Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Heiress/Producer Megan Ellison Spends Big in the Hollywood Hills

BUYER: Megan Ellison
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $30,000,000
SIZE: 8+ acres (over three parcels), 9,204 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: We first caught wind of it from Yolanda Yakketyyak the other day and then we heard it from Peter Property seller and now we've confirmed it with property records that software heiress/ Oscar-nominated movie producer Megan Ellison (American Hustle, Her, Zero Dark Thirty, Spring Breakers, True Grit) shelled out $30,000,000 for a rather (in)famous estate on a private promontory in the Mount Olympus 'hood high above Hollywood and the eastern end of the famed Sunset Strip.

Property records show young Miss Ellison—she's just 27 and an up and coming real estate baller like her hardcore property baller daddy Larry Ellison—shelled out $20,000,000 for a curvaceous and—ahem—architecturally adventurous mansion on 3.01 gated acres. Property records also show Tinseltown wunderkind concurrently acquired two undeveloped parcels of land directly below the house that total, according to listing details, 5.17 acres.

There are some who say the glass and concrete mansion—the kids at Curbed once described it as "supervillain worthy"—was built for game show host Alex Trebek and others who say the property was owned in the 1980s by deceased Entertainment Industry titan Merv Griffin but, according to online resources, the house wasn't even built until 1990, so.... We do know from a thorough study of the available property records is that the space ship-like residence was sold several times in the 1990s before it was purchased in March 2002 for $4.4 million by a Nevada-based concern that Your Mama's research and several of our better informed informants—cross their hearts and hope to die—say is controlled by internet news pioneer turned venture capitalist Eddy Aslanian.

We don't know if Mister Aslanian actually occupied the premises on a full or part time basis but he is well known among a certain segment of party-going Angelenos for hosting large and—allegedly—sometimes sordid soirees behind the gates of the Mount Olympus estate. However, puppies, this property can't speak on or confirm any of the more salacious scuttlebutt because we don't know a damn thing, okay?

Over the years the property was leased out and featured in numerous movies—it was Lou Ferrigno's house in I Love You, Man, scads of fashion photo shoots, and any number of television commercials including a 2013 holiday themed advert for Infiniti automobiles. We've been told that several if not many porno flicks have been filmed on the property although, once again, Your Mama can't speak to the veracity of those rumors because we don't know nuthin' about them.

Anyways, the mansion popped up for sale on the open market in June 2012 with a $22,000,000 price tag. Four months later the price dropped to $19,800,000 where it stayed until Miss Ellison came along and (somewhat curiously) snatched it up for two hundred thousand clams more than the asking price.

Listing details and other digital marketing materials Your Mama scared up show the three-story house, a wedding cake-like tangle of swooping curves designed by a relatively unknown architect named Richard Schwarz, spans 9,204 square feet* with six bedrooms and eight bathrooms plus two guest apartments.

Other features of the gated estate include off-street parking for upwards of 25 cars, an oval-shaped sunken "formal" living room the size of a hotel lobby, a separate but adjoining dining room with a long curved wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, and a well-equipped kitchen with a very distinct early 1990s vibe. There are also, we gleaned from listings, an office, a game room, and a media room.

In addition to the numerous (heated) balconies and terraces with unobstructed views that really and truly sweep over the whole of the Los Angeles basin from downtown to—on a clear day—the Pacific Ocean, additional backyard recreation amenities include a grotto style swimming pool and spa tucked up under the cantilevered balconies of the upper floors. There's at least one outdoor fireplace/fire pit as well as an un-fenced sand volleyball court. Your Mama wonders how many dozens of volleyballs have been lost when an errant bump, spike or serve launched the ball over the short hedge and down the steep hillside.

Your Mama assumes—and genuinely hopes—Miss Ellison will bring in an army of (hazmat suit donning disinfectors,) innovative architects, savvy designers, ingenious landscaping gurus, and nice-gay decorators to do over every inch of the house and property. Although good ol' Yolanda thinks it's pie in the sky, we'd like to think that with five million bucks the property could be an honest-to-goodness show stopper. Since she's yet to ring Your Mama's battered Princess phone and clue us in we haven't an iota what Miss Ellison plans to do with for the 5+ acres she bought just below the house but, according to marketing materials, there's room for four houses with plans and permits already in place for three.

Some of the children will surely gripe and complain to no end that this lady is plum cray-cray for spending so much moolah for the house and the vacant parcels below it. But remember, kittens and caboodles, not only is Miss Ellison an heiress to one of the world's largest fortunes—Big Daddy Ellison has a net worth estimated to be in the neighborhood of $43 billion—earlier this year she managed to pocket, much to the real estate flabbergast of many and the wild-eyed chagrin of others, more than $14 million on the sale of her three very contemporary side-by-side houses on Nightingale Drive above the Sunset Strip. Those of the children who have not pickled their brains with liquor-spiked egg nog may recall that one of the largest of the three was sold for $21 million to billionaire tech tycoon and dedicated philanthropist Ted Waitt and the other two, according to our network of knowledgeable snitches, were snatched up by an English 30-something year old media mogul named Ashley Tabor, the son of billionaire bookmaker and real estate investor Michael Tabor. (All three houses, we've been told, will be substantially remodeled or razed to make way for brand new mansions.)

Miss Ellison has been on a bit of a real estate tear this year. In addition to the three houses she sold above the Sunset Strip she also owns another if far more modest house high in the Bird Streets 'hood in L.A. that she also had up for sale but, we've been told by many people in a position to know these things, is in litigation due to some shenanigans that we'll not get into here.

This last summer (June, 2013) Miss Ellison coughed up $2.5 million for a spectacularly unique one-bedroom apartment in the fabulous and famous Police Building on lower Manhattan's SoHo/Chintown border and, for reasons that we're not clear about, she recently backed out of the purchase of Anjelica Huston's live-work compound in Venice, CA.

