Friday, February 27, 2009

Let's Talk About John Mayer For a Moment...

...but only for a moment children, because for some reason that we can not explain, John Mayer makes Your Mama feel a little icky inside.

Anyhoo, there have been some recent rumors and reports that Grammy winning musician John Mayer spent $10,000,000 on a new house in Woodland Hills, CA. Anyone who knows Woodland Hills knows there just aren't $10,000,000 houses in Woodland Hills, so the reports seemed a bit fishy to Your Mama. As we often do when puzzled and perplexed, we checked with Lucy Spillerguts and Our Fairy Godmother in the San Fernando Valley and with their assistance and input have come up with a somewhat different story about Mister Mayer's real estate whereabouts.

According to our savvy sources, Mister Mayer–who already owns a house in Pacific Palisades and an apartment on Lafayette Street in New York City–did not purchase a new house in Woodland Hills, or any any other place for that matter. It is our understanding that Mister Mayer is spending big bucks to lease a big house behind the guarded gates of the high priced horsey community of Hidden Hills, CA. According to records on file with the county of Los Angeles, Mister Mayer's temporary digs measure more than 11,000 square feet of pure, unadulterated faux-Mediterranean mcmansion.

Although we do wish Mister Mayer a happy home in Hidden Hills, Your Mama can't help but think his on again/off again ladee-pal Jennifer Aniston must be all kinds of put off and pissed about this development. After spending bazillions on renovations to her sprawling (and we hear) spectacular new house on N. Hillcrest Road in Beverly Hills, we just can't conjure the image of the romantic comedy queen schlepping out to the suburban wilds of Hidden Hills in her Range Rover so that she can hang out with Mister Mayer in a the sort of high end Home Despot lavishness Saddam Hussein would have wanted had he lived in Hidden Hills. But then again, maybe Ms. Aniston is so smitten with Mister Mayer that she'd go all the way to the porn mecca of Chatsworth for a little bowm-chicka-bow-bow.

Kurt Rappaport Is Flipping Out in Beverly Hills

SELLER: Kurt Rappaport
LOCATION: N. Crescent Drive, Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $28,500,000
SIZE: 8 bedrooms, 9.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: ...The finest estate available, located on the most prime and desirable block in Beverly Hills just above the Beverly Hills Hotel. Designed by Waldo Fernandez and completely rebuilt using the highest quality materials & craftsmanship. Spectacular 2-story entry, dramatic paneled library/billiard room, incredible kitchen opens to family/great room, magnificent master ste. w/ his/hers, theater, wine cellar, gym, guest hse, huge motorcourt, spectacular gardens & infinity pool.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Kurt Rappaport may not be a celebrity of the film or television variety, but he is a very high profile Beverly Hills real estate agent who has made a fair sized fortune brokering big deals for more people in the bizness of show than we could possibly count. The children who haven't ruined their minds with the dope or booze will surely recall that it was Mister Rappaport who took in thirty-some million clams back in the Spring of 2007 when sold his freshly renovated house in Beverly Hills to that disturbing and robotic Tom Crooz fellow who proceeded to spend many more millions re-renovating.

Shortly after vacating his house on Calle Vista Drive so that the Crooz clan could take up residence, Mister Rappaport snatched up tire tycoon Lawrence Kraines crib on nearby N. Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills. Property records reveal, along with information received at the time of the purchase from both Lucy Spillerguts and Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills, that just last year, in March of 2008, Mister and Missus Rappaport paid $13,200,000 for the 12,981 square foot pile.

Now, just one year later, after noted decorator to the rich and famous Waldo Fernandez worked the place over, the AAA located property has been flipped back on the market with a stunning asking price of $28,500,000. You have to admit children, it takes some serious real estate balls to attempt to flip a Beverly Hills mansion in the current economic climate at more than twice what was paid for it a year ago...even if it was fully renovated with the finest materials and is located on one of the most sought after streets in all of Beverly Hills.

Listing information reveals the Rappaport residence measures in at approximately 15,000 square feet, which would indicate that the couple either added a bit here and there to the house or they've included the guest house square footage in that figure.

Listing information also indicates the double gated stone manor house contains 8 bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms including a massive master suite with a vintage Verner Panton shell chandelier, a fireplace, a vacuum unfriendly, fuzzy white area rug that looks like it was woven with the hair bunnies of our sheding and seriously sour pussycat Sugar leaves, and, as expected, marble his and hers (or hers and hers, etc.) everything.

The huge home is entered through an impressive and, indeed, dramatic two story stair hall that sets the traditional meets modern (but not too modern) decorative tone for the entire house. The parquet floors have been picked (or perhaps white-washed, we're not sure), the walls glisten with a light reflecting white paint and vibrant colors pop off the furniture, rug and sextet of Andy Warhol prints (or posters, or whatever) hung high on the wall behind the gently curving staircase. The rear wall of the entry has several sets of French doors that open graciously and informally to the back yard. If we're being truthful, and we always are, Your Mama admits that but for the cliché orchids on the glass table, we're sort of swooning over this crisp and elegantly contemporary entrance hall.

Formal living and dining rooms are available for formal living and dining events, but it's the more informal areas on the ground floor that provide owners and guests with some lovely and casual rooms in which to actually live. The coffered, dentiled and architecturally serious ceiling in the library/billiard room has been de-stuffy-fied but stripping (or pickling, or whatever) the perfectly pleasing paneling that covers the walls from floor to ceiling, and adding contemporary black and white photograph over the fireplace. The effective juxtaposition of old-school and up to date is further enhanced by the simple and modern light fixtures and a couple of Art Deco era club chairs covered in mint velvet (or velour, or whatever). We are not normally fond of pool tables in private homes, but if one must be included, this one from the 1930s–which probably cost as much as a Mercedes–is certainly an acceptable option.

The rear rooms on the lower level include a white-walled step-down family room that is large enough to accommodate several seating areas has has a row of French doors that open to the garden. The family room flows into the newly installed kitchen which appears to have two of everything. For strapping on the feed bag, there is a long counter with a row of iron and wicker stools and a big breakfast area tucked into a bay window.

Additional amenities, according to listing information, that should appeal to whatever 8-figure buyers are still out there shopping for a new mansion include the large motor court, garage parking for several sedans and sports cars, a brick lined wine cellar, home theater, home gym, home office, and art studio and a dance studio, separate quarters for guests or live-in staff and an elevator because, let's face it, who wants to be navigating a long staircase after a long night of gin and tonics and reality tee-vee programs played on the big screen in the media room?

