Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Diane Keaton Flips Out in Pacific Palisades

SELLER: Diane Keaton
LOCATION: W. Sunset Boulevard, Pacific Palisades, CA
PRICE: Unknown
SIZE: 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Anyone with a penchant for preserving historical Los Angeles real estate should probably bow down and kiss the Oscar winning toes of actress Diane Keaton. Yes puppies, she does cut a funky and not always flattering fashion statement as she clomps around Rodeo Drive in her ankle length skirts, funny hats, extra-wide belts, and gloved hands even in the 85 degree mid day heat. But you know what? Your Mama relishes and respects that this intelligent and accomplished woman of a certain age works her own style and does not capitulate to the Hollywood ideal of fake boobies, Botoxed brows and that tawdry, sad and desperate desire to look 30 even when you're 65. That's right, we said it, and all you middle aged ladee ack-tur-usses whose bodies and faces have been sliced, diced, pulled and pumped full of Restylane know we are talking about you. Much to Your Mama's delight, Miz Keaton proudly flips the proverbial bird to all the casting agents, producers, directors and etc. who will only cast young hothouse flowers they want to screw. And we admire her greatly for that.

Anyoo, much as we're fascinated by it, we're really not here to discuss the trials and tribulations of growing older in Hollywood, but rather the real estate transactions of the rich and famous and Diane Keaton qualifies as both. Miz Keaton, a well known property flipper who concentrates her renovation energies on historical houses that were designed by big names in the Southern California architectural lexicon, is at it again and is flipping another legendary and architecturally significant property.

Property records show that in February of 2007, the kooky and clearly architecturally savvy Miz Keaton plunked down $9,100,000 for the Lloyd Wright designed Alfred Newman Estate tucked into the inside of a sweeping curve on Sunset Boulevard in Pacific Palisades. Now children, just in case some of y'all don't know, Lloyd Wright was the architect son of the iconographic and iconoclastic Frank Lloyd Wright.

The 2.625 acre property slopes down from Sunset Boulevard with the 4,386 square foot, 6 bedroom and 5 bathroom residence perfectly positioned at the top of the slope to provide peaceful sylvan views over the tree tops of Rustic Canyon. Built in 1948 for nine time Oscar winning film and television composer Alfred Newman, the property includes a natural spring for irrigation, which Your Mama imagines will be a huge asset when the water wars start in California. And mark Your Mama's words children, there will one day be bitter battles over scarce water supplies in California. At the bottom of the sloping property is a riding arena, as well as a small barn and stables for putting up the ponies. Behind the house, Lloyd Wright planned open spaces, an area for outdoor concerts and one of his signature hexagonal swimming pools.

The house itself sort of follows the lines of a sprawling and modified A-frame design, but to compare the house to one of those dime a dozen ski chalets in Big Bear or Lake Tahoe would be criminal and enormously simplistic. The roof lines and exterior articulations, while exuberant and even dramatic, are far more subtle, engaged and intricately planned than the average A-frame. However, Your Mama is almost certain some of you brats are going to say it looks like a stoopid ski chalet anyway and that you'd rather have a big house in Hidden Hills than this uglee piece of shit. Whatever.

The interiors spaces, at least at the time that Miz Keaton purchased the property, include the original parquet floors, acres of simple but beautifully executed mill work, long stretches of floor to ceiling glazing with views rural enough to make one forget they're in the metropolis of Los Angeles, four wood burning fireplaces, and scads of built ins in the unusually shaped rooms.

Your Mama presumes that Miz Keaton did some sort of a restoration number on the house before putting it back up for sale just one year after purchasing the property. However, as of this morning, we're really not sure whether she did any work to the house or not. Anyone want to email Your Mama and fill us in? Although our Fairy Godmother in Bel Air was thoughtful enough to provide Your Mama with some old photos of the interior spaces, we've decided not to post them because we simply don't know if the interior spaces still look the way they do in the photographs.

