Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nic Cage's Baby Momma's Foreclosed Hancock Park Mansion Goes on the Block

SELLER: Citibank (formerly owned by Nic Cage)
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $2,782,500
SIZE: 6,312 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama knows quite well that many of the children can not bear another spilled thought or diatribe about the seemingly ceaseless real estate woes of financially embattled Oscar winner Nic Cage. But Your Mama, children, just can not seem to steer clear of the head-shaking melodrama. Call it celebrity real estate schadenfreude, call it an unhealthy obsession or just call it our damn job but whichever way you want to see it the whole hot mess is a lot like driving past a fatal car accident. You slow down in order to stare and stare and stare while you hope despite a queasy stomach to see something awful. We all know we shouldn't do it and it fills us with gruesome self-loathing to do it but do it we do anyway. It's ugly but it's human and Your Mama is, despite the strident suggestions of some, human. With that in mind we are, yes, my pretty ponies, going to once again indulge today in a wee discussion of Mister Cage's continuing real estate brouhaha.

Property records reveal that in May 2001 a substantial house in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles, CA was purchased by Mister Cage's now well-known Hancock Park Real Estate Trust for $2,695,000. The house was purchased for the exclusive use and enjoyment of Mister Cage's former lady-friend and baby momma Christina Fulton who bore him one son they named Weston.

Alas, as Mister Cage's finances began their protracted tangle with the grim reaper Baby Momma sued for $13,000,000 plus direct and sole possession of the Hancock Park house because, she alleged, Mister Cage agreed to buy the house for her and her pending eviction due to foreclosure proceedings brought on by Baby Daddy's failure to pay the mortgage constituted a breach of contract or something like that. We're not sure the exact details or status of the legal matter but we do know that, in the end, like all those sad skinny model wannabes on America's Next Top Model, Baby Momma had to pack her bags and go.

In mid-November 2009 a Notice of Default was filed on the property. A year later the matter was cleared up with a Notice of Rescission, which means, in effect, the frothing foreclosure dogs were satiated and called off. A month after that, however, another Notice of Default was filed by mortgage holder Citibank and in early 2011 the stately estate was put up for auction with a minimum bit of $3,290,739.

No buyers showed up with their checkbooks–or at least no one willing to pay nearly three-point-three million smackers–and in early March 2011 Citibank officially ripped the residence from Mister Cage's increasingly thin property portfolio.

It was only a matter of time before Citibank put the property on the (open) market in an effort to recoup at least some of their losses. Thanks to The Rolling Stone, we've learned that the soulfully dour 1924 brick Tudor is now listed with the complicated asking price of $2,782,500, a figure translated from real estate speak comes to $2,785,000?

The .77 acre estate, located on a very busy corner at the edge of the upscale Hancock Park 'hood, has high hedges all the way around with multiple gated entries that open to a driveway that meanders through the property. At the back of the property a gate swings open to a rear motor court that bends around a detached barn-like structure with covered parking for at least four cars, rolls under a porte-cochere that sticks off the side of the house and makes a hard right to the front of the residence where it continues around to another electronic drive gate at the opposite corner of the property where the trek across the property began.

Listing information shows the somewhat sinister-looking manse measures 6,312 square feet and includes 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms, 3 fireplaces (plus a fourth in the guest house), a turret or two and an upstairs covered balcony for secretly peeping on guests and domestic staff as they roll down the driveway and clip the hedges.

Interiors spaces, according to listing information, retain original moldings, paneling, mill work and windows and include a double-height center-hall entry, formal living and dining room, library, kitchen with island, breakfast room, family room, media/music room and staff quarters.

A courtyard-like yard separates the main house from the swimming pool and adjacent 800-square foot guest house. In 2005, according to listing information, a 500 square foot fourth structure was added to Mister Cage's Baby Momma's compound and contains a gym/recreation room.

Besides the real estate stink of Mister Cage–who may or may not have ever lived there–his Baby Momma's mansion has a few not always east to overcome obstacles. Not only does the property occupy a very busy corner–which makes it subject to near constant traffic noise–some real estate snobs in Lala Land think the upscale, historical and expensive Hancock Park 'hood ain't nuthin' but a crime-riddled ghetto. It isn't. No matter the price point, puppies, real estate is almost always a trade off. You might love the yard but hate the kitchen or want a view but not the often long twisted drive often required to get to a view home. Some folks would sooner get a divorce than give up a better location for more space while others place a far greater premium on expansive living areas over the plumiest of plum zip codes. All real estate things considered–including the absolute unattainability of a house like this for all but the very wealthy, this seems to Your Mama like a lot of house for the money in Los Angeles. Certainly a person can buy a lovely abode in the 90210 and/or the 90077–that's Beverly Hills and Bel Air–for two and three quarter million clams and it might even be as large as this house. It will not, however, include all the multiple multi-functional out buildings here.

Mister Cage, a man with a pathological need to acquire high-maintenance homes, extensive collections, exotic animals and a variety of arcana, has bought, sold and lost so many houses around the world that we can no longer keep track of what he still owns or does not own.

He lost a couple of historic mansions in New Orleans to foreclosure as well as his legendary mansion in Bel Air, a hulking academic-looking Gerard Colcord-designed pile formerly owned by shag carpet-chested crooner Tom Jones and showbiz boozer extraordinaire Dean Martin. He also owned a schloss in Germany from a previous century, another ancient castle outside of Bath in the U.K., an undeveloped private island in the Bahamas and an historic 26.77-acre estate in Middletown, RI next door to the Gilded Age resort community of Newport.

He also owned a house above Beachwood Canyon in Los Angeles (believed to have been occupied by his mother or father), a San Francisco house or two, a gaudy mcmansion in Las Vegas and a harbor front spread in Newport Beach, CA that he sold to gas and gambling tycoon Jerry Herbst in 2007 for around $35,000,000. That house, as it turns out, is back on the market with a much lower than paid asking price of $28,500,000. Mister Cage's once vast property portfolio also includes and/or once included a couple of condos in New York City, an ocean front house in Malibu and and significant acreage in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu.

We really aren't sure of Mister Cage's current real estate whereabouts but until recently, according to Your Mama's eerily well informed source Lucy Spillerguts, he leased a three story Spanish style casa in the Hollywood Knolls neighborhood, now listed for sale for $1,237,000. It's not clear to Your Mama if Mister Cage used the house himself or it it was occupied by his son Weston or another family member.

listing photo: Skyhill Properties

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ellen Degeneres Confirms Rumors, Lists Beverly Hills Compound

SELLERS: Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi-Degeneres
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: Rumored to be $49,000,000 and $60,000,000

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Way back in mid-February 2011 Your Mama relayed the brewing real estate rumor that comedienne and chat show tycoon Ellen Degeneres and her equestrian-minded wife Portia de Rossi-Degeneres wanted to unload the Beverly Hills, CA compound they spent years and many tens of millions putting together and customizing. In the summer of 2008 the a-list scissor sisters hitched their lesbian wagons in a small but perfectly orchestrated ceremony in the backyard of this here house.

