Saturday, September 7, 2013

Nate Berkus's Pedigreed West Coast Rental Goes Up for Sale

SELLER: Sean MacPherson
MOST RECENT RENTERS: Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $2,950,000
SIZE: 2,148 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Media savvy designer/decorator Nate Berkus and his man-friend/fiancée, much younger and far less successful fellow designer/decorator Jeremiah Brent, loved their architecturally pedigreed rental residence in the Hollywood Hills so much—you'll recall that Mister Brent confessed in the August 2013 issue of Harper's Bazaar that he "burst into tears" the first time he toured the house—that they opted not to buy the John Elgin Woolf-designed house and it's back up for sale with an asking price of $2,950,000.

The jewel box of a house is currently owned by Malibu-bred and New York-based boutique hotelier du jour Sean MacPherson—and his mother, Janet—who purchased the pedigreed pad, as per property records, in late 1995 for $415,000.

Current listing details show the 2,148 square foot single story mini-villa was built in 1939, sits on a generous, half acre-plus at the sylvan end of a short cul-de-sac, and has two bedrooms and two bathrooms including an oval-shaped master bathroom. The green and black kitchen has a wacky but wonderful mint-green vintage 1950s range and the bi-winged living room has marble inlaid parquet floors and a curved glass window divided by a marble mantled fireplace. Outdoor living spaces include trellis-shaded red brick terraces next to the pool, a sunbathing deck set just above the pool, and an open air pavilion with built-in bench seating and canyon views.

Some of the nearby neighbors include artist David Hockney, Tonight Show bandleader Ricky Minor (who lives in Katey Sagal's old house), and oil and gas scion Andrew Getty.

We claim no inside knowledge into the Misters Berkus and Brents' future real estate plans on the Left Coast but we do know—as was previously reported by a whole bunch of other property gossips—that in July (2013) Mister Berkus sold a terraced duplex penthouse in a walk-up co-operative building just off lower Fifth Avenue in New York City's Greenwich Village for $4,950,000* and a couple weeks later spent an even-steven five million dollars for another terraced duplex penthouse coop just a few blocks away in a elevator-equipped doorman building (above) that was designed by the venerated Emory Roth and built in 1922 by pre-war property developers Bing & Bing right on lower Fifth Avenue.**

Listing details show the six room duplex has two proper bedrooms and a third, awkwardly L-shaped room that would be downright indecent to actually call or utilize as a bedroom. There are 2.5 bathrooms, two fireplaces, and two fairly narrow terraces, one of which wraps around two sides of the upper level living, dining and kitchen areas.

Interior finishes at the time of Mister Berkus's purchase include original chevron pattern wood floors, lots of multi-pane sash windows and doors, miles and miles heavy duty moldings, a mural-walled formal dining room, and a law-library-ish center-island kitchen worked over with dark brown cabinets and chocolate brown granite counter tops. Presumably Misters Berkus and Brent will sprinkle their decorative fairy dust over ever square foot of the apartment and have it photographed for glossy posterity (and shameless self promotion) for one of the better fashion or shelter publications.

UPDATE (9/9/13): Thanks to one of the children, it's come to Your Mama's attention that in addition to the duplex penthouse on lower Fifth Avenue for which he coughed up five million big ones, Mister Berkus spent another $975,000 in an off-market deal to acquire the one bedroom apartment directly below. It's probably pretty safe to assume Mister Berkus plans to triplex the two apartments, right?

*Mister Berkus paid $3,350,000 for the spacious, 3,000 square foot spread in 2011, so even though he probably spend a pretty penny doing the place up, we'd guess he walked away with a substantial amount of moolah. The buyers were internet art auction entrepreneur Andrew Gilkes and fashion designer Misha Nonoo.

**For what it's worth and just in case anyone might care, Mister Brent's name does not appear on the public deeds and documents Your Mama perused.

photos (Los Angeles): Douglas Friedman for Harper's Bazaar
last two exterior listing photos (Los Angeles): The Agency
listing photos and floor plan (New York): Core


Anonymous said...

The Rabbi experiences the Hollywood Hills house and the 39 Fifth Avenue duplex to both be dreamy. (The awkward L-shaped room and closet in the coop was a former maid's room and bath.). Admittedly emotional herself, the Rabbi has yet to be moved to tears via her love of architecture.

Rabbi Hedda LaCasa

Rosco Mare said...

Confidential to Rabbi LaCasa:

Shana tova, my dear rabbi!

Rosco Mare

Anonymous said...

