Friday, February 14, 2014

Your Mama Hears...

...There are a couple of mega-deals about to go down in the hoity toity Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles. One involves a major mansion on Delfern Drive just north of Sunset Boulevard and is more widely tittered and yakked about by upper end property watchers since it's listed on the open market and shows up on digital listings as a pending sale. The other big deal currently in the works, so we've been told by two separate informants, is going down on the down low in a quasi off-market deal. More on that later but first let's discuss what we know about the first property, okay?

In the late 1960s, after they tired of their previous home in L. A.—a glassy and low-slung affair on Mulholland Drive they had designed by mid-century modernist Richard Neutra in the late 1950s*— Teledyne founder Henry Singleton and his wife, Caroline, commissioned high-class architect Wallace Neff to design a large and luxe Southern Colonial mansion on three super-prime parcels in the heart of the Holmby Hills.

Mister Singleton went to meet the great aeronautical engineer in the sky in 1999 and in early 2008 the palatial spread hit the open market with a sky-high asking price of $85 million. The house did not sell but, according to Your Mama's sources, the property was soon leased to freshly bankrupt tech entrepreneur Halsey Minor. We're not sure exactly how long Mister Minor remained in residence or if there were any subsequent tenants after he moved out but we do know that the estate did not show up for sale on the open market again until September 2013 when it popped up with a new and improved but still astronomical asking price of $75,000,000.

Current digital marketing materials show the grand, gated estate encompasses a total 7.65 acres and includes a dignified 15,520 square foot main residence with ten bedrooms and 12.5 bathrooms. Although 15,000 square feet is small in the age of 40,000 mega-mansions in the early 1970s when this house was completed it was considered almost preposterously enormous. Other interior features of note include: a Versailles-inspired oval-shaped double height gallery; a vast formal living with marble mantled fireplace; an oval formal dining room with fireplace, a paneled library/den also with fireplace; a family room with exposed wood beams on the ceiling and yet another fireplace; and a colossal eat-in kitchen that may or may not have a fireplace, we're not sure.

The walled, gated, and fortified grounds feature a parking lot-sized motor court, an attached four-car garage, a prairie-like patio on the back of the house that overlooks acres of rolling lawns and free-form pond, a greenhouse folly with domed room detail, a lighted and lattice-fenced tennis court, and—naturally—a swimming pool with adjacent open air lounge.

Online resources show the house went into escrow in early February with an as yet unidentified buyer for an as yet unknown amount. Our Fairy Godmother in the Holmby Hills told Your Mama that she heard (but can't confirm) the buyer is British, a rumor that falls in line with the name that for the last several years always pops up as a buyer (or potential buyer) when a house of this magnitude and expense goes up for sale or into escrow in Los Angeles: British-Croatian Formula One racing heiress Tamara Ecclestone. The preposterously pampered 29-year old gal can certainly afford it and has a well-known penchant for ludicrously expensive homes—several years ago she paid around £45 million for her hotel-sized house in London on Kensington Palace Gardens that she spent untold millions more to gut renovate, however, Your Mama isn't convinced the newly married and currently preggers Miz Ecclestone actually wants a trophy estate in Los Angeles where her younger and blonder sister, Petra, already owns The Manor, a 56,000-ish square foot behemoth she bought in mid-2011 for $85,000,000 from wealthy Hollywood widow Candy Spelling.

If any of the children would like to confidentially clue Your Mama to the rumors and details of the pending sale please feel free to give us a ringy-dingy or send a covert communique because, you know, inquiring minds want to know.

Your Mama also hears that the sale of the Singleton mansion isn't the only super-sized deal going down in Holmby Hills, which is arguably the finest—or at least the most exclusive—neighborhood in Los Angeles. Stay tuned....

*The Singleton family heirs sold the Neutra-designed house in 2004 for about six million bucks to hair care mogul Vidal Sassoon and his fourth wife, Ronnie Holbrook. Mister Sassoon went to meet the great cosmotologist in the sky in the spring of 2012 and in early days of 2013 the all-glass house was sold for $16,500,000 to French luxury goods tycoon François Pinault. Anyways...

listing photos: Coldwell Banker

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love seeing this house's front facade photo on this blig! It makes my day. :-)

I love this kind of deals going on. Loooove it!

The house has a hideous backyard facade, and atrocious furniture, but I would hate to see it demolished.

Paige and boys said...

Hideous? oh yes, Wallace Neff was well known for designing hideous houses.

lil' gay boy said...

