Friday, February 20, 2009

Iris Cantor's Palatial Platinum Triangle Pile

SELLER: Iris Cantor
LOCATION: St. Cloud Road, Bel Air, CA
PRICE: $53,000,000
SIZE: 35,000 square feet (approx.), 9 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: ...One of the world's most important residential properties located in prime, lower Bel Air. Flawless detail & quality. Approx. 35,000 sq. ft. of perfectly scaled, palatial interiors. 8 bedrooms, 21 baths, media room, library, family room/office, 3 kitchens, staff wing, pool, spa & pool pavilion. Tennis court, billiard room wine cellar, gym, beauty salon, 12 fireplaces...

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Okay, we know that really rich widow and really big philanthropist Iris Cantor does not exactly qualify as a celebrity in the Hollywood sense of the word. However, this lavish living ladee just put her 18th-century style palatial pile in lower Bel Air, CA on the market with a blistering asking price of $53,000,000. So we're making an exception for her and her big house.

Now, the first thing we'd like the children to keep in mind is that, as far as we know, Miz Cantor spends a great deal of time on the east coast which means this gigantic house on swank St. Cloud Road probably sits empty much of the time. That is except for the considerable number of household staff it surely requires to keep a hotel sized house like this spotlessly clean just in case Miz Cantor pops into town and wants to host a last minute fundraiser for 50 or 500 lacquer haired L.A. ladees who have been sliced, diced, pulled and stretched into an Chanel-clad army of facial freak shows.

One would be forgiven for wondering where a single and child-free ladee like Miz Cantor gets all her dough. As gauche as it is to talk about money, we're going to anyway because, well, we're vulgar that way. After divorcing her first two husbands, the former model started working as a stock broker where she found her third huzband in Bernie Cantor who became the source of much of Miz Cantors millions. Mister Cantor, who went to meet the great stockbroker in the sky back in 1996, founded the bond trading firm Cantor Fitzgerald. Some of the children will recall that Cantor Fitzgerald's offices were unfortunately located on the top floors of the World Trade Center and that the company lost more than 650 of its employees when the towers were taken down in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Although Your Mama did not know any folks at Cantor Fitzgerald, we were just a few blocks north of the World Trade Center when the airplanes hit the towers and we watched in horror and disbelief as untold numbers of people leaped from high floors and the towers collapsed. Our cold, dark and snarky heart still aches for every person whose life was forever altered by that bizarre and tragic event.

Anyoo, we digress. Let's get back to the much lighter matter of hideously expensive real estate. Property records indicate that Mister and Missus Cantor picked up the small-ish but well-located parcel in Bel Air way back in November of 1991. It's unclear to Your Mama how much the couple coughed up for the property, but given that there was a bit of a housing slump in the early nineties, we'd bet our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly that it was a fraction of the the current asking price. The couple proceeded to build a massive monument to private wealth which they called La Belle Vie.

Listing information reveals that the colossal Cantor crib measures in at around 35,000 square and includes 8 bedrooms–or nine depending on where in the listing you're looking–and 21 terlits. Let Your Mama say that again...that's twenty-one damn terlits. No wonder there is a drought in California, all the water is swirling down the 21 terlits in Iris Cantor's palace of poopers. A couple other staggering statistics about La Belle Vie are the three kitchens (three!), 12 wood burning fireplaces and underground parking for up to 10 luxury automobiles.

It is our understanding from our always dee-lishusly informative pal The Social Butterfly–who happens to be acquainted with Miz Cantor–that the quirkily named New York based decorator Bebe Winkler was hired to do up the day-core and spent years working it over to within an inch of its life. Although the undeniably dignified rooms appear to our untrained eyeballs to be correctly done, properly proportioned and all did up with only the most labor intensive finishes and filled with only the most expensive couches and commodes, it's all rather fussy and Hôtel de Crillion for Your Mama's admittedly more modern taste in residential day-core. Do not any of the children misunderstand Your Mama. We would gladly give our mean ol' pussy Sugar to the devil in order to spend a week in one of the historical suites at the hoity-toity Hôtel de Crillion in gay Paree, but we definitely do not want to live up in a house where it feels like we would need to get dressed up just to pick our damn nose.