Among the other properties Miz Keaton and her team of architectural historians and restorationists have worked over include the Lloyd Wright designed Samuel-Novarro House in Los Feliz that was later owned by young actress Christina Ricci (who has since sold it), and an 8 bedroom and 9 bathroom Wallace Neff designed house on N. Roxbury in Bev Hills that she sold to Madonna who in turn sold it in 2004 and which recently transferred again for a whopping $15,680,000.

We hear from the usually very well informed Kenny Kissentell that Miz Keaton has recently been quite bizzy renovating an 8,434 square foot house in the Bev Hills flats on N. Roxbury Drive that property records show she scooped up in February 2007 for $8,100,000 and where we understand she presently lives.

The Alfred Newman Estate has yet to hit the open market despite the large advert that recently ran in the Los Angeles Times announcing that the property was once again available for purchase. The asking price is not yet public, and none of Your Mama's contacts have yet to provide us with the somewhat secret number. But we just know one of you giddy little tattle tales will get in touch with Your Mama soon and let us know.


Anonymous said...

Please post the old pics - I'd love to see what the inside used to look like.

so_chic_darling said...

Oh I love her for restoring important houses and not towing the line when it comes to all that Hollywood Botox crap.Bravo!

Alessandra said...

Love Diane Keaton for loving homes.

This one doesn't look like 4300 sq. ft. in the photos, but who cares? It's on a large parcel, is architecturally interesting and has probably been gently updated.

I'd buy it, but I'm reading a lot of Dr. Seuss to the kid these days, so perhaps I'm infected with certain design sensibilities.

Anonymous said...

Where is her house in Bel Air?

Anonymous said...

I love Diane Keaton's independent spirit, and I think it speaks volumes about her that she cares to maintain historically significant properties. Finally, not a tart embracing the 'throw-away' mentality.

Parker said...

Would love to see more photos, please!

Anonymous said...

This is one gnarly stretch of Sunset -- good thing the main entrance seems to be from Rustic Lane, around the bend, where Sunset is nice and straight.

Lloyd Wright's architecture veers toward kitsch in my book, but it's still cool.

Anonymous said...

Diane is the savior of important California architecture; although his popularity is coming back, Lloyd Wright always lived in his father's shadow and his own individual style was never as appreciated as it should have been.

The wonders she worked on the Samuel-Navarro house (ah, Ramon Navarro - what a silent screen icon!) was nothing less than miraculous; I'd credit her with re-awakening interest in Lloyd Wright's work.

The Sowden House in Los Feliz is probably his most iconic work (and is apparently on the market for an undisclosed sum):


Although it's restoration wasn't as sensitive as Miz Keaton would have executed (having been executed by the recently-made-infamous by this blog Xorin Balbes), it is a stunner of an example of '20s LA architecture.

This house is obviously a later work; Mama, please post the old photos you have - we're talking historic, here.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Diane Keaton and happen to think she has fabulous taste. Don't let those long skirts and hats fool you. She's not trying to look uglee - she's trying to avoid sun exposure. You don't need as much botox that way. Just ask Michelle Phillips.
As far as the house, it's nice, but it wouldn't be my first choice.

Anonymous said...

Interiors ... not recent ...

Background on son in the shadow ...

Anonymous said...

What do you think will happen with the water situation in California? What will the solution be?

Anonymous said...

Keaton used to live at 242 Copa de Oro but sold the house in (I think) 2005. She's at 820 Roxbury now.

Anonymous said...

A few years back didn't she purchase an architecturally significant property down in Long Beach or somewhere like that? I just remember something about Long Beach & her buying a property ... any info?

Alessandra said...

Thank you, sandpiper. I continue to be intrigued.

Anonymous said...

The lady sure knows how to pick 'em.

Anonymous said...

I love Samuel-Navarro as "restored" but don't think it could be called a "sensitive" restoration. Keaton removed original doors (between living and dining room for example), most of the flooring (now polished concrete), and made some changes to the lower level.

But she should be given credit for caring enough to get involved period. She is also on the board for the restoration of Ennis House.

