Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Jason Lee Lists at a Lower Price

SELLER: Jason Lee
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $3,250,000
SIZE: 2,205 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Ooo-wee children. One of Your Mama's all time favorite celebrity owned properties is back on the market and it's looking even better than before. Back in late 2007 three time Grammy winning R&B singer and guitarist Robert Cray sold his long time compound located in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles for $3,350,000.

Even before the ink was dry on the deed Your Mama had heard from several well connected sources including the always spot on Lucy Spillerguts and the the serious celebrity real estate insider Gabriella Gabsaboutit that the buyer was 2-time Golden Globe nominated actor Jason Lee. Less than three years later the property has been hoisted back on the market with an asking price of $3,250,000, otherwise known as $100,000 less than was paid for it near the very top of a once white hot real estate market.

Mister Lee, a former professional skateboarder, busted into showbiz in the mid 1990s when he appeared in the movies Mallrats and then Chasing Amy. He went on to roles in Almost Famous and Vanilla Sky (with fellow Scientologist Tommy Crooz). By the mid-2000s he was a bone fide tee-vee star on the program My Name is Earl in which he played a mustachioed and well meaning dummkopf who won a bit of money in the lottery and spent all his time doing good deeds in order to atone for his previous life as a petty criminal. The show was canceled in 2009 and Mister Lee quickly got another job sans mustache as a quirky police detective on Memphis Beat on the TNT. Like so many other actors and actresses, Mister Lee has lucratively lent his voice to a number of animated films throughout his career.

Mister Lee's private life is his own beeswax, of course, but he is a public figger after all and for those interested in these things he is currently married to the Turko-Australian model Ceren Alkaç with whom he made one baby a couple of years ago and he has another 10 or 11 year old child with the unconventional name of Pilot Inspektor who he made with another lady to whom he was engaged but not married. He also, allegedly, sits on the Board of Advisers for the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a "nonprofit organization dedicated solely to eradicating mental health abuse and enacting patient and consumer protections" founded by those wacky folks at the Church of Scientology. As best as Your Mama can tell, the CCHR's primary concern is to make psychiatrists out to be little more than drug pushing devils.

According to current listing information, which proudly announces that it is a "Gated & Private Celebrity Compound," the property stretches across 1.41 terraced hillside acres and includes a modestly sized 2,205 square foot main house with 3 bedrooms and 3 poopers plus a pool house, detached office/studio space, and a detached 2-car garage where Your Mama imagines Mister Lee keeps at least some of the vintage motorcycles he's known to collect.

There is, of course, nothing "modest" about a modestly sized home that is priced well over three million clams, but the single story main house, built in 1948 and sited with views of the Hollywood sign and Griffith Park Observatory, has an architectural simplicity and honesty that gives Your Mama the good kind of goose bumps. The drive gates open to a large motor court and detached two car garage with adjacent office/studio space. An extra wide gravel path leads to the front door set into the center of the front facade that is literally dripping with foliage in a very purposeful but haphazard sort of way.

The living room has chestnut colored hardwood flooring, a beamed wood ceiling, and opposite the super extra long window that looks out into the gardens there is a monolithic but discreetly designed stacked Arizona flagstone fireplace with a raised hearth reminiscent of something one might find in a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home. The day-core is a smart, warm and dee-voonly eclectic hodge-podge of classic mid-century modern pieces, a variety of mis-matched and multi-colored rugs laid willy-nilly on the floor, photographs leaning against the wall and along the window sill, and stacks of books on just about every flat surface including on the floor, on the hearth, and on the Isamu Noguchi coffee table.

Your Mama would like the children to notice that there does not appear to be a boob-toob affixed to the wall, mounted above the fireplace or, indeed, any television anywhere at all in this room. Your Mama adores the tee-vee and all the banal and jaw dropping crap programs that come pouring out of it night after night. We even more love a room designed for conversation, contemplation, reading, crossword puzzling and listening to music. How rare is this in a day and age when so many folks seem to think that the height of luxury is having cable television in their damn shower.