By the end of April 2011, the whispers and rumors of Miz Degeneres's desire to unload her large estate in Bev Hills became deafening and just now, at the end of May, the property was semi-officially put on the open market. A listing does not (as of today) appear in the MLS or an any of the other real estate listing aggregators like Redfin and Trulia but one did pop up on the website of listing agent Kurt Rappaport of the illustrious Westside Estate Agency. That listing shows the price for Miz D's digs as "available upon request."

Several sources have shimmied (alleged) asking prices our way over the last few months but one particularly well-placed informant snitched and swears to Your Mama that the asking price(s) being bandied about Beverly Hills are $49,000,000 for the the main house–plus separate guest and staff quarters and extensive grounds–and $60,000,000 for the entire kit and caboodle that includes the main house–plus separate guest and staff quarters and extensive grounds–and the two additional houses on adjacent parcels that Miz Degeneres and Missus de Rossi-Degeneres also purchased to further secure and preserve their privacy.

The center piece of the compound, which she bought in early 2007 from Will & Grace co-creator Max Mutchnick for $29,000,000, includes an approximately 9,000 square foot main house with extensive outdoor living areas plus a detached guest house. Your Mama understands from several little birdies who have visited the property for one reason or another that the main house includes a kick-ass master suite with extensive dressing area and two more guest/family bedrooms each with en suite facility and each with private nudity-encouraging sunbathing terrace.

The detached guest house has two en suite bedrooms plus living/dining and kitchen. Additional space under the swimming pool–yes, children, under the swimming pool–includes high-tech fitness/body torture chamber, a well-appointed one-bedroom staff suite and underground garage space for 8 or 10 of Miz Degeneres's many Porsches, as opposed to her lone Portia who, we imagine, parks in the house and not the garage. Access to the areas under the swimming pool are by way of an all but hidden staircase behind the all-wood pool cabana.

The following January (2008), the privacy-seeking pair paid Beverly Hills real estate über-agent Jade Mills $8,500,000 for an undistinguished house just across a cramped and shared driveway. Miz Mills owned buy did not occupy the premises. Soon after closing on Miz Mill's rental residence, Miz Degeneres got behind the wheel of a bulldozer herself and knocked the damn house down to make way for expanded grounds now done up like an honest-to-goodness private park with meandering pond and soothing canyon views.

In June of 2008 the property mad pair paid another $5,000,000 to purchase a third contiguous property, this one with a down-at-the-heels 1 bedroom and 3 bathroom house with canyon views. One month later they splashed out another $5,500,000 to acquire yet another adjacent property, this one a 4 bedroom and 4 bathroom house perched on a hillside at the back of the house. Apparently, we've been told, the residents had some sort of visual access to the property that irked Miz Degeneres and Missus de Rossi-Degeneres to the tune of five and a half million George Washingtons.

If Your Mama works the beads on our bejeweled abacus and add up all the many above-mentioned purchase prices we conclude that Miz Degeneres and her wife spent $48,000,000 (or thereabouts) to create their own private Idaho in the heart of Beverly Hills only to decide a few years later that they no longer want to live there. How y'all like them apples? Such, as we well know, are the fickle real estate ways of rich and famous folks.

The recent sale of high society matron Iris Cantor's La Belle Vie in Bel Air for forty million–in cash–and the rumored $35,000,000+ allegedly-soon-to-be-sale of Jennifer Aniston's Ohana–her contemporary mansion in Beverly Hills listed at $42,000,0000–surely have Miz Degeneres and Missus de Rossi-Degeneres salivating with real estate hope and desire. But, let's be honest, mon freres. The forty million clams Miz Cantor hoovered up is a long way from the 49 and 60 million Miz Degeneres is widely whispered to want for her super-luxe and carefully-crafted estate.

Although plagued by a famous and incurable case of The Real Estate Fickle, it must also soothe Miz Degeneres's nervous pocketbook to recognize that she has a fairly good and profitable track record of buying and selling high-priced and high-maintenance houses. She bought and sold several ranches in the Santa Ynez Valley at tidy profits and in early 2006 she paid $15,750,000 for an historic house in Montecito, CA that she turned around and sold in November 2007 to Google CEO Eric Schmidt for $20,000,000.

Anyone care to wager their real estate reputation on what amount the property might actually sell? Your Mama will attempt no such folly, but those of the children who might should know that according the Bev Hills real estate insiders the property has attracted a fair amount of attention amongst the sort of folks who can afford and might be willing to cough up considerable cookies for a substantial estate in one of the better zip codes in Los Angeles.

In addition to their maxi-posh but no-longer-wanted compound in Beverly Hills Miz Degeneres and Missus de Rossi-Degeneres also own a small apartment in Beverly Hills–acquired in late 2010 for $835,000, presumably for staff or family–and an extensive equestrian complex in the scenic boondocks outside Westlake Village, CA they snatched up in late 2009 for about ten million buckaroonies.

listing photos: Westside Estate Agency

Saturday, May 28, 2011

It's Liz Taylor's World and We Just Live In It

Right on the high heels of the death of actress, icon and dame Elizabeth Taylor the folks at Architectural Digest released a small cache of photographs of Miz Taylor's long-time mansion in the uppity Bel Air area of Los Angeles, CA.

Miz Taylor, who surrounded herself with blue-chip artworks, gigantic gems and gaggles of gays, lived and loved in a prosaic but pretty 7,000-ish square foot gated mansion with a guard house manned by an armed and Israeli security staff.

This humble and ho-hum home was an astonishingly modest real estate choice for a cosmopolitan woman who draped herself in 400 pounds of rubies and emeralds just to go to the damn terlit. Her large but architecturally ordinary abode in Bel Air, now for sale with an asking price of $8,600,000, reflects the delicious contradictory duality that defined Miz Taylor who always had a bawdy and very down home hardy yin to her Tinseltown high-glamor yang. No one, hunties, could turn it out in a ball gown and glittering sea of diamonds like Miz Taylor who, it is no secret, had a naughty potty mouth that makes foul-mouthed lady-pimp Heidi Fleiss look like Mother fuckin' Teresa.

The interior spaces of Miz Taylor's residence, according A.D., were re-decorated in 2010 "in collaboration with" nice, gay and very accomplished interior decorator Waldo Fernandez." 'In collaboration with?' What does that even mean? In the vaulted ceilinged living room a Hockney still life hangs with a Hals portrait and a carved stone Buddha sits in front of the fireplace flanked by built-in wood display cabinets. One one side the shelves are chock-a-block with Asian and Audubon-y things and on the other side a herd of galloping bronze horses sculpted by Miz Taylor's daughter Liza Todd Tivey give the room a silent but inescapable rhythm.

