Tuesday, February 1, 2011

News From Abroad (and Beverly Hills)

There's been a tremendous amount of hoopla and hoo-ha the last several days about American ex-pat superstar Johnny Depp and his French baby momma Vanessa Paradis out-bidding an Arab prince for a fixer upper villa situated directly on the scenic Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.

Turns out he did not, at least not according to Mister Depp's rep who declared definitively to peeps at E! News that her client did not buy a vacation house in the sinking city of Venice. Make of that what you will, chickens.

As far as Your Mama knows, Mister Depp's property portfolio still and currently includes (but may not be limited to) a 50-some acre farm in the South of France, a large estate just above the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, CA that once belonged to Bela Lugosi, a condo at the Kelly Wearstler decorated Eastern Columbia building in downtown L.A., and an undeveloped private island in the Bahamas.

One of the newest celebrity real estate rumors to sweep through the British tabloids and subsequently all the real estate and celebrity blogs around the world is that lounge lizard Michael Bublé and his Argentine actress fiancée Luisana Lopilato have dropped around $4,500,000 for a "smart" house in the The Webb Estate, a fancy gated community in the London suburb Purley, Surrey.

Honestly, puppies, we don't know if there's any veracity to these real estate rumors about Mister Bublé buying a house the U.K. What we do know is that back in the spring of 2009 the Canadian crooner shelled out $4,100,000 for a contempo crib high above the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, CA. The house has 3 bedrooms, 3.5 poopers, a backyard swimming pool, spa, vertigo inducing views and a few famous neighbors who include singer Robin Thicke and gossip purveyor (and former ladee-mate of Simon Cowell) Terri Seymour.

Jennifer Aniston has owned a house across the street from Mister Bublé's pad for years but perhaps the richest of Mister Buble's well-heeled neighbors in Los Angeles is Atlanta-based actor/screenwriter/playwright/producer/director/mogul/whatever Tyler Perry, a man who remains curiously outside the Hollywood film firmament but is none-the-less well on his way to being a billionaire. Mister Perry, a real estate size queen if there ever was one, put his über contemporary, 9,725 square foot pied-a-terre in Tinseltown the market in June (2010) with an asking price of $13,250,000. The house remains unsold with a lowered price tag of $11,595,000.

Your Mama was told by a Beverly Hills real estate insider that Mister Perry put his modern manse on the market because he decided to complete the build-out of a 22,000 square foot mansion in the guard gated Beverly Ridge community that he began but abandoned a number of years ago.

But we digress. Speaking of the Cotswolds...

This will likely be old celebrity real estate news to all the Limeys who care about such things but it's brand new news to Your Mama who somehow missed all the many reports from the fall of 2010 about sometimes sloppy and oft opinionated British popstar Lily Allen snatching up a £3,000,000 spread in the Cotswolds called Old Overtown House. According to our currency conversion contraption that's more than 4,500,000 in American dinero.

Miss Allen's historic three-story house in the hamlet Overtown near the village of Cranham sits on about 8 acres, dates back to the 1600s and includes six bedrooms, five poopers, three reception rooms and a separate three bedroom cottage. The grounds include a swimming pool, tennis court, croquet lawn, stone barn and a variety of gardens (kitchen, rose, parterre, water).

The bucolic Cotswolds region has become a wee bit trendy for celebs and high-profile individuals like supermodel Kate Moss, conceptual artist Jake Chapman, rom-com king Hugh Grant who all own Cotswolds retreats. Spectacle making über artist Damien Hirst owns an historic 300-room Victorian Gothic extravaganza named Toddington Manor. Of course he does.

Anyhoodles poodles, back stateside Your Mama's been receiving some strange and conflicting information about the real estate affairs of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' large-lipped Taylor Armstrong and her huzband Whatshisname. More than two people recently whispered to Your Mama that they heard through the reality show gossip grapevine that Mister and Missus Armstrong are in foreclosure on their mock-Med mini-mansion located on a lonely street high above (West Gate) Bel Air.

