Saturday, June 30, 2012

Music Producer Richard Perry Sells Sunset Strip Estate

SELLER: Richard Perry
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $12,750,000
SIZE: 5,935 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Legendary music producer Richard Perry has quietly hoisted his long-time Los Angeles, CA residence, perched on a private knoll on a narrow, curving street just above the Sunset Strip, on the open market with an asking price of $12,750,000.

Mister Perry's high-flying, professional salad days were unquestionably the 1970s an 80s when he produced more than a dozen gold and platinum albums for music industry movers and shakers such as Rod Stewart, Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon, Diana Ross, Leo Sayer, Neil Diamond, Martha Reeves and Captain Beefheart. Although the septuagenarian still keeps his professional toe in the water, nowadays he's more likely to be most familiar with gossip glossy readers as the very tan man-friend of still-sizzling-at-75 Jane Fonda.

Property records aren't specific as to when Mister Perry acquired his Sunset Strip residence or how much music industry moolah he coughed up for it but current listing information shows the gated estate was originally built in 1942—for Ronald Reagan and first wife Jane Wyman—and occupies an elevated .72 acre hillock with nearly unobstructed 340-degree views over the twinkling lights of Tinseltown.

The main house, set high above the street on a steep bluff, measures in at a sizable but hardly huge 5,935 square feet, and includes a total of 5 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms; a paneled formal living room with fireplace; formal dining room; library; wine cellar; indoor and out door spas; and a master suite with fireplace and dual poopers. At least one room in the house has a boozer-friendly, built-in wet bar and walls lined floor to ceiling with scads of photographs of famous people and gold records.

Listing information shows the property offers upwards of ten off-street parking spaces along the wide, gated driveway that swoops up past the north-south aligned lighted tennis court and around the front of the house to a small motor court and three-car garage. The swimming pool and adjacent Balinese-style pool pavilion are somewhat awkwardly situated across the driveway on a large flat plateau.

Some of Mister Perry's nearby neighbors include English actor Michael York, decorator/restaurateur Lynn von Kersting—co-owner of showbiz industry eatery The Ivy on Robertson Boulevard—and movie producer John Goldwyn and his hotelier man-mate Jeff Klein who owns the chic, celeb-stocked Sunset Tower Hotel.

Miz Fonda decamped Atlanta a few years ago and rented an apartment in Los Angeles at the star-studded Sierra Towers building just off the Sunset Strip where other high-profile condo owners include (but are not limited to) pickled and preserved Showbiz and music industry icons like Sharon Osbourne, Cher, Joan Collins, Diahann Carol and Elton John.

The children may recall Your Mama discussed Miz Fonda's airy, art- and crafts-filled loft in Atlanta—with its mortifying Pepto-Bismal-pink, womb-like entrance hall—back in May 2010 when it was first put on the open market with an asking price of $4,500,000. Unfortunately for Hanoi Jane, the 4,764 square foot loft hasn't yet appealed to a buyer and the price has plummeted to $1,195,000.

Miz Fonda recently told former D-list turned B-plus-list comedienne Kathy Griffin that she hasn't spent a single night in her rented 1 bedroom and 1.5 bathroom rental, preferring instead to shack up at Mister Perry's pad from where she said she can see her (unused) apartment from the bathroom window.

listing photos: Coldwell Banker / Beverly Hills South

Friday, June 29, 2012

Film and TV Writer Larry Levin Downsizes in Windsor Square

BUYER: Larry Levin and Sasha Emerson
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA (Hancock Park)
PRICE: $1,595,000
SIZE:2,641 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: For almost two decades Tinseltown scribe Larry Levin (It's Garry Shandling's Show, I Love You, Man, Doctor Dolittle, Dr. Dolittle 2) and his film industry executive turned stylist/lady-decorator wife Sasha Emerson shacked up in an a customized and colorful post-and-beam modern tucked into Santa Monica's low-key but downright pricey Rustic Canyon.

Rustic Canyon happens to be one of Your Mama's fave 'hoods in Los Angeles where, one of Your Mama's friend's Mercedes-driving father who lives there (unscientifically) swears, there are more Prius owners per capita than anywhere else in all of Los Angeles.

We have no idea if the Levin-Emersons pilot a Prius around town but property records do show Mister Levin acquired the property in 1994 for $1,150,000 and sold the 6 bedroom and 5.5 bathroom house in early April this year (2012) for $3,700,000, or $3,671,170, depending on what online resource Your Mama consults. The buyer, as per our peep through the prop records, was up-and-coming (but obviously well-to-do) short film maker Elfar Adalsteins (Sailcloth, Subculture).

Where does a person move after selling a customized and colorful post-and-beam modern in Rustic Canyon for more than $2.5 million more than was paid for it? Well, it may surprise some of the children to learn, but in the case of Mister Levin and Miz Emerson, it's a downsizing to a much smaller and more modest English cottage-y crib all the way across town in the tree-lined, broad lawn-ed and historically affluent Windsor Square neighborhood.

Property records reveal the Levin-Emersons spent $1,575,000—or $1,595,000, depending on what online resource Your Mama consults—on their new house that was purchased from an L.A.-based restaurateur with a handful of successful, mid-priced Italian eateries Your Mama ain't never heard of or eaten at. But that's neither here nor there to the matter at hand.

Listing information from the time of the sale indicates the steeply and asymmetrically gabled, two-story house was originally built in 1922, measures a fairly modest but far from tiny 2,641 square feet and includes 3-4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

A small den/office just off one side of the front entrance hall has custom-built, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and storage cabinets while the "formal" living room off the other has dark chocolate-colored hardwood floors, a fireplace and a dizzying display of windows, some with square panes and some with diamond panes. Why didn't someone put diamond paned windows in all the windows in the living room? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Bueller?

The dark wood floors continue in to the dinner party-friendly formal dining room that opens through French doors to the backyard and sits adjacent to the country-style kitchen outfitted with dark-dark-dark lower cabinets, no overhead cabinets at all, Carrara marble counter tops, top-grade stainless steel appliances and a butcher block topped restaurant work table in the center of the room. A step-down room off the kitchen, at the back of the house, could be pressed in to use as a family room or bedroom perfectly suited to a live-in domestic or hormonally raging teenager.

Upstairs the two family/guest bedrooms share a hall bathroom while the master bedroom has its own pooper plus a walk-in closet and sitting area with wee, wood-burning fireplace. One of the upstairs bathrooms—an all black and white affair that we're really not sure is the master or the hall facility—has a most-unusual caning-weave pattern mosaic tile floor. The back wall of the tub/shower combo appears to be mirrored. Mirroed! We've never actually seen a mirror lined shower and, to be honest, the very notion makes us squeamish, shy and desperately insecure.

Anyhoo, the back of the house opens up to a large, rectangular-shaped backyard with circular brick bordered multi-level gravel terraces and a series of tree-lined terraced lawn areas where one might reasonably expect to—but do not—find an in-ground swimming pool and/or spa. What the backyard does have is a big ol', ugly concrete pad way out back, next to the two-car detached garage that about as inconveniently far from the house as it can be and is accessible only by a narrow alley.

If she hasn't already we fully expect Miz Emerson—as mentioned earlier, a much-published lady-decorator—will wave her decorative wand over the property and do it up in her own personal style that (now-shuttered) Budget Living magazine, where she was once the West Coast Editor, humidly but tantalizingly described as "Andy Warhol meets Sister Parish."