The heavily fortified front gates are controlled by a guard who sits in his or her own octagonal hut and open to a large motor court surrounded by very tall and precisely trimmed hedges. The spectacular and uber-grand entrance hall features a gigantic and sweeping staircase, a Volvo-sized chandelier and is topped buy a rotunda worthy of a government building in Washington D.C.. The mirror-like marble floors look shiny enough that Your Mama recommends any woman or man in a skirt who walks across this floor keep their knees tightly together lest their naughty bits be exposed to the man who answers the door.

Miz Cantor is known to possess one of, if not the largest collection of works by Rodin and several of the artist's pieces that have not been donated to museums–have the children ever heard of the B. Gerald and Iris Cantor Roof Garden at The Met in Manhattan?–can be seen peppered throughout the public and private rooms. Listing information reveals those rooms include leviathan living and dining rooms, a library/study, a family room, den, office, media room, billiard room, gym, wine cellar, and a beauty parlor, because hunnies, if you are as rich as Miz Cantor, you do not go the hair dresser, the beautification queens come to you. Daily.

We don't know if all 8 (or nine) of the bedrooms are as large and lavish as the gold and rose colored bedrooms shown in the listing photographs. But let's be honest...who needs to fly all the way to Paris to stay at the Hôtel de Crillon, when ol' Widda Cantor can put you up for the weekend in a behemoth bedroom fit for the Sultan of Brunei? We are going to force ourselves to look past all those vigorously swagged draperies in the bedrooms because although we puke a little in our mouth when we see such over-processed window treatments, they are exactly what we would expect in a house of this style and magnitude.

The grounds, which are far more modest in size than one might expect on a property with an asking price of $53,000,000, include a sorta small patch of grass, some formal Frenchy gardens, a sunken and properly positioned north/south tennis court and a swimming pool complex that includes a dark bottomed pool, spa and and adjacent pavilion.

Should any of the children in the position to spare several tens of millions of dollars to purchase, another a couple hundred grand every year for taxes and gawd only knows how much for monthly maintenance want to tour the property, we're told by Our Fairy Godmother in Bel Air that a 48-hour notice is required. 48 hours? That's two damn days! But then again, it probably takes two days for the terlit gurl(s) to scrub all 21 of the properties poopers.

It is our understanding that in addition to La Belle Vie, Miz Cantor also owns an apartment on Central Park South in Manhattan as well as a water front spread in Westhampton, NY which she picked up in November of 2000 for $2,650,000. It also appears that she maintains a posh place in Palm Beach, FL where prop records show her name attached to a property with Intracoastal Waterway access that was bought in May of 2002 for $8,635,000.

Miz Cantor tried to unload her big ol' house in Bel Air back in the year 2000 when she listed the stately estate with an asking price of $45,000,000. No doubt all manner of potentates and magnates looked at the place, but after almost 2.5 years on the market, the humongous house remained unsold and was taken off the market. Perhaps she will have better luck this time around.

42 comments:

brooklawn dr said...

When you first walk into the foyer, it totally takes your breath away. Not garish just mind-blowing. It's like you've stepped into another world.

The rest of the house, although exquisite and beautiful, seems unlivable to me. I mean, where would I put my cheetos and pepsi without leaving a ring.

pch said...

I never understood why she sank that much money into a house on this lot. I'd take my cash over to that huge empty lot (actually multiple lots) at Bellagio and Carcassonne. Three or four times as much land with frontage on three streets. Even if you paid full asking, you'd still have $20 million or so for construction before you hit Cantor's price.

I agree with Brooklawn about the foyer.

angeleyes said...

