Friday, April 29, 2011

UPDATE: Jennifer Aniston

It's such a lovely day Your Mama thought the children might enjoy a little afternoon picture pretty in the form of newly released listing photos of the Beverly Hills, CA mansion that sitcom and romcom actress Jennifer Aniston has on the market for a mouth-drying $42,000,000.

The new photos show previously unseen areas of the house such as both of the master bathrooms plus a dressing/sitting room and the all stainless steel galley-style kitchen that looks more like a machine for cooking that a cozy gathering place.

As many of the children surely already know, according to all the tabs and gossip glossies Miss Aniston plans to her bags and move from L.A. to N.Y.C where the always tanned and well-turned out Miss Aniston (allegedly) has in contract , as we type our fingers to the nubbins, two small apartments in New York City, one directly atop the other.

The one bedroom and one bathroom lower apartment, in a plum pre-war full-service dowager in the West Village, was last on the market for $1,800,000. Very high but not unheard of for a well-configured high-floor apartment with a dining nook, fireplace and stunning city views.

The second unit Miss Aniston is said to be acquiring is the itty-bitty jewel box-like penthouse pad directly upstairs. The apartment, also just one bedroom and one bathroom, is owned by hair honcho Sally Hershberger, a crafty gal who will pillage your pocketbook for close to a thousand clams to cut your hair. The eensy-weensy but painstakingly renovated apartment became quite well-known last summer among New York City real estate watchers after the well-heeled scissor sister heaved her downtown aerie on the market with an audacious, but apparently not unrealistic, price tag of $5,900,000. Miss Sally knows more than hair. Beehawtcha knows that the higher you price something, the more desirable it becomes to those who can afford it.

Your Mama expects that Miss Aniston will hire smart architects and nice gay decorators to combine the two units into a pristine duplex penthouse. We've already sketched out a possible plan for Miss Aniston's merger in the West Village but we'd love to know what her people come up with.

listing photos: Coldwell Banker Previews International

Ed O'Neill Is A Thoroughly Modern Man

BUYER: Ed O'Neill
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $3,050,000
SIZE: 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Since the early 1990s and until 2004 or 2005 actor Ed O'Neill (Modern Family, Married With Children) owned a house on the canals in Venice, CA. At that point he and the family swapped the gritty urban density of Venice for peaceful Sullivan Canyon, a decidedly rustic but none-the-less uppity area of Los Angeles nestled on the border between Brentwood and Pacific Palisades.

Records indicate that Mister O'Neill, a black belt in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu who will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this year, acquired his Sullivan Canyon crib in February 2004 for $2,600,000. The Los Angeles County Tax Man shows the privately situated residence measures 3,165 square feet and includes 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a swimming pool.

Recently Mister O'Neill and Catherine Rusoff, his lady-wife of 25-ish years with whom he has two youngish daughters, snatched up a second house in Sullivan Canyon. The new house, a modestly scaled but architecturally significant house on a thickly treed lot, is separated from the O'Neill's current crib by two driveways to two other homes.

According to the property records Mister O'Neill paid $3,050,000 for a 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom modern ranch house originally designed and built in 1953 by much-coveted and ballyhooed California architect Cliff May as his personal residence. Mister May, for all those who live under an architectural rock, is the man responsible for the classic California contemporary ranch house that are typically designed to engage in a taut but intimate dialog with the surrounding landscape that results in a barefooted and seamless integration of indoor and outdoor living.

The house, which the Los Angeles County Tax Man says measures 1,944 square feet, sits on a lush .26 acre. Busted-looking brick pillars mark the entrance to a tree-shaded gravel driveway that rises gently to a large gravel motor court where the low profile, single story wood, stone and glass residence extends discretely into the natural landscape.

Say what you will about Los Angeles and its overly cliché and over-played plasticity, but real estate-wise there aren't a lot of other major urban centers in the world where a person can live in the middle of the city in serene circumstances that feel downright rural.

The understated board and batten exterior disguises airy and–dare we say–dramatic interior spaces that–bless the hearts of every previous owner of this home–still retain original architectural features that include a magnificent 23-foot long sky light that runs along the peak of the beamed and vaulted ceiling. Smooth grey terrazzo floors run throughout the entire house that was recently refreshed by west coast starchitecture firm Marmol-Radziner. The pre-fab promoting architects remained rightfully respectful of Mister May's original design-spirit of the house while they re-worked, updated and upgraded the kitchen and bathrooms and installed miles of lustrous, meticulously custom-crafted and utterly delicious walnut cabinetry.

A stone wall with extra-wide fire box gives necessary anchor and spatial order to the living room area of the vast open room that opens itself wide to the outdoors via a full wall of sliding glass doors. At the other end of the room the open, center-island kitchen not only has clean-lined walnut cabinetry but chunky solid walnut cabinetry so delectable Your Mama just wants to get up on counter and roll around nekkid. The kitchen, warmed by all the wood, is also a multi-tasking and hard-working state of the art kitchen with breakfast counter, top-end commercial grade appliances, two sinks and a glimmering stainless steel tile back splash. We love love love the sharp glint of the stainless steel tile back splash against all the walnut wood but, in all honesty, Your Mama could have done with something else, something still brilliantly luminous but in a more organic color range.

Irresistibly caressable walnut paneling and banks of walnut-faced closets envelop both of the bedrooms. The smaller bedroom has a built in desk and the much larger master suite has a built-in entertainment center, glass doors that slide open to a private terrace perfect for a post-coital smoke, a dressing room lined with walnut cabinets and built in dresser, and a surprisingly well-scaled bathroom with double vanity, soaking tub for two, a separate marble-lined and glass-enclosed shower and, yes, even more walnut cabinetry.

Every room in the house opens through over-sized sliding glass doors to a variety of terraces and patios that surround the house. In addition to the aforementioned post-coital smoking terrace off the master bedroom that's shaded by mature trees and surrounded by ferns and other shade loving foliage, there's an an intimate courtyard-like area off the living room bordered by a towering wall of bamboo and at the front of the house large concrete pavers define an outdoor dining terrace that looks over the sloping and untamed front yard. A sliver of a patio–a path really–runs alongside the secondary bedroom and a concrete pad on the hillside high above the house takes advantage of a sunny clearing in the trees.

While we can appreciate and even swoon over a worked over garden, we rather love how the simple mass of the house works in both opposition and harmony with the rugged and mostly undomesticated landscaping. If this were Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter's house we'd probably consider the installation of a simple swimming pool but otherwise we admit to a rare ache of real estate envy.

