Thursday, November 12, 2009

Max Azria Upsizes in Los Angeles

SELLER: Max Azria
LOCATION: N. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $6,899,000
SIZE: 6,138 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Live in Luxury in this elegant colonial, walled & gated for exceptional privacy in prime Beverly Hills. Outstanding, redone with the utmost level of taste, this beautiful home has the perfect floor plan with great entertainment flow. Gorgeous kitchen with center island. Upstairs: huge master suite with spectacular terrace & fireplace completed by 3 more bedrooms with private baths. Romantic landscaped yard with pool, spa, lovely covered patio & terraces.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: We're a little late to the rodeo on this one, puppies, but even though it's already been discussed by other celebrity gossip mongers besides Your Mama we want to weigh in and add a coda to the real estate story.

As many people get up into their fifties and sixties and their nests become empty but for their domestic staff and infrequent visits from grand children, they downsize. They sell off their big family homes with more bedrooms than they need, high maintenance yards, and too many ghosts of memories past. Not fashion honcho Max Azria. From the looks of things, not only are Mister Azria and his wifey/muse Lubov up sizing, they're going b.i.g.

Mister Azria is, of course, the man behind the eponymous fashion company BCBGMAXAZRIA. He also owns and is responsible for the resurgence of the wickedly tight, super strappy and uber body conscious Hervé Léger label that we often see spray painted onto the twig thin bodies of red carpet walkers. In the summer of 2009 Mister Azria also joined forces with ever-annoying teen singing sensation Miley Cyrus in order to work up a line of clothes for tween gals for–are y'all ready for this?–Wal-Mart. That's right, Wal-Mart, the ubiquitous emporium of all things inexpensive and downright cheap that has pretty much destroyed downtown communities the country over. Money talks butter beans, and Mister Azria, clearly a man with a bizness head as well as a fashion bent, knows that selling clothes at Wal-Mart is the next best thing for fattening his pocketbook to pushing mid-priced clothes on the QVC which is where, of course, the real money in middle brow fashion is.

Anhoo, in mid-September of 2009 Mister Azria listed a mansion on N. Rexford Street in a pretty prime section of the Beverly Hills flats with an asking price of $7,499,000. The price of the 6,138 square foot quasi-colonial has since been chopped to $6,899,000. Your Mama doesn't have any idee-uhr if Mister and Missus Azria actually occupied this house prior to it being put up for sale, but property records would indicate that the couple purchased the property way back in 1970 for just $125,000. Your Mama barely remembers yesterday so we certainly don't recall much about real estate prices in 1970, but we imagine that $125,000 was a lot of money to spend on a house at that time.

Listing information shows there are 5 bedrooms and 6 poopers on the property which is approached via a circular drive that leads to a gated motor court and a three car garage. The interior spaces have all been "redone with the utmost level of taste" according to listing information. There are several public areas including the one to the right of the stair hall that stretches from the front all the way to the back of the house where it opens to a covered brick patio in the backyard.

The kitchen, painted a dusty baby blue and open to what we think is a family room at the back of the house, has white cabinetry, a huge work island, marble counter tops, stainless steel appliances and the same chocolate colored wood floors as in the rest of the house. The children will note that there are actually (at least) three types of wood flooring in the house. In the living room the floors are parquet and probably original to the house which was built in 1923, in the dining room, family room and kitchen the floors are comprised of wood planks of various lengths and widths, and upstairs in the master bedroom the floors appear to be narrow but uniform width oak. All the wood floors have been stained the same deep chocolate color in an attempt to unify the spaces, but to be honest chickens, for six and some million clams Your Mama does not want to have to spend another 50 or 100 grand fixing that cacophony of wood floors in this house.

The master bedroom has a tray ceiling, a fireplace and quartet of French doors that open to a large terrace overlooking the backyard and swimming pool. Although Your Mama has not been in this house, it looks to our untrained eye that the master bedroom might include two large, custom fitted dressing rooms and dual bathrooms, one all did up with a beige-y grey onyx and the other done over with a more masculine chocolate brown marble.

The back yard is well shielded from the nearby neighbors by very tall hedges and in addition to the previously mentioned covered terrace there is also a pergola shaded terrace off the family room and a patterned brick pool surround for setting chaise lounges. Not pictured is a dark bottomed spa tucked away in a corner of the yard for romantic–or naughty–late night interludes in hot bubbling water.

