Saturday, March 29, 2008

Weekend Mish Mash

It's baaaack. After disappearing from the market several weeks ago, the much altered but still lovely to look at Richard Neutra designed house in Bel Air that was built for Teledyne tycoon Henry Singleton and is currently owned by octogenarian hair guru Vidal Sassoon is back on the market with an asking price of $19,950,000, which is exactly the same asking price it was listed at before.

Due to it's architectural pedigree, the house garnered lots of publicity and attention when it first hit the market last summer. Your Mama even heard that talk show maven and house hopper Ellen Degeneres went up for a look see. But alas, no one with big bucks and modernist dreams stepped up to buy the 5-acre Mulholland Drive property.

Now, all you architectural purists go scream and yell in the comments section about how Mister Sassoon butchered this house during the renovation, because we know you want to.

The $22,500,000 house in the Holmby Hills that every gossip glossy thought Ben Garner and Jennifer Affleck (or whatever their names are) were gonna buy is back on the market with a substantial $3,000,000 price reduction. Perhaps the new $19,950,000 asking price will attract some filthy rich exercise nut who will gleefully consider the exceptionally long walk from the motor court to the front door as an opportunity to work a little extra cardio into their day.

Aussie singer/actress Olivia Newton John seems to be getting sear-ee-us about selling her Malee-boo mansion and recently karate chopped the asking price of her 6,482 square foot sprawler up in the guard gated enclave of the Serra Retreat from $14,000,000 to $12,950,000. Miz O.N.J.'s 5 bedroom and 6 bathroom crib sits di-rectly next door to the Love Shack where much on the mend Britney Spears and her Fed-Ex used to live in wedded bliss before she lost her damn mind and starting flashing her baby maker all over town. Remember those days kids? Your Mama is happy as a clam that Miss Spears is pulling her shit together, and Miz Newton John is prolly even happier that those two young muffins sold their house next door because hovering helicopters filled with paps trying to snap pix of their tawdry doings might have been a real problem for a potential buyer.

All the New York City real estate gossips and property fiends are on pins and needles waiting for deceased society doyenne Brooke Astor's Park Avenue duplex to hit the market. The NY Observer reported earlier this week that Mrs. Astor's suspicious son Anthony Marshall and his rather controversial wife Charlene (who left her preacher huzband to be with the Astor heir) recently interviewed a handful of high end brokers to determine who would get the plush and plum listing.

It's expected that the two floor terraced co-operative apartment at hoity toity 778 Park Avenue will have an eye popping asking price of $46,000,000 or more. That gigantic number isn't so difficult to fathom when you consider that this is the very same super swank building where billionaire industrialist Ira Rennart recently and ever so generously forked over $33,600,000 (in cash) to purchase Vera Wang's full floor 14-room apartment for his daughter Yonina. Lucky damn Yonina.

Anyhoo, Miz Astor's legendary duplex reportedly includes several fireplaces, three to five bedrooms depending on who you ask, extensive staff quarters, a separate apartment for guests or staff, and interiors by the inestimable high society decorator Albert Hadley who famously did up the library with lacquered red walls.

There has been much public hullabaloo and scads of private outrage over the care Miz Astor received in her last few years (or the lack of it by some accusations) as well as serious questions regarding her wills and wishes since her death in August of 2007. If you care to read up, here's a good article that covers the salacious situation.


Anonymous said...

Earth Hour, get off the internet!

Alessandra said...

Maybe Vidal Sassoon will buy Brooke Astor's duplex and we can complain about him ruining another property.

The whole Brooke Astor saga is so sad. I've ready pieces that were favorable to her grandson and ones such as this that favor her son. What's telling to me is that she wrote letters thirty years ago claiming that her grandsons were only interested in her for her money. I can't say who was right or wrong, but at least there's a prime duplex ready to go to market! I can't wait to hear all the delicious listing details and descriptions.

Anonymous said...


Are you saying even Ellen's battalion of people can't undo the damage done by Mr. Sassoon?

That must be a travesty.

Anonymous said...

Nothing is as messy- not real estate transactions, not business deals, not nothing- as family.

It's interesting that we're seeing massive price reductions in even the high end properties. Is real estate starting to tank even there?

Anonymous said...

The Sassoon debacle is not just for architectural purists to scream and yell about. Yes, the whole project is wildly destructive of architectual integrity, yadda, yadda. But the more interesting aspect is the size of the commercial error in this project. Only a Neutranut is going to shell out that kind of premium for this house (anyone else with that kind of money would just tear it down for the view lot), but with this kind of renovation a Neutranut wouldn't touch this thing for love or money (as the saying goes). I'm on the edge of my seat wondering just who the heck is going to eventually buy it. Who was the intended market? Isn't that the broker's job? My best guess is that the house will eventually be donated to some charity, or raffled off at some event far from Los Angeles, the way Sinead O'Connor's ill-starred Los Feliz house was disposed of after languishing on the market for years.

Anonymous said...

Oh Mama, you are provocative tonight.

About Mrs. Astor’s NY home, my question is WHY do this week's papers continue to say Anthony Marshall is interviewing agents for 778 Park Avenue? The court tossed his sorry butt out of the equation last November. Booted. Indicted. Bad boy.