Since we don't really know a Easter egg from a Girl Scout cookie, we can only speculate why Mister and Missus O'Neill purchased a house very close to but not contiguous with their current residence. Perhaps it will be utilized as a guest house or maybe as office space for their personal staff. We like Mister O'Neill. Well, we like the characters he plays on the tee-vee. We do not, of course, know him personally. Therefore we have to hope and pray to to all the real estate and decorating gods out there that Mister O'Neill is not the sort of fella who will use this sensitively updated mid-century jewel box as a–gulp–man cave. Oh lowerd, somebody get Your Mama a nerve pill. It gives Your Mama the honest-to-goodness heebie-jeebies just to think about the word man-cave and we fall immediately into a catatonic state iffin we ever run across a description or picture of one of those places. That, hunnies, is a freaky modern-day decorative theme that Your Mama feels we are better off pretending just doesn't even exist. In fact, Rule No. 47 of Your Mama's Big Book of Decorating Dos and Don'ts declares that theme decorating of any kind–even in children's rooms–must be approached with extreme caution. These so-called man caves are all too often a perfect example of why themed decorating can be dangerous and disturbing in the wrong hands.

The O'Neill's nearby neighbors in Sullivan Canyon include Emmy-nominated actress Barbara Bosson who was married for nearly 30 years to prolific and successful writer/producer Steven Bochco and who records show paid $6,250,000 in September 2009 for her bucolic 8.5 acre spread. Next door to Miz Bosson is the the late Bea Arthur's Cliff May-designed house, currently available for lease at $32,500 per month.

listing photos: Michael Andrew McNamara for Sotheby's International Realty Beverly Hills

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Your Mama Hears...

...that another big real estate deal has just gone down in Los Angeles that makes the $23,000,000 sale of tech entrepreneur turned art collector and philanthropist David Bohnett's sprawling mansion in the flats of Beverly Hills, CA look like child's play.

According to both Our Fairy Godmother in Bel Air and another well-placed Platinum Triangle property yenta we know–let's call her Bernice Belairresident–Your Mama has learned that financial services widow and philanthropic powerhouse Iris Cantor has, finally, at long last sold her exceedingly opulent and profusely gilded Bel Air mega-mansion for $40,000,000.

In cash.

Brenda Belairresident snitched to Your Mama that the new owner of Miz Cantor's (approximately) 35,000 square foot pile she dubbed La Belle Vie is a filthy rich financier but she was unable (or unwilling) to name the buyer. Our Fairy godmother in Bel Air suggested that the buyer may be a certain athletic mergers and acquisitions specialist from Goldman Sachs who looked at the house and another well-connected informant–let's call this one Johnny Jabbermouth–told us that he heard Indonesians connected to the powerful and controversial Suharto family toured the property "several times."

Miz Cantor, a Brooklyn-born former model, was married and divorced twice before she became a stock broker, a lucrative gig through which she met and married Bernie Cantor, the now-deceased co-founder of the influential investment services firm Cantor Fitzgerald.

Mister and Missus purchased the gated 18th-century style pile in the early 1990s for an unknown price when it was only half completed. The well-heeled and lavish living pair dropped several more pretty pennies, dimes and millions to have architect Michael C.F. Chan and New York-based designer Bebe Winkler complete and decorate the civic-center-sized 9 bedroom and 21 bathroom behemoth that's crafted from Texas limestone, priceless marble, twenty-two carat gold leaf detail, carved paneling and elaborately crafted iron and gilt bronze fittings. This is a house so correct that even Marie Antoinette would wet her bloomers over it.

Miz Cantor first attempted to unload her elegant real estate white elephant in 2000 when she listed the humongous house squeezed on to a tight lot with a $45,000,000 price tage. After 2.5 years on the market, the property was de-listed only to appear on the open market years later, in early 2009, with a much higher asking price of $53,000,000.

Although Miz Cantor stuck to her real estate guns and never lowered the published asking price for her unrepentantly decadent digs, Your Mama's bejeweled abacus shows that, in the end, the (alleged) forty million dollar purchase price was roughly and substantially 25% less than the fifty-three million she wanted.

Neither property records nor online listing information reflect a transfer of ownershp. In fact, listing information currently available online shows the status of the property as "active." and available for showings. However, according to Miz Belairresidnet, the deal is done and all the necessary docs have been signed on the appropriate dotted lines.

If case any of the children wondered or were worried, the child-free Miz Cantor is far from homeless. In late 2009 the high-society doyenne traded in a nearly 4,000 square foot penthouse on New York's swank Central Park South that she never reportedly occupied for a recently rehabbed six story townhouse on East 74th Street (just off Fifth Avenue) that she'd acquired earlier in the year for $18,125,000. She also maintains a water front spread in Westhampton, NY–known in some snobby circles as the Wronghampton–that she picked up in November of 2000 for $2,650,000 and it appears that the wealthy widow also keeps a posh place in Palm Beach, FL where prop records show her name attached to a property with Intracoastal Waterway access that was bought in May of 2002 for $8,635,000.

No doubt this over-sized transaction will no doubt send electric ripples of glee up and down the spines of all the Real Estate and home owners in Tinseltown who deal and dwell in residences priced at the tippy-top of the market. Given Miz Cantor's real estate good fortune, maybe it doesn't seem so far-fetched then that Jennifer Aniston may get close to the $42,000,000 asking price for her Bev Hills mansion or that Ellen Degeneres could find a deep-pocketed buyer willing to edge up close to the $60,000,000 at which she's (allegedly and according to multiple sources) shopping her Bev Hills compound?

We shall see, puppies, we shall see.

photo: Bing

'House' Actress Olivia Wilde Sells House

SELLERS: Olivia Wilde and Tao Ruspoli
PRICE: $3,095,000
SIZE: 3,011 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: In early February it was revealed in the tabs, blogs and gossip glossies that increasingly in-demand actress Olivia Wilde and her hubby Tao Ruspoli called off their marriage of nearly 10 years. By mid-March they'd listed their gated and recently renovated residence in nitty-gritty and arty-farty Venice, CA with an asking price of $3,095,000.

After just two days on the open market, the status of the listing on Redfin was changed from 'active' to 'pending.' That's right, hunnies, this house had a deal within days.

Miss Wilde, who currently stars on the self-consciously quirky Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated hospital drama House M.D., was born a Cockburn. The well-educated siren hails from a family thick with impressively accomplished, globally-concerned and socio-politically minded journalists who include Leslie, Andrew, Patrick and Alexander Cockburn. Look them up, people, they're every one the real damn stuff.

At the dewy age of 18, freshly graduated from the rigorous and exclusive Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, Miss Wilde ran off to rural Rappahonnock County, Virginia where she eloped with Tao Ruspoli, a documentary filmmaker, Flamenco gee-tarist and founder of The Los Angeles Filmmakers' Cooperative with aristocratic familial roots; He is an Italian count or a prince or something noble-sounding like that whose drug-addicted playboy father Allesandro "Dado" Ruspoli–the 9th Prince of Cerveteri–lived a famously hedonistic life and palled around with the likes of Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso and Orson Welles.

The erstwhile couple, card-carrying members of both the blistering L.A. art scene and the bohemian demi-monde, called it quits, according to one inside source, "for the typical Hollywood reasons. Her career has exploded and she saw being married is not as much fun." The snitchy source went on to tell the folks at Us magazine that young Miz Wilde's career is on the upswing and being hitched "was weighing her down."

