Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ricki Lake Lists Long Time L.A. Residence

SELLER: Ricki Lake
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $8,750,000
SIZE: (roughly) 5,226 square feet, 5-6 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Looks like somewhat newly (re-)married actress, Emmy winning daytime chat show hostess, and Dancing with the Stars alum Ricki Lake is on the move and has listed her long time home in L.A.'s tony Brentwood area with an asking price of $8,750,000.

Property records show Miz Lake purchased the Plantation-style residence in October 2002—just shy of a year before she and her first husband, Rob Sussman, parted romantic ways—for $5,600,000 from producer, sitcom star, and celebrity house flipper Courteney Cox (Friends, Cougartown).

Although listing details don't specify the square footage, the L.A. County Tax Man puts the low-profile two story residence at 5,226 square feet, a figure that may or may not reflect its actual size. Listing information also indicates there are six bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms, while the Tax Man shows six bedrooms and five full bathrooms. Listing details go on to show the existing house, all but hidden behind lush and mature semi-tropical foliage, high walls, and double driveway gates, was originally built in 1949 on a flat, .81 acre parcel on a famously star-lined street in Brentwood.

The central foyer has an ill-advised and unusually—uh—whimsical, lavender-toned polka dot paint treatment. Old-fashioned polished parquet wood floors extend in to the main living spaces, an interconnected clump of rooms that include a compact library, a narrow and essentially windowless central formal dining room, and a roomy formal living room that features a wood burning fireplace, a raised ceiling that may or may not be silver leafed—we can't tell, and several dramatically over-sized nine-over-nine sash windows.

A wide bank of paned glass panels glide open and disappear into the walls to connect the dining room with a sky-lit, open-concept family room and kitchen with dark wood floors, a carved stone (or poured concrete) fireplace mantel, several sets of French doors that open to an outdoor living room area, and a vaulted ceiling with deliciously chunky exposed wood beams. We're quite smitten with how Miz Lake—or her nice-gay or lady decorator—color coordinated the spines of her book collection in the built-in shelves that flank the fireplace since, well, Your Mama has a OCD-ish tendency to color coordinate the spines of our always expanding collection of mostly paperback books, too.

The family room merges with the spacious center island kitchen that appears upgraded and well-equipped with dark chocolate colored wood cabinetry, stone colored counter tops of unknown material, and the usual complement of high grade stainless steel appliances. However, that quilted stainless steel breakfast island with the glossy wood counter top and the quartet of sculptural, Eames/Brâncusi-esque stools? We're afraid all that amounts to a brazen breach of decorative good taste in Your Mama's utterly meaningless opinion. Anyways...

There are five bedrooms in the main house, according to listing information, including a second floor guest bedroom provided with a private exterior entrance that makes it ideal for staff, in-laws and/or house guests who, like our  our boozy b.f.f. Fiona Trambeau, have a rude tendency to sneak newly met paramours in the their host's home. A sixth bedroom is used by Miz Lake as a home office, as per listing details, and the spacious master suite is complete with sitting area, two fireplaces, and a luxury bathroom with twin sinks, stall shower, separate soaking tub, and radiant heated floors.

It may be a bit cliche to say but the grounds really are pretty park-like with lushly landscaped courtyards, broad sweeps of verdant lawn dotted with mature shade trees, and an open air dining pavilion with built-in outdoor kitchen/barbecue.

The swimming pool and spa are set well away from the house along with an itty-bitty cottage that could be used for any number of purposes including housing gravely flatulent house guests. Listing photographs indicate Miz Lake utilized the free-standing hut-like cabana as an fitness room with a few free weights, a couple of body firming exercise contraptions, a yoga mat, and a portable dry sauna that barely looks big enough for  one person let alone two or more.

Miz Lake's mini-estate sits on one of the more coveted lanes in quietly but decidedly affluent Brentwood where other home owners include Maria Shriver, Arianna Huffington, Lindsay Buckingham, and Betty White. Property records show Tobey Maguire and his Tinseltown pedigreed jewelry designer wife, Jennifer Meyer Maguire, still own the still vacant lot just down and across the street for Miz Lake's spread that they scooped up in early 2008 for $10 millon.

listing photos: Partners Trust

Friday, June 28, 2013

In Case You Didn't Hear: Lady Gaga

According to the celebrity gossips at Life & Style via the hard-charging kids at Curbed, international pop music entertainer Lady Gaga has inked a deal to rent a deluxe duplex penthouse on New York City's high-fallutin' Central Park South. The aerie, atop a decidedly luxurious but unassuming 1940s gray brick apartment block, was last listed at $22,000 per month and has unobstructed views that sweep over the entirety of Central Park.

Listing details show Mother Monster's new—if temporary—crib in the Big Apple has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two wood burning fireplaces—living room and master bedroom, and four terraces in 1,935 square feet. There's a step-down living room with balcony, a separate dining room also with balcony, and a small but expensively-outfitted U-shaped kitchen. The lower level bedroom links through to a compartmentalized guest bathroom and the upper level master suite includes a good-sized private bathroom, a walk-in closet, and direct access to spacious pair of park and city view terraces.

Several months ago the property gossip gal at the New York Post revealed that at least three other Showbizzers have previously occupied the penthouse: disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, seven-time Tony winning Broadway bigwig Michael Bennett, and Liza "with a Z" Minelli.

The full-service luxury building does not have a private health club but it does offer its well-heeled rental residents an attended lobby with full time doormen and concierge services and a private, on-site garage, a rare feature in Manhattan that was—no doubt—quite desirable for a gal who's frequently if not always trailed by a band of fervent Little Monsters and snap-happy paps who would—no doubt—gleefully follow their pop cultural leader into the damn stirrups if they could.

exterior photo: Kate Leonova for Property Shark
listing photos and floor plan: Essential New York Real Estate

Adam Levine Quietly Unloads in the Hollywood Hills

SELLER: Adam Levine
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $3,550,000
SIZE: 2,045 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama has twice now heard—first from an anonymous tipster and then from The Bizzy Boys at Celebrity Address Aerial—that tatted up Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine—who moonlights as a coach on The Voice—quietly unloaded his Mark Haddawy decorated bachelor pad above L.A.'s Bronson Canyon to a couple of non-celebs for $3,550,000.

Property records show the three-time Grammy winning singer/songwriter picked up the property in November 2005 for $3,195,000. If the children put on their thinking caps they may recall that way back in September (2012) our uncannily connected informant Betty Butterlips snitched to Your Mama that Mister Levine had furtively floated his completely re-worked 1940s ranch style residence in the Hollywood Hills on the off-market market with an asking price in the high three millons.

In case any of y'all missed it, the house and all its sophisticated fittings and impressively pedigreed mid-century modern furniture was featured in the March 2012 issue of the increasingly celebrity-centric Architectural Digest.

Listing details from 2009 when Mister Levine put the modestly sized 2,045 square foot house out for least at ten grand a month describe the house as having three bedrooms (plus a separate guest unit) and four bathooms while the A.D. article reveals the most recent overhaul by Mister Haddawy reduced the bedrooms in the main house to just one. For the record, the L.A. County Tax Man shows the property has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. 