Naturally the sprawling ranch has a trophy room full of awards and accolades and Oscars. Upstairs, in Miz Taylor's private domain, the girlish dressing room has what we first thought was flower-printed wall paper with matching portieres and bubble valances. One of the children thoughtfully schooled Your Mama and declared the walls are actually covered in fabric with embroidered violets, which is so much better and so much more decoratively lavish that we can barely stand it. Lavender shag carpeting matches the embroidered violets and covers every inch of the floor, wall to wall. In normal circumstances the mere thought of lavender shag wall-to-wall carpeting can get Your Mama's gag reflex to work overtime. At Miz Taylor's house, in her dressing room, it somehow feels correct. This would never–ever–work for anyone who isn't Liz Taylor. That means don't any of you do it yourself decorators think it might be a cute homage to Miz Taylor to install lavender shag wall-to-wall carpeting in your own home. It won't be cute. It'll be awful and embarrassing. Your friends and neighbors will scoff at and make fun of you with each other behind your back and then they'll mock you openly at the grocery store in front of your work-spouse.

These rooms appear, at first glance, rather bland. A longer look yields a quiet but definite complexity of vision and multi-layered balance. This is the home of an ordinary if exquisitely beautiful woman who lived an extraordinary life and she has, to her credit, nothing to prove to anyone. Although her near billion dollar fortune would have allowed her to live, literally, like a queen, a steroidal mansion that slaps a person across the face with its overt magnificence, grotesque grandeur and architectural melodrama would would have been hopelessly false for this woman who remained true to her sometimes uncouth self even as she became a style icon and dynamic living legend of tragi-comic and epic proportions.

The photos for Architectural Digest were done by photographer Firooz Zahedi, a long time snapper of Miz Taylor. If the children have not seen Mister Zahedi's images of Miz Taylor from a mid-1970s visit to Iran you should. They're magnificent. Your Mama went to see them a few weeks or months ago at the LACMA with our boozy b.f.f. Fiona Trambeau who was so overcome with rum and emotion that she collapsed into a quiet heap right there in the hallway in front of the elevators. Eventually ol' Fiona regained consciousness and we went and had a few cocktails to discuss and recover from the day's drama. The pictures are subtle and snap-shotty but they are really that good.

Anyhoodles poodles, according to the photo captions in A.D., Miz Taylor's nephew Christopher is responsible for the campy shell-shaped fountain at the deep end of the back yard swimming pool that's sunk into a terrace tucked into an obtuse angle where two wings of the mansion come together and do the meet and greet. The children will notice the double handrails and shallow steps next to the spa that we would bet our long-bodied bitches Linda and Beverly were probably specially designed in order that a sometimes not very stable or ambulatory Miz Tayor could still take her kaftan-wearing self a dip in the damn pool.

Elaborate and terraced gardens encircle the residence. A procession of athletic but delicate arches wrapped in a stickery climbing rose sort of shades a wood bench where Your Mama wonders if anyone besides the gardener has ever actually sat. Miz Taylor's mature gardens offer up a floral abbondanza thick with gardenias, lilies of the valley and orchids, grown in a hot house, of course. Various rose varieties dot the estate and include the Elizabeth Taylor, a hot-pink hybrid tea rose named after the silver screen queen herself. Quite frankly, we imagined the Elizabeth Taylor rose would be lavender like her eyes, but hot pink it is.

Real estate pessimists like Your Mama fear that whomever buys Miz Taylor's 1.27 acre estate will demolish the admittedly not very exciting house to make way for a monstrous mock-Med mega-mansion that pushes the properties building envelope at every possible corner. That would be a pity. Alas, that is all to often how the real estate ball bounces in the L.A.'s Platinum Triangle. The best we can hope for, chickens, is that someone like super-agent turned high-end house flipper Sandy Gallin will purchase the property and give it one of his signature make overs to preserve what's architecturally good. If real estate history repeats itself in that manner we could expect, Mister Gallin would install of a flotilla of stacked white towels in every bathroom and flip the beehawtcha back on the market as the new and improved Liz Taylor mansion with an asking price in excess of $30,000,000. Stranger things have happened, puppies. Stay tuned.

Additional images of Miz Taylor's home are to be released with the printing of next month's issue of Architectural Digest.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Let's Talk Katy Perry and Russell Brand

SELLERS: Katy Perry and Russell Brand
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $3,395,000 (list); $3,300,000 (sale)
SIZE: 4,706 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Cool your jets and loosen them pin curls now, children. Your Mama is well aware we are inexcusably tardy to this here celebrity real estate party. None the less we feel the need this morning to touch upon the recent and severe case of The Real Estate Fickle caught by Grammy-winning SoCal native Katy Perry and bawdy, vulgar and makin'-it-in-America British comedian Russell Brand.

In December of 2009, almost a year before the increasingly rich and famous couple officially hitched their wagons in a traditional Hindu ceremony at a lavish resort in India, he/she/they coughed up $3,250,000 for a walled, gated and recently reworked residence in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, CA.

Current listing information for the house, which the newlyweds only put on the market about two weeks ago with an asking price of $3,395,000, shows it was originally built in 1922, stands a total of four stories tall, does not have an elevator, measures 4,702 square feet and includes 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. Close to 20 sets of French doors that open many rooms to multiple terraces and terraced back yard.

The public entertaining rooms have a circular flow that's good for the chi and include a sizable living room wrapped in French doors that frame city views, formal dining room with a tinsel-like silver wall covering and an all-white eat-in kitchen with marble counter tops. The kitchen opens to a family room and breakfast area where more French doors open to a small city-view terrace shaded by a striped awning.

Upstairs a library provides a more private lounging area and shares a full bath with a separate office where the personal assistants of the homes wealthy and/or celebrity residents can toil the day away in relative seclusion. The "ballroom" sized master bedroom has 13-foot ceilings, fireplace, balcony with city view through still more French doors, a five-star hotel-style bathroom and an a-lister's walk-in closet/dressing room.

The terraced grounds include long strips of long bordered by stone balustrades, an intimate stone-walled courtyard with gurgling stone fountain, a small-ish swimming pool and elevated circular spa with peek-a-boo view, a stone dining pergola dripping with vines and gated motor court and direct-entry three car garage.

