Just about two years ago ambitious celebrity stylist turned multi-pronged fashion designer Rachel Zoe* and Roger Berman, her venture capitalist business partner husband of 20-some years, leased a spacious mini-mansion in the flats of Beverly Hills (CA). The exterior architecture of the house was—no T no shade, babies—a wacky pastiche of venerable European vernaculars. The existing interiors—as were shown on Miz Zoe's reality show—were updated and luxurious if not particularly imaginative or thrilling so the then preggers Berman-Zoes had the leased house cosmetically worked over by Jeremiah Brent,** a young, chisel-chinned neophyte furniture designer and decorator who at that time was one of Miz Zoe's styling assistants (or something).
Mister Brent painted everything that wasn't already white white, hauled in a white tufted leather sofa, thew in a few lamé poufs, and a tossed a handful of Hermes blankets all around. Zoe fuckin' loved it and had published and featured on every celebrity and design blog known to (wo)mankind. Mister Brent, in case you care and/or didn't know, didn't stay long in Miz Zoe's employ but did parlayed his 15 minutes of reality show fame into a highly publicized and frequently photographed whirlwind romance and engagement to photogenic nice-gay decorator turned lifestyle guru Nate Berkus. Mazel Tov! Anyways...
Your Mama's deep but hardly scientific research turned up digital evidence that the double-gated pseudo-chateau in question, an odd and maybe unholy collection of Euro-inspired architectural memes not so different than their last rental, was listed for $29,500 and was leased in late October (2013) for $26,000 per month. Listing details from the time show the manse was erected brand-spanking new in 1987 and has a total of six bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms in nearly 10,000 square feet.
If Miz Zoe and Mister Berman have not already they most certainly will engage the services of a lady or nice-gay decorator—Your Mama would bet the goddamn farm it will not be Jeremiah Brent or his famous fiancee Nate Berkus—to give the place a once over and fill it with all their favorite, designer-y knick knacks and paddy whacks.
There are commodious formal living and dining areas, both with inlaid Parquet de Versailles-style wood floors. In the living room there's a fireplace, French doors and good sized ceiling moldings. We agree that it's a bit of a fright to look but, children, peer past the swagged drapery, the gilt-trimmed faux-Louis furniture group, the kooky windows on either side of the fireplace, and that truly oddball mirrored wall between the French doors and there really is an elegantly sized (if slightly too low ceilinged) room here that in the right hands could be a commodious and comfortable place for the Zoe-Bermans to entertain fashion luminaries.
Just because we'd cut our leg off to keep it from being installed in our own home doesn't mean we don't think the he shimmery silver wallpaper in the dining room is kinda—to use Isaac Mizrahi's fave word—divine. The curtain swagging has to go. Your Mama really wants to know in what decorating world that kind of funereal window swaggery is considered to be in good taste?
Other rooms includes a fully-paneled library with built-in bookcases and an also fully paneled family room with coffered ceiling and four-plus stool built-in wet bar. The family room looks to Your Mama like the card room of an snooty country club and, if you know anything at all about Miz Zoe's personal style—rebelious rich boho chic, you can see why she might be attracted to a room like this.
Personally, for $26,00 this is absolutely not the house for Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter. First of all, six bedrooms might subliminally encourage more guests that we might care for. However, the more we look at it the listing photos the more we can see how, with the right team and the right amount of money—not to mention the blessing of her landlord, this could be the perfect house for Miz Zoe. Honestly. Can't y'all see her clanking around a cleaned up and better dressed version of this house—maybe whining about her exhausting schedule—in 6-inch spike-toed stilettos and a Halston caftan loaded with armfuls of bedazzled vintage bracelets? You can't? Oh, sisters and brothers, Your Mama can. You'll see. And it'll be maj.
*In addition to an eponymous, upscale line of ladies clothes and shoes (sold at high-end department stores like Saks, Nordies, Bloomies, Neimans and Bergdorfs) Miz Zoe also sells a line super-cheap, Woman-With-A-Past-style sunnies and hawks affordable apparel, mid-priced handbags, and budget-friendly costume jewelry on the home shopping behemoth QVC. She also, of course, stars in her own reality television project, The Rachel Zoe Project, which is how, of course, she came to be a household name amount gossip glossy and celebrity blog readers.
**Real estate recovery naysayers might find it interesting that this property was listed for sale in late February (2013) changed hands three short weeks later in a multiple offer situation; The asking price was $6,499,000 and the sale price was $7,250,000.
listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty