Friday, February 5, 2010

Scarlett Johansson Catches A Case of the Real Estate Fickle

SELLER: Scarlett Johansson
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $4,995,000
SIZE: 4,352 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama would like the children to put on their thinking caps and try to remember way back in April of 2009 when Your Mama floated the real estate rumor that actress Scarlett Johansson (He's Just Not That Into You, Vicky Christina Barcelona, The Other Boleyn Girl, Lost In Translation) was gearing up to list her Los Angeles crib. Our trusted informant Winnie Baygo snitched that the asking price was going to be, "around $5,100,000."

It only took 10 months, but Miss Johansson did finally and indeed list her house but not with an asking price of $5,100,000 but rather–are y'all sitting down with an especially stiff cocktail?–$4,950,000. Did anyone just hear Your Mama gasp and fall right down on the floor with with convulsions of shock and awe? Well, we did.

See puppies, Miss Johansson–who is also Missus Ryan Reynolds–purchased her 1931 Spanish style casa in the Outpost Estates neighborhood in May of 2007 for $7,000,000. That's right, seven million smackers. A couple quick flicks of the well worn beads of our bejeweled abacus reveals that even if ol' Lady Luck takes up Miss Johansson's real estate cause as a special case and the bee-stung lipped star manages to land a buyer willing to pay the full asking price she'll still be taking a financial blood bath to the tune of $2,050,000. And that, butter beans, is not even counting the boo-coo bucks she's laid out on what listing information calls the recently completed "extraordinary restoration" that included all new windows and doors and "massive system upgrades" including installation of a solar system for all the electric stuff. It also does not count the fat real estate fees she'll be forking over to her super successful celebrity friendly real estate agent that could easily be another two hundred grand.

We're positive some of you real estate Chicken Littles will jump for joy and puff your chests out with righteousness at the 28% drop between what Miss Johansson paid and its current asking price. But all Your Mama can think about is that most people won't ever even have two and some million clams let alone that much money to lose on a damn house because they caught a serious case of The Real Estate Fickle that seems to plague rich and famous people. What is wrong with these people? Honestly. We don't understand why Miss Johansson and Mister Reynolds don't just suck it up and live in this damn house even if its not the house of their Barbie dreams. Isn't that better than losing a couple million bucks? No? Yes?

Anyhoo, listing information indicates Miss Johansson's walled and gated mini-manse measures 4,352 square feet and includes 4 bedrooms and 5.5 poopers. According to the taxman, the house has 7 bedrooms and 7 poopers. We're not sure why that discrepancy but it might be that the larger numbers include the staff quarters and/or that one or more of the original bedrooms has been put to use as something other than a bedroom.

The driveway of the double gated property passes under a porte cochere and leads around to the motor court and four car garage. Many of the interior rooms, including the living room and dining room open to a loggia that wraps around a vast atrium space with tile floors and a soaring glass ceiling. Your Mama can only hope that glass ceiling is treated with some sort of reflective material and/or that electronic shades have been installed to modulate and ward off the harsh rays of the southern California sunshine otherwise that atrium will heat up and go hoo-mid like a damn hot house.

It appears to Your Mama that the kitchen has been recently remodeled by Miss Johansson and her team of nice, gay decorators. Complementing what may or may not be the original teal tile work are lower cabinets in a matching teal and white upper cabinets. According to listing information, the cooker is kitted out with "Big Chill" style appliances, which means they look retro. Not a choice Your Mama would have made for a five million clam casa but maybe Miss Johansson likes retro. At least some of the property's poopers retain their original tile and fixtures. One, according to listing photos, has yellow tile with green accents and another has pink tile installed all the way up the walls and over the barrel vaulted ceiling. This pooper has green tile accents and a yellow sink and bathtub. It's all a little visually assaulting and somewhat disturbing to imagine being nood in, but it's also kind of great if you care for a quirky vintage look.

Terraces with canyon and city views at the back of the house cascade down the hillside and there is a a long, dark bottomed lap pool and spa, winding gravel and rock lined pathways, several grassy areas and gardens.

