Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Your Mama Takes On Tracey Ullman's House

SELLERS: Tracey Ullman and Allan McKeown
LOCATION: Pacific Palisades, CA
PRICE: $5,350,000
SIZE: 5,574 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Who doesn't love a little kismet? Over the weekend Your Mama watched–on the TiVo–the opening episode for the third season Tracey Ullman's State of the Union on the Showtime. Within minutes of the program ending–BLAM!–we received a covert communique from The Rolling Stone who whispered in Your Mama's big ear that Miz Ullman and her producer huzband Allan McKeown recently listed their Pacific Palisades pad with an asking price of $5,350,000. That's kismet, kiddies. Kiz-met.

Being a British gal and all, Miz Ullman started up her ladder of fame across the pond appearing in a number of sketch comedy programs including Girls on Top with the dee-voon Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. In the mid-1980s she had a number of hit songs–yes she did–and in the late 1980s, the funny ladee hightailed it for Hollywood where she did it up royally on The Tracey Ullman Show. Some of you children may be too young to remember this showbiz tidbit, but the high-sterical and wickedly satirical animated series The Simpsons–which happens to be the longest running sitcom in television history–was spun off Miz Ullman's program. Yes it was. Anyhoo, Miz Ullman went on to do Tracey Takes On... in the late 1990s, became an American citizen in 2006 and most recently she created and stars in Tracey Ullman's State of the Union in which she lovingly skewers political, social and pop culture in America.

Your Mama don't care what anyone else thinks about this, but we are of the satirical (and maybe cynical) mind that American life could use a little lampooning every now and then and we think beehawtcha is 12 kinds of smart and funny. Miz Ullman's 11 American Comedy Awards, her Golden Globe Award, and her 6 damn Emmys plus 11 more nominations think she's funny too. Not bad for a high school drop out.

Property records show the Mister McKeown and Miz Ullman–whose is officially, legally, Missus KcKeown–purchased their 1920s Spanish style mansion on a palm tree lined street in the Riviera section of sleepy, family friendly Pacific Palisades in September of 1988 for $1,800,000. Listing information indicates there are 5 bedrooms and 6 poopers in the walled, gated and high-hedged hacienda, although it appears to Your Mama that one of the bedrooms and one of the poopers is contained in a detached guest house that also includes a full kitchen. Our space craving and tyrannical house gurl Svetlana would pee her pants with glee iffin Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter put her up in her own little house tucked up at the back of the property. But alas...

Miz Ullman's house is clearly not nearly as funny as she is although it's not without it's quirky and even whimsical decorative moments. The front door opens into a dramatic, double height foyer with traditional Spanish tiles on the floor and overhead a small rotunda that from the exterior is perfectly appropriate but from the inside looks a bit heavy handed to Your Mama. Particularly when paired with the theatrical almost farcical staircase that splits in the middle to become two staircases and the monumentally sized arched window at the rear.

In addition the the large living room decorated in a manner that sort of makes Your Mama feel like no one ever ever ever goes in there, there is also a dining room with an antique chandelier and a Biedermeier-esqe dining room table surrounded by eight chairs with leopard print cushions. We do so prefer to see a rug on the floor in dining rooms and strongly feel this room would benefit from something deep and dark colored on the floor to ground the space and really set the details of that table off. Your Mama was not going to mention the wine-rack/boo-fay thing on the back wall, but we can't help it: Tracey, hunny, no. Do not let the movers pack that up and move it anywhere but the dumpster. Seriously. And the orchid? Jeezis. Really?

The family room and the kitchen are open to each other. In general we ain't got nuthin' to beef about in there and in fact we love that sofa built into the large, curving wall of paned glass that's evocative of the sleek streamlined moderne style. We also find the cooker to be sufficiently gore-may with commercial style stainless steel appliances with loads of white cabinets including the glass fronted uppers to soar all the way to the ceiling. Nice touch. What we find more than just a wee bit disturbing are the bleached wood floors. It's not that we don't like bleached wood floors it's that the rest of the house has honey colored wood floors. With all the Spanish tile and all the honey colored wood, the addition of a third floor color seems a little disconcerting, even schizophrenic. That issue, however, is easily fixed Anyone who can afford a five million dollar house can surely afford to install new wood floors that match the rest of the house.