Mister and Missus Azria own quite a bit of property around Los Angeles. Property records show that in January of 2006 they picked up two condos at The Wilshire Holmby building for a combined $1,000,000 and later in the year, in September, they closed on a 1.99 acre parcel of bare land above Bel Air–and overlooking Sherman Oaks–on the legendary and not particularly well cared for Mulholland Drive. More recently, property records also show that in August of 2009 the fashioneestuhs scooped up a 2,008 square foot house on La Peer Drive in the less desirable 90211 section of Beverly Hills.

However, Your Mama suspects that Mister and Missus Azria aren't packing their Louis Vuitton cases and moving into any of these modest properties because in early 2005 the couple were having some really big real estate dreams and splashed out the 2.83 acre Sunset Boo-lay-vard estate that once belonged to prolific, well compensated and Oscar winning writer Sidney Sheldon. Mister Sheldon, for those not edgumuhcayted on Hollywood history, created iconic boob-toob programs including The Patty Duke Show, I Dream of Jeannie and Hart to Hart before he started penning best selling beach reading novels like Master of the Game and The Other Side of Midnight.

Anyhoo, as best as we can tell from property records and previous reports, Mister and Missus Axzria picked up the Paul Williams designed Sidney Sheldon estate (above) in July of 2005 for a whopping $16,000,000. This was after it had been bought from the elderly Mister Sheldon and his May/December third wifey and then flipped just a few months later by a trust believed to be controlled by radio and tee-vee tycoon Carl Palmer Jr.

Property records show the Azria's new mansion measures in at a monstrous 18,806 square feet–or 18,760 depending on where one looks–with 12 bedrooms and an unlucky 13 bathrooms. However, listing information that Your Mama managed to tease out of the interweb shows the Azria's new digs sprawl across and even more beastly 22,000 square feet with 10 bedrooms and a nerve rattling 22 poopers. Twenty two damn terlits? In one house? Oh lo-ward have mercy children, somebody done lost their damn mind if they think there's anything even remotely reasonable about have 22 terlits in one house. It would probably suck up all the water in parched Los Angeles iffin all them things were flushed at the same time. Your Mama hopes Mister and Missus Azria have a good line to a fine domestic staffing agency because they're clearly going to need at least 2 minimum wage gurls who do nuthin' but scrub their 22 damn terlits. Maybe Miz Candy Spelling can send a few of her gurls over there once she moves out of her hotel-sized house on nearby S. Mapleton Drive and into her new Century City penthouse.

Mister and Missus Azria have spent the last few years giving their new estate an overhaul which appears to include freshening up the landscaping, altering the original White House like front portico into something boxier and more Greek Revival-ish as well as altering the roof line of the front facade so that Paul Williams' original dormer windows are no longer dormer windows at all. In addition to the hulking main house there is a mini-mansion sized guest house a tennis court, detached garaging and a swimming pool with adjacent pool house. The new property was christened La Maison de Soleil. That's 'The House of the Sun' for all y'all who don't par-lay the French.

Thanks to one of the children, we've learned that the interior spaces were photographed for the glossy pages of the June 2009 issue of Harper's Bazaar. According to the article accompanying the photographs, originally Missus Azria was going to tackle day-core but eventually the couple hired Los Angeles designer Aly Daly who put the interior spaces through her decorating ringer and transformed the 60 (or so) rooms of La Maison into whimsical, theatrical and colorfully capricious spaces that blur the line between completely out of control and rigorously restrained. The playfully astringent tenor of the day-core is set in the front entrance hall where a towering tube-like crystal chandelier hangs from the double height ceiling and spills dramatically over a chunky and earthy petrified wood table and pools on the ground like water. Other rooms of note include the sensationally silver leafed dining room, warmed by a fireplace with a mirrored Art Deco-ish fireplace surround and lit by a painfully expensive but utterly soo-blime Tord Boontje Blossom chandelier. Mister Azria's personal office pushes visual limits with a glowing, cushion shaped and gold leaf ceiling, a swoopy, multi-colored Paul Smith designed carpet, a radically bulbous red an white striped chair and ottoman–whose designer we can not readily name–and a big white pear sculpture-thing sitting next to one of the winter white sofas. Yes puppies, the Azria's day-core takes over the top to a whole new level, but Your Mama is, none-the-less, thrilled by and wallowing in the audacity and fearlessness of it all.

