Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Actor Marcus Giamatti Lists Hollywood Manor House

SELLER: Marcus Giamatti
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $999,000
SIZE: 2,310 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Thanks to The Bizzy Boys at Celebrity Address Aerial (and a listing that brazenly announces the home is "celebrity owned"), Your Mama learned that actor/musician/writer Marcus Giamatti—older brother of Oscar-nominated actor Paul Giamatti (Sideways, John Adams, Saving Private Ryan) and the son of a former president of Yale who later became the Commissioner of Baseball who banned naughty-naughty Pete Rose from baseball—listed his house in the Hollywood Hills last week with an asking price of $1,049,000, already reduced to $999,000.

Mister Giamatti, not as famous and lesser lauded than his younger brother, has none-the-less been toodling reasonably successfully around Tinseltown since the mid-1980s and claims a long list of television credits that include a couple of stints on daytime soap stories (The Young and the Restless, Another World, Guiding Light). Over the years he also shook his Yale-trained money maker in scads and scores of boob-toob programs that include (but are far from limited to) Medium, The Mentalist, Monk and, recently, Revenge. He is perhaps best known as Peter Gray on Judging Amy, canceled back in 2005, and is a well-regarded stage actor with numerous credits both on- and off-Broadway (Young Man From Atlanta, Measure for Measure).

He maintains a side-gig as an accomplished bass guitarist and session musician. He swam varsity at tiny, artsy Bowdoin College, has a degree in African Ethnomusicology—his thesis was on Ashanti Tribal Funeral Music—and currently writes an occasional feature article for some baseball publication we've never heard of (MLB Insider's Club Magazine).

Clearly he's an interesting guy with deep and thoughtful interests and that's reflected in his and his missus's chosen day-core and furnishings that strike an admirably eclectic if—hmm, well, uh—nerve-wracking hodgepodge hot mess where English Country floral prints mix like oil and water with a dollop of Victoriana, a dose of Arts and Crafts, a smattering of 1980s contemporary (glass block), a soupçon of French bistro and a little bit of a whole lotta other things. This may be any number of people's ideal of decorative perfection but, in all honesty, for Your Mama it's a difficult-to-digest stew. Our opinion on the matter is of little consequence and, certainly, much of the frippery will exit the scene with the Giamatti family when they decamp to their next place of residence, wherever that may be.

Property records show Mister Giamatti and his not-famous second wife purchased the property in the Hollywood Manor neighborhood January 2008 for $827,000. Current listing information shows the updated and upgraded two-story house of unknown architectural style—listing information calls in a "Mid Century," which, technically if not stylistically, it is since it was built in 1940—spans 2,310 square feet and contains a total of 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

A sharply curved front façade and roof line hint at the rather peculiar shape of some of the interior spaces including the curved, multi-sided living room with hardwood floors, fireplace and screened French doors to the spacious back deck. The adjoining formal dining room also has a curved wall and wood floors that run in a different direction than those in the living room.

A wide opening joins the dining room to the fully-renovated if florid center island kitchen complete with snack bar; custom, Colonial blue raised panel cabinetry, some with leaded glass doors; granite and riveted copper counter tops; medium-grade stainless steel appliances; and a chunky, two-tub copper farmhouse sink.

For some most perplexing and deeply distressing reason the honey-colored hardwoods in the living and dining rooms ends abruptly at the kitchen where the floors are darker and redder, like cherry or mahogany. We get that the kitchen designer was trying to—ahem—set a mood in the kitchen but to install two different colors of wood floors in the same house where they butt right up against each other is, in our humble and utterly meaningless opinion, a decorative crime of punishable proportions. Now, children, if the kitchen designer how opted for an appropriately chosen tile or stone floor material, that may very well have made some damn sense. But two radically different hardwoods like that? Hunny, no. It gives Your Mama a body-wide case of the hives.

Anyhoo, two of the four bedrooms and one of the three bathrooms are located, as per listing information on the main (upper) level. A third guest/family bedroom (with private bathroom) and the master suite (with attached bathroom, private deck and two walk-in closets) are well situated for maximum privacy on the lower level.

The back of the house opens through numerous screened French doors to a huge deck with over-the-tree-tops canyon views. A step-down portion of the deck is shaded by a slatted ramada for tempering the hot glare of the scorching (and somewhat relentless) southern California sunshine and a long and sorta-grand stairway (fashioned with oh-so-humble railroad ties) connects the various nooks and crannies of the landscaped and terraced grounds that include flat grass pads and—as per listing information—a handful of plum and lemon trees.

The hardly fancy Hollywood Manor 'hood is home to a number of (fairly low wattage) Showbiz types who include Morgan Fairchild (who has lived there for years), Brigitte Nielsen (who recently paid $600,000 for a fixer), and Paul DiMeo (whose house is also currently on the market for $1.1 million. Not a lesbian in real life L Word Actress Erin Daniels just sold her house in the Hollywood Manor (for a bit more than asking) and moved a mile or so down the hill to a contemporary crib in Toluca Lake.

Extra fun fact: Mister and Missus Giamatti's real estate agent is a fella named Alastair Duncan who happens to be a part-time actor (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Batman) and who's marital wagon is hitched to Emmy-nominated actress Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad, The Practice Deadwood).

listing photos: Hollywoodland Realty

In Tom Cruise Real Estate News...

...in case any of y'all care, soon-to-be-divorced Tom Cruise is rumored to be looking at swank (and private) spreads in some of the more expensive communities around New York City where he can play daddy-host to daughter Suri when his visitation times come around.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

So the story goes in the New York Post this morning, Mister Cruise recently took Suri along to peep and poke around an unlisted, 11-acre waterfront spread with a 13,500 square foot main manse in the sleepy river side enclave of Sneden's Landing, NY.

Mister and soon-to-be ex-Missus Cruise already maintain a number of luxury residences that include a Beverly Hills estate bought in 2007 for just over $30,000,000, a gated compound above Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills—bought for close to $10,000,000 in 2005 and rumored by celebrity (property) gossips to be some sort of Scientology retreat, but we don't have any proof of that—a secluded mountain estate in Telluride, CO that Mister Cruise owned long before he ever married Katie, and at least one apartment at the American Felt Building in lower Manhattan's East Village.

There are rumors and reports Tom and Katie coughed up $15,075,000 for a six-story, 8,000+ square foot brownstone in Greenwich Village in summer 2009 but, in truth, we're not convinced they did and certainly we haven't seen any hard evidence of that.

And, of course, let's not forget the New York City apartment soon-to-be-third-ex-Missus Cruise secretly leased—or "secretly" leased, depending on your level of cynicism regarding the matter—as part of her marriage exit strategy. Other high-profile (full and/or part-time) residents of the building are rumored and reported to include Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, Lisa Stansfield, Bobby Flay, Kyle MacLachlan, and, up in one of the penthouse pads, Nick Jonas.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Beyonce and Jay-Z Do it Temporarily in the Hamptons

In case you ain't already heard...

According to the New York Post, procreating international entertainment industry power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z coughed up several hundred thousand clams to lease a significant estate in the Hamptons for the month of August (2012). But, seriously, does that surprise even the most half-hearted of celebrity (real estate) watchers among us? These are, after all, the same lavish living lovebirds who regularly drop hundreds of thousands of dollars to rent mansion-sized boats for a few days at a time.