They are not. Your Mama dug down into the nitty gritty of the public property records, which reveals that Mister and Missus Armstrong don't even own the house they live in. Silly rabbits, they'd have to own the damn house in order to be in foreclosure.

A quick cruise through the interweb and a leg up from the always helpful Babbling Babette and Your Mama figured out that the five bedroom and 4 bathroom house in question was listed for sale in the spring of 2008 for $3,995,000. It was concurrently listed for lease at fifteen grand a month and documentation Your Mama eyeballed with our own boozy eyes clearly states that the property was leased.

Puppies, we are not making a sad attempt her to dog Mister and Missus Armstrong for shelling out massive amounts of money each month to lease a house. Lahwerd knows just about everyone Your Mama knows rents because they can't afford to buy. Your Mama just likes to help so we're merely making an effort to clear up some brewing real estate rumors before they begin to circulate. Okay?

photos: Mouse Price (Lily Allen), Deasy Penner & Partners (Taylor Armstrong)


StPaulSnowman said...

Always a treat to see the UK properties. This one has little "lane appeal" and I suspect it is the converted stable block of a grander house........but maybe not. I think the beauty of the Cotswolds is unsurpassed and I am surprised that , with UK climate change and an abundance of good Indian restaurants, it hasn't become more popular sooner. Mama, any news of Yester House, the Menotti pile?

Anonymous said...

Is that really what $15 grand a month gets you in LA? Looks like a track home in West Covina.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that a lot of these reality show "stars" would rent out a house to live in while being filmed instead of being filmed in their own homes.

Anonymous said...

Re Michael Buble: the Webb Estate is nowhere near the cotswolds, it's in Purley which is in the county of Surrey...south west of London.
It's a fairly upmarket private estate..gated but no security.
An odd choice of location if true.

The Cotswolds are in Gloucestershire.

Shopgirl said...

I watch the RHOBH and am appalled that Taylor Armstrong (real name: Shana Hughes) would spend 60K on a 4 year olds birthday party when she is only renting the house she lives in. Is the bankruptcy filing by Russell in 2005 still weighing heavily on his credit report?

Broadway High Street said...

The bucolic Cotswolds region has become a wee bit trendy for celebs and high-profile individuals like supermodel Kate Moss, conceptual artist Jake Chapman, rom-com king Hugh Grant who all own Cotswolds retreats. Spectacle making über artist Damien Hirst owns an historic 300-room Victorian Gothic extravaganza named Toddington Manor

Mama, five celebrities in a land area defined as 25 miles (40 km) across and 90 miles (145 km) long hardly makes it a "trendy" place, or them trendy for buying homes there. I suspect you've never visited the Cotswolds?

Anonymous said...

Good as always to have your authoritative clarifications, Mama. We need to keep the facts straight. I do have to wonder about those people buying very old houses in the UK. These are antiques to be savored by those with an appreciation of history and culture. Are these people you mention people with a love of history and culture???

Anonymous said...

Google tells me the Webb Estate is near Hackney, not Purley. Can anyone get this straightened out?

Anonymous said...

Regarding UK / Cotswolds / Lily Allen, there is an interesting page here:

Celebrities Cotswold Homes

However the REAL heavyweights in the immediate area are Prince Charles at Highgrove, and Princess Anne at Gatcombe Park; but somehow I think it unlikely that Lily will be knocking on their door asking to borrow a cup of sugar any time soon.

Anonymous said...

Michael Buble has a (female) fiancée?

Anonymous said...


When you're spending upwards of £1M on a cotswold cottage I don't think Indian restaurants are a priority. London has some of the best Indian [technically Bangladeshi] restaurants in the world so it seems ridiculous to go searching for one in the tiny, affluent villages in Gloucestershire!