A terrace that meanders along the back of the house has an outdoor fireplace and sweeping views over Hollywood. A curvaceous stairway twists and turns down the hillside to a roomy, semi-circular terrace where Mister Levine replaced a glorious and quintessentially Tinseltown oval-shaped swimming pool with a much smaller, plunge-sized rectangle pool and adjoining spa.

Last October (2012) the 30-something year old model-dating playa dropped $4,380,000 for a gated mini-compound in a discreet gated enclave above Benedict Canyon in Beverly Hills (CA). Your Mama has repeatedly heard Mister Levine immediately embarked on a significant overhaul of the house and property and iffin we were the betting type—and we most certainly are not—we'd wager both our long bodied bitches, Linda and Beverly, that the renovations wear spear headed once again by Mister Haddawy.

photos: Roger Davies for Architectural Digest

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Owlwood (semi-)Officially Listed

Last July Your Mama repeated the white hot and quietly wide spread Platinum Triangle real estate rumor that the famous Owlwood compound in Los Angeles's supremely hoity toity Holmby Hills area was surreptitiously being shopped to qualified buyers with—according to our well-connected informant Lenny Lemmetellya, at least—a knee-knocking asking price of around $150,000,000.

Well, children, thanks to a eagle eyed snitch we'll call Ben d'Yourear, it's come to Your Mama's attention that the undeniably epic Owlwood compound has popped up on The Agency's website with an asking price that is "On Request" and a link to a password protected virtual tour. Your Mama requested the asking price and password from lead listing agent and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills husband Mauricio Umansky* but we have a sneaking suspicion he's not to keen to cough up the digits and details.

Whatever the actual price, the 10-ish acre, triple-gated and fully-landscaped estate includes a newly built gate house on Sunset Boulevard capable of monitoring the entire estate. The approximately 12,000 square foot Italian Renaissance-style main mansion was originally designed by noted architect Robert Farquhar and built in 1936 for Florence Quinn, the well-to-do ex-wife of department store magnate and real estate mogul Arthur Letts, Jr.

Owlwood was later owned by a long list of Los Angeles luminaries including 20th Century Fox founder Joseph Schenk, oilman William Keck, and actor Tony Curtis. Curtis sold the house in 1974 for about $750,000 to Sonny and Cher who flipped it to a carpet tycoon in 1976 for about $950,000. The carpet tycoon sold Owlwood in the late '70s to a flamboyant businessman named Ghazi Aita.**

Mister Aita acquired the estate next door, often referred to as the former home of water baby Esther Williams and where the estate's swimming pool and recreation complex are now located. After several years on the market Owlwood was sold in 2002 to Mister and Missus Arnall. The real estate balling couple simultaneously acquired a third adjacent estate, originally built for crooner Rudy Vallée. The mansion was later owned by pin up babe Jayne Mansfield and beau-hunky actor Mickey Hargitay, the parents of Law & Order queen bee Mariska Hargitay. It was Miz Mansfield who gave the mansion it famously pink paint job. Mister and Missus Arnall, who bought the house from singer Engelbert Humperdinck, razed the Pink Palace and in its place put a mini-mall sized parking lot.

We're not entirely sure how much Mister and Missus Arnall paid for the three properties that comprise Owlwood but most reports and online resources put the total somewhere between 30 and 35 million big ones. We may not know what the Arnall's paid for Owlwood, but public records reveal the Widda Arnall shelled out a stroke inducing $470,553 and 64 damn cents in property taxes in 2012. And that, children, doesn't even include the extraordinary sum most certainly required to maintain and operate an estate of this magnitude.

What Your Mama wants to know is why hasn't Formula One Racing heiress and 20-something year old real estate baller Tamara Ecclestone already snatched this trophy property up? Sure, the main house isn't but a fraction of the size of her younger sister's Petra's 56,000 square foot behemoth around the corner that she bought from Candy Spelling for $85 million. But, at least as far as Your Mama is concerned, the pedigree of Owlwood alone more than makes up for its smaller size. Are we wrong?

Any of the children who want more dish, dirt and details about Owlwood should have a look-see at the above video from when the estate was on the market in the early Aughts and/or snag a copy of Michael Gross's exhaustively researched book Unreal Estate.

*In addition to Mister Umansky, Owlwood is being repped by Agency agents Ann Dashiell and Jeeb O'Reilly

**The Hollywood Reporter described Mister Aita as "shadowy" and this blog, maintained by Mister Aita's former estate manager, claimed in 2009 the "shadowy" Mister Aita was "Hawking Cigars and Jewerly [sic] online." 

listing photo: The Agency

Model Niki Taylor Lists Bucolic Spread in Brentwood, TN

SELLER: Niki Taylor (and Burney Lamar)
LOCATION: Brentwood, TN
PRICE: $1,450,000
SIZE: 4,719 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Model and spokesperson Niki Taylor may have grown up in Florida and traveled the world many times over during her salad years as a model and spokesperson but for more than a decade she's called a couple of the more affluent and star-studded semi-rural suburbs south of Nashville, TN home.

A wholesome, all-American looking professional model since the age of 13, Miz Taylor appeared on the cover of Seventeen at 14, at 15 she popped up on the cover of Vogue, and at 16 she was named to People magazine's list of 50 Most Beautiful People. She went on to shill for CoverGirl, prance the cat walk for scads of top designers like Chanel and Calvin Klein, and pose in skimpy bathing gear for several Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues. As a well-compensated spokeswoman, she's shaken her tall, svelte and famously beauty-marked money maker for a slew of high profile brands such as Liz Claiborne, Gap, L'Oréal, and Pantene. In 2005 she opened a now shuttered fashion boutique (Abbie and Jesse's) in Franklin (TN) that she named after her two pooches; in 2008 she was a judge on the first season of Make Me a Supermodel; and in 2011 she popped up on The Celebrity Apprentice.

In October 2004—about the time she busted up with flat ironing country king Keith Urban—Miz Taylor paid $1,325,000 for a bucolic, six-ish acre spread in Brentwood (TN) that a local birdie recently chirped to Your Mama is up for sale with an asking price of $1,450,000. As it turns out, Miz Taylor and her second husband, NASCAR driver and airplane pilot Burney Lamar, have had the fenced and gated property with its red brick Cape Cod Colonial style home on the market since at least last August (2012) when it was listed with an in-hindsight rose-tinted $1,750,000 price tag.

The two story home, located on a picturesque country lane about 20 minutes south of downtown Nashville, is approached along a long, gated driveway that makes a sinuous curve up to the front of the house and around to the side where there's an attached three car garage. Current listing information shows the two story residence was built in 1997 and measures 4,719 square feet with four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.

There are dark wood floors—and rather upsetting flesh-colored walls—throughout most of the lower level public rooms that include a grand, double-height foyer and formal living and dining rooms, the former with built in book cases that flank a red brick fireplace. A well-equipped eat-in kitchen has custom cabinetry that stops short of the high ceiling, high quality stainless steel appliances, and a copper pot laden pot rack that hangs ominously over a center work island.