Records show that Miss Wilde and Mister Ruspoli only purchased there Venice digs in January of 2010 for $2,325,000. Current listing information shows the 3,011 square foot contemporized crib, located on one of Venice's super-charming walk streets and conveniently just walking distance to the funky Abbott Kinney shopping district, was originally built in 1920 with recent renovations by mcmansion-detesting Los Angeles architect Adam Wheeler.

The house itself has what Your Mama calls a "mullet thing" going on, all business up front and party at the back. Although partially shielded from view by thick foliage and a tall fence, from the front–the façade that faces the walk street–the house presents as a boxy and quotidian clapboard-sided Colonial. (Listing information called it Cape Cod but we're pretty sure it's a Colonial). However, around the back, the large for the area but unconventionally trapezoidal parcel required a significant chuck of the house be lopped off at an angle that in uninspired hands might have easily resulted in an architectural disaster.

A glassy extension off the side of the house, clad in what looks to Your Mama like reclaimed wood siding that's been installed vertically, introduces a visual tension between the original, horizontally clapboarded portion of the house and the more modern addition. At first, each of the conjoined masses appear defiantly dismissive of each other. A closer inspection of the listing photos reveals that Mister Wheeler the architect acted as a real damn justice of the architectural peace and married the two opposite-seeming sections with identically-pitched roof lines.

The addition contains the living room that unfortunately does not have a fireplace–which would be delicious for taking the edge of damp and misty sea side mornings–but does have a vaulted ceiling with exposed trusses, a bleached-out wood floor and at least one large panel of glass that disappears into the wall and unites the room with the grassy outdoor area that's completely fenced and tree-ringed for privacy.

The hexagonal Mexican paver tiles in the large sky lit dining room extend into a cozy library-nook lined with shelves chock-full of actual books and into the sleek but stylistically warm galley-style kitchen turned out with white oak cabinetry, mesquite counter tops, open shelving, discrete high-grade appliances–there's even a built-in microwave–and a sweet built in breakfast banquette. We do so love a banquette. In fact, Your Mama is at this very moment, as our pudgy fingers fly across the keyboard of our trusty laptop computer, sitting in the built in breakfast banquette in our kitchen.

A wooden staircase in the central hall leads up to the second floor master bedroom, a long room with coffee-colored distressed wood floors, crisp white walls and a vaulted ceiling. The attached bathroom, an odd triangular shaped space that might have bedeviled any number of architects and designers, has a vaulted wood ceiling with exposed beams and trusses, a floating mesquite wood vanity topped by a pair of simple white vessel sinks that look like cereal bowls and a free standing soaking tub for two. At one end of the room, where the walls converge in a narrowing space that a more prosaic architect may have relegated to a linen closet, Mister Wheeler the architect created a sexy open shower cubby with two shower heads.

The house opens up to the yard through a series of French doors and the aforementioned sliding glass panel in the living room. According to listing information the lush grounds were worked over by renowned Los Angeles landscape designer Jay Griffith. A deck runs long the front of the house and steps down to a tree-shaded dining and entertainment terrace where Christmas lights are hung wonderfully willy-nilly in the trees and a hodge-podge of gigantic decorative medallions cling to the fence. We understand that these medallion things provide visual texture and movement to the intimate eating area spot but, in all truth, we hate them.

While we find the three different floor coverings (tile, smooth bleached wood and dark distressed wood) a real disappoint and we're never thrilled with vessel sinks–or that silly orchid someone set next to them in the listing photos–overall Your Mama is rather covetous of this house and appreciative of Miss Wilde and Mister Ruspoli's particular brand of down-to-earth boho-chic day-core that's pretty specific to cultured and affluent hipsters with artistic bents.

We don't have any idea where either Miss Wilde or Mister Ruspoli will set up there bachelor and bachelorette pads but should Mister Ruspoli want to go back to Italy to lick his relationship wounds he has access to at least a couple of historical and deluxe family properties, the Palazzo Ruspoli in Rome and the Castello Ruspoli north of Rome in rural Vignanello.

listing photos: Deasy Penner & Partners

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Scott Baio is Forty-Something and Buys New House

BUYER: Scott Baio
LOCATION: Woodland Hills, CA
PRICE: $1,850,000
SIZE: 6,312 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Thanks to a communique the other day from The Bizzy Boys at Celebrity Address Aerial and later confirmed with property records, Your Mama has learned that former teen idol turned reality tee-vee denizen Scott Baio and his Missus Renee Sloan recently put their toddler daughter in a papoose and decamped suburban Encino, CA for the even farther-flung Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills where they paid $1,850,000 fr a large house in a guard-gated community.

At sixteen, just a slim little thing with a Dorothy Hamil hair-do, Scoot Baio was baby-faced and fantastic as Bugsy in the 1976 film Bugsy Malone that featured only child actors. If any of the children have not seen the movie, do. It's really quite a hoot. Young Mister Baio rocketed to the top of the Teen Idol heap with his next role as Chachi Arcola on Happy Days. After that there was the Happy Days spin off Joanie Loves Chachi, the proto-Skins film Foxes with Jodie Foster and a couple of Emmy nominations for lead roles in made-for-tee-vee movies (Stoned, all the Kids Do It). Then came Charles in Charge, an insufferable sitcom on which he portrayed a manny–that's a man-nanny–that somehow ran for five seasons.

After Charles in Charge closed up shop in 1990 Mister Baio's showbiz career in front of the camera kind of hit the skids and he began doing a little directing (The Wayans Bros., The Jamie Foxx Show, The Parkers). Sure, there were a couple of short-lived series (Diagnosis Murder) and a slew of small parts on various boob-toob programs (The Nanny, Veronica's Closet, Touched by and Angel) but, really kids, in all honestly, by the mid-1990s Mister Baio was all but washed up in Tinseltown. It wasn't his fault, really. No matter how hard he worked or talented he may have been, the public, his still moistened and turgid fans, clung to their Teen Beat fantasies and didn't allow Mister Baio to become a full-grown man-actor.

In 2005 Mister Baio secured a recurring and well-done role on Arrested Development but, like so many others on the shady-slope celebrity nowadays, he quickly veered towards reality tee-vee. He did not, to his credit, attempt to revive his career on that disturbing but outrageously popular Dancing With The Stars program. Instead he opened the doors to his own "real life" on Scott Baio is 45...and Single on which he's portrayed as a slightly bitter golf-playing commitment-phobic lady's man in his mid-forties with a girlfriend who wants to marry him. The girlfriend finally gets her heart's desire to be betrothed to Mister Baio in November 2007, about a month after the birth of the baby they made out of wedlock.

