Friday, January 31, 2014

Scarlett Johansson Buy Hamptons Hideaway

BUYER: Scarlett Johansson
LOCATION: Amagansett, NY
PRICE: $2,200,000
SIZE: 3,500 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Last August, before this winter wrung its icy hands around around the throat of the the Eastern Seaboard and other locales throughout the U.S., smoldering full-time movie star and idiosyncratic part-time singer Scarlett Johansson surreptitiously spent $2.2 million to acquire a shingled cottage in the low key but crazy pricey ocean side community of Amagansett, NY, in the hoity-toity Hamptons.

The four-time Golden Globe nominee, a petite, usually blond and buxom silver screen stunner if there ever was one, has danced around Tinseltown since the mid-1990s but, despite a plum role in the critically acclaimed Robert Redford's Oscar-nominated western romance The Horse Whisperer, Your Mama doesn't think Miz Johansson's real showbiz break didn't come until 2003 when she starred in Sofia Coppola's self-consciously quirky, Oscar-winning film Lost in Translation. Since then there have been a slew of movies. Many have been forgettable, a good number of them small but (arguably) interesting (The Girl With the Pearl Earring, Vicki Christina Barcelona, Don Jon, and the currently in theaters Her), and a healthy handful of them big budget sci-fi action flicks (Iron Man, The Avengers franchise and the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier).

Property records show the often circumspect in public and decidedly in-demand Miz Johansoon purchased the property through an opaquely named trust from Australian model turned fashion designer Gail Elliot. Presumably she will share the residence, when in residence, with her Paris-based Frenchman fiancée, Romain Dauriac, often described as a journalist, the former editor of the now defunct art- and street culture-oriented quarterly Clark, and the current manager of an advertising agency (or something like that).

Listing details Your Mama turned up on the internets show the 3,500-ish square foot two-story house sits down a long private drive on 1.41 private acres where it butts up to a sylvan Peconic Land Trust preserve and the unspoiled ocean side gorgeousness of Napeague State Park. On the outside it looks like a classic, shingled cottage dripping with vines and weathered by the bite of the salty air. Inside, however, the main living spaces take on a vaguely-Bali-esque and almost loft-like vibe with a spacious, wood-floored open-concept main living space anchored by a hulking, two-sided stucco fireplace at its center.

The front door opens directly into the main living room that makes one, awkward step down in the middle of the room as it extends towards a generous bank of glass doors that slide open to a wisteria enshrouded veranda with a verdant view—in the summer time, at least—of a long, wide and lush swathe of lawn that lies between the house and a dense perimeter of privacy ensuring, untamed shrubbery that rings the house.

The roomy dining area opens to the somewhat compact but none-the-less expensively equipped center island kitchen that's appears in listing photographs to be fitted and kitted with milk chocolate toned Shaker-style cabinets, sand-colored slab stone counter tops, and the customary suite of high-grade commercial-style stainless steel appliances.

As a cranky aside: Your Mama can't help but note in the listing photo of the kitchen that there's a microwave over—or, worse, a toaster oven—set catty-corner on the counter top. Children, what Your Mama wants to know is how someone spend upwards of $50,000 to remodel or install a reasonably upscale kitchen in a multi-million dollar house in the Hamptons and does not require and provide built-in space for a goddamn microwave oven? Child, pleeze. For $2.2 million, this property gossip would not care to give up a square inch of valuable counter space to a microwave oven that the architect or kitchen designer shoulda hand the common sense and decency to provide a built-in cubby for. Lowrd have mercy, we got our blood all up with our silly rant and now we need a damn nerve pill. Anyhoodles, poodles...

Each of the three guest/family bedrooms appear in listing photos as better than average sized with en-suite facilities and direct access to the outdoors. One of the downstairs bedrooms has an awkwardly positioned fireplace and built-in bookcases and (at least) one of the upstairs bedrooms has a private deck that over looks the swimming pool and allows for an elevated, over-the-tree-tops view towards (if not exactly of) the ocean.

Like all good and worthy houses in the Hamptons, there are generous and many outdoor entertaining and recreation spaces that encourage indoor/outdoor summertime living. Broad lawns are dotted with a mature shade tree or two and there's a pergola-shaded dining deck on the back of the house as well as a balcony-shaded spot off the dining room for grilling. Even though deeded access to the beach and ocean is just a couple hundred yards down the street, there's a simple, rectangular in-ground swimming pool girdled by a wooden fence and encircled by a slender strip of decking.

Everybody know, of course, that the world renown Hamptons communities crawl with rich and famous types and Miz Johansson will not lack for a legion of high profile clam back companions should she want them. Sara Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick have long owned (a compound) in the Amagansett Dunes area and actress turned self-styled lifestyle guru Gyneth Paltrow is just down the road in shingle-sided mansion. (Did y'all see Miz Paltrow had the living/music room of her Hamptons house worked over by some designer she likes and then stuck pictures of the entire process and the very white and pearl gray end result up on her Goop website? Well, she did. Anyways...) At the end of the street is the ocean front house that radio shock jock Howard Stern bought in 2003 for $5.5 million and sold in 2006 for $7.6 million.

Although we hardly know a pig from a bergère chair Your Mama isn't aware of Miz Johansson owning any real estate in Los Angeles. In June 2013 she sold a condo in Hollywood—we believe it was her mother who occupied the apartment—and the poor lamb lost her real estate shorts on a 1930s Spanish villa in L.A.'s Outpost Estates 'hood that she scooped up in May 2007 for $7 million and sold in June 2010 for just $4 million.

Back on the East Coast Your Mama's research does suggest that Miz Johansson still owns a small, terraced penthouse apartment in the swanky but somewhat unfashionable Sutton Place 'hood in Midtown Manhattan that she snatched up for $2,100,000 in April 2008, not long before she married Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds.*

*In August 2009 Miz Johansson and Mister Reynolds paid $2.9 million for a Buff & Hensman-designed mid-century modern in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles but did not—so the gossip goes—ever occupy it as a couple because they split up almost immediately after they bought it. It was sold in May 2012 for $3,500,000.

listing photos: Douglas Elliman

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chef Anthony Bourdain Buys Big Apple Combo Condo

BUYER: Anthony Bourdain and Ottavia Busia
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $3,350,000
SIZE: 2,250 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Just about all the New York City-oriented property gossips have already reported that wildly and unreservedly opinionated high profile chef Anthony Bourdain and his Sardinian second wife, mixed martial arts fighter Ottavia Busia Bourdain, paid $3,350,000 for a two-unit combo condo in the unfashionable but hardly inexpensive upper reaches of the Upper East Side but we're gonna have a brief discuss on the matter anyways, okay?

In addition to being the former head chef and the current "chef at large" of Brasserie Les Halles in New York City's uptown and downtown locations, the quick witted and unapologetically acerbic Mister Bourdain is the author of several books (Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, The Nasty Bits) and at least one cook book (Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook). He may be best known as an Emmy nominated television host (Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown) and the fearless eater—he (in)famously an unwashed warthog rectum—recently announced plans to develop a major food market in an as-yet unannounced location with stalls that sell international street food.

