Monday, February 4, 2008

Jennifer and Ben Out House Hunting. Again.

WHO: Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck
LOCATION: S. Mapleton Drive, Holmby Hills, CA
PRICE: $22,500,000
SIZE: 15,000 square feet (approx.), 7 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Sophisticated 15,000 sq. ft. Traditional in the Federalist style completed in 2008, by the classically trained architects, Nicholas Budd Dutton, on prestigious Mapleton Drive. A two story foyer, bathed in natural light, exquisitely paneled, leads one thru public room, ideal for entertaining, to private, intimate family spaces. Situated on a lot that is almost an acre, the house is place for maximum light exposure and yet retains luxurious expanses of green grass for the lifestyle. Superb!

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Almost two weeks ago, Your Mama (and many others) let the cat out of the bag that Juno actress Jennifer Garner and her Oscar winning huzband Ben Affleck were out house hunting despite having dumped a buttload of time and money into building a not yet completed family house in Brentwood's lower Mandeville Canyon area. We understand from Mirakle Mike, one of Your Mama's many in the know sources, that Affner or JenFleck or whatever they're called by the tabs are looking at houses in the $20,000,000 range. We understand that the somewhat improbably a-list and admirably low key couple looked at Meg Ryan's Bel Air residence which is, according to a couple of very rich and well placed sources, always for sale but never actually listed.

Over the weekend, bazillions of additional blog reports came out that the dungaree donning duo were out peeping at potential domiciles again, including a very modest Venice cottage that Your Mama imagines would be for housing the nanny and not the security conscious pair. We certainly don't now all the homes the not very smiley couple looked at, but we do know they had a nice long look see at a newly built behemoth on S. Mapleton Drive in the Holmby Hills that looks like the Beaver Cleaver house all pumped up on steroids.

The 15,000 square foot sprawler, located just down the street from the obscenely large and lavish Spelling mansion, includes substantially sized public spaces and even more impressive private spaces including formal living and dining rooms, a gorgeously paneled library, bar, a gourmet kitchen open to the family room, breakfast room, a large laundry room with two washers and two dryers, and an enviable mud room with plenty of space for the children and the pets to shake off the wet and dirt and stash the muddy shoes.

Listing information for the property indicates there are 7 bedrooms and a somewhat distressing 12 bathrooms, including a master with sitting room, bedroom, dual bathrooms and dressing areas and a separate massage room. While Your Mama loves the idea of a room dedicated to having Sven rub his strong and oiled hands all over our tired bah-dee, we'd much prefer this special room not be a part of the master suite, but rather part of the swimming pool complex.

We don't know much about these two rich and famous people, but we do know that a house this huge and this spaciously swanky requires at least two full time staff to dust, de-fingerprint, and to scrub all them terlits. Miz Garner is known to be a down to earth famous ladee, but we don't imagine she's so down to earth she wants to be spending half her Wednesdays and all day Sunday scrubbing 12 damn terlits when she could be schlepping young Violet to play dates with Courtney Cox's child and keeping an eye on that huzband of hers that he don't sneak over to the Playboy Mansion, just a two minute jog away.

While we have no doubt that this house is exquisitely done, as it should be for a pocketbook busting $22,500,000 asking price, and the interior spaces are generously and pleasantly scaled, Your Mama finds the exterior massing too large and monolithic for our delicate sensibilities and we worry considerably about the location of the front door. See puppies, the automobile gates and motor court are on the North side of the property while the front door faces due West. This means that guests will need to park their Jaguars, Bentleys and Yukons in front of a series of uglee-ass garage doors and walk their Jimmy Choos and John Lobbs down a long stone walkway to the front door. Either that or they'll slip in the side door and not be treated to entering through the grand and hugely scaled front entrance hall. And it would just be a pity to spend upwards of $20,000,000 and miss out on impressing the dinner guests and all the rich bee-hawtchas in the Mommy and Me club by having them squirreled in the less than glammy back door.

