Friday, December 2, 2011

Skin Doctor Arnold Klein Lists Laguna Beach House on Stilts

SELLER: Arnold Klein
LOCATION: Laguna Beach, CA
PRICE: $12,000,000
SIZE: 3,572 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: We apologize for not conversing with the kiddies on Friday but Your Mama was stymied by a series of obstinate technical troubles that left us nearly hysterical with frustration and all but dead in the blogging water. Our harrowing computer issues were finally solved by the deft skill of a paid expert but the two day delay means we're well behind the 8-ball on a number of celebrity real estate tidbits and morsels.

We begin our long slog back to currency with an elaborately engineered ocean-front residence in Laguna Beach, CA recently listed with an asking price of $12,000,000 and owned as per property records and previous reports, by well-known and much-beleaguered Beverly Hills cosmetic dermatologist Arnold Klein.

Over the course of his near forty year career in the skin biz Mister Klein has nipped, tucked and injected various youth preserving substances into scads and scores of Tinseltown luminaries such as Dolly Parton, Cher, and Elizabeth Taylor. Despite his illustrious career–he bills himself on his website as the "father of modern cosmetic dermatology"–it is his long-standing professional relationship and personal friendship with deceased international superstar Michael Jackson that made Mister Klein a household name, at least amongst tabloid television watcher and gossip glossy readers.

Over the last few years Mister Klein has become as if not more (in)famous for his frequent scuttlebutt shit stirring as it relates to Mister Jackson than he ever was as a medical professional. He vociferously rejects any rumors he bears any responsibility for Mister Jackson's alleged (but rather obvious) drug problems and he's repeatedly stated he is not to the best of his knowledge the father of two of Mister Jackson's three children; In 2010 Mister Klein confirmed (and later recanted his confirmation of) an alleged homosexual relationship between Mister Jackson and Jason Pfeiffer, a heavyset dude who once worked for Mister Klein. Mister Klein and Mister Pfeiffer and are currently suing each other amid salacious allegations that include wrongful termination and male prostie procurement.

Anyhoo, property records indicate the skin doctor scooped up his Laguna Beach house in January 1993 for $1,300,000. Current listing information shows the architecturally sui generis residence, which juts dramatically out from the cliff to which it cleaves and hovers awkwardly over the sugary sand, was built in 1971, measures 3,572 square feet over three floors and includes a total of 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

A pair of single car garages with shimmering stainless steel doors face front in the gated motor court. where a multi-colored contemporary sculpture signifies the main entrance to the house accessible down a long open corridor and over a short bridge.

Inside the main living/dining area has the lightest of beige wall-to-wall carpeting (it may, in fact, be white but we can't tell), a fireplace with stainless steel chimney breast, over-stuffed white sofas and chairs, and three walls of floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors that open to a three-sided cantilevered terrace with an undeniably spectacular 270-degree view up and down the rugged, southern California coastline. The room converts to a media room complete with projection equipment and a screen that scrolls down from the ceiling.

The kitchen, open to both the living and dining areas has a distinct but well-maintained 1980s vibe with lustrous white tile flooring, gleaming white flat-fronted cabinetry, black marble counter tops, pantry, and a full suite of high-grade but not particularly new appliances that include a trash compactor and a 160-bottle wine cellar.

The pale beige (or possibly white) wall-to-wall carpeting continues into the massive, full-floor master suite, divided into a sizable bedroom and living room areas by a free-standing double-sided wood and stainless steel fireplace. Like in the main living/dining area, glass walls provide unobstructed ocean and coastline views and give out to another cantilevered terrace with glass railing. In addition to the glass-block and white-tile bathroom, the master suite also includes a a walk-in closet, dining area, a second ocean-view terrace and a glass-roofed office/gym with retractable sun shade awning.

A narrow room affixed to and suspended from the underbelly of the upper two floors contains, as per listing information, a game room and a whole bunch of exercise equipment that from the looks of the zaftig Mister Klein don't see much use.