Property records show Mister and Second Missus Bourdain selected for their Big Apple residence a three (convertible to four) bedroom and three bathroom combination apartment on a very low floor of the Carnegie Hill Tower, a 32-story, post-war condo tower with scant architectural intrigue but does have over-sized bay windows that allow for panoramic views from the upper floors plus a bevy of full-service amenities that include doormen, cold storage (for grocery and flower deliveries), a resident's only gym and bike room, laundry facilities, an attached garage (for additional fees, of course), landscaped mews, and a communal roof deck.

The somewhat unconventionally laid out apartment has, as configured in the floor plan included with online marketing materials, three bedrooms, a front door opens somewhat rudely directly into a wood floored, split-level living space comprised of two adjoining but separate spaces with a tree top vista that's verdant in the spring and summer and twig-filled in the fall and winter. Although it seems highly likely Mister Bourdain will install a spacious, all-knew and custom designed kitchen where he can practice his culinary skills, the existing kitchen located off the lower part of the living area looks dark and rather puny.

The larger of the two guest/family bedrooms nestled in behind the kitchen has a private bathroom while he other has access to a hall bathroom that is also the bathroom guests would likely make use. There's an unfortunate second entrance in the master bedroom that's located at the opposite end of the apartment off the upper level of the living space. Other less than optimal characteristics of the master suite as it stands in its current layout are a minuscule bathroom and limited closet space. Although easily remedied with a couple of walls and a door or two the laundry room also appears to be located in the master suite.

Your Mama's research indicates (but does not exactly prove) that for the last three or four years Mister and Second Missus Bourdain have occupied a three bedroom and three bathroom apartment on a high floor of an upscale if otherwise undistinguished 30-story full-service rental tower in the Yorkville section of the Upper East Side. We really have no idea exactly how much they cough up each month for rent but the three-exposure spread was last available on the open market in 2009 with an asking price of $8,000.

listing photos and floor plan: Douglas Elliman

Your Mama Hears...

...from Patsy Propertypurveyor—an impeccably well-connected informant we sometimes chitty-chat with, that 38-year old cat walker turned bling flingin' mid-priced apparel tycooness Kimora Lee Simmons is about to buy a new estate in Beverly Hills and this time, children, the lady ain't foolin' around.

In August 2007, after she and her first husband, Russell Simmons, split but before they were officially divorced, Miz Simmons acquired a faux-Tudor mini-mansion in a star-studded enclave in the upper Coldwater Canyon area in the Beverly Hills Post Office. She put the place up for sale in early 2010 for $5,695,000 and, after a grimly long slog and a huge hit to her designer pocketbook, she finally sold the white elephant in July 2012 for $4.55 million. In September 2008, before her divorce from Russell Simmons was finalized and also before she sold the above mentioned B.H.P.O. house but after she got with with and made a baby out of wedlock with actor Djimon Hounsou, she laid out $10,950,000 for a 9,405 square foot Mediterranean manor house just off Coldwater Canyon Beverly Hills proper.*

Just before Your Mama left our cozy way station in ice-bound Brooklyn to head to the airport to wing out way home to sunny California, word tumbled down the celebrity real estate gossip grapevine via Patsy Propertypurveyor that Miz Simmons—possibly (and probably) with her wealthy new banker boyfriend Tim Leissner**—is fixin' to shell out somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million for Guess jeans co-founder Armand Marciano's almost 20-acre Mediterranean-style estate perched on a private ridge in the Beverly Crest area above Benedict Canyon in Beverly Hills. We told y'all this beotch wasn't playin' this time, didn't we?

Miz Simmons and Mister Leissner —along Miz Simmons's three children and her ex-husband Russell Simmons—spent the Christmas holidays and the New Year, along with scads and scores of other rich and famous types, on the fancy-schmancy resort island of St. Barts. At least part of the smoothly blended family's time in the Caribbean appears to have been spent on a 201-foot yacht with seven en-suite staterooms, an attentive crew of 17, and a winter season charter price of $325,000 per week, plus expenses that, according to industry standards, easily run an additional 25% of the base charter price. But anyways...

The estate in question, the one that is currently owned by Guess co-founder Armand Marciano, was first hoisted on the open market in mid-2011 with an in-hindsight deeply rose-tinted $63,000,000 price tag. The asking price had plummeted to $54.5 million by the spring of 2013 before it was hacked in the fall to $47.5 million, 25% less than the original figure. Not long after last year became this year Mister Marciano and his high-profile team of real estate agents dropped the price by another 9% to its final $43 million.

Digital marketing materials show the ocher-hued villa was completed in 2001, sits down a long gated driveway, and spans more than 30,000 square feet—the L.A. County Tax Man shows it at 24,260—with seven bedrooms, 13 full and 9 half bathrooms plus a self-contained staff or guest suite with three bedrooms and a full kitchen. Other numbers of note related to the four or five parcel spread are the five flat acres, the nine fireplaces, and the eight car garage, not to mention additional parking for 20 or more cars.

The grand entry, as per listing descriptions Your Mama dug up, is dressed with imported French limestone and the roomy formal living room has an 18th-century limestone fireplace mantelpiece and direct access to a deep and long loggia that runs along the rear of the residence.

The formal dining room easily seats a dozen or more and links through to the kitchen via a butler's pantry equipped with a walk-in refrigerator. Reclaimed 18th century terra cotta tiles imported from Bordeaux provide the sprawling, double-island kitchen with a patinated counter weight to modern cooking amenities that include four overs, a commercial-grade grill, and warming drawers.

Movie goers and those who like to watch their reality shows at life size will appreciate the linen-lined, main floor screening room fitted and kitted with a concealed projection screen, black-out shades, and—booze lovers take note—a sunken bar. In addition to the aforementioned three bedroom guest or staff suite, the lower level contains a home gym, a game room, laundry facilities, and an 8,000 bottle wine cellar and tasting room.

The expansive, second floor master suite encompasses a sky-lit entry vestibule, a separate bedroom and sitting room with fireplace, a canyon and city view terrace, dual dressing rooms, and two bathrooms, his accented with a masculine Rouge Griotte marble and hers equipped with a steam shower, private access to the downstairs library, and a separate hair salon.  Each of the other five guest/family bedrooms on the upper floor open to private or shared balconies.

Naturally the house has all the modern bells and whistles that can and should be expected in an up-to-date $40-ish million dollar mansion: an elevator that services all floors, tootsie-friendly heated floors, a high-tech home automation system, a state of the art security system that Your Mama would bet the farm is camera-equipped, and at least one safe room.

The exterior spaces of the estate were no less painstakingly planned and addressed than the super-luxe interiors. There are city park-sized flat lawns with sweeping city views, numerous garden spaces teeming with mature plantings, meandering pathways, and several fountains. There are fruit trees and grape vines, an outdoor dining pavilion, and a brick-pave motor court. Next to the hidden and lighted tennis court there's a pavilion with lounge area and two half-bathrooms and next to the mosaic tile lined swimming pool there's a roomy pool house with full kitchen, pizza oven, and two full bathrooms.

Now keep in mind, children, until the deal goes down, the transaction records clear and/or y'all read it in one of the more respectable property gossip columns this is all just some high-end real estate rumor and gossip. Okay? Stay tuned...

*As far as this property gossip knows Miz Simmons' current residence in Bev Hills is not currently available as an on or off market listing. But, then again, what do we really know, right?