I agree that it is done very, very tastefully considering it's a McPalace and all. This is precisely how I imagined all the homes in the Beverly Hills area to be like when I was a youngin' growing up in N.Y. Imagine the shock to my system when as an adult I discovered how relatively few of them actually are. If the Sapersteins had any taste, their three ring circus of an interior would have been much more refined along these lines.

lmao @ "get dressed up just to pick our damn nose." omg Mama, I don't know how you think of these things, but I'm sure glad you do. I had a horrible 2 days for reasons I won't bore anyone with, but you broke through the clouds to let sunshine in again. Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

It purrs "Old Money".

StPaulSnowman said...

In this case, I can think of no better background for the magnificent bronzes than our old, oft maligned beige. Not too harsh and not too dark. Some day, this place would make a great museum but it will probably end up as the Old Movie Star home annexe. I still can't figure out the terlit distribution. Even with one for every bedroom, there would be too many to distribute without that institutional vibe. This was a great post Mama.........you really should have a TV show.

Anonymous said...

the real estalker is becoming very commercial mamma! could somebody be behind on their own mortgage payments? hmmm

StPaulSnowman said...

What is everyone talking about? Where is this commercialism? It must only be showing up on the coasts. Here in the midwest, it is the same wonderful Realestalker. OK, I do think that turkey turd tan banner background color is beneath Mama's aesthetic.

Anonymous said...

it was 55m to build. amazing detail on a very small lot. been by there a few times before and the house didnt look well kept. heard she had 19 staff members working there
Its the best house in LA by far

Anonymous said...

momma thank you thank you for bringing this fabulous piece to us children! You rock momma fabulous one!

Kisses

Anonymous said...

I keep oranges in my trunk!

babepaley said...

That is one of the most beautifully proportioned staircases I have seen in a long time. I love the paris hotel look too, but get rid of those god awful pot lights! I'm itching to see her New York apartment.
Loving you, mama

John Lafarge said...

Oh what I could have done with those oval skylights in the staircase dome! Surely she could afford me.

John Lafarge said...

Oh what I could have done with those oval skylights in the staircase dome! Surely she could afford me.

Anonymous said...

Expensive film set for a B movie.. People just don't have taste or sense of responsibility towards others, disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Mama love the post but did you know that Mohammed Hadid, the developer, has listed his own home on Nimes Road in bel air for $85 Million? 2.2 acres and 48,000 square feet

Jimmy said...

Nice, but certainly not the largest or most "regal" place on the street. The humble digs at #600 are something else. Noticed that Nancy Reagan lives at the other end.

Anonymous said...

That is one hell of a house.
Overpriced like the rest of LA, but still one hell of a house.

WhiteChocolateMess said...

it would scare me to live up in there. i would feel guilty about farting! it's all too much!

Babe Parish said...

Mama, I do believe this was my most favorite post ever! Your thoughts on 9/11 were very touching - thank you for sharing what you witnessed on that day. You wrote a witty, descriptive rollercoaster of a posting and I loved reading every bit of it.

i wish Jay-Z and Beyonce live here. this place is like something out of an Aaron Spelling miniseries.
xoxo

Viva! said...

Babe Parish,

It DOES look like something out of an Aaron Spelling prime time soap. It's the sort of mansion that, as a child, I imagined mansions to be. It's over the top, luxe and glamorous.

She probably just doesn't use the house all that much anymore.

Grrrowler said...

I remember when this house was in Architectural Digest a dozen or more years ago (which is where the listings photos are from I believe). I thought then that the place was too foo foo, but apparently they liked what their nice gay decorator did with the place.

Gwen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gwen said...

mama. whatever you do, don't sell your sugar pussy for nufffin, nohow.
(and especially not an amplitude of muchness, maliciously overwrought)

Anonymous said...

The outside is beautiful. The inside is shiteous! Bebe, this is fucking hideous!!!

Anonymous said...