A bit over a year ago Your Mama discussed Mister Baio's long-time home, a gated mini-estate in Encino, CA he bought in 1994 for $1,385,000 and had listed with an asking price of $2,895,000. Property records show the single-story 4 bedroom and 4.5 pooper pad sold in late September 2010 for $2,500,000. Two months later, according to records, the couple closed on their new crib in the Westchester County Estates, a gated community in hot as Hades Woodland Hills. Oh, pleeze property developers. That has to be about the most mind-boggling and stoopid name for a gated community in California that Your Mama has ever had the misfortune of coming across. All the children who passed sixth grade geography will already know that Woodland Hills in in Los Angeles County in California and that Westchester County is a (mostly) upscale and bucolic bedroom community just north of New York City.

Anyhoo, listing photos for Mister and Missus Baio's new 5 bedroom and 4.5 bathroom mock-Med digs shows a couple of lonely and precarious-looking balustrades that flank the front walk that streaks across the slim yard and passes through an archway into a covered porch. The front door opens to a predictably "classic" mcmansion-style impress-the-guests entry with double-height ceilings and a curved staircase that attempts but fails to project wealth and stateliness. Instead it screams, "I'm a really boring suburban mcmansion!"

Since listing photos of the 6,312 square foot mcmansion reflect the impossibly bland decorative taste of the seller Your Mama is refrain from any discussion of the agonizing lack of color throughout the entire house, nor will we speculate on how it came to pass that a Shabby Chic-y and hat-festooned armoire wound up smack in front of a pair of French doors in the master bathroom. And do not, children, even get Your Mama started on that miniature grand piano in the living room or all the furniture that was set unnecessarily catty-wompus like the desk in the office/library and the hand-painted armoire stuck up into an awkward corner in the master bedroom.

Adjacent and open to the entry, a sunken formal living room has "dramatic" double-height ceilings, perfectly lovely if slightly under-scaled herringbone-patterned wood floors, a fireplace and a pair of towering arched windows. A set of French doors with side lights connects the formal living room to the formal dining room that has a mirror installed on the ceiling that, we imagine, allows diners on one side of the table to peer directly down into the décolletage of a female diner on the opposite side of the table.

A bedroom suite with private facilities on the main floor gives guests or a live-in domestic a modicum of privacy. The main floor is completed by an office/library with some built-in cabinetry, a powder pooper, laundry room, three-car garage, family room with fireplace and a commodious center-island kitchen with a view of the backyard and an–ach!–sensibly neutral beige tile floor installed on the bias.

Upstairs three family bedrooms share two bathrooms and the expansive master suite features an acre of pale beige wall-to-wall carpeting, a raised sitting area with fireplace, French door that open to a narrow balcony, dual walk-in closets and a sizable but unimpressive bathroom with separate tub and shower.

A set of double doors, also upstairs, lead to a home theater room with milk chocolate brown leather reclining seats with cup holders conveniently built into the arms, a built-in snack counter and an eye-popping 123-inch screen.

A thick ring of trees surrounds the backyard of the .41 acre lot and provides privacy for the swimming pool, spa, Mexican tile terraces, various grass patches and a sunken dining terrace shaded by a hip-roofed canopy held up by classical-ish column that are in direct architectural vernacular combat with the (faux-) Mediterranean-style mcmansion.

Your Mama can't fathom why a person would trade a gated mini-estate in Encino–already far more suburban than we care for–that has a long celebrity-style gated drive, a wide swathe of lawn, elevated swimming pool, spa, gazebo with home-theater equipment, barbecue area, Koi pond with waterfall and a lighted damn tennis court for a big ol' beige "Mediterranean" mcmansion with fewer amenities on less than half the land in downmarket Woodland Hills. Such are the ways, butter balls, of the rich, the famous and the "famous."

listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Whoopi Goldberg Getting Out of Vermont

SELLER: Whoopi Goldberg
LOCATION: Marlboro, VT
PRICE: $2,300,000
SIZE: 6,100 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3 full and 2 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: The smock-wearing, always outspoken and passionately opinionated comedienne and chat show hostess Whoopi Goldberg has been much in the news the last few weeks for taking publicity-seeking possible presidential candidate Donald Trump to task on The View for his relentless obsession with the circumstances of president Barak Obama's birth.

While all that is as fascinating as it comes, what currently concerns Your Mama more than the hilarious spectacle of Mister Trump's political posturing are the real estate doings of the Oscar, Grammy, Tony, (Daytime) Emmy, Golden Globe, Image, Kid's Choice and People's Choice award winning actor/activist/agitator/comedienne/writer/producer/talk show host Whoopi Goldberg.

Sometime in 2004 Miz Goldberg snatched up a sprawling farm in the rural and gorgeous Green Mountains near the southern Vermont community of Marlboro. Marlboro, about four hours north of New York City, may seem like Hicksville or Bumfuckegypt to some city sophisticates but the rolling hills are no stranger to high-culture: The world-famous Marlboro Music Festival is held in, well, Marlboro. Iffin Your Mama is being honest–and we always are–we'd confess that we really haven't any idea how much cash Miz Goldberg coughed up for her country hideaway, often referred to in online marketing materials as the Robinson-Winchester Farm.

In the fall of 2009 the dread-lock tressed Miz Goldberg–born the much more prosaic Caryn Elaine Johnson–listed her 3,600 square foot Wooster Street loft in New York City's SoHo with a price tag of $3,990,000. The 2 bedroom spread, filled to the gills with a stunning collection of artworks by African American artists–sold more than a year later in January 2010 for $2,985,000 to Emily and Ben Lerer. We don't know a damn thing about Missus Lerer but we do know that Mister Lerer is a budding internet media mogul who founded the deeply metrosexual cool-hunting site and happens to be the off-spring of Huffington Post co-founder Ken Lerer.

Right about the time Miz Goldberg listed her loft in lower Manhattan she laid out $2,800,000 for a stately mansion with 8 bedrooms and 6 full and 2 half bathrooms in the historic and exclusive Llewellyn Park enclave in West Orange, NJ.

All went quiet on the Whoopi Goldberg real estate front until two days ago when a gal named Vernice Vermontite directed our celebrity real estate attentions to Miz Goldberg's country bolthole in southern Vermont she has on the market with an asking price of $2,300,000

Big Momma ur-gossip Cindy Adams reported back in 2009 that Miz Goldberg owns "an 8,000-acre farm in Vermont." And maybe she does. However, the Vermont property Miz Goldberg currently has on the market near Marlboro spans, according to listing information, 745 acres and includes 640.7 acres of conserved land–that means it can never be developed–67 acres of pasture land, 15 miles of groomed horse and buggy trails and a 22-acre sugar bush. A sugar bush is not, contrary to how it sounds, a naughty lady part but rather a stand of trees tapped for the production of Vermont's famous maple syrup.

Portions of the farm's main house date back to the late 1700s and the original structure–a simple two-room cabin–has been added on to several times. The Colonial crib, with it's plain but dignified exterior, now measures around 6,100 square feet and includes, according to listing information, 4 bedrooms and 3 full and 2 half bathrooms. Listing information states that the house was "meticulously renovated by Whoppi [sp] Goldberg in 2004." The residence was taken down to its bare bones and rebuilt in a manner that added up to date conveniences and preserved original details such as the two-sided fireplace with beehive oven believed to be part of the original cabin.

