Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday's Big Money Odds and Ends

Your Mama finds our little big bootied self with too much to discuss this Monday morning, but little, it turns out, about big name famous people. So instead we're going to run through a few high-priced and big square footage situations going on around the country.

Last week, or maybe it was the week before, Your Mama passed along the real estate rumor we heard about former vice-president and global warming guru Al Gore buying a house in uppity Montecito–a rumor that was confirmed a week later by the Wall Street Journal.

Today we're going back to Montecito to discuss a a property brought to our attention over the weekend by Willie Wantstoknow, a very contemporary and recently completed glass pavilion on the market with a sphincter clenching asking price of $35,000,000.

Your Mama knew not a thing about the house so, naturally, we took the the internets and did a wee bit of research. It took Your Mama all of about 42 seconds to figure out that the Ashley Road residence was designed, built and currently owned by well known designer/builder/high end house flipper Steve Hermann.

It's not quite clear exactly what Mister Hermann paid for the property in Montecito but between public property records and an older listing Your Mama squirreled out of the interweb we figured out that the 3.49 acre parcel was either listed or sold for $3,450,000. At the time Mister Hermann bought the Oak grove ringed property with babbling brook there was not an existing house.

Using Mies van der Rohe's groundbreaking Barcelona Pavilion and Farnsworth House as well as the late great Philip Johnson's iconic Glass House as obvious references and architectural starting points, Mister Hermann erected his own version of a steel and glass residence that he not exactly cleverly calls The Glass Pavilion. According to the website set up for the property, the Mister Hermann's minimal mansion "catapults these concepts into the new millennium."

In September of 2005, Mister Hermann and his Santa Barbara based architect Sophie Calvin met with the Montecito Board of Architectural Review Committee requesting final review for the residence, which at that time was designed with "approximately 8,889 square feet." Listing information for the property puts the sleek and sexy residence at around 15,000 square feet under roof, a number that Your Mama assumes includes the white floored and walnut-walled art gallery/parking facilities large enough to display a world class collection or to park 32 automobiles.

The flat roofed structure appears to hover a few inches above the perfectly clipped lawn and includes massive walls of book ended marble slabs and barely there walls of crystal clear glass that Your Mama imagines don't look quite as nice streaked with dog nose juice or smudged by the hands of visiting children whose parent's think it's cute to see their children's faces pressed up against the glass.

It's not clear how many bedrooms and poopers Mister Hermann included in The Glass Pavilion but there is at least one, a massive master suite that encompasses a behemoth bedroom that features a floor to ceiling wall of glass, natch, and a fireplace cut in the marble slab wall. The master pooper is not for privacy seekers or the architectural feint of heart. See celery sticks, one entire wall of glass obliterates any sense of barrier or privacy between the indoors and the outdoors. Even the shower, a gigantic marble lined room with multiple shower heads, has a glass wall. Imagine the amount of squeegeeing the house gurl must do in there.

Mister Hermann clearly hopes to make a very serious architectural statement, set an acknowledged architectural standard, and make a few million clams in the process. He may need a little bit of luck given that he recently unloaded a house on Carla Ridge in Beverly Hills, for $7,200,000, under the construction costs according to listing information and well below the $11,900,000 he originally wanted for the house.

Mister Hermann has a long history of selling his houses to celebrities including Frankie Muniz, Byron Allen, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, and Christina Aguilera whose Hermann designed house on Devlin Drive has been for sale since April of 2008 and remains on the market with an asking price of $6,250,000.

Mister Hermann's modern folly in Montecito positively pales in comparison to the steroidal hot mess that time share tycoon David Siegel's Windermere, FL recently heaved on to the market with an asking price of–what for it, wait for it–$100,000,000. That's right puppies, this gentleman and his wife Jacqueline, a socialite and, ugh, beauty pageant producer–have not even finished building their 90,000 square foot monster mansion that they've dubbed–wait for it, wait for it–Versailles, and they've already put it on the market. Versailles! Have mercy, puppies. Could there be anything more uncouth than naming your newly built, Wal-Mart sized house Versailles? Your Mama would laugh our socks off if it just weren't so damn sad.

