Monday, March 31, 2008

A Country Place for Reese Witherspoon

BUYER: Reese Witherspoon
LOCATION: Del Norte Road, Ojai, CA
PRICE: $6,950,000 (list)
SIZE: 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: A one of a kind Wallace Neff architectural masterpiece. Amazing equestrian compound. Perfect 6+ acre hideaway nestled in fabulous Ojai Valley, a short drive to one of LA's most sought after vacation spots. Beautifully re-designed by Kathryn Ireland. Fabulous new master suite. Incredible privacy. Fantastic opportunity.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Oscar winning actress, major Hollywood power player, and dignified southern woman Reese Witherspoon prefers to do things on the down low. You certainly aren't going to see this ladee out at some velvet rope Hollywood hot spot flashing her baby maker as she gets out of her car, nor will she be ringing up the paps to come snap a few pictures of her as she crosses the parking lot at the Brentwood Country Mart to buy some lip gloss at Marie Mason Apothocary. Some initially called it a faux-mance, but even her year long relationship with Oscar nominated actor and well known privacy nut Jake Gyllenhaal has been conducted largely outside the blinding glare of flash bulbs and gossip glossies.

So it should come as no surprise to any of the children that just a few weeks ago, the recently dee-vorced mommy of two very quietly purchased an historic 6+ acre ranch in Ojai, a picture perfect slice of California gorgeousness just 1.5 hours outside of LaLa Land and just north of Ventura, a tawdry little town in which Your Mama happens to have spent a lot of time in our youth.

Just between us chickens and as a meandering aside, we have many fond and funny memories of our favorite foul mouthed Aunty Jennie, piling Your Mama, Sister Woman and cuzzins Lois and Toddaroohoo into her powder blue 1970 something Ford Galaxy–an automobile we all lovingly called The Blue Vomit–and heading down to the Golf and Stuff in Ventura that sits right up next to the Highway 101. As we pulled up to the front we'd each be handed five clams to last us until Aunty Jennie and Your Mama's Mama finished their mai tais down the road at The Elephant Bar. Your Mama can not tell you how many times we finagled free rides on the mini car speedway by acting penniless and pathetic. Good times. Good times.

Anyhoo, property records sort of reveal and our wickedly well informed pal Lucy Spillerguts confirms, that Miz Witherspoon purchased what is commonly called The Libbey Ranch in the Arbolada area just north and west of bustling downtown Ojai. Before Your Mama begins to bore the children with how green with envy we are over this place, let's have a bit of the history. The Spanish Colonial casa was originally designed in 1923 for glass tycoon Edmund Drummond Libbey by noted California architect Wallace Neff with later French Country style additions and out buildings by Austen Pierpont. The house has had a number of owners since 1923 including actor/director Harold Ramis and was most recently owned and fully restored by interior designer and textile goddess Kathryn M. Ireland. Before she sold the ranch to Miz Witherspoon, Miz Ireland (who is not the moe-dell Kathy Ireland by the way) allowed House Beautiful to snap some pretty pictures of all the rooms looking dee-voon, drowning in pillows and draped with a pleasing cacophony of brightly colored fabrics.

Property records show Miz Witherspoon closed on the property only a few weeks ago, but as of this morning Your Mama is unable to confirm just how much of her Legally Blond boodle she had to cough up to buy the place. Listing information shows the property carried a $6,950,000 asking price and a recent article in US magazine refers to her "new $5.8 million ranch in Ventura County." And guess what kids? They were right. According to Jim Nasium, a man who would know, Miz Witherspoon and her people drove a hard bargain and paid $5,800,000 for the historic compound.

According to listing information, the main house has a soaring beamed ceiling living room and gigantic fireplace, a large kitchen dining room, a library loft with fireplace and 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. An interesting quirk of the house, which will no doubt bug and bother some of the children, is that one must walk through an outdoor breezeway to get to the bedroom wing from the main house.

There are also two detached guest cottages, each with private bath and fireplace, a stable block for the equine inclined, a gatekeepers cottage, a four car carriage house garage, a stunning walled and private swimming pool, and a smithy, a somewhat obsolete feature where Your Mama imagines a burly, sweaty and seriously sexy man once used to forge the iron to shoe the horses and fabricate all the door handles and hardware for the property.