The master suite is on the main floor while the upper floor has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a loft lounge and a gigantic, 600-plus square foot recreation room above the garage.

The back of the house opens to a deep screen porch that overlooks a plaza-sized brick and concrete patio where there's a built-in barbecue station tucked under a shed roof. The patio gives way to a broad swathe of open land ringed by mature trees. There appears to be some sort of fenced livestock pasture but there does not appear to be a barn or—somewhat surprisingly—a swimming pool or spa.

Listing photos show the house has been entirely cleared of the Taylor-Lamar family furnishings and personal belongings. Presumably Miz Tayler, Mister Lamar and their two toddler children—Miz Taylor also has 18 year old twins from her first marriage—have decamped to a single story farmhouse they custom built on a much smaller piece of property just about 800 feet down the road from their old house. Property records show Miz Taylor acquired the vacant property back in 2009 for $390,000.

In 2006 the Miz Taylor sold the 47+ acre estate Franklin, TN she once owned with Keith Urban for $1.2 million and, in addition to her current Brentwood residential holdings, property records show she still owns a modest 1,193 square foot townhouse-type residence in Franklin, TN that she picked up in May 2002 for $127,000.

listing photos: Brentview Realty Company

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

UPDATE: Bill Gates

SELLER: Bill and Melinda Gates
LOCATION: Hobe Sound, FL
PRICE: $6,600,000
SIZE: 9,458 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 7 full and 2 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: It was South Florida-based celebrity and society gossip Jose Lambiet who first let the real estate cat out of the bag about zillionaire software super-mogul Bill Gates and his wife Melinda shelling out $8.7 million for an equestrian estate in a gated enclave in the horsey community of Wellington, FL.

Well, children, turns out the horsey spread in Wellington isn't the only Sunshine State property that Mister and Missus Gates currently own. At least not according to a well-connected snitch we'll call Wendy Whistleblower who whispered to Your Mama via covert communique that in August 2009 the Washington State-based couple quietly coughed up $5,000,000 for well-maintained mini-mansion in sleepy but swanky Hobe Sound, FL.

Lo and behold, using an address supplied by Miz Whistleblower, Your Mama almost immediately discovered the Hobe Sound residence in question, the one Miz Whistleblower says is owned by Bill and Melinda Gates,* is actually for sale on the open market—and has been since January 2012—with an asking price of $6,600,000.

Current listing details describe the single story mini-mansion as a "Spectacular European villa" that sits on 5.24 mostly mangroved acres with 200 feet of direct frontage on the Intracoastal Waterway. Listing details go on to indicate the mansard-roofed manse was built in 2003 with four bedrooms and seven full and two half bathrooms in 9,458 square feet of recently refreshed interior space replete with sand and terra-cotta-colored checkered marble floors, high ceilings with thick crown molding, and an impressive amount of custom cabinetry and mill work **

A center hall foyer flanked by a wood-paneled library and a formal dining room stretches deep into the house where it opens in to an immense, stone tile floored formal living room with a weirdly wee fireplace. Three sets of wood-framed glass doors open to the outdoors and another set opens in to an airy, window-ringed room with a soaring wood plank lined ceiling and a dark-bottomed indoor swimming pool. Terraces, patios and loggias that line the rear of the residence give way to a flat patch of grass sliced by a brick path that leads to a raised wooden walkway that becomes a permanent dock as it extends out over the shimmering Intracoastal. Other notable features include an expensively equipped center island kitchen, a spacious laundry room with dual washers and dryers, and a water view master suite with dual bathrooms.

Some of the children may recall that, as of yesterday, Your Mama was only aware of two private homes owned by Mister and Missus Gates: the newly purchased horse place in Wellington and their 50,000 square foot lake front super-compound in Medina (WA). Since then it's come to our attention that Mister and Missus Gates maintain a healthy handful of high-maintenance luxury properties.

The couple has been widely reported to belong to the Yellowstone Club, a frightfully expensive,*** members only golf and ski community in Big Sky, MT where other members include the likes of politicos Dan Quayle and Bill Frist, Beverly Hills businessman Burt Sugarman and his celebrity gossip journalist wife Mary Hart, parking lot mogul and much-maligned former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, three time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, and media, entertainment, and tech world power player Peter Chernin, to name but a few.

Since the summer of 1999 the the Gates have also owned a sprawling 13,573 square foot residence on 1.33 acres that backs up to a Tom Fazio-designed golf course at the guard-gated and ultra-posh Vintage Club in Indian Wells, CA. Property records and other online resources indicate they paid $12.5 million for their deluxe desert digs through a trust that familiarly links back to Mister Gate's father's law offices in Kirkland (WA). According to property records and other online resources, some of the other big-rich home owners at The Vintage Club include: influential businessman Kent Kresa; Texas-based beer and banking tycoon Bud Dillard's widow, Kay; Louisiana energy mogul William Doré; bajillionaire industrialist and conservative political activist Charles Koch; French paper pasha Jacques Lejeune; the late Austrian industrialist Friedrich Flick's multi-billionaire widow Ingrid; agro-industrialist Cargil MacMillan's multi-billionaire widow Donna; and Las Vegas casino owner Faye Johnson.

*For the record, Your Mama can't link Mister or Missus Gates specifically to the Hobe Sound estate in question but a perusal of property records reveals the posh pad is indeed owned through a corporate concern that, like many of Mister and Missus Gates' real estate holdings, links directly back to Mister Gates' father's law offices in Kirkland, WA. The same corporate entity, as it turns out, also owns a whole mess of ranch land—several hundred acres, at least—north of Denver along the Front Range Urban Corridor in and around the communities of Berthoud and Loveland. 

**For the record, the Martin County Tax Man shows the house has five bedrooms and six bathrooms in  7,278 square feet.

***The New York Times reported in June 2009 that members cough up a minimum of a quarter million dollars to join the club, spend another $5-35 million to buy and/or build a house, and are saddled with what otherwise sounds quite reasonable $20,000 in annual dues.

listing photos: Waterfront Properties and Club Communities

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

In Case You Missed It: Bill Koch

Multi-billionaire Bill Koch—the less politically active and least rich brother of zillionaire conservative activists Charles and David Koch—may not have nearly as many billions in the bank as the much more progressive bajillionaire Bill Gates, who recently dropped $8.7 million for an equestrian estate in Wellington, FL, but he's none-the-less a bona fide real estate baller who maintains the sort of residential property portfolio only affordable to the tiniest few of the world's most financially well endowed.

There's a mammoth, 42,000 square foot oceanfront mega-manse in Palm Beach, FL that has two swimming pools and where bubble gum pop super star Katy Perry was hired to perform last year during the birthday party for Mister Koch's notably younger third wife Bridget Rooney...of the Pittsburgh Rooneys, natch. Mister and Third Missus Koch also maintain a 50+ acre compound in the upper Castle Creek Valley area above swanky Aspen, CO, that they scooped up in 2007 for about $51 or $55 million depending on where you read.