Anyhoo, previous reports and listing information for the property show the shockingly opulent and laughably lavish "residence" has a long list of amenities that will stop the hearts of even the most jaded real estate watchers. Buckle your safety belts butter beans: There are 13 bedrooms including and 8,000 square foot master suite, 23 poopers, a 2-story tall front door that weigh more than a ton, a 7,200 square foot ballroom/entrance gallery with a 30-foot stained glass dome and 2 staircases, a total of 11 kitchens, 2 movie theaters–one for the children and one for the adults that looks like the Paris Opera House–full service spa with massage room, underground parking for 20 cars, a 20,000 bottle wine cellar, two-lane bowling alley, video arcade, 3 swimming pools including one that is a half acre in size, a rock grotto with 3 separate spas behind an 80-foot waterfall, full-sized baseball diamond, two tennis courts, and an indoor roller rink.

In an interview from the spring of 2009, Missus Siegel said even though she and the Mister were building the biggest house in America–one that is nearly twice the size of the damn White House–they still wanted it to be a home. A home with 11 kitchens and 2 movie theaters, but a home none the less. Misss Siegel seems to have a bit of the Candy Spelling Syndrome. The "I didn't know we were building such a big house because I don't know how to read architectural plans." According to Missus Siegel, they did not set out to build the biggest house in America, but since they have 8 damn children (and 5 nannies) they just kept adding things to accommodate their large family, things like an indoor roller rink, and pretty soon they were at 90,000 square feet. She also claims she didn't know they were building the biggest house in the country until people like Robin Leach and their security system installers told them it was the biggest house in America. Oh lo-ward, does anyone else need a nerve pill?

We don't know Missus Siegel and certainly don't expect so we don't really know what kind of person she is other than how she chooses to represent her self in interviews...interviews she agreed to do. But we can't help but be left with a bitter and icky taste in our mouth about a woman who while touring the interviewer through their not yet completed palace had the ugly audacity to reveal that she and the Mister didn't exchange Christmas gifts in 2008 because, "you know, since times are tough." Really? Your Mama does not begrudge anyone their wealth or their creature comforts but ladees like Missus Siegel ought to learn to watch her damn mouth because is there really anything more hideously pretentious than touring someone around your new 90,000 square foot house and then acting like you can sympathize with people who have real money problems? The kind of money problems that mean their children sometimes go hungry. Bitch please. We know you came from modest circumstances Missus Siegel, but if you're going to live like an oil rich Arab royal, Missus Siegel, you're really better off just owning it and not making and vapid apologies and excuses for it.

One has to wonder why, in this crappy economy, a time that even has the super rich keeping a tight pull on their purse strings, that Mister and Missus Siegel would chose to sell. Hmm. Did they have a moment of sanity and realize that a 90,000 square foot house–even for a family of 10–is utterly preposterous? Is it another attempt at pretending to be humble? Or are their other issues?

Speaking of audacity, Your Mama has been getting scads of emails and phone calls the last couple of days regarding the Holmby Hills mansion where Michael Jackson did in June of 2009. It was reported that Mister Jackson was paying $100,000 a month for the privilege of living in the Richard Landry designed 7 bedroom and 13 pooper property on N. Carolwood Drive.

The owners of the palatial pile, controversial clothing manufacturing mogul Hubert Guez and his wife Roxanne, recently put the 16,169 square foot mansion back out for lease with an mind blowing asking price of $300,000. Per month. Granted, the price includes the furniture, maid service and a security guard, but still, $300,000 per month is a lot of damn money for a house that few people besides Michael Jackson would have paid $100,000 per month for last year.

There were post-Michael Jackson death reports that flashy and press seeking clothing impresario Christian Audigier–he of the the tasteless Ed Hardy brand and etc.–was going to lease the house to use as his business headquarters. Even though Mister Guez became the CEO of Ed Hardy in the fall of 2008, it would seem that Mister Audigier never moved his operation into the house.

