Friday, April 19, 2013

Real Estate Roundup: The Real Housewives of Orange County

All the children who have been hanging around here for a while now already know neither Your Mama nor The Dr. Cooter can resist a "real housewife" from The Real Housewives of Orange County real estate story so we were subsumed with delight earlier this week when we received a series of unexpected covert communiques from a well-informed snitch we call Tawny S. Kinh about the real estate and home decorating activities of each of the housewives down behind the proverbial Orange Curtain.

Some of you won't know who these ladies are and others won't give a shit. But, of course, wasn't it Abe Lincoln who said, "You can please some of the people some of the time all of the people some of the time some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time."? Amen, sister.

Now then, if you're on board with the program today Your Mama suggests you take a moment to snatch up a snack and a prepare a beverage—preferably something mood altering—and settle in for the long haul. Or maybe read it in bits and pieces over the next day or two. Okay? Forward, Harch!

Freshly divorced and dating but not exactly empty nesting* new grandmommy Vicki Gunvalson has had her prototypically suburban abode behind the guarded gates of the Coto de Caza community on and off the market numerous times since 2007 at a variety of increasingly smaller asking prices from $3.75 to $2.395 million. However, the program's only original cast member—who is not actually a housewife but rather a hard-charging insurance broker—appears to be staying put in her big ol' Coto crib...At least for now.

Miz Gunvalson and her newly refreshed face recently had the peeps from Bravo in for a brief spin through her also newly refreshed residence that tax records show sits on a full acre and measures around 5,400 square feet. (We had to go there, children. You know we did.) While waving her arms around like some sort of Carol Merrill she casually unveils her "theme" for the brushed up but still mostly brown and beige day-core was "light" and "bright" "California Mediterranean." We do rather like the addition of the hand-painted mural pattern applied to one wall in the formal dining room but we don't particularly care for all the painstakingly karate-chopped custom-made pillows in the refurbished family room.

Miz Gunvalson and her now ex-husband Donn purchased the property during happier marital days in December 2001 for $1,100,000. The couple spent, according to listing details we dug up on the internets, about half a million clams on a super-deluxe resort-style swimming pool complex complete with a five stool swim up bar, a water slide that winds through a pile of (probably faux) boulders, an outdoor kitchen and a built-in fire pit plus multiple built-in ambient gas heaters for taken the edge of chilly evenings. A roomy, recessed grotto is outfitted, so the listings say, with a television, spa and—a feature boozy users of the swim up bar will surely appreciate—a convenient adjoining full bathroom.

*Miz Gunvalson's daughter Briana (Wolfsmith) Culberson, her husband Ryan and their new baby boy Troy currently live with Grandma Gunvalson...or at least they did during the taping for the eighth season. 

As far as we know, the always impeccably maquillaged an unnaturally blond handbag hawker and budding make-up mogul Gretchen Rossi still lives in the approximately 2,400 square foot faux-Craftsman-style house in Costa Mesa that she purchased for $838,500 back in January 2005 when she was still married to her first husband. They divorced in 2007 and she lickety-split got engaged to Midwest millionaire Jeff Beitzel who, may he rest in peace, met his early end in 2008 before they married. Yesterday it was announced in all the celebrity gossip glossies that Miz Rossi and her long-time live-in man-beau Slade Smiley—now a newly syndicated radio host who was previously engaged to another (former) housewife, Jo De La Rosa—are officially engaged. It was, apparently, she who proposed to him atop a skyscraper in downtown Los Angeles. Anyways, mazel tov!

Your Mama didn't—or couldn't—find a home tour video on Bravo's site but Miz Rossi did post a slew of (2012) holiday photos taken in her house on her website. We're not really sure what's more disturbing: the over-eager department store-style holiday day-core that's both inside and outside, the sad little Santa suit coats she made her poor little dogs wear or the downright bizarre and inappropriately sexy Mrs. Claus outfit she apparently wore...on Jesus's birthday. What do the children think?

Fearlessly and fearsomely outspoken Housewife Tamra Barney—a real estate agent who now owns and operates a fitness facility in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA—and her three youngest children left their post-divorce rented residence and moved in with her afianced man, Eddie Judge. Mister Judge, the CEO of his father's Irvine law firm, picked up his semi-custom, faux-Tuscan tract house in the guard gated Covenent Hills community in Ladera Ranch, according to property records, in 2006 for $1,301,500.

Although it really ain't no body's bidness, documentation Your Mama easily accessed online indicates that in mid-2011 Mister Judge tangled with foreclosure but, we're happy to say the mess was all worked out by June 2012 when a Notice of Rescission was filed and recorded. Most likely it was just a case of misplaced paperwork or some such snafu, right? Anyhoo...