A bit farther from Aspen, near the wee town of Paonia, the often controversial and famously litigious Mister Koch is in the process of spending Lord only who knows how many millions to build—we shit you not, puppies—an authentic replica of an Old West town on 6,400 pristine Rocky Mountain acres. Good grief! Why build such a folly, children? Who knows? Because he can? If Marie Antoinette can have Hameau de la Reine then why can't Mister Koch have his very own historically accurate Wild West village complete with saloon, jailhouse and train station, right? Mercy. Chrissakes. Who does he think he is, Michael Jackson? Pleeze. Anyways...

Mister Koch has long maintained one or more residences on Cape Cod in and around Osterville, MA. Earlier this year the May-December Koch couple forked over $19.5 million to acquire a 26-acre waterfront compound from high-cultured centenarian philanthropist and horticulturist Rachel "Bunny" Mellon. In late 2012 they quietly sold a waterfront compound, located a short hop down the street from Miz Mellon's spread, for $8.65 million; They'd only bought the place about 1.5 years earlier for, according to property records, $8.4 million. Such are the often capricious real estate ways of the rich and/or famous.

This week, word slipped down the billionaire real estate gossip grapevine that Mister Koch, a voracious collector of many things and a hardcore racing yachter who won the prestigious America's Cup in 1992, hoisted a 1.58 acre mini-compound on Osterville's sleepy but seriously swank Seapuit River Road on the open market with a $15,000,000 asking price.*

Listing details show the white clapboard sided Colonial was built in 1929 and sits on 1.58 prime acres on the private island of Oyster Harbor with views towards Nantucket Sound over Dead Neck Island. The fastidiously maintained main residence spans 8,653 square feet and has nine bedrooms served by eight full and four half bathrooms, according to listing details. There are additional guest and/or staff quarters that may (or may not) be located above the semi-detached three car garage.

The art-filled interiors—think pedigreed and gilt-framed land- and seascapes—are both relaxed and traditional not to mention roomy enough to accommodate large gatherings of extended family and friends. It's the sort of place one's brittle boned and deeply blue-blooded grandmother might approve or aspire to. Not not surprisingly, given the waterfront location and Mister Koch's extensive collection of maritime memorabilia, the interiors are awash with nautical this and thats. One room, a sort of office/games room with fireplace even looks like the captain's cabin of a well-appointed 18th century galleon.

At the front of the postcard perfect estate there's a stately circular drive and there's a dark bottom gunite swimming pool and raised spa on the side of the house. At the rear, a sun porch as wide as the mansion opens to a flat expanse of lawn the stretches out towards the water. A weathered wood stairway descends to the water's edge where there's a stretch of private sandy beach and a two story beach house that sits at the land end of the sturdy, deep water dock. Listing photos show a parallel floating dock that considerably increases the estate's boat parking capabilities.

*Naturally, chickadees, Your Mama don't know a damn thing about the actual value of any property but it seems to our pea brain the price might be a mite optimistic since the house next door—that would be the aforementioned one Mister and Missus Koch sold last December (2012)—sits on a substantially larger piece of property and went for $8.65 million.

listing photos: Robert Paul Properties

In Case You Missed It: Bill Gates

It was South Florida-based celebrity and society scuttlebutter Jose Lambiet of Gossip Extra who let Your Mama know that Microsoft bajillionaire Bill Gates and his equally cerebral wife Melinda recently shelled out $8,700,000 for an equestrian oriented estate in the affluent and equine oriented community of Wellington, FL.

According to Mister Lambiet, Mister and Missus Gates leased a house in Wellington for the last two seasons at a rental cost of $1.1 million but recently bit the real estate bullet and acquired a more permanent outpost in the horsey enclave where just about every body—and we mean every damn body—is involved with the horse trade(s) in one way or another.

Given that the philanthropically minded tech tycoon has a net worth commonly estimated to be well in excess of $65 billion dollars, the $8.7 million dollar purchase represents but an infinitesimal sliver of his essentially limitless riches. Most people will never even earn $8.7 million in their entire lifetime but, let's get real, butter beans, 8.7 million clams could slip out of Mister Gates pocket in a taxi cab and he'd never even miss it. Even less skin off his and his missus' financial teeth will be, as shown on the digital listing we perused, the mandatory if relatively modest $370 per quarter home owner's association dues.

Anyways, according to listing details Your Mama dug up on the internets, the boomerang-shaped 4.8 acre spread is located in the guard gated Mallet Hill development and includes an architecturally eye-brow knitting 7,234 square foot quasi-hacienda style mini-mansion with four bedrooms and four full and two half bathrooms.

There are stone tile floors throughout the high-ceilinged open-concept main living space comprised of "formal" dining area, a living room with fireplace and French doors, and a roomy center island kitchen with dining area, granite counter tops and high quality appliances. The exposed pine kitchen cabinetry lends a unexpectedly and unnecessarily—ahem—rustic, country-house aura that Your Mama doesn't quite understand since the rest of the house is an undeniably large, luxurious, and probably extremely well built but otherwise strikingly bland mock-Med macmansion.

Outdoor recreation and lounge areas include a columned loggia that overlooks a 32-foot long swimming pool and a built-in barbecue station on the patio. Broad tree-dotted lawns run up to the edge of a narrow Y-shaped canal. Equestrian facilities include several fields, pastures and pens plus a newly constructed 20 stall barn that—somewhat oddly—is "subject to HOA approval" according to listing information.

It's difficult for a jaded property gossip like Your Mama to believe that a man of Mister Gates extraordinary pecuniary prowess doesn't own a slew of high maintenance properties in every high priced nook and cranny of the world but, as far as Your Mama knows anyways, the only other property the Gates own is their technologically forward thinking 50,000+ square foot super-compound in Medina (WA) on shores of Lake Washington.

listing photos: Boca Executive Realty

In Case You Missed It: Megan Ellison

Twenty something year old high tech heiress turned budding powerhouse film producer and budding real estate baller Megan Ellison—that would be Larry's daughter—has snatched herself up a multi-million dollar pied a terre in New York City's Police Building. According to the peeps at The Real Deal, L.A.-based Miss Ellison viewed the downtown apartment just once, submitted an offer an hour later by telephone and plans to use the apartment as a pied-a-terre.

The reported sale price of $2.8 million is a far cry from the wildly optimistic $7,000,000 price tag the seller—an Austrian-born mover and shaker in the beauty and fashion industry—first put on the idiosyncratic apartment way way way back in March 2008.

Listing information shows the quirky top floor apartment, once upon a time the radio room for the NYPD, has just one bedroom and one bathroom in about 1,750 square feet that includes a 31-foot diameter round living/dining room with ebony stained wood floors, muscular exposed steel arches, numerous sky lights, and curved walls that make it all but impossible to hang artwork.

The sky-lit kitchen has stainless steel counter tops and cabinets as well as a full suite of top-grade Euro-style stainless steel appliances. Shoji-style sliding panel separate the bedroom from the kitchen area and the adjacent bathroom is a blush-tone extravaganza of limestone—or some other fancy-pants stone—and a cacophony of sinuous circular shapes that mimic the circular shape of the massive main living/dining room.