The newly added and simply shaped infinity edged swimming pool and spa sits in the rear corner of the yard and replaces the over-processed backyard extravaganza that Mister Kraines had installed. A very, very long stretch of newly installed sod is a blank canvas where the new owner's landscape architect can go hog wild.

As deeply desirable as N. Crescent Drive is to all those really rich people who know and care about the difference between Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Post Office, it remains to be seen if Mister Rappaport can get anywhere near his asking price. Unless he's got his eyeballs on something else, Your Mama suspects the successful property pusher is not in a hurry to sell and that he can, and will, hold out for a large number that rings his bell, wets his whistle and lines the Missus' Birkin bag with $1,000 bills.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

UPDATE: Sexy and The Spice Gurl

Okay children, if we have to talk about the real estate whereabouts of David Beckham and his faux-boobed twiglet wifey Victoria (whom we secretly adore), we're going back to calling them Sexy and The Spice Gurl, which is how we referred to them during their exhaustive search for an expensive home in Los Angeles back in 2007.

By now, everyone knows the couple finally settled on a $18,200,000 house in Beverly Hills with 6 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms and a swimming pool Your Mama felt was painfully small for a property of that magnitude.

Not even two years later, Sexy wants to dump the L.A. Galaxy soccer team and decamp con la famiglia to Italy so that he can kick balls with the AC Milan team where he has been on loan the last few months. Meh. Do we care? Not so much. Your Mama is far more interested in Sexy's lurid advertising duties than his soccer pitch statistics, so it's of little relevance what city he and The Spice Gurl choose to live.

Anyhoo, while in Milan Sexy needed a home away from home and, according to the people at People, Sexy recently moved into George Clooney's villa on Lake Como, about 25 miles north of Milan.

We need a damn nerve pill.

ANOTHER DAMN UPDATE, SAME DAY: Clooney's people say it ain't so.

A Lindsay Davenport Double Whammy

Despite the extra junk in our trunk, Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter are both avid tennis players and fans. Wimbledon winner and Olympic champion Lindsay Davenport happens to be one of our favorites ladees on the circuit. Not only does she have some of the cleanest strokes on the court and a punishing forehand that makes us weep with envy, like Your Mama, shes a moody player with a two handed back hand.

The other day we received a covert communique from Vlad the Revealer and shortly thereafter a second one from Mister Dave at Celebrity Address Aerials who both whispered in Your Mama's big ear that Lindsay Davenport and her investment banker huzband Jon Leach listed their ocean front hideaway in Ventura, CA for sale with an asking price of $5,500,000.

After a quick poke around the internets, we discovered that the California couple have also put one of the two homes property records show they own in Laguna Beach, CA on the market with an asking price of $6,395,000.

We call that a celebrity real estate double whammy!
SELLERS: Lindsay Davenport and Jon Leach
LOCATION: Emerald Bay, Laguna Beach, CA
PRICE: $6,395,000
SIZE: 4,999 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Revel in chic California Riviera style and impressive ocean views from this very private Emerald Bay residence. An abundance of space - a luxury within Emerald Bay - is found here, amid 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths and an open, flowing floor plan...Each room in this tastefully appointed home is finished with luxe materials, including artisan stone and tile, custom paint finishes, plank hardwood flooring, plantation shutters. Finished garaging for 3 cars plus golf cart and world-class Emerald Bay amenities.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Laguna Beach, once the sort of laid back coastal California town the Beach Boys crooned about, is now a place where old school hippie artists and surfers share the streets with rich white men and their over-injected and prodigiously implanted ladee-friends who look not so different from the too bejeweled and upsetting cat fighters on The Real Housewives of Orange County. Listen kids, we know we're making a broad generalization and not every woman in Laguna Beach has 6 pounds of silicone or saline shoved up in her boobies. But still, a lot of them do. If any of the children have been to Laguna Beach recently, as we have, y'all would know we are speaking the truth.

Anyhoo, property records reveal that Ms.Davenport picked up her house in the guard gated Emerald Bay community in May of 1997 for $2,040,000. According to listing information, the two story house measures a good sized 4,999 square feet with 5 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms, all of which is sqeezed on to a tight .14 acre lot.

The fancy-pants Emerald Bay community straddles scenic Pacific Coast Highway just north downtown Laguna Beach. Some of the more impressive properties in Emerald Bay perch precariously on and cantilever well beyond the edge of sheer cliffs that drop down to the Pacific Ocean. Other more modest but still atrociously expensive Emerald Bay properties climb the hillside on the east side of the highway. At the northern end of the community is a spectacular private beach accessible only to people rich enough to live in Emerald Bay. Residents of the approximately 550 homes also have access to a community center, six tennis courts, swimming facilities, an outdoor basketball court, three beach volleyball courts and three parks two of which have children's play grounds.

In order to take advantage of the over the roof top ocean views, Miss Davenport's digs were designed as an "upside-down" house which means the main living spaces occupy the top floor. The front door sits at the top of a gently curving and slate tiled stair case and opens a proper entrance hall on the upper floor which includes a large formal living room with fireplace, a formal dining room, and a family room, all of which have ocean views and all of which surround an ocean view terrace.

While well stocked with a full complement of expensive appliances, the island kitchen looks exactly like a million other kitchens in Orange County. We are deeply disappointed to see that someone has placed (probably fake) greenery and a bunch of ceramic doo-dads atop the kitchen cabinets. If there's anything Your Mama loathes more than a damn pot rack, it's fake plants and knick-knacks tucked up between the cabinets and the ceiling. Not only do we think it looks ridiculous, these mistakenly placed items collect dust and cooking residue at an alarming rate.

One excellent feature the kitchen does offer, according to listing information, is a handy-dandy dumbwaiter for hauling groceries up from the lower floor, a convenience our sassy and scrupulously stair avoiding house gurl Sventlana would surely swoon over. To the right of the front door and tucked away beyond the small office and powder pooper is a generously sized and well located guest room with a sweet en-suite, fireplace and balcony. While we love that the architect has been kind enough to put the guest room as far from the master bedroom as can be, thing that concerns us here is that guests will get too comfortable and be encouraged to over-stay their welcome.

Downstairs, each of the four bedrooms has its own private pooper and one of the secondary bedrooms also opens to a small private patio where Your Mama and The Chicken would have sneaked cigarettes late at night during our rather rebellious teenage years. The oddly shaped master bedroom includes a fireplace for the romantic types, French doors that open to a private patio, a large walk in closet and a good-sized if oddly shaped bathroom that appears to have a party sized shower and a separate cubicle for the terlit and the bee-day.