In her video tour of the home for the folk at Bravo Miz Barney unveils her plan to use the formal dining room as a music room where her three younger children can take piano lessons. In the family room, off the well-equipped and very brown two-island open-concept kitchen, soon-to-be Missus Judge proudly displays a full wall of custom cabinetry she had installed around a (gas) fireplace that hold and hides the audio-visual equipment and etc.

In the upstairs master bedroom she flops across her big ol' bed and pretends to find a leather cat-o-nine-tails hidden under one of the 49,000 decorative pillows because, well, ever-lusty Tammy B. can not—at least it seems to Your Mama—go three damn minutes on camera without cracking a cringe-worthy sex joke. Don't get Your Mama wrong. We love us some shade-tossing sassy-pants Tammy B., for sure, but, seriously girl, you need a new comedy shtick, unless you don't mind coming off like a slightly creepy, sex-obsessed cougar. Cool it people. We're not being catty. We're just offering Miz Barney a little unsolicited image assistance.

We digress...

The newest Housewife in Orange County is Canadian-born entrepreneur and media heiress Lydia McLaughlin. She, along with her husband Doug, owns a high end media marketing operation, a modern art gallery and recently launched an eponymous jewelry line. Though they live in the O.C. they also own, edit and publish the glossy Beverly Hills Lifestyle Magazine. On her website Miz McLaughlin's bio states: "She sees reality television as a platform to be a positive role model for women around the world." Oh...Hmm...Well, good luck with that, hunny. Your optimism as you dive into the viper pit of reality t.v. is charming.

During the taping of the either season Mister and Missus McLaughlin—they named their two boy children Stirling and Maverick—occupied a luxuriously appointed rented residence in the exclusive Ritz Cove enclave in Dana Point, the same affluent beach side enclave where Housewife Alexis Bellino and her husband Jim leased a house during the taping of the seventh season.

We really have no idea how much Mister and Missus McLaughlin actually pay their landlord each month for the privilege of living in such suburban looking splendor but we did find online evidence that the 4,800 square foot "Mediterranean" residence was leased in April 2012 with an an asking price of $8,500 per month.

Lease listing details go on to reveal the house has five bedrooms, five bathrooms, an open-concept kitchen/family room and a second floor master suite complete with fireplace, private balcony and spa-like bathroom. The resort-style backyard—these resort-y backyard set ups seem to be quite popular in the more upscale enclaves of Orange County—has a waterfall, swimming pool, spa and built in barbecue and less than ideally backs up to frequently busy and too often traffic choked Pacific Coast Highway.

In her video tour of the fully furnished but only lightly decorated house for the Bravo cameras, gravel voiced and reed thin Missus McLaughlin pads into the kitchen and makes a big play of taking a small bite of red velvet cake she had stashed up in the microwave oven. She moves into the formal dining room and proudly announces that even though her family of four has never actually eaten in the dining room she still thinks it looks "you know, beachy but also kinda elegant and contemporary, so...." Upstairs Missus McLaughlin takes us into the master suite where she shows how she's converted the adjoining but separate sitting room into a "shoe gallery" complete with (gas) fireplace.

Property records show the house was purchased by its current owner in early 2004 for $2,881,000. We don't know the status, but we found evidence online the property was deep in foreclosure doo-doo and scheduled to be sold at auction on the 8th of April (2013) with a minimum bid of $2,329,923. We don't know what the result of all this ugliness is but it could be that Mister and Missus McLaughlin will soon have to pack their bags if they haven't already.

It was actually our aforementioned tattletale Tawny S. Kinh who—a couple of months ago—first whispered to Your Mama that Dr. and Missus Dr. Dubrow had quietly sold their custom built mansion in Newport Beach's super posh and guard-gated Pelican Crest community for an eye catching $16,450,000. Your Mama's brief and unscientific research shows that's the second highest price paid in the last three years for a residence in the swank enclave that perches grandly atop the hills above the scenic and almost unspoiled Crystal Cove State Park.

We looked some but didn't come up with a current home tour but last season Missus Dr. Dubrow allowed the Bravo cameras to peep and poke around their giant, custom built mansion that includes a foyer scaled to accommodate large parties and designed to impress guests with its double staircase, paneled walls and double-height ceiling. Other luxuries include: a glass roofed solarium with ocean view; a gargantuan, gadget-filled kitchen; a darkly-paneled "man's library" with an all but hidden corkscrew staircase that leads up to the master suite and down to the home's basement level fitness room. There's also a huge rec room in the basement as well as a walk-in temperature controlled wine cellar.