*The official listing for the property shows 9,204 square feet but at least one digital listing Your Mama turned up shows it measures "Over 10,000 sq. ft." Make of the discrepancy what will.

listing photos: John Aaroe Group

Monday, December 30, 2013

UPDATE: David Murdock

As Your Mama first reported on the 11th of December of picked up by the kids at Curbed this week, multi-billionaire businessman David Murdock listed his 12,000-plus square foot brick-built Bel Air mansion with a $30,000,000 price tag.

Today we hear from the ever so plugged in real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak that the nonagenarian billionaire and his significantly younger fifth wife, interior designer Tracy Murdock, have acquired another, nearly 11,000 square foot brick built mansion, this time in the swanky, guard-gated Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, CA.*

The property in question has a rather illustrious history: It was custom built in the early 2000s by ice hockey honcho Wayne Gretzky who sold it in August 2007 for $18.5 million to professional baseballer turned financially embattled entrepreneur Lenny Dysktra. After a long battle with a variety of creditors, Mister Dykstra lost the estate to the gaping maw of foreclosure in late 2010. In early 2011 the property was purchased by billionaire hedge fund fat cat Thomas Barrack Jr.** Mister Barrack flipped the property back on the open market two weeks later. We're not sure what the original asking price was but we do know that in July 2012 it was listed for $18,750,000 and in November of 2012 it was re-listed with a new and improved but in hindsight still way too high $14,995,000.

After almost grueling three years on and off the market, the estate sold in early November for—drum roll please—a steeply discounted $9.5 million to a corporate entity easily linked to our Mister David Murdock. The official owner, according to the property records Your Mama peeped and perused, is the very same Murdock-owned company that developed the Sherwood Country Club in which the property sits.

Listing details Your Mama conjured up out of the digital ether show the gated estate encompasses 6.5 (or so) acres, shares a private promontory with two other similarly sized estates, and has long views of Lake Sherwood and the surrounding mountains. The Richard Landry-designed main mansion was built, according to Your Mama's research, in 2002 and has six bedroom and eight bathrooms with additional living space above a semi-detached two-car garage, perhaps best suited as a home office, fitness facility or staff quarters. There are also two self-contained guest houses that flank the rear of the residence.

Other estate-style features include a circular drive with porte-cochère entrance, a double height entry with curved staircase, grandly scaled and liberally ornamented public entertainment rooms, an all white kitchen with marble counter tops, an adjoining family room, a state-of-the-art screening room with tiered lounge seating for eight or more, and generous family quarters that include a sizable master suite complete with private sitting room and dual bathrooms. A second floor veranda on the rear of the house looks larger than Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter's entire if admittedly fairly modest residence and has sweeping views over the golf course-centric community.

The mansion and its outbuildings are ringed by flat, well-watered lawns, spacious terraces, formal gardens, a fountain or two, a lighted tennis court with fireplace-equipped open air viewing pavilion, a swimming pool with tanning shelf/kiddie pool and inset spa, and an outdoor cooking facility outfitted with a pizza oven and wood and gas barbecues.

*Reports in some of the more respectable property gossip columns have stated that 90-something year old Mister Murdock decided to sell his Bel Air spread so he could spend more time up at his (approx.) 2,000 acre ranch in Ventura County so Your Mama really hasn't a clue whether Mister and fifth Missus Murdock plan to inhabit the Sherwood County Club estate on a full-time, part-time or no-time basis.

**Property records and other online resources show it was purchased at auction for $760,712 but that seems like a ludicrously low number. We imagine, as is often the case with foreclosure purchases,, Mister Barrack assumed whatever outstanding taxes were owed as well as any additional loans that may have been secured by the property, thus making his investment potentially significantly higher than the recorded sale price. We were told Mister Barrack purchased the property as an investment and we're not sure if he and/or his family ever lived on site. Listing details from the time of its most recent sale to Mister Murdock state the house had been recently remodeled, presumably by Mister Barrack and his team of architect, designers and decorators.

listing photos: Coldwell Banker Beverly Hills South

Keira Knightley Snags New Digs in London

BUYER: Keira Knightley and
PRICE: £3,930,000 (list price)
SIZE: 2,775, square feet, 5 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: The celebrity real estate word out of the U.K. is that Oscar-nominated period piece actress Keira Knightley and her new husband, James Righton of the indie rock Nu-Rave band Klaxon, acquired a family friendly house on a pretty, tree-lined street in the Canonbury conservation area in the the central London borough of Islington that was last listed for £3,930,000.*

The children will recall Miz Knightley and Mister Righton listed their boho-chic love nest in the arty farty and still somewhat gritty Spitalfields area of East London in mid-September (2013) for £3,000,000. It appears to Your Mama that the house was sold but—iffin we're being honest—we're not sure of the details. Anyhoo...

Listing details for the Knightley-Rightons new digs in Islington show there are five levels on four proper floors with five (or more) bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, and seven working fireplaces in a fairly compact although hardly tiny 2,775 square feet.

Although we think it's highly unlikely the newly wedded couple will take on a renter, the ever so slightly subterranean lower ground level has a separate exterior entrance as well as a walk-through wine cellar, a roomy laundry room, a flexi-use living room/lounge/media room with fireplace, and a potential bedroom—also with functional fireplace—that the sellers, according to digital marketing materials, did up as a home fitness room.

A zig-zagged central foyer and stair hall with well-placed and luxuriously windowed guest privy connects the various rooms of the raised ground floor including a street-facing living room with wide-plank wood floors, a marble-manteled fireplace, and two almost floor-to-ceiling windows equipped with internal shutters for privacy and light modulation.

The adjoining compact formal dining room has more wide plank wood floors, another marble-manteled fireplace, a rear garden view window also with internal shutters, and, at the time of its sale, the most godawful flesh-toned wall color that Your Mama sincerely hopes Miz Knightley and/or her team of lady and/or nice-gay decorators has the good sense to change out for something less corporeal.

The eat-in kitchen, located in an added-on section of the house above the single car attached garage, is reasonably large, well-equipped, and flooded with sun light due to the large sky light and wood-framed glass doors that open to the rear garden but it's also rather inconveniently located a half-flight of stairs and half a dozen steps or more from the dining room.