Interestingly, records show that in December of 1999, Ms. Davenport forked over $1,305,000 for a second house just spitting distance from the first one and also in the exclusive and expensive Emerald Bay community. Records indicate she continues to own the 3 bedroom and 3.5 bathroom house.

SELLERS: Lindsay Davenport and Jon Leach
LOCATION: Solimar Beach, Ventura, CA
PRICE: $5,500,00
SIZE: 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Beach front property located on a wide lot with 60ft of ocean frontage. Extensively remodeled, this Cape Cod style property has sweeping ocean and coastline views. 4 surf spots and access to sandy beach, this is an exclusive surfer's paradise. Outdoor patio with BBQ area and gas fireplace.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A few hours up the coast from Laguna Beach is the not exactly glittery or glitzy town of Ventura where Your Mama spent more weekends of our youth than we could ever count. See babies, our favorite, funny and foul mouthed Aunty Jennie used to live in Ventura. On our frequent visits she and our momma would often pile Your Mama, Sister Woman and cuzzins Lois and Toddaroohoo into a dearly loved automobile we called The Blue Vomit and dump us off at the low-brow Boo-ay-nuh Lanes where we were sternly told to spend wisely the five or six clams we were given while the two of them went for a few mid-day mai-tais at the Elephant Bar down the street. Those were some good times children, memories we will laugh about and treasure forever.

Anyhoo, let's get back on track before we digress too deeply into the nostalgic recesses of our gin soaked mind. Just north of Ventura proper along one of the more dramatic sections of Highway 101, where the mountains meet the ocean, sits a line of ocean front homes set on a sliver of land between the highway and the crashing Pacific Ocean. One of those homes currently belongs to tennis titan Lindsay Davenport and her huzband Jon Leach who recently listed the property for sale with an asking price of $5,500,000.

Property records show Ms. Davenport and Mister Leach picked up their ocean front getaway on Solimar Beach Drive in November of 2004 for $2,750,000. Records show the Cape-Cod-ish style house was built in 1970 and measures just 1,955 square feet. Listing information indicates the house contains three bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. It appears the street is gated and the small community has a couple of land side tennis courts where Lindsay and Jon probably humiliated neighbors during "friendly" games of mixed doubles.

On the land side is a front facing two car garage that forms a small courtyard where a fire pit and built in bbq area have been installed. Having spent much of our life on the California coast, we know how the wind can whip off the water in a most unpleasant way sometimes, so this interior courtyard space was a smart idea for providing outdoor space out of the winds way.

Although we don't care for Ms. Davenport's day-core and we would gone a different direction with the kitchen dee-zine, we still find this a very appealing, if somewhat unusually located beach house. The open plan living/dining/kitchen area has a wood burning fireplace for all those foggy mornings and chilly evenings, luscious looking wood floors, a high pitched ceiling and a wall of sliding doors that open up the the rear deck that is, thankfully, tucked up behind a revetment and stretches the width of the rear of the house.

At least one of the bedrooms, presumably the master bedroom, opens to the rear ocean facing deck and also has lovely high ceilings, which were surely an important and welcomed feature for the six foot two (and a half) Ms. Davenport.

Ms. Davenport was scheduled to play in the most recent Australian Open, but backed out after finding out she is preggers with her second child. Mavel-tov to the family. We suspect this might have something to do with the selling of these properties, but since we don't know nuthin' from nuthin' don't nobody quote us on that. Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter wish the couple the best of luck unloading their homes in a slumping economy and we hope to see Ms. Davenport working her stuff on the court soon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Your Mama Hears...

...From two separate singing canaries that the legendary Castillo del Lago high in the Hollywood Hills is soon to be listed with an electrifying asking price between fifteen and eighteen million clams.

(Gasps heard 'round the world.)

The 9-story fortress-like mansion on Mulholland Highway, was designed and built by John DeLario in 1926 and sits in the shadow of the Hollywood sign overlooking the higgledy-piggledy shores of Lake Hollywood. Originally built for oil explorer Patrick Longdon (some resources say his name was Patrick Logan), the house was once home to notorious gangster Bugsy Siegel who allegedly used it as a speakeasy and gambling parlor.

In the 1950s, the house fell into a sad state of disrepair, was vandalized and, at one point, caught fire. The property eventually came under ownership by some guy with the rather impressive name of Baron Patrick de Selys-Longchamps who, according a knowledgeable source we chit-chatted with, lived on the property for a few years in un-restored condition. The Baron sold to a couple named Willfong who did over and did up the house and, we're told, had it published in Architectural Digest. Records show that in 1990, the Willfongs sold to Richard Grossman and Lisa Lyons who happen to be the folks currently selling the old Cecil B. deMille estate in Laughlin Park. The Grossman/Lyons in turn sold it to Her Madgesty Madonna Ciccone in 1993.

The Kabbalah Kween quickly mortified and alienated some of her neighbors when she painted parts of the the exterior with red and yellow horizontal stripes. By some accounts, further renovations by the do as she pleases entertainer stripped the house of even more of architectural integrity. In a sensationally scathing November 2004 article in the Times Online, L.A. based architecture aficionado, noted real estate broker of iconic properties and nearby neighbor Crosby Doe was quoted as saying, "She wrecked it." Mister Doe went on to state, "They took the historic tiles off the roof, threw them in a dumpster and put on these Taco Bell tiles. It was one desecration after another." Oh, ouch!

In 1996, not long after one of her security staff shot a stupid and deranged man attempting to scale the walls of the property, Madge moved on and the house was purchased by prolific and award winning commercial director Joe Pytka who has owned it ever since. Records show he forked over $5,300,000 for the property.

Property records show the house measures 7,783 square feet with 9 bedrooms and 6 terlits. However, her trash talking brother Christopher writes in his salacious tell-all book Life With My Sister Madonna that, "The twenty-thousand-square-foot castle has five bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, stands of four acres of land, and–with its 160 foot lookout tower–feels secure." We'll let y'all decide who's figures are accurate.

Keep in mind puppies, that for now, news of Castillo del Lago coming up for sale is just rumor and gossip. Got that? Rumor and gossip.

photo: Pacific Coast News

Adam Levine Leasing Out Los Feliz Bachelor Pad

OWNER: Adam Levine
LOCATION: Green Oak Drive, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $10,000 per month
SIZE: 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Gated private Hollywood Hills celebrity estate on huge promontory. Half acre lot w/ panoramic views of both city & canyons...Expansive property w/ 3 bd main house & a separate guest unit. Wood floors, fireplaces, theater w/ multi-media sound system, security cameras, walls of glass that open to outdoor fireplace & the hippest private pool & spa ever!