If anyone were to ask Your Mama, and no one did, we think putting a $300,000 monthly price tag on a mansion in Bel Air is a little like putting a $100,000,000 asking price on a mega-mansion outside Orlando, FL. It's good for the publicity–see, we and every other property gossip is yakking about it–but it's not likely that Mister Guez or Mister Siegel will get anything close to their astronomical asking prices. It's possible, but unlikely. Time will tell puppies, time will tell.

23 comments:

Jimbo said...

Re the Siegel manse: for 100 megabucks I want some lawn.

Anonymous said...

all that glass is just creepy, a 90,000 square foot house is disgusting and $300,000 a month for a rental is plain retarded. just like youth being wasted on the young, wealth is wasted on (by) the rich.

Anonymous said...

Sweet Jeezus! That crazy Missus Siegel makes Suzanne Saperstein look like a nice, sane, rational person!

Anonymous said...

I love the house by Steve Hermann. Montecitto is a heavily money area, but who is he kidding... $35 million for that house? It's gorgeous, high end galore... but its worth maybe half of the present asking price.

The FL is disgusting.

And $300k goes without saying.

Anonymous said...

We thought the Gilded Age and the Robber Barons of Wall Street were all finished and done with, and that the US had become a more fair and just place for everybody. But these palaces, temples to greed and gluttony, make it clear that is not the case. The US needs to use the tax system to create a less unequal society and pay off the debt burden created by the malfeasance of the banksters and their ilk.

Anonymous said...

i just messed myself a lil when i saw the first house... wow..... but seriously.... it needs to be in los angeles... like on the lot david bohnett has in holmby hills or on a gorgeous private pad in beverly hills. 35m for that as a country house is way too much, even in the right area it'd be too much... its 8k sq ft witha delux finished basement garage... gimme a break

Anonymous said...

WRT "The Glass Pavilion". I admit to knowing almost nothing about modern architectural design, or Montecito real estate prices, but $35M seems incredibly over priced. On the other hand, I do know something about cars and if the cars in the pictures were included with the house that price might seem a bit less insane. I've heard of "car homes" where the owner was including their collection as part of the sale. Is it possible that's what's going on here?

Anonymous said...

You sure "The Glass Pavillion" house isn't a copy of the house they used for the garage scene in Ferris Beuler's Day Off?

Anonymous said...

Sadly, they still don't have the biggest house in America. That would still be the infinitely more tasteful Biltmore House in NC, which has about 125,000 square feet.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that many of these ridiculous prices are put on houses for exactly that purpose - publicity. Most Real Estate agencies are all about promoting themselves rather than the individual house!

Josiah said...

Steve Hermanns Glass Pavilion is 15000 sq ft, 5000 of which are for the showroom. there are 5 beds and 6 baths situated on totally private 3.5 acre lot, surrounded by some of Montecits's finest estates, including the 1926 GW Smith home Ellen D owned for 5 minutes then sold for $24M - these numbers are nuts, no doubt about it, but this house is total work of art and located in one of the greatest neighborhoods in California....If money was no object, this would be on the Josiah Hamilton must have list.

Anonymous said...

Josiah,

While I agree the house is gorgeous and private and a "work of art" of sense, its new current and modern and could easily be recreated. A architectural work of art is a property designed by a pedigreed architect of yesteryear that could not be recreated.

This home, include the land cost Mr. Hermann less than $15m to construct. Yes, that is the number. He's making $20m... no... its over priced, or gorgeous and unique is it may be, it's over priced.

Simly having pricey neighbors doesn't justify it's price. I would love to have to Glass Pavilion, but only if its value was in reason. Your philosophy of its pretty shine and new is exaclty what created the bubble and the mess we are in now.

And Ms. D's house is a work of art.. however.. it wouldnt be selling for $24m in the present market. Gauranteed.

Anonymous said...