Sowden is an eternal listing. I think Balbes keeps it listed just as a promotional stunt.

I would actually consider Samuel-Navarro to be his most iconic work.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:46,

I think Miz Keaton restored the house to when it belonged to Samuel, and took out some of the additions made by Navarro before he moved in.

BTW, this is not the house that Navarro was murdered in; he'd sold this one long before two hustlers robbed and killed him.

Lloyd Wright did the landscaping for all of his father's houses in the LA area (Ennis, the Millard House - La Miniatura, Storer and Freeman; not too sure about the Barnsdall House, though - he was much younger when that was built.)

First time I visited LA I went to every one of those houses, plus the Anderton Court Shops (although I did get some looks, not being properly dressed for Rodeo Drive).


Never got a glimpse of Eaglefeather, though, the Arch Obler compound in Malibu. Too bad the main house was never constructed -- it would have been something!

Anonymous said...

uh, HELLO, LGB, mama ain't yer secretary to dispatch and get the old photos out and post them toot suite so you can continuez le lecture!

seems like y'all are so busy drooling on each other's wit and pop cultural allusions that Mama's posts and what she points out are the last thing gettin' attention.

seriously, what is up with that extreme peaked roof jutting out over the veranda or whatever it is. seems like it would be forever shaded and therefore cold as the ground i expect to be residing in when the dear lord calls me home, perhaps as soon as next week.

now i'm going to fix me a batch of kool aid, and wait to read some civil and informed postings about the damn house and the post, instead of Obama and that damn Hillary woman and her loyal community of lesbaux and homeaux


Anonymous said...

Samuel was Navarro's accountant/manager. He owned the house for a very short time before selling it to Navarro due to financial problems. My Lloyd Wright book uses post-Keaton remodel photos then includes small black & whites of the original to show the differences. I would have to check the book but I believe Navarro's change (designed by Wright) was a single story addition to the lower level which I believe had only been a basement prior. The roof of the addition created an outdoor dining patio off the dining room.

By the way, if you saw Millard (La Miniatura) in Pasedena, the artist studio is a Lloyd Wright. His father was busy so he ended up getting the commission. The studio has just finished being restored and was open a few weeks ago. The main house is still under restoration.

Anonymous said...


Let me pour you some Kool-Aid. It's a special grape flavor I called a "Jim Jones".


Anonymous said...

Samuel had to sell the house to Novarro because he'd mishandled or embezzled money from Novarro to pay for the house itself. Novarro ended up "getting the house" in the deal more than wanting it.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure to be scolded for this, but I have to agree with Rayna...It seems to matter little what Mama writes anymore...most of you just try to outwit, outsnark and impress each other with pithy remarks.

that said, I think this house is a treasure. i wonder about the sound from Sunset, but it's just so great to see that someone in LA is committed to saving important properties rather than tearing them down and putting up another neo-quasi-faux Tuscan extravaganza.

Anonymous said...

oh, Jim's kool aid didn't get me the first time, so i t'aint worried about it this time.

i'll be home when jesus says so - in a simple pine box.

as for the exterior of the house, it's modernity feels a little italicized somehow

Anonymous said...

Lloyd Wright, like his father, used extreme roof overhangs to shelter the interior from the sun during the hottest part of the day (or season, depending upon location), but to allow it to shine in when the sun was low in the sky, lighting and warming the interiors.

Sandpiper, thanks for the links - too bad the photos weren't from when the house was furnished - it must have been something! And the article on FLLW's son showed that he was much more than just daddy's lackey.

Anon 2:55, I think I know the book you're referring to; I believe Navarro also made some changes to the pool area and added a garden as well. Not a bad trade off for someone who embezzled from you, hmmm? Funnily enough, I was just reading about the studio at La Miniatura last night; seems Mrs. Millard, a former client of FLLW from back east, commissioned it for more space to sell her antique book collection (against the advice of her financial advisor, who thought the house a waste of money), and FLLW convinced her to buy the adjoining property before turning the project over to his son.

