SELLER: Joey Lawrence
LOCATION: Encino, CA
SIZE: 8,100 square feet 6 bedrooms, 7.25 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Several weeks ago Your Mama received a covert communique from The Bizzy Boys at Celebrity Address Aerial that brought our attention to a mansion in the foothills of Encino, CA listed at $2,599,000 and owned by itty-bitty but muscular, manicured and disturbingly boyish sounding actor-entertainer Joey Lawrence.
Mister Lawrence started out in Tinseltown doing commercials but quickly moved on to sitcom appearances on Silver Spoons and Diff'rent Strokes with that creepy little Gary Coleman fellow. His big break came in the early 1980s when he snagged a role on Gimme a Break! with the dee-voon and deceased singer/actress Nell Carter. Next up came Blossom, young Mister Lawrence's seminal role as Joey Russo, a teenage beau-hunk with barely half a brain.
Much to his credit Mister Lawrence never went the way of the cavalcade of Tinseltown teen tragedies like little Lindsay Lohan, that poor beehawtcha who got out of court ordered rehab and then "accidentally" moved in right next door to her old lesbian lover. Bitch, pleeze.
Anyhoo, even though the former child superstar kept his nose clean–or at least his name out of the tabloids–the salad days of Mister Lawrence's showbiz career were 15 years ago. Like all good has-been stars who would like to regain public relevance and earn a proper income Mister Lawrence booked on to Dancing With The Stars. We'd rather have the skin peeled right off our fat body before watching that over-hyped program but our research on the internets told us that the ebullient and earnest actor came in third place. Hoo-ray for him. He went on to hoof it on Broadway in Chicago and hosted a (short-lived) dance contest reality show call Master of Dance. Currently he plays opposite Melissa Joan Hart (shee-rah of Sabrina the Teenage Witch) as a manny–that's a man-nanny–on the feeble sitcom Melissa and Joey.
Property records show Mister Lawrence paid $1,175,000 for his house in the foothills of quintessentially-suburban Encino way back in May of 1994 for $1,175,000. He was at that time just an 18-year old whippersnapper winding up a successful run as the hunky halfwit on Blossom.
Information on Redfin shows that Mister Lawrence unsuccessfully attempted to sell his San Fernando Valley homestead in October of 2001. The property was de-listed and re-listed a remarkable number of times until October 2002, exactly two years after first going for sale, it was taken off the market. Mister Lawrence decided to try his real estate luck once again and put his long-time residence on the market in January of 2010 with an asking price of $3,199,000. Just over one year and three price chops later the house remains unsold and listed at $2,599,000.
The secluded residence, according to listing information, was originally constructed in 1928 but who could have gleaned that just by looking at the airy 8,100 square foot architecturally bastardized contempo-Spanish hacienda? Not Your Mama, that's for sure. All the online listings show there are six bedrooms in the 2-story house but the number of terliting and bathing facilities remains in question. One listing shows there are 9 poopers, another 7.5 and yet another 7.25.
The house sits celebrity-style down a long private and gated driveway that rises gently up a slight hill and past the decadently-wide booty-busting set of stairs that climb and climb and climb to the front entrance. A person needs to set down and catch their wind just to consider the effort of hauling heiny up all of those too-many steps. The driveway continues beyond the entry steps through a porte-cochere to a rear motor court where listing information indicates there is garaging for up to six vehicles.
The renovated interior spaces have a disharmonious hacienda meets post-modern minimalism meets a barn sort of thing happening. This may best be evidenced in the foyer where a confusing number of smooth wood columns sit on bright blue tile plinths and where the visually perplexing situation moves toward the surreal due to the grand piano that sits right in the middle of the room like it was the lobby of a damn hotel. The only saving grace of that piano, as far as Your Mama is concerned, is that Mister Lawrence is a musician so he probably actually plays the thing.
The Mexican paver and blue tile insets on the floor in the entry spread like bedbugs through the voluminous (formal) living room that features a towering tiled fireplace and into the less-formal family quarters that include a large kitchen, built-in wet bar and a family room area with a second fireplace with decorative tile surround. Listing photos show a large tube-style tee-vee sitting on the counter top in the kitchen that for some reason makes Your Mama's insides itch and in dire need of a nerve pill to soothe our delicate decorative constitution.
The massive master bedroom has an acre of beige wall to wall carpeting, a corner fireplace with blue tile surround, a wet bar/morning kitchen, sitting area and dual walk-in closets. The vast attached pooper has blue and white tiles accented by exposed wood beams that run across the vaulted and skylit ceiling, twin vanities, a gigantic jetted tub, separate steam shower, dry sauna and a couple of wood-framed glass doors that open the room to a private tree-top-view terrace.
Other rooms in the mansion include a work-out room with a second dry sauna, a small den/tee-vee watching room punished by a cluttered wrought iron étagère that gives Your Mama a rabid case of the hives and a home theater where all eight of the black loungers are inexplicably and uncomfortably pushed up into the rear corner of the room like they're cowering in fear.
Outdoor amenities include a lovely large covered dining terrace surrounded by thick foliage where Mister Lawrence has a huge fish carcass hung up on the wall, a basketball court, black-bottomed swimming pool and spa, and prairie like terrace sprinkled with a schizophrenic mish-mash of mis-matched patio furniture.
Nearby neighbors to the house Mister Lawrence wished he didn't still own include Wheel of Fortune one-note Pat Sajak, actress Amy Brenneman (Private Practice), musician Tom Petty, very bizzy actress Jean Smart (Hawaii Five-0, Kim Possible, Designing Women) and electronics store mogul Ron Azarkman who recently completed a 25,000+ square foot beast of a house on a 5-ish acre estate where John "The Duke" Wayne lived in the 1950s.
listing photos: Prescott Properties