The hip-hopping couple, who each possess the sort of fame and super-stardom that allows them to be known around the planet by just one name, like Cher, Oprah, Madonna and Charo, reportedly shelled out somewhere in the neighborhood of $400,000 to lease Sandcastle, a hokey-named, Hamptons-famous estate in sleepy but impossibly swank Bridgehampton, NY currently listed for sale with a reduced from $50,000,000 but still boo-tox blistering asking price of $43,500,000.

The children may (or may not) recall that two summers ago direct marketing lady-mogul of a certain age named Cheryl Mercuris plunked down a bone rattling half a million bucks to lease the behemoth Sandcastle for just two weeks in August. Miz Mercuris, bless her Tampa (FL)-based heart, made no bones about the fact that she wanted to spend a little time in the Hamptons so that she could do the hokey-pokey (or whatever) with some quality, wealthy men. She did not, so the story goes, snag a man that summer of it but she must have had a sufficiently good time that the next summer (2011) she returned for the entire month of July.

Anyhoo, the best way to take in the shopping center-sized Sandcastle is not with a bunch of over processed "prose" from Your Mama but rather by the numbers and with listing photos.

Sandcastle, just about 1.5 miles from the beach, encompasses 11.5 pancake flat acres and includes a gated and complicated series of interconnected driveways and motor courts, farm views, and (approx.) 31,000 square feet of luxury living on three full floors, including a 40-foot long living room with two fireplaces and a library/office sheathed floor and ceiling with high gloss wood work and paneling.

Altogether the compound-like estate has, according to current listing information, 12 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms, including a sprawling, 2,800 square foot master suite with private sun deck and a marble- (or maybe onyx-) floored lady's pooper far larger—we guesstimate—than the average two-bedroom tenement apartment in lower Manhattan.

In addition to all the usual accouterments to be expected in a super-pricey summer rental in the Hamptons—60-foot swimming pool, spa and sunken tennis court with pergola-shaded viewing terrace—the self-contained estate also includes a 4,000 square foot poolside entertaining pavilion with adjoining outdoor kitchen; a 10-seat home theater with swanky adjustable seats; a full spa with massage area and steam room; a state-of-the-art two-lane bowling alley and squash/racquetball court, media lounge with (at least) five tee-vees sunken into the wall—breathe, breathe, breathe—a disco with full bar; indoor rock climbing wall and skateboard half-pipe—because everyone needs one of those in the basement; a children's performing area—whatever that is; an 8-car garage with hydraulic lifts and, not to be outdone by Jerry Seinfeld, a baseball diamond in the back yard.

Good grief.

Call Your Mama old fashioned—and Lord knows we've been called far worse—but iffin we we're gonna spend big bucks and a few weeks in the Hamptons this (or any other) summer, we'd much prefer something less, well, all-inclusive. All Your Mama requires for few weeks beach vacation happiness—and we really could use some beach vacation happiness—is a simple and charming shack on (or even near) the beach, a beat-up bicycle, 10 pounds of fresh corn and tomatoes, a handful of novels including at least one preferably unauthorized biography, a couple of Costco-sized bottled of gin, a smart phone—we're beholden and handcuffed to a base level of daily technology just like everybody else, and a diverse and endless supply of candy.

Whatever do people like Jay-Z and Beyoncé do with all this house? Do they ride the half pipe? Climb the rock wall thingy? Do they take 8 cars on vacation? With 12 bedrooms, the compound easily sleeps 24. Do they have a dozen more house guests at any one time? Is that how they roll? With a dozen or more family members, assistants, domestic staff and hangers on lurking around at all times?

listing photos: Corcoran

Pete Wentz, (San Fernando) Valley Boy

BUYER: Pete Wentz
LOCATION: Studio City, CA
PRICE: $1,050,000
SIZE: 2,000 square feet (approx.), 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Listen chickens, we know many of y'all prefer to hear about the real estate doings of tawdry reality denizens like Teresa Giudice, Promethean sports figures like Tim Tebow and Michael Phelps and/or mega-stars like itty-bitty tweener tycoon Justin Beiber. We do too. But sometimes we gotta dip down to the lower echelons of fame if only to clear out the celebrity real estate cobwebs that sometimes clutter up the desktop of my trusty laptop computer.

One of those cobwebs to be swept away is the modest (if not exactly cheap) residence 30-something year old entrepreneurial musician Pete Wentz scooped up a few months ago for $1,050,000 in the conveniently located San Fernando Valley community of Studio City, CA.

Once upon a time Studio City was the Brooklyn of Los Angeles. Wasn't so long ago nobody rich and/or chic in New York went to Brooklyn or—heaven forfend—actually lived there and if they did they certainly didn't admit it to anyone socially or professionally important. Howevuh, like Brooklyn, over the last 10 or so year it has become a lot more geographically acceptable to live in Studio City. Of course, Brooklyn was infiltrated by arty-farty hipsters and Studio City went to young families with good jobs and ludicrously expensive, hi-tech strollers, but still there's a kind of real estate parity. Oh my, how Your Mama wanders when we have gin for breakfast...

Mister Wentz, tatted up like a convict, reached the to-date pinnacle of his success and celebrity in the mid-Aughts when he was the kohl-eyed and boy-kissing lead singer of a rock band called Fall out Boy. Remember them? Since long before and since Fall Out Boy went on a semi-permanent hiatus in 2009 and his brief marriage to "singer" and (h)actress Ashlee Simpson went kaput in 2011, Mister Wentz has stayed busy as a greeter at Wal-Mart with a new-ish experimental electropop-ska duo called Black Cards, a record label (Decaydance Records), clothing company (Clandestine Industries), a not very active film production company (Bartskull Films), and a budding bar franchise (Angels and Kings).

The  original, downtown New York City Angels and Kings closed some time ago but there are now versions in Barcelona, Chicago and Los Angeles. Interestingly, at least one of the AK bars is co-owned by celebrity gossip slinger Perez Hilton who, some may recall, frequently and regularly gave Mister Wentz's ex-wife Ashlee scathing how-tos and what-fors on the Twitter and on his ridiculously trafficked blog. Those two bitches just hated each other and now he's in business with her ex. Ouch. Anyhoo...

In June 2006 Mister Wentz, then single and in his mid-20s, dropped $1,625,000 to buy a 2,700 square foot, privately-situated bachelor pad in the Hollywood Hills. It wasn't long after he hooked up with, quickly impregnated and then married Miss Simpson, the younger and less successful sister of bubble gum pop singer turned pioneering reality tee-vee star turned retail clothing super-tycoon (and new mommy) Jessica Simpson.

He packed up and moved in to her much larger, celeb-style 7,100 square foot Beverly Hills (Post Office area) mansion just down the winding road from Demi Moore and Mark Wahlberg she'd bought in the early days of 2007 for $4,500,000. In October 2008, a few months after their May nupitals, he finally unloaded his bachelor pad in the Hollywood Hills for $1,600,000.