I don't understand - if "they loved it so much" then why not buy it? Seems like a bargain to me - it's gorgeous!

For anyone who wants to snoop further, the address is 2924 Montcalm Avenue, LA 90046 (close proximity to Mulholland) ... the listing pictures look amazing but the Google Street View pictures aren't so flattering - the entranceway looks very claustrophobic and the neighbourhood looks pretty tired ... the terrain around the house looks rough.

Anonymous said...

It's nice, but it's still not as nice as Lea Michele's gorgeous little house ... actually, for a 'little house' this one actually looks quite big on Google Maps ...

Anonymous said...

I like it but not as much a the Kelidis property Mama showed last week. I am sure they don't want something done, so they can put their mark on it though.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon at 6:29a.m.; the photos are magical, but in real life, in my opinion, the overall location is not great for everyday coming and going for work/errands/meeting friends for a meal, the tiny little road is not very pleasant, it always seems tight in there, and for sure (for me), not a location for which I'd pay $2.5M+ for that house. Just not a fan of that street - never have been.

Wallace Ridge

Petra's said...

I'd cut a beeyotch for that green stove thingy. Need it NOW.

Sandpiper said...

I'll leave the property comments to LGB on this one and agree in advance to anything he says!

Ooo the luxury of having the best structures good taste can buy. Seems like yesterday Nate was guesting design tips on a weekday religious program. I too would be sick having to part with this beyond-incredible LA rental after wanting it to tears. Wait. Moving not buying it? This is getting complicated.

None of my business but then again (meow) why not? I’m sure Mister Berkus has by now popped the Burberry collar, donned his Wayfarers and baseball cap and grabbed the check book for a solo stroll to his attorney’s attorney’s attorney office for some iron-clad pre-nup advise, um, and post-nup, primary state of residence? Gooey stuff.

lil' gay boy said...

Awww, my little birdie, you're too kind...

The Montcalm residence is indeed a jewel box; I confess I'd be willing to toss anyone who got in the way of my stealing that vintage stove down the hill.

But the only saving grace for being cramped so close to the street on such a generous lot is that it is a dead end -- even so, I would like to have seen it sited further down the slope to take advantage of more privacy. and perhaps rotated 90 degrees so the pool faced the view head on.

As for the NYC duplex, well -- an Emery Roth prewar? We've now entered the "I'd give my left testicle..." realm. And just a hop, skip & a jump from Washington Square, too...

Foodie said...

Well Mama, you have most of the information correct about the 39Fifth Avenue purchase, but clearly because you're camped on the left coast you missed everything. Mr. Berkus also purchased the 1 bedroom apartment (14C) below the new duplex for under a million clams, which is pretty terrific for a lower Fifth Ave apartment. He plans on triplexing them into something a litlle more to his about them apples!

West Bourne said...

If anyone is interested in getting a little more insight into why John Elgin Woolf's homes are sought after, you may want to check out the website below of a house in Pasadena which includes floor plans. The proportions, the flow, the sight lines he created can all be seen here.

BillinMI said...

Incredible link West Bourne - a great tutorial on Wollf's style.

West Bourne said...

lgb - I thought the same thing about rotating the house but while thinking about it, I realized that Woolf's houses of this style set up a direct relationship of the house to the pool and the view created usually had a definite counterpoint, often times a pool house which acted as a folly or smaller version of the main house. This can be seen in the house in Pasadena as well as in Robert Evans' house. In the case of Woodlands, I understand the pool house burned down and was not rebuilt but I found a picture of it as well as a video of Evans talking about the house. He used the house in a similar way to Sue Mengers. The view Woolf created in her house is across the pool with arcades curving in on both sides framing the landscaping beyond.

In the Hollywood Hills house, I suspect the covered terrace in the backyard was the original carport and the current deck was built over the driveway which slopes down to the street. I imagine Woolf used a hedge or Italian Cypress (or both) to create the backdrop of green as a focal point from the house across the pool and to hide the driveway.

Links to Evan's house:

lil' gay boy said...

West Bourne,

Always loved Evans' & Mengers' houses, and I agree Woolf usually had a logical program for them.

It just seemed to me that the steep slope of the lot would have precluded the possibility of the view ever being obstructed -- without the cypress trees currently at the end of the pool, the sight line is less than stellar...

Sandpiper said...

Dear LGB & Westbourne,

Kudos on the wealth of architectural insight!

You guys great.


Sandpiper said...

Oops. Sloppy me. Should have read:

You guys are great!!!