Monday, March 16, 2009

UPDATE: Ricardo Montaban

SELLER: Estate of Ricardo Montalban
LOCATION: Oriole Drive, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $20,000,000
SIZE: 6,679 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: The Montalban House, designed by Ricardio Legorreta, FAIA, 1986. A masterwork of cubistic forms and volumes are framed by head-on city, canyon and ocean views. The house reflects a spirited interplay of space, color and light typical of Legorreta's work. On an acre+ knoll, this legendary house features 3 bedrooms up + 2 bedrms dn + guest suite, den, huge LR, formal dining room, swimmers pool, large patio, and motor court for approx. 15 cars.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A couple of weeks ago Your Mama whispered to the children that we had heard from two well positioned Beverly Hills bean spillers that the bird Street aerie of recently deceased actor Ricardo Montalban was about to hit the market with an asking price of around twenty million clams. And, it has.

Thanks to Our Fairy Godmother High Above the Sunset Strip, we've learned that the architecturally significant and visually challenging house has indeed arrived on the open market with a big, round asking price of $20,000,000.

Now children, Your Mama asks that y'all just look right past the dated day-core and the upsetting mirrored wall in the dining room which are completely lacking in charm and have no viable or recognizable relationship to or with the architectural language of Casa Montalban. We ask not only because it's just not nice or in good taste to speak ill of the dead but because the new owner of this house, whomever that will be, will surely hire a smart architect (perhaps even the eponymous firm of the original architect Ricardo Legorreta) and a nice gay decorator who will work the place over, up, down, sideways and inside-out like only the very rich can afford to do.

The house is approached by a gently curving driveway that rises ever so slightly to the massive 15+ car motor court that has more in common stylistically with the central plaza of some dusty down in Oaxaca than the motor court of a heavy duty house high in the hills of Los Angeles that carries an 8-figure asking price. At the front of the property two tall hedges enclose an small area which could be used as a secret garden, a vegetable garden, a private play yard for the children's swing set or just for hiding unsightly things like storage sheds, broken down bicycles and chopped wood.

The residence measures 6,679 dee-lishus square feet of stacked cubes and vast planes that make Your Mama feel all warm and fuzzy inside. We understand this sort of residential architecture is not for everyone, but we happen to love these stripped down minimalist Mexican haciendas and their brutally unapologetic and forbidding facades that Señor Legorreta and fellow Mexican master Luis Barragán were so damn good at bringing to life. Always have, always will.

According to listing information, 3 of the house's six bedrooms are upstairs, 2 are located on the ground floor and there is an additional guest suite (or a staff suite if you're well to do and nice to your live-ins). The large living room features tiles floors and two gigantic windows that flank the fireplace which is really nothing more that a black hole in the wall. The windows look across the rear terrace, over the mountains above the Sunset Strip and across the glittering lights of Los Angeles.

On the north side of the house, a long narrow swimmers pool runs along a wide and private terrace which is paved with the same tiles as the floors on the interior and where the Montalbans could have tanned their nood booties in the scorching southern California sunshine, were they inclined to do so.

All around the house built-in seating areas beckon and covered terraces call for lazy afternoons sipping gin and tonics and reading all the latest gossip glossies. Landscaping is minimal, natch and consists primarily of easy maintenance and drought friendly cactus gardens and gravel, which is a good thing considering California is, in fact, facing a drought. And for the record, Your Mama does not want to hear about how some of the children think the drought is some sort of punishment from heaven or that it's just another one of those many things that make living in California such an obscene idea. There are disasters and drawbacks to just about every part of the U-nited States of America –do y'all remember that thing called Katrina that wreaked havoc on the Gulf States or the Mississippi River running over, flooding and ravaging mile after mile of the Midwest. If you prefer tornadoes to earthquakes or ice storms to droughts, so be it, to each they own.

Interestingly all three houses that occupy the same knoll as the Montalban House either are or have recently been for sale. Next door sits the relatively newly built Tuscan behemoth that belongs to some hedge (fund) hog and is currently listed at blistering $28,000,000 and next to that is crooner Lionel Richie's old house that now belongs to some bigwig Scientologist that has been for sale on an off since 2005 and was until very recently listed on the open market with an asking price of $16,500,000 (reduced from $17,500,000).

59 comments:

Viva! said...

Loved Ricardo Montalban...still hate his house.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I think it's way overpriced, just like the house next door.

Consuela...The Housekeeper said...

I weep for Ricardo!! He was so delish! But alas, I do not like all these sharp edges and angles. I know they were going for some kind of Adobe post retro modern ruins bullshit, but I really do not like this house. It has a very institutional look...weither that or a masoleum...and I ain't saying that because the poor soul is dead or anything. Plus that kitchen is not to my liking at all. I could not function in such a kitchen

Anonymous said...