Since it's conversion to a conversion to a full-service co-operative apartment house in 1988 the heavily ornamented building, a magnificent mish-mash of Beaux Arts, Edwardian and Baroque Renaissance Revival styles, has attracted its fair share of high profile downtown dwellers who enjoy 24-7 doorman and concierge services and residents only access to a private garden and gym.

Previous residents with recognizable names include Toni Morrison, Calvin Klein, and Steffi Graf as well as a slew of supermodels such as Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell. A Police Building insider snitched to Your Mama that current residents include actresses Lauren Graham and Michelle Rodriguez although they do not—least as far as Your Mama knows—live together. French fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon owns a couple of apartments in the building including a three bedroom and three bathroom duplex spread on the fourth floor that's long been occupied by his ex-wife—model and former Real Housewives of New York cast member Kelly Bensimon—and is currently available for lease at $20,000 per month.

Back on the Left Coast young Miss Ellison owns three very contemporary city view residences all in a row in the so-called Bird Streets area high above L.A.'s Sunset Strip. She paid designer Steve Hermann $12.6 million for the first of her three Bird Street spreads in February 2008. The following April she paid entertainment industry mogul Byron Allen $6.25 for the never occupied Steve Hermann-designed house next door and in early 2011 she shelled out another $13,800,000 for a third house. By Your Mama's rough and rudimentary calculations, Miss Ellison is into her Bird Street quasi-compound for a stomach twisting $32,650,000, an amount that makes her $2.8 million dollar pied a terre purchase in New York City look like pennies she found in the cushions of her sofa.

listing photos: Azulay Group

Monday, June 24, 2013

Steve Carell Sells And Moves Around the Corner

SELLER: Steve and Nancy Carell
LOCATION: Toluca Lake, CA
PRICE $5,100,000
SIZE: 6,637 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: In June 2010 Emmy nominated and Golden Globe winning actor Steve Carell and his occasional actress wife Nancy dropped $6,000,000 to acquire the Toluca Lake (CA) estate of recently deceased actor Jonathan Winters. They proceeded to raze the existing 5,200+ square foot residence—and every stick and leaf of landscaping as well—to make way for a what Your Mama imagines will be a much larger manse worthy of a television and movie star who reportedly earned nearly $300,000 per episode on his last season on The Office.

Your Mama isn't sure if Mister Carrel's new digs are finished but we do know, thanks to a leg up from Yolanda Yakketyyak and confirmed with property records, that the Carells quietly sold their old Toluca Lake home—literally around the corner from the old Winter's estate—in mid-March 2012 for $5.1 million to a former head and neck surgeon turned acquisitions and operations executive at multi-billionaire Tom Gores' Platinum Equity.

Property records show Mister and Missus Carrel purchased the property in June 2006 for for an unknown amount of dinero and as far as Your Mama can tell the Beaver Cleaver-ish white clapboard sided Colonial was not listed on the open market. The Los Angeles County Tax Man shows the 6,637 square foot house, all but hidden behind tall trees and an electronic drive gate, was built in 1999 with five bedrooms and six bathrooms.

In addition to their multi-million dollar residential real estate holdings in California, Mister and Missus Carrel also maintain a much more modest 4 bedroom and 2 bathroom residence in Marshfield, MA as well as the Marshfield Hills General Store that's run, as per the shop's website, by Mister Carrel's wife's sister.

photo: Google

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Martin Lawrence Downsizes in Encino

BUYER: Martin Lawrence
PRICE: $6,630,000
SIZE: 10,211 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: We first heard rumbles of it weeks ago from a gal we'll call Suburban Sally and last night we heard it from the eerily well-informed Yolanda Yakketyyak that comedian Martin Lawrence scooped up a newly constructed mock-Med MacMansion perched atop a high knoll in the foothills above L.A.'s prototypically suburban community of Encino. Property records show the property in question, last listed for $7.1 million, changed hands in early June (2013) for $6,630,000.

It was recently announced that Mister Lawrence, who starred in an eponymous t.v. sitcom in the 1990s and whose biggest contribution to The Cinema has been the money minting Big Momma and Bad Boys franchises, will co-star in an as yet untitled sitcom with Kelsey Grammer. Hooray for Hollywood! Anyhoo...

Listing details Your Mama managed to tease out of the interweb shows the recently completed residence, located at the tail end of a long cul-de-sac lined with much more modest, mostly ranch-style homes, was marketed with seven bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms in 10,211 square feet.

Other features of the walled and gated three story mansion, as per listing details and other online resources, include half a dozen fireplaces, garage space for four cars, and a heated negative edge swimming pool with long and wide views over the San Fernando Valley.

Celebrity real estate watchers may recall that last June Mister Lawrence sold his 16,000+ square foot so-called "French Contemporary" mansion in the Beverly Park community to mid-priced shoe and handbag tycoon Bruce Makowsky for $17,200,000.

Property records and other online resources indicate Mister Lawrence, who split from his long-time lady-mate/wife Shamicka last year, continues to own a residence in L.A.'s Toluca Lake that he bought back in July 1992 for $640,000 as well as a sprawling, 21,000-plus square foot pond-front mansion on more than 100 acres acres in rural Purcellville, VA that he picked up in May 1997 for $1,250,000.

listing photo/rendering: Prudential California

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

In Case Your Haven't Heard: Tamar Braxton

Celebrity gossip juggernaut TMZ reported today that sassy-licious reality television diva Tamar Braxton and her record producer husband Vincent sold their Hidden Hills (CA) mansion in mid April (2013) for $6,900,000.

What TMZ does not reveal, and what we first heard a several days ago from the always dishy informant Yolanda Yakketyyak, is that the buyers are the very same people—John and Gloria Gebbia—who sold the approximately 12,000 square foot faux-chateau to Mister and Missus Braxton in September 2011 for $3.4 million.*

Such are the crazy real estate ways of the rich and/or famous, right?

Mister and Missus Gebbia may not be household names but their actress daughter-in-law Carlton Gebbia may soon be as she's much rumored and reported to be joining the next season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Anyhoo...

Although we don't have much in the way of specifics, a little birdie told Your Mama that the Braxton clan has moved into a freshly customized mega-mansion in Calabasas (CA) complete with a barber shop, beauty salon, and recording studio.

*There is some evidence that Mister and Missus Braxton paid $6.9 million for the house but there is also plenty of evidence in various property record data bases that they paid just $3.4 million. We really have no idea why the wild discrepancy or how much that actually paid.

listing photos: Re/Max Olson & Associates

Michael Jackson's (In)Famous Dermatologist Arnie Klein Lists L.A. Mansion

SELLER: Arnie Klein
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $4,250,000
SIZE: 11,341 square feet, 8 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Poor, poor Dr. Arnie Klein. Once upon a time he was the Beverly Hills-based dermatologist, the so-called "Father of Botox"whose image obsessed clientele included nipped, tucked and injected Showbiz luminaries like Elizabeth Taylor, Carrie Fisher, and Michael Jackson. Alas, in the chaotic and highly publicized wake of Michael Jackson's sordid 2009 death, Dr. Klein's lavish lifestyle quickly evaporated in a haze of salacious accusations, a flurry of scandalous lawsuits, and a debilitating bankruptcy.