**Mister Leissner, as best as Your Mama can tell is a German fella of Brazilian ancestry who possesses a PhD of some sort and currently shakes his money maker as the vice chairman of investment banking in Asia for Goldman Sachs.

listing photos: Hilton & Hyland / Coldwell Banker

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Turns Out Toni Braxton Ain't Broke, Buys $3M House

BUYER: Toni Braxton
LOCATION: Calabasas, CA
PRICE: around $3,000,000
SIZE: 5,323 square feet, 4-5 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Just because R&B singer/songwriter turned reality t.v. denizen Toni Braxton has filed for bankruptcy twice—first in 1998 and again in 2011—does not, apparently, mean the six time Grammy-winning lady does not still have the dough-re-mi to spend, as was reported by TMZ, somewhere around three million clams for a spacious and luxuriously appointed if perfectly ordinary semi-custom tract house in suburban Los Angeles.*

Listing details that Your Mama dug up on the internets described Miz Braxton's new digs in the upscale, guard-gated, and celeb-friendly Oaks development in Calabasas, CA, as a "French Country Inspired single story" residence with four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms in 5,323 square feet.

A gated and enclosed entry courtyard with fireplace leads to an entrance hall that appears (to Your Mama in listing photographs) to be flanked by a formal dining room and a formal living room, the latter with inlaid wood floors, built-in bookcases on either side of a fireplace, a vaulted and beamed wood ceiling, and four sets of wood-framed glass doors the open to a loggia that overlooks the swimming pool.

Less formal family quarters include well-equipped if rigorously beige and tan center island kitchen with side-by-side fridge and freezer plus additional refrigerated drawers, a heavy-duty wood-beamed ceiling treatment, granite counter tops, an apron-style porcelain sink, a walk-in pantry, and a separate butler's pantry with wine fridge. The adjoining informal eating area opens to a slender side yard and the adjacent family room has parquet wood floors, a built-in entertainment unit, a yawn-worthy curved corner fireplace, and a row of wood-framed glass doors that connect to the backyard recreation and entertainment areas.

The fully-carpeted master suite features a bedroom with t.v. surmounted (gas) fireplace, a separate sitting room/boudoir with direct backyard access, dual walk-in closets, and a bathroom fitted and kitted with twin sinks, separate make-up vanity, limestone floors, a garden spa tub, a separate shower, and a private cubby for the crapper. Each of the three additional guest/family bedrooms have en-suite facilities and, as per marketing materials, a bonus room can be pressed into use as a fifth bedroom if desired or required.

Backyard amenities include the aforementioned loggia, a pergola pavilion near a salt water swimming pool and spa, several fountains, a roomy terrace, a wee patch o' grass, and a second, free-standing outdoor fireplace next to the swimming pool.

Miz Braxton, a newly divorced mother of two, has owned at least two previous residences in the Los Angeles area including a house in Tarzana and a condo in Century City she sold in 2009 for $1.2 million. She's also owned at least two houses in suburban Atlanta, including a six bedroom and eight bathroom mini-mansion in Duluth that she lost to foreclosure in 2011. She also previously owned a five bedroom and 4.5 bathroom residence in an affluent gated enclave in Henderson, NV, that she also lost to foreclosure in 2010.

The Oaks, arguably Calabasas's premier gated community, has seen a spate of celebrity related real estate stories of late. First came word that reality t.v. star and boutique owner Kourtney Kardashian and her baby daddy man-friend, "Lord" Scott Disick, planned to list their extravagantly decorated house—it's now officially listed on the open market for $3,499,000—and spent an as yet unknown amount of reality t.v. money to buy retired professional footballer Keyshawn Johnson's nearly 12,000 square foot custom-built behemoth. Today, after the much publicized face-spitting fracas, a bizarre egg-throwing brouhaha, and a subsequent police search during which lots of illicit substances were found throughout the house came not exactly surprising, if unsubstantiated reports that misbehaving teen-aged pop phenom Justin Bieber may finally be ready to sell his approximately 9,000 square foot Spanish-stye residence in The Oaks. Somehow we doubt his neighbors, who now count a Kardashian and Toni Braxton among them, will waste much time waving goodbye.

*The house in question last sold, according to property records, in March 2008 for $3.6 million and it was last listed on the open market in early January 2014 for $2,975,000. The sale price has yet to be recorded or revealed as far as this property gossip knows.

listing photos: Ewing and Associates / Sotheby's International Realty

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Morning Catch Up

Glee's beau-hunky blond Chord Overstreet—a former teen model and 2013 Teen Choice Award winner—dumped $1,310,000 million on a glassy and newly renovated, single-story contemporary above Lake Hollywood. (Yes, bunnies, there is an actual lake/reservoir in Hollywood). Listing details show the house has three bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, an open-concept Euro-style kitchen, and house-dotted canyon views. (Trulia Luxe Living)

Reality television star and enterprising boutique owner Kourtney Kardashian and her weirdly flashy baby daddy/man-friend Scott Disick reportedly purchased retired professional footballer Keyshawn Johnson's nearly 12,000 square foot macmansion in the very same gated Calabasas, CA, enclave where one of their new neighbors will be hellion pop star/wannabe thug Justin Bieber. The sprawling, Richard Landry-designed mansion—described in listing materials as a "Contemporary Mediterranean"—has six bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms. The sale price has yet to be recorded (or leaked) but any of the children would like more details on Kourt's new krib, Your Mama (dissed and) discussed the manse more than a year ago when it was listed for $10.5 million. (E! Online)

In other Kardashian family real estate news, word on the celebrity real estate street is that divorcing sister Khloe sold her and estranged husband Lamar Odom's mock-Med in Tarzana, CA, to well-paid sitcom star Kaley Cuoco (Big Bang Theory) and her professional tennis player hubby, Ryan Sweeting. The house was listed for just under $4 million and sold for just under $5.5 million. (No, babies, that is not a type, Miz Cuoco paid about $1.5 million over asking.) So the scuttlebutt goes Khloe K. either scooped up or would like to acquire a similarly sized macmansion near her momager's big ol' house in the guard-gated, celeb-attracting, and horse-oriented Hidden Hills community. (TMZ)

Since Your Mama dropped in to New York City for a brief (and somewhat unexpected) visit, we'll wind up with a few Big Apple-centric real estate ditties.

Woody Allen and Mia Farrow's puffy lipped and wicked smart son Ronan Farrow—who Miz Farrow recently and tantalizingly suggested might actually be the illegitimate son of blue-eyed crooner Frank Sinatra—spent $1.495 million for a luxurious but fairly ordinary 982-square foot two bedroom and two bathroom apartment in a fancy new condo building new Lincoln Square on the Upper West Side. (New York Post)

For months now the half-dozen not yet completed penthouse pads atop the legendary Puck Building in SoHo,which were developed by Ivanka Trump's young, savvy, and baby-faced husband, Jared Kushner, have been shrouded in secrecy. While there has been much hullabaloo and tongue wagging by property gossips none of the roomy residences, reportedly priced between twenty and sixty million bucks, were not, until now, listed on the open market. (Curbed)

The Puck penthouses have been toured privately by a handful of rich and/or otherwise high-profile people including Leo DiCaprio, who went on to drop ten or more million clams for a "green" place in Greenwich Village, and middle-aged rock star Jon Bon Jovi, who, bless his real estate heart, has yet to unload his super-sized duplex penthouse in Soho despite reducing the asking price from $42 million to $39.9.*

The saga continues for Russian multi-billionaire Roman Abramovich's so-far stymied effort to acquire all five of the lavish cooperative apartments at the massive Berwind Mansion on Fifth Avenue and re-combine them into the robber baron-worthy mansion that it was originally built to be. We're sure everyone but the richest of the rich is plays their finger violins for the inveterate real estate baller's plight, right?

