BUYER: Tyler Perry
LOCATION: Johns Creek, GA
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: The children might want to do like Your Mama did and go ahead and get a nerve pill and a gin gimlet down the gullet right away because y'all are gonna need these wonderful medicinal aids to steel yourselves for what's a'comin'. Seriously. Are you ready? Are you sitting down? Is that nerve pill working its magic and the gin beginning to course through your veins? Alright then, here we go...
Actor/director/producer/playwright/billionaire-to-be Tyler Perry, one of the entertainment industry's most notorious real estate size queens, has gone and done it again. The frequent buyer and seller of high priced properties has done bought another damn house, this one in Johns Creek, GA, an upscale enclave in the suburban outskirts of Atlanta. For what it's worth, other property owners with recognizable names in the Johns Creek vicinity include Janet Jackson's ex-man mate Jermaine Dupri, former professional pigskinner turned biznesman Fran Tarkenton, former Home Despot CEO Robert Nardelli, actress/singer Raven-Symoné (That's So Raven, The Cosby Show) and be-wigged realty tee-vee denizen, wannabe singer, and admitted adulteress Kim Zolciak.
Before we get to Mister Perry's newest acquisition, let's first cover some old real estate ground. In addition to a couple of high-priced Los Angeles area holdings–which we'll get to later–Mister Perry still owns Avec Chateau, an opulent 17,252 square foot white elephant on 11.4 acres in Fairburn, GA that he attempted to unload in 2009 with an asking price of $3,695,000. The 6 bedroom and 6.5 pooper residence that includes lots of double height ceilings, a home theater, natch, and a vast 4,000 square foot master suite does not currently appear to be on the open market but property records reveal that the estate remains solid in his fat property portfolio.
As far as Your Mama knows–and as told to us by a nearby neighbor whom we'll call Nelly Nameless–Mister Perry currently lives in a recently completed 30,000-ish square foot multi-winged monster mansion in Atlanta, GA that he custom built on 17 wooded and exuberantly landscaped acres that over look the Chatahoochie River. Perry's pad is shown above prior to being fully completed. Just to give a little context to Mister Perry's current neighborhood, his hotel sized house sits down the road a short piece from the Governor's Mansion which happens to be located directly across the street from the the ridiculously opulent mansion of Lee Najjar, otherwise known as "Big Poppa," the former very married man-friend of The Real Housewives of Atlanta's Kim Zolciak. Also in the hoity-toity 'hood is the home of John and Patsy Ramsey, parents of the mysteriously murdered child beauty pageant princess JonBenét Ramsey.
Even though the confirmed bachelor man needs another Atlanta area mansion like a street walker needs instructions on how to screw, Mister Perry has none the less laid out $7,600,000 for Dean Gardens, a legendary 58 acre estate with a colossal coral colored beast of a house that over looks the Chatahoochie River. Mister Perry's plans for Dean Gardens include knocking down the existing 36,086 square foot architectural grotesquerie to make way for yet another mammoth real estate monument to his screaming success and ever-increasing wealth.
For years there has been much yakkety-yakking amongst all the real estate gossips about the weird and wacky Dean Gardens. However, in the event any of the children missed the copious coverage here's a little background information before we begin to break the beehawtcha down. Once upon a time, an Atlanta based software magnate named Larry Dean and his wife Lynda had a grandiose real estate dream and the necessary finances to fund it. Mister and Missus Dean's unrestrained vision of residential heaven on earth resulted in 58 acres of heavy-duty landscaping that surrounds a excessively dressed cotton candy pink palace completed in 1992 and described in marketing materials with hysterical hyperbole as "what may well be America's most elegant estate." While Dean Gardens may be many things both good and bad, if the property is indeed the most "elegant" estate America has to offer, then someone needs to rip Your Mama's eyeballs from their very sockets.
Just a few short years after Mister Dean completed Dean Gardens, he and the Missus heaved, hoisted, and hurled the sucker on to the market with a gargantuan asking price of $40,000,000. At the time, it was believed and promoted by Mister Dean's real estate and public relations people to possibly be the most expensive private estate on the market in the entire world. Your Mama does not know whether that assertion is accurate or not but we do know that there were no takers for the hammy house and the subsequent 15 years saw the palatial property taken off and put back on the market several times with increasingly lower asking prices.
The last asking price for Mister and Missus Dean's nouveau riche wonderland was $13,900,000. The mansion was offered, heaven help us all, fully furnished. Mister Perry, who wisely opted out of purchasing the furniture and other fittings, paid just $7,600,000 for the property, a purchase price that Your Mama's bejeweled abacus shows is just 19% of Mister and Missus Dean's original asking price. That puppies, has got to hurt. Whether we or anyone else likes or appreciates the wanton extravagance of Dean Gardens or not, it most certainly cost the Deans far more than $7,600,000 to build and landscape. The large living couple no doubt took a huge hit to their bank accounts not to mention their real estate egos.