Just beyond the living room is the dining room that has a concrete floor with custom tile border and wall of collapsing French windows that slide open to create a seamless interaction between the indoors and the outdoors. A 1950s desk-like dining table lit by a single glass orb pendant light (that we think is hung a tad too high) is surrounded by vintage Emeco aluminum chairs. A low table at one end of the room is stacked with more books and a built in wet bar is the perfect spot for a boozer like Your Mama to camp out during a party or during the long slog of the mid-morning hours.

The petite but well equipped kitchen has glossy hardwood floors with custom tile border, concrete counter tops, open shelving, which we love like the dickens, and a white porcelain farmhouse sink with industrial style hardware that sits in front of a long window that echoes and smartly ties in the long window in the living room. See how that's done, kids? Someone was really thinking here. Anyhoo, we're not so fond of the natural wood raised panel doors on the lower cabinets and we're a bit miffed that the refrigerator is located in the adjacent pantry, but these are quirks we could happily get used to.

Each of the three bedrooms opens to the terraces and patios that surround the house and the well-sized master bedroom has a private garden surrounded by a vine covered wall, and an attached pooper with a most unusual tub/shower combination with a curved section that juts out into the room. Of course we don't know a nail head from a book end, but we imagine that bump out is a step to make it easier to get in and out of the thing.

On the hill side of the house an expansive terrace leads to an art and book filled office/studio space with saltillo tile floors that rather interestingly climb up about 1/3 of the bottom part of the walls with the remainder covered with woven grass wall coverings. We don't really recommend running the tile up the walls, but iffin the room were cleared out it could be hosed out without destroying the walls, which isn't an entirely bad thing, right?

The large, rectangular swimming pool with its surround of irregularly sized flagstone is sunk directly into the lawn of a large flat area just below the house. A small pool house, which Mister and Missus Lee use as an apparel design studio, has a wide covered porch for escaping the scorching southern California sunshine and the inside has saltillo tile floors and a vaulted wood beamed ceiling. There does not appear to be a pooper in the pool house which is a real shame because it's a bit of a drag to have to schlep a gin filled bladder back up to the main house even if it isn't really very far. Like with the the kitchen issues, it's an inconvenience Your Mama could get used to even though for three million clams we would prefer not to have to climb any stairs at all in order to do our bizness.

The property has a rough around the edges we-didn't-do-up-the-landscape sort of landscaping that we'd bet our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly cost a fortune to install. A couple of unexpected architectural gems dot the property including a tree house that Your Mama would have chopped off a limb to have as a child and and a vegetable garden enclosed in very contemporary structure wrapped with chicken wire to keep out the many critters who, believe it or not, roam the streets and byways of most if not all of the hillside neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

Listen butter beans, Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter are not nor will we ever be in the market for a three million dollar property but iffin we were ever to find ourselves with pockets that deep we would have surely called Mister Lee's real estate people yesterday and made an offer. A grand and meticulously manicured estate is a lovely thing to behold, but our personal real estate preferences are really more in line with the arty-farty boho sort of thing going on at Mister and Missus Lee's compound.

One has to wonder why the Lees would choose to leave their little slice of paradise in Los Feliz so soon after settling in. Then again, famous folks are a funny lot and who are we to know anything about or question the fickle real estate ways of the rich and famous?

listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty / Beverly Hills


StPaulSnowman said...

But has a bathtub with a bump-out. You and the Big C have to at least look at it. I am sure that you could work something out if you just sold the bejewelled abacus and your Hummel collection. I really want you to have this house. You were in full autoerotic, seductive mode when you wrote this one and now you have to act on it!

Anonymous said...

Jason Lee is the s@#t.
I had his skateboards when I was a kid when skating was pure before everything got commercialized and bastardized by Corporate America.
The good old days when stadiums were named after the teams, not some stupid bank or some other company.

I wonder if Hugette Clark used her money to build a time machine....

Anonymous said...

Wow, very cool.
It looks like the house of an artist. Once in a while you come across an actor who seems to have the soul of an artist, but not very often. I'm just surprised it's Jason Lee, but I don't have any background on him save for the skateboard history.
The kitchen is a little problematic. I for one am not a fan of open shelves, but it's all easily fixable and that window is just extraordinary.

Anonymous said...

If I were rich enough, I'd philanthropically buy this for you and Dr C, Mama, just so long as I could slip by twice a year for a G&T (or six) in the afternoon, that is assuming that the long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly don't try to maul me.

lil' gay boy said...