And finally, Michael Gross, the always entertaining chronicler of the real estate affairs of the super rich, penned a piece for a recent issue of Departures magazine about how the sale price for New York's most expensive apartments inches ever and inevitably closer to the magic and monumental nine figure mark. (Departures)

*Mister Bon Jovi's penthouse was taken off the open market in early December (2013) but property records do not indicate it's been sold.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Showbiz Exec Steve Burke Buys In L.A., Lists in P.A., and Holds in N.Y.C.

SELLER: Steve Burke
LOCATION: Philadelphia, PA
PRICE: $5,200,000
SIZE: 8,120 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 full and 3 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Much to the self-serving chagrin of many, we're sure, Your Mama unilaterally decided that, today, rather than dis and discuss the real estate affairs of some over-exposed reality television denizen or a misbehaving super star or international film legend, we'd like to discuss powerful and influential entertainment industry executive Steve Burke. Not only did he quietly acquire a nearly nine million dollar house in Los Angeles in December (2012) but he and his missus, Gretchen, also—as we first learned from real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak—own an elegant, mansion-sized row house in downtown Philadelphia that's currently on the open market with an asking price of $5.2 million.

Mister Burke, formerly the well-compensate COO of the cable t.v. and internet services conglomerate Comcast, became the even better compensated head honcho CEO of NBC Universal in January of 2011 after a much ballyhood merger between the cable and media juggernauts. The veteran executive was launched to the top of the industry gossip pyramid last fall when he and his team botched the unceremonious firing of a long-time NBC Universal executive named Adam Fogelson. Now, before some of y'all get your knickers all up in an indignant twist, Your Mama knows that probably nobody in Peoria, Panama City, or Pawnee gives a shit about the Misters Burke and Fogelson and/or their bad professional blood but, make no mistake, butter beans, in Tinseltown this was a much reported on and tittered about topic at all the best Showbiz power lunch eateries that cater to industry insiders. Still don't care? Well, too bad. Have a gin and tonic and take a nerve pill and just try to enjoy the photos and the floor plans, okay?

Mister Burke, in his early 50s and still handsome in that clean-cut middle-aged former frat guy sort of way, purchased the historic red brick row house near Philadelphia's picturesque Rittenhouse Square in August 2010 for $5.85 million. It was, according to local property gossips, the most ever paid for such a property in downtown Philadelphia.

Current digital marketing materials show the five floor Georgian—there are four floors above ground plus a finished basement, all serviced by a wood-paneled elevator—stretches about 26 feet wide and spans 8,120 square feet with five bedrooms, six full and three half bathrooms, and half a dozen fireplaces.

Floor plans included with online listings show a raised stoop entry opens into a large entry with built-in window bench, wood floors, and an impressive staircase with lots of elaborately turned spindles. The street-facing formal living room has a fireplace and the formal dining room—the Burkes appear to have furnished it as a sitting room in listing photos—has an ornamented barrel vaulted ceiling. A full wall of bookcases fitted with leaded glass doors also opens on the back side in the dining area of the expensively outfitted and cook-friendly eat-in kitchen at the rear of the house.

On the lower level, in addition to a (windowless) fitness room, a three-quarter hall bath, and several impressive storage rooms and a walk-in wine storage space, there's an attached, alley-accessed two-car garage. Think about how desirable an attached two-car garage in the middle of downtown Philadelphia is to a wealthy, city-dwelling Philadelphian who prefers their own Mercedes or Maserati to the SEPTA. Anyways...

A bedroom-sized, bookcase-lined, and all-paneled library plus a larger family room (with fireplace) and a compact half bathroom in the hallway share the roomy row house's second floor with the master suite. The decent-sized but hardly huge master bedroom has a fireplace and direct access to a private deck. There's also a fitted walk-in closet/dressing room and a compartmentalized bathroom equipped with two sinks, a free-standing soaking tub, separate glassed-in steam shower and a wee dry sauna.

Each of the three bedrooms on the third floor have private attached bathrooms. The smallest gets no extra special amenities but the medium sized one has a fireplace and a small dressing area and the largest one, which stretches the full width of the house, not only has a fireplace but a fitted walk-in closet. A fourth family/guest bedroom on the fourth floor is identically sized and laid out as the largest bedroom the third floor. Also on the top floor is another pint-sized powder pooper in the hall and, at the back of the house, a wet-bar equipped media alcove and an adjoining sitting room with built-in book cases and French door access to a city view roof deck.

Mister and Missus Burke, who have five children, may have set a record sale price when they purchased their mid-city row house but, with it's current $5.2 million asking price, the West Coast-bound Burkes stand to loose a good-sized bundle of money, even if they manage to pull in a full price buyer. Indeed, as per Your Mama's bejeweled abacus, Mister and Missus Burke are looking at a bank account brutalizing $650,000 loss, not counting carrying costs, improvement expenses, and real estate fees.

Money, however, doesn't seem to be too much of an issue for Mister and Missus Burke, bless their financial hearts. Even though they're looking at a hefty loss in Philadelphia they still have the wherewithal to keep a huge spread in New York City—more on that later—and spend—as we also first heard from Yolanda Yakettyyak and confirmed with property records—$8,700,000 on a newly built mansion in L.A.'s Brentwood area. Listing details described the white, clapboard-sided house as a "New England Trad" that sits on almost a third of an acre in a discreet but decidedly affluent and—obviously—exceedingly expensive neighborhood and is conveniently located walking distance to The Brentwood Country Mart.

The children will note that listing details (and other reports) show Mister and Missus Burke's row house in Philly measures 8,120 square feet and listing details Your Mama turned up for their new house in Los Angeles shows it, too, has 8,120 square feet. Spooky or just a cute coinky-dink? You decide.

Listing details Your Mama turned up show the Colonial-esque residence has a total of six bedrooms and 6.5, one of each of which is comprise a staff suite in the finished basement area. The airy interior spaces were finished with furniture grade built-ins, quarter and rift sawn oak floors throughout, and feature vaulted wood ceilings and marble bathrooms.

There are, as is expected in a house of this size and price, a foyer that will impress guests, formal living and dining rooms, and a wood-paneled library. Less formal family quarters include an large eat-in kitchen with breakfast area, separate mud room, and an adjoining family room that opens to the backyard. Downstairs, in the finished basement, along with the staff bedroom and bathroom, there's a screening room with wet bar, a wine room, a powder room, and a laundry room with dual washers and dryers, probably handy for a family with five children. The landscaped backyard has large terraces and patios, one with a fire pit, a built-in barbecue set up, and a heated swimming pool and spa.

In New York City, Mister and Missus Burke own a large, terraced apartment in the same Arts and Crafts-y Upper West Side building where Madonna lived in a meandering multi-unit combo before she decamped to her triple wide townhouse on the Upper East Side. The Burke's, higher floor urban aerie is a combination of three apartments that property records and reports from the time show Mister and Missus Burke purchased in separate transaction between early May and late July in 2011.