Now babies, we don't have any idea if Mis Garner and Mister Affleck are gonna buy this house or even if they liked this house. We only know they had a nice long look see. So in some ways there's no news here, and in other ways the news is that these two are indeed looking for a big and expensive house to raise up a family celebrity style.

Currently, the family of three hole up in Brentwood in the N. Tigertail Road house that Miz Garner purchased during her bachelorette days. Property records reveal that Miz Garner purchased the 4 bedroom house in June 2004 for $5,500,000.

67 comments:

lucy said...

Not a lot of exterior charm.

A good house for kiddos, though.

Barren Karen said...

Big. BIG. They're just three people? That's 4 bathrooms for each person.

Imagine what the heating and cooling bills are here every month? Not that the super rich care about that, but it's just wasteful.

What is it about people getting rich that makes them want such huge houses?

2500 sq. ft. was fine when they were not rich, so why do they need 15,000 once they become rich?

Bigger is not always better. Trust me, I live with a John Holmes type and it hurts sometimes.

fairfield girl said...

very Hampton like. I'm lovin the master bath and the pool. I don't care for the siding look but other than that it's looks like a laid back comfie sorta place I mean palace.

luke220 said...

I think that it is a beautiful house and although large, a bit understated for this high profile couple. It must appeal to Ben's New England sensibility.

I would prefer the floors darker and the pool seems misplaced off to the far side in the back yard, but much preferred to Conan's Brentwood digs.

so_chic_darling said...

Barren Karen I do agree with you unless you are going to have both sets of inlaws move in with you just why would you want all that extra space?Plus the mud room is a great idea but in LA where it rains twice a year?

pch said...

Someone's looking to make a huge profit...there used to be a rambling ranch house with English Country pretensions on this property, on the market three or four years ago in the $6 million range.

It's not a primo Holmby Hills location -- the smallish lot sits below Mapleton, close down to pretty-but-busy Beverly Glen Boulevard (which the house actually faces), and is also bounded by Charing Cross. Not very private -- there's a constant parade of tourist-laden vans -- and its relatively tight dimensions explain (but don't excuse) the bizarre motorcourt placement Mama mentioned.

I'm gonna give the spec people mad props for building a house that suits the original sensibilities of the neighborhood. (There are some truly hideous newer houses on this street that make it look like Aaron Spelling invented good taste.) But it seems to me that they could have done something more interesting within the architectural vernacular -- lots of blinding white clapboard and multi-pane windows without much of interest to break it up, save the occasional shutter. Basically, I agree with Mama that the massing could use some work.

lil" gay boy said...

$22M for this?

It looks like a reasonably upscale home in what we laughingly refer to as "Mid Island".

Badly sited on an approximate acre, with a charmless pool stuck in a shady corner of the yard with a less than generous pool deck, and landscaping so barren you could almost call it xeriscaping.

The master bedroom ceiling bears no resemblance to what's happening from the outside bay; what is it - part tray and part cape style?

The marble in the master bath is tacky, and although generous light is always nice, I'm afraid there's too much of it in the library and it would fade the spines of my first editions.

The kitchen/family room has a nice Hamptons-like vibe to it, but it doesn't fit in with the rest of the house.

"Built on spec" is all this says to me.

Anonymous said...

this house was definitely built on spec...

However, having lived in Los Angeles my whole life, this is the kind of home you only wish every spec builder was building.

This is actually a very tasteful spec house, with proportional scale and reasonable architectural integrity. The spec building you get in Los Angeles and especially in this neighborhood of Bel Air, where every house has become an enormous boxy persian palace that is too large for the lot, or a quasi-mediterranean tuscan villa.

so_chic_darling said...

I just had another look at the photos,and it's not a bad house but I think for the price you could find something better.

Anonymous said...

http://www.sothebyshomes.com/socal/sales/0342050#features

Catherine said...

I don't love the exterior, but the interior is fine with me. What screams "cheap" is the backyard. How can you create a house like this and spend no money or energy on creating a pleasant yard. The boxy shape of the yard only emphasizes the rectangular shape of the house. Find a landscaper ASAP and fix that mess!

bentley said...