The main floor of the residence has wide-plank wood floors, rustic rough-cut wood beams, exposed posts and 12 over 12 paned windows that stretch down from the ceiling almost to the floor. The open-plan space has a well-equipped galley-style kitchen and several physically comfortable-looking but decoratively uninspired sitting areas that present a visually confusing and psychically disharmonious hodge-podge of furniture "styles."

In addition to the historic main house the property includes, according to listing information, multiple pole barns, an indoor riding arena, a beautiful heated horse barn with tack rooms, two run in sheds with water, a two bedroom bunk house with kitchen and living room and a two story cement barn used as a wood working shop.

As far as Your Mama knows, in addition to her mansion in West Orange, NJ, Miz Goldberg continues to own a small house in Berkeley, CA she bought way back in 1985 for $335,000 as well as a 5 bedroom and 6 bathroom mansion she bought in 1993 for $2,547,525 in the same Pacific Palisades, CA neighborhood where other high-profile property owners include Hollywood heavyweight Steven Spielberg, mouthy comedian Bill Cosby, boxer Sugar Ray Leonard. She reportedly also owns real estate in upstate New York and in the Hamptons but we don't nuthin' about either of those alleged properties.

listing photos: Palmiter Realty Group

Your Mama Keeps Hearing...

...from well-placed peeps in the Platinum Triangle real estate scene that dancing chat show hostess Ellen Degeneres and her actress wife Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development, Nip/Tuck, Better Off Ted) have their secluded Beverly Hills, CA compound quietly on the market with a mind-bending price tag.

Your Mama first discussed this celebrity real estate rumor way back in mid-February but it seems to be bubbling back up to the surface and, indeed, twice yesterday we heard about this again from a couple of contacts who tend to know about these things. One of our better informed sources snitched to Your Mama that the numbers being batted around Beverly Hills are $49,000,000 for the main house (which includes a detached guest house, staff quarters and an underground garage) and a buckle-your-seat belts-ballsy $60,000,000 for the entire compound (main house plus two adjacent residences purchased as a privacy buffer).

When queried about the sky-high price, one of our more eloquent informants, let's call her Miss Formerly Seductive Realtor Sally (who–it should be noted–needs an honest head shot), hissed and snorted that the Sapphic couple's "absurd desire for $60 million" is pie in the real estate sky, partick since the compound is not in Beverly Hills proper but, "It's BH POST OFFICE for God's sake."

The distinction between Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Post Office may not be clear–or matter–to anyone who does not live in either Beverly Hills or the Bev Hills Post Office but the issue becomes abundantly clear when it comes time for residents to call the po-po or send their precious children to public school. Beverly Hills is a city all of its own where residents in need of the law call the fast-responding Beverly Hills Police Department and have the option of sending their off-spring to the well-regarded and high-testing Beverly Hills High School. The Bev Hills Post Office, on the other hand, is part of the City of Los Angeles–rather than the city of Beverly Hills–and as such residents have to cough up the cash for private school or send their kiddies to lackluster and economically starving public schools and they have to call the notoriously slow-responding Los Angeles Police Department when they need an armed officer.

Anyhoo, Missus and Missus Degeneres–it seems Portia took Ellen's name making it quite clear who wears the pants in that family–started to cobble together their compound above Coldwater Canyon in late 2007 and, before they'd put away their checkbook, spent a combined (and approximate) $48,000,000 on the multi-acre and multi-parcel property.

Missus Degeneres–Ellen–is notoriously fickle when it comes to real estate, rarely staying put for more than a few years at a stretch. In the last 5 or 10 years Missus Degeneres has owned scads of contemporary cribs in Los Angeles, several ranches in the Santa Ynez Valley and an historic George Washington Smith-designed mansion in Montecito, CA.

As far as Your Mama knows–and we really know so little–in addition to their up-for-sale compound in the Bev Hills Post Office, Missus and Missus Degeneres's only other real estate holding is a ten million dollar horse farm in the scrubby hills outside Westlake Village, CA and a two bedroom condo in a boring Beverly Hills building bought in late 2010 for $835,000.

We really have no idea where Missus and Missus Degeneres might go when–and if–they sell their Bev Hills Post Office compound. Ages ago we heard through the celebrity real estate gossip grapevine that Hollywood's most famous property-luvin' scissor sisters were poking around in the equestrian-friendly and guard-gated Serra Retreat in Malibu but we shall see, children, we shall see...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Your Mama Hears...

...from a little birdie we'll call Tawny Tweettweeter that a (reasonably) big residential deal recently went down in a plush residential pocket tucked into the sweeping curve of Sunset Boulevard just north of the Los Angeles Country Club where Beverly Hills turns into the arguably even more hoity-toity Holmby Hills.

Last year tech tycoon turned philanthropist David Bohnett–he founded then sold GeoCities for 3.6 billion bucks–and his pop culture-vulture man-friend Tom Gregory sold a fully restored and updated A. Quincy Jones residence in the Holmby Hills. The house, originally designed for Oscar-winning actor Gary Cooper in the mid-1950s, was bought by New York-based art world power player Larry Gagosian. Property records and previous reports reveal Mister Gagosian paid a whopping $15,500,000 for the pristine property that Your Mama hears through the a-list gay gossip grapevine that Misters Bohnett and Gregory jokingly referred to as their "country house," a jokey-joke that undoubtedly chafed and fell flat like a white girl's ass with their less financially fortunate friends.

Since 2004 and until last week when they sold it for (we hear) $23,000,000, the well-heeled man-couple's other home in Los Angeles–their "city house"–has been a sprawling, recently rebuilt, and gorgeous white-brick Georgian conveniently less than three-quarters of a mile away from their former "country house." The large but seemingly well-scaled multi-winged mansion fingers out over a rare double-wide lot in Bev Hills that's just across the street from a mansion once owned by comedienne Lucille Ball. As the story goes Miz Ball went to have a look-see at the large Bev Hills Georgian in 1955, deemed ittoo large and, while on the front porch when leaving, espied the house across the street that she and Ricky Ricardo eventually bought for $85,000. The house has since been remodeled beyond recognition.

The Los Angeles County Tax Man indicates the Bohnett-Gregory mansion includes 5 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms in 9,068 square feet. The estate also includes a large rear motor court, swimming pool, tennis court with pavilion and guest house all set into a simple but manicured landscape program of flat lawns, brick terraces and walk ways and mature shade trees.

The $23,000,0000 deal went down off-market but, we hear from a source deep inside the Beverly Hills real estate world, the property was shopped off market by a very successful Bev Hills agent-lady well acquainted with plum pocket listings, high profile clients and 8-figure deals.

