Friday, October 16, 2009

Billie Joe Armstrongs Not Very Punk Rock House

SELLER: Billie Joe Armstrong
LOCATION: Manchester Drive, Oakland, CA
PRICE: $4,850,000
SIZE: 6,122 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Custom Mark Becker French Normandy resides on original Julia Morgan "Red Gate" Steps. Fully gated. Level-in. Large open spaces. Exquisite.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Way back in mid-September of 2009 Your Mama received many missives regarding the Oakland, CA home of kohl-eyed pop-punk rocker Billie Joe Armstrong of the band Green Day who had listed his house in the hills with an asking price of $4,850,000. We intended to write about the Mark Becker designed domicile but by the time we got around to it, every Tom, Dick, Harry and Sally who writes about celebrity real estate had beaten Your Mama to the punch. We decided the surprisingly dignified manse had been well covered and moved on. However, nearly every day–seriously chickens, every damn day–we get "tips" and inquiries from curious children regarding the property and figured that if so many people cared enough to put listing information for the property in Your Mama's inbox and in front of our boozy eyeballs, the least we could do is write about it. Besides, we don't have much else exciting on our agenda this morning and we'll keel over and die a long slow death if we write another damn word about Nic Cage, his financial brouhaha and his great property sell off.

Listing information indicates Billie Joe Armstrong's abode, located in the Upper Rockridge neighborhood, was built on the former grounds of a lavish estate known as Red Gate which was designed by brilliant Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan in 1911 for a man named Charles B. Wells. Your Mama does not know–or really even care–who Mister Wells is or what happened to his big ol' house, so don't pester Your Mama asking about it. Property records show the married and openly bisexual B.J. Armstrong purchased the property in July of 1997 for $600,000. Given that records show the 6,122 square foot French Normandy style residence was completed in 1999, we're going to assume Mister and Missus Armstrong had the house custom built. Listing information indicates the house has "5+" bedrooms and "4++" poopers. However, after perusing the floor plan included with listing information Your Mama counts 5 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms on the floor plan so we haven't a clue what this "+" and "++" nonsense is all about unless there are bedrooms and terlits not accounted for on the floor plan.

Since the house has been emptied of B.J. Armstrong's personal belongings, painted in a neutral shade of beige and staged with a lot of white, brown and beige things it's really unnecessary to discuss the day-core. Iffin any of the children want a glimpse of the manner in which Mister and Missus Armstrong decorated, have a look-see here. While the house had a wee bit more personality when it was furnished with the Armstrong's this and thats, it was all very Pottery Barn-ish which is clearly a long, long way from being punk rock. But then again, as far as Your Mama is concerned, Green Day is a long way from real punk rock too, so what else can we expect in a pop-punkers pad?

The front door to the residence is, unfortunately, located on the opposite side of the house from the gated motor court which means that except for the hunky UPS man, the pimpled pizza gurl and those pesky, door knocking Jehovah's Witnesses, the front door is unlikely to be used much by the owner. This is a real pity given that the wood floored entrance hall has this wonderful, swooping staircase and an amazing chandelier that looks like it might be from Morocco or Turkey or some other exotic place.

In addition to the entrance hall, the main floor includes a nearly 30 foot square living room with an imposing fireplace and windows on four sides, a generously sized dining room that opens through French doors to the front porch and has sunset views, and a window wrapped office/library with two sets of French doors that open to a small terrace that overlooks the swimming pool.

A short hall with a guest pooper leads from the foyer to the back door and the home's more casual quarters. The kitchen, according to listing information, is equipped with a professional range, double ovens, dual dishwashers, a Sub-Zero brand fridge, pantry, office nook, and a large island with an eating counter, vegetable sink and wine fridge. The kitchen is open to the breakfast area which spills down a couple of steps into the wood floored family room which includes another large fireplace–there are four in the house, built in entertainment cabinetry, and a built in window seat with long and lovely views all the way to San Francisco.