Not one of Neff's best -- it still has the air of a pet mausoleum.

Anonymous said...

I stand by what I sai: hideous backyard facade. Considering it is his late piece, he should've done better. The roof shares some similarities with Jimmy Iovine's house.

Anonymous said...

Pet mausoleum: what made you say that?

Petra's said...

Neff had some great houses, some decent houses, and some boring 85-year-old-granny-lives-here-looking houses. This probable teardown is one of the last bunch.

Anonymous said...

Holmby Hills is not the most exclusive neighborhood in Los Angeles, it's right off two of the busiest streets in LA, wilshire blvd, sunset blvd.
Yes, it is home to some of the most expensive and finest homes in LA, but it's not exclusive.

Anonymous said...

Some homes have such history and architectural presence, it would be a crime to raze them. This home has neither.
It has a lot of land. Possible subdivision into 3 estate sized lots?

Anonymous said...

Learn the meaning of the Latin verb 'excludere': if the prices 'exclude' 99% of the Earth's population, it is exclusive.

Anonymous said...

Could the buyer be one of the Candy bros?

Anonymous said...

I find this home gracious, quietly elegant and lovely. Unlike the garish homes of BP, this exudes class and a sense of place. I could be very happy here. I love it.

Anonymous said...

The Rabbi concurs this Neff estate is suitably dignified as an eternal resting home for Fluffy and Fifi, while also envisioning the motorcourt, public rooms and gardens as a new venue for Benjie and Bluma's catering hall of brisses and bar mitzvahs!

Rabbi Hedda LaCasa

Anonymous said...

If being home to some of the most expensive and finest homes in LA doesn't make the Holmby Hills exclusive, what does it make it?

If not Holmby Hills, what would be some of LAs more exclusive areas be then?

This house and property are in need of some polishing but really it's fantastic.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 2:35pm :
Exclusive usually means limited to a certain group, exclusive barriers, in this case All gated communities are more exclusive than Holmby hills. Beverly Park being the most exclusive, Malibu Colony, Hidden Hills, Mulholland Estates, etc. There is nothing exclusive about Hollywood Star busses driving in your neighborhood everyday, with that being said Holmby hills does have some of the finest most expensive homes making it home to some of the most expensive real estate in the US, but the zip code is also shared with Westwood or Century City, so it wouldn't fall under the list of most expensive zip codes in the US.

Anonymous said...

Can that car park in front of the house be used as a helipad? That would be a nice feature.

Sandpiper said...

This estate is absolutely endearing, meticusually appointed and certainly reflects that life is well enjoyed there. Who knows the drivers associated with how and why the architect evolved to design the home. It;s a classic Hollywood-ish time capsule.

Interesting to recall Halsey Manor, Mama. You featured him years ago. If I recall, he's a bit of a -- so-he-thought -- invincible golden boy prancer. And, oh no, the rumored buyer is a wild ride, too. All so yummy.

Good job, sassy gurl.

Sandpiper said...

P.S. Air kisses to Fairy Godmother. Always nice to hear your name.

Anonymous said...

If indeed the buyer is Tamara Ecclestone, though I do have my doubts about that, and she decides to demolish the house, she better hire the beautifully refined Brazilian architecture masters Isay Weinfeld or Marcio Kogan to the table. Nothing else would do. I would love to see something as gorgeous as Casa Grécia take the Neff's Southern Colonial house's place.

I'm torn on this house. On the one hand, I agree with 2:21 PM, 2:35 PM, and Sandpiper, but also see the point of 1:58 PM.

It could be refreshed wonderfully, both the house, and the grounds, which make the property seem abandoned and desolate. The pool needs to go, as does the tennis court.

Anonymous said...

It has a website:

http://www.delfern.com/mls/

Anonymous said...

Let us look up the adjective exclusive in The Chambers Dictionary, a “dictionary for word lovers”:

exclusive adj 1 involving the rejection or denial of something else or everything else.

2 (exclusive to someone or something) limited to, given to, found in, etc only that place, group or person.

3 (exclusive of someone or something) not including a specified thing.

4 not readily accepting others into the group, especially because of a feeling of superiority • an exclusive club.

5 fashionable and expensive • an exclusive restaurant.

Whether you look at meanings number 2, 4, or 5, Holmby Hills satisfies them all. Thus, it is exclusive.

Mr DHH said...

This was Wallace Neff last design
and built in 1970.The grounds alone are heaven and then some.This was and still is California Dreaming-in the hills that is (north of Sunset)-swimming pools,movie stars.Old money
baby.