Windsor Square may be less lauded or well known than its hoitier, toitier and (generally speaking) more expensive neighbor Hancock Park but the historic 'hood none-the-less has more than a few fine and notable residences including the very grand, Beaux Arts-style Dorthy Chandler mansion on Lorraine Boulevard—currently on the market with an $11,250,000 price tag—and Getty House, an equally impressive English Tudor-style pile once owned by oilman John Paul Getty and now the official mayoral residence of Los Angeles.

listing photos: Keller Williams

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sandra Bullock Wants to Lighten Heavy Real Estate Load

SELLER: Sandra Bullock
PRICE: $2,500,000
SIZE: 5,663 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Just a couple years ago, according to the folks at Forbes (via The Hollywood Reporter), Oscar-winning actress and producer Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side, Crash, Miss Congeniality and etc.), was widely reported to be one of the—if not the—highest paid actresses in all of Hollywood who took in a knee-bucking and bank account filling $56,000,000 between June 2009 and June 2010.

Even if that income estimate is off by several million clams and even if—hypothetically speaking—her income has plummeted in the last couple of years, it should come as no surprise to the children the otherwise low-key superstar single-mommy of one has adequate funds to own an impressive property portfolio that bursts at the seams with more than half a dozen luxury residences from California to New York.

Since at least the mid-1990s Miz Bullock has owned a home (and numerous businesses) in the music-loving, lefty-liberal Texas city of Austin where a month or so ago she chose to lighten her considerable and no-doubt costly-to-maintain real estate load and hoisted a walled and gated estate southwest of downtown Austin on the market with an asking price of $2,500,000.

Property records reveal Miz Bullock bought the privately-positioned but somewhat oddly-located property way back in April 1997 for $575,000. The rear of the presumably heavily fortified property backs up to a greenbelt trail—good for those who enjoy jogging and other such torturous physical activities—but it's peculiarly if somewhat clandestinely situated just off the busy MoPac Expressway in a decidedly unpretentious enclave southwest of downtown that's bordered by chunky suburban-looking office buildings; a few handfuls of two-family and a few more handfuls of less impressive but hardly inexpensive single-family homes; and a slew of large rental apartments and condominium complexes.

Listing photos show only the sylvan grounds and rear exterior façade of the white stucco and smoked glass contemporary that overlooks Barton Creek but do describe the 5,663 square foot two-story house as sitting on 1.75 gently sloping acres and as having 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms. The back of the house opens to a multi-level scored concrete terrace, lap lane swimming pool, in-ground spa, and unobstructed views of the downtown sky line over the carpet of tree tops that shade the green belt that snakes along the rear flank of the estate. One of the gawd-awful nearby office buildings looms over a lighted tennis court tucked away in a far corner of the property.

The children should not confuse or conflate the Austin residence Miz Bullock just tossed on the market with her far more substantial 5.81 acre estate on Lake Austin. She bought her lake front spread around the turn of the century and subsequently spent millions to custom build a massive mansion only to move out just days after moving in over concerns about mold and shoddy workmanship. She sued the builder and, in 2004, after, an 8-week trial was granted $7,800,000 in damages. She razed the moldy mansion—but kept the back terraces and swimming pool complex that were built along with it—and the compound-like property now has several smaller residential structures plus a three-bay, two-story boat house.

Even when she off-loads her long-time Austin digs near downtown Miz Bullock and in addition to her Lake Austin compound will still own six (and maybe more) homes across the country including a dour but kinda legendary (and sadly neglected) Old Hollywood-style 8,110 square foot Tudor-style pile on 4.1 acres in Beverly Hills, CA (above). She bought the private perch in May 2011 for $16,190,000 from gaming, entertainment and telecom entrepreneur Reagan Silber.

At one point the great estate high above Bev Hills also encompassed a second, lower parcel with tennis court and guest house accessible by funicular and was previously owned but a slew of Tinseltowners and big business types including restaurateur Peter Morton, radio station tycoon Norm Pattiz (who split and sold off the lower section in late 2006 for $3.5 million to a non-celeb), multi-billionaire music and media magnate David Geffen and That Girl Marlo Thomas.

As far as we know (and can tell based on a quick perusal of property records), Miz Bullock still owns a much smaller 3 bedroom and 3 bathroom residence a few miles away in West Hollywood (CA), bought in early 2001 for $1,495,000 and located just up the road from the Chateau Marmont Hotel and next door to a house owned by Cammie Diaz who—we presume—has decamped for the 3-acre Bev Hills (Post Office) compound she bought from Candice Bergen in 2010 for $9,477,500.

About six months after buying the house next door to Cammie D., Miz Bullock spent another $1,495,000 on an eight (or maybe it's ten) parcel ocean front spread in Tybee Island, GA and in June 2009, just over a year before she was adopted a baby and dumped her philandering ex-husband Jesse James, she shelled out $2,250,000 on the historic Koch-Mays House, an elaborate mash-up of a Gothic Victorian and a Swiss Chalet-style confection in the Garden District of New Orleans (above), originally built in 1876 for U.S. Sentator and Ambassador to France James Eustis with 5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and a whole lot of lacy iron work.

Miz Bullock's impressive (and no-doubt costly to maintain) property portfolio, as far as we know and can tell from a perusal of property records, also still includes a townhouse in New York City's SoHo 'hood (above) scooped up in January 2000 for $3,350,000 as well as a two lot spread with a Rocky Mountain appropriate, log-style residence just outside of Jackson Hole, WY.

P.S. We know were the last celebrity property gossip to get to Miz Bullock listing in Austin having already been covered by everyone from the Austinist to Perez Hilton to the kids at Curbed , okay?

listing photos (Austin): Capital City Sotheby's Realty
aerial photo (Beverly Hills): Pacific Coast News
facade photo (New Orleans): Dan Callister for Pacific Coast News
facade photo (New York City): Pacific Coast News

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mid Week Floor Plan Porn: 965 Fifth Avenue

SELLER: Actually, we're not quite sure
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $15,750,000
SIZE: 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS (UPDATED) NOTES: We were unexpectedly waylaid along the way today but as promised in our earlier discussion of financier Bruce Barnes' big digs at the Dakota on New York City's Upper West Side, we're finally following up with some more juicy floor plan porn in the form of a Fifth Avenue penthouse listed last week with a $15,750,000 price tag.

Property records we peeped indicate and reports from the time of the purchase state the deluxe duplex, perched atop a full-service pre-war building almost directly across Central Park from the Barnes apartment, is owned by the Kathryn Beal and Bruce Beal Jr., a bigwig executive at real estate juggernaut Related Companies.

However—buckle up butter beans because it gets a little bumpy here—we've just heard from someone in a position to know that the posh penthouse is not owned by Mister Beal Jr. Apparently, according to our informative source, Mister Beal Jr.'s actual address is similar to that of this penthouse at 965 Fifth Avenue but it is not this penthouse as we originally thought (and reported).

Mister Beal Jr. and his missus, for what it's worth, bought their apartment at 965 Fifth Avenue—whichever one it is—for $10,000,000 from his multi-billionaire boss, real estate tycoon Stephen M. Ross, the current Chairman, CEO and Founder of Related Companies and majority owner of the Miami Dolphins football team who persuaded a bunch of celebs like Serena Williams, Gloria Estefan and Marc Anthony to acquire, ahem, minority stakes in the team.

Confused? We are too. Let's all down another mid-morning gin & tonic and maybe then it'll all make sense.
Anyhoodles poodles, the owner/seller of the penthouse in question is secondary here to the floor plans included with marketing materials that shows one of the building's passenger elevators opens directly in to the penthouse's entrance gallery. Both the similarly-shaped but not-quite-equally-sized living and dining room have Parquet de Versailles wood floors, wood burning fireplaces and each has access to two of the three small terraces on the lower level.

The multi-windowed, park view kitchen, tucked between the dining room and an unusually-large-for-Manhattan laundry room (with service entrance and walk-in storage closet) is all dressed up and expensively equipped with mosaic tile floor; marble tile back splashes that extend clear up to the ceiling; slab marble and mahogany counter tops; white Shaker-style cabinets and stainless steel cabinets that conceal the fridge and freezer; and a brass-accented Euro-brand range and hood that together, Your Mama can assure the children, cost more than a suped-up Scion or mid-range Hyundai.