The buyer, Your Mama hears from two different sources is not a high-profile Hollywood person but rather a Beverly Hills-based 3-D technology tycoon and his entertainment executive wife who together have five children.

Nearby property owners to Mister Bohnett and Mister Gregory's former crib include Peter Falk, Bruce Willis and the dee-voon coo-chee-coo-er Charo. A few doors up the block is a re-habbed Wallace Neff-designed Spanish-style residence previously owned by Madonna who bought it from Oscar-winning actor, architectural nut and high-end house flipper Diane Keaton. The proeperty is now owned by a Beverly Hills real estate magnate named David P. Margulies who bought the property in late 2007 for $15,680,000 and who, it turns out, just made a big Bev Hills residential real estate purchase of his own.

In early 2008 Hilton Hotels CEO Christopher Nassetta paid a blistering $27,500,000 for a 9 bedroom and 13 bathroom Paul Williams-designed mansion on Bellagio Drive in Bel Air owned from 1977 to 2005 Georgia Frontiere, the late owner of the St. Louis Rams, formerly of Los Angeles. Shortly after settling into Beverly Hills, Hilton Hotels relocated it's corporate headquarters from Beverly Hills to Washington, D.C. and Mister Nassetta, who also relocated to D.C., flipped the property back on the market an asking price of $29,500,000. It didn't take long to sell–it sold in early 2010–but it was sold at a precipitously steep discout to a financial fat cat named Steven Mayer for $18,000,000. That, children, is a heart-stopping $9,500,000 loss for Mister Nassetta who, Your Mama imagines, expensed that loss of a small fortune to his employer who demanded the relocation.

Your Mama isn't sure what intent Mister Mayer and his wife had for the old Georgia Frontierre estate but we do know, thanks to an informant we'll call Sherlock Holmbyhills, that almost exactly one year later the Mayers flipped the 15,727 square foot mansion in January 2011, according to property records, for $19,150,000. The buyer: David P. Margulies. Poperty records show Mister Margulies continues to own the former Keaton/Madonna mansion and it is not, as best as we can tell, currently on the open market.

Property records show that Misters Bohnett and Gregory also maintain a condo on chi-chi Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, a New York City pied-a-terre at the Sherry Netherland building on Fifth Avenue–a building you have to be rich to even look at–and, natch, a gigantic house in the Hamptons located on the Lake Agawam side of 1st Neck Lane which records show they snatched up in September of 2005 for $12,000,000. Given the recent paring of their plump real estate portfolio Your Mama would not be the least bit surprised if these gents opt to sell off–or have already sold off–one or more of their cross-country pied a terres.

photo: Bing

Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone Gets a New Kitchen

BUYER: Curtis Stone
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $3,100,000
SIZE: 4,257 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Australian celebrity chef Curtis Stone made his initial marks on the culinary world in the kitchens of some of London's better eateries and in the far reaches of northern California's ocean side community of Eureka where he's the executive chef of the highly regarded Restaurant 301. In today's world, "celebrity" chefs don't just cook in the kitchen, they cook on the boob-toob too. Mister Stone's star is in the fast lane and in the service of celebrity chef superstardom he's cooking up a glamorous in Los Angeles, CA where he's already got a celebrity gal pal–Lindsay Price–and where he recently acquired a multi-million dollar house in a somewhat secluded pocket of the Hollywood Hills.

Not only does Mister Stone have a series of cookbooks including Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone: Recipes to Put You in My Favorite Mood, he has a line of kitchen utensils and glassware and he whipped up recipes for in-flight meals for United Airlines. Who knew there were even actual in-flight meals to be had on United Airlines anymore. Anyhoodles poodles, due in part to his steaming boyish good looks, twinkling eyes and a pair of gorgeous guns–he was on People's 100 most beautiful people of the year in 2006–Mister Curtis television career is quickly blossoming like the exploding fuchsia bougainvillea that clings to Your Mama's front porch. In the past Mister Stone shook his well-shaped money maker with appearances on Today and Martha. He starred in some program called Take Home Chef, appeared on the third season of The Celebrity Apprentice and he lost to super-chef Bobby Flay on the always fascinating Iron Chef America. As an aside: If none of y'all have ever seen the spunky and buttery southern fried kitchen-momma Paula Dean on Iron Chef you are missing a great tee-vee moment. That bitch is crazy in each and every of the very best ways.

Anyhoo, Mister Curtis currently sits on the panel of judges and investors for The Next Great Restaurant and he's the new hostess with the mostess on the third and current season of Top Chef Masters. It shouldn't be long now before he's hosting his own cookin' show on the tee-vee program. We're surprised he's not already been snapped up by Oprah Winfrey for OWN.

Property records reveal that Mister Curtis actually bought his house in the Hollywood Hills at the tail end of December 2010 and they also show he paid a very-celebrity $3,100,000 for the contemporary crib that's perched on a bluff above Lake Hollywood. That's right, puppies, there is indeed a very scenic lake tucked up into the hills behind Hollywood. The Lake Hollywood neighborhood is not, to put it mildly, easily accessible. There are only a few very circuitous and windy ways in an out of the upscale enclave that also, as it turns out, happens to be a tourist mecca where all the Hollywood tour vans bring mid-westerners and Japanese people to take pictures of the Hollywood sign from one of if not the most supreme vantage points in the entire city. Also under the spell of the looming sign, one of the best–but unofficial, meaning not quite legal–dog parks in all of L.A.

A thick screen of towering bamboo hides a courtyard entry where water spills over the edge of an elevated boulder with the center carved out for a pond. The Paul Hinckley-designed domicile, according to listing information, shows the wood, stone, steel and glass residence measures 4,257 square feet and includes a family-friendly 6 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms.

The home's main rooms include a living room with dramatic vaulted Douglas Fir ceiling and a bank of French doors with horizontal mullions that swing open to a very narrow strip of land between the house and the lap lane of the backyard swimming pool. A two-way fireplace separates the living room from the formal dining room that has French doors that also open to a claustrophobically-narrow and precarious-seeming strip of land that separates the house from the lap lane of the swimming pool. The very contemporary (and shockingly expensive) Bulthaup kitchen next door to the dining room marries sleek steel and glass accents with warm walnut cabinetry that looks suspiciously like the walnut cabinetry in Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter's kitchen, which is nice but, we can assure the children, didn't cost but a fraction of what this Bulthaup kitchen surely cost.

A large meditation/spa/fitness room has what listing information intriguingly called "a luxurious indoor/outdoor bath area." A mahogany staircase leads up to the second floor where there are four family bedrooms, an office and a master suite with luxurious private facility, walk-in closet and French doors that open to a balcony that hangs over the backyard with stunning views of the canyon, lake and city lights.

