Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Master House Flipper John Bersci's Bev Hills Beauty

SELLER: John Bersci
LOCATION: Benedict Canyon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $7,995,000 (reduced from $11,495,000)
SIZE: 7,256 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: The Harvey Mudd Estate. Designed by Elmer Grey, 1922. A trophy property and Beverly Hills landmark with significant old Hollywood character and historical relevance. Located at the end of a private street and surrounded by major estates. Home features grandly proportioned public rooms, magnificent hand-carved wood paneling, library, breakfast room, conservatory, gym, wine cellar, and more. Situated on one acre of beautifully landscaped gardens, pool, and outdoor areas for major entertaining.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Today we will not be discussing a celebrity owned house children, but rather the Beverly Hills mansion of John Bersci, one of Los Angeles' most successful property flippers who recently put his Benedict Canyon Drive residence on the market with an asking price of $11,495,000.

Listen children, there are house flippers like that Bravo boob-toob reality star Jeff Lewis and then there are house flippers like John Bersci. While these two gentlemen may be in the same bizness of buying, renovating and selling houses at substantial and sometimes shocking profits, they do not, and Your Mama repeats, do not play in the same sand box. While Mister Lewis and his colossal kisser dabble in $1-3,000,000 houses (mostly) in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, Mister Bersci is over in the Platinum Triangle working over properties that often sell for between five and $25,000,000. Okaaay?

Property records show that Mister Bersci scooped up what is known as the Harvey Mudd estate back in June of 2004. For those that do not already know or are too lazy to Blackle him, Mister Mudd was a Los Angeles based mining magnate and engineer whose friends and family had a Claremont, CA science and engineering college named in his honor...that would be the Harvey Mudd College, natch.

Anyhoo, we were unable to suss out the Mister Bersci's purchase price but thanks to Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills we learned that not long before Mister Bersci's purchase, the asking price for the (approx) one acre estate located at the end of a very private lane was $5,950,000. So for better or worse, let's just assume he paid somewhere around that number.

Listing information reveals that the Tudor style house was built in 1922 and was designed by noted California architect Elmer Grey, the man responsible for designing iconic buildings such as the Beverly Hills Hotel. According to the Los Angeles County Assessor, the 7 bedroom and 7 bathroom house sprawls across 7,256 meticulously crafted square feet of luscious living space. If you're into the numerology, and Your Mama isn't, all those sevens might make this a lucky house.

The two-story impress the guests style entrance hall with its glittering chandelier, magnificent hand carved paneling and taxidermy peacock spills into a modestly sized sitting room all done up with outrageous floor to ceiling orange drapery, neo-classical day beds, several Bergere chairs in orange, blue Chinese urns and and a Versace-like inlaid floor that gives Your Mama goose bumps. We don't ordinarily go in for this kind of over the top fussy day-core, but we can't help it, orange is our favorite color and that room looks like a dee-voonly dee-luxe location to lay around and smoke weed.

The dining room seats at least 12 and has extravagantly swoopy architraves and the bookshelf lined and puse colored library is simply yummy. We are particularly drawn to the way the books are set on the shelves in a haphazard manner. This would indicate these books actually get looked at and read rather than just put out on display. We're not sure what room that is with all that leopard print and Chinoiserie (the conservatory? the den?), but it all looks like it cost an arm, a leg and a liver.

Your Mama was rather surprised to see that Mister Bersci's kitchen has not been did up and done over like one of his famous flips. Instead we get a cliche black and white floor that looks like linoleum, dated and not very expensive looking black appliances and an industrial sized pot rack looming rather dangerously over the breakfast counter. This is clearly a case of the cobbler needing new shoes and we expect that the new owner will be dialing his/her kitchen designer while signing documents at the closing table.

At the top of the intricately carved stair case there are at least half a dozen exuberantly decorated bedrooms such as the powder blue master which is stuffed with all sorts of Chinoiserie (Mister Bersci obviously likes his Chinoiserie, don't he?), a marble mantled fireplace and a sitting area that can comfortably seat six or seven people. Your Mama finds something odd and a little upsetting about having a sitting area for so many people in such a private chamber. Besides people planning on getting all orgiastic, who invites that many people into their bedroom for a sit down?

The grounds include meticulously maintained gardens, intimate seating areas for small groups, a large lawn for hosting charity events and gin and tonic fueled croquet tournaments, a heated swimming pool for late night skinny dipping and an inground spa perfect for a little aquatic bowm-chicka-bow-bowm.

The Harvey Mudd mansion is tucked way up a tree covered lane, surrounded by major estates and, according to property records, has many notable neighbors. There's the estate once owned by Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery which prop records show is now owned by a film and television executive. There's Maurice Marciano who co-founded the Guess fashion empire, Oscar nominated producer Arthur Hiller, The Boss Bruce Springsteen has a West Coast hideout nearby, and an approximately 6.25 acre hilltop lot that several sources told Your Mama is owned by super rich super producer Jon Peters (A Star is Born, Flashdance, Rain Man, and many more) which was recently on the market with an insane asking price of $39,500,000.