First they paid $11.75 million for a large and lovely if somewhat quirkily laid out four bedroom and three bathroom apartment with a slender, 65-ish foot long terrace with sweeping views over Central Park to Fifth Avenue. Quick on the heels of that came the $2.95 off-market acquisition of the apartment next door—of unknown size—and shortly after that the space-craving couple coughed up another $1.8 million for a third, contiguous apartment with one bedroom and one bathroom. A few quick tabulations on Your Mama's bejeweled abacus reveals they spent a cool $16,500,000 to purchase the three apartments and we have to assume (without knowledge or proof) they've since spent a small fortune to combine them into one (hopefully cohesive), family-of-seven-sized sprawler. As of today the combo-crib is not listed on the open market but, of course, we don't have any inside intel on the Burke's future plans for the place.

listing photos and floor plan (Philadelphia): Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Fox & Roach
listing photos (Los Angeles): Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

UPDATE: Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy

Apparently, like the high profile owner before them, five-time Oscar-nominated producer Frank Marshall and his eight-time Oscar-nominated wife Kathleen Kennedy caught a good ol' case The Real Estate Fickle and decided not to build a custom estate on a vacant parcel of residential property in the rustic-luxe Mandeville Canyon area of Los Angeles that they picked up in November 2012 for $7.5 million. Thanks to the kindly and eagle eyed informant Mister Twister, we see they've now flipped the 2.53 acre parcel back on the open market with a significantly higher asking price of $9,750,000. Listing details are currently, at best, anemic and we don't have any inside intel regarding whether they did or did not have any plans drawn up but it appears on the surface that Mister Marshall and Miz Kennedy made few if any improvements to the property.

Avid celebrity property watchers will recall that the award winning movie makers purchased the property from fellow Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon who'd bought the property just over two years earlier for $6.9 million from Steven Seagal who does not have an Oscar but does have a Razzie (plus 8 more Razzie nominations).

At the time of Miz Witherspoon's purchase the property included a large main house and several outbuildings and equestrian facilities. She razed everything. Alas the she and husband Jim Toth opted not to move forward with construction of their own personal Xanadu and instead sold the lot and, instead, dropped $3 million on the house next door to her long time L.A. residence, a multi-parcel property in a discreetly wealthy gated enclave in nearby Brentwood.

Mister Marshall and Miz Kennedy quietly sold their previous residence, a very contemporary, hill-topping Gwathmey Seigal-designed mansion in Pacific Palisades' high-fallutin' Riviera 'hood, in a hush-hush off-market deal to Hollywood royals Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson in early 2010 for just over $26 million.

aerial listing photos: Coldwell Banker

A Bit of Mid-Week Catch Up

The East Hampton Star reported this week—as we first learned via a lovely missive from BS Beaverman—that ultra-conservative fire brand and political blow hard Bill O'Reilly has "bulldozed a tiny 1940s cottage" on a scenic, 1.6 acre ocean-view bluff in Montauk, NY, that he bought last year for $7.65 million in order to erect a "custom-built home" and outbuildings that total more than 8,000 square feet.


The never-resting celebrity gossip fiends at TMZ reported that P. Diddy protégé turned music industry heavy weight Rick Ross—a man better known in the hip-hop music world as Rap King—is in the process of acquiring Villa Vittoriosa, the 30-room mega mansion in Fayetteville, GA, that belonged to troubled boxer Evander Holyfield* until he lost it to foreclosure (or whatever) in 2012.

Digital marketing materials  show the super-sized residence sits on 105 acres, spans nearly 50,000 square feet and from the air looks like a small regional airport, has 12 bedrooms and 13 full and 8 half bathrooms, nine fireplaces, and a dining room that seat up to 100. The grounds include prairie-sized terraces, a resort-scaled swimming pool that requires 350,000 gallons to fill, a separate 4,000-ish square foot house for guest or staff, and a seven-tall horse barn plus additional equestrian facilities.


Aptly named penis-sexting Democratic politico Anthony Weiner took to Twitter today to express his displeasure about yesterday's short story in the New York Post that revealed he and his stand-by-her-man-missus are on the hunt for a less expensive rental in lower Manhattan. And by less expensive, apparently, they mean something in the $8,000 range, a good four or six grand less than the $12,000 to $14,000 they're allegedly paying to lease a large, four bedroom apartment on Park Avenue South from Jack Rosen, a well-connected Democratic donor and Clinton family friend.


As we first heard from those ever-industrious kids at Curbed the asking price for the 50-acre water-front estate in Greenwich, CT, known as Copper Beech Farm has been hacked from its outlandish (but publicity generating) original $190 million, first to $140 million and now down to a still sky-high $130 million.

Chris and Jacqueline Laurita List Franklin Lakes Macmansion

SELLERS: Chris and Jacqueline Laurita
LOCATION: Franklin Lakes, NJ
PRICE: $2,850,000
SIZE: 6,050 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: After oceans of rumors circulated about a possible foreclosure in early 2013 and a bevy of more recent, but also tongue-wagging reports of nearly $500,000 in unpaid taxes,* The Real Housewives of New Jersey's Jacqueline and Chris Laurita have heaved their long-time residence in Franklin Lakes, NJ, on the open market with an asking price of $2,850,000.**

Besides her co-starring role on the immensely popular reality series The Real Housewives of New Jersey and her newly taken up autism advocacy—for which we applaud her—we're not sure if the frequently (over-)emotional and sometimes a little screwy Jacqueline Laurita has an out-of-the-house job-jobUnlike some of her entrepreneurial cast mates who have made a made dash to branch out into cook books, auto-tuned pop songs, self aggrandizing marriage advice manuals, booze and jewelry lines, cannoli kits, and other money-making ventures Missus Laurita seems plenty content with only the approximately $250,000 she reportedly hauls in to willingly trot out her personal dramas and dirty laundry on national television.

Before he hawked that crazy, fulvic enhanced blk. water stuff—sorry, folks, but expensive bottled water that is black seems to Your Mama like an obviously really bad idea, regardless of whatever the benefits of fulvic may be—Mister Laurita co-owned a successful apparel manufacturing business with his Westport, CT-based brother Joseph. The New York City-based company once produced branded and licensed clothing lines for Eve and Jay-Z but the whole thing went down in 2009 in a public blaze of bankruptcy and, later, lurid allegations of fraud.*** As delicious (and disturbing) as the schadenfreude brought on by the onion-like inner-workings of their professional and financial lives may be it's Mister and Missus Laurita's current real estate plans that are Your Mama's primary concern.

Property records show Mister and Missus Laurita acquired their 1.75 spread in the un-gated South Gate Urban Farms development in upscale and semi-rural feeling Franklin Lakes in either late 2001 or early 2002 for $1,720,000. Listing details don't show the size of the house but the builder's website calls it a "French Manor" and puts it at 6,050 square feet while the Bergen County Tax Man puts it at 5,674 square feet. (Either way we're not sure if those figures take into account the sizable, fully-finished walk-out basement.) Digital marketing materials, which make not secret of the home's association the The Real Housewives of New Jersey, show the hulking, stucco and stone-faced faux-French Manor macmansion has six bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms.

