Monday, August 16, 2010

ScarJo and RyRey Snatch Up a Mid-Century Modern

BUYER: Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $2,900,000
SIZE: 2,835 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Last month all the celebrity real estate gossips were a-twitter and agog about how ever more unlucky in real estate actress Scarlett Johansson (Iron Man, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Lost In Translation) lost her shirt, her skirt and her Agent Provocateur panties when she sold her big 0l' Mediterranean style bachelorette pad in Los Angeles at a loss in excess of $3,000,000.

That's right puppies, Miss Johansson had a perfectly good if not great 7 bedroom and 7 pooper mansion in Los Angeles, CA that she bought in May of 2007 for $7,000,000. Two years later the curvy actress caught a case of The Real Estate Fickle so bad that she was compelled to sell the house for an even-steven $4,000,000, a stunning three million dollar bang to her bank accounts not counting renovation costs and the fat real estate fees. Of course Your Mama don't know a lemon from a coffee pot but given that this wasn't the first time Miss Johansson sold a property at a loss Your Mama has to wonder if the woman is just a financial fruit bat or if there something more purposeful and clever at play like maybe she needed the gigantic write off for her her taxes.

Anyhoo and whatever the case, sell at a huge loss she did and now word is starting to slip-slide down the real estate gossip grapevine that Miss Johansson and her well-formed if a bit too ripped actor man-mate Ryan Reynolds have shelled out a few million smackers for a new house just a couple hills over from the one she just sold at an airplane hangar sized loss.

According to several of Your Mama's better connected sources ScarJo and RyRey recently closed on a mid-century modern style house designed in 1968 by noted southern California architects Buff & Hensman. The deal for the single story contemporary located in the hills of Los Feliz with big views across the twinkling lights of Tinseltown went down last week, according to property records, for $2,900,000. That a person would pay a few thousand clams more than the asking price for a house in today's topsy turvy market is a bit of rarity, but according to property records they did indeed pay $51,000 more than the last known asking price of $2,849,000.

If Your Mama hauls out our bejeweled abacus and flicks and clicks the well worn beads we figure that when the $3,0000,000+ loss of Missus Reynold's bacherlorette pad on Senalda Road is added to the purchase price of the lovebirds' new nest, the real price of their new digs is more than $5,900,000. Let's be honest chickens, these two lookers could have easily opted to stay put in the house on Senalda Road and waited out the market hoping and praying for better real estate days. But if we've said it once Your Mama has said it four million times, who are we to question or understand the wacky real estate ways of the rich and famous?

Listing information for the well preserved property we hear ScarJo and RyRey just bought shows that the low profile pad measures 2,835 square feet and includes just 2 bedrooms and 3 poopers. In addition to the guest bedroom and private master suite that features its own walled mini-garden, listing information also indicates that when originally built the house had a total of 4 bedrooms but two of the secondary bedrooms were subsequently combined and put into service as a library/office space.

The front of the property has an un-gated black-top motor court with front facing two-car garage all of which, Your Mama imagines will soon be protected by high hedges, an electronically controlled access gate, and a state of the art surveillance system. A covered walk from the driveway leads through a small planted courtyard to the front door. The home's primary living spaces face the back yard and the panoramic view. The large living room retains much of the home's original features such as hardwood floors, a clean lined brick fireplace, and wood beamed ceiling. A long wall of floor to ceiling glazing allows for a "seamless" visual flow between the indoors and the outdoors, which of course was a primary objective with many of the architects who operated in what we now consider the mid-century modern milieu.

Situated on the same axis as the living room along the back side of the house is the renovated kitchen that manages to maintain a style dialogue with the original house while incorporating all the modern conveniences expected in a multi-million dollar home such as high quality cabinetry and high grade stainless steel appliances that include double ovens and a side-by-side fridge and freezer combo that probably cost more than a Mini Cooper. The kitchen is open not only to the wall of glass that sucks up the view on the back side of the house, but also the dining area and adequately sized corner family room that, like the living room, is wrapped in floor to ceiling glass panes that open to the backyard and the view that, on a good day, extends all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Extra deep overhangs help to modulate light and shade part of the deck that runs along the back of the back of the house and steps down to a flat grassy yard, many sided swimming pool, and adjacent sunbathing deck where ScarJo and RyRey can tan their slender movie camera friendly bodies. There does not appear to be a spa attached to the pool which is a bit of a problem. Your Mama does not care to sit in a boiling vat of water like some sort of damn lobster about to be cooked and eaten, but the Dr. Cooter does and a yard like this with a view like that is calling out for a hot tub, perhaps even one of those round old-school redwood types surrounded by ferns and candles like it was 19 damn 72.