Gloucestershire is known to be where the fashion/art/media/film/music crowd head to. Do you really think Mama is going to list the dozens & dozens of celebrities etc.. who live there? Just head to Daylesford Organic near Stow & take a look at the people, or 'The Swan' in Southrop. Perhaps you live in Gloucestershire & view it differently to those from London. The fact is that all these people are holed up in their farms/country houses having parties etc.. that locals wont even be aware of. If they wanted to be seen they'd remain in London. Also, many have been priced out of Gloucestershire so over the past couple of years north Norfolk has become 'the place'. The town of Burnham Market is referred to as 'Chelsea on Sea' which pretty much sums it up.


The vast majority of homes in the U.K are 'older' & most people want a property that has 'character'. The older properties tend to have better proportioned/grander rooms than new builds & aesthetically more pleasing. If a property is important architecturally/historically then it will be graded. Grade I being the most sever where you have to follow crazily strict instructions, followed by Grade II then Grade III. You also have areas in the U.K called 'conservation areas' which can be neighborhhoods, villages or even whole towns where homeowners need to get permission for pretty much anything that will alter the look of the area. For example, putting a satellite dish on your chimney stack, certain materials will be prohibited for walls, the type of windows used etc..

Anonymous said...

$4 million for a tract home LOLOLOL. That thing would be $100k in Vegas.

StPaulSnowman said...

Doesn't everyone choose his or her million pound house based on the local ethnic restaurants? Gee.....I thought they did. The whole planet should be thankful for the Grade I restrictions, otherwise all of the Toddington Manors would be converted into monstrosities like Updown. Buyers don't have these restrictions sprung on them after entering into contract. More countries should protect their ancient buildings as well as the UK.

Anonymous said...

... a variety of gardens (kitchen, rose, parterre, water)....

And all we Yanks have to brag about is the quantity & size of our flat screens.

Fuck. Guess I was born on the wrong side of the pond. This place sounds lovely.

Mr. Buble & Mr. Thicke on the same block? O.K. - I'm your 'average listener' and no music critic, but THANK YOU J.F. CHRIST this is one neighborhood block party I won't have to attend.

commentator8 said...


Good God I had forgotten about Updown (fortunately) but just looked at it again and I was going to try to resist saying something but I just can't. That dump is possibly the largest abomination on the face of this planet, a tremendous waste of all that valuable rare marble, and in a country filled with some of the most gorgeous classical architecture in the world, even more of an embarrassment. It really should be leveled.

Imagine what could have been done with that amount of money, that piece of property and an actual classically trained (or even modern!!!) architect instead of whatever hack designed that Las Vegas tract palace.

StPaulSnowman said...

Commentator8; Amen. Updown looks like Richard Landry had a steroid/LSD cocktail and coughed a megabezoar onto the beautiful English countryside. It hasn't sold for years so I guess one can underestimate the taste of the buying public.

Anonymous said...

"Google tells me the Webb Estate is near Hackney, not Purley. Can anyone get this straightened out?

February 1, 2011 2:40 PM"

I used to be an estate agent in Purley. The Webb Estate is around Rose Walk/Furze Hill/Silver Lane at the top of Woodcote Village, Purley.

lil' gay boy said...

Updown Manor gives the lie to the cliché of "foriegners" desecrating the countryside, much the way of the infamous painted statuary on the now-mercifully, burned-to-the-ground mansion in LA that Saudi Sheik Mohammed al Fassi dumped on his ex-wife in the divorce settlement.

As they say, money cannot buy class, but it sure makes the lack thereof all that much easier to spot.

Anonymous said...

the armstrong mini manse was leased to them for 12.5k

Anonymous said...

Actually I have to say.... 12ish (which is what I believe they pay) is a good deal for the 4 million listed property. This is far less then paying the mortgage and taxes in this real estate climate. I heard they recently seperated.. good for her.. Russell Armstrong is a nasty tool!

Anonymous said...

I'm watching Taylor Armstrong on Dr. Phil right now and he just described this house as a "mansion" LOL!!!!!!! This thing can't be over 3,500sqft. Wish I could find the exact details.