Archways lined with stone—or possibly imitation-stone—flank the very brown and beige double-height foyer. To one side there's an office/library with wood floors, built-in bookcases, and a wood coffered ceiling and on the other a formal dining room done up in an ersatz and quintessentially suburban eleganza that Your Mama does not quite understand and certainly can't encourage. There are swagged and pasamentereied draperies, padded and brocade upholstered dining room chairs, there are elaborate (if confusing) ceiling detailing, and the entire room is wrapped in a hand-painted mural that depicts an idyllic Tuscan countryside. But children, the murals that depict idyllic Tuscan scenes don't stop there, not by a damn long shot. There's a also mural that wraps partway around the main floor powder pooper and, in the kitchen, there's a bucolic scenario painted on the vent hood.

Speaking of the kitchen, it has a center island the size of a small car, liberally carved and corbeled cabinetry, the customary suite of high-quality appliances, and both a snack counter and an adjoining breakfast room that opens to a large deck.

Upstairs the spacious (if drearily decorated) master suite has wood floors, high ceilings with another vexing ceiling treatment that we think is meant to impart a kind of elegance, two custom-fitted walk-in closets, and an attached bathroom that is not shown in listing materials Your Mama peeped but we would none-the-less bet both our long-bodied bitches, Linda and Beverly, would send shivers down our delicate decorative spine.

The aforementioned, fully-finished walk-out basement includes, as per listing materials, a children's play room, a card room, and office, a full bathroom, and a glass-fronted and temperature controlled walk-in wine cellar because, as anyone who's ever watched the show knows, these people like their wine and other liquors.

Other features of note include: radiant heated floors in the foyer, a gym, wiring for sound through in the house and exterior, a night vision camera equipped security system, and a heated four-car with convenient direct entry.

Outside there are limestone walkways, an acre (or so) of lawns, mature shrubbery and trees, and a good-sized deck on the back of the house with an outdoor kitchen set up. There is not a swimming pool, although listing information says one is available to the buyer.

For anyone who cares—and, make no mistake, children, there are millions and millions who care about these trivialities—Your Mama imagines the couple's journey from this house to their next will be documented by the reality t.v. cameras that both provide the Lauritas a hefty income but also expose the dark pockets of their lives to a public that—for better and worse—is hungry to mentally marinate themselves in someone else's personal issues and problems.

*According to Missus Laurita, the family home was never close to foreclosure and the liens and other things were somehow related to a mortgage modification situation and a 2006 tax audit.

**Your Mama first heard it from The Barefooted Postman but, credit where credit is due, after we worked out way through almost our entire discussion on the matter figured out that the Laurita's real estate affairs were previously discussed here and there and very well may (or may not) have been first reported nearly two weeks ago by the RHONJ-obsessed folks at Fame-Whorgas.

***Mister and Missus Laurita were both named and deposed as defendants in a still-pending $8 million legal action for "improperly using funds and assets" of the company to fund a lavish lifestyle of fancy cars, private jets, luxury vacations, and more than $1.5 million in undocumented disbursements. As any self-preserving sane person probably would, the couple claims it's all nonsense.

listing photos: McBride Agency

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

More Kardashian Family Real Estate News...

Sorry, kids, but Your Mama feels way under the weather today with a mysterious sickness that seems like a cold but might be the flu or unsupervised ennui and we regret to inform all of y'all who'd rather shove hot coals up in your naughty bits than read anything about the Kardashian family that all we got for you this morning is a short look at the kaleidoscopically saturated, high-glam suburban Los Angeles residence of reality television royal Kourtney Kardashian and her flashy and faux-tanned two-time baby daddy (and faux-royal) Scott Disick.

A quick spin through property records (and other online resources) shows entrepreneurial Miss Kardashian—she has a fragrance line and a string of clothing boutiques in L.A., Miami and NYC, and Mister Disick—he, in addition to behaving like an all-around douche bag most of the time, has or had some sort of involvement in a slew of companies that sell vitamins and other supplements that include a pill for male menopause, picked up the 5,200 square foot house in December 2010 for $1.7 million and had the four bedroom and five bathroom place worked over (and hard) by Kardashian family's favorite decorator Jeff Andrews.

The unmarried couple's painstakingly zhooshed (and arguably meretricious) home was recently featured in the slick and celeb-y online magazine Domaine. In the accompanying article—as if on queue—Kourtney announced that that they planned to sell the house—we  paraphrase here—so they can start the decorating process all over in a larger house, a process that we call all rest easy will most certainly be documented by one or more of the many Kardashian reality television shows. Whoopie.

In our current delicate condition we can't be bothered to discuss all the striped wallpaper, the hot pink child-sized grand piano, or the cobalt blue horse head figurine in the foyer but we will say we (mostly) really like the office/library with its black walls, furniture melange, and rainbow collection of color-coded books We also think the children ought to note the pink neon sign above the bed in the master bedroom by New York artist Curtis Kulig that reads, "love me." It's a fool's game, of course, but it's sorta tough not to read into that sign being placed above that bed, isn't it? Anyways...

In other Kardashian family real estate news, the also Jeff Andrews-decorated Tarzana macmansion that Khloe K. shared with her estranged professional basketball player hubby Lamar Odom has gone into escrow just nine days after being listed on the open market with an asking price of $5,499,000.

photos: Grey Crawford for Jeff Andrews via Domaine
aerial photo (bottom, right): Pacific Coast News

Monday, January 20, 2014

UPDATE: Steven Cohen

Last year, despite a nasty and very public securities and wire fraud investigation—an investigation that's since resulted in an elephantine $1.8 billion dollar settlement fine—famously secretive hedge fund fat cat Steven Cohen went on a hardcore residential real estate buying spree that included a much-ballyhooed $62.5 million acquisition of a 6.5 acre ocean front estate (above) in East Hampton, NY. The sale price was a full $2.5 million over the official asking price.

Now, less than a year later, comes word down the East Coast über-high end property gossip grapevine via the plugged-in property gossips at The Observer that Mister Cohen and his second wife, Alexandra, have caught a classic case of The Real Estate Fickle and have quietly made the property available for the right price if you know the right East End real estate agent to ring.

According to an unidentified attorney who's "familiar with the transaction,"it's not the $1.8 billion fine that has Mister Cohen scrambling for cash—he's got a fortune estimated between $8 and 10 billion so he can cover that with relative east—but rather because the swanky seaside enclave of East Hampton is just "too Jewish." Seriously, kids, that's what some attorney told the Observer. Too Jewish.*

The Observer revealed that an obviously sick rich but otherwise unnamed Australian has expressed some interest in the property but it's not clear if said Aussie was willing to equal the price Mister Cohen paid. Of course, Your Mama and ever other property gossip on the globe wants to know if billionaire David Geffen might want a second crack and the place since—so the story goes—he also wanted to purchase property but was outbid by Mister Cohen's all-cash offer.

The property was sold by the widow of private equity bigwig Robert McKeon—he committed suicide in the fall of 2012—and includes an approximately 10,000 square foot, three-story main residence, extensive gardens and vast lawns, a tennis court, and a bean-shaped swimming pool nestled into the dunes. Although Mister and Missus Cohen reportedly planned to gut and remodel the existing residence, at the time of its sale it had antique oak and limestone floors, a "barn-style" double-height ceiling, and an ocean view master suite plus six additional family bedrooms.

