Monday, February 20, 2012

Another Showbiz Divorce Another Mansion Sold

SELLERS: Patricia Arquette and Thomas Jane
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $2,775,000
SIZE: 6,082 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: While out and about we happened to run into a little birdie acquaintance the other day—let's call him Ben Theredonethat—who asked Your Mama if we'd heard about how Emmy-winning actress Patricia Arquette and her handsome ex-husband—that would be beau-hunky actor Thomas Jane, the chisel-chinned, hairy-chested and fine-fannied star of Hung—had quietly sold their historic mansion in Los Angeles' hoity-toity Hancock Park 'hood.

We had not heard a word, not a one and, after a momentary pause to harness what little dignity we have, screamed, "Spill it!"

Naturally, just as soon as Your Mama pulled our big BMW into the garage we took to the interweb and quickly sorted out the facts of the matter and, just as Ben Theredonethat tattled, Mister Jane and Miz Arquette did indeed sell their former family home in Hancock Park in early January 2012 for $2,775,000. The buyer, as per property records, was producer Fenton Bailey, one of the World of Wonder gentlemen responsible for television and silver screen fare such as (but not limited to) the budding Million Dollar Listing franchise, the catty yet heartwarming RuPaul's Drag Race, the sensitively done documentary The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and all those Tori (Spelling) & Dean (McDermott) reality programs.

We know just about nil about Mister Jane except that he's not afraid to appear birthday suit nekkid and/or very realistically act out The Sex on the tee-vee but we do know that despite (and perhaps because of) their decidedly non-traditional upbringing Miz Arquette and all four of her siblings have gone on to Show Business notoriety of varying degrees and types. There's actor sister Rosanna Arquette (Suddenly Seeking Susan, Pulp Fiction franchise, The L Word), actor/producer brother David Arquette (Scream franchise, Eight Legged Freaks, Jake and the Never Land Pirates), dragster turned tranny actress sister Alexis Arquette, née Robert (Friends, Californication, The Surreal Life), and the lesser- but hardly un-known actor Richmond Arquette (Dirt, Se7en, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).

Like her red carpet walking brothers and sisters, Miz Arquette has toiled in Tinseltown for decades, in her case since the mid-1980s. She is best known, perhaps, for her Emmy-winning turn as the tee-vee version of real-life (and self-described) psychic medium Allison Dubois on the long-running but now-canceled supernatural drama Medium.

Reality television watchers may recall that the real life Allison Dubois appeared on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills last year and acted a damn fool. No disrespect, Dolly Dubois, but even you have to admit you didn't come off looking like an innocent kitten what with your sinister grin, dire predictions, and that creepy vapor cigarette thing you kept puffing on. This year, according to her resume on the Internet Movie Data Base, Miz Arquette will soon be seen on the silver screen in Girl in Progress with Eva Mendes and A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III with Charlie Sheen, Jason Schwarzman and Bill Murray. But we digress.

On January 2003, just a month or so before she gave birth to a baby with now ex-husband Thomas Jane and more than three years before they were married—those free-loving Hollyweirdos—Miz Arquette and Mister Jane paid two and a quarter million clams for a sizable and heavily ornamented 1929 Mediterranean mansion on a corner lot with with long side frontage on one of the busier thoroughfares in Hancock Park.

We know some of you zip code smarty pants and parvenus are going to get all jiggy with real estate indignation and flabbergast about why it is anyone really rich would choose to live in Hancock Park where the crime rates are higher than in the Platinum Triangle. Well, that's just fine. Go on witcher bad selves. The fact is Hancock Park—not every corner of it but certainly most of it—has always been and remains an upscale neighborhood with postcard-perfect tree-lined streets lined with stately homes owned by a slew of rich and famous folks who include former Friend David Schwimmer, sit-com superstar Patricia Heaton, French clothing tycoon Christian Audigier, newly out of the closet actor Matt Bomer, Emmy-winning producer John Wells, Oscar winner Kathy Bates, celebrity gossip Janet Charlton and, arguably, the celebrity king and queen of Hancock Park Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas. And that, puppies, doesn't even scratch the surface of the long list of past residents who include the likes of Nat King Cole and Howard Hughes.