When we first looked at the current listing photos for Mister Brand and Miz Perry's unwanted residence we thought the decidedly spare and contemporary day-core was staged. A few days later, our booze goggles still in the liquor cabinet, we looked a little a closer and realized the current listing photos are the exact same as those used for the listing and marketing materials at the time Miz Perry and Mister Brand bought the house in late 2009. This, hunnies, could only mean one of a few things:

1. Mister Brand and Miz Perry purchased or rented the crisp if eensy bit recherché day-core, added little or no personal effects and used the house only minimally as more of a hotel than a home.

2. They've declined to have their Tinseltown crash pad photographed for public consumption. Pity that because Your Mama imagines these two colorful and bawdy people would create some kind of wicked fairyland of alternately too-trendy and wonderfully personal and quirky day-core.

Although it can be dangerous to question and futile to attempt to sort out the fickle real estate ways of the rich and famous Your Mama can't help our self and all too frequently tie our mind up in knots trying to figure out what's up with all these rich and famous folks people who can't seem to sit still in a house long enough for even a pot of water to boil. Then again, who are we to get persnickety about such matters? Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter are neither rich nor famous and in the decade we've shared the same tube of toothpaste we've between us has rented or owned 13 apartments, homes, weekend houses, offices and studio spaces. Anyhoo, in the case of Mister Brand and Miz Perry, their reasons may (or may not) be related to constant aching ass muscles due to the lack of an elevator in the 4-floor residence and/or their desire for a more a-list abode in which to alight when camping out on in Tinseltown.

Your Mama recently heard through the real estate gossip grapevine that the beauty and the beast-like couple want to play with the real estate big boys and have been combing some of the better zip codes in Los Angeles for a larger and much more expensive celebrity-style crib in the ten to fifteen million dollar range. In fact, we heard from our chatty informant Nelly Knowsitall that the pair peeped their real estate eyes on Ben and Christine Stiller's two-house compound in the star-riddled Outpost Estates area of Los Angeles, now listed with an $11,495,000 price tag.

Mister and Missus Stiller–who officially relocated to a ten million dollar duplex in New York City–have had their house on and off the (open) market since September 2009 when it was put out there with an asking price of $12,500,000.

Neither do we have a horse in this race nor do–we imagine–Mister Brand and Miz Perry care a goddam whit about what Your Mama thinks but we're going give our humble and meaningless opinion anyway. We think Mister Brand and Miz Perry ought not opt for a residence with much if any gravitas of any kind. It just doesn't suit their public image(s). They would do better, we feel, were they to buy something rather absurd, over the top and utterly ridiculous like, say, the 9,000 square foot Villa Fiona, a melodramatic mansion just down the road from the Stiller spread that has an $8,485,000 asking price and includes 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, crazy trompe l'oeil detailing everywhere and a screening room with a distinctly ecclesiastical and slightly unnerving architectural thing happening.

According to Redfin, the property was put into escrow a week ago so it appears that Mister Brand and Miz Perry are some of the lucky real estate winners who just might skate away from their real estate mistake with a minimal loss.

A few minutes research on the interweb shows that Mister Brand and Miz Perry continue to own a petite and less-than-optimally-laid-out duplex penthouse in New York City's TriBeCa neighborhood that property records show was purchased in September 2010 for $2,680,000.

listing photos: Teles Properties

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Professional Pigskin Passer Troy Aikman Puts Dallas Pad Up For Sale

SELLER: Troy Aikman
PRICE: $24,000,000
SIZE: 10,520 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 full and 2 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Listen chickens, Your Mama knows as much about football as former child actress Lindsay Lohan knows about keeping the po-po out of her business so when we first heard from our Lonestar State-based real estate gossip pal Candy Evans that some Cowboy named Troy Aikmen put his hoity-toity house in Dallas's uppity and gorgeous Highland Park 'hood on the market we said, "Who?"

Natch, we took to the interweb and within minutes discovered California-born Mister Aikman passed the professional pigskin for 12 long seasons in Dallas, led his Cowboys to three Super Bowl wins and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He was, it seems and without question, a beloved football force to be reckoned with.

Since retiring in 2000, Mister Aikman has operated as a color commentator for Fox sports programs, hosts a weekly radio show and is a part-owner of the San Diego Padres, whoever they are. About the time he hung up his cleats and uniform he married the Cowboys' publicist Rhonda Worthey and the newlyweds quickly popped out two daughters to add to the one Miz Worthey already had from a previous betrothal.

Alas, as all good things often come to an end, earlier in the year the Aikmans announced they are headed for the court of divorce. Divorce amongst the rich and famous often demands the liquidation of assets and the sale of posh properties so it's really no surprise to real estate watchers that the parting pair recently heaved their marital mansion on the market this week with an asking price of $24,000,000. It's believed by those in the Dallas real estate know that the Aikman's chunky 10,520 square foot Mediterranean crib is the most expensive private residence currently on the market in the Dallas Metro area.

Mister and Missus Aikman acquired the first parcel of their two-lot compound in April of 2004. A few minutes research did not turn up a sale price but public records Your Mama peeped show the purchase price was high enough they took a seven million dollar mortgage on the property. According to Our Miss Candy–who pens the Second Shelters blog–Mister Aikman "sweet talked" the previous owner into selling him her home. No doubt much to her chagrin, shortly after buying the .54 acre property Mister Aikman and the Missus razed the house and replaced it with the mansion that now stands stately on the corner lot.

Listing information indicates the staunch and regal residence contains 5 bedrooms, 6 full and 2 (or maybe 3) half bathrooms, three living areas including a nearly 800 square foot family room on the finished basement level, a dining room with fireplace, study with coffered ceiling and a main floor family room with fireplace, hand-hewn beamed ceiling and triple-glazed glass doors that open to one of the home's several terraces.

A mosaic tile-lined swimming pool sits in a courtyard setting with the main house on one side and a guest house/pool pavilion with fireplace and outdoor grill station with pizza oven on the other. The two structures are linked by a columned loggia and a sturdy and voluminous dining gazebo.

At the tail end of 2008 Mister and Missus Aikman coughed up an unknown amount of additional funds for the .9 acre property next door, which they bought from a well-known but scandalized property developer recently sentenced to 14 months in prison for bribing a city official. As with their previous purchase the Aikmans demolished the existing 7,411 square foot manse to make way for more grand grounds that now include a second circular drive, flat expanses of unnaturally green grass, manicured flower beds shaded by mature trees, a fenced sport court, sunken trampoline and a guest house.

Over the years the Aikmans have owned a fair number of investment properties in places like Irving and Roanoke, TX. Hopefully they've done better with their investment properties than they have with some of their personal properties. In September 2002 they sold a .42 acre vacant residential parcel behind the gates of the Ironwood Country Club in Palm Desert, CA for $1,500,000, $195,000 less than they paid for the property just two years prior. In November 2007 Mister Aikman sold a 10,971 square foot mansion with 6 bedrooms and 7 full and 3 half bathrooms in Plano, TX for $1,330,000, a painful to the pocketbook $665,000 less than he paid for the property in May 1996.