Mister and Missus Azria's new neighbors include the bitterly dee-vorcing and dagger throwing duo of Frank and Jamie McCourt who own the L.A. Dodgers, octogenarian Hugh Hefner and whatever barely legal gurlfriends he's living with now in the Playboy Mansion on Charing Cross Road, and the iconic Connie Stevens who lives across Sunset Boulevard in a big house over on Delfern Drive.

photos from Harper's Bazaar by Douglas Friedman


Anonymous said...

I had been to the Sheldon home a number of times back in the day. Everything you could fantasize about glam Hollywood. It took my breath away. If you wanted to live the Hollywood dream, forget Candy or Hef or Wasserman homes. This is the one.

Anonymous said...

I wonder which way it faces? From the back balcony, do you have a view of downtown?

Anonymous said...

I love Aly Daly's interiors!! So pretty...

? said...

My parents bought their 3,500 square foot house in Baltimore in 1972 and paid 70,000 for it. It's now worth approximately a million, down from the peak boom values of approx 1.3 million.

So if someone bought a house in Beverly Hills for 125,000 in 1970 and is asking 6 million clams, they have indeed done very well.

Anonymous said...

The lengths that folks go to win the conspicuous consumption life-style race in Los Angeles floors me. I mean look at the North Rexford Drive house; it was hardly a hovel. I guess when you're trying to make a splash in LA society a big house in Beverly Hills isn't going to cut it, your house needs to be HUGE. Apparently size does matter in LA real estate.

Viva! said...

Always loved Sidney Sheldon, no surprise that his house was way over the top.

Could care less about Mr and Mrs Azria, though he does make nice clothes.

What interests me is that Connie Stevens lives nearby. She went from bankrupt to Bel Air in the span of 10 years thanks to her 'Forever Spring' cosmetics line sold through HSN. Goes to show you can't keep a good blond down!

Rosco Mare said...

Worth noting is that Connie Stevens' beautiful southern colonial-style mansion on Delfern Drive was once the home of Olympic ice skating champion turned movie star Sonja Henie.

Reply #1 said...

I'm a bit confused. The Harper's article seems to imply new construction. Did they raze the Sheldon home and build what looks to me like Early Whorehouse or just modify the existing structure as Mama says.

I'll admit that when I was in the house it was garish but fun Hollywood glam garish. Now it looks horrible and incongruent to the Williams intent and design.

Anonymous said...

After looking at those pictures in Harpers, there is nothing that won't look tacky and dated in 5 years. This house demands elegance, subtle style and good taste.

Those pictures show none of that. At best, a Carnival ride at Six Flags. These people have plenty money and no taste or good breeding. You decorate a 7 year old girl's bedroom like that, not an entire house.

Ed said...

I have to disagree. There are without doubt moments of decorating trends here that will need to be "fixed" in the years to come, I think that there is plenty here that will withstand the test of time.

I always find it interesting how so many people think classical Michael Smith/Buatta/Rose Tarlow sorts of interiors are the only ones that will hold up. I'm not dogging or knocking those designers, I'm just saying, not everyone wants to live like that. Some of us want something more bold, even brassy.

I for one would be happy to live in this 7 year old girl's bedroom.

Anonymous said...

Mama, that gold leaf ceiling made me throw up a little in my mouth...then it dribbled on my chin. My word verification is "Trump."

Anonymous said...

It's atrocious what was done to that house

Anonymous said...

The exterior is pure Paul Williams elegance. The interior? H-I-D-E-O-U-S!

Ernesto said...

This decor is a divine breath of fresh air after all the beige and 'safe' decor we have seen. How bold! How daring! What stunning chandeliers!!! It's not even my taste, but I love it!

Anonymous said...

It's the kind of bold and daring decor that you'd expect in a flagship Macy's.

Ryan said...

Mama, that stripey chair and ottoman are the UP chair from B&B Italia.

Anonymous said...

You must understand these people are fashion designers not accountants. Drama, whimsy and the color used is amazing. They are leaders in design, why follow the beige, predictable and boring. The house is as interesting, brave, creative and individual as they are.
Bravo to the Azrias and Aly Daly

Anonymous said...

Lubov recently gave this video tour of their house to the crew at GLAM: — What an incredible house. That chandelier is incredible.