We're not sure where Mister Wentz went in the immediate aftermath of his split from Miz Simpson in early 2011 but we do know that she took a hair-raising loss of nearly a million bucks—not counting carrying costs, maintenance, improvements and real estate fees—when she sold her/their big house in Bev Hills in April 2011 for $3,699,000. For some celebs losing a million bucks ain't no thang to kvetch about but we can imagine for an increasingly low wattage Showbizzer like ex-Missus Wentz it might, maybe sting a little. But we digress into ex-Missus Wentz's real estate bidness yet again...

At some point Mister Wentz decamped his marital homestead in the Hills of Beverly and eventually he began to hunt for a new bachelor pad. In April of this year (2012), according to property records and previous reports, Mister Wentz shelled out a probably financially practical but very-modest-by-celeb-standards $1,050,000 to acquire an updated and upgraded 1940s cottage nestled into a quiet and thickly treed hillside above Studio City, CA.

Listing information from the time of the sale shows the two story residence—set behind that detached two car garage and a tall teak fence Your Mama imagines is now equipped with state-of-the-art security cameras—measures in at 2,000 square feet and includes 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms plus separate guest quarters with an additional bathroom. For the record, the Los Angeles County Tax Man calls it at 1,653 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

The main, open plan living space has yellow-blond wood floors, a wood-burning fireplace (oddly) tucked under the stairs, and a wide bank of mullioned French doors that connect a pergola-shaded and wisteria draped red brick patio enveloped in a forest of trees and the full width of the rear of the residence.

We sincerely hope Mister Wentz has already made or plans to make alterations to the galley-style kitchen where listing photos from the time of his purchase show the counter tops slathered in (not entirely awful) azure tiles with bone-colored grouting and the (dated-looking) flat-front cabinets painted white. We can certainly cotton to a white kitchen cabinet, but these just look so ordinary, like Gene Simmons without all his war paint. The appliances are—or were—mid-grade and also white and the hulking, white refrigerator is, technically, located in the adjoining laundry room.

A den/potential bedroom (and bathroom) on the lower floor also open up to the lushly planted backyard. There is a second bedroom (and bathroom) upstairs along with the master suite. We're not really sure where the separate guest quarters mentioned in marketing materials are located.

Either Mister Wentz likes to tinker and putter around in a teeming, high-maintenance garden or he doesn't mind having Jefe and his brother Jaime on the property several times a week pruning, trimming, and taming the the grounds as necessary. In addition to the wisteria-draped veranda, there's a large brick terrace to the side of the house, on which the previous owners installed a very modern, free-standing outdoor fireplace, and various pathways that connect a tree-shaded spa, Japanese tea house—a teak ramada, really—a children's play house, waterfalls and an architectural koi pond.

Now children, use yer noggins, okay? The furniture and day-core seen in listing photos belongs to the seller of the property and does not reflect the personal style and/or whatever sort of decorative sensibility Mister Wentz may (or may not) have.

listing photos: Rodeo Realty

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Floor Plan Porn: Steven A Klar

SELLER: Steven A. Klar
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $100,000,000
SIZE: 8,000 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Good grief! We suggest y'all grab a smidge of your favorite mood stabilizer—we're already on our second gin & tonic—and steel yourselves for this one, butter beans. With houses and apartments at the highest of the high end in both Los Angeles and New York selling like water in the desert it seems like everyone with a trophy property—or a property they think is a trophy—wants on the high-priced real estate bandwagon.

Petra Ecclestone (in)famously plunked down $85,000,000 last year for Candy Spelling's 56,000 square foot faux-French-something pile in Los Angeles where rumors have begun to circulate on the real estate gossip grapevine that billionaire widow Dawn Arnall and financier Jeff Greene both want $150,000,000 for their baronial, multi-acre estates, hers in Holmby Hills and his up off Coldwater Canyon in Beverly Hills.

In New York City, L.A.-based billionaire David Geffen just dropped $54,000,000 on Denise Rich's titanic, 12,000 square foot Fifth Avenue duplex, international casino tycoon Steven Wynn dumped a stroke-inducing $70,000,000 on an elegant duplex on Central Park South and Hamad Bin Jasim Bin Jabr Al Thani—the Prime Minister of Qatar and the very same fella who was (allegedly) nixed from buying two of reclusive heiress Huguette Clark's Fifth Avenue apartments due to concerns about his 2 wives, 15 children and extensive security detail and entourage—is widely rumored and reported to have coughed up somewhere above $90,000,000 for two full floors atop a still under construction building on West 57th Street.

Today, we first learned at the crack of down from our sleepless aide de camp Hot Chocolate, an eight-sided, three (and some) floor penthouse pad atop a Midtown Manhattan tower popped up on the open market with an international publicity assuring $100,000,000 price tag.

Property records indicate the wedding cake-shaped penthouse is owned by Steven A. Klar, a second generation, Long Island-based builder of middle-brow housing developments with yawn-spurring names like Ponds Edge in Muttontown, The Waterways at Moriches and Hidden Ridge at Scarsdale.

Property records we peeped aren't specific about what Mister Klar paid for the tower topping triplex but it does appear he's owned the place since 1994.

Current listing information shows the octagonal penthouse occupies the entire 73rd-75th floors—plus a wee bit of the 72nd floor—of Midtown Manhattan's City Spire building. The suburban (mc)mansion-sized penthouse measures in at around 8,000 square feet with another 3,000 or so square feet of wrap around terraces on two levels, according to listing details, with honest-to-goodness 360 degree city views. There are a total of six bedrooms and five full and three half bathrooms.

Listing information states the interiors were done by internationally renown interior decorator Juan Pablo Molyneux, whose own opulent Manhattan townhouse recently came up for grabs with a puffy $48,000,000 price tag. Really? Despite all the heavy-duty moldings, the inlaid marble and Parquet de Versailles-style hardwood floors, the lyre back Chippendale chairs and forest's worth of mahogany mill work, the day-core is just so painfully ordinary, drab and, yes, gravely comatose. These are adjectives rarely used when describing Mister Molyneux's more characteristically multi-layered and splendidly sumptuous work. It all looks like a supposed-to-be-really-fancy corporate apartment, luxurious but utterly devoid of personality. In Your Mama's humble and utterly meaningless opinion and with all due respect, this is not some of Mister Molyneux's best work, by far.

Anyhoo, the main living spaces, as shown on the floor plan (above) included with current marketing materials, features an octagonal foyer and adjoining reception gallery with inlaid green marble floor; six-sided and 40-foot long formal living and dining rooms; and an eat in kitchen with center island, butler's pantry, three refrigerators, direct access to the trash chute, and half  bathroom. The floor plan shows extensive storage and closet space in the rear hall that runs between the kitchen and the media room where (the inelegantly and somewhat inconveniently located) access to the upper floors is via a staircase or private elevator.

A second, switchback staircase in the rear hall descends to a walk-in wine cellar and self-contained studio-style suite complete with separate entrance, bedroom/sitting room, two closets, galley kitchen and attached bathroom with wall of city-view windows. This is a perfect set up for a live-in staff person, aging relative, boorish house guest or bratty teenager.