The lower level is completed by a petite library lined walls and ceiling with high-gloss wood paneling and an adjoining home office with custom-built, floor-to-ceiling book cases.

Upstairs there are three bedroom suites, each with private pooper and direct access to the wrap around terrace. One guest/family bedroom has a wacky, u-shaped walk-in closet and the the other guest/family bedroom has a small adjoining private study.

The Master suite has two closets—one a windowed walk-in; a sitting area with fireplace, dressing area and vaguely Art Deco-style bathroom with black marble floors; walls completely covered white marble separate; semi-opaque, bottle glass-enclosed stall shower; and a soaking tub set into a marble-lined niche.

A second, much smaller and somewhat (in)famous apartment on the 18th floor can be purchased concurrently to flesh out the lower floor with a combined asking price of $17,900,000. The 1 bedroom and 2 bathroom apartment was once owned by rock music manager turned legendary New York City real estate agent to the stars Linda Stein who was—brace yourselves—bludgeoned to death in 2007 by her assistant. Miz Stein's long-time residence at 965 Fifth was sold to its current owner in August 2008 for $1,045,000.

The smaller apartment doesn't appear to be on the open market but, according to rudimentary calculations on our bejeweled abacus, given the combined asking price ($17,900,000) and the price of the penthouse ($15,750,000) the value for the old Stein place has been placed at $2,150,000

listing photos and floor plan: Prudential Douglas Elliman

Mid-Week Floor Plan Porn: Bruce Barnes at The Dakota

SELLER: Bruce Barnes
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $26,900,000
SIZE: 5,100 square feet (approx.), 2-3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Today is a travel day for Your Mama so we don't have the time to prattle on (and on and on) like we usually do about some celebrity owned (mc)mansion. Instead, and in order to keep the children's real estate appetites whetted, we're gonna be relatively brief (and not very snarky) and serve up some hardcore floor plan porn in the form of a sprawling park-view apartment at the legendary Dakota building on New York City's Upper West Side. Later we'll have us some real estate porn dessert with a less artisnial-feeling and much less expensive but still insanely swank Fifth Avenue penthouse on the Upper East Side.

First up, an approximately 5,100 square foot sixth floor spread at the Dakota listed in early April (2012) with a sky-high asking price of $26,900,000 and owned for the last 17 years by a low-profile financier and philanthropist named Bruce Barnes. Mister Barnes is—or, until recently, was, we're not sure—the president of the powerful and sometimes capricious board at the Dakota

Although in a letter to the board and other residents (quoted in the Post via The Observer) he explained his desire to downsize was because his "apartment is very large for two people, and several of the rooms are rarely used," there has been some speculation Mister Barnes' decision to resign his post as Mister Dakota Board President and sell his Dakota digs after 17 years may (or may not) have something to do with the ugly and, as far as we know, ongoing brouhaha that ensued when hedge fund fat cat Alphonse "Buddy" Fletcher Jr.—one of the buildings few black residents and a former board president—filed a racial discrimination 'the story goes, for his mother's use.

The 10-room apartment, according to the floor plan included with current listing information (above), has a rare and eye-popping 100 feet of above-the-trees Central Park frontage. The current configuration allows for 2 proper bedrooms with 3 bathrooms including a master suite with private study and walk-in closet. The attached master bathroom has honed onyx detailing and 5 antique shower heads in the party-sized shower.

There are 7 working wood-burning fireplaces, including one in the mahogany-paneled entry vestibule and two in the master suite. Floor to ceiling windows in the 650-plus square foot formal living room open to two Juliet balconies and one itty-bitty terrace off the master bedroom has the swooniest of swoony views that encompasses the entirety of Central Park, the towers of Midtown and the hoity-toity apartment buildings that line Fifth Avenue and Central Park South.

The fully modernized yet immaculately preserved apartment—it has an almost hidden central air conditioning system, a luxury not available in the 1880s when the Dakota was built—retains much if not all of its original 19th-century architectural detailing that includes 12-foot ceilings, heavy plaster moldings, hand-carved wood work, pocket doors, and extra-deep wood-lined window frames.

Mister Barnes and his man-friend Joseph Cunningham have fairly well filled the apartment with a thoughtfully curated (and no-doubt hidjously expensively) collection of Arts and Crafts hoozygoozies and whatchamacallits and the furniture is almost all exquisite Mission style stuff that Your Mama imagines to be pedigreed, papered and museum quality.

Other high profile residents of the Dakota include Lauren Bacall, Roberta Flack, Maury Povich and Connie Chung (who own two apartments) and Yoko Ono (who, it is our understanding, owns several apartments and reportedly brings sushi to the annual, residents only pot luck/meet-n-greet.)

Although the apartment is one of the largest in the building it is also by far the most expensive unit currently on the open market. The next most expensive unit currently available is an approximately 4,500 square foot fourth floor unit with no direct park view. The Barnes' apartment is also priced well above the highest price ever paid for an apartment in the building. That was for Lenny Bernstein's simalarly-sized second floor place that sold in 2008 for $20,500,000 to Cheryl and Philip Milstein, a real estate executive heir to a substantial and diversified fortune built primarily on real estate and banking.

listing photos and floor plan: Brown Harris Stevens

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Producer Stacey Sher and Musician Kerry Brown List B.H.P.O. Compound

SELLERS: Stacey Sher and Kerry Brown
LOCATION: Beverly Hills (Post Office), CA
PRICE: $5,795,000
SIZE: 7,800 square feet, 4-5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms (in themain house)

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Decades ago prolific, Oscar-nominated writer/producer/director Blake Edwards (The Pink Panther film franchise, Victor Victoria, S.O.B., 10) and his Oscar-winning wife/widow Julie Andrews (Victor Victoria, The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins) owned a sprawling spread in a discreet (and discrete) Beverly Hills Post Office (B.H.P.O) enclave long popular with Tinseltowners and known as Hidden Valley.

The private and gated estate—a multi-structure compound, really—is currently owned by Oscar-nominated film and television producer Stacey Sher and her musician husband Kerry Brown who currently have it on the market with a $5,795,000 price tag.

Miz Sher may not be an instantly recognizable household name but she's got an impressive and growing list of big money movie credits that include Erin Brockovich, Pulp Fiction, Gattaca and Reality Bites as well as the high-larious police parody boob-toob series Reno 911!, nixed from the air in 2009. According to the Internet Movie Data Base Miz Sher has a hefty slate of star-studded films in various stages of production that include (but are not limited to) Get a Job (with Bryan Cranston and Anna Kendrick); Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained (with Leo DiCap, Jonah Hill, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington and Jamie Foxx); and Runner Runner (with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake).

Mister Brown, no professional slouch, earns his no-doubt considerable keep as a musician and music producer/recorder/mixer for bands and singers like The Smashing Pumpkins, the ever-entertaining hot mess Courtney Love, (nearby neighbor) Jessica Simpson, The Bangles and a couple gals from The Go-Gos. He's additionally produced and mixed a number of soundtracks for movies like P.S. I Love You, Along Came Polly and Scream.

Property records indicate the highly-customized, boomerang-shaped compound was picked up by Miz Sher and Mister Brown in August 2000 for $2,910,000. Online documentation also indicates the low-key but luxe-living couple first first hoisted the B.H.P.O. property on to the (open) market in mid-February 2011. Your Mama isn't sure what price they put on the place back in February 2011 but details available online via the fine folks at Redfin reveal the asking price was dropped three times and the property twice (and unsuccessfully) put into escrow before it was taken off the market around Christmastime (2011). It was subsequently re-listed at its current asking price in late April of this year.

By Your Mama's boozy (and quite possibly inaccurate) count, based on a study of the site and floor plans included with marketing materials, the 1.61 acre entourage-accommodating, star-style compound includes a substantial main mansion with 4 (and potentially five) bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms (shown above) plus two more potential bedrooms and 2 full and 2 half bathrooms spread throughout two additional, detached and inhabitable structures on the property (shown below).