You got to love it.
You can sell anyone anything.
" A masterpiece of cubist forms"
Really?
It looks like the house was put together with Legos.
An architectural masterpiece is something like The Portabello Mansion.
It has a beautiful setting and beautiful grounds but it is just a bunch of building blocks.

StPaulSnowman said...

A graffitti artist's paradise................

Anonymous said...

I wish all 3 owners of the homes sharing that knoll lots of luck getting what they're asking for them. And this one, the most expensive, needs obvious updating to boot. Now that's nerve - only in L.A.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite forms of procrastination is celebrity address aerial. Sometimes after checking out the specific house listed, I'll explore the surrounding neighborhood in order to waste a little more time. A couple of streets over from Harrison and Callista's surprisingly modest manse in Brentwood (on Layton, maybe) is a house that I'm pretty sure is a Legorreta that has been published. It's more typical of the Legorreta work that I'm familiar with in the use of deeply saturated wall colors, pink/magenta in this case. If it is indeed the house I think it is, it is an extraordinary piece of architecture. I'm sure the LA architecture boys/legorreta afficionados can confirm or deny this.

pch said...

It obviously needs some updating, and Mama has a good idea about bringing in the original firm. I happen to think it's spectacular, and especially love the massing of the entry facade.

Anonymous said...

20 million what a joke....thats just silly especially in this market...cold and sterile this place..it's horrible...i would give them 8 or 9 at the most

Anonymous said...

I agree with pch - wonderful house! I love the forms and how light and shadow play off them. I'd love to see it after it's updated.

Nan said...

The house is very beautiful. It looks as though all the furniture has been stripped away and the house has been staged. With as much personality that both he and his wife had, the furnishings would have been far different with more interesting surroundings reflecting their travels and passions, I think.

Anonymous said...

I really love this house on the exterior. But at this price (for not all that much house) it shouldn't be a gut rehab.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if 9362 Nightingale is under contract or did they just pull it off the market? Beautiful house but scortching price tag. Same with this house... even if the interior was fab it'd still be ridic!

Anonymous said...

9:19 - Producer Joel Silver has a Legorreta in Brentwood. Perhaps that is the house you found? I've seen photos but don't remember where it is in Brentwood.

Silver has a long history with restoring architectually significant properties including two Frank Lloyd Wrights - the textile block Storer House (sold about 5 years ago) and Auld Brass Plantation in South Carolina (believe he still owns, reportedly the only plantation ever designed by Wright).

He also has a large house on the beach in Malibu doors down from the Segal House by John Lautner (previously celebrity owned by Cortney Cox & David Arquette, now owned by LA Dodgers owner Frank McCourt). Around 2005, Silver was supposedly going to knock down the Malibu house and have a new architectural modern built but as of last fall, the old house was still standing.

Kieran said...

I love this house. Beautifully inspired design! I cant say its original as alot of the design is near replicas of a Mexican garden artest whom i sore I tv the other day (the artist is now dead, anyone know him?????) Its a shame about the inside, needs new interior design big time!! its beautiful, maybe not $20mil. I thnk $15mil would be fair?

Anonymous said...

you could have had 2260 Sunset Plaza for about $8m. Better view,interior, all day sun, built strong.

The agent needs to get his/her head out of the ass

Anonymous said...

http://www.montalbanhouse.com/index.htm

Babe Parish said...

LOVE the driveway. updated or not- i don't mind this place at all. perfect to host parties, bbq, paint, slather on the Bain De Soleil... smoke grass and relax! yay! (and i don't even partake!)

to anon 9:19 PM - i'd invite u over in a heartbeat!
you're my kind of poster...
:)

Anonymous said...

"2260 Sunset Plaza"

FOR - THE - LOVE - OF - GOD

It's disgusting & the interiors are absurdly revolting! Get an [architectural] grip! You need to get your head "out of the ass"

"The Portabello" in Costa Mesa? Give me a break! It's hideous & is in COSTA MESA! It looks like something that should be in Vegas - it's beyond tacky!

Ignoring the interiors, this house is true architecture & not some ugly ass pile assembled in the 90's with no taste.

Architecture is of course totally subjective but seriously, some people here need to perhaps study it before pulling comments from their asses!

angeleyes said...

Thanks for the update and interior photos Mama. I don't dislike this property, but I'm not in love with it either. To me, the style is reminescent of a modern art gallery, and has a bit of a commercial feel to it. To sell, I believe it's going to take just the right buyer with a bottomless pocketbook willing to pay the 'must have' price that's being asked. That could take awhile in this market.

Trudy Styler said...