Thanks anon 8:32 for the Sotheby's link.

Talk about no escape from the light. There seems to be a skylight in every single room, including the kids' rooms. Suckers for punishment. Insurance that every kid in the joint will be up with the blazing California sun - lunatic!

The front hall is gorgeous. I love the staircase, the paneling and the vaulted entry's to the reception rooms.

The rest of it is a bit snoozy.

Barren Karen - you are saucy! Poor guy. It's every man's nightmare to have a huge c**k :)

Anonymous said...

Note the well-placed apothecary jar blocking the ill-placed toilet in the master bath.

Anonymous said...

311mapleton.com

Anonymous said...

http://311mapleton.com/

sandpiper said...

This house could be a charmer. I like federal style, but the back elevation looks like a mid-America apartment building. I'd jazz up front and back with some self-watering window boxes to break up the flatness. Geez, those boxwoods are 3-4 a years away from being sharply trimmed hedges. For this list price, larger ones should have been in the budget, along with a few mature trees in front of the pool fence. Inside, I hope the buyers get a nice gay decorator with a manbag full of lighting fixture catalogs and paint samples..for starts. And BTW, what's up with these red entry doors? Know it's classic, but...feels like walking into Talbot's or Eliz. Arden.

Anonymous said...

Love the entry hall, and the his and hers master baths. I could wake up to that bath every morning, especially if there's a coffee bar cleverly tucked into the cabinetry somewhere? The informal kitchen/family room area looks very comfy and welcoming - has a vacation home vibe. Amazing outdoor spaces would elevate this house to a fantastic level, but don't know if that's really possible with the given lot space.

bigdaddyj said...

I think the exterior is cheap-looking, ass-ugly and devoid of character...so much so, that I wonder if the same builder who built this behemoth also built the equally cheap and ugly-looking on the outside new Conan O'Brien manse in Brentwood...that said, the interiors are nice enough, but who wants to pay $23-million for a house that looks like it has cheap vinyl siding on it and is just a steroid or two away from being an ordinary Toll Brothers tract Mcmansion?

bigdaddyj said...

and "barren Karen", I noticed you said it hurts only "some of the time", how does it feel the rest of the time? LOL :-O

DREW said...

"the classically trained architects, Nicholas Budd Dutton" -
classically trained, MY EYE!! Most of their residential work is borderline "mod" in style.
A spec job for sure.

luke220 said...

Can't tell from the pics, but does the house actually face Charing Cross? The big brick wall with open water spigots isn't too attractive- is this for privacy or to cut down traffic noise?

lil" gay boy said...

Bentley, I'm glad it was YOU that made that comment about Karen's partner, not me . . .

;-)

Hi There said...

Let's talk about the siding...Some of you think it looks cheap. But houses in this style have traditionally been built with a clapboard exterior. Yes, that style was unfortunately mimicked by vinyl and metal siding people, but the clapboard (which is most likely wood or cement board on this house) is as per the vernacular.

what should it be to look not cheap?

I don't love this house very much (it's too apt. complex like), but i don't think it looks cheap at all.

Alessandra said...

I was thinking the same thing, bigdaddyj, in regards to the house's exterior reminding me of Conan's manse. Don't like the exterior at all. It looks like a Montessori pre-school on crack.

I do, however, like the interiors, far more than I liked Conan's house. The interiors seem proportional and well designed. I LOVE a his and hers master bath. The husband can have his urinal, I can have my soaking tub; every one wins. I can see the appeal of the massage room near the pool, but I kind of like it close to the bedroom because whenever I've had in-home massages, I've wanted to go and take a nap immediately afterwards. Closer to my comfy bed is better.

lil" gay boy said...

Clapboard can be tricky, even if it's historically accurate.

I think in this case that for $22.5M the architecture should be out-of-this-world Federalist, not Ivy League student housing.

That's what makes it look cheap and tawdry.

pch said...