Property records show that Mister Aikman still owns a 4,134 square foot house at the tail end of a quiet cul-de-sac, just a few miles from the Dallas/Forth Worth International Airportwith 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms in suburban Coppell, TX that he purchased in September 1997 for $383,904.

Interestingly and somewhat inexplicably, word on the real estate street in Dallas, according to Our Miss Candy, is that Mister Aikman has expressed interest in–but not yet made an offer on–a slightly more modest and more manageable property next door to the one he's trying to sell. Such are the weird real estate ways of the rich and famous.

listing photos: Allie Beth Allman & Associates

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Charlie Sheen Lists Warlock Lair

SELLER: Charlie Sheen
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $7,200,000
SIZE: 7,924 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Buckle up babies because we're about to take a short ride on the Charlie Sheen crazy train.

Last month the unhinged and newly unemployed actor paid $6,99,999 for a 9,020 square foot mansion with 6 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms. The house, oft reported to be where Mister Sheen planned to keep a harem of hoochies, sits right around the corner from his long-time crib in the guard-gated Mulholland Estates community high in the hills above and between Beverly Hills and Sherman Oaks, CA.

Today, for reasons unknown to Your Mama and probably having something to do with Tiger blood and indecipherable Warlockian logic, Mister Sheen listed his long time residence in the Mulholland Estates community with an asking price of $7,200,000.

Property records show that Mister Sheen purchased his House of Ill Repute back in April 2006 for $7,200,000. Listing information shows the ornate Mediterranean mansion was built in 1992, measures 7,924 square feet and includes 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 3 fireplaces and a 3-car attached garage from where Mister Sheen's S-class Mercedes land yacht was stolen not once but twice and driven off a nearby cliff.

Inside the warlock's lair, there are living and dining rooms, a library, family room, office, chef-ready eat-in kitchen and staff room with en suite facility. Many of the main rooms of Mister Sheen's mansion, according to listing information, open to a landscaped backyard that includes a huge terrace, tiny patch of grass, outdoor kitchen with dining area, swimming pool, spa and a view of the neighbor's lighted tennis court and the rugged canyon beyond.

It's really rather pointless to try and figure out what Mister Sheen's motivations and intentions are in regards to the listing of his house. According to the fine folks at Forbes Mister Sheen has earned somewhere in the neighborhood of $40,000,000 in the last 12 months so it seems unlikely he's selling because he can't afford to maintain both of the homes he owns in the Mulholland Estates community.

listing photo: Teles Properties

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sandra Bullock Adds Bev Hills Mansion to Bulging Property Portfolio

BUYER: Sandra Bullock
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $16,190,000
SIZE: 8,110 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: High-paid Oscar-winning girl-next-door actress Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side, Miss Congeniality, Speed et al) has bounced back smelling like a sweet rose from the stinky debacle of her marriage to and divorce from cheating chopper customizer Jesse James.

Miz Bullock, one of the highest paid female actors in Tinseltown, reportedly earns more than fifteen million bucks in salary per movie (not counting the back end income that easily doubles her salary), claims a net worth of $125,000,0000 and brought in lifetime global box office receipts of nearly three and a half billion bucks. With stratospheric numbers like that it should come as no surprise America's Sweetheart has a property portfolio that bulges at the seams with half a dozen luxury residences.

In January 2001 Miz Bullock paid $1,485,000 for a 3 bedroom and 3 bathroom Los Angeles house behind the Chateau Marmont Hotel and just a few doors down from fellow a-list movie star Cameron Diaz. Six months later she forked over another $1,495,000 for a house on Tybee Island (Georgia) and in June of 2009, just before her marriage to Mister James hit the skids, she shelled out $2,250,000 for a large and historic abode in New Orleans, LA. Your Mama's brief and decidedly unscientific research shows that Miz Bullock also owns a privately-set home in Austin, TX, a ski-chalet in Jackson Hole, WY and a townhouse in downtown New York City.

Although Miz Bullock's name appears nowhere on any of the property records and title documents at which Your Mama peeped–the documents show the property was acquired through a Mississippi-based business entity set up for the express purchase of a domestic residence via a New Orleans based attorney–according to a covert communique we recently received from Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills the accomplished and beloved lady actor is now and also the new owner of a substantial and legendary estate near the western edge of Beverly Hills.

A long gated drive climbs and curves through the 4.1 acre estate to a generously-proportioned motor court with cross-hatched pattern detailing and detached four-car garage. The hulking Tudor-style pile stands a stately two and a half stories tall with stone facing on the ground floor and what looks like–and we hope are–leaded glass windows. The main house measures a sizable but not pathetically gargantuan 8,110 square feet with 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms that include an expansive master suite with sitting room, fireplace and dual bathrooms.

Public and private spaces include a grandly-scaled living room with fireplace, paneled dining room with fireplace, library, office, eat-in kitchen, work out room and staff quarters all of which are protected by a serious security system, one that Your Mama imagines may soon include an armed and angry guard at the gate.

The supremely-sited property, which has a large flat backyard and stunning 270-degree views from downtown to the Pacific Ocean, includes a separate screening room and a pool side pavilion with an additional bedroom and terliting facility.

The famous and fabled hill top estate has a long list of prominent former owners who include That Girl Marlo Thomas who sold it to showbiz billionaire David Geffen sometime in the late 70s or early 80s. Mister Geffen, whose real estate feet eventually landed down the street at the even more legendary Jack Warner estate, sold the posh property in 1986 to radio station tycoon Norm Pattiz $5,933,000.

At that point the estate encompassed two parcels. One, the 4.1 acre parcel that Miz Bullock (allegedly) bought), holds the main house. A second, smaller and contiguous lot located down the steep hill side at the estate's southern flank contained the estate's tennis court plus a two-story 2,080 square foot guest house/tennis pavilion/screening room/recreation facility. Mister Pattiz, in a move kind to his pocketbook but unfortunate for the overall grandiosity of the estate, sold the larger lot that includes the main house in September 2006 to Hard Rock Café co-founder Peter Morton for $18,500,000. He sold the lower portion of the estate–once accessible from the upper portion of the property by a private funicular–in December 2006 to a non-celebrity for $3,500,000.

Mister Morton, who as far as Your Mama knows had big plans for but never actually occupied the property, put the imposing pad back on the market in July of 2008 with an asking price of $22,500,000. The property was marketed as a fixer-upper and/or as a tear down. The in-need-of-some-TLC mansion was eventually and finally sold in March 2010 at a significant three million dollar loss to Mister Morton. The buyer, L.A.-based hedge fund hog and hotel developer Reagan Silber, paid $15,500,000 for the property but like so many folks with money to burn, quickly caught a case of The Real Estate Fickle, and flipped the storied estate back on the market a year later with an asking price of $22,950,000.