The L-shaped swimming pool has three distinct areas: a large rectangular area at one end and a spa at the other end connected by a lap-swimming lane. As mentioned, the lap lane (and spa) run parallel and perilously close to almost the entire length of the rear façade. Any of the children who have been around her longer than a hot minute know that Your Mama despises those understandable but annoying child-proofing fences that surround so many swimming pools. But for safety's sake we would prefer that the pool not be slammed up against the back of the house where a tipsy or downright drunk guest could easily tumble out of the living room if someone were ever to do what Your Mama affectionately calls "The Elaine Benis," which is when after hearing some particularly juicy gossip morsel someone abruptly and violently pushes another person backward and screams "Get out!"

On the other side of the swimming pool from the house a wide flat lawn perfect for playing fetch with Fido stretches back until it drops off into the rugged canyon lands. From the backyard there's and exquisite, up close and personal view of the Hollywood sign. No matter what some of you children say about Los Angeles, living with a direct (or even indirect) view of the iconic and divinely campy Hollywood sign is a geographic thrill not so unlike having a view of Coit Tower in San Francisco, the Space Needle in Seattle or the Empire State Building in New York.

It appears that things have gotten at least sort of serious between Mister Stone and his lady-friend of just over a year, soap-story and tee-vee actress Lindsay Price (All My Children, Beverly Hills, 90210, Lipstick Jungle, Eastwick). Miss Price has allegedly moved into the house, which makes sense since she is this very moment in the process of selling her bachelorette pad in the upscale and celebrity-packed Toluca Lake area of Los Angeles.
Miss Price must really have been itchin' to live in unmarried carnality with her big-shit Australian food cooker because she has her starter house in the Toluca Lake area of Los Angeles (above) on the market for significantly less than the $1,150,000 prop records show she paid for the modestly scaled 1926 Spanish-style casa in 2007. According to the folks at Redfin, Miss Price officially listed her 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom crib in mid-January 2011 with an asking price of $895,000. Within a week the property–located walking distance both into the heart of the Toluca Lake shopping district and from Mily Cyrus's house–was put into escrow and is now marked "Pending," which means the closing is eminent.

A few flicks of the well-worn beads on Your Mama's bejeweled abacus shows that even if Miss Price and her Real Estate managed to convinced the buyer to pay full price–and, let's be honest hunnies, what's the liklihood of that?–she's facing a quarter of a million dollar loss on the property not counting any money she put in for repairs and renovations, not to mention the fat real estate fees that could easily run to upwards of thirty grand. It must be love.

A short wall, tall hedges and a motorized driveway gate hide a surprisingly tatty-looking front yard. A narrow path streaks across the "lawn" to the the front door that opens directly into the living room where this is, among the other ordinary accouterments of semi-suburban living, a fireplace and a wall-mounted television. The chestnut-colored wood floors in in the living room run throughout the house and, according to listing information, are new. A flattened archway connects the living to the dining room that has a hideously generic Home Despot "chandelier" and a decorative aspect that looks like someone tried to copy something out of a Martha Stewart magazine.

A surprisingly well-sized kitchen has ordinary but crisp white cabinetry with raised panels, engineered stone counter tops and stainless steel appliances. It's not a bad kitchen it's just an uninspired kitchen. We're thrilled Miss Price didn't try to dress the kitchen up with ridiculous clusters of fake greenery around the tops of the upper cabinets that fall just barely but painfully short of the ceiling. We recognize that not every kitchen is going to win an award for high-design but–in Your Mama's world–every kitchen, even the most humble among them, can and should have something special about it. We Miss Price's kitchen might have been nicely pushed forward and maybe even completed with the introduction of little more than an antique rug like, say, this Turkish Oushak rug from the late 19th century. Just a thought.

The remodeled facilities in the master bedroom were done up with some 1920s vintage-style however, this is not, we fear, a house of authentic upgrades but rather a house where reasonable and probably moderately expensive facsimiles stand in for actual architectural and design authenticity. We like the tile work pattern that runs around the room and in the correct circumstances we j'adore a console lavatory. But we'd bed our long-bodied bitches that console sink in Miss Price's pooper is not actually vintage but a reproduction. Nothing wrong with that, just something to note.

Moving on...The backyard isn't very large but it is a quintessentially southern California yard where a vine-draped pergola-shades a terrace off the back of the house, a citrus tree or two provides fresh-picked fruit and a swimming pool and spa with flagstone coping takes up too-large a part of the yard. The two-car garage, according to listing information was converted to a guest room/office/pool house with hardwood floors and a giant white slip-covered sectional sofa.

Since only Mister Stone's name appears on the deeds and documents we espied it does not appear to Your Mama that Miss Price and Mister Stone purchased the house in the Hollywood Hills together. But then again, we don't know a donkey from a Kardashian so...

listing photos (Stone): Coldwell Banker, Beverly Hills East
listing photos (Price): Prudential California, Sherman Oaks

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Daria Zhukova Leaves Her Nest in The Birds

Let's all hop in our time-capsule hoozy-majigs and go back to November of 2010 when Your Mama happened upon the listing for a 9,691 square foot faux-Tuscan mansion at the tippy-top of The Birds, a star-studded and sexy-sexy neighborhood of steep winding streets–all of which are named after, you got it, birds–that hovers over the heart of the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, CA

Listing information showed the 6 bedroom and 8.5 pooper property was priced at $16,500,000 while property records revealed its owner: Russian multi-billionaire Roman Abramovich's much younger baby momma Daria 'Dasha' Zhukova. Miss Zhukova, according to records, paid $19,500,000 for the beneficially sited property in January of 2010. Although she dates one of the world's most prolific buyers of international trophy properties, it should be noted that Miss Zhukova has her own money thanks to her Russian oil-magnate daddy Alexander Radkin Zhukov. The pampered heiress collects and vends contemporary art and for a short time served as editor-in-chief of the bi-annually published fashion mag Pop.

Anyhoo, within days the listing for Miss Zhukova's nest in The Birds vanished from the interweb and shortly thereafter Your Mama received a friendly but firm communique from one of Miss Zhukova's representatives who insisted that Dasha's big digs in The Birds was "most definitely not for sale."

That was, apparently, a mouthful of hogwash because according to the Wall Street Journal, the striking Russian beauty has done sold her domicile in The Birds for $19,500,000, the exact same price she paid. No transfer records yet appear in any of the online databases we scoured so we're just going to have to take the Wall Street Journal's good word on this.

We had a strong hunch that Miss Zhukova's representative was lying through his little teeth so we're not the least bit surprised by the sale but by far the most juiciest real estate tidbit dropped by WSJ is that Miss Zhukova attempted to buy the two adjacent properties. That would have given Miss Moneybags a sizable compound with serious privacy and the sort of glittery view from downtown to the Pacific Ocean that Los Angeles real estate dreams are built upon.

We're not exactly sure why Miss Zhukova was unable to secure the adjacent properties, particularly since her baby daddy's real estate pockets are startlingly bottomless. One of the adjacent properties has been on and off the market for years and is currently listed with an asking price of $18,000,000. The other adjacent property–a boxy and somewhat forbidding Mexican-modern mansion designed by the late great architect Ricardo Legorreta–was acquired by Irish property investor Patrick McKillen in late 2010 for $9,000,000 a remarkably low number considering it had been listed at a skin-scorching $20,000,000. There's a story there about why Mister McKillen paid what he did but it's Easter bunnies and we just don't have time to forage through the internets to sort it all out. Maybe later...

