Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Larry Ellison's Japanese Freak Out

SELLER: Larry Ellison
LOCATION: 96 Isabella Avenue, Atherton, CA
PRICE: $16,000,000
SIZE: approx. 1.75 acres, 8,000 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: (shortened from listing agent's website) An exquisite expression of the guiding principle of Japanese aesthetics...Abundant windows and sliding glass doors with pocket shoji screens open to the exquisitely landscaped grounds...The elegant and flowing floor arranged over two levels, highlighted by a sumptuous master suite with a fireplace and two full bathrooms. The outstanding grounds include an authentic Japanese tea house, exquisite Japanese strolling gardens with decks, ponds, waterfalls, koi pond, an in-ground spa and a dark-bottom swimming pool rimmed with boulders that melds into the landscape.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Lahwd children, Your Mama's mind is boggled and bewildered at the amount of swanky real estate this man has acquired, improved and renovated all over the state of California in the last few years. Of course, when you are number four on the Forbes 400 with a net worth in excess of 19 billion dollars, you have a little money to toss around on the real estate.

This property, sitting smack in middle of one of the most expensive zip codes in all of the U-nited States, was first put up for sale in March 0f 2005 for a jaw dropping $25,000,000. In a 2005 article on, the listing agent, a Ms. Mary Gullixson of Alain Pinel Realty, claims there was a flurry of interested and "very, very well-qualified" buyers who came a-running to see the place right away. But children, we all know how buyers can be. As qualified as they may have been, they were also fickle and probably just plain nosy. So without a buyer, the price has been lowered to a more reasonable $16,000,000 over the last 18 months.

The house, originally built in the 1960s, was purchased by the flamboyant CEO in 1987 for around $6,000,000. And as you can see babies, he proceeded to turn what was once a somewhat modest ranch home into a full-on Japanese freak out, dumping a truckload of money in the process.

In addition to twisting the house up into a serene and contemporary version of a traditional Japanese dwelling, Ellison had the gardens ripped out and replaced with oodles of Japanese specimen trees and foliage. By all accounts and photos, the gardens are beyond compare. Your Mama does not even want to think about the grounds keeping bill. Just about every room has views of or opens to the mammoth koi pond. The property is gated, of course, and the house includes an attached 2-car garage, music room, office, and two traditional tatami rooms. There is the requisite heated pool and a clay tennis court to complete the property.

Now babies, we don't want to appear to be a hater or a bitter-betty because we don't have a Japanese tea house of our own, but Your Mama is not sure we approve of the furniture choices Mr. Ellison's decorator has made here. Those high-backed dining room chairs make our backs ache just to look at them, and those couches, while comfortable looking, are just so beige. We can only hope they're covered in some sweet and soft velvet to make up for their aggressive ordinariness.

Now kids, this software magnate, co-founder and top man at Oracle, does not live in this house anymore, so there is no need to be driving up and down the streets of Atherton hoping to catch a glimpse of the bearded billionaire. See, not only did he Japanify this property, he has spent the last six or seven years building an even more lavish Japanese-style spread up the road in Woodside. These new digs, his current home, spread over 23 meticulously and obsessively landscaped acres. It is said to be one of the most expensive (and valuable) private residences in the country. Your Mama will continue to spread the common rumor this billionaire has spent close to $200,000,000 building and landscaping the property. But that sounds like a crazy number to us and we imagine is just has to be closer to $100,000,000.

Mr. Ellison has not limited his real estate rampage in the Bay Area. Oh no. He has been snapping up properties left and right in Malibu, California. Children, hold on to your wigs now, because Your Mama is about to blow your minds. It is reported this man has purchased at least 12 properties in Malibu worth more than $180,000,000. This includes a staggering $65,000,000 he spent in one fell swoop on five contiguous ocean front properties on Carbon Beach...the most expensive and exclusive section of ocean frontage in Malibu.

And if all that was not enough extravagance to make your head spin right off your body, Mr. Ellison currently owns the longest privately owned boat in the world. At 454 feet long, and christened the Rising Sun, building this boat cost Mr. Ellison more than the Gross National Product of many-a small countries: a shocking $194,000,000 according to leaked papers from his accountant. People, this boat is significantly longer than a football field, looks more like a Carnival Cruises ship than a private boat and likely costs upwards of $20,000,000 per year to maintain. There are heaps of credible reports that Mr. Ellison is selling or has already sold this boat for an astounding $200,000,000, which of course would just barely cover his construction costs. Your Mama can only point to children towards speculation as to why someone would go through the trouble and expense to build a monster boat like this only to sell it on just one year later.

Boat or no boat, Mr. Ellison has some serious money for all you children to ponder and work to get your minds around as you hop into your hoopty vehicles and head on down to the Wal-Mart.


Anonymous said...

Why in the world would someone work so hard to create a house like that and then fill it with such g-dawful furniture?

Anonymous said...

The furniture is inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh's work. Google "mackintosh willow chair" and you get the chairs in the piano lounge (or whatever you would call it; English is not my native language). The dining table chairs, too, are Mackintosh-inspired although Mackintosh would have made the backs straight, I guess. Google "mackintosh chair" for the high-backed chairs.
I like to look at Mackintosh furniture; I have visited the Mackintosh House in Glasgow, but I agree that the chairs are probably quite uncomfortable. Still, I think the furniture fits in quite well with this kind of Japanese minimalism.
Nice to look at, but not cozy, just stylish and a bit cold. I guess Brad Pitt would quite like this.

Dr.Gray said...

I like the furniture. I think its very fitting to the Japanese tea house theme. Not all modern furniture is as uncomfortable as it may look.

Unknown said...

This guy is an absolute nut. While working on his Mountain Home Road estate all the workmen (plumbers, heavy equipment operators, painters, carpenters, landscapers, AC guys - everybody) was told to not be seen whenever Larry or his wife were on site. There was a guy who blew a whistle whenever either one of them were coming. We literally had to hide behind rocks, inside sheds, whatever until they were gone.

Schratboy said...

Larry is a freak of nature.

Anonymous said...

People - have you heard of these people called "stagers" - they come to your house and decorate it for you when you put it up for sale. I imagine this would also be the work of such person, albeit much better paid than the ones who stage the 3 br/2 ba house in silicon valley. These are supposed to appeal to the masses, not to individual taste of the buyer or the seller.

Anonymous said...

You know I find most critics of how a wealthy man does with his income is his affair. He seems to a myself a real estate developer in SF, Tarzana, Mailbusome in the columns area. The enar 1 billion he has invested in his property aquisitions and rising sun will probably yield in the a markey unlike todays. But in 2-3 years will certainly recoop all he spent in addition to what charters his yacht out at 1.4 million weekly nd is strictly only available from July 15. thru October 20th. Due to his need for the 4th of July investor party's and various vactions,and holidays. So you guys need to concern you're interest in how you invest you're money or how you may able to become a multibillionare that ever finacial naive likethe above can critique how you spend money you earned.

Philippines Real Estates said...

Well that was his house! That's what he want. We can never blame him, it's his money used anyway.