Your Mama can simply not say enough how covetous we are of Miz Witherspoon's new country digs. So we're just going to shut our big trap, spend the next few hours drooling over the dee-lishus photos of this California real estate dream and let the children praise and pick apart the details while all Your Mama's beloved Chicken Littles yammer on about how this place will only be worth a million in a year or two.

When not hiding out at her new ranch, Miss Witherspoon clearly prefers life behind gates where she can live her life without paps doorstepping her every move. As far as property records (and our spider web of sources) are concerned, she continues to live in the same 6,956 square foot house on Brentwood's guard gated N. Gunston Drive that she shared with ex-hubby Ryan Phillippe before they went splitsville. Property records would also indicate that in April of 2005 the $29,000,000 actress paid $760,000 to purchase another house on Moultrie Park in a gated community in the tony Belle Meade area of Nashville. As for her privacy loving boyfriend Jakie Gyllenhaal, you ask? When not camping out at Reese's place in Brentwood, he very discreetly pilots and parks his Mercedes up a long driveway on Woodrow Wilson drive in a house that is extremely well shielded from any prying eyes and long lenses that might be cruising up and down the street hoping to snap a shot of him pulling out of his driveway or wrapped in spandex and pumping his bi-cycle up and down the twisty streets of the Hollywood Hills.

40 comments:

Quite Contrary said...

Damn her. Jake Gyllenhaal AND a country house to die for. I am green, green, green with envy.

Alessandra said...

The Libbeys always had good taste in architecture. Toledo, OH was their home base, and there are some fine examples of architecture from their commissions.

I remember seeing this listing in the Sunday LA Times RE section "House of the Week" and thinking it was absolutely divine. Then again, I'm fond of Wallace Neff, like the northern SoCal/central coast area, and am privacy mad.

The link for the House Beautiful spread really shows off this home's charms. The tile work, the alcoves, the details...superb!

Anonymous said...

Ojai is nice. Love the nostalgia - The Blue Vomit.

Anonymous said...

Now that is one gorgeous house! Good for her! She can act... and she has taste!

pch said...

Pretty swell property. I'll always love Reese Witherspoon for Election, but I'd think twice about shacking up with an actress who calls her production company Type A. Which sounds to me like someone needs a toke.

Oh, and the In 'n Out in Ventura is my favorite pit-stop on the way back to Los Angeles.

Anonymous said...

http://www.bergproperties.com/blog/actordirector-harold-ramis-former-wallace-neff-designed-house-in-ojai-ca-is-on-the-market-for-695m/3082/celebrities

so_chic_darling said...

Sean Driscoll the owner of Manhattans most exclusive catering company Glorious Food famously said when interviewed by the New York Times during the last recession of 89-92 about the effect of the economic slowdown on his business,"what recession?There's plenty of caviar behind closed doors."

fairfield girl said...

Go Reese
nice

Anonymous said...

Ojai is very nice. Driving on the 33 with my 88 honda civic. Eating lunch at foster park and then the peace of Ojai.It really cant get any better.

sandpiper said...

9:09, thanks! The idea that crazy brilliant Harold Ramis also lived here is fun to know. I love Big Time Listings.

This ranch is so enchanting. Such jaw-dropping detail. Love the House Beautiful spread. Inspires me to get a little crazy with fabric. I'd pinch my self every day if this were mine.

Here's another Libby Ojai residence on the market.

Anonymous said...

I looked at that house about three years ago, when the ex-Mrs. Ramis had it on the market. It's a terrific piece of architecture, and it's VERY western primitive. It's not like the GW Smith high-end, refined spanish style, but more blocky (in a good way). I don't know my terminology that well, but it's like a high-end bunkhouse, with cold tile floors, massive timbers and a fireplace I recall walking into without stooping over. It's private (even for Ojai) -- not East End private, but located in one of those folds in the road that you can't even tell is there. Last I saw, there were some new houses being built fairly close by; I hope the town has recovered enough financially from the Ojai Valley Inn boondoggle that they can stop issuing all those building permits.