Mister Perry has chosen–wisely as far as Your Mama is concerned–to raze the vigorously festooned and passionately garnished mansion in order to build himself a new if not exactly needed house. Ordinarily Your Mama agitates for re-working and/or learning to live with what you have rather than knock down and start again, but in the case of Mister and Missus Dean's wildly melodramatic digs, we're all for Mister Perry swinging the wrecking ball at the master crafted but architecturally vapid house.
The best way, perhaps, to understand Dean Gardens is by having a look-see at the numbers. The estate sprawls across 58 acres with 1,200 feet of frontage on the Chatahoochie River. The main house, according to listing information, measures 36,086 square feet spread out over three floors and includes 13 fireplaces, 8 themed bedroom suites including a 3,000 square foot master suite, and 9 full and 3 half poopers, more than enough to require a full time terlit gurl.
In addition to the massive main house, Dean Gardens includes estate manager and green's keeper's cottages as well as a 10,000 square foot carriage house with laundry facilities, heated and cooled garage for 12 automobiles, and twin 2-bedroom apartments perfect for the pampered owners to house live-in staff such as a terlit gurl, hunky pool boy, mousy bed maker, and ass wiper.
According to listing information provided to Your Mama by Hildegard Helpsusout, the 2008 taxes for Dean Gardens ran a staggering $213,418. While that amount makes Your Mama sweat just to think about, we fully expect that the property taxes will increase substantially after Mister Perry builds his new house, which we also fully expect will be no smaller or less lavish than the Dean's existing monster manse.
According to the property's website, the over the top interior spaces, all done up and did over by the Dean's oldest son Christopher Dean, include, a 3.5 story high entry rotunda "inspired" by the Brunelleschi Cathedral in Florance, Italy. In addition to the shockingly inappropriate curving wall of frameless glass into which an Old World style front door has been set, the meant to impress the guests style rotunda entry has gardens and water features carved into the marble tiled floor, a grand curving staircase with a custom hand crafted scrolled wrought iron balustrade, and a dizzying dome topped by a circular skylight and covered in dozens of large metallic gold florets.
The "Grand Salon," otherwise known as a formal living room, has deep and dark royal blue walls, beige marble tile floors, a black lacquer and gold leaf fireplace, elaborate and thick wedding cake moldings, and a towering two story high window that looks out over the shell-shaped swimming pool and the extensive grounds beyond. The banquet hall sized dining room has two sea water aquariums set into the wall, a couple of glittery and pretty antique crystal chandeliers, and a coved ceiling with a kooky kustom painted mural depicting a lightly cloudy sky. We know that there's an historical precedent for ceiling murals and all, but Your Mama thinks the mural on the ceiling here is just one more unnecessary decorative step over the line that's already been stepped over too many times.
Other rooms, according to marketing materials, include a den, family room, library/office, breakfast room, and gore-may kitchen with "raspberry" colored curvilinear oak cabinetry, black granite counter tops, and insanely detailed moldings. A six foot wide hallway, originally just a passage connecting the main house to the garage, is where the Deans displayed their collection of artworks that they picked up during their travels to Hawaii. At the far end of the east wing on the main floor is the octagonal shaped and hilariously named "Peacock Room," which has marble tile floors with dark contrasting inlay, a 43-foot high ceiling, 15-foot high arched windows that weigh 1,200 pounds apiece, Art Deco-ish columns topped by fluted light fixtures, and a hand carved, 4,000 pound English limestone table supported by a steel beam buried into the bedrock underneath the house. That seems like a lot of effort and money to spend for a table thats only purpose is to hold a gigantic boo-quet of flowers that Your Mama can only hope are real.
While we're certain that much of the detailing is of painstaking, expensive, and finely crafted quality, the house is such a bizarrely inexplicable patchwork of architectural styles and–have mercy–themed day-core that's it's near impossible for Your Mama to see the forest through the trees. Don't misunderstand Your Mama. We love decorative chutzpah as much as anyone else but what we have here at Dean Gardens is a decoratively perverse and maudlin attempt at referencing classical and historical day-core that generally speaking falls flat on its gold gilded face due to it's ballsy over-eagerness and utterly naked and unapologetic display of conspicuous consumption.
Christopher Dean, who was a dewy 21 years old when his parents asked him to take the decorating reigns of their dream house, clearly has–or at least had–an unhealthy obsession with themed day-core. This Wagnerian preoccupation with theme based rooms came to its full and histrionic fruition in the less formal areas of his parent's pink palace as well as in the 8 decoratively indulgent bedrooms suites and the carousel themed nursery that Your Mama finds so damn frightening that we would consider it child abuse to take a defenseless shorty in there.
The wildly divergent themed day-core of the bedroom suites at Dean Gardens include, according to marketing materials, French, Old English, Oriental, Ultra Contemporary–see the sad portrait of Andy Warhol there?–Egyptian, and Silver. Oh, and let's not forget the perfectly mortifying 3,000 square foot "Art Nouveau" master suite with its acres of rose colored wall to wall carpeting and private pooper of black granite and pearlized marble. Mister Dean's violently comical themed day-core shows exactly why nice, gay decorators and others should eschew "themes" unless hired to re-do the day-core for the Madonna damn Inn in San Luis Obispo, CA where, coincidentally, Your Mama had a handful of cocktails last week with The Chicken and Our Boy Beebah.