Once past the enclave's not particularly authoritative-looking security booth, remote controlled gates provide additional security for the compound and give way to a private drive that slopes up to a bifurcated motor court that easily accommodates 6 or 8 (or more) luxury automobiles. One arm of the motor court tucks in to an inviting, tree-shaded courtyard nestled between the front of the house and a steep, landscaped hillside down which tumbles a (man-made) waterfall. The other arm of the motor court curls up and around to second, larger parking pad. There is not, as far as we can tell, a garage on the property.

The main mansion was originally designed by much lauded and applauded architect Wallace Neff and built in 1948. Since then the 7,800 square foot residence has been significantly remodeled and altered—some purists might say mangled—in to a kind-of-confusing but not completely displeasing, Craftsman-Colonial-esque architectural pastiche with vine-laced red brick walls and arch-dormered, stained glass and Palladian-style windows framed with contrasty but complimentary, espresso-colored (or perhaps ebony) trim work.

On one side of the tile-floored foyer there are two spacious family/guest bedrooms, each with private en suite facility. On the other there's a roller rink-sized, 1,120 square foot living/dining room with lustrous wood floors; an elegantly minimalist red brick fireplace; wide, glass sliders that open to a deep and voluminous covered porch; and a party-friendly, sunken wet bar with two walk-in booze closets and a bank of windows that peel back and open to the front courtyard. The relatively low ceilings in the living/dining room are (arguably) somewhat mitigated by the large light well and sky light in the center of the room held aloft by an unexpected, theatrical and quirky quartet of carved wood palm trees.

The service core and less-formal family quarters of the L-shaped mansion orbit around an expensively-equipped, Craftsman-y center island kitchen with built-in breakfast banquette and luscius custom cabinetry that may (or may not) be mahogany. An adjoining butler's pantry is well-equipped with a full-sized fridge, sink and dishwasher but does not seem to connect directly to the dining area and the laundry room is large but, let's be honest, inconveniently located all by itself in a window-free chamber in the basement Your Mama's opinionated house gurl Svetlana (probably unfairly) described as a " damn dungeon."A smallish bedroom off the kitchen has direct access to a hall bathroom and is probably best suited to a household office space or domestic staff suite.

On one side the kitchen a 28-foot long, brick-floored and window-lined family room with brick fireplace opens out to the aforementioned deep and voluminous covered porch off the living/dining room. On the other side of the kitchen—accessible from a short corridor off the kitchen as well as a short corridor off the living/dining room—a mostly mauve, mahogany and cream colored, state-of-the media room has stepped seating for 10 or 12 and a pair of side-by-side arched French doors that connect to the front courtyard and, presumably, are hung with heavy-duty black-out curtains.

At 2,680 square feet, according to marketing materials, the master suite privately occupies the entire second floor and is far larger than Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter's (updated and upgraded but almost ludicrously more) modest cottage in the Hollywood Hills. A vestibule landing at the top of the wide staircase opens through double doors directly in to the bedroom proper that offers up a fireplace; a pitched and painted wood ceiling that dips a bit low for our comfort; just two rather puny windows and one set of French doors that open to wee, canyon view private patio; and industrial-looking, oatmeal-colored wall-to-wall carpeting.

A wide and windowed, L-shaped corridor passes a two room walk-in closet before it makes a hard right and connects to a completely separate and windowed cubby for the terlit (and bidet). The industrial-looking, oatmeal-colored wall-to-wall carpeting in the bedroom and corridor inexplicably continues in to the over-sized main bathroom area outfitted with double sinks, a couple of built-in linen cabinets, jetted tub set catty-wompus in a green marble platform and a separate shower stall with window.

Since we know any number of the children are thinking it we're just going to say it out loud: It is kinda gross and never, ever acceptable to put wall-to-wall carpeting in any part of an abluting or evacuating facility. That is, as some of y'all may already know, Rule No. 17 in Your Mama's Big Book of Decoratin' Dos and Don'ts. Darlings, think about it for a hot second. As the dee-voon strip of bathing-suit clad beef jerky that was Dixie Wetsworth used to say, "Moistchuh."

Anyhoo, just off the carpeted bathing room there's a second and much bigger, custom-fitted walk-in closet and dressing room with big windows, two vanities, lots of white cabinetry and a vanity-assuaging but insecurity ensuring expanse of mirrored wall.

The dressing room adjoins a properly stocked home fitness facility with wood floors, floor-to-ceiling storage cabinets, and huge sky light. French doors in the fitness room connect to a smaller room (improbably) labeled as a bedroom on the floor plan. The "bedroom," which would most definitely make a much better yoga studio, Pilates nook or massage parlor, opens out to a small balcony and winding brick stairway that descends to the front courtyard. This exterior stair set up means, of course, that when Fiona the hard-bodied fitness expert comes to administer a brutalizing work out or Sven the muscled masseuse comes for a firm, apés work out rub down they need not traipse through the entire house.

A classic, kidney-shaped swimming pool and spa—located an unfortunate distance from the main house, clear across the bi-winged motor court—is surrounded by a wide brick terrace and outfitted with an outdoor fireplace and pergola-shaded barbecue station/outdoor kitchen. An arched deck extends out from the brick terrace in to the shrub- and tree-tops that run along the curving street frontage.

A little birdie told Your Mama the swimming pool adjacent pool house/guesthouse/recording studio was originally built by Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews who gave it the whole 1970s chalet-style Sound of Music look. The multi-level and multi-purpose pool house/guesthouse/recording studio structure measures, according to marketing materials, 2,480 square feet.

The brick red and half-timbered structure incorporates two rooms that could be dressed up as bedrooms; one full pooper (with convenient exterior and interior access) plus two more half crappers; three sitting rooms (shown on the floor plan as a living room with fireplace, tee-vee lounge and den/library); a lofted office area; a rustic but rock-n-roll dining room with brick floor, vaulted dark wood-beamed ceiling, brick fireplace and glizty chandelier; a recording suite complete with control/mixing room complete and leopard fabric-lined vocal booth and music studio; and one fully-equipped kitchen that does double duty as the foyer plus a eensy-weensy kitchenette/wet bar tucked into a closet in a corner the recording studio.

A third, barn-like accessory building of about 1,200 square feet and a fairytale-ish walk-in kiln—a considerable stroll from the main house, beyond the swimming pool, past the pool house/guesthouse/recording studio on the far side of the lighted tennis court (with telephone-equipped viewing pavilion)—is sure to delight the Pablo Potter, Kitty Crafter and/or Martha Stewart in all of us. Concrete floors run throughout the high ceilinged main space as well as the separate kitchen(ette), half bathroom and storage rooms large enough to make a horder glow with glee.

A sunny, Saltillo tile terrace in front of the art studio/storage structure gives way to a flat, curving strip of pock-marked lawn where the current owners have created a children's playtime haven with sunken trampoline, elaborate play structure, tiny play house and basketball court complete with bleachers.

The discreet (and discrete) Hidden Valley enclave remains a popular and pricey locale where scads of rich and/or famous folks maintain both full- and part-time residences. Current big name home owners in the somewhat secluded (but far from remote) community include Cameron Diaz who bought her 3-acre compound in June 2010 for $9,447,500 from the soo-blime actress Candice Bergen, new mommy Jessica Simpson, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Penelope Cruz, Ziggy Marley, Guy Oseary, and Welcome Back Kotter actor turned professional gambler Gabe Kaplan.

As a Hidden Valley celebrity real estate aside: Blingster supermodel turned trophy wife turned clothing mogul and reality tee-vee star Kimora Lee Simmons owns a faux-Tudor-ish-style house in the 'hood she bought back in August 2007 for $5,900,000. As far as we know, even after she spent boo-coo bucks on an extensive renovation that included replacing the tennis court with tennis court-sized lawn area, Miz Simmons hasn't herself occupied the premises for a very long time.