The middle floor, ringed by a narrow terrace guaranteed to make even a daredevil's nether region clench and cramp with High Anxiety, has a bookshelf and closet lined central gallery around which spoke four bedrooms, each with private bathroom. One of the bedrooms is much smaller than the others (and located down the same window-lined corridor as the laundry room) and was probably intended for use by a live-in domestic worker. Two of the bedrooms are divided by what's labeled as a "Conference Room" on the floor plan but could easily be pressed into use as a shared sitting room.

The master suite, privately situated all alone on the top floor, includes a wide entry gallery, reasonable-sized bedroom, adjacent and very narrow sitting room with convenient refrigerator, and a giant bathroom all done in dark wood and green and black marble. A long, window-lined closet/dressing room bends around the penthouse's private elevator to a rear entrance. This is a most excellent situation for a resident who employs a valet or hairdresser who can discreetly enter the suite through the rear entrance in the closet, do their business and leave without ever having to enter the more intimate areas of the suite.

Probably this could be a magnificent if quirky penthouse but, for what it's worth—and it ain't worth a damn thing—Your Mama thinks this place needs to be gutted and completely re-worked to resolve some of the less than optimal circulation patterns. Anyone want to give it a go?

The dome-topped, mixed-use City Spire building stands more than 800 feet tall and offers residents of this 300-and-some units full service amenties such as full-time dooman, a concierge, fitness center with swimming pool, children's play room, an on-site underground garage and a ground floor Dean & DeLuca market for gorgeous if expensive gourmet groceries and prepared foods. For all that Mister Klar's coughs up a total of $19,472 in monthly common charges and real estate taxes.

listing photos and floor plan: Prudential Douglas Elliman

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bruce Makowsky, Budding Real Estate Baller

listing photos: Hilton & Hyland

SELLER: Martin Lawrence
BUYER: Bruce Makowsky
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $17,200,000
SIZE: 16,178 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 9.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Back in mid-June (2012), the children may recall, Your Mama and just about every other celebrity property gossip around the globe (dissed and) discussed a lavish (and garish) multi-winged mansion in the notorious, guard-gated Beverly Hills enclave known as Beverly Park, where even the smallest homes are the size of a small shopping mall. The gilded and festooned residence was (and as of today still is) listed for lease with an astronomical $200,000 per month price tag.

All us property gossips reported the walled and gated estate as owned by soon-to-be-divorced comedian Martin Lawrence. Turns out, kitty cats, the grandiose Beverly Park estate isn't now and wasn't then owned by Mister Lawrence. No sireee, Bob. Turns out Mister Lawrence had quietly sold the 2.23 acre spread off-market in early June (2012) for $17,200,000. The buyer of record, as per prop records, is a mysterious, L.A.-based concern our wickedly well-informed canary-friend Lucy Spillerguts tells us is directly connected to a fella named Bruce Makowsky.

Mister Makowsky and his wife, Kathy Van Zeeland, may not be household names of the Tinseltown gossip glossy variety but shut-ins, old people and others who shop at home on their televisions probably recognize them as handbag, shoe and accessories designers who rake in vast sums of money hawking their mid-priced lady-wares on the QVC. Your Mama knows them as up-an-coming, bad-ass west coast real estate ballers with an fast-expanding and increasingly epic property portfolio. Soon, you will too.

According to the current lease listing, Mister Lawrence's now-former, multi-winged mansion measures in at 16,178 square feet and includes 7 bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms. Naturally the big house is fully kit-and-kaboodled with many if not all the other customary accouterments typically found in an and average if elephantine Beverly Park mansion: an airport terminal-sized foyer with curved floating staircase, white marble floor and Salvatoree Pollizzi stained glass sky light; formal living and dining rooms so stiff they look like they only people who ever go in them are the domestic staff...to clean; a huge family room and separate game room; colossal kitchen; a built-in sunken wet bar backed by a high-maintenance fish tank; and a home theater, with concession stand, natch.

Exterior spaces include a plaza-like cobblestone motor court ringed by a thicket of lush vegetation and trees; landscaped grounds where lawns meander and are shaded by mature trees; party-accommodating patios; an outdoor kitchen; sunken tennis court; and a resort-style swimming pool and spa with octagonal cabana.

But children, buckle you real estate safety belts and get our yer smellin' salts because not only is this new acquisition not the only mansion Mister Makowsky and Miz Van Zeeland own in Beverly Park, it's not even the largest.

listing photos: Hilton & Hyland

In December 2010 Mister Makowsky and Miz Van Zeeland dropped a big-time $23,500,000 to acquire a supermarket-sized faux-Tuscan villa with 9 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms. The palatial, U-shaped beast was spec-built in 2007 by Vanna White's ex-husband George Santo Pietro, who happens to live next door and who, we heard through the Platinum Triangle Gossip Grapevine, was shopping his house around off-market earlier in the year with a undisclosed asking price.

Prior to unloading the 24,595 square foot behemoth to Mister Makowsky and Miz Van Zeeland, Mister Santo Pietro famously listed the massive mansion with an in-hind-sight rose-tinted asking price of $50,000,000. He also leased the house for short stints to both Prince, who is rumored to have paid somewhere around $200,000 per month, and Puff Diddle—or Diddle Fiddle or Daddy Puff or whatever name Sean Combs goes by nowawdays—who hosted one of his (yawningly passé) White Parties on the property in July 2009.

Although we can't prove it, it is our understanding Mister Makowsky and Miz Van Zeeland have made the mansion their primary residence. At least when they're not in West Chester, PA pushing purses and (animal print) peep-toed slingbacks on the QVC.

Wait, butter beans, there's more.

listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty

A widowed woman named Helma C. Zingerman heaved her 1.21 acre Beverly Park spread on the market in mid-November 2011 December 2011 with an asking price of $14,900,000. Four short weeks later it sold, according to the ever-knowledgeable Lucy Spillerguts, to a corporate entity linked to Mister Makowsky (and Miz Van Zeeland). Property record show the 12,130 square foot mansion of indeterminable architectural style was bought for $13,450,000.

The 7 bedroom and 8.5 bathrooms residence, designed by mega-mansion architect Richard Landry, includes a voluminous, double-height foyer with twin staircases; formal living and dining rooms; a mahogany paneled study and commodious family room plus a second floor entertainment room; chef-friendly, eat-in kitchen; wine cellar; and a separate guest house. The garage has room for four cars and the mostly flat back yard has a croquet-friendly lawn, lap-lane swimming pool, spa and built-in barbecue center.

Just as soon as the ink was dry on deed's dotted lines Mister Makowsky and Miz Van Zeeland put the property up for lease at $100,000 per month. It appears to have been leased but it may have just been taken off the (open) market, we don't really know.

Hold on to your britches again though because Your Mama's various sources and (unscientific) research reveal that addition to their trio of mansions in Beverly Park Mister Makowsky and Miz Van Zeeland also own at least two other multi-million dollar residences in the Los Angeles area.

listing photos: Hilton & Hyland

In August 2010 the property-mad purse purveyors forked over $14,950,000 to buy a foreclosed and glassy contemporary on the ocean in Malibu's fabled, guard-gated Malibu Colony. The sleek and sexy four bedroom and four bathroom house was the subject of some press and controversy in 2009 after it was discovered a ballsy (female) bank executive at Wells Fargo—the lender who took possession of the house after the owners, victims of Bernie Madoff's hedge fund swindle, defaulted on their mortgage—made regular use of the foreclosed property as a summertime party pad. At least one report from the time of the purchase stated Mister Makowsky and Miz Van Zeeland planned to use the property as a vacation home.

listing photos: Hilton & Hyland

Just a couple months before Mister Makowsky and Miz Van Zeeland (allegedly) bought Martin Lawrence's mansion in Beverly Park, they spent $11,725,000 to acquire a 12,500 square foot Mediterranean mansion in Beverly Ridge Terrace, another supah-swank, guard-gated enclave in the mountains above Beverly Hills where the houses run towards the gargantuan.