The first floor—we Americans call it the second floor—includes a small bedroom with built-in wardrobes and bookshelves and a larger bedroom—presumably the master—with an adjoining dressing room and direct access to a long and narrow hall bathroom with ordinary (but probably expensive) beige tile work accented with a lonely (and ill-advised) cobalt blue stripe. Two more bedrooms on the uppermost floor—one much larger than the other, both with fireplace—share a hall bathroom.

The deep, west facing rear garden is wonderfully un-fussy with a large, flat lawn that meanders through mature shrubbery and trees.

*A few quick clicks and clacks on Your Mama's bejeweled abacus shows that £3,930,000 converts to a whopping $6,474,090 at today's rates.

listing photos and floor plan: Savills

Friday, December 27, 2013

End of Week Mish Mash

After nearly four long years on the market Grammy winning singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow re-listed her Tennessee Farm for $3.85 million, $3.65 million less than the original $7.5 million price tag.


Leo DiCaprio had to come way down off his original $23 million asking price to sell his Malibu Colony adjacent compound. If finally sold this week for $17.35 million to an as yet unidentified buyer.


Sir Paul McCartney and his third wife, Nancy Shevell, reportedly had a peep around a $12.9 million condo on New York City's Fifth Avenue.


The (rather fab) full-floor contemporary art-filled Park Avenue apartment of late architect Armand Phillip Bartos and (also deceased) paper and finance heiress/philanthropist Celeste Gottesman Bartos sold for $18 million. It was originally listed in March 2013 for $22.5 million. The buyers, according to property records, are Joseph and Hilary Feshbach. He appears to be in finance and she's a scion to a real estate rich family who, among other Manhattan properties, owns the venerable and soon-to-be-closed Roseland Ballroom.


The folks at Zillow named Jimmy Fallon as the most desirable (imaginary) celebrity neighbor for 2014. Not surprisingly—at least it came as no surprise to this cynical property gossip—Kim Kardashian and Kanye West topped their list for least desirable neighbors for 2014. (Kimmy and Kanye also show up as number seven on most desirable celebrity neighbor list so...)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Howie Mandel Sells to Billionaire Producer Ryan Kavanaugh

BUYER: Ryan Kavanaugh
SELLER: Howie Mandel
PRICE: $7,000,000
SIZE: 5,865 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: In October 2009 venture capitalist turned prolific and highly successful movie producer Ryan Kavanaugh (Don Jon, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Little Fockers, Salt) paid class action attorney Thomas W. Girardi* $7,000,000 for an four bedroom and two bathroom ocean front house on Malibu's La Costa Beach. The newly minted billionaire (and his ballet dancer wife, Britta Lazenga) pushed the 2,880 square foot beach house back on the open market not quite two years later with a much increased $10,500,000 price tag. By the time the house was taken off the (open) market in May 2012 the price had dropped to $8,500,000.

About a month and a half ago, at least according to Your Mama's research on the internets, Mister and Missus Kavanaugh's beach house (above) popped up as a rental at a rate of $40,000 per month in the off season and $70,000 per month for summer months. (Listing details Your Mama turned up from 2011 state the "beach front haven" had been "recently renovated and updated" and current listing details show it was "renovated in 2013 with remarkable detail.") Mister and Missus Kavanaugh's beach house is also available for sale with an unnecessarily complicated asking price of $12,130,130.

According to the always reliable real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak the Kavanaugh couple's decision to put their La Costa crib up for lease may (or may not) have something to do with his November (2013) acquisition of a mysophobic comedian/game show host Howie Mandel's land-locked mini-compound in the much-coveted and celeb-studded Point Dume area of Malibu.

Mister Mandel first hoisted the 1.04 acre property with its Doug Burdge-designed residence on the open market in late 2011 with an asking price of $7,250,000. The property was taken off the market in the second week of 2013 only to pop back up two days later with a curiously increased price tag of $7,750,000. Property records and other digital resources show Mister Kavanaugh—through the same opaquely named trust that owns his La Costa Beach house—shelled out exactly $7,000,000 for the gated property that listing details rather generously describes as "One of the finest homes ever conceived in this exclusive seaside community."Certainly the house is luxurious and well-equipped and finished with high-quality materials to exacting standards but one of the finest homes in Malibu? Well, we'll let the children duke that hyperbole out in the comments.

The 5,865 square foot main house—a Cape Cod/Nantucket-y sort of thing—has five bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, formal living and dining rooms, an open concept kitchen/family room, an office and a petite screening room. Additional living quarters are contained in a separate one bedroom and 1.5 bathroom guest/pool house. Lower level rooms open out to large, ocean view terraces, a stacked stone outdoor fireplace and a built-in barbecue. Beyond the heated swimming pool and slightly raised spa (with adjacent built-in fire pit) there's a lawn large enough to a children's soccer match or a more adult-oriented round of strip croquet.

Mister Mandel, according to Your Mama's brief perusal of property record, still owns a nearly 13,000 square foot mansion in the affluent guard-gated equestrian-oriented suburban enclave of Hidden Hills in the far western reaches of L.A.'s San Fernando Valley.

As for Mister Kavanaugh, well, we're not sure what—if any—other properties he holds in his personal portfolio but we do know—thanks again to good ol' Yolanda and again confirmed with property records—that in December 2011 he paid actor Dennis Quaid and his estranged wife Kimberly Buffington Quaid $9.5 million for a 1.96-acre, horse-friendly compound in the Mandeville Canyon area of Pacific Palisades that he was lucky enough to flip in September 2012 for $11.2 to former beauty queen turned actress/fit model turned designer denim queen Paige Adams-Geller and her apparel industry veteran husband, Michael Geller.

*Mister Girardi, in case his name does not ring a bell, is the fella who litigated the trial that inspired the Oscar-winning Erin Brockovich movie.

listing photos (Malibu): Pritchett-Rapf & Associates
listing photos (Pacific Palisades): Sotheby's International Realty 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

In Even More Pre-Christmas Celebrity Real Estate Related News...