Miz Simmons—the ex-wife of music and clothing tycoon Russell Simmons—unsuccessfully attempted to sell her unwanted Hidden Valley mini-estate in 2008 and 2009 with asking prices as high as $7,750,000 but eventually, we're told by a little birdie in the position to know, took it off the market and made it available as a high end lease.

In the last days of May 2012 Miz Simmons got back on the real estate merry-go-round and re-heaved the 7 bedroom and 8 bathroom mansion back on the market with an asking price of $4,650,000. Within two weeks the property was put in escrow (with multiple offers, someone snitched) but even with a full-price sale, the lady's looking at a $1,250,000 pounding to her designer pocketbook not counting improvements, carrying costs and real estate fees.

listing photos and floor plans: Prudential California Realty

Monday, June 25, 2012

UPDATE: The Beatty-Benings Decide to Sell

SELLERS: Annette Bening and Warren Beatty
LOCATION: Beverly Hills (Post Office), CA
PRICE: $6,995,000
SIZE: 10,594 square feet, 9 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Late last year (2011) agéd Tinseltown heart throb (and Oscar winner) Warren Beatty and 4-time Oscar-nominated wife Annette Bening put a huge home they own (and long occupied) in the Beverly Hills Post Office area up for lease with a monthly rent of $27,500.

A little over a month later the Hollywood superstars dropped the price to $25,000 per month and then chopped it again to its current rental asking price $19,995 per month. With no takers for the property as rental, the Beatty-Benings decided to go another route this week and put the Mulholland Drive estate up for sale with an initial asking price of $6,995,000.

Current listing information shows the gated and secluded estate encompasses 1.1 acres with a 10,594 square foot mock-Med mansion built in 1992 with 6 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms plus a staff suite and separate guest house that brings the total count to 9 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms.

A long, gated drive way curves up to a good-sized motor court with three car garage at the front of the two-story mansion that opens through a French doors along the back to a wide and flat, tree-shaded lawn and in-ground swimming pool and spa with through-the-tree-top-views over the San Fernando Valley.

As far as we know, which ain't nuthin', the Beatty-Benings have moved (back) to their sprawling 6.7-plus acre compound less than two miles down Mulholland Drive where the massive main house was recently built after the old one was severely damaged in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

listing photos: Westside Estate Agency

A Little Real Housewives of Atlanta Real Estate Gossip

OWNERS: Kendra and Antonio Davis
RENTERS: Kim Zolciak and Kroy Biermann
PRICE: $2,999,000

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: We know there are those out there who could care less about the real estate activities of the glitzy and ostentatious and sometimes tawdry women from The Real Housewives of... series but we also know there are scads of children who do. For those folks we bring you an elephantine Roswell, GA red brick mansion listed with a price tag of $2,999,000 and most recently rented (and even more recently vacated) by wigtastic Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) Kim Zolciak and her new husband, professional pigskinner Kroy Biermann.

Miz Zolciak and Mister Biermann we're seen moving in to (and decorating) the massive manse on the most recent season of RHOA and the quickly procreating couple—she's already preggers with her fourth and their second child—were married on the property in mid-November 2011 in an expensive ceremony taped—natch—for her spin off reality program Don't Be Tardy For The Wedding.

The 2+ acre estate was never actually owned by Mister Biermann and/or Miz Zolciak but rather rented to them by a local lady decorator named Kendra Davis and her former NBA star husband Antonio Davis. Prior to their 2011 lease, the (approximately) 15,600 square foot red brick Transitional-Traditional-style mansion had been listed for $4,200,000—later dropped to $3,250,000.

Listing information shows the 3-story beast of an abode has a total of 6 bedrooms, 6 full and 4 half bathrooms, 5 fireplaces, 3 full kitchens, 3 family rooms, 2 laundry rooms, 10-foot ceilings and garage parking for 4 cars and 1 elevator. And that's not counting the "caterers' planning office," the "gentlemens library," billiard room, home theater, gym or double-height, impress-the-guests-style foyer. Outdoor amenities include a deep shaded terrace, improbably called a "lanai" on listing materials; a broad, open-air terrace; swimming pool and spa with waterfall; and a sport court.

Strangely but in typical Housewives fashion, the lady landlord and Miz Zolciak has some sort of silly Twitter war recently with allegations of unpaid rent and Your Mama recently heard from a southrun snitch we'll call Chatty Charlie who tattled to us the scuttlebutt on the Atlanta area real estate gossip highway is that the Zolciak-Biermanns asked for a 4-month extension on their lease but were, for unknown reasons, denied. According to Chatty Charlie, the Zolciak-Biermanns were levied a $600 fine for every day they remained in the house beyond their (expired) lease and did not move out until a eviction notice was served.

The Zolciak-Biermanns hastily packed up the kids and wigs moved out about two weeks ago ago, according to Chatty Charlie, and decamped back to Miz Zolciak's townhouse-type condominium in Duluth (GA). Chatty Charlie also told Your Mama that Miz  Z. is going around telling people she and Mister Biermann are building a "bigger and better mansion" to house their fast-growing family in an as-yet unrevealed location.

We don't know a damn thing about this (alleged) bigger and better mansion but if interweb reports are true—and they may or may not be—the big living couple can certainly afford to build a giant mansion in suburban Atlanta; He reportedly earns an average of just over $3 million a year doing his thing for the Atlanta Falcons (on a three year contract) and, although Bravo says it's ain't true, some reports indicate she rakes in as much as three quarters of a million clams a year for appearing on RHOA.

We can't verify those income figures but we do know that in mid-June (2012) Miz Zolciak's former bacherlorette pad condo in a gated community in Duluth was taken off the (open) market after having been listed (on and off) since December 2010 when it popped up for sale with a $499,000 asking price.

We're not quite sure why they Zolciak-Biermanns would move back into the townhouse when, as it turns out, property records reveal young and bubble-booted Mister Biermann owns a red brick-faced Transitional-Traditional-style residence in the Atlanta suburb of Hoschton, GA he picked up in February 2010 for $395,000. This was right about the time Miz Z-B was going around telling people she was bisexual and involved with some DJ lady and just before she met Mister Biermann in May (2010) and some charity dance competition.

As it turns out Mister Biermann has had the family-sized house in Hoschton on the market since February (2012) with a $400,000 price tag and current listing information we teased up out of the internets shows the approximately 4,200 square foot two-story was built in 2007, sits on .37 acres in a small (un-gated) development and has 5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, formal living and dining rooms, and open-plan kitchen/family room arrangement, garage parking for 3 cars, 2 fireplaces and homeowners association dues of just $54 per month.

listing photos (Roswell): Elite Real Estate Properties
listing photos (Hoschton): Harry Norman Realtors via Redfin

Friday, June 22, 2012

Goop Gal Gwynnie Paltrow Snags Fancy L.A. Digs

BUYERS: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA (Brentwood)
PRICE: $9,950,000
SIZE: (approx.) 8,000 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Today is a travel day—we don't dare tell you where we're going it's just so unconventional and hot and awful—so we need to be uncharacteristically brief about the celebrity real estate scuttlebutt reported by gossip juggernaut TMZ about Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin fixin' to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of ten million (American) clams to acquire a recently (re)built mansion in the bucolic, horse-friendly and very expensive Mandeville Canyon area of Los Angeles.

Mandeville Canyon, for those not familiar, sits between the quiet community of Brentwood and the equally as quiet community of Pacific Palisades.

The Goop gal's newly built digs, according to listing information we scared up out of the interweb, sits on a tree-shaded .66 acre lot and was imagined—and presumably staged—by high-fallutin' and self-described "lifestyle architect" Windsor Smith who wedged 6 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms in to the approximately 8,000 square foot, H-shaped single story stunner described as "Reminiscent of a home in the horse country of Kentucky" with "gentrified rooms" suitable for  and "inspiring and[d] easy, relaxed, unpretentious lifestyle."