Anonymous said...

Holmby hills is not exclusive, no one would even know you lived there, they'll just know you live in Los Angeles since it is in LA city limits, which also means it deals with crappy LAPD, etc.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again... It has just been explained what exclusive means.

Rabbi, Li'l, the pet thing?

To me, at the same time, the house looks like both something out of Tennessee, or Georgia, or some other southern state, and like an estate of a Texan oil magnate right out of Dallas, or Dynasty.

Anonymous said...

3:03, please don't encourage her to get back on here and ramble aimlessly. :p

Anonymous said...

This Delfern house was formerly on the rental market for quite some time at about $100k/mo

Anonymous said...

Boker tov, shavua tov, good morning, good week 3:03 a.m. and especially 6:26 a.m.:

Wallace Neff designed many innovatively beautiful homes. The front facade of this house isn't particularly original, while its tasteful restraint is reminiscent of funereal architecture. The anorexic columns, paved automobile court, rear bulbous bays, and enormous terrace are further suggestive of suburban New Jersey catering halls.

The Rabbi recognizes the Hollywood glamour inherent within the estate, and she worships the oval, double-height entry, gilded mirrors, chandeliers, and chinoiserie wall coverings. It is simply the Rabbi's opinion that this home, unlike the majority of Mr. Neff's work, has a predictable, elusive and, to borrow an adjective from 6:26 a.m., aimless quality.

Rabbi Hedda LaCasa

Anonymous said...

Dearest Rabbi, do you know of any other houses designed in this way which are good examples of the style?

Anonymous said...

6:26 was misquoted with use of the word "aimless." It references an author who predictably emerges above.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea what happened, but at one point, many frequent commentators disappeared from this blog. All at once. There was also a flotilla of anonymous ones, and it was always so lively, even with the most hideous houses. You could always find out a new little titbit in the comments. I think it was around the time those spammers came on, and when it had to be forbidden for anonymous to comment, but then that was brought back, yet the people were gone.

Anonymous said...

WYF? Who is 11:12 Troll? You don't make any sense.

Anonymous said...

Oh, not again, another one... 12:06, just read the old posts, read the comments, and then compare. Perhaps you've not been here for enough time.

Anonymous said...

Confidential to Anonymous 9:37 a.m.:

The Rabbi remembers a magnificent Georgian revival home, the Zanuck estate, in Beverly Park of all places, recently reviewed by Mama. Unfortunately, the Rabbi cannot recall a southern colonial revival truly evocative of the plantations along the Nachez Trace.

For authenticity, one should look for a sufficiently deep portico to provide welcome shade, along with structurally substantial columns, jib windows, a neo-Greek entry with a paneled door, sidelights and transom, and marble mantles with Tuscan arches.

The interior stairway should display superlative carpentry, and the Rabbi once again refers the Kinderlach to the Winterthur Museum, this time to the Montmorenci stair hall for an elliptical, free-floating marvel. Also within Winterthur is the Chinese Parlor, upon which Great Aunt Goldie-Gilda exclaimed, "It looks a lot like my Grand Concourse dining room!"

Confidential to Anonymous 11:12 a.m.:

The Rabbi also misses many previous commentators, among them St. Paul Snowman with his hardy and hearty mid-western sensibility.

Rabbi Hedda LaCasa

Sandpiper said...

What is all of this yipping at each other's heels. Let's relax and keep this blog the fun is should be.

That's just my humble opinion.

Anonymous said...

6:26 THE ANSWER LIES WITHIN THE HIJACKING OF THIS SITE BY 2 and only 2...The Rabbi and his devotee, Little Gay Boy!

Such ramblings, pontifications, dissertations by self anointed doyennes of taste...all the while using this comment section to ridicule and crush as the last word!

Please...post YOUR own dwellings, so WE may see how the LAST WORD IN DIVINE DESIGN lives...time to take off the dandruff flecked bifocals, put away the cold kreplach, and learn to be nice...KARMA

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Dear Rabbi, your thoughts, impressions, and knowledge are much appreciated.

post YOUR own dwellings, so WE may see how the LAST WORD IN DIVINE DESIGN lives

Who is this imperative meant for?

What is all of this yipping at each other's heels. Let's relax and keep this blog the fun is should be.

That's just my humble opinion.


I concur.

Anonymous said...

The Rabbi also misses many previous commentators, among them St. Paul Snowman with his hardy and hearty mid-western sensibility.

You're over 6 years too late to the party for reminiscing about any good old days, newbie.

