Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dennis Hopper's Venice Compound on the Block

SELLER: Estate of Dennis Hopper
PRICE: estimated at around $6,200,000
SIZE: 6 structures on 5 parcels

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Intense, gifted, and kinda freaky 2-time Oscar nominated actor Dennis Hopper perished from prostate cancer at the end of May 2010.

Hopper is believed to have left the bulk of his fortune estimated at around thirty million clams, to his three adult children, his 7-year old daughter, and two grandchildren but by mid-June the family was locked in a bitter battle over Mister Hopper's estate because his estranged 5th wife Victoria Duffy–Hopper had filed for divorce just months before he died–was contesting the will claiming that a 1996 pre-nup entitled her to a one-time payout of $250,000 from his life insurance policy plus 25% of the estate that includes a modern art collection and homes in both Los Angeles and Taos, NM.

Amid that turmoil and barely 6 weeks after Mister Hopper went to meet his great producer in the sky, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles' controversial new director Jeffrey Deitch launched a controversial survey exhibition of the late actor and artist's work curated by pajama wearing art superstar Julian Schnabel who, the arty-farty children might find amusing to know, deigned to travel to the art world hinterland of Tinseltown for the opening. In Your Mama's ignorant and utterly meaningless opinion, the photographs are fantastic, the paintings no so much.

Anyhoo, now word slips down the celebrity real estate grapevine and out through a gazillion online portals that Mister Hopper's long time compound in Venice, CA is scheduled to go on the market at the end of the week for somewhere around $6,200,000.

The compound, located a few short blocks from the beach, covers a total of five parcels and includes 4 tightly packed but separate residences plus a swimming pool and small grassy yard. Property records show that the first piece of Mister Hoppers real estate puzzle was purchased in July of 1985 for just $21,000. Mister Hopper hired architect Brian Murphy who designed an chunky, industrial looking mass with a corrugated metal skin and an undulating roof dotted with large skylights. Property records show the structure measures 4,896 square feet and includes 4 bedrooms and 2 poopers. At that time Venice was a nitty-gritty outpost where most celebrities and real estate snobs would not have dreamed of going let along living. Nowadays Venice is still a bit rough around the edges–Beverly Hills types Your Mama knows still insist on referring to it as an oceanside ghetto–but it's none-the-less chockablock with celebrities and progressive architectural statements and experiments.

In his last interview for Vanity Fair magazine, writer Bob Colacello described the interior of Mister Hopper's house as having a "loft-like living room" in which, "There were artworks everywhere–on the wall, on the floor, on tables–including a painting of eyeglasses by John Baldessari" who, coincidentally, also currently has a large and much acclaimed retrospective of his work going on only it's at the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art (LACMA).

In March of 1999, according to property records, Mister Hopper purchased an adjacent property that currently contains two wee cottages separated by a grassy yard with a long, lap-like swimming pool (below).

On the other side of Mister Hopper's big corrugated metal box, which presents a formidable and windowless facade has an incongruous and humorous white picket fence that runs along the sidewalk, are three similar looking houses designed and built in the early 1980s by Venice-based maverick architect Frank Gehry and two of Hoppers friends who referred to them as the "three little pigs." One is made of concrete, another plywood and the third is sheathed in green roofing shingles. Eventually Mister Hopper came to own all three of Mister Gehry's little pigs.

The first one he bought was in October of 1997 when he paid $325,000 for a 1 bedroom and 1 pooper house that measures 1,401 square feet.

It's unclear to Your Mama when Mister Hopper purchased the second little pig and how much he paid but records do indicate the 1,143 square foot structure was in his property portfolio before September of 2000.

He finally snagged the third of the little pigs in February of 2008 paying $1,300,000 for a 1 bedroom and 1 pooper house with 1,330 square feet according to property records.

According to Mister Colacello in Vanity Fair, Mister Hopper used one of the little pigs as an office, one is occupied by his 19 year old son by his 4th wife, dancer Katherine LaNasa, and after Mister Hopper and his 5th wife Victoria Duffy went splitsville she and the couple's 7 year old daughter moved into the the third little pig.

Based on previous reports it's not clear if the entire compound–all five parcels and 6 structures–is to be sold or if the family plans to retain the parcel with the pool and/or all or some of three little pigs. However, according according to the listing agent, the Brian Murphy designed main residence can be purchased separately from the rest of the compound.

Mister Hopper was buried in Taos. Hollywood lost a great one with Mister Hopper's passing.

aerial photo: Pacific Coast News
swimming pool photo: AP/Coldwell Banker Previews International via Housing Watch


angie said...

This is the most interesting compound I've seen in a looong time. Mr. Hopper had eclectic taste to be sure. The rolling roof containing sky lights first tipped in one direction and then another must have been a major headache to construct. I kinda wonder what that looks like from the inside. Thanks much Mama.

Sammy Samantha said...

This house is in my neighborhood, and I LOVE it. I knew it would be for sale soon after his death, since it might be the only way to get his estranged wife out of the "little pig" that she encamped to after being slapped with a restraining order by DH.