At one point the house was listed for $11,960,000 but was last listed at $10,450,000 and, so the rumor goes, the Paltrow-Martins are in escrow for somewhere close to the asking price.

There are muted black and white checkerboard floors in the entrance hall that stretches gracefully from the front clean through to the back of the house and antique herringbone wood floors in the formal living room that also stretches clear through from the front to the back of the mansion. There are more fireplaces with vintage mantels than we can count, and multi-paned windows and French doors that seamlessly connect the interiors to the courtyard around which the back of the house wraps. Despite the menacing looking pot rack over the super-sized center island, the eat-in kitchen is an absolute marvel of sophistication and craftsmanship. Your Mama can assure the children the Toyota-sized range cost more than an average Toyota.

At the front, drive gates open in to a genteel gravel motor court that passes through a narrow porte-cochere to a small rear motor court and second set of electronic driveway gates. At the rear, according to listing description, there are "Rolling grounds with shady sycamores and venerable oaks contribute to the pastoral setting.

Outdoor living spaces include a sitting area with outdoor fireplace, a built-in barbecue station with adjacent built-in dining banquette and the cutest little stable a person ever saw with an itty-bitty cupola on top.

Miz Paltrow and Mister Martin also maintain a penthouse pad in New York City (plus a second apartment on a lower floor, presumably for family or staff), a shingled mansion in Amagansett, NY—that's the Hamptons, puppies—and a triple-wide townhouse compound in London's natty, celeb-stocked Belsize Park area.

listing photos: Coldwell Banker Previews International

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Rancic's L.A. Rental Goes Up for Sale

TENANTS: Giuliana and Bill Rancic
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA (Brentwood)
PRICE: $2,395,000
SIZE: 2,272 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: If inclined, the children can thank a friendly informant we'll call Brenda Wood for alerting Your Mama to an East Coast-y Cape Cod crib in the leafy and affluent Brentwood area of Los Angeles, CA currently on the market with an asking price of $2,395,000.

Property records we peeped show the rather charming residence has been owned since 2003 not by a celeb but a prominent West Side real estate agent. This is where eagle-eyed Brenda Wood comes in: She recognized the modestly-scaled but decidedly-upscale and certainly pricey property as the (rented) home of reality television stars Giuliana and Bill Rancic.

Easy-going property developer and motivational speaker Mister Rancic—who has some of the whitest teeth we've ever laid eyes on—won the first season of The Apprentice back in 2004 and exceedingly slender Missus Rancic (née DePandi) has long been an on-camera celebrity news correspondent who currently, along with her numerous other gigs, co-hosts the sassy and snarky Fashion Police program with perennially funny (and nasty) Joan Rivers, rock-n-roll scion Kelly Osbourne, and celebrity stylist George Kotsiopoulos.

For the last several Mister and Missus Rancic have laid bare their lives for the world to see on their eponymous reality tee-vee program Giuliani & Bill. Anyone who tuned in watched the couple—no doubt with both genuine sympathy and utter mortification—navigate the perils of a new(ish) marriage, grapple with infertility and cope with breast cancer and a double mastectomy. The icing on their cake is that Mister and Missus Rancic don't work in the same city. He's Chicago-based and she's L.A.-based. Imagine the frequent flyer miles. Last week it was announced—it seems almost every detail and drama of their bumpy lives is either disclosed or announced—the couple is with-child via a gestational surrogate and are expecting a bouncing baby boy. Mavel tov!

Back in May 2011 Missus Rancic told that when in Los Angeles she often stays somewhere down in Marina del Rey so it could be the couple only "occupy" this house in Brentwood for filming their reality program and actually bunk somewhere else. Believe it or not, puppies, this actually sometimes happens in the make-believe world of reality television. However, there are pap snaps floating around that show the two of them in front of said house in Brentwood—it's identified only as "a friend's house") and there are scads of videos online that show them sitting in the living room (and in the dining room) of said house giving budget party planning tips and marriage advice. There's also a framed photo of the two of them next to the flat-screen tee-vee over the fireplace in the living room of said house in Brentwood and, more circumstantially, a giant letter R standing on a dresser of the master bedroom. Make of all that what you will.

Current listing information shows the white picket fenced residence was originally built in 1941, sits on quarter-plus acre lot and has 2,272 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

It takes but few steps on a brick path to get from a compact driveway at the end of a short cul-de-sace to a puny (but properly-scaled) portico entry. A glass and wood Dutch door—and who does not love a Dutch door?—opens in to a spacious center hall entry where a petite den/office to the left of the entry has built-in book shelves on either side of a bay window. The living roomt runs along the back of the house and features a red brick fireplace, a full wall of built-in cabinets and book shelves, and chocolate-colored hardwood floors that run throughout both floors. A row of multi-paned windows and French doors lead out to a cozy covered porch that spans the full width of the back of the house.

A galley-style eat-in kitchen between the dining room and the attached two car garage has gleaming white cabinets, marble counter tops, the usual complement of high-grade stainless steel appliances and a breakfast nook tucked into yet another, deep bay window.

Two guest/family bedrooms tucked in to the eaves with dormer windows on the second floor share a hall bath while the master suite has a sitting area, second red brick fireplace and an attached bathroom with double sinks, and marble-lined shower somewhat awkwardly set into the steep slant of the roof. It appears from listing photos that at least one of the second floor family/guest bedrooms was pressed in to use as a spacious if not particularly aspirational walk-in closet/dressing room.

Just a sliver of green lawn lies between the brick-floored covered porch that runs the width of the back of the house and the classically aqua-colored swimming pool ringed by a frame of red brick that widens on the far side to comfortably accommodate a outdoor dining table for eight. The house and yard sit on a short bluff that falls off beyond the swimming pool and allows for an expansive, over-the-tree-tops view of the (north)eastern sky.

Mister and Missus Rancic—punishingly-paced peripatetics if there ever were such a thing—are hardly strangers to the real estate game or celebrity property gossip columns. In July of 2007 they shelled out $1,500,000 for a single family townhouse on Chicago's Gold Coast. The 1908 residence was given the ol' Rancic re-do and flipped back on the market and sold at a substantial profit in March of 2009 for $3,595,000. Listing information from the time of the sale shows the 5,460 square foot townhouse has (or had) 3 bedrooms 3.5 poopers, a complete movie theater, exterior security cameras, radiant heated floors, a heated 1.5 car garage, and 10 flat screen televisions.

In May of 2009, after more than a year on the market, Missus Rancic sold her Thom Filicia-decorated bachelorette pad in Los Angeles, on the 20th floor of a Wilshire Boulevard high-rise, for $725,000. Prop records reveal Missus Rancic picked the place up in January of 2003–when she was still Miss DePandi–for $465,000.

In June of 2009 the vagabonds shelled out $1,185,000 for a foreclosed, high-floor condo in a luxury high rise on Chicago's Magnificent Mile (Michigan Avenue). Less than a year later the Rancic re-did 2 bedroom and 2.5 pooper aerie was back on the market at $1,650,000. It sold in January 2011 for $1,425,000.

In May 2010 they spent $1,560,000 to buy an extended family accommodating, 8,000 square foot mansion—or 12,000 square feet, depending on which online resource you consult—in the upscale Chicago suburb of Hinsdale. When purchased a gut renovation was underway, which Mister and Missus Rancic completed in short order with (according to reports we read) African mahogany front doors, Brazilian cherry wood floors, a basement gym, home theater and cigar and scotch room. They itchy footed reality stars occupied the mansion for just three months before they flipped the red brick Federal-style pile in February 2011 year for $4,600,000.