The curving staircase leads to the meandering and rambling second floor which includes a laundry room, two family bedrooms that share a pooper, a third bedroom with a peaked ceiling and private pooper, and the master bedroom. Well located far from the family bedrooms, the master suite is comprised of a bedroom with a fireplace, a small balcony with views of San Francisco, a gigantic, multi-winged walk-in closet, and a large but very beige bathroom with double sinks, a terlit closet, separate shower and a spa tub.

The lower level features a bedroom with a private pooper perfect for in-laws or live in staff, a room described in listing information as a "red velvet lounge" with built in cabinetry for the boob-toob and a wet bar. The remainder of the lower lever consists of three windowless rooms that Mister Armstrong has kitted out as a private recording and sound studio. We're sure it was really great for him to be able to record and fool around on the gee-tar at home, but these rooms will serve little purpose for a new owner unless they're converted to some other use such as a wine cellar, home gym, or s/m dungeon.

The property also includes a three car attached garage, a multitude of terraces and patios that take advantage of the elevated siting, and a heated swimming pool with an automatic pool cover and an adjacent cabana with fireplace, bathroom, and outdoor shower.

Property records show that in addition to their Oakland digs, Mister and Missus Armstrong also own a house on ritzy Balboa Island in Newport Beach, CA which they scooped up in April of 2006 for $1,699,000 as well as a modest house on Roy Street in St. Paul, MN that they purchased in June of 2002. Saint Paul, MN seemed to Your Mama like an unlikely location for a California born and based rock star to own home, but a little research on the interweb reveals the Missus Armstrong, Adrienne, is from that neck of the mid-western woods as is Chow-Lee, one of Your Mama's long time comrades whom we will be visiting come Halloween time. Listen chickens, Your Mama is already stockpiling the nerve pills for this trip because not only will we be holed up in a house with Chow-Lee's three (smart and lovely but loud) children, but we're winging to Minny-soh-tuh with our messy bestie Fiona Trambeau whom Your Mama fully expects will show up at the airport in some kind of unflattering and overly revealing Spandex get up that she'll claim is a "traveling suit." We just hope we don't have a repeat of what happened the last time Your Mama and Fiona went to see Chow-Lee when ol' Fiona got so pie-eyed in the airport lounge that we had to coax her off the lap of a married man with a big bottle of voddie from the duty free, pour her into a wheelchair and lift her sloppy ass into her first class seat while she groped the trolly dollies and hollered about needing damn cigarette. But that's a sordid story for another time and another place.

So far we've been unable to locate any new property purchases by the Armstrongs so it's unclear if they'll be relocating to Newport Beach or if they plan on staying in the Bay Area.


Anonymous said...

That lot is HUGE for the neighborhood.

It is bordering two streets. However, most of the property is hilly on the back.

There is nothing real special about the home interior or fixtures. Typical quick and dirty McMansion style house put up for flipping.

You are basically buying a large lot for the price. House, pool and parking is sort of shoe horned on the lot.

Anonymous said...

Mama, love the traveling story. People do drink a lot when in or near the vicinity of jet airplanes.

Billie Joe lived in that house?? I'm trying to get my head around that. Is the rock star thing just a professional facade? Is he lounging at home in his J.Crew button down and chinos watching professional sports? Have we all been had?

FonHom said...

This area was hit by the Oakland Firestorm (Oct 20, 1991). Machester Rd might not have been completely wiped out, but on Streetview it looks rebuilt.

I was visiting Cali at the time - from the Alameda docks we could barely see a patch of flame. Then a small piece of paper - part of a cookbook - fluttered down and we realized this wasn't just a little brush fire. Tragic.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I know where they are moving. They are building a home in Piedmont, CA, not far from where this house is. I know people who know them...but i don't have the details on the address of the place. I am surprised they are doing a new build in Piedmont, because that town is pretty snooty, especially with its building codes. Not a lot of tear downs in that neck of the woods.