Girl at the Bar, sounds like we're going to need a pitcher of that Kool-Aid . . .

Anonymous said...

Meow Ryana!

Anonymous said...

The house is a little spikey and male for my taste, but I'd hate to see it taken down.


You realize of course that those that mixed Mister Jones' Kool Aid drank the Kool Aid too, right? So good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't dream of "taste-testing" it.

Anonymous said...

Stick with the top shelf and we'll all get along just fine!

Anonymous said...

Rayna, welcome to our problem. Your summary is the best yet.

Anonymous said...

Rayna, girl, welcome to the nut house.

Loved the little "pine box" and "until Jesus calls me home" references . . . priceless; I'm still giggling!

Sit back and join in the mudslinging when you can; I expect you have an expert eye and a good overhand.

Anonymous said...

lil' gay boy
Could you please consider turning this blog back over to the owner who built it without your help and created its following despite your overbearing cry for domination. This need for attention is unbecoming an adult. I could possibly tolerate you if you blew me away with something anything cool to say. Your world is small and your ego is large. I urge you to set up your own blog. Please don't further spoil a nice thing here. You try to pass yourself of as a global authority. It is clear that you are not. You are a poser. Please do not ask me to pass by your name if I'm not interested in your comments. That seems to be your standard reply to the increasing number of complaints. Could you consider for a moment that it's not us; it's you? Your dominance here has become so extreme that passing on your abundant MEANINGLESS POMPUS comments would mean not visting this blog at all and that would be a shame. Please think about it.

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed, I too think it's high time LGB started his own blog. No more bullshit about not having the time. You clearly got time dude.

He's got LOTS to say and a good number of "fans" here who would surely form a core readership for him, right? He can write about F.L. Wright and elegant but long forgotten Long Island estates. It could work. It really could.

Then maybe he would come here and comment a very tolerable and enjoyable two or three times a day as opposed to 15 or 20.

Anonymous said...

I know I'd read it!

I'm with "Regular" here.

LGB, whaddaya say, time to get off of Mama's Real Estate teat?

You just need a great name for it (the blog).

Anonymous said...

LGB, I'm starting to feel sorry for BGD. He must be starving for attention; yours is ALWAYS here. Please get a life and stop typing ad nauseam on this blog. Mama has had over a million hits. Your handfull of lovers here will follow you to your own blog. It surely would not take time from your "work".

Anonymous said...

I find LGB's comments interesting and worthwhile, like I find the other factual and informative comments. Not sure what the problem is with the rest of you whiners, but why not go find your own blogs if this isn't satisfactory for you. Oh, and Sandpiper, thanks for those photos.

Anonymous said...

Only drink top shelf myself. Serve up the shyte grape kool-aid to trash and tell 'em it was a purple passion cosmo. Rayna's probably got a high drug tolerance from being raised in that formaldehyde-laden trailer. I'll mix up a batch of my super-purple-people-punch. It ought to grow hair on her chest.

Anonymous said...

well, girlie, jesus, didn't put me on this world to live in a damn trailer.

no siree.

but if you consider a rocio romero 1453 sq foot LV series home an off-gassing heap 'o aluminum, then so be it.

i might go out in pine box, but while i'm here i'm enjoying the finer things.

as fer hair on my chest, put down Middlesex and go git some fresh air.


Anonymous said...

I don't know about the rest of you, but I especially enjoy when LGB or one of his surrogates chimes in bravely under the "Anonymous" tag.

Anonymous said...

I speak for myself in saying I don't chime on this initiative.

palgeorge said...

The intent for the Newman house was to restore it and use as an office or guest house and build another house on the large parcel. Traffic noise is a problem, but it's a very unique and lovely parcel.

DK bought and sold a vintage Spanish house with beach access in Laguna Beach a couple years back.

The Bel Air house at 242 Copa de Oro was for many years owned by Director Peter Bogdanovich, DK expanded, restored and sold it in 2005.