It does need a redo.

You have to really know who you are to live in a house like this. This house would swallow the insecure whole.

I love it. Not sure I'm strong enough to live in it, but still, I think it could be stunning with an overhaul.

Anonymous said...

Love this house. I think it would benefit from some Barragan-like saturated color however. I'd redo the floors in a lighter stone and then fill her with abstract art and soft furnishing as a counterpoint to all the angles. I find this house meditative, calming and muy elegante.

NewYorkQueer said...

Mr. Mantalban was a great force for latin culture and latin people around the globe, his house is genius. A live-able spacial sculpture that I would joyously plop down that 20 mil if I had twenty mill.
Mr Montalban reminds us that rich people have a function and he fulfilled his obligation to supporting the arts just by building this house.
Give Miss Frivolity just a few short months to work her magic and we will all swoon.....

Anonymous said...

7:02 - I agree on the need for color. A lot of Legorreta's houses are more colorful. I think that was something that struck me when Mama posted the first story was the muted palate of colors. It may have been Montalban's request since the photos on the Legorreta site show this house in the same color.

Anonymous said...

This is a ugly ass pile assembled in the 90's with no taste.

The swimming pool hardly gets any sun during the day. What dumbass developer would put it on the side of the house?

Where is the warmth in the house? no carpets?

The house next door overwhelms this place.

Flat roof houses are more prone to leakage.

nice drive way but then you come to a courtyeard and house that is very dissapointing. sad sad sad.

why $20m? is there some greddy bitch of a widow waiting for payday???

Anonymous said...

Oh. my. god. Have some respect. Montalban's "greddy [sp] bitch of a widow" is dead also.

This house may or may not be worth $20 million to you or anyone else, but can't you figure out a way to express your thoughts about the property without sounding so hostile? Is hostility really necessary when discussing a dead celebrity's house? If this is the sort of thing that makes you that angry, well you might need to see someone about that because it's not healthy.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at the number of architecture philistines here. Just a reminder, I suppose, that you can be interested in real estate without having any appreciation of significant architecture. I mean what can you say when someone castigates the "developer" for putting the pool in the wrong place? Is this one of the best Legorreta houses? Probably not, but since he is the greatest Mexican architect after Barragan, any example of his work is significant. Luckily, other sophisticated and moneyed Angelenos have embraced him, making LA the biggest repository of his work in the States. Some people need to step back just an inch from themselves, and learn, yes learn!, how to appreciate something outside of their comfort zone, their "taste", their world.

Anonymous said...

i think most get the architectural quality and signifigance of this house but it does not overlook the fact that this home is WAY over priced and distasteful...

Will said...

I don't mind, nor am I surprised that many do not like this house. It's a difficult house for those who prefer a more literal example of the more common and accepted styles of residential architecture.

None the less, there is a historical vernacular and language for contemporary Mexican architecture like this. It did not just drop out of the sky but rather has a story as to how and why some Mexican architects chose to strip down and re-think the parameters of traditional Mexican architecture.

It's not so different as to how and why, say, abstract expressionism took hold in the art world. You may not like abstract art, but that does not mean it is without value or without a very real and well deserved position in the larger lexicon of how (and why) artists expressed themselves as they did over time.

Architecture, like art, is subjective and not everyone is going to like everything. But just because I like Rothko or Vanessa Beecroft doesn't mean I don't recognize or appreciate the genius of a Titian or a Vermeer. You say po-tay-toe, I say po-tah-toe.

Like some of the others on here, what I find most upsetting about the discourse on this particular house is the degree of anger that people have mustered and spit forth, calling Montalban's dead wife a greedy bitch and all that. It's uncalled for, childish and does nothing to advance any manner of meaningful conversation about the house.

In fact, it makes it nearly impossible to have a dialogue about anything substantive when people are so busy insulting and throwing stones at each other.

Can't we at least try to do better than that?

Anonymous said...

This house is fantastic!!!
Love it!!

lil' gay boy said...

Anon 7:02 said: "Love this house. I think it would benefit from some Barragan-like saturated color however."

i couldn't agree more, to really make some of the architectural details pop.

I absolutely love the massing of the this house, the carefully framed views, and the expansiveness of its siting despite a steep drop off one end of the site.

It's two neighbors, however...well the less said the better.

angeleyes said...

10:18, great comment and I hope people take it to heart. There's alot to be said for disagreeing without being disagreeable.

I think 7:02's suggestions are quite good. They enabled me to envision this house as something more appealing than it appears now.

The only real bone I have to pick with this place is the exorbitant price the owner is asking for a fixer, the source of the greed that has angered some.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:01

9362 Nightingale just came back on the market for the same price it was listed it. Funny the 9191 Thrasher just sold for under $9m for similar size and quality house. Nightingale has more grounds and being a brand new build some would say has more value.... but this asking price is insane in this market.