In late 2011 Dr. Klein—who reportedly supplied Michael Jackson with all sorts of prescription drugs and occasionally hints that he might be the father of at least one of The Gloved One's three children—listed his ocean front residence in Laguna Beach for $12,000,000. The cliff hanging house was finally sold in February (2013) for $7.1 million and yesterday his stately Tudor style mansion in L.A.'s affluent Hancock Park/Windsor Square area popped up on the open market as a bankruptcy sale with a listing price of $4,250,000.

Property records are not entirely clear but it appears to Your Mama's boozy-woozy eyeballs that Mister Klein picked up his Hancock Park spread in March 1985 for just $255,000 and over the years secured several mortgages and personal loans against the value of the historic mini-estate.

Current listing information shows the three story, 11,341 square foot Tudor style pile was built in 1914 on a very busy .66 acre corner lot and has eight bedrooms, five bathrooms and at least three fireplaces. Additional living space for guests or staff sits atop the detached five car garage that sits at the tail end of a long gated drive.

Listing photographs show the house has seen better days and, indeed, listing details describe the house as a "rare yet tarnished treasure with remarkable potential" and "a treasure waiting to be set free." Inside, as per online marketing materials, there's a grand, paneled foyer with an all wood double staircase, elegant formal living and dining rooms, a library, a garden room, and—somewhat curiously—a dance studio. Outside the slightly unkempt grounds include a swirling array of knee height box woods, a slightly unkempt rose garden, fountains, and swimming pool and spa that looks to have been long ago drained.

As evidenced by the thick layer of dust and debris that coats the main staircase, the financially beleaguered Mister Klein moved from his Hancock Park mansion some time ago. In early 2011 he agreed to pay $60,000 per month to lease a seven bedroom and 10 bathroom mansion in the Beverly Park community in Beverly Hills but was subsequently evicted.

Your Mama has no current intel about where the doctor holes up nowadays but perhaps the disgraced dermatologist decamped to Palm Springs where property records show he still owns a mid-century modern house in the upscale Vista Las Palmas area that he acquired in mid-2008 for $1,462,500. As far as Your Mama's brief and unscientific research, Dr. Klein's Palm Springs property is not currently on the open market and there does not appear to be any foreclosure activity on the property.

*Just for shits and giggles, Dr. Klein's former rental, an 11,000 square foot Frenchified villa, is back up for lease at $45,000 per month.

listing photos: Coldwell Banker

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Michael Ovitz to Sell Broad Beach Lots

SELLER: Michael and Judy Ovitz
PRICE: $29,500,000
SIZE: 1.08 acres

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: It seems that veteran Hollywood power player Michael Ovitz has decided not to build the 10,000+ square foot compound on Malibu's star-lined (and ever-eroding) Broad Beach that he had custom-designed by architect Steve Giannetti* because he and his missus, Judy, hoisted the three contiguous oceanfront parcels where their custom compound was to be erected on the market with a blistering $29,500,000 price tag.

Property records suggest Mister Ovitz—a man who was (in)famously given $131 million in stock when he was hired on as president of the Walt Disney Company in late 1995 and another $38 million as a cash severance when he was unceremoniously axed by Disney's former and famously autocratic CEO Michael Eisner 14 short months later—acquired the first of his three Broad Beach parcels in April 1982 for an unknown amount of money. An adjacent property was scooped up in October 1998 for an unknown amount and the third property was picked up in December 2002, also for an unknown sum.

All together the three lots encompass just over an acre—47,082 square feet, according to listing details—with 120 feet of beach/ocean frontage. Access to the beach—or at least what's left of it—requires an undignified scramble over the unsightly 4,000+ foot long rock revetment that was put in place a couple years ago at the approximately $20 million expense of Broad Beach home owners who were (and remain) desperate to keep the relentlessly approaching Pacific Ocean from washing up into the professionally decorated living rooms of their multi-million dollar beach houses.

Mister and Missus Ovitz razed the three houses that once stood on the properties to make way for a tycoon-style compound that, as per marketing materials, was designed with 8 bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms, including a "romantic" master suite complete with sitting area, fireplace, private balcony and sauna. Other planned creature comforts include a swimming pool and spa, a paddle tennis court, an office, and, of course, a screening room. Extensive planned patios, decks and balconies extend the the living areas to the salt and seat misty outdoors.

Mister and Missus Ovitz are well known as voracious collectors of blue chip contemporary artwork and recently completed construction on their in-town compound, an impressive and aggressively austere 28,000-ish square foot residence-slash-private museum on a multi-acre private promontory above Benedict Canyon in Beverly Hills (CA) designed by cutting edge architect Michael Maltzan.

NOTE (Later same day): Turns our Mister and Missus Ovitz are divorced or, at least, long ago split up. Not sure how we missed that important detail. Must have been last night's third gin & tonic. Mister Ovitz, so the papers say, current squires fancy shoe mogul Tamara Mellon..

*Mister Giannetti has certainly worked his architectural magic a variety of vernaculars but even the most brief perusal of his digital marketing portal reveals he specializes in substantial and casually luxurious East Coast-y clapboard- or shingle-sided residences in some L.A.'s more affluent West Side zip codes. He designed a Hamptons-style micro-compound a few doors down from Mister Ovitz's Broad Beach lots that's currently owned by Friends co-creator Marta Kaufmann and her composer husband Michael Skloff. He's also the man responsible for the nearly 13,000 square foot mansion late philanthropist Nancy Daly had built in 2002 on Malibu's brutishly expensive Carbon Beach and that was purchased in October 2010 for not quite $37 million by a corporate entity controlled—Your Mama has been told by several sources who tend to know these sorts of things—by junk bond bigwig Michael Milken.

Listing photos: Pritchett Rapt & Associates

Monday, June 17, 2013

In Case You Missed It: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson

SELLER: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson
LOCATION: Pacific Palisades, CA
PRICE: $5,225,000
SIZE: 6,289 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Late last week it was revealed by the folks at Zillow that two-time Oscar winning actor Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson put one of their many homes in the prosperous Los Angeles community of Pacific Palisades, CA on the market with an asking price of $5,225,000.

This isn't, so it would seem, Mister Hanks and Miz Wilson's first time to ride the real estate merry-go-round with this particular Spanish style casa. Your Mama uncovered online evidence the house was actually on the market with little or no fanfare last year (2012) with a higher $5,450,000 asking price.

Interestingly, since all the hoopla and hoo-ha about the listing hit the internets over the weekend most but not all online listings for the celeb-owned Spanish have all but disappeared from the interweb. However, thanks to some creative digging and an assist from Our Fairy Godmother in Bel Air Your Mama has managed to locate current and active listing details that show the so-called "legendary villa" was originally built in 1929 on a tight .3 acre lot and has four bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms in 6,289 square feet.

