented Wyclef Jean.
So while the landscaping at his "guesthouse" has us heaving up last night's liquor, we give Mister Jones all the musical props he so rightly deserves.
Now, back to the property. The house, listed by the super-agent to the stars Joyce Rey and Cecelia Kennely-Waeschle of Sotheby's, was first priced in the $6,000,000 range. That high number price was a bit of a turn off for a house that needs as much aesthetic reworking as this one. So the price was lowered and lowered to the final asking price of $4,250,000. This price brought out the buyers, and according to property records, it was sold for $3,950,000. Your Mama thinks with a million in renovations, this house would easily sell in the high six millions.
The house itself has some interesting features and we can understand why the Misters Rueda and Ruiz found the property appealing. First of all, location, location, location. The private setting on 2.5 prime acres way up in the hills of Bel Air is worth at least a couple million and the stunning views have Los Angeles spread out like a carpet below this house.
Your Mama likes to think of the rich and famous having a lot of automobiles so we appreciate there is parking for up to 10 automobiles in the drive court.
Although it's not obvious in the photos, we think the "mid-century modern" style of the house is interesting and offers loads of potential for a very cool L.A. hideaway. We love the way the house wraps itself around the pool deck offering extreme backyard privacy. And did all the children notice that wacky and cool hexagonal section of the house?
Your Mama can't help but think this house might have fetched a couple hundred thousand more if the statue issue was taken care of before putting the house on the market. But given there were no photos of the interior available, perhaps the statues were merely a drop in the bucket of design disasters.
Sources: LA Times, Joyce Rey, Coldwell Banker, Sothebys, Wikipedia