Mister Silber, some of the children may already know, isn't exactly a stranger to the west coast real estate gossip columns. The deep-pocketed Mister Silber famously sold an über contemporary Bel Air mansion in June of 2006 for $20,000,000 to financially beleaguered tech tycoon Halsey Minor. Mister Minor, who has had real estate woes all up and down the state of California and beyond, has many times since buying failed to sell the house even though he's attempted at various times to unload it for ten million buckaroos less than he paid for it.

Anyhoo, getting back to the matter at hand...Real estate juggernaut Redfin shows that the Thomas/Geffen/Pattiz/Morton/Silber cum Bullock estate entered escrow in early May 2011, just two months after first appearing on the open market. Property records show the property transferred ownership from Mister Silber to Miz Bullock in mid-May for, according to Redfin, $16,190,000.

While married to Jesse James, Miz Bullock's Los Angeles-area home base was an ocean front house in Sunset Beach–that's south of Long Beach–that Mister James recently sold in December 2010 for $4,500,000 after first listing the property in April for $6,750,000.

listing photos: Westside Estate Agency

Your Mama Hears...

...that New York City-bound sitcom star and rom-com queen Jennifer Aniston is thisclose to putting her Beverly Hills mansion into escrow.

Last week we heard from our trusted source Nina Knowsthedirt that Miz Aniston was entertaining at least two offers for Ohana, her recently rehabbed Hal Leavitt-designed digs that she heaved on to the open market about three months weeks with a scorching $42,000,000 price tag. This week we hear from another trusted informant, let's call him Crawzuhdeen from the Shawlza, who whispered to Your Mama that word on the Beverly Hills real estate street is that the buyer is none other than Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and his much younger art-luvin' baby momma Daria "Dasha" Zhukova.

Your Mama can not, the children should keep in mind, confirm this high profile real estate rumor. Listing information still shows Miz Aniston's Bev Hills property marked "active" and, according to Nina Knowsthedirt, Mister Abramovich and Miss Zhukova's top producing real estate agent has denied her multi-billionaire Russian clients are the buyers.

But children, Your Mama has done been around this denial block before. In fact, not long after we discussed Miss Zhukova's residence in Los Angeles, which she bought in early 2010 for $19,500,000 and very briefly had on the market in November 2010 with an asking price of $16,500,000, we heard from one of her representatives who insisted the house was "most definitely not for sale." Two months later the house was sold for $19,500,000 to an as yet unidentified buyer. Apparently, the house was for sale, after all.

Anyhoodles poodles, while rumors of the Russians snatching up Miz Aniston's Ohana may be premature at best and downright wrong at worst it would certainly not be a surprise to any of the children who follow the frequent and always jaw-dropping real estate doings of Miz Zhukova and Mister Abramovich.

Mister Abramovich, who owns a cargo ship-sized boat nearly as long as two football fields and is currently engaged in the construction of a 30,000 square foot monster mansion in London, is notorious for paying astronomical sums of money for trophy properties around the world that include but are far from limited to an Aspen, CO ranch called Wildcat Ridge ($36,375,000) and an ocean front compound on the supah-swish Caribbean island of St. Barts ($90,000,000).

UPDATE: Huguette Clark

Those of the children who have been hanging around awhile know that Your Mama has a bit of a thing for the saga of reclusive and mysterious American heiress Huguette Clark.

Miz Clark, for those of you kids who find her name foreign, was born into a copper and mining fortune, raised in splendor in Montana and New York City mansions, educated abroad and ultimately left with a staggering fortune estimated to be around half a billion bucks. For decades Miz Clark has lived not in one of her several monstrous high-maintenance residences around the country but in near seclusion in an unmarked hospital room at New York City's Beth Israel Medical Center.

Bellosguardo, her hulking multi-winged 21,666 square foot mansion in Santa Barbara has not, it is said, been visited in 40 or 50 years. An 52-acre estate in New Canaan, CT was expanded and remodeled after purchasing in 1952 but never occupied by the mysterious lady of the house. For decades, while she languished in an ordinary hospital room, her luxurious full-floor prairie-like spread on New York's Fifth Avenue–plus the half-floor apartment a few floors above–were kept spotless and ready for her return.

But alas, Miz Clark was not to return. The elusive heiress, bless her secretive heart, finally went to meet her maker this week at the ripe old age of 104.

What will happen now to Miz Clark's considerable wealth, which includes but is not limited to considerable cash reserves, an art collection and a real estate portfolio easily worth well in excess of a hundred million clams, remains to be seen. Some worry the old bird was surrounded by a couple of money grubbing charlatans the last couple of decades who may have acted in their own best self-interest and kept the few distant relatives Miz Clark does have at a considerable distance. Any relatives over the last few dozen years who attempted to contact or visit Miz Clark were reportedly rebuffed and rudely rejected. The advisers, an attorney (Wallace "Wally" Bock) and an accountant (Irving H. Kamsler), both have sordid pasts and have been been under investigation for elder abuse and their handling–or mishandling–of Miz Clark's financial affairs.

All interested parties in Miz Clarks affairs wait now for the reading of her last will and testament and any codicils that may have been attached. No doubt her estate will be in dispute for years while her most recent aides and advisers attempt to lay claim to some part, if not all, of her assets while the distant relatives and district attorney try to sort out the the whatnots and wherefores of how Miz Clark really wanted her fortune dispersed.

'Tis a fascinating story, butter beans, and one told in great length and detail by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Bill Dedman over at msnbc.com. A long list of Mister Dedman's articles on the matter can be found here.

Manly Actor Jason Statham Lists Mid-Century Modern

SELLER: Jason Staham
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $2,749,000
SIZE: 2,281 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama first discussed butch British actor Jason Statham (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, The Italian Job, 13, Blitz) and his Tinseltown real estate doings during the summer of 2009 when he listed a 2,140 square foot condo at the Broadway Hollywood building with an asking price of $1,395,000. The hunky and humpy movie star has only purchased the 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom condo two years earlier for, according to property records, $1,543,500. A few quick flicks of the well-worn beads on Your Mama's bejeweled abacus reveals that Mister Statham was looking at a real estate bang to his bank accounts of almost $150,000, not counting real estate fees. However, as far as Your Mama can tell, Mister Statham continues to own the condo–which had a disco ball hanging from the ceiling in the living room–and it is no longer listed on the open market.

At about the same time Mister Statham first listed his unwanted condo at the Broadway Hollywood, he went trés Hollywood real estate-wise and splashed out a celebrity-style $10,950,000 for a contemporary wood and glass ocean front residence inside the guarded gates of the illustrious and star-choked Malibu Colony.