It's gorgeous from the outside, albeit not to mainstream tastes. I'd give my eye teeth for a tour of the inside. Please post photos if/ when you get them, Mama!

Anonymous said...

DH also occupies an unusual place in history
with what is still L.A. county's worst natural disaster-
the '61 bel air fire.
he had just moved in to his home
with his hundred of pieces of art
when the fire struck
and his home was one of the first to be destroyed
along with all that art,
which was truly irreplaceable

Anonymous said...

Hollywood lost a great one with Mister Hopper's passing.

Except not so much. By all accounts he was a difficult, combative, mostly alcoholic man and those that knew him for any length of time were surprised Victoria put up with and stayed with him as long as she did. She's an absolute saint. Or a masochist.

StPaulSnowman said...

Sorry, I just can't see "the lovely" in this cluster. It looks like a movie studio. Still........even bad Picassos will bring a lot of money........

Madam Pince said...

Given the sky-high prices I've heard quoted for Venice property, I'm surprised Hopper's compound is listed at such a low figure. Especially with his name attached to it. Seems more like a legal move to oust Victoria rather than turn a profit.

Anonymous said...

Bad Picasso?!? WTF?

T.B. said...

Oh Snowman. I've been reading your comments for a long time. I think you have some interesting things to say but you're so provincial about your architecture and design that it kind of makes my head hurt.

As for Hopper's compound, it's amazing. I'd happily spend the rest of my days in one of Gehry's little pigs.

micanichi said...

Given the porous nature of Mr. Gehry's work, a better name might be the three little sieves! Looks like a six million dollar tear-down to me.

Mona Vie said...

What an unbelievable place right in the middle of Santa Monica.

StPaulSnowman said...

Hey T.B. what do you mean "provincial"? I really loved that Chris Angel place. I just can't think of a good opposite for provincial to figure out if my feelings are hurt or not. Would it be metropolitan? I am sorry to make your head hurt.

Jeannified said...

I was wondering about the price too. $6 plus million sounds like a low price to me. Anyway, the buildings look interesting. My first thought was, "Why so few windows in a house by the beach in California?" Then I thoguht, "Well, he needs (wants) the wall space for his art." Interesting architecture.

Anonymous said...

Love, love, LOVE everything I see. Would kill to see the inside of each house.

__-__=__ said...

Who knew Hopper had a lap lane! Oh, what I would give for that - even a few hours in that. It's my dream, my own lap lane. His photos are truly amazing. Saw them in Chicago years ago. Well worth the price of admission any time! Thanks Mama!!

Sister George said...

we must see interior shots, Mama. Keep us posted, pretty please?

lil' gay boy said...

Half a world away & at the opposite end of the architectural spectrum from the Wood manse in the UK; good architecture is good architecture, albeit not to everyone's taste. In that sense, I have to agree with Snowman that "lovely" is not the appropriate adjective; but I do find it interesting & stimulating.

Venice may never be the city of its namesake, but it's still by the water, and in CA, too. Whether or not it's a ghetto (and how one applies that definition), it still is an eclectic collection of design experiments, much like an outdoor lab.

Given the constraints that such tiny real estate imposes, I'd have to see more of the interior before I could determine its livability ––– but if the photo of the lap pool is anywhere near accurate, it looks like I could make do.


Anonymous said...

who called this house lovely?

Anonymous said...

The Brian Murphy link has shots of the interior. The pool's there. The art, & a black & white piece with DH's face is over a doorway. Click people, click.

angie said...

Thank you anon 7:54 PM. Just what I wanted to see too. I think some of us get so absorbed with the reading that highlighted words occasionally escape our notice. Gotta watch that.

Anonymous said...

If this place is lovely, I must live in a paradise. It's just awful.

Mr. Hopper was a mean, crazy, old fool. How his wife stayed with him all those years, I don't have a clue. Nothing she gets from him will be worth what she put up from him. His adult children are nothing but leaches who could not make a living on their own even if they tried.

Back to the house, I bet they can hear each other flush poopers from any place on the property.

Anonymous said...

What a chic chic chic compound. Let's hope that horrible wife who was an albatross around his dying neck doesn't have the door hit her on the way out.

But if it does, I bet many a man and woman in Hollywood will applaud...

Anonymous said...

This house is a hideous piece of crap.
It should be razed to the ground.

My word is sticiniz

Christopher Jennings said...

I think the term "house" doesn't fit with that "MANSION" Do you need to ride a taxi before getting to the bathroom? haha.

Anonymous said...

What an incredible piece of real estate. An iconic compound from one of the 20th century's iconic artists - truly a memorable property!

Anonymous said...

Any news anyone on sale price at close of auction?

Anonymous said...

The property was staged by Meridith Baer & Associates, a Los Angeles-based staging company. Please feel free to visit our website at www.meridithbaer.com. All of our furniture, including the furniture and artwork used in the Hopper Estate, is also available for purchase.

victoria real estate said...

Reports said that the wife of Dennis Hopper still have the rights to the estate because their divorce was never materialized. Lucky wife!

SPWS said...

I would also claim my rights to this property if I am the wife of Dennis Hopper. There is nothing wrong with her actions.

real estate Victoria