The 5 bedroom and 8 bathroom house was also bought by a corporate concern that, once again, the frightfully clued in Lucy Spillerguts swears is connected to Mister Makowsky (and Miz Van Zeeland).

Listing information shows the 1.99 acre estate has 200 mature fruit trees (avocado, peach, apple and more) and multiple terraces and broad lawns with long canyon views. The house itself has, as per listing information, antique doors imported from Spain, Moroccan tiles, onyx counter tops, reclaimed barn wood flooring, and extensive master with private bathroom, attached office and private terrace. What it does not have is a swimming pool, (outdoor) spa or tennis court. Twelve million and you gotta put in a pool?

The property went up for lease in May (2012) at $85,000 per month and was leased in July, as per intel we ferreted out of the interweb, for $75,000 per month.

By our rudimentary calculations, in the last 2 or 3 years Mister Makowsky and Miz Van Zeeland have dropped a staggering $80,825,000 on five multi-million dollar residence in Los Angeles (that we know about), not counting the million-plus bucks they spent in 2011 on a pair of very ordinary residences in Valley Village bought for unknown reasons that may (or may not) be investments or used to house staff and/or family members.

We told y'all he was a budding real estate baller, didn't we?

aerial photo: Bing

Mister Makowsky and Miz Van Zeeland aren't just in the mood to acquire but also to slightly lighten their considerable real estate load. In November last year (2011) they sold their stately estate in the affluent Long Island, NY community of Oyster Bay for $10,395,000. Property records (and aerial imagery available online) show the tree-ringed, 5.37 acre estate encompasses a motor court the size of a 7-11 parking lot; a symmetrical, two-story red brick main mansion with 9,587 square feet and built in 1999 with 7 bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms and 5 fireplaces; a detached, four-car garage; acres of flat, manicured lawns; a swimming pool and spa surrounded by broad sunbathing terraces; and a spacious pool house with deep, shaded veranda that overlooks the pool.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Young Bruno Mars Buys Adult Digs

BUYER: Bruno Mars
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $3,254,000
SIZE: 4,064 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: He may only be 26 years old but singer-songwriter Bruno Mars already has one Grammy—plus half a dozen more Grammy nominations—and adequate scratch to drop several million clams on a quite contemporary and quintessentially Los Angeles crib at the tippy-top of L.A.'s geographically legendary Laurel Canyon.

Since the 1920s Laurel Canyon has been a wooded, winding and semi-secluded enclave for Showbiz types of all stripes. Harry Houdini, Clara Bow and cowboy actor Tom Mix lived for a spell in Laurel Canyon in the early 1920s, as did Boris Karloff in the 1930s. During the sixties and seventies, Laurel Canyon's funkified heyday of rock and roll, Frank Zappa moved into the 'hood and stayed until he died in 1993 and the dee-voon Joni Mitchell settled in sometime in the sixties and still owns her Laurel Canyon digs. Iggy Pop lived in Laurel Canyon, so did Adrienne Barbeau, Jim Morrison, Cass Elliot, Carole King, David Crosby, Chevy Chase, (California governor) Jerry Brown, Jackson Browne, and even a Rolling Stone or two.

Marilyn Mansion lived and recorded in Laurel Canyon at the famous Mary Astor House and nowadays high profile residents of the still boho-vibed—but hardly inexpensive—Laurel Canyon area include Nicole Richie and whatever Madden brother she's married to, Christina Applegate, Sacha Baron Cohen, Chris Colfer, Werner Herzog, Ke$ha, and one of Demi Moore's daughters. George Clooney has lived for years in a tucked-away estate on the Studio City side of Laurel Canyon and country crooner k.d. lang sold her long-time Laurel Canyon house earlier in the year to one of the dudes from Maroon 5.

Property records for the sleek and low-slung house in question shows it was purchased in mid-July (2012) for the very grown up price of $3,254,000 by a Los Angeles-based blind trust our preternaturally well-informed friend and informant Lucy Spillerguts swears is connected to young Mister Mars. We can not verify the facts of the matter, children, but our dear Ms. Spillerguts never, ever steers us down the wrong celebrity real estate path.

Listing information we managed to squeeze out of the internets indicates the single-story quasi-Hollywood Regency-style residence measures 4,064 square feet and, at the time it was most recently sold in July 2012, was configured with 3 (carpeted) bedrooms and 3.5 (recently renovated) restrooms outfitted with swank finishes and fixtures.

Interestingly, the property was purchased by the sellers only a year ago, in May 2011, for $1,235,000. A few brisk clicks and clacks on Your Mama's bejeweled abacus reveals that with the most recent $3,254,000 purchase price the property flipping sellers raked in a whopping $2,019,000 profit, not counting the no-doubt considerable taxes and carrying costs, renovation expenses and real estate fees. Even if the sellers netted only 25% of the gross they still earned a significant income for a single year's worth of real estate work and effort. Not bad work iffin you can get it, right?

Anyhoo, a walled and double-gated motor court at the front of the house easily parks three or four cars while a three car garage and driveway around the corner offers off-street parking for up to six more.

Eight, chunky and towering Calcutta marble columns—that sorta give the front facade the look of a mid-century modern bank in Palm Springs—line up like soldiers along a shallow but airy portico. Custom-made 11-foot tall double front doors open into a small foyer and expansive, open plan main living/dining/kitchen area with dark chocolate colored hardwood floors and long walls of floor-to-ceiling retractable glass panels that obliterate the distinction between indoors and out and allow for sweeping views over the San Fernando Valley. There's a minimalist's firebox in the "formal" living area and a Chevy-sized sky light and floating, built-in buffet bar in the "formal" dining area complete with a wino-approved, full-height wine refrigerator.

The somewhat compact but expensively-equipped center island kitchen has a wall of floor to ceiling windows (with a less than stellar view of the front motor court), a double-wide fridge-freezer, stacked double ovens, and a two-seat snack counter. The service areas, tucked into a corner between the kitchen and the direct-entry garage, include a guest/family/staff bedroom with private attached bathroom, a separate office (also with motor court view), and a laundry facility with convenient slop sink.
On the other side of the house there's an unusually large powder room just off the entry, a second guest/family bedroom with private attached bathroom, and a 26-foot long family room/media lounge with second fireplace, another entire wall of retractable glass doors and a few built-in floating shelves.