As first reported by the property gossips at Zillow, Oscar-winning actor Keith Carradine and wife Sandra, have put their four-parcel property near downtown Telluride, CO, up for sale as an off-market listing with an $8 million asking price. The property previously belonged to legendary concert promoter Bill Graham.

Listing details show the 6,000-ish square foot house—of limited architectural interest as far as this property gossip is concerned—has four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, a heated two-car garage, and 180-degree views of Bear Creek and the Telluride Ski Resort.

listing photos: The Agency

In More Pre-Christmas Celebrity Real Estate Related News...

The celebrity gossip hounds at Page Six of the New York Post were the first to reveal that actor Rob Lowe and his wife, Sheryl Berkoff, have quietly reached an agreement to sell their Feng-Shui-ed, 20-room Georgian mansion in Montecito (CA) to an as yet unknown buyer for $42 million.

Mister and Missus Lowe, who last year sold their beach front house in nearby Carpinteria for $5.9 million to insurance tycoon William Foley, II, custom built the stately mansion on four manicured acres and had it photographed for the November 2010 issue of Architectural Digest. (In April 2011, Mister Lowe gave his richer and more famous Montecito neighbor Oprah Winfrey a video tour of both the Montecito mansion and the Carpinteria beach house.)

In addition to the main manse, the ocean view property has two guest houses and a total of four kitchens, the largest with a reclaimed French oak floors, a Calacatta marble-topped center island, and a breakfast room with a motorized pocket door.

We have no idea what Mister Lowe and Miz Berkoff's future real estate plans hold The Post speculates they'll likely stick to the Montecito area since they're "said to love the area."

photo: Mary E. Nichols for Architectural Digest

Monday, December 23, 2013

In Other Pre-Christmas Celebrity Real Estate Related News...

As we first learned from the long-legged blond at Trulia Luxe Living, internationally beloved bubble gum pop star Katy Perry has finally found a buyer for Park Hill, her real estate white elephant in West Hollywood (CA), also sometimes referred to as The DeWitt Mansion after the home's original property developer owner.

Miz Perry purchased the centrally located estate with her ex-hubby, British comedian and giddy provocateur Russell Brand, in June 2011 for $6.5 million. They split before they moved into the three-story, 1920s Mediterranean that was granted to Miz Perry in their divorce.

Perched on a gated promontory just about the mouth of the West Hollywood end of Laurel Canyon, the three acre estate includes a 8,835 square foot main house plus a detached garage, pool house, and—on the steep hillside above the lagoon-style swimming pool, a self-contained one-bedroom and one bathroom guest house with separate entrance.

The somber and even somewhat gloomy (and very beige) house includes 7 bedrooms, 7 full and 4 half bathrooms, a double height living room with minstrel's gallery and city view, a formal dining room with a hand-stenciled honeycomb pattern ceiling treatment.

The price eventually dropped to $5,988,000 before an as yet unidentified buyer turned up to buy the property for an as yet unknown price. Our calculations show that even even she sells if for full price Miz Perry will lose well over half a million clams when one considers the purchase price ($6.5 million), upkeep and other carrying costs, and real estate fees.

Rather than occupy Park Hill, Grammy-collecting Miz Perry opted to drop $11.2 million on a multi-residence high in the Hollywood Hills.

listing photos: Teles Properties

Reese Witherspoon Sells Ojai Mini-Ranch at Big Loss

SELLER: Reese Witherspoon
PRICE: $4,983,500
SIZE: 7 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: As we first heard from real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak—and then confirmed with property records—Oscar-winning and exceedingly well-compensated actress Reese Witherspoon has—at a substantial loss—sold her rustic-luxe and equine-accommodating Wallace Neff-designed mini-ranch getaway in Ojai, CA.

Miz Witherspoon purchased the property in March 2008 for $5.8 million and first put it on the open market in September 2012 for $10 million. In March 2011 she and husband, talent agent Jim Toth, hitched their love wagons on the picture perfect property and in the spring of 2013 she generously lent the seven acre semi-rural spread to British actor and tween heart throb Rob Pattinson after it was revealed his (now ex-) girlfriend, Kristen Stewart, was fooling around with a very married movie director. Remember that nonsense? Anyways...

The asking price for the compound-like property eventually plummeted to $5.9 million before an as-yet unidentified buyer swooped in and snatched up the property for..drum roll please...$4,983,5000. A few clicks and clacks on Your Mama's bejeweled abacus shows Miz Witherspoon took a mouth-drying $816,500 loss, not counting carrying costs, improvements, and real estate fees.

As far as this property gossip know, Miz Witherspoon still owns a three parcel spread in a gated enclave in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles—the last bit she bought last year for $3 million—and a nearly 6,500 square foot house in the guard-gated Sugartree development in the upscale Belle Meade area of her native Nashville, TN.

listing photos: Keller Williams

Friday, December 20, 2013

Tidbits and Morsels: Justin Bieber

There's some new and—as far as this property gossip is concerned—unsubstantiated scuttlebutt starting to make its down the celebrity real estate gossip grapevine (via Hollyscoop) that teen aged pop music phenom Justin Bieber just might be on the move.

Mister Bieber bought his current crib, a 9,200+ square for Spanish mansion in the double-gated Oaks development in suburban Calabasas, CA, in Aprl 2012 for $6.5 million. The six bedroom and seven bathroom property had previously been owned by Nicole Murphy, Eddie's ex-wife and the long-time fiancee of Michael Strahan.

It wasn't long before Boy Wonder Bieber attracted the negative attention of his wealthy and in some cases famous neighbors who—understandably it seems to Your Mama—do not appreciate his frequent and boisterous parties or care much for him (and/or his friends) drag racing his rumbling fleet of Ferraris and Lambos through the otherwise quite streets. One altercation allegedly ended with Mister Bieber spitting in one of his neighbor's face but, naturally, young Mister Bieber's camp denies there was any spitting and prosecutors declined to press charges.

None-the-less all the skirmishing with neighbors may be getting to Mister Bieber and according to one unnamed source, his momma wants him to pack up his house in Calabasas and decamp to the Hollywood Hills where—so the source said Momma Beiber thinks—there are fewer families for her son to annoy.