Doctor and Missus Dr. Dubrow's private chambers are entered through a private vestibule in which their interwoven initials are inlaid in the marble floors. Well, children, to be quite frank, Your Mama startled the first time we saw that bit of hyper-customized finish work flash by in the video. Anyways, the suite is completed by a custom-designed boutique-like dressing room/closet area and a super-sized all marble bathroom where Missus Dr. Dubrow un-ironically says she personally believes the key to a good marriage is: "Don't share a toilet." She might be right.

As it turns out, the Pelican Crest mansion wasn't the only Newport Beach house Dr. and Missus Dr. Dubrow owned or sold in the last year. Property records show the couple purchased a house in the Harbor View community in September 2005 for $2,795,000 that they unloaded at a huge loss in January 2013 for two million clams. It doesn't take any clicks or clacks of the well-worn beads on Your Mama's bejeweled abacus to determine that Dr. and Missus Dubrow lost a spine straightening $795,000 not counting carrying costs, expenses, improvements an real estate fees. Probably the well-to-do plastic surgeon and the reality t.v. star won't go hungry due to their financial set back but, still, that's gotta sting a little.

Listing details we managed to cajole out of the internets shows the vaguely Cape Cod-style house, nested into a short cul-de-sac, backs up to a very busy thoroughfare, measures 3,660 square feet with five bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, 3 car attached garage and at least two fireplaces. What it does not have, at least not according to any of the online resources we consulted, is a swimming pool. The children will recall the Dubow's domicile in Pelican Point did not have a swimming pool either, until they put a tiny one in to make it more attractive to sell.

We can't vouch for the accuracy of the intel but Tommy Tellyou told Your Mama that the couple are in the process of purchasing another vacant parcel in the Pelican Crest development where they'll spend years and millions building their next home, a mansion that Your Mama would bet our long bodied bitches, Linda and Beverly, will be bigger and even more lavish than the deluxe digs they left behind.

The real estate trials and travails of Alexis Bellino and her businessman husband Jim have been well documented by celebrity and property gossips around the globe. After they sold their house in Newport Beach at a punishing $3 million dollar loss, the avidly Christian couple—they own a paint ball course in Anaheim or something odd and unexpected like that—decamped for a leased macmansion with five bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms and a subterranean garage for eight or more cars in the ritzy Ritz Cove development in Dana Point.

During the high voltage seventh season reunion show, after some of her Housewife sisters accused her for putting on pretentious airs, Missus Bellino snapped back that her finances are no body's business. Then she said—on national television, mind you—that she and the Mister planned to pay cash for their next house. Well, children, thanks to Tommy Tellyou we have learned that Mister and Missus Bellino, through a trust, recently paid $2,000,000 for a large residence in a gated community in San Juan Capistrano. They did not, as far as Your Mama can tell from our perusal of online documentation, pay all cash for the property.*

Listing details from the time of the sale show the classic, Orange County mock-Med mini-mansion sits on almost three-quarters of an acre and contains about 6,000 square feet with four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, six fireplaces. An interior gated motor court gives access to garage parking for up to five cars or, as per the online listing, three cars and a recreational vehicle.

Listing photos show the home's fittings and day-core were woefully dated at the time they purchased it but by the time Missus Bellino had the Bravo cameras into her house she and her mister had orchestrated a full-scale, gut renovation that updated, upgraded and completely contemporized the entire house.

In the video we are introduced to an automatic player piano in the all black and white but still bordello-esque formal living room and then shown through the formal dining room with its white tufted leather chairs pulled up around a dark wood table that's still splattered with wax from the previous night's dinner party. A quick stop in the colossal center island kitchen and we see it's expensively equipped with top quality commercial-sized appliances. And finally, the real reason they bought the home, she says, she swoons over and swans on about the massive, meandering Great Room that sports wood-inlaid stone tile floors, a vaulted wood-beamed ceiling, a two way fireplace, a giant flat screen television—for Jim's Monday night football things—and—for her—a slew of glittery chandeliers.

We don't normally like to discuss the rooms of children but Missus Bellino invites us in to see two girlish bedrooms for her two girl children and one boyishly decorated bedroom for her one boy child. The Bellino master suite encompasses the entire second floor and—as far as we can surmise—includes a bedroom with high beamed ceiling, a private terrace, what we imagine to be a large private bathroom but we don't get to see in the video, and a massive walk-in closet and dressing room plus a separate custom-fitted walk-in handbag and shoe closet that is very likely larger than most peoples' bedrooms.

*In the interest of information fairness: Your Mama and The Dr. Cooter also have a mortgage on our home. So what? So do most people.

If you made it this far...Thank you very much.


DC Guy said...

Bravo Mama! That there was some good readin'!!!

Rosco Mare said...

