Friday, October 4, 2013

Matthew Wilder Lists Malibu Estate

SELLER: Matthew Wilder and Tamara Dunn
PRICE: $6,850,000
SIZE: 1,980 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: As far as this property gossip is concerned there's no better time to go to the beach than early October, after the summer crowds have traded their bathing suits for scarves and before the moody and damp coastal winter really sets in. Last night, in a dreamy seaside state of mind, Your Mama stayed up late with a (third) gin & tonic and took a slow wander through a few newly listed properties in the bare-footed and boho but hideously expensive ocean-side community of Malibu (CA). It wasn't long before we came across a fetching multi-acre mini-compound recently put on the open market for $6,850,000 and owned, as per property records, by singer/songwriters Matthew Wilder and Tamara Dunn.*

In the late 1970s and early '80s Mister Wilder (née Weiner) sung back up for legendary ladies like Rickie Lee Jones and Bette Midler and in 1983 he rocketed to one-hit-wonder fame with the Reggae-inspired synth-pop hit Break My Stride, a catchy and upbeat ditty that remains in rotation on many retro-themed radio stations. (Here he is, children, back in the day on Solid Gold, kinky-haired, mustachioed, and all decked out in a layered, Flashdance-y sweatshirt situation and skin-tight leather pants.) 

His career as a recording artist quickly ebbed but Mister Wilder, who (still) sports creative facial hair configurations and corkscrew curled locks, eventually secured a solid and (presumably) lucrative foothold in the music industry as a song writer and music producer for a variety of movies and television programs including Dawson's Creek, and Pretty Woman as well as a slew of Disney productions like The Lizzie Maguire Movie. In 1995 he produced No Doubt's diamond-, gold- and platinum-certified third album, Tragic Kingdom, and over the years wrote and/or produced tracks and records for a slew of young pop stars who include Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Selena Gomez, and Miley her pre-twerking Hannah Montana days. In the late 1990s Mister Wilder wrote and produced the score to the Disney animated feature Mulan, an effort that earned him Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy Award nominations.

As far as our brief and unscientific research can tell, Tamara Dunn is most often identified on the internets as a songwriter. We did find evidence she co-penned—with Mister Wilder—the 2009 Billy Ray Cyrus song Back to Tennesee but otherwise Your Mama dug up up little specific professional information.

Anyways, Mister Wilder and Miz Dunn own two separate but contiguous parcels that were purchased from the same seller in two separate transactions in October 2004. The larger, 7.39-acre property—the one that's for sale for $6,850,000—cost them $2,375,000. The smaller, 4.57 acre spread next door was purchased for $1.2 million and remains unimproved open space. Online marketing materials show it's available for separate purchase at $1,250,000.

A long gated driveway passes over a rugged, river rock-lined stream bed and cuts sinuously through a manicured swathe of rolling lawn before it makes a sweeping rise to a motor court at the front of the partly stone-faced board and batten-sided ranch-style residence that listing information shows has three bedrooms and three bathrooms in 1,980 square feet. For the record, we think the house seems much larger than two thousand square feet but 1,980 is what the listing says and what do we know anyways, right? Digital marketing materials show that in addition to the fully updated and upgraded 1950's era ranch house, the compound-like property has a concrete pool-side structure, a professional recording studio, and, situated for optimal privacy near the head of the driveway, a self-contained guest house.

The front of the house wraps around three sides of an otherwise walled and gated red brick entry courtyard where a giant carved stone bust of Buddha** that sits in a shallow water-filled trough is but a hint of many, many, many statues and figurines of Buddhist and Hindu deities, not to mention a mountain of New Age-y crystals and geodes, to be found throughout the house and grounds. Clearly Mister Wilder and Miz Dunn feel the need to attract a lot of spiritual energy to their residential surroundings. Be that as it may...

Steel-framed glass front doors open from the courtyard in to a unusually roomy entrance gallery with polished concrete floors under foot and an exposed wood ceiling pierced by a couple of sky lights over head and, on the back wall, a raised and slightly off-center white brick fireplace filled with candles. Narrow doorways on either side of the fireplace connect to a combination living and dining room with (downright yummy) wide-plank reclaimed oak floors and crisp white paint on the walls and the vaulted exposed wood beam ceiling. A white brick fireplace anchors the living room area while three walls of floor-to-ceiling steel-framed glass windows and doors surround the dining area in an undeniably dramatic fashion and open out to a large deck that over looks over the backyard towards the house dotted canyon.

A sliding, steel-framed glass door separates the living/dining room from a large kitchen where, at one end, in front of a wall of windows, there's a cozy lounge and at the other end an expensively equipped kitchen with a double-sided six-stool snack counter integrated in to the center island. The top-quality appliances, the eagle eyed amongst us will have already noted, include a glass-doored walk-in chiller very similar if not identical to the one The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member Yolanda Foster has in her kitchen.