It certainly wouldn't surprise Your Mama if Mister Bieber opted to spend some of his tens of millions of dollars on a sexed-up bachelor boy pad somewhere in the Hollywood Hills or the Sunset Strip area but we can pretty much promise the Bieber camp that a vast majority of residents of the Hollywood Hills and the Sunset Strip, whether part of a family or swinging single, will not care to have an entourage-toting neighbor who plays a lot of loud music and/or sometimes guns his $400,000 Italian sports cars up and down the street. Seriously, we promise y'all they will hate it every bit as much as the families in Calabasas. Just ask Chris Brown. Anyways...

aerial photo: Pacific Coast News

Tidbits and Morsels: Vincent Camuto

High end real estate watchers will recall that in July, 2013, (mid-priced) shoe tycoon Vincent Camuto and his wife and business partner, Louise, heaved and ho-d Wooldon Manor—an historic and completely rehabbed ocean front estate in Southampton, NY—on the open market with a blistering $48,000,000 asking price.

The folks at The Real Deal were the first to report, back in early October (2012), that the property had gone into contract with an unnamed buyer for an unknown amount. Now comes word via The Wall Street Journal that the buyers—still unnamed but revealed to be a couple from New York City—have arranged to purchase not only the 9,600-plus square foot English Tudor mansion and the 5.5-ish acre ocean front parcel it sits on but also a swathe of adjacent properties that ballooned the entire deal to more than 14 acres and swelled the agreed upon sales price to a sky-high and record-breaking $75,000,000.*

We won't take the time or expend the energy to recount the full history and scope of the property and the existing 7 bedroom and 12.5 bathroom mansion—we did that here, iffin yer interested—but suffice to say that a portion of the existing mansion was once the pool house for a spectacular and spectacularly huge, 50-room mansion built by a doctor turned stock broker and later owned by five-and-dime heiress Jessie Woolworth Donahue. The house was torn down by a subsequent owner in the early 1940s to reduce property tax bills.

Believe it or not, Mister and Miz Camuto own a second, equally epic if not ocean front estate in the Hamptons. In 2005 they shelled out $35,000,000 for the so-called Villa Marie, a 15-acre spread with a then-decrepit 21,000 square foot mansion that was long used as a religious and spiritual retreat and is (unappealingly) located on often jam-packed Montauk Highway at the edge of Water Mill's small downtown district. They renovated the entire estate to exacting and expensive standards and had it published for the world to ogle (and/or scoff) at in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest (July, 2013).

The Camuto's also own an also equally epic estate with an early 19th-century French Normandy chateau in über-upscale Greenwich, CT, and, although we have no specific intel, Your Mama would be shocked—shocked, we tell you—to learn they don't maintain a luxury pied-a-terre in one of Manhattan's more expensive zip codes. It also wouldn't surprise Your Mama to learn they had a place in Palm Beach and/or another in Aspen, and maybe even one someplace Alpine like France's Val d'Isere or Klosters in Switzerland. But we digress...

*According to local agents who chatted up the WSJ property gossips, a $75 million sale price would make it the highest price ever paid for a single family residence in the Hamptons.

listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty

Tidbits and Morsels: Ludacris

We first heard from the long-legged blond property gossip gal at Trulia Luxe Living that three-time Grammy winning rapper and actor Ludacris is moving up in the glittery (cut-throat and competitive) Tinseltown real estate world.

A week or so ago he sold one of his two (uncombined) duplex penthouse apartments on a heavily trafficked boulevard just west of Century City for $879,000. A quick peek at property records and a couple calculations on Your Mama's bejeweled abacus shows that's exactly $151,000 less than the $1,030,000 he paid for the place in late 2006, not counting improvements, carrying costs, and real estate fees.

A few days, maybe, before he closed the sale on the Century City-adjacent penthouse, Mister Ludacris—nee the far more prosaic Christopher Brian Bridges—splashed out $4.8 million for a nearly 6,000 square foot, freshly rehabbed contemporary high the Hollywood Hills near Runyon Canyon.

Listing details show the three-plus floor residence has an attached two-car garage with additional off-street parking for up to seven—a real luxury in a house in the hills. There are five bedrooms and five bathrooms including separate staff quarters and a spacious master suite complete with sitting area, fireplace, wet bar, dual bathrooms, large dressing room/closets, and private balconies with glass balustrades and views of the Hollywood sign and the twinkling lights of Hollywood and beyond.

The voluminous, open-concept main living space (living, dining and kitchen) has walls of of glass to open to a multi-level deck, wide plank blond wood floors and much darker brown kitchen cabinetry, and a bevy of state-of-the-art electronic systems. Other luxury features include a home theater, a wine cellar, and a city-view infinity-edged swimming pool and raised spa.

Your Mama's brief and entirely unscientific research shows Mister Ludacris continues to own the second, aforementioned two bedroom and 2.5 bathroom duplex penthouse pad next door to the one he just sold that's currently on the market for $879,000, a good bit more than the $699,000 he paid in May 2002. He also still owns a sprawling, 22+ acre estate with a private lake and a 10,663 square foot mansion southwest of Atlanta (GA) in suburban Cliftondale that he picked up in early 200for $2.8 million.

listing photos: Keller Williams

Tidbits and Morsels: Michael Jordan

Seemingly undeterred by its failure to sell earlier this week at an auction of international réclame with a $13 million reserve, His Airness Michael Jordan jumped right back in the real estate game and, as first reported by the Chicago Tribune, audaciously re-listed his Highland Park mega-mansion with a nearly 25% higher $16 million price tag.*

Probably some of you children fell right off your asses wondering, "What is the world is this fool thinking raising the damn price of that house?" It's a logical question, for sure, but there is, as we've told the children 49,000 times before, an accepted if infrequently utilized school of real estate thought that reads (and we paraphrase liberally): If a highly-customized, multi-million dollar house isn't selling—even after several substantial price chops—raise the price, preferably significantly. Certainly it's somewhat radical and counter-intuitive to conventional real estate wisdom and practice but, believe it or not, puppies, this upping-the-price maneuver works often enough that, regardless of what any of us who don't work or swim in the sometimes illogical miasma of the real estate industry, it remains a viable option for upper-market real estate professionals and high end sellers.