As mentioned in previous our discussions, in addition to the condo in Hollywood and the new beach house in the Bu, Mister Statham has long owned a risqué mid-century modern in the hills just above the bustling Sunset Plaza area on the Sunset Strip. Property records reveal that Mister Statham acquired the glassy 1957 single-story contemporary in June of 2004 when he coughed up $2,400,000 for the modestly sized but gigantically sultry 2,281 square foot residence.

Just prior to moving on up to the hills above West Hollywood, the accomplished springboard diver turned black market salesman turned fashion model turned well-compensated actor sold a small Spanish-style casa near Runyon Canyon in Hollywood for $1,310,000. He had purchased the house for $650,000 back in May 2002 with former model/actress lady-friend Kelly Brook (née Parsons).

Listing information for Mister Statham's restored and upgraded post and beam shows it contains 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and an open plan main living area with full walls of floor-to-ceiling glass panels that confuse the distinction between inside and outside and create a flirtatious and exhilarating structure that is perhaps a peeping tom's most satisfying real estate fantasy.

The living room has a fireplace, a white and clean-lined sectional sofa and a full wall of glass panels with a view of the walled and high-hedged front garden where the swimming pool is located. Yes, puppies, the swimming pool at Mister Statham's house in the hills, wee as it is, is in the front yard.

Entire walls of glass throughout the house create a startling and edgy transparency and allow a person to see all the way from the master bedroom, across an exterior courtyard, through the living room and beyond the back wall of the front garden where, as aforementioned, the swimming pool is located. This level of translucence is certainly fearless and spine-tingling but it also pushes the borders of personal privacy to its absolute limits of comfort in a way that many people might find off-putting and perhaps even frightening.

Interior spaces include a bedroom converted to a library/office with two full walls of built-in–and mostly empty–bookcases and a formal dining area with concrete block pony wall accent that lends the ethereal space a much-needed architectural grounding. The sleek galley-style kitchen has rich black counter tops—that Your Mama hopes and prays is soap stone rather than granite–and shiny flat-fronted cabinets that look to Your Mama like cherry wood but may very well be mahogany or some other material altogether. The kitchen is open to a family room area that Mister Statham has furnished with very masculine black leather sofas and a glass and chrome coffee table that altogether project the vibe of the waiting room of an expensive dentist, the sort of chomper fixer that does not under any circumstances accept insurance.

Concrete walls and towering hedges surround the property, which is a good damn thing when you spend a moment to consider the master pooper. Floor to ceiling and wall to wall glazing on the back wall of the shower obliterates any visual distinction between inside and outside. The thin sheet of clear glass that separates the shower space from the terliting and toothbrushing area adds another pulse-quickening layer of transparency to the smallish but nicely-equipped and clean-lined bathroom. This multi-layered transparency feels very "modern" and deliciously racy until the day you're doing your thing in the shower with Florence + The Machine working their musical magic on the iPod and Gabriel the Gardener unexpectedly works his weed whacker around the side of the house and right alongside the humongous window in the shower.

Anyhoo, outdoor space at Mister Statham's crib appear to be somewhat limited due to it being slammed up against a steep hillside at the back of house. A contemplative if not exactly private glass-wrapped courtyard is sandwiched between the living, dining and master bed rooms and the front garden, the largest outdoor area, has a trellis-like structural element that arcs over the plunge-size swimming pool. A petite poolside terrace provides a sun-dappled spot to lounge poolside with a stack of gossip glossies, a bag of penny candy and a pitcher of ice cold gin & tonics.

Since Your Mama knows not Mister Statham nor anyone who knows Mister Statham we can't say whether the hairy-chested British beau-hunk will purchase another Los Angeles home base or if he plans to decamp full-time to his ten-plus million dollar house in Malibu and use his condo at the Broadway Hollywood as an in-town pied a terre. That said, iffin Your Mama were the betting type–and we most certainly are not–we'd wager everything we own that if Mister Statham were to snag another house in Lala Land he would gravitate towards and pay big bucks for a modestly sized if horrifically expensive and architecturally sophisticated abode.

UPDATE: We now hear from The Bizzy Boys at Celebrity Address Aerial that the British tab The Daily Mail reported in mid-February 2011 that Mister Statham is in the process of custom building a house in the hills above Beverly Hills, next door to the magnificent John Lautner-designed Goldstein House and, reportedly, just a few hundred yards as the crow flies from a house his ex-lady-friend Kelly Brook recently leased.

Interestingly the article in The Daily Mail shows Mister Statham and his current gal pal–Victoria Secret brar-and-panty model Rosie Huntington-Whitely–touring the construction site with none other that James Goldstein, the Goldstein of the Goldstein House next door. Also inneresting, property records we peeped still show the parcel where Mister Statham is (allegedly) erecting his dream house to still be in the name of said Mister Goldstein. So, puppies, make of that what you will because there seems to be some confusion amongst real estate gossips as to what Mister Statham's real estate story as it pertains to this house in Bev Hills really is.

listing information: Keller Williams

Monday, May 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor's Long Time Crib Officially Listed

Last week Your Mama briefly mentioned that recently deceased Dame Elizabeth Taylor's long-time Los Angeles mansion–in a particularly posh section of Bel Air–had been hoisted on the market with an asking price of $8,600,000.

At that time an interweb listing for the approximately 7,000 square foot two-story ranch was not available. Now it is.

Listing information for the 1.27 acre estate reveals that the gated driveway sweeps past a guard house–manned by Israeli security personnel according to an article in the June 2011 issue of Vanity Fair–to a stone-paved motor court where, in one of the listing photos, the late Miz Taylor's big ol' Maybach can be see parked in front of the front-facing garage.

Inside the large but architecturally modest mansion violet-eyed Miz Taylor lived in cozy but billionaire-style splendor surrounded by antique Aubusson rugs, a lifetime of showbiz memorabilia and a blue chip art collection that includes works by impressionist mac-daddies like Van Gogh, Modigliani, Pissarro and Manet. Miz Taylor's family–a hodgepodge quartet of children from three of her seven husbands, 10 grandchildren and a handful of great-grandchildren–oft gathered for holidays and family events at the sprawling manse that includes a living room with fireplace and beamed ceiling, dining room, and additional sitting room, a galley-style country kitchen and home office converted from what was once a screening room.

There are two family bedrooms with garden access on the main floor, plus a master suite and staff quarters. The second floor has two more smaller family bedrooms plus Miz Taylor's private boo-dwar, comprised of bedroom with sitting area wrapped in lavender fabric, a private bathroom and an adjacent dressing room/beauty salon where Miz Taylor's devoted cadre of mostly gay minions would do her up pretty for her increasingly rare public appearances and occasional trips to gay watering holes like The Abbey in West Hollywood.