Definitely faces Beverly Glen. The original house faced Mapleton, with driveway access from Charing Cross and a narrow motorcourt where the pool and lawn are now. (The drawback -- it looked like it was in a sinkhole.) A normal person would have oriented the entrance of the new house to Charing Cross, with a driveway/motorcourt right in front and a subterranean garage. What these people did might have made sense if they included a semi-circular driveway up from Beverly Glen. But they didn't. It's the first thing any sane buyer will install.

sandpiper said...

PCH,
Damn, your good!

Polly said...

There has got to be something better for the price?

Bigdaddyj said...

For $1.4-million more, I'd take the 3-acre estate @ 25 Oakmont in Brentwood, which I believe (but am not 100% sure) is being sold by TV prod Gary David Goldberg (Family Ties, Spin City) and was the location for the ill-fated Charlie Sheen-Denise Richards wedding...true, a much smaller house, but IMO much classier and elegant, plus the 3-acre site is privacy galore by LA standards....here's a link to a site for the prop if you haven't seen it - http://www.25oakmont.com/

Anonymous said...

oakmont is a nice house, and the property is stunning. However its gonna take several more million to bring this place up to par...glass block, parquet floors, new bathrooms, kitchen, the list goes on...

Polly said...

Yes that Oakmont house is almost worth the money for the grounds alone,how lush and beautiful.The house is very out of date though and might even be a tear down.

lil" gay boy said...

Frankly I like Oakmont's old world charm - it kind of reminds me of George Cukor's house, for some reason.

Anonymous said...

First time poster. Long time reader. I guess this blog has become a blood sport in some ways. Bash everything, people, perfectly beautiful houses, each other. Eventually you get the lowest common denominator and we're almost there. Some people recycle what others say in less interesting ways until the only syllable left to say will be duh. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

hey people, do you have to share your every brain fart - edit yourself please!

pch said...

I will personally hunt down and kill anyone who tries to tear down the Paul Williams house at 25 Oakmont. (I joke, but only sort of.) You can see several signature details -- including a classic Williams staircase -- at the link Big Daddy provided. Could use a little sprucing up, but it's a swell place.

fairfield girl said...

http://www.25oakmont.com/
that is the way to photog a home!
If I were in the market for a 20+ mil home it would make it so much more appealing.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the link
btw

brain fart said...

duh

lucy said...

LGB- I know Ivy League student housing, and I can promise you the bathrooms are NOWHERE near as nice as this one.

And that's just for a start....

Is this close to a great park? A great private (or, possibly, considering the Affleck's 'common' touch, public) school nearby? I'm just wondering why, taking what PCH and others have said about location (and cost) why someone would choose this house (which we all agree needs serious exterior tweaking) instead of another?

said...

"The house is very out of date though and might even be a tear down"

Are you insane? Tear down a Paul Williams? OMG! - some people really know nothing about architecture!

Anonymous said...

it may be a paul williams, however it has been botched by bad add ons and remodels...like the closed in patio/lanai from the late 40s/early 50's, or the glass block addition from the 70's/80s...the house has a long way to go to its paul williams roots.

Anonymous said...

please, please don't breathe a word about 25 oakmont/paul williams house being a tear-down! it is classic. just a little decorating update, nothing more.

pch said...

Lucy, there is a park nearby, and Harvard Westlake's lower school is only a couple minutes away. But I don't think that's why someone buys this. They're going to like that it's an ultra-impressive address (Mapleton is a Holmby-only street) and that the brand-new house (instant gratification, no construction headaches) is less showy and cozier than most of the neighborhood's mansions -- I'd wager most prospective buyers have no problem with the architecture. They think, oh, Connecticut, how wonderful.

What the buyer must overlook is that the premium price they're paying is for construction (which has been seriously marked up) instead of land (where the true value is). People do this all the time. Not sure if they're going to find someone willing to pony up anything close to the asking price when you can go over to a couple properties that have vastly superior situations: 444 N Faring (asking: $19.75 million) or 449 Parkwood (asking: $15 million, supercool 1929 house that needs a restoration). But you never know...

lil' gay boy said...