The 7.39 acre estate, ringed by a towering wall of 150 mature evergreens that ensure privacy, has a total of nine bedrooms, 19 toilets—15 full and 4 half bathrooms, a Euro-style kitchen and numerous entertainment and recreation lounges that include formal living and dining rooms, a cigar lounge with walk-in humidor, and a second floor games room. There's also a professional-grade indoor basketball court—of course, a unique circular swimming pool, a putting green, a private fish-stocked pond and enough parking for a small army of friends, family, and domestic workers.

While Your Mama recognizes and appreciates the quality of the materials and expertise of the workmanship that went into the sparely done but super-luxe interiors on the convention center-sized residence but this property gossip still think the damn thing looks, on the outside, like an upscale medical research facility.

*The property, dubbed Legend Point, was originally listed in 2012 for $29 million and later reduced to $21 million before the unsuccessful $13 million reserve auction attempt.

listing photo: Baird and Warner

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Jason Biggs Trades Up to BHPO Mini-Compound

BUYER: Jason Biggs and Jenny Mollen
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $3,905,000
SIZE: 5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms (total)

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Back in July, (comedy) actor Jason Biggs revealed on the delectably naughty Chelsea Handler Show that he and his witty wife, artist/actress/writer wife Jenny Mollen, were—and still are as far as we know—preggers with their first child. He was much more crass (and funny) about how it all came about but let's keep it clean, shall we? Anyways, it should come as no surprise to avid celebrity real estate watchers that the expectant couple have done as some many rich and/or famous folk have done before them: They traded up to a more expensive house in which to bring up baby. According to both Yolanda Yakketyyak and Lucy Spillerguts the Biggs-Mollens shelled out $3,905,000 for a multi-acre mini-compound in the Beverly Hills Post Office Area (BHPO) that property records show was acquired (via an obscurely named trust) in early November, 2013.

Though the former child actor who was nominated for an Emmy as a teenager in 1995 for his role on the daytime soap story As the World Turns he didn't achieve honest to goodness Showbiz fame (and fortune) until until several years later, in 1999, when he (in)famously humped a warm apple pie in the first of the stupid but highly lucrative teen comedy movie series, American Pie. More recently Mister Biggs has taken on more dignified roles and popped up briefly on The Good Wife. He currently has a regular role on the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black and voices the Leonardo character in the animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television series.

Whip smart, fearlessly outspoken, humorously provocative, and multi-lingual Miz Mollen was trained in the theater. (Our research suggests she has quite a bit of Shakespeare under her belt). Despite a long resume that dates back to the early 2000s Miz Mollen has had less successthan her husband as an actor. She is, perhaps, best known for her short stint on Angel (2003) but she's more recently nabbed a number of bit parts on shows such as Wilfred, Hawaii 5-O and and the rom-com movie Crazy, Stupid, Love. She also writes a column (What She Said) for Playboy's The Smoking Jacket and forthcoming is a book of comedic essays (I Like Your Just The Way I am).

Anyways, with a baby on the way the giddily vulgar couple appear to have decided they need a bit more space for baby to grow up so they snatched up a wooded and otherwise lushly planted 2.5 acre mini-compound in the star-studded Benedict Canyon area of Beverly Hills.

A long gated drive off at the tail end of a discreet private lane ensure privacy for the upgraded and modernized 1950's Spanish ranch-style residence. Listing details we dug up don't denote the exact size of the single-story sprawler—the L.A. County Tax Man put it at 3,533 square feet—but does show there are three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms in the main house, including a roomy master suite with exposed wood vaulted ceiling, fireplace, and two sets of French doors that lead out to a private terrace. A separate, self-contained guest house, perfect for in-laws coming to stay after the baby's born and/or well-suited to a live-in nanny situation* contains two more bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen.

The separate but interconnected main living areas are united by exposed wood vaulted ceiling and rustic wide plank wood floors (that may or may not be some sort of soft pine). They are divided, however, by a massive, central fireplace set at a slightly cattywompus angle and opens on one side to the living room and on the other in the dining room. The dining room, which does double duty as the library due to a full wall of built-in bookshelves, is separated from the kitchen by a three-stool snack peninsula.

The kitchen isn't huge but is nicely functional with simple, snow-white Shaker-style cabinetry, butcher block counter tops, and top-quality commercial-inspired stainless steel appliances that include a mouth watering glass-fronted refrigerator with lower freezer drawer. Your Mama always thinks of butcher block counter tops as unsanitary although we realize they don't have to be unsanitary if they're maintained properly but that's really neither here not there in terms of relevance to the topic at hand, is it?

The ever so slightly angled house opens on it's northwest side(s) to a stone terrace the runs the entire length of the house before it spreads out and surrounds a heated, rectangular swimming pool. Beyond the terrace along the rear of the residence there's a super-sized deck that extends out over the hillside in the tree tops. Stone pathways lined with lush foliage wind their ways to a (strange) gingerbread-y shed, a tree-shaded children's play structure, and a walled and fenced tennis court that's tucked nicely into the hillside but doesn't have lights for evening play and looks in the listing photo like it could use a bit of a spruce up.

If anyone cares—and we're not sure anyone does—this would not be Your Mama and/or The Dr. Cooter's $3.9 million dream house though we fully understand the attractive appeal of the privacy afforded by the property's flag shape and generous 2.5 acres. The thickly treed property (looks in listing photos like it) feels blissfully removed from the urban thrum of Tinseltown but Your Mama's research indicates it's but a quick-'n'-easy 3.5 miles to the Beverly Hills Hotel. The living spaces appear comfortable and even somewhat luxurious but stop well short of ostentation. Sure, the exterior of the house isn't much to behold but surely the kinks can be ironed out by a smart architect, an imaginative lady or nice-gay decorator, and a good deal of money. Right? No?