Listing photographs indicate there are two den-type rooms, one a loungey, window-lined yet still dark and brooding room just off the living/dining room and the other a lighter-brighter one off the entrance gallery with polished concrete floors, a vaulted ceiling, a third white brick fireplace (this one surmounted by one of the many flat-screen televisions to be be found throughout), and an attached bathroom.

There are two guest/family bedrooms, both with direct outdoor access, and a sizable master suite with a spacious sitting area and a wall-mounted television with integrated speaker system. The attached master bathroom is a spare but luxuriously earthy spa-like space with a egg-shaped soaking tub, a super-sized open shower area and a cantilevered vanity crafted from a thick and rugged slab of wood.

A multi-purpose deck that runs the full width of the house has, at one end, a rough-hewn but high style picnic-type table, some uncomfortable looking stools and a fire pit in the middle, and, at the far end, a comfy-looking collection cushioned sofas and lounges.

Surrounding the rigorously rectilinear swimming pool and inset spa are several sunbathing terraces and a pergola-shaded outdoor living room with linear built-in fire pit. Other structures sprinkled about the years near the pool include a enclosed garden—enclosed to keep the deer and critters out, an open-air pavilion, and a barn-like pool house/party lounge with steel-framed glass windows and doors, rugged concrete walls, and a vaulted exposed wood beam ceiling.

Some of Mister Wilder and Miz Dunn's nearest neighbors include German radio and television host Thomas Gottschalk and a handful of Tinseltown power players like three-time Emmy-winning writer/producer Richard Appel, sick rich, philanthropic and terminally ill nine-time Emmy-winning comedy writer/producer Sam Simon,*** and Emmy-winning television super-producer Marcy Carsey who also owns a much more fabulous ocean-front spread nearby on the bluffs above Escondido Beach. At the tail end of the road, tucked into a rugged but verdant canyon is the by-appointment-only Ramirez Canyon Park, the 22.5-acre former compound of long-time Malibu resident Barbra Streisand who donated the property in 1993 to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.****

*To be honest, we're not really sure if Miz Dunn and Mister Wilder are married and/or if they have any children, together and/or with other people, and, to be even more honest, we're not really sure those details are particularly important in today's celebrity (-related) real estate tale.

**Identification of religious iconography really isn't a strong suit for Your Mama so we really can't say for sure if the giant carved stone bust in the courtyard is Buddha or—as it very well may be—some other eastern deity. 

***Sam Simon, a regular on Howard Stern's radio program, was one of the original creators of the ground-breaking, award-winning, and money-minting animated series The Simpsons. He left in 1993 over creative differences with co-creators Matt Groening and James Brooks but, lucky for him, retains an executive producer title and an income that he himself told the Stanford alumni magazine in 2009 amounts to "tens of millions" of dollar per year. 

****(In 2011 Governor Jerry Brown suggested the state sell the property to help close a gaping budget gap but, as far as we know, no real action has been taken to unload the property.)

listing photos: Coldwell Banker


Anonymous said...

Aside from all that wood paneling in one of the rooms (shot towards the bottom), it looks lovely.

I live in a home with a LOT of wood paneling and am currently in the process of having it gibbed - it's just too, too much - dark, bland and it gives me a headache. It's also hard to incorporate into any sense of style ... even the most gorgeous furniture looks blah. I would not recommend it.

lil' gay boy said...


Very much like the Asian-style house BGD and I spent our first CA vacation in up on Partington Ridge in Big Sur (sadly lost in the last fire) -- but done up in a much more cosmopolitan style that really suits me.

Beautifully tranquil, manageable size, and thoughtfully laid-out grounds; I cannot find a single thing really wrong with it...even the multitude of "...statues and figurines of Buddhist and Hindu deities," works somehow.

Now if my fellow siblings would like to have a nice whip round for the cash, they'd all be welcome to visit -- after all, the guest house is conveniently located!

The Break My Stride video was an amusing blast from the past -- Solid Gold at its most indulgent.

But Mama, skin-tight leather pants? Really? Even the cow must have uncomfortable in that.

FonHom said...

Anon Oct 5, 11:22am No, and watch your language.

Sandpiper said...

Oooh. Bette Midler back in the 70s. Loved her popping out of that clam shell, and of course the slutty Harlettes back up(!), but not-so-much into to her then unknown piano player, (yawn) Barry Manilow, who was introduced and took a bow. A vision in white. Double-yawn.

Nice catch on finding this one, Mama. Interesting layout inside and out. Looks like fun plus lots of eucalyptus-infused fresh air.