Mama Dearest, I'm one of the children who doesn't know or care who these women are. However, while reading your highly entertaining post in 80 degree cocktail hour weather in the shadow of Palm Springs' Mt. San Jacinto, I enjoyed a liquid refreshment I'd like to share. A Caprioska: Rum, muddled lime, and sweet n sour. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Mama, I loved this - what an incredibly put-together feast of reading :-) Please do the same for the Beverly Hills "housewives" (who aren't really housewives at all!)

Anonymous said...

Who, who, who, who, who, and who?

Anonymous said...

The same treatment of the Beverly Hills broads would also be interesting

Manoj said...
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Anonymous said...

Oh, but hasn't Heather Dubrow run into money troubles for her excessive lifestyle, had to sell to pay the mortgage and is now renting somewhere?

Shopgirl said...

I cannot stop laughing at Lydia leasing a home in full on foreclosure! LOL. She's the one in episode one that said "they definitely live within their means". I guess their means does not include owning their own home. What a poser! Too funny.

luke220 said...

Shopgirl, Lydia's grandfather is estimated to be worth $100 million so she could buy any place she chooses.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see a Lauren Conrad roundup: how on Earth does The Hills alumna afford a $4m place in Brentwood?!

Anonymous said...

I think Lauren Conrad is one of the lucky few who created a successful clothing line. I think it's at Kohls?

10:44 AM said...

Oh... Yeah. Perhaps it's the clothes line, and I see she has a successful trilogy going on. And apparently the Brentwood place is not the only house she owns in the Los Angeles area.

Sandpiper said...

Mama, Nobody does it better, sweetie. Of course I read it all!

Those crazy hot mess ladies?? Vicki's a time bomb waiting to implode -- keep those cameras rolling; Gretchen, bless your heart; Tamra will forever latch onto any guy with a house; and the Darbows' floor initials are worse than a Billy-Bob tattoo. Et al., self-editing is a virtue.

P.S. Remember Vicki's downsizing fiasco on Altimira and the fun we had with her lousy taste? Those pics said it all, Mama. I was Anon 10:49 before sassy aunt mary (xoxo) made us start using names.

Anonymous said...

Tamra? More like Trampra

Anonymous said...

Vicki sold Altimira a year or two ago. Bitch will never sell the main house for what she wants. Especially with the near replica currently for sale next door.

Sandpiper said...

LOL 7:42! Never tracked how long it took to sell. Wow. Talk about bad judgment buying it in the first place. Likely signed purchase papers after downing a case of wine. Meow.

Anonymous said...

RHOOC is so confusing to me. i mean they are all blond ... and i mean it means something as i am blond myself :) . when i am watching it even the name on screen is not enough cause they all look the same.

and somehow those houses look just 'again' all the same :)

Anonymous said...

I would not watch these ditzy dillies for a moment but I am curious where they come from. Are the real housewives found and put on TV or hired pseudo=housewives to act a role on TV? They all seem cheaply glamorous so I rather suspect they are not all genuine. US TV gives the impression that there are no ordinary looking women in the US. All are models or movie stars.

Anonymous said...

Mama: Tawny S. Kihn = pure genius. How do you do it?? :-)

BS Beaverman said...

@ 4:16. I hear you! Mama tagged me with the moniker of B.S. Beaverman for the low downs. Fascinating how her mind works. Gotta love'er!

lil' gay boy said...

Amen, Anon 11:38;

Even my gurl Heather's house is not all that different -- nicer, but still of the same ilk.

Vicki's house is as brown as her life -- how her daughter turned out to be so sensible is beyond me.

Gretchen's house? Perfect for the Princess and the Pauper.

Tamra? Too much Eddie, soon to be cougared up.

Lydia? As barren as her walls -- the Porsha of OC.

Heather? At least someNY sophistication (but the monogram? I have to believe it was a joke). Curious what the new house will be.

Alexis? The less said the better -- at least there now appears to be enough room for Jim's chin.

Anonymous said...

Damn, Miss Piggy got a facelift!!!

Anonymous said...

I thought that gretchen lived in that community in the newport area that you own the house and not the land, that's why the house was so cheap for the area.

Anonymous said...

Tamra sold the house in Ladera, rather short. Funny thing, my boss bought it, no lie!

Unknown said...
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turesta, said...
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Free Stock market tips | Free share market tips said...
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Anonymous said...

Luke220: Lydia's grandfather may be worth $100 million but that doesn't mean he's handed it over to her, especially if she and her husband are renting a house.

Unknown said...
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Anonymous said...

TamRat is no longer a real estate agent. Her license expired last year.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...
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Ponte Vedra Homes for Sale said...
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Anonymous said...

Does anyone know who the builder is of Lydia's leased home?

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