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A quick dash through the rental listings on the MLS reveals that Moby is not the only musician looking to lease out his Hollywood Hills digs. Turns out that Adam Levine, the nicely tattooed and ladee-loving lead singer of Maroon 5, is looking to lease his Los Feliz area house at $10,000 per month.

Mister Levine, a slight but well built man who positively oozes a certain kind of smarmy sex appeal, has been linked to any number of high profile woman including Natalie Portman, Maria Sharapova, Paris Hilton (who seems to get around to a frighteningly large number of men and even a few women), Jessica Simpson, Natasha Bedingfield and a pre-Justin Timberlake Jessica Biel. For the last couple of years, dirty minded Mister Levine has dated a cocktail waitress named Becky about whom he revealed to Howard Stern (and the world) he screwed the first time they met. Some reports say the lovebirds busted up last year, but honestly children, we do not know or much care.

Anyhoo, property records show Mister Levine scooped up his, long, low and louche hillside home above Bronson Canyon in November of 2005. The prop records for Mister Levine's sexed-up bachelor pad that we accessed are a bit whackadoodle and vague, but we do know the property was listed for $3,195,000 at the time of purchase and the always informative Penny Pricegiver swears on her Birkin bag he paid the full asking price. We suspect he paid somewhere just below that number, but don't anybody go quoting Your Mama on that like we're speaking the gospel. Records also show the house measures a modest 2,045 square feet, a number that more than likely does not include the detached guest unit tacked on to the back end of the garage.

Listing information indicates the property includes 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. Presumably one of those bedrooms and one of those poopers comprise the guest unit. The open plan main house includes dark wood floors and good sized expanses of floor to ceiling glazing that slide open to merge the interior spaces with the terrace that runs the length of the rear of the house and overlooks the swimming pool and across the canyon to the city lights in the distance.

A large, square cow skin rug anchors the living room seating area where two clean lined white (or very light beige) sofas flank a fireplace over which a flat screen boob-toob has been hung. While we generally prefer to see a nice piece of art hanging above a fireplace, we also understand that above the fireplace is often the least problematic, if not the most discreet location in terms of space planning, particularly in modestly sized homes that do not have separate living and family rooms. However, listing information indicates Mister Levine's crib includes a "theater w/ multi-media sound system," so this tee-vee seems somewhat superfluous.

The kitchen, blessedly bare of overhead storage, is fitted with caramel colored cabinetry, gleaming white counter tops, and a long work island with a row of stools with white cushioned seats. The dining area features a mid-century modern table and chairs lit by a large glass orb chandelier that effectively mimics the round shape of the dining room table and the over-sized circular mirror that is, somewhat strangely, propped up on the kitchen counter. Could Mister Levine be so vain that he needs to check his hair while flipping on the coffee pot?

Mister Levine's bedroom has been sexed up with dark brown walls which may (or may not) be leather, a chocolate brown ceiling, black floor to ceiling cashmere curtains and, naturally, a king sized bed with brown leather head and foot boards. Opposite the bed is a second wood burning fireplace above which a large projection screen drops at the touch of a button for big screeen viewing of high quality porn and the delicious freak show that is The Real Housewives of New York City.

The rear terrace has been laid with very large, square slate tiles and includes an outdoor fireplace where a rustic wood bench and table make a nice tableau but do not look particularly comfortable for chilling out fireside on a cool California evening.

As far as Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter are concerned, the best asset of Mister Levine's property is the utterly dee-voon oval swimming pool and spa set up located just down the hillside from the house. A tall and graciously curving line of privet hedges surround the pool deck and ensure Mister Levine, his ladee friends and Your Mama can sunbathe in their birthday suits without fear of being seen by nosy neighbors. Mister Levine, or his nice gay decorator, have selected simply shaped (but no doubt very expensive) patio furniture with thick white cushions shaded by square shaped white market umbrellas.

It's puzzling to Your Mama that Mister Levine would want to lease out his lovely house in Los Feliz for ten grand a month, or any amount of money for that matter. Given Maroon 5's continued success, it's hard to imagine that he needs the money. Listing information indicates the house is only available to lease through October 1st, so perhaps Mister Levine is out on tour with Maroon 5 and doesn't need a home base for the next 6 months or so? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

If the gossip glossy reading children put on their thinking caps, they might recall that during the summer of 2008 Mister Levine's crib was splashed in vivid color across a multi-page article in In Touch magazine in which he claims he does not go out much and reveals that he's hosted some "wild parties" at his house with guest lists that include people like Prince, who probably tried to proselytize to the other party goers.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Moby Leases Out Hollywood Hills House

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.

Monday, February 23, 2009

UPDATE: Deborah Gibson

Last week Your Mama revealed that former teen singing sensation turned nood model and Broadway baby Deborah Gibson listed her Sunset Strip area house for sale with an asking price $995,000. There was nothing shocking about that in and of itself, people buy and sell houses all the time. However, listing information somewhat surprisingly stated the property was (and we quote the listing) "subject to a short sale," meaning Miss Gibson is offering to sell the house at a price less than what she owes on the mortgage.

Then along comes her pr peeps who subsequently told Perez Hilton (or somebody) that, "Much to the chagrin of media everywhere, Deborah is simply moving in with her boyfriend." Well, my oh my, isn't that nice? Your Mama genuinely hopes Miss Living In Sin Gibson is truly happy living up with her doctor/documentarian boy-beau. We do. Really, we do. However, that does not explain why public records we accessed through Property Shark clearly show a Notice of Default was filed on the modest 2 bedroom property for which she paid $1,275,000.

Miss Gibson's spinmeister went on to say, "As we all know, [this] is the right time to sell...and, this was it for her." Really? The right time to sell? Come on! Hunny, have you read the papers or watched the news programs? This is most definitely not the time to sell a house if you don't have to and, quite frankly, it's never, ever time to sell a house for less than you paid, you know?

It's entirely possible the Miss Gibson and her man-friend can well afford to absorb the financial hit from selling her house short. And we genuinely hope they can. We do. But listen to Your Mama here Miss Gibson because we are trying to help you. In some situations, and this would be one of them, no comment is so much better than having your pr person go around saying things that simply make no sense.