It's highly unlikely the very powerful California Coast Commission would allow a house such as this to be sited and built today but current listing information indicates that architectural plans drawn up by maverick-gone-mainstream architect Frank Gehry are available upon request.

The listing of this property may or may not have something to do with the fact that Mister Klein filed for personal bankruptcy early in 2011 claiming $3,500,000 in debts and less than $50,000 in assets. A subsequent filing indicates his assets are more considerable than the first filing would suggest and include a total of three luxury residences in California, an extensive collection high-octane artwork that includes works by Warhol, Baldessari, Hockney, Picasso and Gaugin, and a fleet of automobiles that include a Ferrari, Bentley,  late model Cadillac Escalade and a Chrysler Gem, the latter an low-speed electric vehicle.

Mister Klein's long-time primary residence, a hulking Tudor-style mansion property records indicate he bought in March 1985 for just $255,000, occupies a somewhat busy corner on the edge of Los Angeles' hoity-toity Hancock Park 'hood. Deeds and documents Your Mama peeped show the mansion (above) was built in 1914, encompasses 11,341 square feet and contains 8 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and at least 3 fireplaces. There's additional living space above the detached 5-car garage.

The gated, tree-shrouded and laboriously landscaped mini-estate encompasses .65 acres and includes a swimming pool with elevated circular spa area and numerous parterre gardens lined with petite box woods, laced with brick walkways and sprinkled with fountains and statuary.

In November 2010 Radar Online reported that 48 firefighters spent 38 minutes putting out an early-morning fire that broke out in Mister Klein's kitchen. In addition to Mister Klein three others were evacuated from the house. The fire did more than $1,500,000 in damages to the real estate and other items, which was reportedly covered by insurance.

Property records indicate that a naughty Notice of Default was filed on the property on behalf of a Los Vegas-based company who in December 2009 lent Mister Klein $1,600,000 secured against the value of his Hancock Park property. Iffin we're being honest, and we always are, we're not sure of the current status of this Notice of Default but the online deeds and docs we perused don't yet show a Notice of Rescission. Make of that what you will.

The current value of the residence is listed on bankruptcy papers as $9,000,000, a figure that seems, quite frankly, rather optimistic when one takes into account that the highest recorded price paid for a house in Mister Klein's Hancock Park zip code in the last two years (as per Redfin) is $6,075,00 for a better located 8,160 square foot Tudor mansion sold in May 2011 by thriller novelist Philip Hawley to nursing home tycoon Lawrence Feigen.

Although he appears besieged with financial issues now, in June 2008 Mister Klein must have been feeling pretty flush since he splurged on a house in Palm Springs, CA for which property records show he paid $1,462,500. The .32 acre property, located in the upscale Vista Las Palmas neighborhood, includes a 3,511 square foot single-level residence originally built in 1980. The fully updated and upgraded property has 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, a circular drive with porte cochere, an attached two-car garage, a terrace that converts to an outdoor movie theater with roll-down screen, and a walled yard with swimming pool and spa and up close mountain views.

Although it does not currently appear to be on the open market, there is online evidence that Mister Klein attempted to rent or sell his rather campilyp-decorated and art-filled desert digs sometime in the summer of 2010 for an undisclosed price. We took a quick look through the online marketing materials for the property and noticed a Warhol soup can in the kitchen, a Baldasarri (or Baldessari-like) photo in the entry hall, something that looks like it might have been done by Matisse hanging near the built-in wet bar, a group of 8 Warhol Marilyns in the living room, and–natch–a framed photograph of Michael Jackson in the master bathroom. We have no idea if any or all of these artworks are authentic or licensed reproductions. Much to our chagrin, Mister Klein has set a considerable number of large busts of Buddha around the interior and exterior areas of the house. Holy Mary, mother of Jeezis, we are so over the Buddha statues that far too may people in Southern California use as day-core. Listen, chickens, Rule Number 57 of Your Mama's Big Book of Decorating Dos and Don'ts explicitly states, "Unless yer a damn Buddhist, cool it on the Buddha statuary." Got it?