Other trivia: Billie Joe's wifey owns a store on College Ave. in Oakland's Rockridge district

And yes, the original home on the Manchester lot was leveled in the firestorm. Lots of beautiful homes perished.

PS Great post Mama! i was one of the folks who sent you a link when it first went up for sale...but I only emailed you about it that once. Promise!!

Anonymous said...

This original house on this site, Red Gate, was designed by Julia Morgan and was destroyed in the firestorm. Only the steps remain of the original.

Regarding the Armstrong's new digs, I have heard that their kids have attended Piedmont CA schools for at least the last year.

FonHom said...

Piedmont...good move. Stayed in a house on Scenic for a week and aside from the killer view, you could see the fog rollin' rollin' rollin' in and stopping at Moraga right before it got to Piedmont.

Remember the HS kids who do/did the crazy bird calls on the Tonight Show every year? Piedmont HS.

Piedmont's a little piece of So Cal in the Bay area - and I mean that as a compliment.

Anonymous said...

I like the house. Billie's wife, Adrienne, has wonderful taste from what I've seen and read about her.

Her style is a mix of Anthropologie,, and Martha Stewart.

Adrienne runs this cute little eco friendly store in the Oakland area called Atomic Garden.

Starck Mad said...

Wait....are you sure this isn't a New Jersey Houswives house?

Anonymous said...

@anthony punk rock went out the window as far as everyday life was concerned for BJ when he became a daddy. now its just a stage thing.

Joy said...

I live 5 minutes away from this house...I drove by today and a Sale is Pending. I was a bit surprised that an offer was accepted sooo fast... Reality is that that it isn't worth more than 3 million.

Luxury Bill said...

Love the post. We take walks by that house all the time, and love the exterior.

Billy Joe is just a regular joe. We see him jogging through the neighborhood every once and awhile, and he seems un-pretentious. So the decor was not as surprising as one would think.

Anonymous said...

Where is he moving to in Piedmont?

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that's showroom furniture since half the shit is gone in the bedrooms etc.

Also if it is he'd have tidied up anything "weird or punk rock" if he owns anything like that. You don't leave shit prospective buyers might not like laying around. They're trying to sell the house, not sell "Billie Joe's house."

He's a regular guy, he has normal stuff just like the rest of us.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

No one tells a tale such as you Mama. My family is from Minny-soh-tuh.My fam there is not always known for their couture. In fact a few were still sporting a mullet until just a few years ago. Ahh..that black eyed Billie, he caught me off guard with that home, lucky buggar. Continue to love your blog and your crazy humor.

E!!i said...

Which house number is it?

Anonymous said...

looks like the house sold for $ where's the armstrong clan headed to?

Elizabeth said...

Any updates yet? I use to drive by the house that was just sold. I found out that they lived there from a fellow concert goer, that was actually their neighbors.
I hope that they person above is right, in that they are moving to Piedmont. I can't picture them leaving the East Bay to live down south.

Anonymous said...

"Armstrong was kind enough to leave his mark on the house though. A toilet seat decorated with images of the bands he hates and a room is draped with fliers from the bands early days playing the Gilman in Berkeley, the paper reported."

Where's the punk, you ask? Well, here it is.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know which bands were on the toilet seat? haha

Anonymous said...

It's 6076 Manchester Drive Oakland CA @e!!I but they don't Live there anymore And yes Joey and Jake go to Piedmont High School now Jake (9th) grade and Joey 12th grade I have my connections to them and I saw on this one website where it said he lived in Newport Beach which is 7 hours away from Piedmont High and yes they Live in Piedmont I know cause of Joey and Jake have posted it on their Facebook (I have the real ones)

Anonymous said...

So they don't live there anymore? Who would ever sell a house that awesome?!
P.S. Green Day is the best band ever! I wish i could go to a concert of theirs someday...