Anonymous said...

The rabbi and little gay boy alias LGB minus the T or not, know the imperative is meant for them BOTH to show US their magnificent homes with chandeliers EXACTLY measured to the width of rooms, rooms evoking symmetry with proper scaled rooms and moldings, of course all the while filled with museum quality furnishings. Its SO tiresome, how the only thing they can offer is wicked wording hidden behind anonymity.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that part of the criticism of architecture, to know what kind of columns go where, how wide should there be, how illiterate the architect who messed the whole thing up is? When architects attended the Parisian École des Beaux-Arts they had to know that, and so much more. It puts perspective into things when someone knows how things should look, and how awful they do when a Los Angeles architect does a parody of it.

Anonymous said...

COMMUNIQUE TO LIL GAY BOY, RABBI HEDDA LA CASSA, AND ANY OTHERS OF THE SAME ILK:

Study Study Study....Wallace Neff WAS a Premier Architect in the Golden Age of Southern California Architecture, when The Masters as FLW, NEUTRA, SCHINDLER, GORDON KAUFMAN, REGINALD JOHNSON, ROLAND COATE and others enjoyed spectacular building carte blanche.
Neff, diluted the essence of Classical to a Modernist extraction befitting the era and the clients taste no different than Picasso from his Blue Period to Cubism and beyond.
The fact you are ridiculing the design means your gravely uneducated in this Masters and most others career trajectories.

PLEASE REFRAIN FROM BULLYING!

Anonymous said...

How does that apply to the house at hand? What do you have to say about the atrocious columns or the unappealing double bay-windows? Do not refrain yourself.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:11 Almost all Wallace Neff houses are Spanish/Med not classical to modern extraction. His airform bubble homes are modern and weren't popular in the US. Study yourself and don't misinform.

Confidential to Rabbi LaBORING said...

Rabbi LaBORING is the AUTHOR of three ANON comments above:

7:41, 7:53, 8:11
ALL SELF ENDORSEMENTS

LaBORING is a CLUELESS wiki whore on a head trip.

Anonymous said...

I said STUDY...so far, no one is stating the obvious growth of Neff from 20s archtectural gems to diluted versions of the same for the 60s to 70s...Groucho Marx home in Palm Springs and Beverly Hills, King Vidor from 20s to 50s...read on!

Anonymous said...

9:03 AM is wrong.

But people know who you are.

Carry on.

Anonymous said...

I presume that this house has been covered in one of the Wallace Neff books:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Wallace+Neff

Does anyone know which one?

Confidential to Rabbi LaBORING said...

Let us wait while NEWBIE RABBI LaBORING = 9:14 & 9:25 goes wiki wild SELF EDUCATING herself on NEFF only to return and VOMIT HERSELF all over us.

Anonymous said...

Oh, dear... You do know that a moderator of this blog knows the IPs from which people send comments? So he or she knows who is who.

Anonymous said...

Maybe instead of trying to rip each other apart all of you people that have knowledge of Neff's career could have a real conversation about the pluses and minuses of the house's architectural value as opposed to a boxing match which is just useless and boring?

I happen to think the house and grounds are a little worn out but magnificent. No matter what one thinks of the house's architecture it is so rare to have almost 8 private acres in middle of a giant city like this.

Anonymous said...

So WISE 10:32...this is what the site started out as, informative and educational for most with compilations of perhaps long forgotten stories, and now it's become a parody not worthy of commenting for so many whose voices have been silenced by a Cabal not worthy even of the RuPaul dictionary of Drag queen language!

Anonymous said...

Maybe instead of trying to rip each other apart all of you people that have knowledge of Neff's career could have a real conversation about the pluses and minuses of the house's architectural value as opposed to a boxing match which is just useless and boring?

That is all I wanted, and the Rabbi provided a peace of information.

BTW, there is an update up there, on the top of the page, it seems that Jerry Bruckheimer bought the estate.

Sandpiper said...

Dear Sweet Mama,

Unfortunately, I've come to resent what this comment section has become.

I'm wholeheartedly agree with everybody up there. LGB is the best. Otherwise, since when has this become a platform for some half-baked self-imposed matriarch. Ya, blunt. No apologies for my feelings.

This was once a ODs me on architectural history. Come here for a mindless breather and a few Meows and playful asides.

Will still post when I please in the context this platform originally established -- Loony, fun and garnering friendships rather than frenemies by insecure pseudo-dictators.

Sandpiper said...

Correction: Come here after I OD on architectural history homework coursework at school.