The celebrity-style master suite at the end of the hall has a full wall of retractable floor-to-ceiling glass panels with oblique city view and a custom-fitted and a clothes' horse accommodating walk-in closet and adjoining dressing room. The attached bathroom has radiant heat floors; double sinks set into a floating cabinet; separate linen and terlitry storage cabinets and shelves; a private cubby for the crapper; glassed-in, multi-head steam shower big enough for two (or more); free-standing soaking tub set in front of a giant window; huge dry sauna with a huge window; and a massage/yoga/fitness area big enough for both Sven the sexy masseuse and Teena the mobile mani-pedi gal to work over the homeowner at the same time.

The back of the house spills out to the posse- and party-friendly backyard with deep, shaded overhangs, an outdoor bar and a dark-bottom swimming pool surrounded by decking. A small but flat lawn extends the outdoor living areas around the side of the house to a quiet, gravel patio, and a big view. As best as we can tell, there does not appear to be a spa or hot tub on the property.

Listing information made a point to mention the Swarovski crystal lighting fixtures and the state-of-the-art security system with eight perimeter cameras for video taping anyone who might even so much as drive or walk by the house.

listing photos: Coldwell Banker / Sunset Boulevard

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Juan Pablo Molyneux Puts N.Y.C. Pad Up for Grabs

SELLER: Pilar and Juan Pablo Molyneux
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $48,000,000, allegedly
SIZE: 5 bedrooms and bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Since we're feeling in a New York State of mind today let's continue from a contemporary, art-filled Union Square area loft owned by a Pulitzer Prize winning writer we discussed this morning to an opulent Upper East Side townhouse owned by the impeccably refined Chilean-born interior decorator Juan Pablo Molyneux and recently heaved on the open market with an asking price that may or may not be $48,000,000.

Mister Molyneux's classically rigorous, decidedly decadent and elegantly eccentric designs are really only available to corporate kingpins, potentates with limitless funds and other super rich sorts who can afford a much lauded and applauded decorator of international renown. We do not, of course, have an inkling of intel about Mister Molyneux's fee structure or net worth but its seems safe to say whatever he earns doing up the palatial dachas and voluptuous villas of the global elite is sufficient such that he and the missus, Pilar, are able to maintain a substantial townhouse mansion in New York City and am equally, if not more substantial office and residence in a very serious, 17th-century hôtel particulier in Paris'  4th arrondissement (Marais).

In additional private residences in South America, Russia and the Middle East Mister Molyneux's budget busting—or, more likely, budget free—projects span the globe and include (but are not limited to), as per his website, a garrett in Paris, a chalet in Colorado, several chateau in France, a penthouse in Manhattan, and "An approximately 150,000-square-foot manoir in northwest Quebec [Canada] on a property almost as big as Belgium that is inspired by the Kuskovo Palace." Sheesh. Wonder who's "house" that is?

Anyhoo, property records indicate Mister and Missus Molyneux picked up the east-of-Madison/west-of-Park Avenue townhouse way back in 1990 for an undisclosed amount of money. If they did a traditional 20% down purchase, based on the mortgage they secured (available through public property records) Your Mama guesstimates they shelled out somewhere right around $3,000,000.

When Mister and Missus Molyneux's Manhattan mansion first popped up on the interweb a few days ago, we were sent a link to the listing by the ever-industrious aide de camp Hot Chocolate. At that time, the listing showed the price tag set at $48,000,000. Current listing information has gone all mysterious and now shows the price as "Upon request."

Current listings available online skimp on the photographs and no floor plan was provided that we could locate. What it does show is the six story, limestone-faced townhouse has 15 rooms, five "serene" master bedroom suites and seven bathrooms (plus staff quarters), eight working fireplaces, four planted patios and balconies, a fitness facility, media room and, outdoor lovers will note, a duplex roof terrace with a "therapeutic pool."

The interior spaces shown in the few listing photos are positively palatial. Mister Molyneux speaks a hyper-sophisticated, upper crust kind of decorating language that, quite frankly, Your Mama just does not understand. None-the-less, we can understand that every scrap of fabric and French polished piece of pedigreed furniture is absolutely correct. It's museum quality Ming this and Han Dynasty that, a few Louis the Whatever fauteuils thrown around, and miles and miles of prodigiously passamenteried brocades and velvets woven with golden thread from Clarence House and/or Stroheim & Romann, every precious yard of which is so ludicrously expensive the drapery in the formal sitting room alone could probably break the bank of a lesser millionaire.

We're not sure if Mister Molyneux's townhouse interiors were photographed for one or another of the gloss shelter publications but we'd be surprised if it had not. The bi-continent couple's Parisian residence and studio/showroom, however, was photographed twice for Architectural Digest and once for the high-society chonicling blog New York Social Diary.

It's a good time, it seems, to float homes on the market with extraordinary price tags. There seems an almost endless supply of buyers looking to spend tens upon tens of millions to acquire trophy properties around the world only to spend another ten or twenty million on extensive renovations and customizations. If we've said it once we've said it a trillion times, such are the wacky and wildly profligate real estate ways of the rich and/or famous.

listing photos: Stribling

Writer Michael Cunningham Lists Union Square Loft

SELLER: Michael Cunningham
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $1,595,000
SIZE: 1,300 square feet, 1 bedroom, 2 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Once again we have our unofficial (and unpaid) aide de camp Hot Chocolate to thank for turning up the airy, art- and book-filled New York City co-operative apartment of Pulitzer Prize winning novelist and screenwriter Michael Cunningham, now on the market with an asking price of $1,595,000.

Mister Cunningham, an accomplished scribe who currently teaches writers how to write at Yale, is perhaps best known for his 1999 book The Hours, later made into an Oscar-winning movie with Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore. More recently Mister Cunningham published more novels—Specimen Days in 2005 and By Nightfall in 2010—and in 2007 he co-wrote the screenplay for Evening, a film adaptation of a late 1990s novel of the same name by Susan Minot that featured a slew of famous lady actors including Toni Collette, Meryl Street, Glenn Close, Claire Danes, Vanessa Redgrave and the late Natasha Richardson.

Property records Your Mama peeked at and poked around proved a wee bit incomplete so we don't know exactly when Mister Cunningham—along with his long-time domestic partner, a psychoanalyst and author—purchased the updated and upgraded apartment near New York's bustling Union Square or how much they paid. There is some evidence in the property records they've owned the airy, top-floor aerie since at least 2004.

Current listing information reveals the light-flooded urban residence measures approximately 1,300 square and the floor plan included with marketing materials (above) shows it's currently configured as a pretty damn deluxe one bedroom spread with two bathrooms. One bathroom was all done up and did over as a wet-room with heated concrete floors, honed tile on the walls, a postage stamp-sized sink and a narrow, tower of bookshelves conveniently nested into the wall next to the terlit. The other bathroom, larger and with two gigantic windows, does curious double duty as a library with a soaking tub set into a bamboo and marble plinth and walls lined with built-in book cases. Your Mama can certainly understand why people keep reading material in their poopers and we've definitely heard "library" used as a silly euphemism for the crapper, but Mister Cunningham's bookshelf lined bathroom takes the expression to a whole other level that we've never considered.

Anyhoo, a compact foyer steps up to a lofty, L-shaped kitchen/lining/dining space lined with black ink-stained hardwood floors, glass pocket doors, and half a dozen over-sized, sound-proofed and pane-free windows on two walls that allow for long eastern and southern views over the water towers and roof tops down to the new World Trade Center. The furnishings are decided eclectic and literary salon-friendly with a luscious seal grey silk area rug and variety of mis-matched sofa and chairs accented with animal prints and (what appears to be by may not actually be) an actual animal skin.