Anyhoo, Miz Arquette and Mister Jane, who were officially divorced in 2010, first listed their former family home in June 2011 with an asking price of $3,399,000. By November the price had dipped to $2,900,000 where it remained until Mister Bailey came along and scooped it up, according to the busy beads on Your Mama's bejeweled abacus, for almost 20% less than it was originally priced.

Listing information shows the hulky and bulky house—dubbed in marketing materials as the romantic-sounding Villa Catalunya—sits on almost one-third an acre and measures a man-sized 6,082 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. Wide steps at the front of the vine-encrusted mansion lead to what listing information somewhat generously describes as "Gaudiesque."

Inside the arched, carved wood front door guests and the Dominos pizza delivery dude alike will no doubt be more than impressed with the voluminous and ornate, double height entry hall that reminds Your Mama more than a little of the legendary Limelight nightclub in New York City, now—horrors upon horrors—a kind of boo-teeq shopping mall. Having produced both the 1998 documentary Party Monster: The Shockumentary and the 2003 film Party Monster about club kid and Limelight employee turned drug addled murderer Michael Alig it seems almost inconceivable Mister Bailey didn't also make that visual connection but, of course, Your Mama don't know nuthin' about birthin' babies or, certainly, what goes on in Mister Bailey's brain.

The dizzying but ab-baf star burst pattern encaustic tiles under foot continue up the celeb-worthy center staircase to a wrap-around gallery girdled by a wrought iron banister where taffy-twisted Solomonic columns hold up a heavy-duty, hand-stenciled wood ceiling. We have no idea if Mister Bailey plans to host parties here but iffin he does, we might suggest at least once he replace the antique light fixture over the stairs with a great big sparkly disco ball so that everyone can swoop and swirl down that stunning staircase and have their own, private dancing queen moment.

The cocktail mixer-friendly step-down formal living room just off the entrance hall (above, top left) has gleaming variegated peg and groove wood floors, a monolithic wood-burning fireplace flanked by several pairs of arched (and probably original) stained glass windows, a classic Fortuny light fixture, and a full wall of built-in wood bookcases with carved pilasters and glass-fronted doors.

A wide opening in the built-in bookshelves connects to a library/den/media room (above, top right) where there's another Fortuny light fixture, a delectable and high hand painted wood-beamed ceiling, another bank of arched stained glass windows, and a pair of arched book cases on either side of a mysterious inset at the far end of the room. Listing photographs show the room equipped with projection equipment and a wide screen that scrolls down from the ceiling, hopefully at the easy press of a remote control button lest there always need to be a pesky foot stool at hand.

Across the entry hall opposite the formal living room, a properly baronial formal dining room (above, bottom left) is wrapped with three-quarter height wood paneling and has yet another Fortuny light fixture, partly parqueted wood floors, and extravagant hand-painted moldings and ceiling details. A double-wide, built-in carved wood buffet helps with food service and china and tchotchke storage. Undoubtedly the dining room set seen in listing photographs does not remain in situ since Miz Arquette sold to Mister Bailey, but the children will note that some nice-gay or lady decorator had the good sense to go the matchy-matchy route with the massive library-style dining room table with Solomonic column legs that echo the aforementioned spiral columns used around the second floor gallery in the entrance hall.

At the rear of the residence the compactly arranged if hardly small service areas include a large and well-maintained but heart wrenchingly banal eat-in kitchen with inlaid limestone tile floor, (too-)traditional raised-panel cabinetry (that may or may not be mahogany), perfectly ordinary white tile counter tops and back splashes, an L-shaped center island with snack counter, and a small adjoining breakfast area. The appliances are all probably top notch and la-di-dah but we suspect (and hope) Mister Bailey will replace all of this nonsense with something more appropriate, interesting, and hideously expensive.