Anyhoodles, what if any renovation plans ScarJo and RyRey have for their newly acquired mid-century modern remains to be seen but Your Mama hopes that they'll choose to retain and maintain what architectural integrity the house has. We just think it's kind of nice when people show some residential restraint and leave architectural well enough alone. Before all you architecture snobs get your panties in a kerfuffle recognize that Your Mama understands that the house isn't exactly a stellar example of mid-century modern style or, frankly, even one of Buff & Hensman's better projects. However, in a city where too many people don't seem to think twice about swinging the wrecking ball at a multi-million dollar house in order to make way for a monstrous beast of a mansion–just look what Jeffrey Katzenberg is doing over there in Beverly Hills where he paid a bone chilling $35,000,000 for an 8,704 square foot house built in 1965 that he's knocking down in order to build his own gargantuan Barbie Dream House–it's just nice to preserve some properties for the architectural record books.

Property records and about a bazillion reports reveal that prior to Miss Johansson becoming Missus Reynolds, she laid out $2,100,000 for a midtown Manhattan penthouse pied a terre that measures a modest 1,270 square feet and includes 2 bedrooms, 2 poopers, and a large terrace with glittery city views. At the time of the purchase it was was widely rumored and oft reported that ScarJo went prowling for a penthouse apartment because the immediate neighbors around the West Village apartment she was leasing at the time were all bent out of shape about her constant cigarette smoking.

There have been a myriad of recent reports that ScarJo and RyRey bought a cruddy little farmette somewhere in Louisiana that they're renovating with an eye towards eco-friendly things like a solar electrical system but honestly butter beans, we don't know nuthin' about that. Maybe they did and maybe they didn't.

listing photos: Deasy Penner & Partners


Jacaranda Johnson said...

this crazy girl is a real estate broker's dream come true! Why she'll just pay anything for anything! Can we clone her? Very witty writing, Mama, by the way. Hugs!

Anonymous said...

Love this house, but lets be honest. As soon as she gets preggors, they'le have this place back on the market. And if you were married to ryan, wouldn't you want to try and get pregnant as much as possible?

luke220 said...

And they paid over asking price!

Madam Pince said...

Mama, you've outdone yourself by describing ScarJo as "a financial fruit bat." Indeed!

Rebecca said...

Wait, since when can you deduct real estate losses for income taxes? It's been about a decade now since I've sold a property, but my frequent moving around caused me to take *a few* hits while trying to get rid of homes quickly, and my accountant specifically told me those losses were not tax deductible. Has that changed for the family home of the general public, or do the trusts and whatever that celebrities use operate under a different tax structure?

In any case, I really like this house. I hope they don't screw it up, too.

Gloria said...

Incredible, that expensive it can be a house?

Aunt Gina said...

can someone identify the material used in the kitchen countertops?

Also, is it the photograph or does the kitchen set up seem exhausting: from the sink to the fridge to the cooktop etc.?

Really like this house.

Anonymous said...

Like most well-done real estate pics, the pics accentuate the most positive aspects -- like only showing the most appealing views and not the views of the close-up neighbors. This house is on a corner, tightly fit in like most Los Feliz homes, but if you look at the pics, you can believe that this is some kind of oasis. Given that this house is on a cul-de-sac, plenty of opportunity exists for "drivers-by" to get off the busier road and stall in front of this house on the "Place" cul-de-sac. I like the house in many ways, but given the needs of S & R, the previous H' Hills house of SJ was better suited, but to each their own. In some ways, this house reminds me of the Cooper/Zelwegger new home in P' Palisades - ranch, lots of windows, pool, and right in the midst of regular o'le folk without any obvious efforts for high security, but glad to see fame folks wanting to live normally - as possible.

lil' gay boy said...

"And if you were married to Ryan, wouldn't you want to try and get pregnant as much as possible?"