Some of the other wickedly wealthy and/or famous homeowners on (or just off) Further Lane include Jerry Seinfeld, hedge funder Jim Chanos—who owns the beach front house next door to Mister Cohen's smaller spread, Johnson & Johnson heir James "Jimmie" Johnson, modern art mogul Larry Gagosian, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, Austria-born fashion designer Helmut Lang, and ad man and t.v. personality Donny Deutsch. Immediately next door to Mister Cohen's $62.5 million acre spread is an even more impressive and painstakingly landscaped 18-ish acre estate that, after a long legal battle, passed from the late financier Christopher H. Browne to his architect widower Andrew Gordon. Mister Gordon passed somewhat suddenly last fall and, according to a well-connected Hamptons real estate insider, it might (or might not) be that Mister Cohen is thinking some real estate super-whale might come along and want to snatch up both properties to combine into one mega-estate? Hmm. Stranger things have happened, right?

The voracious collector of contemporary art and inveterate real estate baller's extensive portfolio of private residential real estate also include but may or may not be limited to:

—A 9,000-ish square foot multi-gambreled cottage-manse on 2.1 manicured acres that's also on East Hampton's Further Lane that he and the missus picked up in 2007 for $18,072,000

—Their primary residence, a 14-ish acre landscaped estate in Greenwich, CT, they bought in June 1998 for $14.8 million and has a Richard Serra sculpture in the front yard. They also own the 4.5 acre spread next door with its recently rebuilt and substantially smaller mansion.

—An art-filled, 9,000 square foot duplex in Midtown Manhattan that they bought in 2005 for $24 million, had worked over by Charles Gwathmey, and currently have on the open market for $98,000,000 after it was recently reduced from its ballsy original ask of $115 million.

—Two, newly erected (although not quite finished) eight-story side-by-side townhouses, also in the West Village, that were bought in December 2012 for a combined $38,806,000.

—An almost 10,000 square foot triplex maisonette condo at the Abingdon building—a former nursing home—in New York City's West Village that they scooped up in June 2013 for $23,419,750 million.

—As we were reminded by one of the children...A nearly 14,000 square foot house on 2.54 lake front acres in the swanky (if not fully built out) guard-gated Stone Creek Ranch developement. Property records show Mister and Missus Cohen picked up the 8 bedroom and 10.5 bathroom mansion in late 2005 for $8,500,000. Other homeowners in the community, as per property records Your Mama peeped, include retired professional football player Samari Rolle, waste disposal heir and investment conglomerate head H. Wayne Huizenga Jr., Italian foodservice mogul Louis Piancone, wireless technology entrepreneur Stephen Cavayero, natural gas magnate Francis Mennella, and toy and hobby supply wholesaler Brian Gobitz.

*Mister Cohen's representatives subsequently told The Observer that not only is the Jewish comment "fabricated, false, and despicable" but that the neither the house in question nor Mister and Missus Cohen's other house in East Hampton, a non-oceanfront mini estate also on Further Lane, are currently for sale. Make of that what you will.

aerial image (East Hampton): Bing

Your Mama Hears...

...from a gabby gal we'll call Nita Tellsomebody who told us openly gay glam-rock American Idol alum—and current Glee cast member—Adam Lambert is house hunting in the Sunset Strip area, more than likely with his recently licensed real estate agent mother, Leila.

According to Miss Tellsomebody Mister Lambert recently dropped by the open house for a gated residence tucked privately at the tail end of a private lane on a cul-de-sac near the top of Nichols Canyon and listed for almost $2.4 million. As of today the fully renovated post and beam-built house in question remains active on the open market and listing details show the 3,400 square foot two-story house has four bedrooms and three bathrooms, including a full-floor master suite with separate sitting room, canyon-view private terrace, fitted walk-in closet, and private bathroom with separate soaking tub and shower. The nearly one acre hillside property offers off-street parking for almost a dozen cars and a small (but flat) backyard area with a quadrant-shaped swimming pool (above).

For a couple years Mister Lambert rented a pretty darn spectacular, Lorcan O'Herlihy-designed house in the Beachwood Canyon/Hollywood Dell area that's just about across the street from a house once rented by once promising starlet turned tabloid train wreck turned upcoming reality t.v. denizen Lindsay Lohan. However, since at least beginning of 2013 the spiky-haired and often maquillaged Grammy nominee has leased in a high-floor two bedroom and two bathroom condo in a full-service building in the heart of West Hollywood where previous celebrity residents include Lindsay Lohan and Kelly Osbourne who, as it turns out, used to live across the hall until last summer (2013) when she rented a gated residence tucked deep into Beverly Hills Post Office that had previously been leased by—Tah-duh!—Lindsay Lohan. Anyways...

It seems Mister Lambert will have to settle on new digs—rented or purchased—quite soon since his rented West Hollywood condo appears to be back up for lease on the open market at $6,000 a month. Some of its creature comforts, according to listing details we scared up on the internets, shows there's a "discreet" Murphy bed in the second bedroom, broad city views from open-air patios off the living room and both bedrooms, a modern kitchen, and upgraded bathrooms, at least one of which has a waterfall shower and dry sauna.

listing photo: Keller Williams

Friday, January 17, 2014

Maggie Lawson Lists Eco-Friendly Los Feliz Home

SELLER: Maggie Lawson (and James Roday)
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $2,200,000
SIZE: 2,892 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Although they haven't married, made a baby or split up—at least not that Your Mama knows—long-romantically involved boob-toob co-stars Maggie Lawson and James Roday have none-the-less put their contemporary, eco-conscious residence in L.A.'s leafy and star studded Oaks nabe in Los Feliz with an asking price of $2,200,000.*

She may not be a tabloid staple or household name in the vein of, say, newly-married movie star Christina Ricci—who, as it turns out, re-listed her house in The Oaks this week with an asking price of $1,695,000—but Miz Lawson's still got a reasonably long list of Tinseltown credits going back to the mid-1990s when, at just 17 years old, the native Kentuckian scored a recurring role on the sitcom Happily Ever After. She later popped up on Party of Five, Inside Schwartz and It's All Relative before she landed her starring and to date seminal role on the detective-comedy Psych, currently in its 8th (and possibly final) season.

Since 2006 Miz Lawson has been romantically entangled with her frat-ishly handsome and usually scruffy-chinned, Psych co-star James Roday. According to Your Mama's research on the internets, Mister Roday honed his craft for the stage in New York City and, in addition to shaking his money maker on the cable tee-vee, scratches his thespian itch as the co-founder and co-artistic director of the Red Dog Squadron theater company in Los Angeles. In 2012 Mister Roday (and a partner) purchased the venerable, two-stage El Centro theater in Hollywood, just north of Larchmont Village.

Record show the property was purchased by Miz Lawson in August 2011 for $1,775,000; Only her name appears on the deeds and other publicly available documentation associated with the property but, for our purposes today, we're just going to assume the couple cohabitates. Current listing details show the modern-minded two-story house sits behind a tall and thick bamboo hedge and has four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms in 2,892 square feet of recently refreshed interior space. The house was originally built in 1953 but was, prior to Miz Lawson's purchased, reworked and expanded to its current size and configuration.

A quick comparison of current listing photos with those from the time of Miz Lawson's purchase show she, presumably with Mister Roday's input, stripped the interiors of most (but not all) of its faux-rustic/modern organic detailing—i.e. wood paneling in the den and wood trim work around windows and doors, and completely transformed the up-sloping backyard with a series of terraces, a solar-heated swimming pool and spa, and a snazzy lighting system that at night bathes the backyard in yellow, blue, and purple light.