The Navarro house was not sold by DK to Chistina Ricci, she had long since sold it.

Anonymous said...

Don't sell her short, 5:57. You could be in over your mushy primate brain. It could happen. Women have a voice now. True story. Or, don't you read Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. It's a new day, baby. You can't stop it no matter how much you beat that little untoned flabby chest.

Anonymous said...

There have been a lot of comments about "Slade Smiley" from The Real Housewives of Orange County regarding his wealth and financial status. While I don't know him, I know of him, and I do know there are many ways to hold ownership of Real Estate. A quick search of the public records and you will find no less than 11 properties held in the Smiley Family Trust and that is just in O.C. Just some food for thought.

I also know Mr. Smiley sold his Coto home to the tenants in a wrapp around deal. They where to pay the bank direct untill they could afford to buy the home in there name. Countrywide failed to cash there checks for several month and filed a wrongful N.O.D. We are handling the escrow so I know Countrywide is in the process of correcting there error. Nothing is really ever as it appears.

Anonymous said...

I was close friends with the family when I was much younger and The Newman Family lived in this house.
It was and exquisite house back then and had so much to offer. Te four rooms not in the main part of the house were like separate rooms similar to a motor lodge that is one story. The separate quarters had large bay windows in them and open unlike the standard rooms back in the fifties and sixties. The Kitchen was large with a big booth as the kitchen table which overlooked the pool with a view and the master bedroom was above the kitchen and dinning room area upstairs. The entrance takes yo past the stables below and on up the road to the house.
It was set in a creek area with a canyon atmosphere .
The neighbors near by were Nannette Fabre and John Forsthye from Dynasty fame . Martha was a Goldwyn Girl before she met Alfred who was a famous mucian and had won nine academy awards for musicals such as Airport, The King and I and South Pacific, just to name a few. I had such a FANTASTIC life growing up in Pacific Palisades and having many friends like the Newman family .
Never new way back this house was and is a Frank Lloyd Wright House. How wonderful...


Anonymous said...

This house I have very fond memories of. I was close friends with the people that I believe sold it to Dianne Keaton and lived in the house from the fifties until early eighties.
When I would go stay and visit the owners then were the Newman Family.
Alfred the famous composer and nine time academy award winner of hit like The King and I, South Pacific and Airport , just before Alfred died.
His wife Martha was a Goldwyn Girl when Alfred met and eventually married her. They had two girls and two boy. David Newman a famous composer and award winner and Thomas Newman another famous composer and award winner both up frequently for best score for the music to movies. All the children five in all were and are talented musicians. Walking into the living room where all nine Oscars sat was a real vision. Martha told me once that a couple of the children would use them for bowling and was very surprised to walk in on that.

The house was laid out over and nice amount of land at the bottom and start of the property has stables and a riding ring. The property lies in a private area right off Sunset Blvd were a nice amount of homes were set back off Sunset some. The neighbors were Nannette Fabre and John Forsthye's. John Forsthye's home was bought by Arnold Swarztnager when John passed away.
The house was at the top of a slight hill the main area and where the Master was , was in the A frame part of the house. The Kitchen overlooked the pool and had a huge kitchen breakfast booth. The master bedroom was above the kitchen area with another room next to the master. The living room was an open with wood interior and windows that made it very open in places instead of walls with drapes that closed the rooms most the rooms off from view.
There were four separate room areas two overlooking the pool and two to the back of the A frame and main house. One room a studio and office when not a guest room.
The house was more rustic with white roofing and the pictures shown are when Dianne bought it and looked very much like the snap back when I would b
My Father built a large portion of Pacific Palisades and the LA , Malibu and Santa Monica area, and I'd see my Fathers light up when he would drive me or pick me up from the house with his love of building and structure ,as well as Martha being drop dead Gorgeous with her pearcing blue eyes and golden blond hair.
Just thought I'd share a story of this FANTASTIC Frank Lloyd Wright wonder and I never knew until now. Any wonder it was such a magical place when I was younger...