Property records show Mister Hanks acquired the walled, gated, and high-hedged property in Pac Pal's quietly ritzy Riviera 'hood for $1.9 million way back in April 1988, right about the time and Miz Wilson were united in legal matrimony and not long before his first Oscar nominations for Big.

A grand and monochromatic beige double-height foyer, lit by a glimmery crystal chandelier, is ringed by a second floor gallery. Strongly pedimented pocket doors lead to a robustly scaled formal living room with nearly white hardwood floors, a white-washed (or maybe it's limed) wood ceiling, a wood-burning fireplace, and a series French doors with semi-circular transoms, some of which open to a loggia that overlooks simply landscaped gardens. Pedimented pocket doors also mark the entrance from the foyer to the formal dining room that has a built-in bookcase/china display cabinet and a coffered wood ceiling. Somewhere in the house, presumably in close proximity to the formal living and dining rooms, there's also a library described in current listing details as "intimate" and "ideal for meditations or reading."

Numerous windows and several large sky lights placed between heavy duty wood beams on the ceiling flood the oppressively all-beige kitchen with natural light. The floors appear to be some sort of stone, possibly Travertine or limestone, and the top quality appliances include a mac-daddy six burner range and side-by-side fridge freezers. A shipping container-sized center island with veggie sink separates the kitchen proper from a roomy informal eating space and sitting area with direct access to the outside.

A "pretty, sun-filled" guest suite with newly remodeled bathroom is, as per listing details, well separated from the upper floor family quarters that include four bedrooms plus a "romantic" master suite complete with "stylish" bath and direct access to a meandering covered terrace with over the tree tops ocean view.

Curiously, the property does not have a swimming pool but it does have a number of other notable features and amenities that include: lots of archway, columns, and hand-frescoed ceilings; a basement level space converted to what listing details describe as "an incredible closet and storage space;" a private beauty salon—they are regular red carpet walkers, after all; and a window-ringed second floor sun room with fireplace. A guest suite with recently updated bathroom is situated well away from the four upstairs family/guest bedrooms and the master suite includes a fireplace and a "stylish bathroom that opens to a meandering ocean-view terrace.

The Tinseltown A-list royals maintain a healthy if not outright hefty portfolio of luxury residences. Way back in 1991 they paid $2.95 million for a modestly sized ocean front home in the coveted guard-gated Colony enclave in Malibu and in 2010 they paid 8-time Oscar nominated movie producer Kathleen Kennedy and five-time Oscar nominated movie producer Frank Marshall just over $26 million for a muscular 14,500+ square foot Gwathmey-Siegel-designed residence on a private promontory in Pacific Palisades. At the same time they bought the Kennedy-Marshall mansion they also forked over another $1,450,000 for an adjacent property with a much smaller 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom house, presumably for staff, family or guests.

According to our brief and unscientific research The Hanks-Wilsons also keep a substantial multi-million dollar residence near Sun Valley, ID as well as a down on her heels ranch style residence on a double lot in the Riviera area of Pacific Palisades plus a pair of much more modestly sized side-by-side residences a few short blocks the heart of downtown Pacific Palisades.

listing photos: Coldwell Banker

In Case You Missed It: Robbie Williams

SELLER: Robbie Williams
LOCATION: Compton Bassett, Wiltshire, U.K.
PRICE: £5,500,000
SIZE: 1,850 square meters, 9+ bedrooms, 13.5+ bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: First came word in late May that increasingly out of the limelight British pop star Robbie Williams sold—and took an approximately half million dollar loss—on a multi-residence compound on L.A.'s famed Mulholland Drive that's complete with full-sized lighted soccer pitch. Now comes word down the international celebrity real estate gossip grapevine via the always helpful Florinda Flapjaw that the nearly forty year old former boy bander has recently re-listed Compton Bassett House, a substantial, landed gentry-type 18th century mega-mansion on 71.55 acres in Wiltshire, about 85 miles west of Central London and 25 miles north of Stonehenge.

So the stories go, Mister Williams was interested in the mystical Ley Lines that (allegedly) criss cross the hills and dales of Wiltshire and purchased the property in 2009 for £8.1 million. A few clicks and clacks on Your Mama's currency conversion contraption shows that amount equalled about $13.4 million in June 2009 and comes to exactly $12,714,600 at today's rates. He quickly caught a classic case of The Celebrity Real Estate Fickle and flipped the country spread back on the market in 2010 with a £7.5 million price tag. Alas, the property did not sell and was eventually taken off the market. It's returned in the last week or tow with a new and prodigiously lower listing price of £5.5 million ($8,633,35) that represents a pearl clutching £2.6 million ($4,081,220) loss for Mister Williams on the updated and upgraded estate, not counting carrying costs, upkeep and improvements.

A long, tree-shaded driveway snakes through the estate's verdant grounds to the front of the ivy-encrusted residence that looks to Your Mama like it might have once been a very fancy stables or carriage house. The driveway continues around to the rear of the residence where there's a small parking area and access to a pair of side-by-side two-car tandem garages.

The long and squat three floor mansion has a less than elegant floor plan—check the exhausting distance from the inset reception hall/foyer to the main drawing room—and measures in at a whopping 1,850.65 square meters. That's 19,913 square feet for all us Americans. Although current listing details indicate there are seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms Your Mama counts seven bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms on the floor plan included with digital marketing materials plus two attached but separate staff suites—each with bedroom, bathroom and living room/kitchen combination space—as well as a couple of changing room bathrooms in the lower level leisure complex.

In addition to a grandly proportioned 43-plus foot long main drawing room with (off-center) fireplace, high ceiling, and huge windows on three sides, the ground floor public and family spaces include a fairly small formal dining room, a spacious eat-in kitchen, and a cozy children's play room. In addition to the guest/family bedroom suites, the upper level also has an awkwardly shaped library and a super-sized upper landing that connects through to a nearly 38-foot long office suite with a (properly centered) fireplace flanked by built-in cabinetry and a bidet-equipped attached bathroom.

The lower floor leisure complex includes a long but quite narrow fitness room, a 73-plus foot long indoor swimming pool and spa encircled by a series of stout pillars, a steam room and separate dry sauna, and the aforementioned his and hers changing rooms. There's also a wine cellar, laundry room, the garages, and one of the two staff suites. (The second staff suite is on the ground floor behind the master bedroom with exterior access.)

There are two small(ish) guest/family bedrooms with private attached bathrooms on the ground floor opposite the kitchen/breakfast room and four more bedroom suites on the second floor, each with a private sitting room and walk-in closet. The master suite, probably larger than most middle class homes, occupies its own wing of the ground floor and is comprised of a private study with built-in desk, a sizable sitting room, and and even larger bedroom, dual master bathrooms, and a fitted dressing room with a secret stairway that climbs up to the second floor bedroom corridor.

The park-like estate also has detached one bedroom and one bathroom cottage with 732 square feet as well as a 2,346 square foot structure that contains a helicopter hangar and adjoining workshop conveniently outfitted with wee kitchenette and half bathroom. There are acres of mowed grass, a walled formal garden with pavilion, a hedged water feature/fountain, a grass tennis court that does double duty as a soccer pitch, paddocks for the livestock, and unspoiled woodlands.