Let's Talk Mega-Mansions

Is it just Your Mama or does it seem to everyone like more and more mega-mansions and insanely priced apartments are making their way to the market? Just this this week, two unbelievably lavish residences hit the market with elephantine asking prices of $53,000,000 and $85,000,000. And that was just in Los Angeles. Exceedingly high priced properties are, in fact, popping up all over. We thought about making a list of the 10 most expensive residences in the country, but it seems that the folks at Forbes already do that on a pretty regular basis. So we thought we'd narrow our focus a bit and have a look-see at 10 of the most expensive properties on the market in the Los Angeles area.

Before we begin, keep in mind that as far as we know–and we could be wrong–only one single family property has ever traded hands in the Los Angeles area for more than $50,000,000. that was when former Global Crossing chairman Gary Winnick paid a mind numbing $94,000,000 (approx.) for the Weber Mansion in Bel Air which records show has at least 20 terlits and several acres of manicured grounds that jut out on a promontory overlooking the Bel Air Country Club. That transaction, however, involved a complex asset trade rather than a straight trade of cash for property.

There are a number of instances when properties in the L.A. area have come close to breaking through the fifty million dollar ceiling including when Billionaire David Geffen paid a reported $47,500,000 (and some say more) for the 10-acre Jack Warner estate on Angelo Drive in Beverly Hills and tool tycoon Eric Smidt paid a reported $46,000,000 (some say $42,000,000) for The Knoll, the long time estate of billionaire biznessman Marvin Davis that sits on its own hilltop above Schuyler Road in Beverly Hills. In late 2008, records (and our sources) reveal that billionaire Tom Gores parted with $56,000,000 for two adjacent properties on super swank Siena Way in Bel Air, including the massive mansion that once belonged to Verna Harrah, the widow of casino magnate Bill Harrah, as in the Harrah's Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. But that doesn't really count since that deal involved two single family homes rather than just one.

What all that means, of course, is that any L.A. area property priced over fifty million clams is a bit of a tough sell, particularly in the crappy economy with which we're currently coping.

Now children, please, Before y'all get to sending Your Mama a slew of nasty and hateful email berating us for not including this mansion or that chateau on our little list, keep in mind that we are aware our list of prodigiously priced properties is incomplete. Okaaay? If you want to be helpful, which is always nicer than being an angry, seething asshole, send us a nice little note pointing us towards one of the outrageously priced properties we did not include.

Okay, here we go...

1. The Beverly House / Owned by attorney/financier Leonard Ross, the historic N. Beverly Drive estate was listed in late 2007 with a coma inducing asking price of $165,000,000. Surely there were some looky-loos but no one willing to cough up that kind of cash because the 6.25 acre estate which was once owned by William Randolph Hearst was yanked from the open market in Sept. of 2008 and remains unsold. The property is no longer advertised on the open market, but we understand from a very successful property pusher in the Platinum Triangle that the 20,000+ square foot monster is "always for sale at unheard of prices."

2. The Manor / It has long been whispered and speculated that tee-vee titan Aaron Spelling's not always talked nicely about widow Candy was interested in selling her 56,000+ square foot behemoth on S. Mapleton Drive in the Holmby Hills. In fact, at one point it was widely rumored and even reported that she unloaded her architectural white elephant to an Arab prince for $130,000,000. She didn't. However, now that's she's reportedly forked over a reported $47,000,000 so that she can "downsize" to an (approx.) 16,000 square foot doo-plex penthouse at the yet to be completed The Century building in Century City, it's no surprise she's finally getting serious about selling. According to a source we call Nelly Knowsitall, the 11 bedroom and 16 bathroom hotel-sized house is going on the market very soon with a heart stopping asking price in the $140-150,000,000 range. When asked who was going to be listing the property, the usually in the know Ms. Knowsitall would not name names but did say she heard there will be two listing agents, one obvious choice and one much less obvious choice who "has never sold a house over $10,000,000 in her life." Ouch.

3. Fleur de Lys / Owned by Swedish born philanthropist Suzanne Saperstein, who was granted the outlandish extravagance known as Fleur de Lys in her bitter dee-vorce from Texas tycoon David Saperstein, the 35,000 square foot mega-manse (some reports say 45,000) has been on the open market since July of 2007 with a sky-high asking price of $125,000,000. We understand from someone who would know that the property has been toured by many magnates and foreign born billionaires, but after more than 18 months on the market, the 12 bedroom and 15 bathroom faux-French pile remains the biggest jewel in the couture-luving glamazon's real estate portfolio. The dee-lishusly catty Kenny Kissintell, a man who loves dishing real estate dirt even more than Your Mama, recently whispered in our big ear that he heard from his bean spilling peeps that Miz Saperstein did received an offer of $88,000,000 from a "Chinese gentleman," but turned it down. We imagine she's probably using one of her many Louboutin stilettos to beat her own ass for not running with that ball when she had a chance.

4. The Singleton Estate / Designed by noted architect Wallace Neff and built on a 7-acre spread in the Homlby Hills, the 15,000+ square foot Southern Colonial style residence was built by Teledyne tycoon Henry Singleton and was listed for sale in January of 2008 with an asking price of $85,000,000. Shortly after being listed to pomp and press, the 10 bedroom and 11.5 bathroom house on dee-luxe Delfern Drive disappeared from the MLS prompting some to speculate that a deep pocketed buyer was pushing forward with a sale. That, as it turns out, was not the case as no transfer records appear in public records. However, according to the always knowledgeable Nelly Knowsitall, the property is currently leased by hi-tech tycoon Halsey Minor who, according to Ms. Knowsitall, also has an option to purchase the place for a whopping $65,000,000. Given Mister Minor's alleged option to purchase, it's unclear to Your Mama whether this property is still, technically, for sale. However, should Mister Minor and family end up walking away from their purchase option and choose to move on to a home of their own, we're sure this property will land back on the open market with an asking price well in excess of $50,000,000.

5. Le Belvedere / The newest member of the mega-manse club to arrive on the open market belongs to real estate developer Mohamed Hadid and carries a porcine asking price of $85,000,000. The Nimes Road residence measures in at approximately 48,000 square feet and, as far as we're concerned, if this hotel-sized house were a person it would wear Versace head to toe, drive, a white Rolls Royce and go around screaming, "I have so much more money than you!" The 10 bedroom and 14 bathroom house sits on a 2.2 acre parcel in a choice section of Bel Air and the owner claims to have spent a jaw dropping $59,000,000 building the behemoth.

6. The Chadwick Beach House / Ever since July of 2008, real estate investment magnate William Chadwick has been trying to dump his ocean front spread in Malee-boo for the swollen sum of $65,000,000. According to listing information, the Cape Cod-ish style mansion on covetable Carbon Beach measures approximately 10,500 square feet and contains 6 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms including a sprawling 2,100 square foot ocean view master suite. The property spans an almost unheard of 150 feet on Malee-boo's most exclusive and expensive stretch of sand and includes over 4,500 square feet of decking and a 75-foot long beach side swimming pool and spa.