Given that Miss Zhukova–who we understand lives primarily in London and Moscow where she owns the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture–has deep roots in Los Angeles. Not only did she spend her formative pre-university years in Los Angeles her mother still lives in Lala Land so it seems unlikely that she'll abandon property ownership altogether. And indeed, property records show that Miss Zhukova continues to own a house in Beverly Hills that she bought in November 2007 for $6,495,000. Presumably this is where The Mother lives, but honestly chickens we don't know who, if anyone, lives in that house. For all Your Mama knows Miss Zhukova uses the house as nothing more than a storage facility for her extensive and brutally expensive wardrobe.

Mister Abramovich–and by extension Miss Zhukova–maintain scads of insanely-pricey, ridiculously-ritzy and high-maintenance homes around the world including in celebrity-stocked locales like Aspen, CO, St. Barths in nhe Caribbean, Cap d'Antibes in the south of France and perpetually swinging London. The lavish living globe trotters recently acquired a temporary (and historic) shelter in London's Chelsea area where they can live–or, more accurately, bunk-down when they're in town–until they're able to move into a palatial 30,000 square foot but still under-construction mansion on Lowndes Square in London's upscale Belgravia area.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Country Queen Taylor Swift Does it Again

BUYER: Taylor Swift
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $3,550,000
SIZE: 3 bedrooms 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Reigning pop-country music queen Taylor Swift has gone and done it again, this time on a quiet canyon lane in The 90210.

In late 2009 the four-time Grammy winning whippersnapper paid around two million bucks for a duplex penthouse pad at The Adelicia in downtown Nashville, TN. Just a couple short weeks ago all the celebrity and property gossips went hog wild over the reports that Miss Swift laid out another $1,400,000 to buy a house for her family in an historic Nashville neighborhood.

In addition to all the jibber-jabber about Miss Swift's new Nashville nest(s), the celebrity real estate world has buzzed and salivated for weeks with anticipation over Miss Swift's much whispered-about acquisition of a west coast abode. The whispers turned to tabloid reports two days ago when the Page Six peeps at The NY Post quoted an unnamed source who stated that Miss Swift bought a house in Beverly Hills "so she doesn't have to stay in hotels when she is in LA."'

Since then Your Mama has been flooded with requests and demands from the children to provide more information on the most recent addition to Miss Swift's fast-growing property portfolio. As it turns out we recently and coincidentally received a covert communique from a señorita we'll call Vendela La Tienda who thoughtfully presented us with listing information for a secluded mini-compound tucked up into the Franklin Canyon area in the Beverly Hills Post Office that she claimed Miss Swift had just scooped up.

In all honesty, chickens, we don't know Srta. La Tienda. Therefore we performed our own independent "investigation" and contacted a number of our better-informed real estate insiders to see what sort of information we could scare up. So far no one besides Srta. La Tienda can (or will) confirm to Your Mama that Miss Swift bought this particular house. In fact, Your Mama also heard through the celebrity real estate gossip grapevine she had a hankering for Kevin Huvane's just-sold residence in the Bev Hills Post Office but that house was, in fact, purchased by someone else.

Records that Your Mama espied with our own eyes for the house fingered by Srta. La Tienda as Miss Swift's new crib show that the private property was purchased for $3,550,000 in the first week of April through a trust with a named trustee who happens to be a well-known country music industry business manager known amongst those who know these things to work with Miss Swift. Are y'all following along our winding road? What we're saying is that although Your Mama feels quite confident Miss Swift purchased this wee estate up in Franklin Canyon, at this point we have to get all Kathy Griffin on your asses and say she allegedly acquired the property.

Imagine, puppies, to be in your early twenties and have the financial resources to (allegedly) spend several million bucks on a house in a city where you don't even live just so that you don't have to bunk down in a damn hotel when you're there. Such are the real estate ways of the rich and famous, folks, even the very young ones.

Anyhoo, according to Your Mama's investigation, Miss Swift's (alleged) new pied a terre in the Bev Hills (Post Office) has a long gated driveway–charmingly and partly fashioned from railroad ties–that leads to an amorphous pea gravel motor court that separates the main house from the guest house and garage. There are only a small handful of sounds that make Your Mama squirm with delight and one of them is the aurally satisfying crunch created when a car rolls slowly over gravel. The soothing sound reminds us not only of the long curved gravel driveway at the Outintheboondocks, CA ranch of our beloved but departed Granny and Grandpappy but also of the driveways at our much-missed shingled farmhouse on the eastern tip of the North Fork of Long Island that Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter sold a few years ago when we packed up our long-bodied bitches Linda and Beverly and our mean ol' pussy Sugar and moved west.

Anyhoo, listing information for Miss Swift's (alleged) new Tinseltown digs shows the petite and private 1941 clapboard-sided Cape Cod Colonial–is that what this is, a Cape Cod Colonial?–sits on multiple parcels that total nearly 1.5 acres. There are 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms in the main house plus a detached one bedroom guest cottage with vaulted ceiling, fireplace and a compact but fully-equipped kitchenette.

The intimately-scaled rooms in the main house include a living room with fireplace, formal dining room with an terrarium-like floor to ceiling bay window, an office/library with built-in bookshelves and a cozy kitchen with wood floors, glass-fronted upper cabinetry, high-gloss butcher block counter tops, a wide farmhouse-style sink, three-seat breakfast bar and built-in housekeeping desk surrounded by open shelving.

The main floor master suite, according to listing information, includes a dressing room and dual bathrooms and walk-in closets while the upstairs offers two additional guest bedrooms–one with a pair of built-in canopied twin beds–that share a single facility.

Wood-framed sash windows provide bucolic canyon views and French doors open many rooms of the house to vine-draped pergolas that shade various balconies, porches and patios. A large, partially covered entertaining terrace at the back of the house includes an outdoor fireplace. A wide brick stair climbs up the thickly treed hillside behind the house to a lighted paddle tennis court that has a basketball hoop-thingy at one end.

Your Mama wonders if Miss Swift thought this upscale farmhouse in a rugged canyon behind Beverly Hills felt like a little like Nashville's scenic and gorgeous semi-rural outskirts; A little bit of country just a short hop into the center of the bustling city.

Although her (alleged) new crib in the Bev Hills Post Office may be the priciest property currently in her portfolio, it does not appear that Miss Swift–a nice young lady who writes bitter hit songs about ex-boyfriends and lovers–will pack up her gee-tars and bespangled cowboy boots and move from Country Music Capital, TN to Botox Hills, CA. She recently told night time chat show host Jay Leno that, "Nashville is home...[it's] where I live. I love it more than anywhere in the world."

listing photos: Prudential California Beverly Hills