Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Keyshawn Johnson's Condo at The Californian

SELLER: Keyshawn Johnson
LOCATION: The Californian, 10800 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $3,595,000
SIZE: 3,280 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Sophisticated newest building on Wilshire–The Californian. Stunning celebrity owned, 3 bedroom unit with head on southern exposure, panoramic city to ocean views. Highly upgraded, exciting & hip decor includes hardwood floors, custom closet doors, kitchen counters and cabinets, fireplace wall and much more. Great square footage, great flow, lots of light. Building has all amenities.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Lawhd children, we done wore ourselves out trying to get you the 411 on this apartment. For many, many weeks we have searched, begged, cajoled, and prostrated ourselves looking for ownership information on this apartment. It should have been easy. The listing states it's celebrity owned. But for the life of us we could not get anyone to cough up a name.

Then, finally, like glitter falling from the sky, we got an email from Tommy Tellall, one of our favorite tipsters in the high end world of Los Angeles real estate. So we all have Tommy to thank for floating us the owner's name, which is Keyshawn Johnson.

Well, as you might imagine, Your Mama didn't have a clue who this Keyshawn person is. Turns out he's a very famous footballer who at one time was the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL. In 2000, the dude signed a 6 year, $52,000,000 contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Serious money in sports kids, sear-ee-us money. Anyhoo, He must have been worth the big pay off because just a couple years later he went on to help the Buccaneers win the Super Bowl in 2002. In early 2007, as all you sports fans surely know, Mister Keyshawn officially retired, and apparently he's moved on to being some sort of an analyst on the ESPN, whatever that is.

Anywhoo, we're not here to discuss sports, but real estate, so let's set the oblong balls aside and move on to floors, walls, windows, and furniture. For those of you who do not know, The Californian is one of many luxury high rise apartment buildings that line Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood, just South of UCLA and West of the frou frou Little Holmby neighborhood. For those of you who don't already know, Little Holmby lays claim to two of the most famous houses in Los Angeles, the Playboy Mansion on Charing Cross Road and the obscenely large Spelling mansion on S. Mapleton Drive.

The Californian is one of the newest additions to the Westwood skyline, and the developer's did a most excellent job creating a strong and loud buzz on the building. However, if you ask Your Mama, and of course no one did, the exterior of the building is shockingly ordinary and looks like some sort of middle brow hotel or retirement tower in the northern section of Miami. But of course, the building's interior finishes and long list of services belies it's geriatric exterior and offers extensive and lavish amenities and white glove service.

Not so long ago there was a certain stigma attached to living in a condominium in Los Angeles. Rightly or wrongly, it indicated you were old or had fallen on hard times and could no longer afford the upkeep on the big Bev Hills or Bel Air estate. This negative association no longer exists and it's really quite chic to forgo the trouble and expense of a massive estate in exchange for a more practical, no fuss lifestyle. Just look at the popularity of the Sierra Towers, and of course, look at the sky high cost of the apartments in The Californian, which are not priced for anyone but the considerably wealthy.

Mister Keyshawn's unit occupies a corner of the seventh floor, and according to the listing has views from downtown all the way to the Ocean. hard to believe you can see all that from the seventh floor, but much of Los Angeles is FLAT so you don't have to be that high to be able to see that far.

The unit was clearly decorated by someone familiar with the Holly Hunt school of interior design, where we get clean modern lines that vaguely reference high design from the 1940s, sumptuous fabrics, and a mostly monochromatic color scheme.

Even though the color scheme here is mostly beige/buff, we happen to like this apartment. Ordinarily we are drawn to spaces that have interesting color choices, quirky personal items, and a considered but haphazard collection of furniture. But there is a soothing open feel to this condo that works on calming our too often frazzled nerves. Naturally we love the ebonized floors and think they look most excellent against the zebra wood wall/buffet in the dining area. We're not so keen on the frosted glass cabinet doors, but recognize the need for linen storage. Your Mama would have liked to see the zebra wood veneer continued on these sliding cabinet doors which would have create a more strict and unified facade.

The upgraded kitchen is good, and we L.O.V.E. the Carrara marble counter tops. What can not be seen in this photo is the wall of windows to the left which provide ample light and views. We do wonder if it would have been possible to move the sink over to the island so that when the maid was washing dishes she would be able to stare dreamily out at the view. Given that Your Mama has stacks of rocks all over our house at the beach, we can't help but appreciate the gray pebbles that bring a teeny tiny bit of nature into a totally unnatural location. It's a little cheesy, but we're giving them a pass because we like rocks. A lot.

We are also digging the floor to ceiling glass walls that extend the view and allow the small wrap terrace to become part of the visual living space. We are deeply grateful the decorator chose simple shade screens to block sunlight and provide privacy rather than clutter the glazing and view with acres of fabric.

We appreciate the effort of a room divider to help define space in an otherwise open, loft plan room. However, we are not digging this room divider at all. Honestly, it looks like something one could expect to see in an office building, not a private home. And we have no doubt that our mother in law Marilyn would run smack into that thing after a couple glasses of wine. So in the interest of safety, it would have to be hauled to the dump.

It was Your Mama's understanding that this unit was recently very close to being sold. We're not sure whether the buyer backed out or if Mister Keyshawn Johnson decided not to sell, but the unit has been officially taken off the market...although we suspect it is still quietly available. Anyone got the poop on that?

But that is no matter to anyone who might bee interested in buying a condominium at The Californian. There are currently many units on the market in the building, including the one next door ($3,550,000) to Mister Keyshwan Johnson's, and the unit directly above ($3,795,000). So if you like this place, call your agent quick to get you over to the Californian. And be sure your agent picks you up in her Rolls Royce, the only way to do real estate bizness in Los Angeles.


Anonymous said...

i like rocks too mama


Anonymous said...

Love just about everything except the exterior of building. I actually thought it was in some part of Florida until I read further, and the bathroom needs a little pizazz.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm.. not crazy about the building's exterior either, but it's style isn't typical of Florida, at least not in the areas I'm familiar with. I had to laugh at the stigma that used to exist regarding condos. L.A. has got to be the most insecure city in the U.S. of A., bar none.

Anonymous said...

iti s also the most polluted!


Anonymous said...

I like the countertops, not the cabinet color though. Ick!

Anonymous said...

What is the monthly homeowners dues on this unit?

Anonymous said...

When can I move in? This place is perfect for me. The only thing I don't like is seeing that block of building outside my dining table. I don't even care about the boring building exterior.

Anonymous said...

LA is very polluted, true. Makes my eyes burn. Pied-à-terre anyone?