Your Mama loves and appreciates the Miz Ullman and Mister McKeown have chosen to maintain the original tile in at least some of their six poopers. We well realize that a certain type of bathroom sybarite will find these vintage 1920s poopers to be insanely out of date and lacking in a few modern conveniences–like, say, counter space–but we love them. We particularly cotton to that blue one with the yellow shower curtain. But then again, Your Mama isn't much of a groomer–tis true–so we don't really require much counter space for lotions and potions and bottles of elixirs that promise eternal youth. We can easily get by with a few inches on either side of the sink for the toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste.

Out back, beyond the central courtyard and across a patch of green grass are a swimming pool and spa with an adjacent guesthouse and spa facilities that include a sauna and indoor spa room painted up in a particularly alarming shade of acid green. Ordinarily we hoot and holler and clap like crazy when we come across a house wherein someone had the decorative cajones to work some bright colors into the palette. Lo-ward knows Your Mama is so sick and ti-erd of all these tone on tone beige houses that subscribe with an almost religious fervor to the damn fool notion that a home needs to be done up in a neutral manner so as not to offend the decorative sensibilities of all the people who don't even have any decorative sense. We thinks that's hogwash.

However, when you take that acid green and marry it to rose colored accents and baby blue tile work, you've got yourself a real live four alarm decorative fire. So, while we do give Miz Ullman deserved credit for stepping way outside the beige box of banal day-core, this particularly egregious crime of chromaticity is not one that Your Mama cares for nor is it one we can safely recommend replicating in your own home. Lo-ward Miz Ullman, iffin we were you–which we are clearly not–we'd be paralyzed with fear of being sued by a guest walking into that room and going instantly blind from charred retinas. In the interest of public safety, Your Mama feels that we must suggest to Miz Ullman and her real estate people that they put a big bucket of dark glasses and a strongly worded warning next to the door letting people know that they're about to be physically and mentally assaulted with a powerful and potentially painful phosphorescence. It's the decent thing to do.

Anyhoo, why Miz Ullman and Mister McKeown would, after all these many years shacking up in there Spanish mansion, decide to sell up is a mystery. Perhaps they're looking for something even more celebrity style? Or maybe they're downsizing now that both of their children are college age? Perhaps planning on spending more time their home in the U.K.? Whatever the case, Your Mama sincerely wishes them a happy new home, much success with her funny new tee-vee programs and the good sense not to take any extra cans of that acid green paint to their next home.

source: Sotheby's International Realty

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

::yawn:: with the exception of the built in couch/window this house is a bore, which is surprising considering it's owner!

WhiteChocolateMess said...

That happens to be my favorite architectural style , yet the house is not getting me as hard and wet as I would have thought. Maybe some of the other chirren may help me get in touch with my feelings.... what's "off" about this house?

Carla Ridge said...

You know how Eskimos are said to have 52 words for 'snow'? I need one of them to describe the palette and day-kor of this gracious home 'cause all I see is WHITE.

bentley said...

I'm a fan. I like the scale of the rooms and the airiness. It's all a bit stark and lifeless as is, but that could be easily fixed. I know it's not in-keeping with the style, but some moldings, some wainscoting here and there, and a mantel or two would help.

I don't even mind the stairs, and I usually detest pretentious split staircases.

Anonymous said...

Both of the above comments are right on. Needs color. The house is gorgeous, but to pale. Love the curved sofa, and perhaps the very bright green of the pool house just did not photograph well.

midTN said...