Perhaps the most well known and in the news house that Mister Bersci has recently renovated is the gigantic 1930s Georgian on S. Mapleton Drive that was widely rumored and reported to have been in escrow with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner but remains on the market with an asking price of $23,500,000 (reduced from the original asking price of $27,500,000). We heard the couple backed out (see item No. 5), but honestly puppies we don't know what the real story is with that house and those Garfleck people. Maybe they're buying it, maybe they're not. Maybe they're buying that house in Brentwood they're always photographed looking at or maybe they're staying put on Tigertail Road. Who knows? And after all their looky-looing shenanigans, we're not sure if anyone cares anymore.

Whatever the case with the JenniBens, it is Your Mama's humble and entirely meaningless opinion that given the property's provenance, location and construction quality, the almost seems like a bargain for Bev Hills, which of course is a very different sort of real estate bargain then in most locales, isn't it?


Anonymous said...

an absolutely gorgeous home and setting in a fabu location. However, they need to give one ringy dingy to Clive Christian to reno that kitchen.

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of either the colors or decor. If I were to buy, I'd spend another mil or two redoing the cosmetics.

Anonymous said...

As for the kitchen, I think it is actually fitting with the rest of the house. It has a vintage feel, as does the rest of the house. As I said earlier though, I am not a fan or the colors, or decor. I am also not a fan of the kitchen. Actually, other than the bones of the house, I do not like too much of it. However, to each their own, right? There are plenty of homes to go around and I happen to love plenty in Bev Hills -- this isn't one of them though.

Anonymous said...

what a dump

he should list it for 1MM tops esp in todays market

Anonymous said...

no city views, there is not a private drive, it is not gated,

there are far better homes with city views, larger square footage, they are gated and they are listed way below 11 MM in bel air

btw if you think real estate owners are out of touch with reality you should check out the vintage car owner/sellers

one seller is trying to get 5,000,000 for his 1965 cobra

the same one that would have sold for 200k a few years ago

just like a dodge cuda convertible is listed for 2MM and a few years ago they would be lucky to get 100k

I guess it is a free for all now

throw up a pie in the sky high price and see where the final sale lands that is the way of selling in 2008, 2009

oh and the vintage ferrari's that used to command 3MM a pop are now selling for 300k tops

so why are vintage american cars getting listed for more than vintage foreign cars ? could it be because the dollar is now getting stronger as the europeans are second in line to get whacked worse than the US ?

at least we can afford to put up a 700 billion dollar bailout, hell the war is costing us 600 billion a year 700 billion is a piece of cake,

I do not think the Europeans can do that and yet they think they are superior to us

and next is the 55 trillion dollar debt, I wonder when that problem will rear it ugly head ? what will happen then ?

Anonymous said...

link for the 5MM cobra, 1MM corvette, 2MM hemi cuda

from this point on any price listed for real estate or vintage cars will not shock me anymore

Alessandra said...'s gorgeous. I'd buy it in a heartbeat. Plus, my husband went to HMC and would probably get a kick out of living in the Harvey Mudd estate.

This is a great listing, Mama. And I hope the Garflecks keep their indecisive paws off of it.

pch said...

It actually seems like a decent price for a fairly significant house on an acre in this location. Not my usual thing style-wise, but this joint is dripping with an Old Hollywood vibe. If I were shopping in that range, I'd definitely take a look.

A muscle car's value has everything to do with its build sheet and production numbers. In the case of those multi-million dollar Hemi 'Cuda convertibles, for instance, Plymouth made only eleven of them 1971. They're commanding amazing prices, certainly, but their extreme rarity is the rationale behind the extreme valuations.

I'm inclined to think a lot of this hinges on nostalgia -- in order for the value to hold/rise, you need enough people who care that only eleven exist. But, right now at least, boomers who grew up with muscle cars are plenty interested. And as other investments look shaky, you might see even more money heading to the classic car could get even pricier.

Anonymous said...

Mama, aren't the homes on Tower Road that you are saying are Jon Landau's really Bruce Springsteen's? Mr. Big Time wrote about them not too long ago, although the links to those blog posts are gone, since his site was hacked.

Anonymous said...

Although I wouldn't want to live in it, I too think it is reasonably priced for the area and history. It will sell.

Anonymous said...

I adore it and doubt if I'd ever step in that kitchen if I owned it.

The daybed area looks like someone took an Hermes box and said, 'make everything match this. Now.'

I love the height of the rooms and I'm hoping the trend returns. I've visited far too many friends who throw dead wreaths against large walls in an effort to make the place non-church-like.

The endless doors are wonderful. You could send your boyfriend out one door as your partner came in another - and you could even have somebody murdered in the library with a candlestick.

Please note also that this is a mature garden. You can't be famous and live here - those plants are too gorgeous to knock down in the name of security.

Anonymous said...

Here is the sites weblink....

Anonymous said...

I was really hoping that somebody would explain why a black and white drawing was glued to the ceiling, lined up with the pot rack...anyone?? it's killing me.

