OWNER: Moby and Stacey Bendet
LOCATION: Cordell Drive, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $15,000 per month
SIZE: 2,298 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: ...This trophy property was updated and remodeled with style and sophistication. Formal living and dining room with 12ft paneled ceilings, parquet flooring, grand French windows, gourmet eat-in kitchen, big city views, street-to-street lot with gated motor court off Cordell Mews, geometric0-shaped pool with a classic John Woolf pergola adjacent. Two-car garage and a guest house.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Once upon a time, there was a nice gay architect in Los Angeles named John Elgin Woolf who circulated among and designed homes for Hollywood hotshots. Mister Woolf's client list reads like a who's who of Hollywood in the 1940s, 50s and 60s and includes (but is not limited to) Errol Flynn, John Wayne, George Cukor, Ira Gershwin, David O. Selznick, the dee-voon Agnes Moorehead, Oscar winning actor Ray Milland, the recently deceased Ricardo Montalban, legendary interior decorator Elsie de Wolfe, Bob Hope–who got a giant house in Toluca Lake, and snickering Tinseltown comedy queen Paul Lynde.
During his long career, Miss Lynde swished and sashayed through many boob-toob gigs, most notably as the delightfully camp prankster Uncle Arthur on Bewitched. The sharply sarcastic Miss Lynde also spent years in the center square of the Hollywood Squares game show where he shamelessly dropped double entendres about sordid and often taboo subjects and made pithy and barely veiled allusions to his own homosexuality. He was a television treasure as far as Your Mama is concerned.
Some time in the late sixties or early seventies (we're not sure exactly when), MissLynde moved to a house on Cordell Drive just above the Sunset Strip that property records indicate was built in 1926 and later re-worked by the late, great John Elgin Woolf. The house was probably did up and done over with the assistance of Mister Woolf's much younger lover Robert Woolf who became a noted aesthete and decorator to the stars. Together, the couple created what has become known as the Hollywood Regency style of architecture and day-core which, in more recent years, has been revived by big-shit decorator and hair-do trailblazer Kelly Wearstler.
The story of John Woolf and his much younger man-friend Robert is nothing if not an interesting story. See, the elder Woolf ended up legally adopting his young lover Robert. Yes, children, he did. As it turns out, the March 2009 issue of Vanity Fair profiles the odd couple who together went on to bring two more gentlemen into their unconventional family, a situation which Your Mama is quite certain completely freaks out all those "family values" types who are making a colossal kerfuffle about the gays getting married because they fear giving equal rights to homosexuals will turn into a slippery slope where people may soon want to marry their cat or their bathtub. Pleeze.
Anyhoo, as interesting as the Woolf quartet may be and as vitally important as civil rights are, let's move on to the matter at hand which is a hillside house in the Hollywood Hills currently owned by pixieish music man Moby and gal pal Stacey Bendet, the New York City social scenester who–as some of you fashionistas may know–is the designer for the alice + olivia clothing line.
According to property records and reports from the time, the east coast based buddies together bought a west coast crib on Cordell Drive in February of 2008 for $2,950,000. The plan–at least according to Ruth Ryon who used to pen the Hot Properties column at the L.A. Times–was for Miss Bendet to use the house a s style salon for her long list of celebrity clients and for Moby to convert the garage/guest house into a recording studio. However, shortly after buying the house, Miss Bendet up and married Hollywood scion Eric Eisner, son of Michael, which may (or may not) explain why she and Moby have chosen not to shack up together in the Hollywood Hills and have put their Woolf designed digs up for lease at $15,000 per month.
Listing information and property records show the three story house measures 2,298 square feet and includes 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. The house, entered on the top floor, includes a lovely living room with a small wood burning fireplace, white walls, dark stained parquet floors and a trio of arched windows, two of which open to a small balcony overlooking the swimming pool below and the glittery lights of Los Angeles beyond.
The adjacent dining room also has dark stained parquet floors and also has a trio of arched windows, two of which also open to a small balcony with amazing views. The dining room walls, however, have been painted (or perhaps wallpapered) in vertical black and white stripes. This treatment looks very capital "g" Glam, particularly when paired with a glittery crystal chandelier that looks like icicles and a ceiling paneled with what appears to be mirrors. We're not sure a space this visually complex would be a room we'd want to eat in, but we are 100% positive it's a soo-blimely perfect space in which to have stick thin models parade around in high heels showing off alice + olivia fashions for a bunch of rich and famous folks.
The almost all white kitchen has more dark wood floors, a lot of white cabinetry and, natch, a bunch of stainless steel appliances. This kitchen certainly isn't going to win any design awards, but Your Mama can imagine with a custom sized sisal rug, a country style round black table and some orange Panton chairs, this could be a kitchen we could love even if it does look like it may lack as much natural light as is optimal in a kitchen.
The "geometric" swimming pool is labeled so because if y'all look really hard you can see it's not quite a perfect rectangle. A terrific terrace over looks the city and includes an quintessential John Woolf pergola from which someone has whimsically and asymmetrically strung two strands of Christmas lights. While Your Mama is positively swooning over the swimming pool and terrace, we are more than a bit concerned about what happens when one gets thirsty or needs to use the terlit. It's entirely possible the lowest floor of the house, which is easily accessible from the pool deck, contains a bathroom and mini-kitchen. However, we might suggest enclosing Mister Woolf's mansard roofed pergola–as we think it originally was–and installing a more convenient wet bar and poolside pooper.
The property continues to spill down the hillside where a gated motor court, garage and guest house can be accessed from a side street. This is all very agreeable, particularly since there appears to be no off street parking at the front of the house and street parking in these parts of the Hollywood Hills can sometimes be a bit of a burden. However, the number of stairs from the motor court to the top floor of the house where the kitchen is located is sure to give the weak-hearted and thin limbed some serious trouble. It would also give our vicious tongued house gurl Svetlana conniptions on those days when she'd need to haul the vacuum down to and back up from the guest house that sits adjacent to the garage.
None the less, we just might be willing to endure Svetlana copping a 'tude in order to to sip gin and tonics on that small but near perfect pool deck while the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean in the far off distance.
Many of John Elgin Woolf's amazing architectural creations still stand including the Pendleton House on N. Beverly Drive which has long been the home of sexpot producer Bob Evans and a spectacular house in Beverly Hills built in 1962 for Congressman Alphonso Bell Jr., whose family developed and gave their name to number of communities in Southern California including Bel Air. The Bell House, located just off Coldwater Canyon Drive on Lexington Road, is currently owned by notoriously brash, ballsy and foul mouthed super agent Sue Mengers (now retired) whose client list included folks like Barbra Streisand, Sidney Lumet, Jack Nicholson, Bob Fosse, Burt Reynolds, Cher, Peter Bogdanovich, Steve McQueen and on and on and on.