7. The Robert Taylor Ranch / Also listed at a staggering $65,000,000 is the Robert Taylor Ranch in the Mandeville Canyon area of Brentwood. Currently owned by former radio station owner Ken Roberts, the secluded 112-acre spread includes a main residence designed by renowned California architect Robert Byrd that includes 6 principle bedrooms, a three-apartment staff wing, four fireplaces, a screening room, wine cellar and a private casino/game room. Additionally there are four guest houses, a total of 17 full and 5 partial bathrooms, equestrian facilities, swimming pool and tennis court. The property has been for sale since the dawn of time with several different asking prices ranging from $35,000,000 to its current $65,000,000. At one point, the property was scheduled to be auctioned off to the hightest bidder and, at another point not too long ago, Our Fairy Godmother in Brentwood whispered in our big ear that the property was sliding into foreclosure, although it does not appear to be the situation now.

8. PickFair (or what used to be PickFair) / Once upon a time legendary architect Wallace Neff turned a humble hunting lodge into a legendary house on Summit Drive in Beverly Hills for legendary silver screen icons Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford which they called PickFair. The 22-room sprawler was later owned by L.A. Lakers owner Jerry Buss who sold it to much maligned singer/ack-tress Pia Zadora and her much older huzand Mishulam Riklis. Much to the chagrin of just about everybody, Zadora and Riklis tore down the original residence and replaced it with a 25,000+square foot monstrosity with 17 bedrooms and an incomprehensible 30 bathrooms. Now owned by Korean born bizness baron Corry Hong, the hill topping house has been listed since September of 2008 as a $60,000,000 fixer upper. That's right puppies, a sixty million dollar fixer upper.

9. La Belle Vie / Also new to the suddenly over-populated Los Angeles area mega-mansion market is philanthropist Iris Cantor's palatial Platinum Triangle mansion known as La Belle Vie that recently appeared on the open market with a staggering asking price of $53,000,000. Measuring in at around 35,000 square feet with 9 bedrooms and a total of 21 bathrooms, the 18th-century style pile was built in the 1990s with what would appear to be a limitless budget.

10. The Hutton House Estate / Located on a 5.2+ acre promontory high above Benedict Canyon and (according to listing information) modeled after Le Petit Trianon at Versailles, The Hutton House Estate was recently put on the market with an asking price of $49,000,000. It's unclear to Your Mama why it's called The Hutton House Estate and it's our understanding it's owned by a Korean woman whose money comes from hospitals or commercial real estate or something like that. The property records are a bit murky on this one so although we would not recommend repeating this like it's the gospel, it appears the unfinished property was purchased at auction in January of 2007 for just under $17,000,000, then finished by the new owners and flipped back on the market with a stupefying $32,000,000 price increase. Records on file with the County of Los Angeles show the house measures just over 22,000 square feet with 8 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, however listing information indicates the chunky chateau has 7 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms.

Our little list of ten mega-mansions on the market in Los Angeles does not even begin to include the large number of estates that occupy the next rung down own the property price ladder that are being shopped both on and off market. Houses in that still hatefully and largely prohibitively expensive $20-45,000,000 category include Cher's Italian Renaissance style extravaganza in Malibu listed at $45,000,000 and a 10 bedroom and 13 bathroom spec built house high above Mandeville Canyon on Chalon Road that happens to sit just up the hill from California Governator Arnold Scwharzenegger's house and carries an asking price of $34,900,000. About a month ago, big biznessman Lou Gonda, who reportedly lost big with the collapse of insurance giant AIG, quietly floated his 1.5 acre Beverly Hills estate on Lexington Road with an off-market asking price of $42,000,000 which was just days later reduced to $35,000,000; Although we can not swear by the veracity of the rumor, we also hear from Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills that Steven Udvar-Házy, another billionaire who apparently did not dump enough of his massive stake in AIG before it went kaplooey, is quietly shopping his vast estate in the 24/7 guard gated Beverly Park community for God only knows how much.

And that's just in Los Angeles. There are plenty of properties priced well above $50,000,000 all over the United States (and the world) including (but certainly not limited to) Robert Friedland's $65,000,000 estate in beautiful Belvedere, CA and car dealer Terry Taylor's Addison Mizner designed digs in Palm Beach, FL which carries an astonishing asking price of $72,500,000. There are also, of course, any number of monumentally expensive properties in New York City such as retail mogul Les Wexner's sprawling Fifth Avenue aerie which is "discreetly available" off-market with a reported asking price of $60,000,000, and skin-care guru Sandie Tillotson's off-market Time Warner Center penthouse which is rumored and reported to have a butt clenching $80,000,000 asking price.

One of Your Mama's better connected sources, a ladee who well understands both uber high end real estate and the tangled machinations of Wall Street, told us recently that she's not at all surprised so many properties at the very tippy-top of the market are popping up for sale. Not only have many very rich people lost considerable sums of money due to the economic tsunami that has hit the United States (and the world), the days of being able to borrow forty bucks for every dollar in your pocket are long gone. See puppies, like so many Americans, many filthy rich folks also used the equity in their homes like bottomless piggy banks in order to finance an even more lavish life than they could otherwise afford and have now been caught with their financial pants around their ankles. Not to worry, most will never go hungry, but they may none the less be forced to scale back their lifestyle and shed some of their excess and expensive to maintain real estate baggage.

We will all have to wait and see what happens to all these mansions and apartments with twenty, forty and $50,000,000+ price tags. No doubt, there are still plenty of unfathomably rich people who can well afford them. However, the question seems to be, how many of these freakishly rich people still want to buy these shockingly expensive trophy homes not to mention take on all the attendant hassles and crippling costs that go hand in hand with owning, running and maintaining such large scale properties?

Weeds Creator Jenji Kohan Gets a New Nest

BUYER: Jenji Kohan and Christopher Noxon
LOCATION: N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $4,000,000
SIZE: 5,919 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4 bedrooms
DESCRIPTION: On of the great trophies of Los Feliz, this Med. estate occupies its own pvt, 3/4 acre+ walled park. Find your dreams here: provenance (Huntington est arch., Bixby and Chandler families for over 60 yrs); privacy (matures ground); style (impeccably restored orig interiors); amenities (updated systems, chef's eat-in-kitchen, grand master suite, swimmers pool, guest cottage, studio); condition (move-in) and real value.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Both Your Mama and our ever-faithful compatriot Lucy Spillerguts have been watching this historic Los Feliz lovely for some time, since early January when we received a juicy but unsubstantiated tip from someone named Mister Eminem that that actor Vince Vaughn's new girly-pal was pressuring him to purchase The Bixby Estate in Los Feliz.

