SELLER: Kanye West
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 4,214 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Kanye West. What could Your Mama possibly say about Mister Auto Tune himself that has not already been said a thousand times over? Probably nuthin' but here goes anyway.
Kanye West is not a man who lets life happen to him. He very consciously cultivates contradictions in his image, an effort that regularly has him straddled over the fence between the high brow and the hip hop worlds. Here is a man whose momma Donda–may she rest in peace–was a damn English professor and yet he finds love–or whatever it is–what that Amber Rose ladee whose best asset seems to be her big ass and ability to land a cash cow.
Here is a man, a 14-time Grammy winning rapper, who strolls boozed up down the red carpet at the 2009 MTV Music Awards with an open bottle of Courvoisier. As if that weren't cliché or gauche enough he bum rushed Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech huffin' and hollering about Beyoncé this and injustice that and generally making a fool of his damn self. And yet he's a devotee of the haute couture and often seen camped out in the front row of Paris runway shows of venerable houses like Chanel and Givenchy.
Here is a man whose sneaker collection tops 200 pairs and here is also a man who collects blue-chip contemporary art. It may not be art to some of the children's liking, but be assured that those paintings by Takashi Murakami and shopping bag sculptures by Jonathan Seliger cost more than most of y'alls cars, Your Mama's big BMW included.
Here is a man whose over-sized ego is so legendary that it would not be the least bit surprising–indeed Your Mama would expect–that he shacks up in a flashy 20,000 square foot "look at me look at me" style monument to his success and wealth. But he doesn't.
In fact, Mister West's west coast abode, located on frumpy Fareholm Drive low in the hills above Hollywood, is a non-descript three story contemporary that he bought in December of 2003 for $1,750,000. Hardly chump change for most people, but not exactly superstar status either. The children will see and note that the interior spaces of Mister West's Los Angeles residence utilize the same paradigm of contradiction so well worked by Mister West in the rest of his life: The somewhat peculiar location and the banal, fortress like front facade gives way to a strikingly crisp, minimalist, and light flooded architecture that acts as a serene back drop for his colorful art collection.
But times, they are a-changing and maybe Mister West has decided that it's time for a krib more suitable to a man of his stature and wealth because yesterday he dropped his Desiderata Design designed Fareholm Drive digs on the market with an asking price of $3,995,000.
Your Mama discussed Kanye's krib way back in November of 2007 and since it appears that little of the day-core has been changed except for that some of the artwork has been moved around we don't feel the need or inclination to repeat the dissin' and discussin' of problems like the ceiling mural in the dining room or fine choices like the French walnut floors and go green with envy features like that dee-voon department store style dressing room.
For that the children must go here.
Mister West has also long maintained an east coast residence. Property records reveal that in October of 2004 Mister West paid $1,384,820 for a 1,589 square foot pied a terre in a newly built building in New York City's SoHo neighborhood. A couple of years later, in February of 2006 according to property records, Mister West snatched up the 838 square foot unit next door for $1,250,000.
In a stroke of architectural chutzpah Mister West hired genius Italian architect Claudio Silvestrin to do over the interiors. The result is a sculptural, elegant and austere space wrapped in French limestone and pear wood that's absolutely stunning to look although, admittedly, not so easy to imagine cluttered with the detritus of everyday life. The 1 bedroom and 1.5 pooper apartment–at least we think it's got 1.5 poopers–has a continuous and interrupted flow from the long, gently curving entrance hall to the seamless integration between kitchen an living room and then into the bedroom area that is flanked by a large dressing room and a monolithic, trough-like limestone sink. The windows are covered in floor to ceiling shades through which filtered light creates a soft shadow pattern that plays beautifully against the rigorous geometry of the interior architecture. This interplay of soft light and shadow combined with the warm, organic quality of the materials–the limestone and the pear wood–keep the aggressively minimal space from feeling stark or lifeless. It seems, strangely, full even though in the photos it is empty.
It's unquestionably a challenging, architecturally provocative environment and we imagine not one that most people will appreciate or like at first glance. But children, seriously, before y'all rush to judgment and go hating on this apartment, just look at it, really look at it. You don't have to live there, you only have to look at it for what it is: someone else's apartment. Try to see it that way. We don't care to live in such such a demanding and restricted apartment but we still think it's a magnificent and carefully conceived space done by a master of minimalism. We're sure we're going to take some flak for saying that, but that's alright. Our skin is thick. We dish it out and we can take it too.
photos: Hilton & Hyland / Alexander Davis (Los Angeles); Claudio Silvestri (New York)