We're not exactly sure whether the always to-ing and fro-ing couple plan to settle down with their new baby in Chicago or Los Angeles. It seems almost inconceivable to Your Mama—who does not know a pine nut from a pint of ice cream— they won't always require a real estate toe hold in Los Angeles where Missus Rancic maintains a full-time professional calendar but she's on record as saying she'd rather raise up youngins in Chicago than Los Angeles.

To that end, they were shown in March 2012 on their reality program house hunting in Chicago where they've recently (and sort of randomly) opened up a mid-priced restaurant called RPM Italian. Anyone want to take bets on how long before these hard-charging entrepreneurs start opening up RPM Italians in Los Angeles and Las Vegas? Stranger things have happened.

listing photos: Partners Trust

Is there a single person among us chickens and children...

...who isn't foaming uncontrollably at the mouth to see the soon-to-be-released Lauren Greenfield-directed documentary The Queen of Versailles about time-share tycoon David Greenfield and his conspicuously consumptive wife's epic (and unsuccessful) journey to build a garishly opulent 90,000 square foot super mega-mansion outside of Orlando, FL?

If you don't know already about it, the newly released trailer will both horrify and whet your appetite but good. We suggest you pair the trailer with a stiff gin & tonic or some other mood stabilizing substance of your preference. Enjoy.

UPDATE: Meg Ryan

As first reported by the celebrity gossip juggernaut TMZ yesterday—and as Your Mama has been telling the children for weeks and weeks—Meg Ryan has finally, at long last sold her Bel Air estate.

The buyer Adam Bernhard—he sold his flash-sale website HauteLook to Nordstrom last year for around $270 million—coughed up $11,125,000 for the 6,877 square foot house that include 6 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms plus a detached guest house out back by the swimming pool.

Miz Ryan had the city-view property on and off the open market for years. Your Mama first discussed it in late 2008 when it was heaved on the open market with an in-hind-sight optimistic asking price of $19,500,000 and then again in October 2009 when it was listed at $14,200,000. House hopping house flipper Diane Keaton leased the place in 2010/2011 after it was put out for rent at $40,000 per month.

Miz Keaton recently snatched up a $5.6 million dollar mansion in Pacific Palisades and Miz Ryan seems to be spending most of her time on the East Coast where she cats around with rock star man-friend John (Cougar) Mellencamp, house hunts in New York City and owns a secluded retreat on Martha's Vineyard.

aerial photo: Pacific Coast News

Did Larry Ellison Buy Lanai?

OMG, butter beans, buckle your real estate safety belts children, because this one will knock your damn bobby socks off.

Fresh reports out of the Pacific say that Oracle multi-billionaire Larry Ellison has come to terms regarding the acquisition of nearly 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai. That's right, nearly 98% of the entire Hawaiian island of Lanai, all 141 square miles of

The deal involves 88,000 acres of land plus two very swank resorts, a couple of top-grade golf courses, an equestrian facility and various residential and commercial buildings.

The agreed upon sale price hasn't been released—at least not that we foound—but the rumored asking price for the island was between $500 and $600 million dollars. That's plenty of dough to keep a small country afloat for years but still just a fraction of Mister Ellison's reported net worth of (around) $36 billion. At least one report say Mister Ellison is expected to pay cash.

Mister Ellison hasn't publicly commented on the (alleged) purchase but apparently Hawaii's Governor Neil Abercrombie spilled the real estate beans on the deal. "We look forward to welcoming Mr. Ellison in the near future," Abercrombie said (via Bloomberg Businessweek). "His passion for nature, particularly the ocean, is well known specifically in the realm of America's Cup sailing."

 The seller, 89-year old self-made billionaire David Murdock, has owned the almost 98% stake in the island since the mid 1985 and was reported to lose between $18 and $25 million dollars a year running the hotels and golf courses.

The agreement would allow him to keep his home plus the rights to build a (a controversial and no doubt exceedingly lucrative) wind farm that would provide power to the island of Oahu via and underwater cable.

Mister Ellison is a frequent buyer (and rare seller) of high-priced and high-maintenance properties. He owns more than $180-plus million worth of property in Malibu, a San Francisco mansion, a Japanese themed compound in Woodside, CA, a Gilded Age mansion in Newport, RI, a vast estate in Rancho Mirage with a private 18-hole golf course and 8 guest houses and on and on and on and on.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

DeGeneres to Seacrest Sale Price Revealed

As duly and briefly noted earlier today by the always on top of things kids at Curbed, the purchase price for the nearly three acre Beverly Hills, CA estate Ellen and Portia DeGeneres recently sold to Ryan Seacrest has been recorded and revealed.

Despite the $49,000,000 asking price, the squeaky clean American Idol host drove a hard bargain and paid the reigning daytime chat show queen bee $37,500,000—or $36,500,000, depending on where you look—for the secluded, A-list celebrity-style compound tucked discreetly above Coldwater Canyon.

The biggest chunk of the dee-luxe estate (shown above), bought from Will & Grace co-creator Max Mutchnick in September 2007 for almost thirty million clams, includes a (roughly) 8,600 square foot, single-story main house once inhabited by jet-setting actress Joan Collins plus a fully-detached two-bedroom guest house and additional living space (somewhat preposterously) positioned directly underneath the radically and expensively engineered, negative-edge swimming pool and adjacent cabana.

Mister Seacrest's purchase also includes, as per the prop records we peeped, an adjacent parcel picked up by the Missus DeGeneres in December 2007. At the time of the $8,500,000 purchase the property had an undistinguished (and arguably ass-ugly) 1980s contemporary on it that, in short order, the ladies razed and replaced with an extended motor court and meandering, hilltop garden with private pond and city view.

Property records also show Mister Seacrest is also the new owner of a third, adjacent parcel with a 2,785 square foot residence the Missus DeGeneres scooped up in June 2008 for $5,000,000. The hillside house, just outside the compound's main driveway gates, makes for a perfect arrangement for a family member, over-nighting security staff and/or other live-in domestic personnel.

Our rudimentary mathematical calculations indicate the Missus DeGeneres paid (approximately) $43,500,000 for the various pieces of her property puzzle that she sold to Mister Seacrest. That means she absorbed a spine-straightening $5-6,000,000 loss, not counting carrying costs and improvements, such as razing one house and replacing it with a high-maintenance garden.

The Missus DeGeneres have another $5,500,000 tied up with yet another adjacent property picked up in July 2008 but did not, curiously and according to property records we peeped, sell to Mister Seacrest. So the celebrity real estate scuttlebutt that reached Your Mama goes, the Missus DeGeneres bought the house because it has oblique sight lines to some portion of her estate she did not want sighted. We're have no idea whether the Missus DeGeneres would like to sell and/or if Mister Seacrest might like to purchase said property.

Mister Seacrest still owns a gated Nichols Canyon estate bought from Kevin Costner in April 2006 for $11,500,000—and currently on the market for $11,985,000—and the Missus DeGeneres recently shelled out $17,400,000 to acquire a swinging, single story pad originally designed by Hal Levitt in the trendy Trousdale Estates section of Beverly Hills.

aerial photo: Pacific Coast News

Not A Lesbian L Word Actress Erin Daniel Lists Hollywood Hills Home

SELLER: Erin Daniels
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $925,000
SIZE: 1,795 square feet, 2-3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: She may have played a scissor sister on the long-ago canceled lesbianic drama The L Word but in real life actress Erin Daniels is a married heterosexual mother of one who, a little birdie told Your Mama, listed her renovated 1940s ranch-bungalow in the Hollywood Hills with an asking price of $925,000.

Since The L Word was axed in 2007 Miz Daniels has had a handful of small parts and recurring roles on a couple handfuls of television programs such as Zach and Miri Make a Porno, CSI: NY, Saving Grace and Swingtown. More recently she was briefly seen (among other places) in A Single Man, Rizzoli & Isles and Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean and her resume on the Internet Movie Data Base shows Miz Daniels has a number of film and television projects planned and/or in the hopper including the upcoming Sofia Coppola film The Bling Ring about all those naughty-naughty, well-to-do suburban kids who made a nasty habit of burglarizing the Los Angeles area homes of celebs like Paris Hilton, Megan Fox, Rachel Bilson, Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom.