Bankruptcy filings put the value of Mister Klein's Palm Springs nest at $1,900,000. We'll let the desert dwelling real estate experts decide whether that's an accurate assessment of value.

listing photos:
aerial photos: Google


Anonymous said...

Good luck with that sales price Dr., it's worth about half that. Tops.

Anonymous said...

That first house looked new. Wow, what a piece of architectural wonder--fo real. For nineteen seventy something that is nice. And, upgraded thoughtfully.

Well, I bet those steel support beams required a pretty penny to keep painted with that sea salt air.

Anyway, I didn't know poppin' pimples paid so much. I guess he shared many things with Micheal Jackson: the same business manager and the same ambiguous sexuality. It's too bad he likes to tell all on his clients and so called friends. Low class.

Oh well, must be nice to downsize at 60 and unload some nice properties bought very cheaply. But, he aint broke.

Head off to Palm Springs and call it a day/life/and career for you--and hope Buddah cares when you get there!!

How many days till Christmas Mama?
Don't spike the egg nog too hard this year--I'll be home soon. Your on the Best Coast now and I'm bringing my stocking and a better gift since I just saved a bunch on my car insurance--I mean my airfare!

Mama's Black Sheep in Weho,
(In the Christmas spirit)

Not "Holiday" spirit--Christmas spirit!

Anonymous said...

God this column is so educational! Somehow I had never made the connection that Dr. Klein also has a "FoD" at the end of his name, which explains so many, many things. Plus he's also "Professor of Medicine/Dermatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA" - these things just write themselves.

But WTF is up with that giant "fin" appendage hanging off the bottom of this place? It looks like a giant adult party-toy gone astray...

Mama'sBoy said...

Love you Mama!!

Anonymous said...

How the hell does a dermatologist afford $12 million dollars or more in houses?
My next door neighbor is a dermatologist and her husband is a pulmonologist and their house is about $2 million. Are these doctors in LA selling cocaine and scripts on the side because the numbers don't add up?

Anonymous said...

Marvelously tawdry tale, Mama, for which we thank you. It confirms one's suspicions re skin doctors and their clients. That beach house must block the view of any number of neighbors both up and down the coast. As you said, it probably could not be built today. All in all, bankruptcy sounds about right for "Dr" Klein. He richly deserves being taken to the "cleaners".

Anonymous said...

The Secret World of Dr. Klein:

Anonymous said...

Bet that Laguna bedroom could tell a few stories. Price seems crazy high considering its dated and in a few years you may need metal stilts on the entry side of the house...

angie said...

ugh, this man makes my skin crawl. I can only surmise that it was his willingness to supply famous people like Liz & MJ with their drugs of choice that explains both his favored status and financial success. I actually located an article originally published back in 1981 that termed him "shady" even then.

Anonymous said...

here is the video link for the house.
beautiful home imo. hopefully someone with taste buys it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:25..isnt bankruptcy the opposite of Klein being taken to the cleaners?? Hes taking his creditors to the cleaners, though he will surely have to liquidate alot of his assets in the process..

Anonymous said...

How'd he score that house for $255k in 1985 is what I'd like to know.

midTN said...


I don't know which is more ridiculous with that Laguna Beach mess....the design or the asking price.


Anonymous said...

12m is far too high for laguna beach. eww.

Anonymous said...

Actually, $12 million is not too high for Laguna...just too high for this house.
It is even uglier in person, just like many of the Doc's clients.
Land value only on this one.

jhon said...

amazing house. $12 million is just too much.

Anonymous said...

I used to be a client of his.

The evil literally oozed out of his pores.

Anonymous said...

The ultimate Dr. Creepy!

Anonymous said...

don't be fooled by that warhol's. they aren't original. His Tamara Di Lampika is not real either. I have stayed in all 3 houses. You have no idea what goes on behind the closed gates. I wish I could spill more... I worked for him for a year. I have stories.

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