But alas, as it turns out, it was not Jennifer Aniston's ex-lover and his new lover who scooped up the historic estate just weeks after it was listed, but rather a couple of successful scribes named Christopher Noxon and Jenji Kohan. For those who may not recognize their names, Mister Noxon toils as an author and free-lance journalist and has written in-depth articles for publications such as Playboy, Los Angeles magazine, and The Huffington Post and Miz Kohan belongs to a budding Tinseltown tee-vee dynasty. Not only is she the creator, producer and writer for the Emmy nominated and Golden Globe winning program Weeds with the marvelous Mary-Louise Parker and the practically perfect Elizabeth Perkins, she's also the sister of David Kohan who, along with Miss Max Mutchnick, created the super-successful and award winning money-minting machine that is Will and Grace.

Property records now show that Mister Noxon and Miz Kohan scooped up The Bixby Estate, located in the heart of the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, for an even-steven $4,000,000. The children might be interested to know that the sellers of the N. Vermont Avenue property only purchased the three-quarter-plus acre estate in August of 2005 for $4,200,000. A few flicks of the well worn beads on our bejeweled abacus reveals that after the considerable real estate fees were paid the sellers surely lost several hundred thousand smackers.

Also, and somewhat interestingly, the well-provenanced property was listed at $3,995,000, which means that if property records are accurate (and they better be), the Noxon-Kohan couple coughed up $5,000 over the asking price, something that just isn't happening all that much in Los Angeles anymore.

Listing information and previous reports on the property reveal the dignified Mediterranean manse was built in 1919 and designed by an architect named Elmer Grey, who happens to be the same fellow responsible for The Huntington Art Gallery in Pasadena and the Beverly Hills Hotel in, natch, Beverly Hills. The Bixby Estate was commissioned by and built for a man named Stafford Bixby who was part of the Long Beach Bixbys who in the mid to late 1800s owned and ranched much of the land that is now Long Beach. At some point, according to listing information, the property was transferred to someone in the Chandler family (of the L.A. Time Chandler family) but honestly puppies, Your Mama does not know (or care much) which one. Since the whichever Chandler owned the place, there have been several other owners.

Listing information indicates the "L" shaped main mini-mansion measures 5,919 square feet and includes 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. However, a fast perusal the floor plan shows three principle bedrooms and 2 full and 2 half bathrooms in the main house, plus a staff bedroom and bath tucked back behind the laundry room. The grounds also include a detached guest house with a fireplace and private pooper.

The front door, flanked by two stone carved Chinese-looking lions opens to a lovely paneled entrance hall with a double set of French doors leading to the bougainvillea lined rear terrace. To the right is a graciously proportioned and paneled 33-foot long living room that stretches the entire width of the house from front to back. Beyond the living room are a home office with fireplace and an informal study/family room with an oddly located attached half-bathroom, a wood beamed ceiling, arched built in book niches and a couple of fantabulous arched French door windows that open to the rear and side terraces.

To the left of the entrance hall is the paneled and decent sized dining room with still more French doors leading to outdoor spaces. Behind the dining room are the home's service areas which include a breakfast area, a large center island kitchen, another half bathroom, the back stairs, a large laundry room and staff bedroom and bath.

Upstairs, two well-proportioned bedrooms each feature walk in closets and share a bathroom. The massive master bedroom measures a commodious 18-feet wide and 30-feet long and includes a wood burning fireplace and a small private terrace overlooking the front yard which provides a perfect and private spot for Mister Noxon and Miz Kohan to smoke a little weed before bed, should that be an illegal activity they enjoy. Beyond the bedroom is the large master bath where a large bathtub is surrounded by paned windows and a fashion fanatics dream of a walk-in closet that measures approximately 400 square feet and features a bank of paned windows for natural light.

The fully walled and secured grounds include a gated motor court at the rear of the property where the above mentioned guest house is located as well as another diminutive detached building perfect for a home office, art studio or hookah lounge and a detached 2-car garage with a terlit stuck up in the corner so that Driver need not ever stink up the poopers in the main house. Tucked into a private rear corner of the property is a wonderfully simple rectangular swimming pool surrounded by trees which will probably drive the pool man crazy, but provide a nice amount of shade from the blistering SoCal summertime sunshine.

Property records show the couple's previous home on N. Normandie Ave, which records show was purchased in December of 1996 for just $520,000, is close enough to their new one that they could probably push many of their belongings over in a few shopping carts borrowed from the nearby Ralph's grocery store on Hollywood Boulevard.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

UPDATE: Sting and Trudy Styler

Earlier in the week, Your Mama followed up a juicy article by Josh Barbanel at the New York Times who reported that Tantric sexing rock star Sting and wifey Trudy Styler's Central Park West pied a terre was going back on the market with an asking price of $26,000,000, a large number millions higher than when it was last listed in 2006/2007.

However, as happens sometimes in the murky waters of the celebrity real estate gossip game, apparently Mister Barbanel received some incorrect information.

Mister Barbanel originally reported that Mister and Missus Sting's 18-room doo-plex in a Beaux-Arts building called the Brentmore was going to be listed at $26,000,000 and handled by big-shit real estate agents Claudine and Raphael DeNiro–that would be Robert's son and daughter-in-law–who push pricey properties for Prudential Douglas Elliman.

A new report in the New York Times reveals that the apartment is actually going to be worked by a much less well known agent named Mark D. Friedman at Halstead Property and will be listed at a still very expensive but much less shocking asking price of $19,000,000.

Ain't that inneresting?