We're not even sure Miss Johansson ever occupied this house in any kind of meaningful way because as sure as we are that there's a couple of bottles of gin chilling in the freezer right this very minute we know that the interiors of this house were staged. We'd be surprised if Miss Johansson or Mister Reynolds owned a stick of the furniture or a swatch of the fabrics in the house. Had the two of them occupied the house–and maybe they did, maybe they didn't, what do we know?–they would have been surrounded by famous neighbors including the soon to be single Charlize Theron, happily married Desperate Housewife Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy, Orlando Bloom, and director David Lynch.

This is not the first time in recent real estate memory that Miss Johansson has taken a loss selling a property. In April of 2008 she sold her 66 Leonard Street loft for $52,000 less than the $1,950,000 she paid for the place in January of 2006.

In the spring of 2009, when all this whispering about Miss Johansson selling her house Los Angeles began, Your Mama had a chit chat with The Easter Bunny who told us that he heard through the celebrity gossip grapevine that Miss Johansson and her huzzbund Mister Reynolds were hightailing it to Noo York City where, in April of 2008, she forked over $2,100,000 for a 2 bedroom and 2 pooper penthouse apartment on East 53rd Street.

photo: Pacific Coast News


Anonymous said...

WOW, that's a major hit to the pocket book, but apparently she (they) can afford the hit. Pretty much love all of the exterior shots, but was quite disappointed with the interior. The HUGE glass roofed atrium looks/feels like a lobby of a small hotel--NOT what I would want for a home--would probably be nicer to remove the ceiling and just have a large patio/courtyard. Bathrooms are awful.

SID DELUCA said...

Thank you, Mama, for some eye candy to go with my morning cawfee. My fave style is 1930's Spanish, hands down, and almost everything in this crib rocks my world. A few color changes, for sure ( I do prefer the black and white NYC subway tile kind of bathrooms) but those details.....that rounded bathroom ceiling makes me a little wet. And we all know that God is in the details, right? This is what Tracey Ullman's house should look like inside. A bootyfull weekend to you and all the chirren!

Carla Ridge said...

I think Gore Vidal is also a neighbor. If his proximity depresses property values the way his prose depresses the national psyche, that would be too bad, LOL.

(I personally find him dee-voon in the most Mansfieldian sense)

Marcos Qué said...

Dear Mama,
My theory about Lady Scarlett flipping Out-post is that she finally realized there's no underground station nearby... such a crime for a New Yorker. I totally understand her because we don't usually drive in Europe either.
However, you can tell she's a Hollywood superstar but there's no enough room for a limo on those narrow streets in the Hills.
Greetings from Spain, where all casas are Spanish ;-)

Anonymous said...

This place creeps me out for some reason. It reminds me of the hotel in The Shining, and I too would want to get out of it.

Anonymous said...

Nothing warms the cockles of my cold heart so much as hearing about losses Hollywood types take on their real estate deals. Eddie Cibirian, you hearing too?

Anonymous said...

Nice house, but that is a lot of money for a house with an almost ALL terraced backyard.

Houses in the area with larger less hilly lots are valued for half this listed price.

Somebody needs to give her a calendar. It is not 2007 anymore. She better lower the price on this flipper or enjoy owning a 7 million dollar lemon.

Move over Nic Cage!

Anonymous said...

This place is just up the street from the house Ben Stiller is trying to flip. Did he ever get the 12.5 mil for it? I guess not, looks like it is still on the market...

This two block area is Spanish tile roof row.

These two are benchmark sales. People in the area are watching these with great interest to see if they sell for the listed prices.

Anonymous said...

But I thought the Nice Gay Decorators would improve home value. What a waste of money.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry.
If I could afford to keep the house, I would not sell it at a $2 million plus loss.
I would keep it, rent it out, whatever.

ceebeedee said...

I like the pool.

The West Coast butterbeans would know far better than I, an East Coastie, but isn't all that glass unwise in earthquake country? Or is there special glass for that? I don't know. Also, wouldn't the glass room just be a Fryolator most of the time?

Anyways, I like the pool.

Anonymous said...

is this formerly Charlize Theron's house?

avg joe :{} said...

This downward spiral is far from over

I predict another 80% drop in real estate prices and then we can begin again, that unless palin and her band of crazies try to start a revoloution then all bets are off

just sayin and I TOLD YOU SO !!!!!!

avg joe :{}

? said...

Decent house. The central atrium was most likely originally open air.