Back in March 2007, just before he met Miz Mollen, Mister Biggs paid actor (and occasional house flipper) Fred Savage $2,249,000 for a 2,756 square foot contemporary with three bedrooms and three bathrooms perched on a short bluff just above the Sunset Strip. The couple have lived there since sometime in 2008 when they met and, just a few months later, married.

*Of course Your Mama has no idea if the parents of either of these two soon-to-be new parents will come to visit after the baby arrives let along stick around and help change diapers and change the batteries in the breast pump device. We also haven't got a clue whether the couple will or will not hire a nanny and, if they do, if said nanny would live on the property full or part time. Anyways...

listing photos: Nelson Shelton & Associates

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

UPDATE: Chris Brown

Due to his well-documented homophobic slurs and much publicized violent assaults Your Mama knows that a some of y'all don't care to hear a thing about Grammy winning pop/R&B artist Chris Brown. We feel you, puppies, we really do. But we just can't help it just like we—like most people—can but help but look for tragedy when we pass a car accident Not among the interested? Well, we suggest that rather than whine like a six year or try to slay us with your poison-laced words that you simply pull up yer big gurl panties and hold your damn horses until Your Mama comes up with something more to your celebrity real estate liking. We can't be the butter for every child's toast every day, you know. Okay? Okay.

As was expected by property gossips, young and volatile Mister Brown—he's but 24 and, as Your Mama types our digits to the nubbins, currently ensconced in a court-ordered anger management rehab facility—put his elevator-accessed four-plus story hillside house in the Hollywood Hills on the market a few days ago for $1.92 million. This is the same house, digital and print tabloid readers will recall, that lights up at night like a lavender-hued Christmas tree and where Mister Brown (in)famously inflamed the dander of some of his neighbors with massive, monster-themed graffiti murals he had painted on a street-level retaining wall in front of the house.

One of the neighbors complained to the L.A. Times in May (2013) that, "There are lots of babies, lots of children, and they’re literally frightened. It’s like devils on the wall — big scary eyes and big scary teeth..." Apparently the wall murals were in violation of some sort of code or ordinance and Mister Brown was ordered buy the city to remove them or face escalating fines.

The murals were removed in July (2013) but Mister Brown renown attorney, Mark Geragos, made sure to let the L.A. Times know that his client did not remove them due to neighbors' complaints or legal pressure but rather because he planned to sell the house. That sounds perfectly reasonable except that listing photos show similar, Crayon-colorful graffiti murals of monster characters completely cover the back wall of the airy, open-concept main living area.

The thing is, children, we don't hate the murals in the living room. We would most certainly not want all those snaggle-toothed monsters glaring at us with their salivating mouths in our own home but we can and do appreciate the audacity and commitment required to have such a work of art—or artistic expression—installed in one's home.*

And, did y'all take note of the top floor master suite? If there's anything Your Mama loathes in contemporary home design than these trendy open-concept master suites that provide exactly zero privacy it would most certainly be that lurid, lipstick red soaking tub that Mister Brown had installed right on the open border between the bedroom and bathroom. Have mercy! Sure, it matches the rather rococo gilt and red velvet throne and wrinkled drapery, but child, pleeze. How does any sane person not see a lipstick red bathtub as the very picture of decorative douche baggery? Surely that is a worse offense than a black commode, right? (Will somebody please bring Your Mama a nerve pill to settle our frazzled sensibilities?)

Don't misunderstand Your Mama. We don't hate this house. In fact, we sort of like its Rubik's cube-like architectural complexity. What we don't care for is its night-clubby attitude. Call us old-fashioned—and we have been called much worse, we can assure you—but Your Mama just doesn't see the appeal of living in a house decorated like an upscale strip joint. We just don't. But that's really neither here no there, is it? Anyways...

Mister Brown still owns a penthouse condo in West Hollywood that's currently on the market for $1.6 million and her reportedly made an offer on a house in a star-studded gated enclave in Malibu but iffin we're honest—and we always are—we'd confess we don't have any specific intel on that.

*P.S. As far as this property gossip is concerned, the several other murals on the walls (and ceiling) in other locations throughout in the house are woefully ill-advised, a stylistic overkill that, quite frankly, diminishes the face-slapping power of the mural in the main living area. Anyways...

listing photos: Coldwell Banker

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Didja y'all hear...

...that Legend Point, basketball legend Michael Jordan's deservedly but not so humbly dubbed seven-ish acre estate in the leafy, well-to-do Chicago suburb of Highland Park (IL), failed to sell at yesterday's globally publicized auction?

Mister Jordan custom built the 56,000 square foot mega-mansion—it sort of looks to Your Mama like an upscale pharmaceutical research center—and put it on the open market in early 2012 with an asking price of $29 million. Nobody bought it. Almost a year later the price tag of Mister Jordan's nine bedroom and 19 toilet residential monument to wealth and success was slashed to $21 million, a undeniably drastic price cut that also failed to flush out a serious buyer.

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Mister Jordan's next real estate move was put the decidedly contemporary but still palatial property up for auction with a reputable real estate auction house with a reserve price of just $13 million and then publicize the shit out of it.

Alas, as first reported by the property gossips at the Chicago Tribune, all the tongue wagging by property gossips, a video tour with Willie Geist on the goddamn Today Show, and the severely reduced minimum bid all failed to attract a financially qualified buyer who not only has 13 or 15 million clams to spend on a house and wants to live in Highland Park but is willing to take on the extreme maintenance issues and costs associated with owning a house of this magnitude.

Mister Jordan's spokesperson told the Chicago Tribune that Mister Jordan will re-group over the holidays and sort out his real estate options as they pertain to Legend Point after the new year.

A few of the massive manse's notable features include a double-height formal living room larger than some hotel lobbies, an ultra-modern imported kitchen, a trophy room, a beauty salon, a movie theater, and a 1,000 bottle wine cellar. There's also a lower level cigar lounge with walk-in humidor, an upstairs gentleman's lounge with doors that were originally in the original Playboy Mansion in Chicago, and—natch— a professional quality, full-court indoor basketball court and a commercial-scaled fitness center.