Listen puppies, Your Mama knows nuthin' about what happened between the Mister and Missus DeNiro and Mister Friedman, but you know it's a savage and sordid tale of revenge and deceit. Right? Okay, we don't know that. Maybe everyone was pleasantly cordial and hashed out the confusion over a friendly lunch at the Four Seasons. However, Your Mama well knows from personal experience the real estate world is a cut throat, dog eat dog sort of place, and when business is bad–and it is not good for most folks right now–even nice agents will verbally eviscerate and claw out the eyes of another agent in order to get a leg up.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Another Behemoth Bel Air Mansion Goes Up on the Block

SELLER: Mohamed Hadid
LOCATION: Nimes Road, Bel Air, CA
PRICE: $85,000,000
SIZE: 48,000 square feet (approx.), 10 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Dramatic location, aristocratic beauty, incomparable quality. Set on the most prestigious street in Bel Air, this three-story, approximately 48,000 square-foot masterpiece offers 280-degree majestic views of the city below and the surrounding mountains. The 2.2-acre property, embraced by a massive 1,000-foot long by 36 feet high hand-chiseled Jerusalem stone wall, is softened with lush foliage and specimen plantings, a swan pond and an infinity pool reaching toward the endless vistas. Stepping stones and monumental gates lead into the garden?s delightful tranquility. There is ample secure parking for 20 vehicles.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Earlier today, Your Mama spent considerable time and energy discussing the palatial pile in lower Bel Air, CA that philanthropist/widow Iris Cantor recently listed with an astronomical $53,000,000 asking price. That is, without a doubt, a lot of damn dinero.

However, Miz Cantor's asking price positively pales in comparison to real estate developer Mohamed Hadid's behemoth Bel Air mega-manse that has just heaved and humped its way on to the market with a spine-tingling, knee-bucking and mind-numbing asking price of $85,000,000. Lawhd children, Your Mama needs a nerve pill and a pitcher of gin and tonics just to loosen our mind up enough to comprehend a number that large.

In addition to having made millions developing 15 5-star hotels for Ritz-Carlton, Mister Hadid now dabbles in developing property for people who want 5-star amenities in their hotel-sized homes. In fact, Mister Hadid is the man responsible for the lavish mansion on Bel Air's N. Carolwood Drive where Michael "The White Lady" Jackson is currently holed up and reportedly paying $100,000 per month in rent.

Mister Hadid recently whispered to the lovely Miss Christina S.N. Lewis who pens the Private Properties column for the Wall Street Journal that he purchased the 2.2 acre parcel on super-swish Nimes Road about 6 years ago and claims to have spent an utterly shocking $59,000,000 to build the monstrous 3-story mansion that measures approximately 48,000 square feet and includes 10 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms.

Listing information for the preposterously posh Hadid house, dubbed Le Belvedere, indicates it is almost entirely surrounded by a 1,000 foot long retaining wall that stands 36-feet high in some sections and is clad in Jerusalem stone. Apparently, ordinary concrete would simply not do. One of the property's seven fountains sits at the center of a massive motor-court that spreads out in front of the imposing and seriously over-articulated front facade where the entrance is flanked by a pair of mature cyprus trees.

The definitely designed to impress the guests entrance hall has glossy herringbone wood floors and a curving Norma Desmond worthy staircase with dozens of heavily carved and super-fat spindles all lit by an impressively glittery chandelier that probably cost more than it would for Mister and Missus Hadid to feed fifty families for a year, which for all we know, they actually do.

According to listing information and recent reports, the massive main floor contains a reception hall, formal living and dining rooms, a paneled family room with a bar lounge (we'd need to be drunk to relax in a house this over-stuffed too), a music room, a wood paneled library, and a paneled office, and the main family kitchen, butler's pantry and staff room. If the children look really hard, y'all can see that one of the rooms with wildly intricate carved and ornamented wood paneling is, in fact, one of the home's two indoor kitchens. Your Mama was only able to determine that room was indeed a kitchen by the over-sized pot rack that hangs over what appears to be whopping work island.

At least five of the 10 bedrooms are located on the second floor–we're not sure where the other five are–and include three family bedrooms with private poopers, a junior master suite with a private lanai and mini-gym, and the ridiculously regal master suite which encompasses a sitting room, bedroom, dual bathrooms, dual dressing rooms and, strangely, a powder room. Now children, why in the world would a master suite with two living room sized bathrooms even need a powder room? Aren't powder rooms usually for guests? Do people this rich actually entertain guests in their boo-dwars?

On the large lower floor, Mister and Missus Hadid can easily entertain a few hundred of their closest friends in the ballroom that seats up to 250, feed 'em with the commercial kitchen, get 'em drunk in the 5,000 bottle wine cellar and make 'em sit through a home movies in the screening room that features obscene amounts of gilded ornamentation and a ceiling painted like a cloudy sky. We would die like that twiglet fashionista Rachel Zoe if the screening room ceiling changed from day to night like the one at The Forum Shops in the sensationally tacky Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

Also on the lower floor is a game room, a home gym set-up, a Moroccan themed room with a fantastic carved ceiling where we imagine the Hadids all gather to smoke the family hookah, and, finally, a barrel-vaulted and extravagantly tiled Turkish hammam where the Hadid clan can bathe and sweat communally with all their friends who don't mind stripping and scrubbing down in front of each other.

The landscaping and outdoor recreational facilities are no less lavish than the interior spaces and include all those above mentioned fountains, a swan pond–which is really such a bad idea since not only are swans notoriously mean, they poop indiscriminately, a 70-foot long infinity edge swimming pool, a 12-person, orgy friendly spa, an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven and a courtyard where up to 100 people can eat a casual dinner al fresco.

Additional amenities include staff quarters located over the garage, outdoor parking for 20 or more cars and underground parking that accommodates two limousine-length vehicles, 19 fireplaces all with heavily carved and ornate mantels and surrounds, commercial grade utilities and entertainment systems and, thankfully, an elevator because Your Mama is plum tuckered out just imagining the cardiovascular strength necessary to haul our big booty up and down and around all three sprawling levels of this supermarket sized residence every damn day. Hopefully the Hadids allow the household staff to utilize that lift otherwise you know they're cursing every member of the family every step they take up and down the back stairs.

So where does one go after selling a monster mansion like this? Although we don't know if he plans to live there or not, Mister Hadid told Miss Lewis at the Wall Street Journal that he's currently building a new, slightly smaller 35,000 square foot chateau-style house over by the Beverly Hills Hotel. If we're being honest, and we always are, we'd confess that we don't have any idea where this new house is located. We're pretty sure, but can not seem to confirm, that Mister Hadid once owned a 980-acre estate called Pokety Farms located outside Washington D.C.. However, it's unclear whether he still owns that particular property. Anyone have any insight there?

As an aside, don't the children find it interesting that there are so many so-called trophy estates currently on the market not only in Los Angeles but in New York, the Hamptons, Palm Beach, Aspen and all the other high priced locales really rich people own real estate? We do. Our Fairy Godmother in Bel Air posits that with no more 40 to 1 leveraging of private wealth, this sort of excessively lavish lifestyle is going the way of the dinosaur. Hmm. More on that later.