What's "off" about this house is the expectation from the exterior of a wonderful 1920's villa complete with Mzzz. Ullman as Norma Desmond, loyal butler Max, the deeeelicious GigoJoe, all the wonderful dreck furnishings, and the only thing that would be missing is that Sunset Boulevard address.
Once inside it turns out to be a showroom for how one might want to furnish a BORING vacation time share in the Bahamas......(maybe).

Just My Humble Opinion of course.

Anonymous said...

I'm in complete agreement with Mr. Bentley -I'm drawn to the scale and I like the staircase, the windows, and the kitchen...and the bathrooms are certainly not the worst example I've seen of 'original tile'...I'm a modernist but I like it enough that even I wouldn't dare slap down travertine and burled oak etc...

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or would one need to have freakishly long arms to be able to reach the papier du toilet whilst sitting on the throne? Particularly in the blue bathroom.

Perhaps someone with enough money to buy this pile can also afford to pay for a personal bathroom attendant to pass them a square or two.

Anonymous said...

They've owned it since 1988? Did they live a life here?
I hope they lived a life somewhere else, or shipped the life they led here back to merry old England or something, because there is nothing much here, that's for sure. Maybe all the life got played out on camera. . .

MarkyMark said...

It looks "stripped and staged", like anyone who cared about the place is long gone. Hopefully it shows better; I suspect that the right decorator could make it as fabulous as Ms. Ullman. I still have fond memories of her as "Francesca" with her two gay dads; I wonder if Your Mama remembers the skit where they're trying to get approved by the board of a NYC co-op?

king jagiello said...

Fugly, she must have 'decorated' it herself. i'm surprised she lives in such a beautiful home decorated so tacky!

Anonymous said...

I like this house. It feels very comfortable.

Anonymous said...

MidTN...spot on.

I was expecting Mexican tile, lots of warmth, Deco furnishings...drama. The home is like a Flamenco dancer who turns out to be frigid. Just my humble opinion.

Cordelia St. Pierre said...

"Crime of Chromaticity"

LOVE that!

Somehow I can imagine Ms. Ullman taking a look at the staircase and arched window and thinking "Perfect! My first Hollywood home!" I can see her practicing all her characters on that staircase! I like the house. It just needs some freshening up and personalizing.

Beverly Glen said...

Very astute observations, MidTN and anon 5:36. It's a case of the insides not living up to the outside.
A bulls eye metaphor for Hollywood if ever there was one.

Rebecca said...

Well, I always suspected we did not share the same tastes, Mama. The first clues were every time you declared a fondness for white walls. But, to each his own, I certainly don't expect everyone - or anyone, for that matter, lol - to share my taste.

That bright colored room is my favorite, and my 2nd favorite is the dining room...particularly that buffet thing. :)

Everything else, blah. I'm really surprised this is where Tracy Ullman lived.

Anonymous said...

It's fabulous from the outside, but like a fridge on the inside.

I'd buy it, but it would need a lot of warming up.

Viva! said...

It's clear that it's been stripped of all personal features. Not one picture frame, not one bit of warmth.

It's very UN-Tracey...I suspect she and her family are long gone from this place.

I'd be very surprised if she left LA completely, perhaps she's moving to New York...but she strikes me as a Malibu kind of gal, I could see her downsizing to a beach house or near Stephanie Beacham's house in Point Dume.

Anonymous said...

it's not staged & already in escrow, fyi

Anonymous said...

That staircase reminds me of the one in "Mommie Dearest," you know with Ms. Dunaway at the top of the stairs holding baby Christina. And who can forget the scene where Mommie is gracefully descending, wearing that glitzy evening gown with the two-mile train, all the while exuding major attitude? My verification words are "wire hangers." P.S. Don't f**k with her fellas, this ain't her first time at the rodeo.

Anonymous said...

Except for the silly and overblown staircase, I l.o.v.e. this house. Throw in big contemporary art pieces and this place will POP!

Oh Mama said...

Except for the color - it's only paint, after all - I would kill to have a li'l glassed-in spa house with a soaking pool next to my imaginary HUGE pool.

Anon 12:31 haha you're so right - how long arms would you need to reach le papier?