The service wing also includes laundry facilities and a good-sized staff bedroom with private pooper done head to toe in vintage (and probably original) pixilated pink and jet black tilework.

Miz Arquette and/or Mister Jane could not, it seems, fit enough Fortuny light fixtures into their home and upstairs a small sitting room/office has a fourth Fortuny light fixture. Each of the upstairs guest/family bedrooms have an over-sized bathroom with eye-popping vintage (and probably original) tile work. One bathroom (above, bottom right) is an old-timey turqwahze and lemon yellow heaven while the other is turned out a little less vibrantly in sea foam green and fleshy-beige (above, bottom left). 

The expansive, multi-room master bedroom occupies the entire ass end of the upper second floor and looks to Your Mama like the sort of place the priest of a wealthy parish or a robber baron might like to live. More carved wood Solomonic columns divide an entry vestibule from a partly paneled sitting room with fireplace and built-in book cases. Beyond the sitting room, the bedroom area has a heavily articulated and painted coffered ceiling, and a row of stained glass windows on two walls, one of which, we have it on good authority, depicts Jesus Christ.

Imagine now, children, attempting to engage in non-procreational carnal relations with your loved one—or whomever—with a life-sized, stained glass Jesus Christ giving you the stare down. No thank you, hunties. Anyways, the attached master bathroom, with a curving wall of stained glass windows, looks like it was (at least partly) "updated" about the same time as the kitchen and, as far as we're concerned, could use a re-do to restore it back to its original glory. The highlight of the master suite is not, believe it or not, the stained glass Jesus but rather a pair of secret panels over and next to the fireplace in the sitting room that pop open to reveal a flat screen tee-vee and and an adjacent walk-in closet/dressing room.

A covered porch tucked into the base of the u-shaped rear of the residence provides a perfect, shady spot to spend an afternoon nibbling on leftover egg fu yung, sipping an ice cold gin & tonic or two (or three), and catching up on all the latest political brouhaha and celebrity snitchery on your favorite websites and blogs. The two arms of the u-shaped rear of the residence form a courtyard almost entirely devoted to an essentially rectangular swimming pool. On one side a long and deep covered porch has honeycomb-shaped Mexican paver tiles and on ground and a back wall tiled half way up with magnificent and fiery tiles. On the other side of the cement pond concrete pavers of various sizes are set into a grassy patch that wraps around the back of the house where there's a lounging/dining terrace and built-in barbecue center with sink and under-counter refrigerator. A limestone (or some other kind of stone) wall with fountain drops water into a semi-circular spa.

A covered porch connects through a locked doorway to a electronically gated motor court and detached three bay garage all of which is very nice but we just have an issue with houses oriented in such a way that all but ensure the owner never come through the front door but instead requires they shuffle across the back yard and get into the house through the service areas. Especially in a house like this were coming through the front door is an experience worth repeating over and over and over again.

Mister Bailey has long owned a charming 4 bedroom and 3 bathroom residence just above Hollywood he bought in 1994 for $480,000 and put on the market late last year with an asking price of $1,649,000. The price tag for the historic 1921 Arts and Crafts bungalow has since dropped to $1,459,000.

listing photos: Photos for Homes for Nourmand & Asssociates / Beverly Hills


Carla In California said...

What a beautiful master suite! Love that big tub in the master bath. I can imagine myself soaking in that wonderful thing for an hour or two sipping a fine drink...

I'm not too happy about the rest of the house. Not really my style.

thanks for the update, mama.:)

nursedeb said...

I love this house!!!!

Anonymous said...

I love the house, but gosh, I would have real concern about that ivy literally growing on the house. Trust me from past experience, it's going to become a huge and expensive problem.

I particularly love the master suite. House is just lovely.

midTN said...


LOVE IT.....including that deadly ivy!

I call dibs on the yellow and turqwahze bathroom.


Anonymous said...