If any of the children don't yet know the Madonna Inn get your fingers clicking on the keyboard because you should. The high-lariously campy and preposterously daffy hotel is the very apex of architectural and decorative kitch done with such loving abandon that it's impossible not to be swept away by the ludicrous and yet perfect hot pink banquettes in the main dining room and the slightly sinister shell shaped urinal in the wine cellar. Your Mama finds that the difference between the high-camp of the Madonna Inn and the freaky kitch of Dean Gardens is that the Madonna Inn is in on the decorative tomfoolery in a manner that makes no attempt at seriousness, while Mister Dean's day-core is, we're sorry to say, far too self-conscious and painfully earnest to be taken seriously.
But we digress.
The lower level contains an entertainment complex with a game room done up like what a Saudi billionaire who has never been to America might think a classic 1950s American diner would look like. There's a red tufted leather banquette that wraps itself grotesquely around a thick column with gold or maybe neon accents. The column hides the steel support the holds up the aforementioned 4,000 pound limestone table in the Peacock Room. The game room's cheesy and depressingly cliché day-core goes on to include a black and white checkerboard floor, a fireplace surrounded by a red and white checkerboard tiled wall, and a Coca-Cola themed soda fountain and ice cream counter. Just outside the game room, behind the elevator, are his and her cabanas with dressing rooms and poopers, as well as steam, weight and exercise rooms. Beyond that there are, according to marketing materials, an indoor hot tub, pool table, and game table.
The terrace level of the mansion, which we're pretty sure is the lower level, also includes a media room contained in a large suite of rooms done up in the Moroccan style meant to emulate some of the interior spaces of the historic Fox Theater in Atlanta. Sophisticated audio and visual systems surround the stage area where a screen rolls down from the ceiling when it's time to view the projection television.
The sprawling grounds of Dean Gardens, while meticulously maintained and not without redeeming qualities are, however, as overdone and over-processed as the painfully theatrical mansion itself. The large shell shaped swimming pool and spa are sunk into the gigantic, multi-level terrace at the back of the house. Below the terrace is some sort of grotto and beyond are a range of outdoor amenities such as a grass tennis court, croquet lawn, stables for the ponies, formal French and Italian gardens, an Asian tea garden, conservatory, amphitheater–because everyone needs one of those, and a wedding chapel perched on a peninsula that sticks out into the 3-acre spring fed and man made lake out of which shoots a gigantic fountain. Woven in, around, and through the gardens and grounds is a private 18-hole par 72 golf course.
Since Mister Perry, a man rich enough to indulge whatever real estate whims waft through his mind, plans to rip the house down and build anew, a 2-day auction of the home's contents has been scheduled starting on August 20th. Everything is to be sold including the art, furniture, fixtures and cabinetry. Bring your pocketbook and your tool box kiddies. We only wish we could be in Atlanta for this!
It will be years before Mister Perry will be able to move into whatever mansion he builds on the property but we can none the less be assured that the result will be another white elephant of titanic proportions and insanely expensive maintenance costs that, when the time comes for Mister Perry to move on, nearly no one who can afford to buy it will want to buy it. That's the primary problem with these over-sized and uber-customized mansions like Suzanne Saperstein's architecturally correct Fluer de Lys–still for sale at $125,000,000–and The Manor, Candy Spelling's architectural hot mess in Los Angeles that carries an even more beastly $150,000,000 price tag. The majority of the people who dream of living in such overblown and fantastical circumstances are typically people who could never even afford the electrical bill let alone the taxes and maintenance. Fortunately for Mister Perry, he's got the cheddar to own and maintain a number of obscenely expensive properties for many years to come.
Mister Perry's modern mansion at the tippy top of the Bird Streets above the famed Sunset Strip in Los Angeles is currently on the market with an asking price of $11,595,000 after first being listed in June of 2010 with an asking price of $13,250,000. According to our sources, Mister Perry is fully engaged in completing a massive, 22,000 square foot Tuscan style multi-winged mansion on a very private 22-acre spread behind the 24 hour guarded gates of the exclusive and expensive Beverly Ridge Estates community high in the hills above Beverly Hills.
Listen kids, as far as we're concerned the deeply religious Mister Perry should be commended for working hard and pulling himself up and out of the poor house through deep determination good luck. And we presume that Mister Successful has heaps and hordes of people who surround him, many of whom we hope actually care about him and not what he can do for them. However, there's something more than a little sad to Your Mama about this single 40-year old fellow buying and building ever larger mansions in which he lives, for all intents and purposes, alone. Why Mister Perry, who always strikes Your Mama as a soulful, thoughtful and resolute individual, wants to ramble and rattle around all by his lonesome in these airport terminal sized mansions is both stupifying and heartbreaking. But then again, who are we to know or understand the real estate desires of the rich and famous?
listing photos: Jordan Breanna Properties