That said, the Montaban house is gorgeous. But like the forgoing property, insansely overprice. A reno job and this could be one of the most fab homes in the Bird Streets.

Anonymous said...

Interesting house.

The cube design sort of reminds me of the Getty Center.

The house is best sitting on a hill by itself like the Getty Center. However, flippers have gone nuts in this neighborhood and ruined the solitary look and design of this house.

He should have bought more land around it back in the 80s.

so_chic_darling said...

No no no this is all wrong. I love modern but why are the ceilings so low and why does the whole thing remind me of a cardboard architects model for a courthouse in Fresno?

Anonymous said...

I find it funny that all these people whine about this house yet shower the "mid-century modern" teardowns with praise. How is a boring block of old glass more entertaining than this? That said, the inside is nasty. The kitchen looks like that of some old grandmother in the Valley and ditto on the mirrored wall. What is this, an hourly hotel?

Hippie Canyon said...

Amen, Will!

Anonymous said...

If you do not love (or at least appreciate) this house, you know nothing of architecture and have no taste...

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to suspect there is a commenter or two here who purposely tries to instigate trouble. Witness the previous comment. It seems whether they truly believe what they say is beside the point.

Anonymous said...

Serious architecture, like serious art, has nothing to do with taste. Really. It doesn't. Good taste, bad taste, your taste, my taste. The one I like best is "tasteful." Oh yeah?

Anonymous said...

$ 20 million???
Can I get some windows?

Anonymous said...

Well, it ain't no Barragan. And, Will darling... as for "advancing any meaningful discourse" about this house... with all due respect to my sainted Mama, I think it would be unwise to mistake this blog for a Harvard symposium on mod-ren architecture... really now, are we here hanging on every word of our dear droll Mama's only to purse our lips and discuss these houses as though we are scholars? I think not.

Anonymous said...

Will, meet Anon 11:57. I think you two should dig out your girdles and Lily Daches (with veils) and join the Ebell Club (if it still exists) and set up a series of tasteful lectures for tasteful ladies. Tea and crumpets to follow.

Anonymous said...

Mama,

With all your posts that allude to Scientology owned homes, it would be interesting to see just how many the "church" has tried to flip over the years.

Anonymous said...

12:04 - that is the point of an internet troll, and we all know there is one in Mama's family. Can't have as many children as Mama and not have dropped one on his head a few times (or have Svetlanta run him through the washing machine as has been whispered).

Let's just not say the name. He's like Beetlejuice, you say it a couple of times and he's here to ruin another thread.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the house could use a little of the color that more often signifys a Legorreta. Perhaps take a hint from the colors of the Legorreta designed Pershing Square in downtown L.A.

Anonymous said...

2:43 - Let's not go overboard. One would need to wear sunglasses at all times if painted like Pershing Square, lol.

Anonymous said...

Here are photos of Arthur Greenberg's Legorreta designed home in Brentwood -

http://www.mlagreen.com/

Go to "residential" then "greenberg".

Just a little glimpse of what a pristine Legorreta looks like...

Anonymous said...

9:19pm - The Legorreta at the end of Layton Way is Joel Silver's.

Auntie Depressant said...

we are all getting along swimmingly, don't you agree? it's a beautiful thing. I am wondering just how long it is going to take for someone to snap!

Why is that dear? said...

Pershing Square? What a fucking ugly joke that is!

Anonymous said...

And there was the snap...

Now for the *POP!* of Mama's spoon.

Anonymous said...

Pershing Square isn't bad for what it is - a small public park on top of a underground parking garage. I wouldn't want those colors on my home but they don't bother me at the park.

Anonymous said...

this house had many sessions of bum sex in it.

Anonymous said...

The Montalbans were in their 60s when they built this house and had been married for 40 years when they moved in. Ricardo Montalban became wheelchair bound within the first 10 years (paralyzed from the waist down). Mrs. Montalban passed away in 2007 at 84 years old, Ricardo in 2009 at 88 years old.

I don't think there was much sex going on in the house unless it was the help. 1:24 is clearly trying to stir up the children and Mama needs to come around with the spoon. Have some respect for the dead.

Anonymous said...

I've loved this house since the first time I saw it profiled in Architectural Digest about ten-fifteen years ago. LOVE this house. Just a beauty. Mama, greets from New Hampshire and thanks, as always, for what you do!
Peace
JD

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Anonymous said...

great house, but the floors need to be changed.

Beavis said...

You can piss on Winona Ryder & her house from the backyard. That makes the 20 mill worth every penny!