PCH,

You are the man!

Not only do you know the area so well, but you can also see through the add-ons and unsympathetic additions to the heart of a house like the Oakmont, and what makes for good architecture.

somebody's sister said...

Oakmont rocks. Gary David "sit Ubu, sit" Goldberg is the nicest and most unpretentious guy one would ever have the pleasure to know. If this is his family home, it has got to be impeccably maintained.

BigdaddyJ, thank you for sharing such a special find! It’s an enchanting residence.

Viva! said...

I hate the exterior but I love the interior and the pool. It ain't the Spelling mansion and that's a shame. What I like about the Spelling abode is that it is *so* over the top. It's like the Carrington house on 'Dynasty' except Joan Collins doesn't live there (Or does she? She's somewhere in LA and Mama hasn't been able to confirm a condo purchase in Sierra Towers)

Anonymous said...

Not fancied by Joan's real estate or otherwise. Bless her for achieving stardom ---- ad nauseam.

bentley said...

bigdaddyj - thank you. You just showed me my dream house in 25 Oakmont. I would buy it, move into it tomorrow, and not change a thing. Beautiful, warm, kooky (note the groovy fireplace in the kitchen) touches here and there.

What a beautiful house, and it looks like a home. Sometimes the charm is in the (perceived) imperfections. Why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the look how rich I am flooring, bathrooms and kitchens that all your rich friends have? It's unique and exudes a timeless charm to me.

I'd even take the furniture, including that giant tweed thing.

I'm totally smitten.

BoxersVsBriefs said...

while the house is not my cup of tea 100%, i'm in with Bentley boy on this one.

the restraint and the ease the place.

the curved glass brick wall - gimme.

Alessandra said...

I'm on the love train for 25 Oakmont as well and agree that sometimes the charm of a home is not how over-the-top it is, but instead how livable and gracious. I would not change a thing to Paul Williams' design and even like its small flaws.

Talking about this house, home buying is so emotional and the older I get, the more I realize how I'm influenced by my very formative years in what I like. It's easy to see what the Afflecks might like about it, though that says a lot more about them than they may realize. And who knows...they were just looking at it, so maybe it isn't to their taste after all?

Bigdaddyj said...

Glad everybody (generally) likes that place on Oakmont as much as I do...I actually e-mailed mama about doing a write-up on it a while back and never heard anything...I think it's perhaps the premiere property on the market in west LA right now...personally, I love it, warts and all, would just do some redecorating and updating but otherwise would leave it as is (I'm a fan of the funky glass block wall, tacky or not)...I don't know it it is indeed a Paul Willams or not, but I wouldn't tear it down (even if I made drastic interior changes) if only to preserve that beautifully ivy-covered facade, which gives it an old-worldliness rarely found in even vintage properties in LA...

Anonymous said...

are they still renting on west 67th st. While she's in that play?

sunny in sj said...

Put me on that love train Alessandra! I love the mature landscape, that arbor thing, the glass wall, but most of all I love the shape of some of the rooms. It's so unique and beautiful, the whole thing. So many rooms to sit in! Just a classy property.

I like the Ben and Jen house, I love the Federalist look and I think it would look better in person than in a pic. Some foundation plantings at the base of the house and some trees and perennials would do wonders.

The other thing I like is the brick around the pool. With some furniture and plants, this would look great. I'm so tired of that pea gravel looking finish around a pool,it's so fugly.

Anonymous said...

I know they were looking at $30m plus houses in westchester county, ny a few months ago.

Bigdaddyj said...

Went back to the listing and confirmed that 25 Oakmont is indeed an original Paul Williams...good eye whoever first picked that out...since everybody like that one, here's my other favorite house on the market in LA right now (though a completely different style, location and price range, only $3.3-million in Los Feliz...http://www.2341eastliveoak.com/....discuss!

Lugg Nutt said...

I prefer 25 oakmont over mapleton drive. It is more than half the size and could have much more character. I don't mind rehabbing as long as it is done right. I may need a drink to look over the blueprints for a rehab but I think it would worth it. Thanks bigdaddy. You made up my mind.

lil' gay boy said...