We're not sure of Mister Williams entire residential real estate holdings but we do know that he still owns the nearly 11,000 square foot residence in the Mulholland Estates community in Los Angeles (CA) that he picked up in July 2002 for $5,450,000 from country music king Clint Black and his actress/singer wife Lisa Hartman Black. A few of Mister William's Showbizzy neighbors include Saul Hudson (aka Slash), Paris Hilton, Christina Aguilera, Charlie Sheen, and Vanna White.

listing photos and floor plan: Knight Frank

Friday, June 14, 2013

It's Official: Jodie Foster Lists Sunset Strip Digs

SELLER: Jodie Foster
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $6,399,000
SIZE: 6,060 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 4 full and 2 half bathrooms bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Back in early December (2012) Your Mama let the cat out of the celebrity real estate bag about how smart, successful and semi-reclusive Tinseltown royal Jodie Foster very quietly shelled out $11,750,000 for a house set on a high ridge above the Coldwater and Franklin canyons in Beverly Hills, CA.

A few months later, in mid-April (2013), we passed along a bit of Sunset Strip real estate scuttlebutt about how Miz Foster was fixin' to hoist her long-time residence in the Bird Streets 'hood above L.A.'s Sunset Strip on to the open market with what Your Mama was then told would be a price tag of around five million clams. Well, it's official, Chicken Littles. As anticipated by property gossips of all stripes and types, the two time Oscar winner has officially put her 1930s Spanish villa on the open market. However, hunties, the price isn't five (or so) million clams but a substantially higher $6,399,000.

Your Mama doesn't know how much Miz Foster actually paid for the house but it appears she picked it in the mid 1990s. Various online resources suggest supermodel Cheryl Tiegs previously owned the house with former husband Tony Peck—Gregory's son—but it's not entirely clear if it was Tiegs and Peck who sold the property to Foster. The tax man's records show the house has four bedrooms and seven bathrooms in 5,357 square feet while current listing details show the 6,060 square feet residence spans three floors with four bedrooms and three full and two half bathrooms in the main house plus a separate guest/staff suite perched atop the garage that's self-sufficiently equipped with a separate, secured entrance; an alcove bedroom; a full bathroom and walk-in closet; a compact kitchenette; and a roof terrace with an over the tree tops city view.

Given her fierce and fastidious commitment to personal privacy—Miz Foster is not one of those famous people who call the tabs every time she goes to the supermarket—it should really come as little or no surprise to anyone that all that can bee seen from the narrow street at the front of the Foster house is a thick and towering wall of visually impenetrable hedges and a locked (and probably camera monitored) gate hidden by a riotous tumble of stickery bougainvillea. There is not, let it be said, a single shred of off-street parking at the front of the house. There is, however, an equally discreet gated driveway around the rear of the residence that accesses an attached two car garage. Anyhoo...
Behind the high hedge and weather worn wood gate a lushly planted, multi-level red brick terrace climbs up to the an inviting front porch. The airy entry has what we can only describe as baby-poo colored tiles under foot and a doghouse skylight over head that ensure the center of the house is swimming in natural light at all times of the day. There's also a half bathroom off the entry and a swoopy-swirly wrought iron banister that curls decadently down to the lower level.

The step-down living room to the left of the front hall has rustic wood floors, a carved stone (or poured concrete) fireplace, and a vaulted wood ceiling traversed by pleasingly muscular exposed wood trusses. A rhythmic row of French doors swing open to four Juliet balconies that overlook the entrance courtyard and two more sets of French doors at the end of the room access a slender semi-circular balcony. There appear to be even more French doors to the right of the fireplace that link to a secluded terrace on the side of the house.

The dining room, a couple steps up from the foyer, has a second fireplace, a built-in buffet with book shelves, and three more sets of French doors that open to a tree-shaded dining terrace. To the right side of the dining room fireplace there's a partially paneled study/office area with more wood floors and a third fireplace* and, to the left, an over-sized butler's pantry passes on through to an all beige, brown and white faux-farmhouse style kitchen.

The Shaker style cabinets in the kitchen have bead board accents, the counter tops and, we think, the floors are stone, there's a two-stool snack bar at the center island, and the appliances of a quality that one expects to find in the multi-million dollar celebrity-owned home. Naturally, Your Mama—an avid and life long pot rack detester—advocates the next owner remove the industrial-grade pot rack that looms menacingly over the island.**

The circular stairway in the foyer winds elegantly down to the lower level. The floor plan included with online marketing materials indicates the lower level contains: a tiny, tucked away bedroom/office with adjoining bathroom; a separate powder room; and an unexpectedly cavernous screening/family room with a massive carved stone (or poured concrete) fireplace flanked by built-in bookcases and theatrical, curved wall of floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall windows. The walls in the screening/family room appear to be sheathed in suede (or some other similarly textured sound absorbing material) that's almost the identical rose-tinted taupe color as the plush wall-to-wall carpeting.

Back upstairs a corridor off the dining room leads to the bedrooms. Two guest/family bedrooms share a spacious Jack 'n' Jill style bathroom and both have direct access to a shared terrace that offers what listing details alliteratively describe as "verdant views." At the extreme rear of the residence the master suite features: a bedroom with fireplace and an adjoining, slightly elevated sitting room; a custom fitted walk-in closet/dressing room; a sauna; and a very brown and beige bathroom fitted and kitted in a—well, let's just say what everyone is thinking—in a fairly masculine manner that would be right at home in a swanky private gentleman's club.

The back of the Y-shaped residence horseshoes around a high-hedged red brick courtyard with tree-shaded dining terrace, a lap lane swimming pool. and a bit of room for sunbathing chaises and yoga mats. As mentioned earlier, the gated driveway at the back of the house provides access to an attached two car garage. There's direct entry from the garage, which is nice, of course, but unfortunately the garage opens awkwardly into the master suite. That's probably fine for when Miz Foster comes homes from the Academy Awards or whatever but Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter would hate to have to schlep guests from the garage through our inner most sanctum.

Not too long ago, the children may recall, Miz Foster sold another house in Beverly Hills that she scooped up in July 2005 for $8.1 and sold in September 2011 to Dallas-based budget eyewear tycoon Doug Barnes.

*Although listing photos show a fireplace in the study/office it is not indicated on the floor plan. We're not sure—and it's not really that important—but maybe its one of those portable, plug-in type fireplaces we've seen hawked via infomercials and the home shopping channels.

**If we've said it once we've said it 49,000 too many times: rule No. 7 of Your Mama's Big Book of Decoratin' Do's and Don'ts vociferously declares—and we paraphrase—that pot racks are entirely undesirable kitchen accoutrement due to their gleeful dust collection, propensity to snag and grab teased up weaves, and their occasional malicious intent to drop a copper pot on an unsuspecting pooch's tender cranium. 

listing photos and floor plan: Hilton & Hyland