Despite the biological complications, honey, I'd die trying...

Anon 3:05, I share you concerns, especially since the aerial photo reveals that, although it's a lovely MCM, it appears to be in a very crowded neighborhood; let's hope that doesn't leave them too much room to bastardize this gem.

Although not the most stunning of Buff & Hensman's oeuvre, it's fit & finish (even with someone else's day-core) demonstrates good bones worth preserving.

After the recent real estate loses, let's hope the photogenic couple think twice about pouring a ton of money into corrupting a somewhat bijou, yet eminently livable MCM jewel.

Aunt Clara said...

gee what time is it? I need to buy a house! (CELEBRITY MANTRA)

Anonymous said...

What on earth has either of these dingbats done to have enough money to throw it away in this fashion? I think America needs to raise taxes so that people like this have a LOT LESS money to waste. I'd call it a "reality tax."

Jeannified said...

Mama, I thought it was YOU who reported on the "Farmette," no? Anyway, it ain't none too pretty, but whatev's!

I Do like this house, and agree that it's nice that they haven't messed up the integrity of the home...yet. Hopefully, that remains.

angie said...

I really like the house, but at what a price figuring in previous losses, and it barely has a yard, privacy, or security. ScarJo is the current poster girl for 'you can't take it with you so spend it while you can' living. Apparently this is all fine and dandy with Ryan too. I don't get it, but for the price they're paying, I sincerely hope they're enjoying every fickle minute of their real estate ride.

StPaulSnowman said...

Very nice use of Benjamin Moore Garrison Red.......always a good choice. It is a dense rich color you simply don't get tired of. Please advise when the video of LGB trying to conceive Mr. Reynolds' baby will hit Youtube......I want to set aside some time for that one.

Anonymous said...

Amusing how the Mac laptop seems to fit right in with the MCM day-core.

All those huge window-walls!! I have unpleasant visions of all sorts of pervs invading the property to press their noses up against the glass in order to glimpse one or both of the inhabitants.

Anonymous said...

You can't write off a loss on a personal residence, moron, no matter how many "poopers" it has for your little "butter beans" The IRS will always figure it out if you try and run it through a corp, as well

Juliane Evans said...

To the author: You are hilarious. I'm amazed anyone would take a hit that big on selling a home. Amazing.
wall art

Captain Jack said...

Moron? Really? You had to go there? Some people get their panties in a wad so easily. Instead of acting like a douche, why don't you simply and nicely try to educate all us butter beans to the things you seem to be such an expert about? Because, you know, clearly not everyone is as smart as you and all us morons could use your wisdom.

Don't know much about the IRS but I think you can write off loses to an investment property and for all we know, all these people with 2nd and 3rd and 4th homes are declaring them as investment properties.

Maybe that's why you see so many celebrities try to lease their places out?

Just sayin

Anonymous said...

This is a very nice house. But the purchase of this house by these particular buyers is curious. If one examines the right-side picture in the lowest row of Mama's photos above (the picture of the pool with the house behind it), one will see that there is a hill overlooking the property's pool area and yard. That hill happens to be located in Griffith Park. One has to wonder if the buyers focused on that aspect of the lovely property.

And by the way, although much was made in its listing materials of this house being a "Buff & Hensman," this house was NOT described in those materials as "Mid-Century Modern." That may in part be because it was built in 1968, where many (perhaps most) architectural historians and other people interested in such matters define "Mid-Century Modern" to be an architectural, interior and product design form that generally describes mid-20th century developments in modern design, architecture, and urban development from roughly 1933 to 1965. The 1965 closing date is already pretty darn generous. The term "Mid-Century Modern" was coined in 1983 by Cara Greenberg for the title of her book, "Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s (Random House)." Yes, one could argue that this (or any) house is "Mid-Century Modern" if it is built in that style, regardless of the actual date of construction. But even on that count this house diverges (in finishing materials and general feel, among other things) from core Mid-Century Modern towards a style that partakes a bit more of the Miami Beach Fontainebleau and a bit less of the Bauhaus.

Still, this is a very nice house with a terrific view. And really, really quiet.

Aunt Gina said...

to Anon 1:52...Even a butter bean knows anonymity does not excuse bad manners.