Not crazy about the kitchen cabinet doors either, Mama; but the rest of the house looks well lived in.

Don't much care for Mr. Lee's choices in roles (I seem to be immune to his particular brand of humor), and the Scientology stuff doesn't exactly raise the bar for me either. But he seems to keep a low profile publicly, much unlike the vertically-challenged Mr. Cruise.

Although it appears, next to its neighbors, to be a nice piece of property, if this birds-eye view is more current it looks like the house has been stripped of most of the lovely (yet damaging) ivy.

Anonymous said...

No, no, no, no, no, Mama. Far more than is usually the case, the value of this property is in the incredible lot, which could probably be subdivided into 5 conforming lots without much trouble. Personally I would view its subdivision as tragic, but facts are facts. In this and other respects this is a lot rare in Los Feliz. But not $3.2 Million. Not even close.

First, the pictures do not accurately reflect the current state of this property, which has seriously depreciated since its purchase by the current owner. It's really run down. The house itself has none of the charm the photographer has teased out of the images. It wasn't built that well, and it's been very brutally "updated" over the years in several misconceived renovations.

The yard has been totally misplanted and mismanaged and in many cases (the former vinyard on the rear hill) just left to die and become weedy.

Because the value of this property is in the lot, it should be considered as essentially "raw land" from a financial standpoint. Raw land is MUCH more volatile than developed land, so the value of this property has suffered more than others in the downturn.

Think $2.5 Million and hope for the best. That's what the owner was told, but the advice of the best agents in Los Feliz just didn't persuade him, it is thought because of the debt on the property and his own financial condition. Rumors are that the owner has got bad financial problems (Too much money to the Scientologists? Who knows!) and that the property is heavily mortgaged, so the price just couldn't be lower.

But it will be!

Anonymous said...

Mama, write a screenplay about Huegette Clark, and then, with the proceeds, buy this house! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Very interesting info, 8:51.
So do we know who's interiors and indeed exteriors we are even looking at here; Cray (the owner before Lee) or Lee? I may have to take back my previous musings about Lee/artist blah, blah, blah.
If it actually turns into a short sale in the vicinity of 2.5m, then maybe Mama has a chance!

Anonymous said...

I agree with St PaulSnowman! I would love to buy this house for you Mama - just as long as you continue with this blog - I'm completely addicited! You and the Dr Cooter would be so happy. Are there too many terlits for Svetlana? Off to my nerve pill closet for some relief.

Anonymous said...

I've been a fan of Robert Cray's since I was a wee thing & my parents would take me to see him perform his blues (he's not an R&B) artist at the Newport Jazz festival in the '80s. Jason Lee certainly improved the place though.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous place! One of my faves that I've see on here.

However, if 8:51 is "in the know," I'd love to hear more. A relative of mine works for the LA Conservancy and knows several celebrities, who are on the board. I wonder if she knows anythign about this place. May have to inquire.

Anonymous said...

The property is definitely unique in it's privacy and lot size. Plus, there is a substantial amount of buzz. I would wager that this property will go for near asking with a buyer who gets caught up in the romance of it all and overpays.

Anonymous said...

If the property is truly not in the condition it is in the photos (and on the listing's website: but rather the condition anon 8:51 says it is, the realtor is really not doing himself, Mr. Lee, or potential buyers any favors by putting deceptive pictures out there, because all that will happen is a lot of frustrated buyers and realtors walking away disgusted and giving the home a bad rep that will cause it to linger on the market for years. Quite frankly, I can't imagine that a realtor would bother putting together a website of outdated pics, it would be a waste of time and money, I would imagine the house probably does look like it does on the website...

organbrett said...

I can't imagine Mr. Lee having any financial problems since "My Name is Earl" recently went into syndication and is playing all over the airwaves at different times of the day. (He also was credited as 'producer' on 50 episodes.) That and the fact that he was hired for that new show on TNT. He seems to always be working.

Maybe the family just decided this property is now getting to be too much work. I grew up on an acre of land that was a lot like this property (we even had a decadent tree house, like they do). There were always things to water, weed, trim, etc. Best of luck to him & his family!

Anonymous said...

It is under contract so someone with a fat wallet liked it. Be interesting to see what it sold for when the sale records.