Long before she married her indie flick producer/post production executive (and baby daddy) Chris Uettwiller in 2008, property records show Miz Daniels purchased her house in the Hollywood Manor 'hood in July 2000 for $575,000. Current listing information puts the renovated residence at a modest 1,795 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms while The Los Angeles County Tax Man shows a slightly smaller 1,662 square feet with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Make of those small (but important) discrepancies what you will.

A high, modern-minded fence fashioned from thin, horizontal wood slats surrounds the front yard and forms a private entry courtyard. A long and narrow entrance corridor connects the glass front door to a compact, L-shaped "formal" living and dining room with fireplace, oak floors, and one big window with a view of the front courtyard.

Miz Daniels and Mister Uettwiller clearly never met a piece of mid-century modern furniture they didn't like (or buy) and, in addition to the baby grand piano covered with enough framed photographs to make even the most hardworking housekeeper groan with dusting fury, the room is chock full of iconic MCM pieces that include a cow hide covered LC4 chaise lounge by Le Corbusier, $3,855 new at Design Within Reach (DWR); a white leather and walnut Eames lounge and ottoman, $5,000+ at DWR; and a George Nelson saucer pendant light ($435 at DWR) hung over a round, marble-topped Eero Saarinen table ($3,200+ at DWR) ringed by a quartet of swoopy (and possibly vintage) Cherner armchairs chairs ($1,199 apiece new at DWR).

The oak floors continue in to the adjoining kitchen, outfitted with white, raised-paned cabinetry and frosted glass fronted uppers, white appliances, jet black granite counter tops. The kitchen has direct access to the attached 2-car garage as well as an adjacent office/study (convertible to third bedroom) with second, corner fireplace and attached pooper.

A wide opening in the living/dining room, a breakfast bar pass through in the kitchen and a standard doorway in the den/office all open to the primary living space, a decent-sized but hardly-huge family room with more oak floors, slightly pitched ceiling and long wall of floor-to-ceiling glass with access to an ipe wood dining deck and over-the-tree-tops view of the surrounding canyon towards Cahuenga Peak.

The two principal bedrooms flank a single hall bathroom with a lot of perfectly ordinary white tile and a separate soaking tub and stall shower. One bedroom has two walls of built-in book cases and drawers—in lieu, it seems, of a traditional closet and used to store the toys and clothes of Miz Daniels toddler—and the other, larger bedroom has windows on three walls for easy cross ventilation. An extra-wide set of pane-free French doors open to the aforementioned ipe wood deck at the back of the house.

A conveniently lighted stairway descends from the deck to a small grassy patch perfect for pooch piddling and a second set of (gated) steps connects to the lowest level of the back yard where there's a long, rectangular swimming pool and a small, terraced vegetable garden. The Dr. Cooter notes there does not appear to be a spa on the property and Your Mama notes the glute-busting haul up from the pool to the house for anyone with a full bladder. We suspect Miz Daniels, Mister Uettwiller and/or at least a couple of their pool party pals have once or twice copped a squat in the bushes rather than hiked all the way up to the house to use the facility. Or maybe that we think such a thing says more about Your Mama's booze-fueled laziness and the (un)couthiness of our social circle than anything else.

Whatever the case, other (low-wattage) celebrities who reside in the Hollywood Manor 'hood include still blond 80s icon Morgan Fairchild, still platinum-haired 80s icon Brigitte Nielsen, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition carpenter Paul DiMeo who—as it turns out—currently has his 1927 Mediterranean two-family house in the Manor on the market for $1,135,000. 

listing photos: Coldwell Banker / Beverly Hills South

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Diane Keaton Buys Big Pac Pal Pad

BUYER: Diane Keaton
LOCATION: Pacific Palisades, CA
PRICE $5,600,000
SIZE: 7,800 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: We've occasionally wondered what often in the property gossip columns house hopper Diane Keaton had up her next real estate sleeve.

Over the years the Oscar-winning architecture and design junkie has owned scads and scores of architecturally notable residences all over Los Angeles, including the Alfred Newman estate in Pacific Palisades and the 1928, Lloyd Wright-designed Samuel-Novarro House in Los Feliz, later owned briefly by Christina Ricci. After selling her newly overhauled, Ralph Flewelling-designed hacienda-style mansion in the flats of Beverly Hills in September 2010 to Glee and Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy for $10,000,000, the preservation-oriented high-end house flipper leased former rom-com queen Meg Ryan's gated, almost-perfect Spanish-style mansion in Bel Air, right next door to fashion world royal Tom Ford's louche and ravishing Richard Neutra-designed compound.

Your Mama heard some time ago from someone we know who tends to know these things that Miz Keaton had moved out of Meg's mansion and today, much to our celebrity real estate surprise (and chagrin), we heard from the long-legged blond at Trulia Luxe Living that Miz Keaton just plunked down $5,600,000 to acquire a bulky and luxurious but hardly historic quasi-Cape Cod-style mansion in the upscale seaside community of Pacific Palisades, CA.

Miz Keaton's newly acquired crib in Pac Pal, built only in 2009, sits tightly on a 10,018 square foot corner lot near the grass-free, ocean-view bluffs of Asilomar Park, measures (around) 7,800 square feet spread out over three floors, according to listing information, and includes a total of 6 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms.

Formal living and dining rooms with pane-free French doors flank the grand, double-height center hall entry outfitted with a Tara-esque staircase, inky black floors and monumental upside down wedding cake-shaped chandelier. A short corridor connects the foyer at the front of the house to the less-formal, open-plan family quarters that extend along the back of the house and include a family room lounge with fireplace, built-in wet bar, and colossal, U-shaped kitchen with gleaming white Shaker-style cabinets, top-quality commercial-style appliances and Subaru-sized center island with snack counter and burnt caramel-colored butcher block counter tops.

The basement level is—to put it nicely—an entertainment extravaganza that includes a temperature-controlled wine cellar and adjoining tasting room/lounge; a bedroom-sized fitness room (convertible to a 7-th bedroom, as per listing details); an eggplant, purple and lavender hued movie theater with stepped seating; and a game room with built-in wet bar, built-in tufted banquette and glass doors that open to a basement level outdoor terrace with spiral staircase for easy (if dizzying) access up to the backyard.

The master suite—with private deck, fireplace, lots of built-in bookshelves, bedroom-sized walk-in closet, and attached facility—sits up on the second floor along with three more family guest suites. A fifth bedroom with en suite pooper on the main floor perfect for the lazy or the infirm and a sixth bedroom with en suite is located down in the basement may (or may not) have been intended for permanent habitation by a live-in domestic or part-time by a less-favored family member or house guest.

A blue stone terrace (or slate or some such upper end stone material) tucked into the inside crook of the mansion has a stacked stone fireplace and built-in barbecue station. The terrace gives way to a (mostly) flat expanse of lawn and blue stone terrace (or slate or some such upper end stone material) that surrounds the plunge-sized swimming pool and inset four-person spa. In addition to the fenced and hedge-ringed backyard, outdoor living spaces also include a wide covered front porch, a couple second level balconies, the aforementioned basement level terrace and a meandering roof deck that allows for over-the-roof-top views of the Santa Monica Mountains.

It's hard for Your Mama to imagine that after owning a couple handfuls of architecturally significant homes that quirky Miz Keaton would see this big, fancy and new if stylistically unremarkable mansion as her $5.6 million real estate destiny. Then again, maybe she's tired for fixing and selling. Maybe she plans to fix and sell this place. Who knows? If we've said it once we've said it dozens of times (too many): It's a futile game to attempt to unravel the mysteries behind the sometimes capricious-seeming real estate behaviors of the rich and/or famous.

listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty