Thursday, July 17, 2008

William Monahan's Modest Mulholland Drive House

SELLER: William Monahan
LOCATION: Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $2,350,000
SIZE: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Located up a long gated driveway, this Mid-Century Contemporary remodeled home has an open feeling with spectacular city light views and mountain vistas from all the main room. An over sized glass door pivots open to welcome you into big open spaces including an exquisite gourmet kitchen, family room, romantic master suite with spa like bath, with 2 additional bedrooms, and bonus rooms. There are 4 fireplaces, pool, spa and outdoor entertaining areas. Mature landscaping & 5 car parking.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Yesterday Your Mama briefly discussed some real estate rumors (see item #4) swirling around the flip house of uber agent Kevin Hoo-vain which occupies a prime piece of dirt right up behind the thirty million dollar Tom and Katie Crooz mansion on Calle Vista Drive in the Bev Hills. Today we're going to continue in that living near Mister Crooz vein and discuss another house that sits a little too close to a Crooz crib for Your Mama's comfort. This time it's Oscar winning writer William Monhan's Mulholland Drive domicile which sits up a long, gorgeous, gated and curving celebrity style driveway just a couple hundred yards (as the crow flies) from that mysterious, heavily fortified and recently rehabbed compound at the end of Torreyson Drive that is rumored and whispered to be some sort of Tom Crooz financed Scientology retreat.

Mister Monahan, formerly a journalist and an editor for the now defunct sassy and satirical Spy magazine, made a meteoric rise to the top of the Hollywood heap when only his second script–for Martin Scorcese's lauded and applauded The Departed–earned him one of those coveted sex toy shaped gold statues known as an Oscar. Ever since then Mister Monahan's much in demand fingers have be a-flyin' across his keyboard writing up screenplays for a couple of upcoming Ridley Scott extravaganzas as well as the latest installment of the Jurassic Park franchise.

Anyhoo, in December of 2006, around about the time that Mister Monahan was cashing some of his prodigious paychecks for penning The Departed, property records show that he and his wifey Wendy forked over $2,200,000 to purchase their 3 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom house on Mulholland Drive that overlooks the San Fernando Valley. Now that the couple is rolling in post-Oscar Benjamins, they've recently listed the property for sale with an asking price of $2,350,000, a number that Your Mama's bejeweled abacus reveals will have them barely breaking financially even after the real estate people are paid their fat fees.

Assessor records show that the Monahan's not-a-mansion measures in at a modest 2,510 square feet. However, the records also show the house contains only 1 bedroom and 2 bathrooms, so Your Mama is a wee bit skeptical about that square footage number being accurate.

Your Mama confesses that although it would scare the bejeezis out of us to live too close to Mister Crooz and his small army of Scientology aficionados, generally speaking we do like this house even if the road noise from Mulholland Drive is probably annoying. We don't find the exterior to be any great shakes architecturally, but we are sincerely appreciative of the high beamed ceilings, floor to ceiling glazing and the easy-going manner in which the house lends itself to classic Calee-fornia indoor/outdoor living.

Although the aesthetic jury is out still on all that slate flooring that has been laid down throughout the house (it's simply too early to bother the decorating divas), we do like the somewhat organic flavor of the interior spaces and we're swooning with envy over all the open shelving throughout the house. True confession: Your Mama has a Jeff Lewis-like anal retentive streak which has turned meticulously lining up knick knacks, keepsakes and soup cans into a bit of a bizarre hobby. Even our bejeweled abacus can't calculate how many hours we've spent arranging and rearranging the shelves in our rather large walk in pantry so that all the like minded foods are grouped together, lined up with every price tag removed and facing forward like dutiful North Korean soldiers.

We hate the black counter tops but otherwise the kitchen is nicely renovated and we love how the stove and the microwave have been inserted directly into the wall. The kitchen is open to the strangely shaped dining room which we enjoy because it forcefully directs the eyeballs out towards the long view over the San Fenando Valley and away from that awful fireplace wall. Any sensible person would be perturbed and disturbed by the treatment of the fireplace surround (slate running running up from the floor!) and that sorry little television set mounted above it is a decorating crime of the highest magnitude. Quite frankly, given that there are three other fireplaces in the house, Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter would quickly call the contractor to close this one and if we had the really big bucks we'd then run out to Matthew Marks and snatch up a hideously expensive and brightly colored Terry Winters painting like this to work against all the muted organic color in the kitchen and on the floor.

To be honest, we're a little perplexed by the day-core we see in the photos. Has this place been staged? Has someone simply pared down the Monahan's belongings to the barest essentials? Are the Monahans obsessed with white furniture? Whose idea was all that white furniture anyway?As the children know, Your Mama loves us a white slip covered sofa if it's used in a not very Shabby Chic sort of way, but too much of a good thing is just too much of a good thing and there's just too much white slip covered furniture in here to be a good thing.

And that Saarinen table in the master bedroom? Uh. No. Don't get Your Mama wrong. We love a Saarinen table as much as the next person. In fact, we're sitting at one as we type. But putting that itty bitty one in front of the big beautiful windows only makes the plump proportions of the master bedroom look like a mid-priced hotel room in Palm Springs. Your Mama's decorating rule #273: A diminutive breakfast table–even if it is an everlasting icon of furniture design–has no place in a master bedroom. Ever. Breakfast tables are for breakfast rooms.

We're totally appreciative that a small swimming pool has been tucked into the hillside. However we're tremendously troubled by the haphazard stacked stone wall that forms the back edge which looks rather jagged and dangerous for anyone who might choose to take a quick dip in the cool waters while boozed up during a back yard barbecue, which for better or worse (and we hope the former) happens fairly frequently amongst the alcoholic beverage luvin' tipplers in Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter's thirsty crew.

Certainly Your Mama hasn't any notion where Mister and Missus Monahan will be moving, but it's not such a stretch to imagine that they're headed to a new nest commensurate with his elevated stature among the elite folks who ply their trade in Hollywood's Bizness of Show.


ms_wonderland said...


Those ceilings are so oppressive. Mama may adore all the open shelving, with her little OCD perversion, but that kitchen looks like a garage. Still, nothing that a sledgehammer and a nice gay builder with some plasterboard couldn't fix.

Anonymous said...

^ A Virtual tour of the house prior to it being sold to the Monahan's. I saw this tour a few months back and really quite liked the interior spaces, and how open plan it is.

lil' gay boy said...

Lovely rustic feel, but a quick look at the aerial view shows a lot crowed by other residences, and the pool situated at the end of the driveway…no thank you.

so_chic_darling said...

I would much rather have this than a 50 million pile in a part of London I wouldn't like to live in.

Anonymous said...

"stove and the microwave have been inserted directly into the wall" mama, I think you meant to say OVEN and Microwave. I had to look at the pic and re-read.

Anonymous said...

The photos are bad. So washed out.

Anonymous said...

Killer location and the topography makes it much more private than it appears on aerial views.

BTW - If you pan to the upper left in LGB's link, you will see two Lautners - Chemosphere and Harpel. Harpel is the one with the hexagons/triangles.

Alessandra said...

I like it. It looks tranquil and inviting. I might paint some of the ceilings because the dark wood is oppressive in every single room, but it is a decent rustic contemporary with post and beam elements.

so_chic_darling said...

Ooooooh I want it a little bit more now!

Anonymous said...

This is not a good house; I saw the property at the time that it was on the market when he first bought it. The finishes are TERRIBLE. What's interesting, is that I thought the original pics were good as well, but up close... the house does not hold up. It was a really crappy flip-job... and it still appears to be just that.

Anonymous said...

Nice blog! Our Bend Oregon real estate market is slow. My last 3 sales have been buyers from California. Glad you're having fun with your blog.

Anonymous said...

Jim, I hope you're buying an ad from our Mama and not just posting so you can get a free nod to your site.