I remember leaving a floating turd in that pool :) I must have been 16yrs old. I was invited with my parents. Also the sauna - I pissed on the hot steaming rocks.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like your parents did a swell job with you.

Drew said...

I always laugh when I see couched and loveseats in the damn BEDROOM. First, nobody invites friends into their bedrooms and second, who sits in so many different locations if they are in-fact the only ones entering that bedroom. It's just excess space filled with excess junk (literally). Why don't rich people just fill a smaller house with many rooms that look livable and an outdoor landscape that blows ones' mind (like a national botanical garden or something). Oh well.

Drew said...

Thank you college, lol... ^ "couches" ^ for my spelling correction.

lil' gay boy said...

Too, too precious; but if this is the kind of living that philanthropy buys, sign me up, Mama! I can weep for the hungry chillruns along with the best of them, and not even need to reapply the mascara. But then I'd be loath to live in the same neighborhood as that dessicated old stick insect we call a former First Lady.

But I'm glad PCH brought out my favorite w(h)ine first; once again is just too much California architecture on too little California soil; how could anyone hold a decent fundraiser on the grounds when there's barely enough room for a bouncy castle?

;-)

It seems to be little more than the requisite backdrop for her Rodin collection, and as Snowman said, it has potential as a museum ––– except for the parking issue; with so little land, and being located on winding St. Cloud, the only way to get visitors to said museum would be via the proverbial park-and-ride bus shuttle.

Call me deeply intuitive, but I just can't see the neighbors sitting back quietly every time some broken-down, semi-retired school bus comes farting along the street to deposit the unwashed masses at the octagonal guard house-cum-ticket booth.

Oh and angeleyes, I LOVE McPalace! But given its unyielding (if somewhat overblown) goof taste, I'm not so sure it applies here as much as it would to the Saperstein or Spelling piles. But it is quite evocative...

StPaulSnowman said...

LGB.........relax, there will be no tacky tourist buses to the Cantor Museum. The neighbors need not worry once the Disney folks install the monorail from the remote parking lot.

StPaulSnowman said...

Oh.........I was disappointed you didn't comment on the Safra post. Talk about a "dessicated stick-insect"! The image is very Edward Gorey.

lil' gay boy said...

Ah, the "Black Widow" Safra? Any one of Gorey's spiders will do in a pinch.

French law or no, if Liverspot Lily refuses to return the deposit, Mama will soon be posting what the "Late Widow Safra's" estate is asking for the villa. And we know just how well Gorey drew a tombstone...

The days of moneyed gentlemen walking away from a bad business deal with little more than the clothes on their back but their heads held high are long gone. Mikail Prokhorov is barely more than a boy & lacks the class requisite to walking away from an ill-conceived transaction.

I mean really; does he think he's all so powerful that he can force the French government to apologize for arresting him AND hope to get his money back?

If I were in her position I wouldn't be making any longer-term plans than lunch.

StPaulSnowman said...

Her Israeli body guards will have their work cut out for them. Someday Mama may feature some of the architectural carbuncles these wealthy Russians have built in their own country. They make Hadid's house look like a Robert Adam masterpiece.

Babe Parish said...

Hi Viva! yes, this place is as mansion-y as it gets. I'm gonna go get a load of the 85 mill Bel Air behemoth now. Toodles! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh my, I just love this house. It reminds me of the Mansions in Newport R.I. I have attended a few events at this home and even an intimate Tea and I must say that each time you enter the Foyer you are reminded of the wealth of this formidable couple. The place is perfected to within an inch of its existence and while at one time it was not being cared for Iris as of late has made sure that each corner of this tuly classic Estate gleems. While she does not need the money she certainly has her eye on the bottom line at all times. The maintanence of this place is crippling to say the least and now Iris finds herself more and more on the East Coast. I will miss those times at the lovely La Belle Vie.

Anonymous said...