The perfectly groomed grounds and terraced gardens include a sparkly mosaic tile-lined swimming pool, small greenhouse for orchid cultivation, rose gardens, more gardens filled with gardenias, lilies of the valley and birds of paradise, a koi pod with waterfall and a secret bamboo jungle.

listing photos: Teles Properties

Norwood Young Lists Hancock Park Hot Mess

SELLER: Norwood Young
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $2,400,000
SIZE: 4,832 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Like Lady Gaga–whose Born This Way album drops today–Your Mama is Speechless over the Los Angeles home of some R&B singer we've never heard of named Norwood Young. Well, okay, not speechless but certainly slack-jawed and all bent out of shape about.

Mister Young, according to previous reports and property records, purchased his residential white elephant on a busy corner in the uppity Hancock Park neighborhood–which he rather grandiosely named Youngwood Court–way back in 1997 for $1,200,000. The 7 bedroom and 7 bathroom house recently hit the market with an asking price of $2,400,000.

As our Dallas, TX-based real estate gossip pal Candy Evans (Second Shelters) always says, "God don't like ugly."

We say, "Amen, sister amen" to that but somebody didn't give Mister Norwood the message.

Your Mama doesn't know whether we're more decoratively mortified by the faux poodles sitting at the bottom of the white-carpeted staircase in the marble-floored entrance hall or the trio of round glass tables in the dining room curiously and stupidly held aloft by ropes secured at the ceiling.

Perhaps the apple cart of our delicate sensibilities might be most upset by the the small army of David statue replicas that line the circular drive or maybe it's silly mural of Mister Norwood himself painted on the wall behind the swimming pool.

Listen, children, no one gets behind a highly-personalized day-core more than Your Mama. However, there are limits to our generosity, particularly when it comes to carpeted master bathrooms and especially when said poopers are outfitted like Mister Norwood's with a got-damn circular, sunken, jetted and gold-toned bathtub.

A short list of the home's other features, according to listing information and marketing materials, include a paneled media room, glammy guest house and a raised backyard stage for impromptu performances during backyard barbecues.

As a little added bonus for the children, we've linked over to a few photos of Mister Young posing like a wannabe supermodel in front of his house, some of which were obviously snapped during the 2007-08 holidays. Have mercy! A white overcoat with fur shawl-collar and cuffs? Bitch, pleeze. But then again, what sort of sartorial statement should we expect from a man with a white baby grand piano and a pair of over-sized all-white Chippendale-style chairs that make the "formal" living room look and feel like a damn dollhouse.

listing photos: LBC Realty

Is Sarah Palin High-Tailing it for the Lower 48?

BUYERS: Sarah and Todd Palin
LOCATION: Scottsdale, AZ
PRICE: $1,695,000
SIZE: 7,971 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Buckle your safety belts, butter beans, because the 2012 Republican presidential race is on. Misters Trump, Daniels and Huckabee are out out out and Newtie G., Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Ricky Santorum are in in in. There are several others with a dark horse is the race–i.e. Ron Paul and Herman Cain–but what all the righty-tighties and social conservatives really want to know is if the Tea Party's de-facto Queen of Hearts Sarah Palin will soon throw her snow shoes into the political circus ring.

Given that it would be a logistical nightmare to run a presidential campaign from the great but remote state of Alaska, its been widely rumored for quite some time that the former governor–who famously quit her term half-way through in order to twitter like a demon and appear on her own reality program–might want a home base in the Lower 48 from where she can headquarter her as yet undeclared run for the presidency.

Last weekend a clue emerged in regards Miz Palin's potential presidential intentions; She and the Mister (allegedly) purchased dee-luxe desert digs in the far northern reaches of Scottsdale, AZ. We're not sure what exactly the Palin clan's interest in Arizona is–besides it being about 100 degrees warmer than Alaska in the winter–but around the 2010 Christmas holidays Missus and Mister Palin's eldest daughter–teen mother turned new-jawed abstinence advocate Bristol Palinlaid down $172,000 for a 3,929 square foot house in Maricopa, AZ, just south of Phoenix.

Property records show the 7,971 square foot Scottsdale mansion in question was acquired for $1,695,000 in cold hard cash through a Delaware-based entity called "Safari Investments." Missus Palin's people have yet to confirm that the newly-completed crib in Scottsdale was purchased by Missus and Mister Palin but circumstantial evidence mounts and reports of the couple's alleged purchase pile up.

The Phoenix, AZ attorney whose names appear on documents related to the property declined to comment but as it turns out Safari is the name of the Petersville, AK lake where Missus and Mister Palin own a couple of vacation cabins for which some reports indicate they've failed to pay adequate property taxes. A black mini-van with blacked out windows and Alaska plates was recently videotaped leaving and returning to the property and the driver also declined to comment and rather nicely asked the reporter(s) to vamoose.

Listing information for the walled and gated estate in an upscale enclave half-way between Scottsdale and Carefree shows it contains 5 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms, a 6-car garage, a gas fireplace or two (or three) and an elevator shaft.

The vast and voluminous open plan main living area has double-height ceilings, stone floors, built-in entertainment center, carved stone fireplace jammed up into the corner, dining area with buffet niche and staircase and balcony with wrought iron railings. Just off the great room an oddly-shaped and window-wrapped gourmet kitchen has a sizable center island, high-grade appliances including double under-counter ovens, hickory-colored raised panel cabinetry and black granite counter tops.

Extensive additional living and entertainment areas located in the full basement include a wine cellar, home theater with tiered seating platforms and an all-but-windowless family room with built-in wet bar.

Four of the bedrooms are located on the main floor and each has a private facility. The sprawling master suite on the second level features an acre of wall-to-wall beige carpeting, a carved stone fireplace, a gigantic walk-in closet for all of Mister Palin's flannel shirts and Missus Palin's perfectly-tailored power suits and a trellis-covered terrace with outdoor fireplace. The large voyeur-friendly pooper features a jetted tub for two separated from a multi-headed walk-in shower by a large window that makes it convenient for anyone in the shower to watch anyone in the bathtub and vice-versa.

The flat saguaro-dotted backyard has a number of loggias, unnaturally green grass patches and terraces that surround the rectangular swimming pool and nearby spa. An open-air cabana with fireplace provides a shady respite from the sizzling and scorching desert sun.

Your Mama wonders if Senator John McCain and his wife Cindy will bring out the Arizona welcome wagon for Missus and Mister Palin or if they'll leave that job to some of the state's other conservative honchos like Governor Jan Brewer and/or Maricopa County's tough-talking sheriff Joe Arpaio.

listing photos: Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage via Hot Pads