In addition to vast, tree-ringed lawns, a private pond, and a putting green, there's a stunning, perfectly circular if somewhat civic-looking dark bottom swimming pool with an off-center but also perfectly circular island of well-watered and perfectly-clipped lawn connected to the "mainland" terrace by a sleek arched bridge.

Despite the warm-hearted holiday seasons that are upon us Your Mama would bet both our long-bodied bitches, Linda and Beverly, that several if not scads and scores of the children feel the awful but inviting tug of celebrity real estate schadenfreude over Mister Jordan's Legend Point woes. However, puppies, we're certain Mister Jordan could give a shit because he's rich as the damn pope. According to Forbes he still hauls in an estimated $80 million a year so, even thought we're sure he'd prefer to sell, he can well afford to keep and maintain his super-sized house in the 'burbs of Chicago house for as long as it takes until someone comes along and takes its high-maintenance hulkitude off his hands.

A brief (and very possibly incomplete) run down of Mister Jordan's residential real estate portfolio includes a 28,000 square foot custom-built compound in a swanky, guard-gated golf community in Jupiter, FL; a pair of penthouse pads in downtown Charlotte, NC—where he owns the Charlotte Bobcats; an 8,000 square foot ski chalet in Park City, UT; and a 12,000_ square foot lake-front mansion in Cornelius, NC that he scooped up in February of this year (2013) for $2.8 million.

video: NBC News

Your Mama Hears...

...From the always eerily well informed real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak that actor Breckin Meyer and his estranged wife, writer/director wife Deborah Kaplan, quietly sold their Beverly Hills Post Office area house in mid-August (2013) for $2,775,000 to vaunted British thespian Sir Ben Kingsley and his much younger fourth wife, Brazilian film and stage actress Daniela Lavender.

In addition to the Academy Award, pair of BAFTAS, Grammy and two Golden Globes Sir Kingsley picked up for his break out starring role as Gandhi in the 1982 docu-film Gandhi, there have been six more Golden Globe nominations, four Emmy nominations, and three additional Oscar nods for for Bugsy (1991), Sexy Beast (2000), and House of Sand and Fog (2003). In 2000 the Queen of England named him a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and in 2010 he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Sixty-nine year old Sir Kingsley—his birthday is in a couple weeks, mazel tov—remains much in demand with, according to the Internet Movie Data Base, at least nine projects in various stages of production and planning.

Some of the children may recall that Your Mama discussed the gated property back in May 2013 when Mister Meyer and Miz Kaplan first put the 4,888 square foot abode—we described it then as a "micro-manse"—on the open market with an asking price of $2,995,000.* The price eventually dropped to $2.795 million before an opaque corporate entity that our dear informant Miz Yakketyyak swears is connected to Sir Kingsley came along to snatch it up for just a smidgen under asking.

Listing details from the time of the latest sale that Your Mama scared up out of the interweb show the traditional-minded two-story house—owned in the 1980s by Her Glam Highness Joan Collins Herself—was originally built in the 1930s and is currently configured with four bedrooms and five bathrooms plus a separate office or guest/staff suite with an additional bathroom and private entrance.

Of few of the other interior features include a spacious center hall entry, formal living and dining rooms with fireplaces, a large and well-equipped if slightly dated kitchen, a family/screening room with three-stool wet bar, and a private, second floor master suite with marble bathroom and private terrace. Outsie, as per digital marketing materials, there's swimming pool, a vine covered dining pergola, and a poolside loggia.

Your Mama is just gonna be honest and admit that we neither don't know if Sir Kingsley currently owns or previously owned a home in Tinseltown before nor where Mister Meyer and/or ex-Missus Meyer moved.

*Property records show the erstwhile Kaplan-Meyer couple acquired the B.H.P.O. property in September of 2003 for $1,875,000.

listing photos: Teles Properties

Monday, December 16, 2013

Chris Brown Lists Hollywood Hills House

SELLER: Chris Brown
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,920,000
SIZE: 3,000 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: The tooth-monster graffiti that so incensed his neighbors is all gone and— no doubt much to the delight of those angry and annoyed neighbors—always controversial R&B/pop entertainer Chris Brown, has put his high-contemporary Hollywood Hills house on the open market with an asking price of $1,920,000.

Mister Brown, who is still on probation for his 2009 Grammys eve assault of his then girlfriend Rihanna, was arrested (again) in late October (2013) for assaulting a photographer in Washington, D.C. He's currently checked into his second (court ordered) residential anger management rehab facility after he was kicked out of the first facility because he threw a rock through his momma's car window after a family therapy session. Anyways, Mister Brown's obvious personal issues aside...

Property records (and scads of reports from the time) show the Grammy-winning entertainer acquired the multi-story hillside residence in the so-called Hollywood Dell 'hood in the foothills above Hollywood in October 2011 for $1,550,000.

Current listing information shows the decidedly contemporary, four-plus story, elevator-accessed house, designed by architect Jay Vanos, has three bedrooms and three bathrooms in about 3,000 square feet of sun-splashed interior space and with glass walls, soaring ceilings, and city lights views. The high-tech interiors include an extravagant LED lighting program, a snazzy Italian kitchen, and a home automation system.

Outdoor living spaces include a couple of fire pits, a projection screen, stone waterfalls, a green roof, and an LED- and swim jet-equipped swim swimming on top of the street level garage and the studio space above it.

As far as this property gossip's research shows Mister Brown continues to own a three bedroom penthouse pad in West Hollywood that he bought in February 2011 for $1.6 million. Mister Brown quickly ran afoul of his West Hollywood neighbors, too, and first listed the 3.5 bathroom open-plan penthouse in May 2012 for $1.895 million. It was taken off the market in early 2013 but popped back up in July with a lower asking price of $1,695,000.

Back in mid-November gossip juggernaut TMZ reported Mister Brown made an offer for a house in a star-studded gated enclave in Malibu.

listing photo: Coldwell Banker