Anonymous said...

pch you have a valid point

but 5 MM for a cobra ?

that is more than the most expensive vintage ferrari

it just blows the mind, then again this last year is one for the books

700 billion bailout just to keep RE and other prices up


Anonymous said...

Beautiful old Tudor, exquisitely updated - an excellent example of just how great vintage homes of the English style can be when done the right way. Love the use of the gorgeous orange shades of color in the decorating, and how wonderfully it plays off the stone, and rich carmel color of the wood. Everyone with a dingy, dark, heavy looking old Tudor should study this to become aware of the possibilities. Thanks Mama!

Anonymous said...

I'm not so impressed with John Bersci. He really should not be selling this house with the kitchen all vintage and crappy. It's not good for his reputation as a flipper. Takes away the illusion that everything his does is flawless and perfection. Virtual Tour doesnt show pics of any bathrooms. Hmmm? Maybe b/c he didnt redo them either. This is not quite a flip. More of a Fluff & Fold. Nice wall colors and some fancy furniture. That's it.

Jeff Lewis would have redone the kitchen and bathrooms, even if it mean having to reduce Zoila to 3 days a week, fire another house assistant and return his leased Range Rover. That's all I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

I like it better than Sharon Stone's White Elephant listed at 10.5 or so that she cannot sell.

Anonymous said...

Another example of tacky over-priced California real estate.

Anonymous said...

Not sure about the "private road" but it's in a decent location on a decent plot of land with a decent price. It's decent!!

Anonymous said...

There was this huge budget and a note card with the check that said Chinese Chippendale extravaganza.

Anonymous said...

Usually I just have to move orchids and candles from room to room but you try moving a 60lb(reproduction)blue and white lidded vase from the entrance hall to the orange velvet sun room!

Anonymous said...

The home really ain't all that--the style and home is nice--not the redo. Bad kitchen, bad other rooms--not for that money I won't, they all will say. However, it might be the furnishings that don't fit the house. Oh, now I know, yes it is the furnishings--not the right style and the entry by the stairs, what is all that junk piled up. The dining room is not working, and actually looks traditional not tudor. What's up with that floor and that wall color in the room. This house does not flow style wise and is schitzo. Prob a good, solid house that can use more appropriate furniture. Sorry Mama, you lose--and some of us agree.

Being bad in WEHO,
Mama's Black Sheep

Anonymous said...

Hey, I wouldn't turn it down. Is it being sold furnished?

But what sort of room is the one with the daybeds? Doesn't even look like you could see sitting/lying/reclining on them. And the seating in the master -- like a waiting room??? And who would ever put the ovens right next to the refrigerator? Is that so you can just pull the tv dinners out and cook them without having to take a step. And yeah, what is that thing on the kitchen ceiling?

Anonymous said...

Could the kitchen ceiling art be a shade over a skylight? That is the only plausible explanation I can come up with.

The kitchen looks like a shitty DIY job, like in my first itty bitty home. The rest of the house so over done that the kitchen really jumps out. Couldn't they have at least laid the flooring on the diagonal?

lil' gay boy said...

It certainly is a lovely, well-restored circa 1922 Tudor, but what in God's name are they building next door?

Something stinks here…

As for the kitchen, I can only speculate that, since it's the one room most frequently remodeled when purchasing a house, Mr. Bersci decided to "cheap it out" and not load it up with a lot of expensive appliances & cabinetry since it will most likely be torn out anyway; after all, there's a lot of reconfiguring that can be done when one shoehorns a new kitchen into a Tudor envelope, with its attendant butler's pantry, service entrance, and other nooks & crannies.

Unknown said...

Mike Ovitz is building a 30,000 sf office building next door, and trying to pass it off as a house. I wouldn't go pinning all the grandma nawabi baubles on Mr. B, the lady of the house might possibly maybe have a hand in this.

Unknown said...

Mike Ovitz is building a 30,000 sf office building next door, and trying to pass it off as a house. I wouldn't go pinning all the grandma nawabi baubles on Mr. B, the lady of the house might possibly maybe have a hand in this.

Anonymous said...

The original house has been altered and added onto so many times that it's just strange. Kind of like Joan Rivers.

Anonymous said...

I was in the house before it was redone and it was a mess. the owners and lived there for over 20 years and hadn't up dated from previous 1960's remodel. from where it was to where its at its a fantastic job! i believe the "private street" used to be this property's "drive way". and as parcels of land were sold off the "private street" was carved out.

Don't hold me to this, but if i remember correctly Martin Landau and Barbara Bain used to live in this house in the 60's.

Anonymous said...

This home is featured in the current issue of Veranda magazine as the residence of interior designer Mary MacDonald. DOes anyone know, is she the current owner? Or was the magazine spread created last year? The house looks phonomenal in the current issue!

Anonymous said...

she sure can promote herself

Anonymous said...

Mr John Bersci just lost his personal home to foreclosure off Beverly Dr...Guess times are tough for these guys as well.