I love Hancock Park and most of this house. I love the master bedroom and the bathrooms are neat. Some of the house doesn't really work for me and I really doubt that anyone cares. One point though, my grandparents' house was set up so everyone came through the back and ended up in the kitchen and rarely made it any further. It was a big eat-in, country kitchen so it worked out well.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Its like a San Simeon guest cottage. It'd be difficult to drag yourself out of the master suite.

Anonymous said...

OMG! I lovelovelove this house! Everything about it is fabulous! I've driven by it many times and always wondered what the inside looked like. It's just as beautiful and amazing as I imagined it would be.

Anonymous said...

I really like this house and think it is completely worth the money and I generally think almost all LA homes are overpriced. The master is fantastic.

fwiilson said...

I love the master bedroom and the bathrooms are neat. Some of the house doesn't really work for me and I really doubt that anyone cares.
Wood Ceiling Panels

lil' gay boy said...

"Imagine now, children, attempting to engage in non-procreational carnal relations with your loved one—or whomever—with a life-sized, stained glass Jesus Christ giving you the stare down."

Obviously our Mama did NOT grow up in a devoutly Catholic household, where not only did Jesus & his mom glower down upon you in the dining room, but every bedroom was equipped with a bulky, hollowed out crucifix that contained all the accoutrement for an off-the-cuff extreme unction (candles, holy oil, a pre-sanctified host, etc.) God knows, a sinner on his/her deathbed has little time for a last-minute hunt down of the proper tools for the last rites; much handier to stow them behind the Lord's sliding butt.

Over the years I found turning the offending item to the wall or just covering it sufficient to get my groove on...

The house itself is lovely but the location unfortunate; not for its being in Hancock Park, but that main access via the drive backs onto the busy street, with the living/media rooms fronting that side as well (I suspect the media room was originally an open loggia, looking at an aerial view).

Even the lush landscaping & solid construction can only do so much to mask the heavy traffic noise of a busy 4-lane road just steps away; but in those quiet moments, in the wee small hours of the morning, one can just picture the allure of this home as it was 80 years ago...

Desert Donna said...

Thanks LGB for discussing the location. I thought it seemed too good to be true for the $$$. Beautiful home! Maybe some Bellagio style fountains in the front yard will do the trick of drowing out the street noise?

Anonymous said...

Hancock Park is a more secure area now that they have an excellent security patrol (using off-duty and retire LAPD officers). SSA Security Patrol is the best way to keep the burglars and riff-raff away.

Anonymous said...

Those second floor walkways above the entrance hall would prohibit uninhibited cocktail parties I would think. Too easy for a guest to tip over and fall.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't able easily to find a picture of Jane with his clothes off, so I can't speak to the attractiveness of his body. But I was able to get a number of pictures of his face and would say that is not very attractive at all. Why is Mama so smitten?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I didn't check out the two links to his body. Better than his face, but then neither was full frontal. So...jury still out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks LGB, well that explains the good price. I still like it a lot though.

exciting LA said...

For some reason, I wasn't expecting this style of home for Thomas Jane & Patricia seems so much more formal than I picture them in real life...I love the exterior with the vines crawling up the side though...

MamasBoy said...

This house is so interesting (with the exception of the out-of-place kitchen). I love all the original touches and detail...though it may not be to exactly mine or some of the other childrens' precise taste. Its really nice to know that a house with such deep character that covers so many bases is out there at a (relatively) reasonable price.

Listing blather can sometimes send me into unfoundedly haughty laughter though...dubbing a house "Villa Catalunya" does not make it even a little "Gaudiesque"

Anonymous said...

I have spent a lot of time in this house, and the kitchen is surprisingly nice when full of people. The sofa, the stools, the karaoke machine for the kids... all of it worked together to create a casual, fun, social area while the hostess cooked amazing meals. There was room for spillover into the backyard and the reception rooms. The pictures may not show it, but the house is extremely warm and welcoming, with lots of quirky touches, just like the previous owner.