Anonymous said...

This house was also featured in the fall/winter 2007 special issue of Vogue Living (with Jennifer Garner on the cover)

Anonymous said...

This house is still for sale.

Parker said...

Good for her; she deserves such a fabulous place to enjoy her beautiful kids and hot, hot, hot boyfriend in peace. I admire her so much. I've seen both Reese and Jake, and they're so charmingly down to earth and not about the insanely vain Hollywood scene. I think a person's home choices say a lot about them too, which additionally speaks so highly of her.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this property used in the first episode of "Brothers & Sisters" - where Tommy opens the winery with Patricia Wettig's character????

Anonymous said...

Nice house! I can picture Zorro on the balcony.

For today's insane Socal prices, she got a very good deal$ on the property. The lot size is nice and large. Plenty of room let kids run, or add buildings/orchards on the back-side.
And they can drive golf balls on the neighbor's two hole course. Four!



Google map/earth local -

34.4547, -119.2610

Anonymous said...

I don't see how valuing his privacy and not wanting paps to camp outside his house, constantly take pictures or following him a la Britney, makes Jake a privacy nut. I don't see you calling Reese or any of the other celebs who are in gated communities privacy nuts.

Viva! said...

Gut the kitchen, redo the landscaping a bit (ie more flowers) and you've got yourself a gorgeous home. Good move Reese!

sandpiper said...

Off topic...
The other day Our Mama mentioned an author, prompting dear Aunt Mary’s rare yet delightful comment.

I have nothing to gain beyond sharing my gifted guy with people I like. Scribble down his name for your next bookstore trip, Harlan Coben. His latest will be out 4/15, but start anywhere.

He’s the real deal. Good person. I even met him at a talk / book signing in my little town. Got a goofy pic of us together, too. Here's a quick sample of how he ticks, demonstrated in a heartfelt tribute to his dad published by NYT one Father’s Day.

pch said...

Sandpiper, a beautiful piece by someone I've never before read -- thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

Love it! No mention of the lone microwave on the kitchen counter?

Anonymous said...

The house that the la bianca's were murdered in by the manson family is for sale now: http://guests.themls.com/profile_page.cfm?mls=08-262139&p=11&t=1

wreckingball said...

Makes sense, I know for a fact she is friends with a very wealthy family who owns a polo estate in Carpinteria, she and Jake have been there.

Anonymous said...

The LaBianca house is on Waverly you dumbass.

lil' gay boy said...

Surprisingly lovely home; let's hear it for Reese and Jake!

I understand Ojai is a truly interesting place.

Anonymous said...

I live a few doors away from this property. I hope the stalkarazzi do not hang around. This is a small country road with no room for lots of people! I'm glad to hear that Witherspoon has purchased it, if indeed she has. It's been on the market for awhile...

Anonymous said...

I live about two miles from this property, and drove by it the other day. There are many "For Sale" signs in the Ojai Valley, and it's no wonder she bargained for this property. I can attest to it's beauty. But the whole Ojai Valley is beautiful. We live on an acre with much open space that cost a fraction of this property. IMO the cost of certain property here is outrageous. What she is paying for is land and privacy (though we also have that). This property is out of the way for Ojai, a block away is oak woodland and scrub, and Los Padres National Forest (no neighbors), perfect if you wish privacy. I hope the neighbors won't have stalkarazzi around. This house is hidden, and you can't see much from the road anyway.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

I don't care where in the world you are from, but 6 acres does not a ranch make ...

toddoroo said...

I love golf-n-stuff

Nolan Scheid said...

Hello ,
It is neat to find others hat are also interested in Neff's work! Some of it was not nearly as conventional as the home you highlighted.
I have started a history page on Wallace Neff Domes:
http://www.mortarsprayer.com/thin-shell-construction/wallace-neff/
If you have any more history or pictures of the Neff thin shell structures, please let me know. I would like to add to our page and preserve the history of Wallace Neff.
I would especially like to have some pictures of the concrete being sprayed on the dome forms.
Best regards,
Nolan Scheid

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.