Of its type- this is truly a beautiful house!
Perfectly done! The stair hall is amazing by any standard- and I would venture to guess that it looks even better in person, the photo looks like it was taken with a wide angle lens. The rest of the rooms would be much better in daylight, instead of the photographer's bad lighting. And a seating area in a bedroom is a perfect place to read the morning paper and/or have breakfast.
The furniture also looks like very good 18th century furniture.
This house is miles above most of the other large houses in Los Angeles! Just look at that awful Hadid house- with its bad proportions and Design Center furniture.
Whether you like French palace decor or not- one cannot dispute the fact that this house is a superb example of its type.

Anonymous said...

This would be a perfect pad for Jethro and Ms. Jane Hathaway.

Kieran said...

This is the best private residential interior job I have seen in America, of this style that is. So tasteful and perfect. surely tasteful must be the word of the moment. The entrance foyer takes my breath away!! Its on a crap site, but who cares? Put it on a big & better site and sure the listing price would jump from $53mil to $125mil, Id rather pay $53mil and have it on this site. Speaking of $53mill, thats how much they want for that pile of crap in minnisota (not american, so sorry if i miss spell your states)

Tom said...

It's been a long time since I was there, but I recall it as being extraordinarily lavish and very well appointed. Much of the furniture came from France. The artwork (not counting the Rodins) is spectacular. One thing I loved...in the "public" areas, the ladies' rooms have two stalls, plus a sitting area...because, it seems, ladies like to go to the "powder room" in pairs. The kitchens are out of this world...and there's even a dining room in the wine cellar.

Kidowan said...

All I can say is....I've seen, walked, crawled, and climbed every steel beam, lumber and crawl space while this Estate was being framed and finished. I know some its deepest secrets. Rooms within rooms. Walls within walls, layers within layers, made for Superman. Programmed its' automation, digital communications, multimedia systems, tested and managed its 24 hour well-armed and seasoned security, its electronic systems and defenses. From modest emergency prepairedness to well-engineered redundancy's upon redundancy's. I managed its staff (9 full time), and 6-digit monthly budget. Even lived there in my own apartment (a couple staff wings)for nearly a year with the family. Met A-List upon A-List. The residence is truly a collective masterpiece of artisans from around the world. As I recall, I watched iron workers from France, marble from dedicated quarries in Italy, limestone from dedicated quarries in Texas. Faux painters prove themselves as master camelians, 3 layers of drywall, 6 layers of paint, 1/32" and 1 arc-second tolerances, and yes, that is 100% pure gold foil and not paint etched through every crown and molding. 1000's of pages of pure gold foil. And sure, the Grand Salon could hold most two-story, 5000 sq.ft homes within its walls. Oh, the garage is about 5300+ sq ft I recall. Sure I was responsible for the cars, but I could never drive the Rolls-Royce or Bentley. Wasn't my drive or job. Though I enjoyed the unspoken order to have a most humble and kind of a elderly gentleman of a butler drive the cars around town at his leisure and keep them lubed up.

Augustus Rodin, Augustus Rodin, everywhere Augustus Rodin. I am so glad they were bronze. and Patina the colors of choice....They can sure take a beating....(the maids tell me)

As far as bathrooms...What can I say. I had my own. So did the chef, the butler, the personal assistant, the guards, the maids, the housemen, even a runner for the poodle "Cash".

Yah...."I was her first". I was the very first major domo (house manager) of this grand estate.....A boast of mixed blessings


Folks, neat experience and all. I witnessed many things there and realized I wouldn't want to be that rich as one can become a slave to that around you. Love your family. Love what you do. If you happen to make some extra cash, great, spread it around and do a little good in this world. And if you happen to believe in higher Maker, better still.
warmest regards,
Kidowan

Anonymous said...

This article fails to mention the millions of dollars Mrs. Cantor has donated to saving lives through the hospitals she's donated, and the support she has given to the arts. She is a great lady.

Anonymous said...

Some of the Rodins ended up in the North Carolina Museum of Art due to the generosity of the Cantors. We ended up building a new building to house the collection.