The floors switch to polished concrete in the galley-style, center island kitchen expensively finished with stainless steel and bamboo cabinetry, stainless steel counter tops and a full complement of apartment-sized, commercial-style stainless steel appliances that includes a glass fronted Sub-Zero fridge/freezer that probably costs more than a fully loaded Kia and makes Your Mama swoon with appliance envy. An adjoining walk-in pantry is large enough to accommodate a side-by-side washer/dryer set up, a true luxury in a downtown Manhattan apartment.

The various components that comprise the master bedroom spoke off an unusually spacious entry vestibule/dressing room and include two closets (one a walk-in), the two aforementioned bathrooms, and a long, skinny bedroom with three gigantic windows including one that faces north and frames unimpeded, head on views of the Empire State Building.

Current listing information shows the modern-minded co-operative apartment has 12.5-foot ceilings and is equipped with a central climate control, security and sound systems. The boutique-sized building offers a newly renovated lobby and a roof deck. Maintenance and common charges are listed at a not inconsiderable $1,929 per month.

Property records indicate Mister Cunningham and his psychoanalyst man-mate also own at least two tiny (and possibly combined) one bedroom and one bathroom bay front condominiums in (super gay and drop dead gorgeous) Provincetown, MA bought in the early Aughts for $240,000 apiece.

listing photos and floor plan: Corcoran

Monday, July 23, 2012

Writer/Director Dan Harris Lists Celeb-Pedigreed Property in Los Angeles

SELLER: Dan Harris
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $2,395,000
SIZE: 3,085 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A little birdie chirped in our ear over the weekend that Tinseltown action/adventure screenwriter/director Dan Harris (Until Death, Superman Returns, X2) listed his celebrity pedigreed property just above Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA with an asking price of $2,395,000.

Property records indicate Mister Harris coughed up $2,075,000 when he bought the house in October 2005 from musician Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics). Mister Stewart and his wife Anoushka purchased the house only about 1.5 years earlier for $1,590,000 from a married couple who had themselves acquired the house from Aussie-Brit pop songstress Kylie Minogue in February 2001 for $1,225,000. Miss Minogue kept the house less than one year and property records reveal her classic case of The Celebrity Real Estate Fickle cost her $60,000 not counting carrying costs, upkeep and real estate fees.

Current listing information shows the gated, turreted, somewhat dour and putty-colored two-story French Normandy-style residence spans 3,085 square feet with a total of 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.

The house retains whiffs and hits of its architectural roots—there's some heavy-duty paneling here and there and a coffered ceiling in the dining room—but the interior spaces have been significantly pared down and, where not wood paneled, bathed in white paint that sets off Mister Harris's impressive, idiosyncratic and mostly contemporary art collection that includes what may (or may not) be an Inka Essenhigh painting from the late 1990s in the dining room.

Espresso-colored wood floors in the elegantly spare entrance hall extend into the partially wood-paneled and partially window-lined "formal" living room that steps down into an ample formal dining room with mosaic tile-faced fireplace flanked by built-in book cases filled with actual books, a bank French doors, and a chunky wood table the size of a Honda surrounded by 10 or 12 chairs that look like they came out of the prop room for some epic, historical drama about King Arthur.

The adjacent cook- and family-friendly eat-in kitchen has extra-thick, Calacatta slab marble counter tops, high-grade stainless steel appliances and a center island cook top with snack bar. Mister Harris has outfitted the gleaming, white Shaker-style cabinets with door handled and drawer pulls fashioned from chef-quality cooking knives, a quirky and sinister conceit that adds a deliciously nerve-wracking element of danger and (melo)drama to the kitchen.

There is a fully paneled and book shelf-lined library but it looks so very narrow even the wide-angle listing photos make Your Mama feel a mite claustrophobic. More spacious is the upstairs master suite with vaulted ceiling and exposed trusses, more built-in book cases, private bathroom, an adjoining sitting room/office, and an over-sized dressing room that opens through a bank of French doors to a private terrace with a bit of a city view.

Several of the lower level rooms open to a small well-outfitted back yard where flagstone terracing wraps snugly around the back of the house, surrounds the plunge-sized swimming pool and elevated spa and continues around to an elevated dining patio under an arched pergola.

listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty

Your Mama Hears...

photo: Google

...from Lenny Lemmetellya, an unimpeachable source deep inside the Platinum Triangle real estate game, the lavish and downright legendary Los Angeles (CA) estate known as Owlwood is quietly being shopped around with an astronomical (but not surprising) asking price of $150,000,000.

(Gasps heard 'round the globe.)

The sprawling Holmby Hills spread (above), set between Sunset Boulevard and the famously clannish Los Angeles Country Club, has over the years been owned by a long list of high profile people. Owlwood's current owner, however, is a relatively low profile lady named Dawn Arnall, the billionaire widow of sub-prime mortgage mega-mogul Roland Arnall, who went to meet The Great Loan Processor in the Sky in 2008.

Long before he acted as George W. Bush's a U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands (2006-2008), Roland Arnall founded Ameriquest, the company that pretty much invented stated income home loans, otherwise known as "no-doc" or "liar's loans" in which little (or even no) verification of income or financial resources was required to secure a mortgage. Although his fortune has been greatly reduced by the recent mortgage meltdown and near collapse of the American economy, at one point Mister Arnall's estimated net worth ran up to around three billion bucks. Perhaps due to declining health and/or wisely prescient of the economic collapse just around the corner, Mister Arnall got out of the sub-prime mortgage business in 2007 when he sold most or all of his interest in Ameriquest to Citigroup for an undisclosed amount of money.

For a woman of such substantial financial means The Widda Arnall manages keep almost entirely out of the hot glare of the judgmental public eye. Her name was, however, splashed all over the tabs and papers earlier this year when nearly $10 million worth of her jewelry, reported missing in 2006 from a hotel in The Netherlands, turned up in the possession of a Dutch hotel maid who mistook them for costume jewelry. The jewels—a pair of earrings, two rings and two necklaces—were returned to the insurance company that paid out Missus Arnall's claim. As far as we know—which ain't nuthin'—no charges were filed against the hotel maid who was given the gems out of the hotel lost and found, in accordance to hotel policy, when they went unclaimed for six months. Anyhoo, fascinating as all that gem business may be, let's skedaddle back to the property matter at hand.

According to the fairly well scrubbed property records we peeped (and other online resources) Mister and Missus Arnall acquired the three parcels that make up the Owlwood estate in a trio of transactions in 2002. Various reports and other online resources indicate they paid somewhere around $30-35,000,000 for the three properties that by our rudimentary calculations total 9.83 acres. That makes it one of the largest estates in the Platinum Triangle. To put it in (real estate) perspective, the massive mansion Candy Spelling sold last year to 20-something year old Petra Ecclestone for $85,000,000 sits on just about 4.7 acres and wealthy divorcee Suzanne Saperstein's uncommonly opulent Fleur de Lys mega-mansion, listed since the dawn of time for $125,000,0000, sits on just about 5 acres.