The daughter-in-law’s relentless media plugs of entitlement, voiced on behalf of deceased Mrs. Astor, are insulting and manipulative.

Char, hun, you're no longer in vicarious control. Let it go. Your husband [strike that] elderly benefactor is … how do we say this politely … ROYALLY BUSTED.

pch said...

I haven't followed the Marshall saga in the papers, but a friend (who knew Mrs Astor very well) gave me a little backgrounder on the story. She didn't have many nice things to say about Tony Marshall, but this had the reverse effect of making me feel a little sorry for him.

I get the sense no one held him in much esteem. Ever. And though that doesn't excuse whatever criminal/dodgy acts he might have committed, I dunno, it seems like he was only being what people expected him to be. And there's a little pathos to that.

Anonymous said...

Am I missing something? I don't seem to see many pics of Sassoon's house, and those don't seem like a butcher job - just a few pretty basic shots. In the link, after 4 or so pictures of Sassoon's house, it switches over to Gisele's house. Are there more pictures somewhere?

Anonymous said...

did paul oakenfolds house sell ?

it is not on the mls anymore

Anonymous said...

never mind I found it on themls


Anonymous said...

For those who want more pictures: Pictures of the Neutra Singleton Residence as it was BEFORE the Sassoon renovation can be found through the link available here:

and pictures of the house as it exists today can be found through the link here:

The renovations are slick, and the photos are taken to obscure the damage to the architect's vision (if you care about that, which a lot of people don't). For a nice, suburban, no-architect house in the San Fernando Valley, this renovation job would be fine. But a big problem is that ONLY people who do care about Neutra would pay so much extra to live there (Sassoon paid about $6Million). The consensus from those who have been to the house is that the Neutra is mostly gone from this place after the renovations (so much damage even Ellen Degeneres couldn't fix it). So who would buy it?

It's hard to see this place as now worth more than the cost of its bare lot minus the cost of demolishing the now-deNeutraed home. But, hey, it's a nice lot! Not prime Bel Air (too far from the action), but nice, second-tier Bel-Air. If Barry Sloane advised Sassoon on this remodel, Sloane has really lost his grip ... big time! It's time to retire, Barry.

Anonymous said...

Trump Drops Price of Palm Beach Mansion, Changes Agent

Donald Trump’s much publicized Palm Beach mansion has a new price, $100 million. Along with the $25 million price reduction, Trump also turned the listing over to Lawrence Moens, a Palm Beach broker who has a reputation as a low-key but highly effective deal maker.

Anonymous said...

Records were made to be broken, much to the delight of Sydney real estate brokers.

Anonymous said...

What happened in Sydney,did they sell the opera house?

Anonymous said...

They traded the opera house for Singleton. The two governments are working out how to physically swap the two properties.

Anonymous said...

The Brooke Astor saga is just beyond sad. All told she seemed to be a grand lady who didn't hesitate to put her money where her mouth was and if that meant a big money donation to charity then that's what was done. Her asshole son was removed from the situation in 2006, Annette de la Renta was named her permanent guardian and she ensured that Mrs Astor lived in the style that she deserved.

Turns out the son may have forged Mrs Astor's signature on her will so that her real estate was sold and the proceeds would go to a trust that he controlled.

The son was brought up on criminal charges this past November for the following: grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, forgery, scheming to defraud, falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing, and conspiracy.

What a terrible thing to do to one's own parent, especially when they're so vulnerable. I hope he's convicted, he'll be FUCKED.

Anonymous said...

Anthony Marshall did inherit the apartment at 778 Park Avenue.

William P. Lauder, the former CEO of Estee Lauder, also recently bought an apartment there.

The writers Bill Buckley and Claudia Cohen both lived in the building until their recent deaths, so more apartments may come up soon.

Anonymous said...

Claudia Cohen lived at 778 Park Avenue too! I loved Claudie, she was one of the best gossip columnists out there, she put Page 6 on the map...she was a terrific mother and by all accounts a great ex-wife to Ron Perelman.

Anonymous said...

Brooke's 1997 will is the benchmark of her cognizant wishes.
Anything drafted beyond that is suspect and libelously questioned.
Char-Hun, you’ll have funds to keep yourself in Hostess HO-HOs for a lifetime, regardless of how the court drama plays out – in that you can trust.
My larger question is: now that you’ve been so clearly identified as the elder-benefactor’s beneficiary (legal husband…woo-hoo; nice play) how does it feel to see this level of wealth so close, yet helplessly so remotely unattainable from your evil grasp? Brooke’s charities will rightfully be regained as her final wish. You see that coming, because it’s the right thing to do. I think the populous, and the court, are rooting for that resolve.

Char-gurlfriend, you will be stinkingly wealthy when your super-old / not-hot hubby passes. But, hopefully, Brooke's true will shall usurp your sloppily crafted greed.

Yes, Char-Hun, I seem to have a serious problem with your motives.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the Neutra house and was pretty sure anon 8:53am was Barry until reading further..

The house is nice (although the end wing near the master bedroom makes no sense whatsoever) and the lot is nice (view of westside and valley) but neither are astounding, and that's what you'd need for a price like this.