So we're all on the love train for Oakmont (thanks, bigdaddyj!); I think Bentley came close to saying what's best about this place; Oakmont is not just a house, but a home.

For all it's appointments, that's what this "Federalist" house lacks; even with a full on redo, it just doesn't seem to have the potential for being a home, like Oakmont is.

They say the first rule of real estate is location, location, location. If this is such a prime spot, then just what was this developer thinking by erecting this particular house on this particular site? Is that the best he could do?

lil' gay boy said...

Bigdaddyj, just checked out the site for the East Live Oak residence; have to say I just love Oakmont (glass block wall especially), but this place . . . um, not so much.

The finishes are impeccable, the living spaces flow nicely into one another, but there's a creepy morgue-like quality to it all - just a little too sterile for my taste.

Also have never been a fan of an entry door at the corner of a facade; no matter how well executed, it always comes across as an afterthought - entering a home should be an event, not "leave the groceries on the stoop, kid."

sunny in sj said...

I like the house on Live Oak but I agree w/LGB, there is something awfully sterile about some of the rooms. I don't like the kitchen, just doesn't look inviting. I like the furniture a lot! Kind of mission/Mediterranean and it works.

But I like Oakmont the best.

Bigdaddyj said...

Point(s) taken on the Live Oak place, I agree, would need to completely redecorate, when I look at a house I try to ignore the furniture and paint as much as possible (doesn't everybody refurnish and repaint when they move in) and look at the "bones" of the place (the architecture, the layout, the lot, the landscaping, etc.). In this place, I would definitely redo the kitchen, the only room I would keep as-is is the home theater, I mostly like the exterior, some of the interior architectural touches, and I love the backyard (though i know Mama would be screaming that for $3.3-million she wants a pool, but not important to me...)

somebody's sister said...

This family may need to cast a wider net if they hope to find East Hampton in LA. I think they should patch thru Mama and get some face-time with PCH for inspiration. As if that would ever happen, but it's fun to dream. Hope this nice young couple finds a special place within their healthy price qualifications; and not just limited to their agent's house listings.

The Hollywood Mayor said...

The house on Live Oak was.... yawwwwn, ok.

The floor plan downstairs is fairly choppy, the kitchen is in serious need of a makeover and the backyard is SCREAMING for a pool. How did they forget one??????

Rimmy said...

Ben would need to do about 5 movies to cover this whilst Jennifer only two. That being said, this house is fugly.

Anonymous said...

Not that big compared to the surrounding houses.
And it's a corner lot which means more noise.

However, they can walk down to Hef's Estate and party it up. Some tented party is going on there.

Look it up on Google Maps -
34.0773, -118.432

Anonymous said...

Why is no one talking about the Dr.Phil house at 1008 Lexington that is for sale, Are he and Robin getting a divorce or what? Why are they moving?????

Stephanie said...

HELLO OAKMONT LOVERS! Dr. Phil's house has no character. Well, i've never actually seen the place before, but I did just come back from seeing 25 Oakmont Drive. I helped my mom deliver some pillows there. The interior designer, Kathryn Peters, ordered a big selection of pillows to "help" make the house homey enough to sell (like it really needs help right?). I instantly fell in love with the property without even seeing the house. The driveway entrance to that place is enough to make me sigh in sheer envy. If I lived there, I'd never sell, or settle for a divorce heh. Anyone got about $25 mil I can kindly take off your hands?

Anonymous said...

Wow, that does look like an apartment building or maybe a cheap professional building. It's way too long; a house that size should have more depth, or just wrap around a courtyard. The coffered and ribbed ceilings are too busy and the can-lights are tacky. The siding might look fine up close, but the window frames stick out just enough to make it look like vinyl. I think a house this size should have a more substantial exterior anyway, but I know some people value the look of wood. And the shutters are just stupid. If they're worth having, they should be on all of the windows and they should close; a few here and there for "accents" is tract-house material. Nice entry hall, though.