Friday, October 22, 2010

Anjelica Huston Wants Out of Venice Beach Complex

SELLER: Anjelica Huston
SIZE: 13,796 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 full and 3 half bathrooms
PRICE: $18,000,000

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: We're joining this party a little late but Your Mama loves us an artist space so we're going to re-hash a Venice, CA live-work property owned by movie star and Hollywood icon Anjelica Huston that's already been well hashed in Curbed LA and the Huffington Post.

Anjelica Huston is dee-vine, hunnies. As far as we're concerned beehawtcha can just stand there looking into the camera not saying a damn word and we'd happily hand over 13 or 15 bucks to watch that movie, you know? She was flaw-less in Prizzi's Honor–for which she was awarded an Oscar–she was insanely good in The Grifters–which earned her an Oscar nomination–she was dead on target in the The Addams Family film franchise, she was delicious in The Royal Tenenbaums and even tastier in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

More recently Miz Huston, the widow of famed and acclaimed sculptor Robert Graham, has turned in smashing performances in lesser known films such as the black comedy Choke and a cinematic adaption of Leo Tolstoy's novella The Kreutzer Sonata. The movie star has also taken on couple of boob-toob roles on Huff and Medium.

Mister Graham, most known for his obsession with the human form, particularly that of a nekkid ladee. Some of the children may have seen one of his famous female torsos in Beverly Hills, CA where a 14-foot solid aluminum hottie that stands on a chunky bronze pedestal at the intersection of Rodeo Drive and Dayton Way. Others may recall the headless and feetless über athletic male and female torsos standing atop a post and lintel structure commissioned by the Los Angles Olympic Organizing Committee and installed at the main entrance to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to commemorate the 23rd Olympiad held in Los Angeles. New Yorkers who deign to go above East 90th Street will recognize Mister Graham's 30-foot tall cast bronze and gold leaf Duke Ellington Memorial installed in the center Duke Ellington Circle–that's Fifth Avenue and East 110th Street–at the northeast corner of Central Park.

Miz Huston and Mister Graham's contemporary complex sits on three contiguous parcels just 200 feet from the wild, wacky and high-lariously entertaining hot mess that is the Venice Beach Boardwalk and the often thickly populated sugary sand that stretches out towards the surf. The residential quarters occupy the center parcel, the massive art studio sits on the eastern parcel and the smallest third parcel on the western side is a narrow, ficus tree shaded garden with a patch of grass, a lot of potted plants, and a tiny brick terrace with a carved Balinese sofa, plant laden coffee table and one of those fire chimney things that can be purchased from any Home Despot around the country.

The entire compound is walled, gated and presumably very well secured. The blocky residential side, which presents and all but windowless fortress-like face to the street, spans 4,063 square feet over two floors and according to listing information combines French, Mediterranean and Bauhaus architectural styles. The interior spaces of the residence include 3 bedrooms and 2 full and 3 half poopers. The main living areas include a combination living and dining room with hardwood floors, fireplace and a soaring barrel vaulted ceiling , a game room down in the basement–a basement is surely a very rare thing in Venice–and a narrow book shelf lined library/den. Several balconies and French doors open the house to the side yard or the quite and exquisitely private central courtyard that separates the two buildings.

In addition tot the living quarters, the Graham-Huston's corrugated metal and glass warehouse-style complex includes a gigantic studio with 9,733 square feet of airiness designed by Robert Graham's son Steven with the assistance of avant-garde Venice, CA architecture firm Studio Vass. The studio space towers three stories tall with 2 mezzanine and offers a series of interconnected and voluminous flexible use spaces flooded with light and ocean views from the higher levels. The studio is currently configured, according to listing information and previous reports, as a gallery, offices, dance/exercise room, communal kitchen, large workshop, and top floor sitting room with vaulted ceiling, poured concrete floors, and a view of the Pacific Ocean past the palm trees and over the surrounding roof tops.

Shaded by a lovely coral tree, the quiet courtyard that separates the living quarters from the studio building including coral colored concrete hardscaping, dining terrace, a couple nooks and crannies for contemplative moments, and a raised black bottomed lap pool and party-sized spa.