Oh brother.. what a trio of home owners/builders we have today. I don't think Mr. Hermann will get anywhere near what he wants for the home he built either. I certainly wouldn't pay in that financial stratosphere for a Montecito home with NO VIEW of the ocean, mountains, valleys, nuttin but the trees and who dosen't have trees in their yard. Puh-leeze.

4:19, Florida isn't at all disgusting deary. You sound jealous :)

7:15, right you are. Biltmore is still the biggest house in America, and let's hope it stays that way.

Great column today Mama, many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Now don't the realtors for the big ass white elephant just oooooze sexiness?

Anonymous said...

That "Versailles" monstrosity is just awful and ugly and excessive and should be torn down.

Anonymous said...

kate from gey's anat house on market, mama

TheVinylVillager said...

I swear I thought I was seeing a picture of part of the Opryland Hotel with that Florida mess. I can see their architect, their builder, and their team of nice gay decorators laughing their way to the bank.
And I love how the listing info indicates an "adult movie theatre"...

lil' gay boy said...

Another great mish mash, Mama!

I'm surprised that no one mentioned the more-than-passing resemblance of the Glass Pavilion to Randolph Duke's house on Fareholm Drive in LA; another questionably livable tour-de-force.

As for "Versailles", it defies description –––– much in the same way the details of Virginia Rapé's autopsy report do...

And we all know that the $300K rental price is aimed specifically at those morbid folks who want to spend the night where the White Lady shuffled off this mortal coil...

pollylanda said...

"I'm surprised that no one mentioned the more-than-passing resemblance of the Glass Pavilion to Randolph Duke's house on Fareholm Drive in LA; another questionably livable tour-de-force."???????
hmmm, well i happened to visit the Randolph Duke house on the day of move out. WHAT A PIECE OF CRAP... the old pebble stone floors(a steve herman idea, which still looks cheap to me, drive by steve hermans house on blue jay that he sold first to "malcomb"the little pebbles are all chipped away and rolling down bluejay.
as for randolp duke, this is like a cardboard castle ready to fall down. i pity the person who just spent $5,300,000 when they show up and see that the whole place looked like a scene out of one of the old movie sets being demolished in culver city. this house was such a rip off. but great photographs ...same for
...now , steve herman , known for triple over pricing things, but it seems to work, listed at $11,700,00 wow, and i bought it for $7,200,000 (sold it for lower than construction costs???ha, and people believe that? no way.) the trousdale house he bought for $3,600,000. he did not spend 3,600,000 in construction cost, laughable, talk to previous owners, hllywood blvd where walls made of wood and chicken wire, finally crumbled. lawsuit. nice finishes, but none of these houses will be around in 15yrs.
but his system works , for him, buy, fix up cheaply ,but look expensive,cut corners, triple value for first asking price, figure in what it will cost to carry for a year , maybe 2 years(nigtengale) then when the cash crunch comes (sold the 3 carla ridge just enough to cover closing, oh, but magically increase the sq ft... never reflected on city records, cause it never happens,(devlin...theatre,non permited dungeon,,hmmm add 1500 sq ft to the house, have a "flood" of the fountain, and wala, insurance money for carrying costs.....steve herman magic.

Flora said...

Its hard to belive my ageing eyes. Does the Siegel Palace really have a copy of the Pazzi Chapel turned into a Porte-Cochere? Cut and Paste architecture can surely sink no lower.

Anonymous said...

That Siegel place is truly an architectural disaster. No matter how much lipstick they pile on this big pig of a mansion, it is still located in Windermere, FL. One of Siegel's foundations/money laundering ventures is called "The David Siegel Society". He refers to his various resorts, timeshares, etc., as an "empire". He and the Mrs. probably saw picture books of the real Versailles while growing up poor. There's nothing humble about the Siegels or this monstrosity. Mucho money + mucho egos = versailles orlando florida.

-NoleGuyFL

Jeannified said...

LOVE that first house, but GOOD LORD...$35,000,000.00?!?!?!

Anonymous said...

David A. Siegel should be in prison. That monstrous extension of his ego was fully funded with ill-gotten gains.