The kitchen tiles are not original to the house. The original kitchen would have occupied 1/4 the current space and the rest of the present kitchen taken up by butler's pantries, staff dining room etc.

I thought the bathrooms were cool.

Madam Pince said...

Do she and the Mister need that much of a tax deduction?!?

Jimbo said...

At least for me, the only rational reason to take such a haircut is you absolutely, positively need the money. Why and for what? Who knows.

On the other hand, to be practical, if there house is owned free and clear than the original cost is history -- what is called a 'sunk cost' -- and you move forward without looking back with regrets.

Carla In California said...

I agree with Madam Prince. It's all about the tax deduction. Why else would she be so willing to mark down the price if there wasn't a benefit to it? Maybe Ben Stiller is not as savvy and smart?

Love the house, though. :)

Happy SuperBowl Sunday, Mama!

Anonymous said...


Charlize Theron's house is down the hill on the corner.

SID DELUCA said...


D Alexander Toluca Lake said...

It is nice to see property values dropping.

Prices are still too high, especially in the middle range market, in relation to income.

And although I voted for Obama he is making matters worse by trying to prop up real estate values.

While Obama is helping those who should default on their loans, he is keeping house prices artificially high.

By helping those who should default he is hurting a larger portion of those who would purchase a house, if prices were allowed to adjust downward naturally, if there were a larger inventory of houses for sale.

No one is saying that people should be living on the street. But you do not have a "right" to own a house versus renting an apartment.

I am as liberal as they come, but let the market price for housing adjust and get out of the way.

By helping some you are hurting many more.

Anonymous said...

I like Ryan's hairy chest. I wish he would stop shaving it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, totally news worthy. Good reporting.

Hugh Bectcha said...

Interesting. I like your reporting style. Nice to know we are all in the same boat. The rich and famous are suffering the real estate market downturn, too. Thanks. I've got you bookmarked.

Anonymous said...

Mama we have had this discussion about "it's" and "its." Now I am going to have to get my wooden spoon and make you bend over my bed. It's either that or wash your mouth out with soap. Or, we could wait until the Dr. Cooter gets home from work and let him raise your skirt and use his leather belt on the back of your legs. "It's" means "it is." Its means its. With all due respect---from a sweet Southern gurl! My verification is "English 101."

Your Mama said...

Hunny, Your Mama appreciates a good scolding when it is due us, and perhaps it is in this case. We probably should proof read better than we do. is not not that we do not know the difference between its and it's it's that our fingers get to flying and our spell check does not catch that as a mistake.

This would all be simpler perhaps if we could tolerate writing in the MicroSoft Word program that has a grammar check but we'd sooner run bamboo shoots up under our toes than open that program.

Anonymous said...

"While Obama is helping those who should default on their loans, he is keeping house prices artificially high."

NO, the banks are holding back on selling the huge inventory foreclosed properties. Prices will go down again when they release the next wave midyear.

The RE market is being artificially controlled to keep the prices up and YOU paying the higher price.

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't hurt either of their pocket books to hold on to this over priced gem a year or two longer. Doesn't make a lot of sense even in the tax department. this looks like a "break up" sale to me. Oh poor Ryan stay in LA plz

Nic said...

I can't imagine Ryan Reynolds leaving Hollywood anytime soon. He's in alot of big movies and really hot. She's kinda a snob. Shes probably jealous. Maybe the divorce rumors are true. Its not like there ever together anyways. I like the house btw

Anonymous said...

She's not taking a hit unless she paid for the property in cash. And then it's probably a tax deductible loss.

Most likely the bank is going to let her out of her 7million dollar jumbo loan by accepting the amount the next buyer pays for it. i.e. 4.9mil or lower. And she'll get a slap on the hand. She just saved herself 2 million dollars plus!!!

She'll, most likely, only lose her remodeling costs and then go buy a bigger estate for less than she'll sell this one for. More savings!!! These are shrewd money choices.... rather than sad days for her like you may think.

Unknown said...

I agree with most of the comments above. Since they can afford such huge losses, they went ahead to pursue their plans of getting their dream home. A few million bucks most probably don't mean a thing to them anyways. However, their taste in homes decor has not been good either. Thus, they probably just need to change their sense of style instead of house-hopping so quickly. Their previous house did not look extravagant and seemed like it was so cluttered and surely lack of storage space.