Listen puppies, Your Mama can hardly tell a dog from a cat but we can easily recognize that Miz Huston and Mister Graham's leviathan live-work space this is a massive complex that sprawls across 3 contiguous lots with astronomical square footage. But we also know that it's located Venice or, as Curbed LA succinctly called it, "the corner of tourist and crazy." Don't none of your Venice Beachers misunderstand Your Mama. We loves us the nitty-gritty architecturally forward thinking city of Venice–well, not those RV people who dump there terlit waste right into the street gutters–but let's be honest, $18,000,000 is a lot of damn clams for a house in a plush zip code like 90077, 90210 or 90024 so a price that stratospheric in the 90291 makes it seem like someone got hit hard over the head a serious case of Real Estate Insanity. But then again, because of it's proximity to the beach, this property might very well be a goldmine if it can be further developed and converted to an arty-farty but freakishly expensive boho-chic condominium complex.

Your Mama doesn't know where Miz Huston plans on moving or where Mister Graham's archives will be kept if not in this building. Although it seems unlikely she'd move there full time we do know from property records and previous reports–including this one in Architectural Digest–that Miz Huston owns a 120+ acre ranch spread up in the bee-yoo-tee-ful and rugged foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Three Rivers, CA, near where the north, south and middle forks of the Kaweah River merge. As it turns out Your Mama knows a little summin-summin about that particular neck of the California citrus groves. As a child, our tough talkin' Granny and sweet talkin' Grandpappy used to toss Your Mama and Sister Woman into the back of their Datsun pee-cup truck and take us on up to the Kaweah Chuckwagon Cafe, a smorgasbord style restaurant where we feasted on soggy chicken, dried out ham, and red Jell-O with that horrible hard skin it sometimes gets. The Chuckwagon has done went out of business but perhaps Miz Huston had the distinct if dubious pleasure of eating at the Chuckwagon before it shut its doors because we'd like to think we've had at least that one shared experience with such a creature as Miz Huston.

listing photos: Engel & Voelkers


Anonymous said...

Mama how could you!

How could you forget another superior movie of Miss Houston!

You omitted her role in "Witches" - a fantastic film from the early 1990s. Perfect for this Hallowe'en season!

Atlanta said...

AGREED! Witches, so fabulous, posting precisely to mention movie, happy to find this oversight already tended to.

Anonymous said...

Rather like living in an 'upscale' warehouse? My $18 million could be much better spent.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about a condo-complex, but I can see this place being converted into a plastic surgery clinic or some such thing of the building codes allow.

Nice to see an 'artist' space with actual art in it for a change.

Jeannified said...

Hmmm...agreed...can't see that she'll get that kind of money for this place, due to it being in Venice Beach.

MH Critic said...

The house is paradise in the middle of a super busy, touristy area in Venice, super close to the beach. Not a safe enough place for a famous single lady of her caliber to live. Her husband lived there for a long time...I used to live in Venice - great place to live!

angie said...

Admittedly, I'm not a fan of industrial strength housing. At the risk of seeming Bohemian challenged, all I can say is yuck.

lil' gay boy said...

Love the architecture, hate the price.

Carla Ridge said...

I always liked the sculptural quality of the house's interiors -- especially the living room -- and the hide-and-seek fun of the circulation patterns could make for a fun, farcical weekend affair. BOTH properties being included make the price seem a little less hallucinogenic, if it were slashed by a third.

PS: I also did talent relations for Showtime when Ms Huston was appearing in "Huff"; she was one of the very few actors I ever truly was thrilled to meet. Gracious elegance, even when sneaking a smoke outside a hotel doorway.

But it's Mama's final paragraph, that is the true gem of the post. If I didn't live on the 12th floor of a high-rise in Hollywood, I'd go right out and roll in the hay.

Anonymous said...

Architectual Digest has featured both this complex and the ranch and, if I recall it correctly, the Venice Beach house was more his style of house, and the ranch, her's. They definitely are two very different types of architecture.

Viva! said...

So the question is: does the divine Ms Huston move to a house in the West LA area or does she move into a plush condo?

Anonymous said...

Well here it is and nobody's talking about it's history. About 13 years ago, Huston and her husband rented this space to a legendary woman named Helena who once lived with Jack Nicholson. Helena used to throw very exclusive parties every weekend and charge per person for the "salsa dance instruction" (to avoid legal trouble). What you got for about $100 a person was unlimited drinks, smokes and a chance to dance with everyone from DiCaprio to Mick Jagger and everybody in between. If you stayed all night, Helena would make her famous pasta at around 3 or 4 in the morning. Huston herself used to show up some weekends and try to dance salsa (she wasn't that great). I remember sitting there with a then-unknown Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Anyway, for a number of years this place was legendary. Helena threw a party for Joni Mitchell and people were clamoring to get in. Helena's probably passed away since (she was about 70 at the time). It was a great space. Lots of stories. For that alone, Huston is probably upping the price.