We can't be sure the figures are accurate, but the Los Angeles County Tax Man show the house has 9 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms and a two-minute video made when Owlwood was for sale in the late 1990s and early 2000s (accessible on the YouTube) states the multi-winged mansion encompasses 22 rooms including a baronial, 1,500 square foot living room with solid oak paneling and marble-faced fireplace. Public property records reveal Miz Arnall's 2011 tax bill for the three parcels that comprise Owlwood came to more than $450,000. Just think about that for a moment...

photo: Dan's Hollywood Tours 

Each of the three separate but adjacent parcels that make up Owlwood at one time had a substantial mansion on it. Two of them were torn down. The last mansion standing on the hoity-toity Holmby Hills homestead is a 12,000-plus square foot Italian Renaissance-style pile (vintage photo above) designed by accomplished architect Robert Farquhar and built in 1936 for Florence Quinn, the ex-wife of department store magnate and real estate mogul Arthur Letts Jr.

The property was later owned by hotelier Joseph Drown—he of the recently re-vamped Hotel Bel-Air—and Tinseltown mover and shaker Joseph Schenk—founder of 20th Century Fox—who, even though he was an older married man, reportedly (and allegedly) had a fling with a young Marilyn Monroe who lived in the guest house for a short period of time.

Mister Schenk sold the house to oilman William Keck who is said to have added an indoor swimming pool and gold-plated bathroom fixtures shaped like—you got it!—oil derricks. In the mid 1960s Mister Keck sold to actor Tony Curtis who in turn sold it to Cher and Sonny Bono in 1974 for around $750,000. Cher—who was granted sold ownership the house in her divorce for Sonny—unloaded the house in 1976 for $950,000 to carpet magnate Ralph Mishkin who flipped it just a couple years later to a flamboyant and (maybe) shady arms dealer named Ghazi Aita.

It was Mister Aita who added the 4.6 acre spread next door, purchased from pioneer porn producer Bill Osco. The old Osco-estate is where Owlwood's extensive swimming pool and tennis court complex are now situated a significant distance from the main house. Mister Aita put the two pieces of the estate on the market in 1999 for a combined $58.9 millions dollars. Finally, in 2002, it was sold to Mister and Missus Arnall.

photo: Dan's Hollywood Tours

At the same time they picked up the two-parcel estate from the arms dealer Mister and Missus Arnall also acquired a third adjacent parcel with a gaudy, pink-colored mansion (vintage photo above) and kitchy heart-shaped swimming pool. The Mediterranean mansion was originally built for Rudy Vallee—who never occupied the premises—and was later owned by busty pin-up babe Jayne Mansfield, who painted the whole thing a putrid but somehow endearing shade of pink. Eventually the Sunset Boulevard estate was bought by crooner Engelbert Humperdinck, who left it pink. Much to the chagrin of many, Mister and Missus Arnall razed the appropriately dubbed Pink Palace in 2004, allegedly without the proper permits, and as far as we know—which ain't nuthin'—the undeveloped site of the former Pink Palace functions as little more than a parking lot.

We don't know if Missus Arnall and her Real Estate—Lenny Lemmetellya told us Owlwood is being represented by a relatively unknown agent at The Agency—plan to put the property on the open market but certainly if they did it would garner a heap of international press that might help to attract a foreign potentate, tech tycoon, or pampered heiress with an ocean of money to spend on what is arguably one of the most desirable estates in all of Los Angeles. Has any one called Petra Eccelstone's sister Tamara who is rumored to want a Los Angeles estate that puts her baby sister's 56,000 square foot behemoth to shame? Imagine.

A short list of Missus Arnall' nearby bigwig neighbors include (but are far from limited to) Hugh Hefner at The Playboy Mansion, recent divorcee Jamie McCourt, contemporary art gallerist Larry Gagosian, couture-collecting octogenarian socialite Betsey Bloomingdale, and actress turned make-up mogul Connie Stevens. Directly across Sunset Boulevard is the monstrous mansion where Michael Jackson met his early end in June 2009.

Less than two years after they acquired Owlwood Mister and Missus Arnall paid movie producer Peter Guber a staggering $46,000,000 to purchase Mandalay Ranch, a 650-acre ranch property just outside Aspen (CO) with a 15,000 square foot main house (with 7 bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms, movie theater and indoor basketball court), 2 guest cabins and at least one barn with additional living quarters. As best as we can tell Missus Arnall still owns Mandalay Ranch.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mark Walhberg Rides the Real Estate Roller Coaster...Again

SELLER: Mark Wahlberg and Rea Durham
LOCATION: Beverly Hills (Post Office), CA
PRICE: $12,995,000
SIZE: 11,500 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 10.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: It's baaack! Ever since the fall of 2008, when it was first listed on the open market with an in hind-sight optimistic asking price of $15,900,000, two-time Oscar-nominated actor/producer Mark Wahlberg and his baby-making wife Rhea Durham—who may (or may not) be preggers with their fifth bambino—have been on a so-far-unsuccessful journey to unload their deluxe and fully-customized compound tucked into a fancy-pants hillside holler deep in the mountains above Beverly Hills, CA.

By September 2011 the asking price for the mini-resort-like spread had plummeted to $13,995,000 and yesterday the Wahlberg-Durham spread, around a few tight bends on the same street in the same Beverly Hills (Post Office) 'hood where Demi Moore lives, was de- and quickly re-listed with a new and lower asking price of $12,995,000.

Property records (and other online resources) indicate the Tinseltown power player acquired the Beverly Hills estate in November 2001 for $4,950,000.

Current listing information shows the mock-Med mansion-compound has a total of 11,500 square feet with 7 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms divided between the nearly 9,000 square foot main mansion, the two bedroom and two bathroom two-story guesthouse and wherever else on the property there might be a restroom.

The gated and landscaped 1.73 grounds, the proverbial, self-contained and very private, celebrity-style playground, come complete with with meandering putting green; lagoon style swimming pool with loopy waterfall and water slide; multiple poolside cabanas and tented lounge areas; a grotto spa; lighted, full-sized sunken basketball court; and a cavernous fitness facility—a giant shed really—with professional quality gym and regulation-sized boxing ring.

Presumably Mister and Missus Wahlberg's desire to sell their private paradise of 10-plus years has something to to with the posh pad they're (allegedly) set to build in the unapologetically (and almost cartoonishly) lavish, guard-gated Beverly Park community.

Back in May 2009, several sources snitched to Your Mama that Mister Wahlberg and wife spent $8,250,000 to purchase one of the few remaining vacant parcels in the architecturally steroidal community of mega-mansions.

Listing information for the 6-plus acre lot from the time of the sale stated plans were available for a "30,000 square foot Mediterranean Villa." We don't know if Mister and Missus Wahlberg opted to go with the 30,000 square foot Mediterranean Villa but we did receive unconfirmed reports through the celebrity real estate gossip grapevine the couple recently broke ground on whatever it is they've embarked to build.

As far as Your Mama knows—and, of course, we don't know a damn thing about anything—beside this Bev Hills compound and the big Beverly Park parcel Mister Wahlberg's property portfolio is otherwise empty.

listing photos: Hilton & Hyland