LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
SIZE: 12,717 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Last week a little birdie chirped in our ear that under-the-radar media mogul Byron Allen dropped a mogul-sized wad on a big, new mansion in Beverly Hills, CA. We then went away for the weekend to see Sister Woman and Your Mama's momma Goose and, well, forgot all about the matter until yesterday when another little birdie goosed Your Mama's memory and reminded us that Mister Allen and his beautiful blond missus Jennifer Lucas dropped a noteworthy $17,000,000 on their new manse set behind driveway gates and hidden by a towering hedge on a narrow street in what is arguably one of the plumiest pockets of Beverly Hills.
Mister and Missus Allen's new neighbors include Hollywood honchos and hot shots like Tom, Katie and Suri Cruise, talent agent Kevin Huvane, one of bajillionaire Kirk Kerkorian's kids, hedge funder Mitchell Julis, and playboy producer Steve Bing. And that's just the people he can practically reach out and touch. Also nearby—withing walking distance iffin anyone besides the domestics actually walked in Beverly Hills—are the mega-mansion estates of Stewart and Lynda Resnick and tool and die tycoon Eric Smidt.
Mister Allen started up his ladder of fame (and fortune) as a stand up comedian but we remember him from the early 1980s when he co-hosted a boob-toob program called Real People. In the early-1990s he hosted an eponymous late-night chat show and in the mid-1990s he began producing interview, stand-up comedy and lifestyle shows. Press releases show he now owns, operates and finances Entertainment Studios, an under-the-radar but protean production company with more than 30 syndicated programs on the air, half a dozen online channels (and counting) and annual revenue that, according to a January 2012 profile in The Hollywood Reporter, exceeds $100,000,000. His workhorse programming has earned the company three Emmy nominations and the ballsy showbiz entrepreneur just ordered an unprecedented 104 episodes of two new shows, The First Family—which reunites Jackee (Harry) and Marla Gibbs in supporting roles—and Mr. Box Office with a star-studded cast that includes Bill Bellamy, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Gary Busey, Vivica A. Fox, and Jon Lovitz. That's right, he's ordered 104 episodes per show.
Listing information Your Mama dug up out of the internets shows Mister Allen's new digs were first listed in April 2010 with a $21,000,000 price tag that was quickly cut to $19,500,000. The conveniently located mini-estate languished for nearly two years before Mister and Missus Allen came along and snatched it up for, according to calculations on our bejeweled abacus, almost 20% less than the seller originally wanted. Property records show the seller was Dallas, TX-based billionaire banker Gerald J. Ford who acquired the property in August 2007 for $15,750,000.
Listing information shows the hulky-bulky two-story residence—originally built, we were told, in the late 1980s by Hollywood power player turned high-end house flipper Sandy Gallin—measures in at a massive but not mega 12,717 square feet and contains 6 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms (plus an additional staff room with bathroom), 6 or 7 fireplaces (one outdoors) and airy, 13-foot ceilings on the main floor.
A short, gated drive curves around to a circular (or maybe oval), tree-ringed motor court that balloons out in front of the front-facing garage and front door. A double-height entrance hall guaranteed to impress the guests and the FedEx delivery people has a soaring wall of glass panels and superstar-style staircase that starts off as a single, extra-wide flight before it splits in two and double backs to create a second level gallery with contemporary, wood and glass railing.
Gleaming, high-drama ebony wood floors in the entrance hall sweep into the public room that include a light-flooded, formal living room with fireplace, thickly layered moldings and a wide bank of floor-to-ceiling wood-framed glass panels that slide open and expose the room to the elements, backyard dining and lounging terrace and swimming pool.
The formal dining room, a rather thrilling, oval shaped space, seats 18 according to listing information and has wood-paneled walls coated in lush and lustrous, deep blue lacquer that somehow comes off for Your Mama as both admirably bold and tsk-tksy foul at the same time. Of course, we don't know the moon from a raccoon so we can't say with any authority whatsoever if Mister and Missus Allen plan to retain the deep blue glacé wall treatment in the dining room once their nice-gay or lady decorator gets finished doing up the day-core and installing a state-of-the-art home automation system.
Both the library and a home office connect to a quiet and private garden. Less formal family quarters center around the eat-in kitchen where the polished ebony wood floors go mano-a-mano with articulated, matte-finish ebony wood cabinetry topped with grey-veined white marble counter tops. The cooker comes equipped with all the top-grade stainless steel appliances one should expects to find in a $17 million dollar mansion in Beverly Hills. The kitchen adjoins a family room that, naturally, opens up in classic and casual southern California-style to the backyard.
Upstairs five family/guest bedrooms each have a private pooper and the spacious, south-facing master suite encompasses a separate sitting area with built-in window seat, direct terrace access with over-the-tree-top views of Beverly Hills, multiple closets, his and her bathing and terliting facilities and an attached gym area.
Outdoor areas include (but are not limited to) a patch of grass where Mister and Missus Allen could, if they wanted, install a really expensive jungle gym for their two tots, a covered patio space for escaping the scorching soCal sunshine, and an arched stone terrace that stretches out towards the black-bottom swimming pool and spa. A fancy, modern metal and glass child-safety fence separate the terrace from the slender, infinity-edge swimming pool that arches gently over the hillside into the tree tops.
We seriously appreciate that real effort was made with the design and execution of the metal and glass child-safety fence. We recognize their necessity but most of those awful mesh or iron fences that tightly girdle so many small-child-gobbling swimming pools are abominations as far as we're concerned. We can't help but wonder, though, if Mister and Missus Allen will need a part-time, minimum wager worker whose sole responsibility will be to squeegee the glass panels every time some small child or topsy-turvy adult splashes a little pool water up on them.
As far as we know Mister Byron currently and still resides in a relatively modest—if hardly inexpensive—Richard Landry-designed contemporary above the Sunset Strip in what's known as The Bird Streets where all the streets are named after—you got it—birds. Speaking of birds, the same little birdie that goosed our memory about Mister Allen's recent real estate acquisition also snitched that Mister and Missus Allen's current crib has been quietly shown off-market but will soon hit the open market with an asking price somewhere around nine or $10,000,000.
aerial image: Bing
listing images: Hilton & Hyland