There are white wood floors throughout the open-concept main living area that includes an entry hallway with built-in cabinetry for shoes and scarves (and whatever); a fairly casual and comfortably furnished "formal" living room with soaring vaulted ceiling and a monolithic concrete fireplace that pretty much extends the width of the room; and an adjoining, sky-lit tee-vee den custom-fitted with a massive glass wall that slides open to completely expose the room to the backyard.

The also sky-lit dining room next door has an indentation in the back wall fitted with a funky but functional wall-mounted buffet/booze bottle storage apparatus and, on the opposite wall, a three-stool snack bar and a window pass-through to the den.

The dining room opens on one end through glass doors to backyard and on the other to an also sky-lit kitchen with glossy white flat-fronted cabinetry topped with counters the exact color of concrete. There are open shelves fashioned from rough-hewn wood planks, a super-cute built-in dog feeding station under one of the two huge windows, and top-grade commercial-style appliances that include a built-in wine fridge, a built-in coffee maker, and a glass-fronted fridge-freezer that—swear to God, butter beans—retails for around $16,000.

There are two reasonably sized but hardly huge guest/family bedrooms on the main floor. One opens to the pool and both share a spacious if vexingly tiled hall bathroom. (There are mottled pinky-beige tiles on the floor, chocolate brown tiles in the otherwise glassed-in shower, and (downright mortifying) flesh-toned tiles on the vanity counter top and around the vintage, buff-colored tub. Anyways...)

A a barely noticeable stairway next to the front door leads up to a tiny landing. On the right there's a long but narrow bedroom with a quirkily-tiled attached bathroom. (Given it's size and proximity to the master suite Your Mama imagines the room might best be utilized as a meditation space, home office, work out room—as Miz Lawson had it set up—or, for those so inclined, an S/M dungeon.) To the left, a short hall lined is with closets on one side and sliding glass doors on the other that open to a small balcony. The master bedroom itself it large enough to accommodate a sitting area and has clerestory windows and a voluminous wood-paneled vaulted ceiling. The attached master bathroom isn't particularly big—and it is tiled with an odd and chunky-looking if not entirely unappealing mustard colored glass tile—but it is reasonably well-equipped with two two sinks mounted on a wooden counter, a separate soaking tub and shower, and a semi-private cubby for the crapper.

The newly re-worked backyard features a semi-sunken lounge area next to the swim-jet equipped swimming pool and spa. A long concrete flight of stairs up the middle and a puzzle-like series of smooth concrete retaining walls and flat terraces laid with low maintenance and water saving faux-grass step up the hillside to the uppermost level. Listing photos show there's a hammock on the top shelf and, quite honestly, Your Mama wouldn't mind curling up there on a warm, breezy afternoon or two with Haruki Murakami's magnificently epic 1Q84. But we digress...

Other features of note include earth-friendly faux grass, a camera-equipped security system, wiring for sound inside and outside, an attached two-car garage with direct entry, a roomy laundry room discretely tucked behind the kitchen along with a discreetly placed powder pooper.

We don't find any (easily accessible) evidence that Miz Lawson and/or Mister Roday own in Los Angeles although we did discover that in January 2012 Miz Lawson sold a modest bungalow in an area of Los Angeles marked "Terhangeles" on Bing's mapping system for $805,000; She purchased the 1200-ish square foot house inDecember 2003 for $694,500.

Mister Roday, as per Property Shark, owns a 1,138 square foot one bedroom and two bathroom apartment at the Jade building in New York City's ever-more-trendy and expensive Flatiron District that he picked up in January 2008 for $580,000. As it turns out this isn't the only apartment Mister Roday has owned in the slick and chi-chi building; Its interiors were famously designed by Mick and and Bianca Jagger's jet-setting jewelry designer daughter Jade. In February 2009 Mister Roday shelled ouyt $1,191,000 fone bedroom and two bathroom unit on the ninth floor that he sold in September 2012 for $1,270,000.

*Besides inexplicable capriciousness, financial concerns, and a myriad of other possible explanations, three of the top reasons rich and/or famous people sell one perfectly good house and buy another (usually larger and more expensive) house is because they've married, divorced or made a baby.

listing photos and floor plan: Nourmand and Associates

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sitcom Star Jim Parsons Lists (and Buys Bigger) in Los Feliz

SELLER: Jim Parsons and Todd Spiewak
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,850,000
SIZE: 2,827 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 full and 2 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Now that high-earning sitcom star Jim Parsons has acquired an A-lister-worthy house in L.A.'s Los Feliz 'hood—he just paid $6.375 for Robert Pattinson's house—he's, not surprisingly, gone ahead and put his Los Feliz starter house on the open market with an asking price of $1,850,000.

Your Mama's digitally accessible resources show show Mister Parsons—40 years old, a slender six-plus feet tall, and an out-of-the-closet homosexual has one Golden Globe and three Emmy's already under his Tinseltown belt—paid $1.3 million for the two-story hillside house in April 2009. Presumably he's shared the fairly modest if hardly inexpensive house with his mostly under-the-radar man-mate of a decade, art director Todd Spiewak. (The couple's bigger and more impressive new house is just a quick 1.2 miles to the north and west.)

Listing details Your Mama dug up on the internets show the couple's 2,827 square foot home, with three bedrooms and two full and two half bathrooms, is entered through a hedged, gated and lushly verdant entry courtyard with tile terracing and an outdoor fireplace. Inside, there are mocha-hued hardwood floors throughout the open plan, upper-level living spaces that include a "formal" living room with fireplace and wide, bowed window that overlooks the front courtyard. There's a second fireplace in the adjoining dining room where a row of wood-framed glass doors open to an open-railed balcony with wide—if not exactly spine-tingling—over-the-tree tops view of the house-dotted surrounding hills.

The dining room opens directly into a spacious double-island kitchen with medium toned wood cabinetry (that sorta clashes with the darker wood floors) and high-grade stainless steel appliances. Three industrial-style pendant fixtures hang over a black granite topped four-chair snack counter and a petite, built-in breakfast banquet tucks tightly into the interior angle of a descending staircase.

As best as we can ascertain from careful readings of marketing materials, two bedrooms on the upper level, one outfitted for Mister Parsons as a fitness room, share a hall bathrooms fitted with similar if not exact cabinet and counter top materials as in the kitchen. The roomy master suite, along with a long, wet-bar equipped den/office, is located on the lower level and includes a private sitting room, a good-sized (and gravely beige) bathroom with double sinks and separate tub and shower set up, and, finally, a fitted walk-in closet bigger than most peoples' bedroom.

In addition to the front courtyard, which actually wraps around one side of the house, and the balcony off the dining room on the upper level, outdoor living and recreation spaces include a deck off the lover level. There's also what appears to be a not-quite flat patch of ground below the back of the house that is not pictured in listing images and does not appear to have been used as much more than a dog run by the Misters Parsons and Spiewak's pooches but, with the right hillside engineering, might well accommodate a swimming pool.

In addition to their west coast home, last year Mister Parsons and Spiewak paid $1.822 million dollars for a 911-square foot two bedroom apartment in New York City that overlooks the private and postcard perfect Gramercy Park.

NOTE: Turns out the property gossip gal at Trulia Luxe Living popped up her post as we were finishing ours. Brava, lady!

listing photos: Keller Williams