Monday, May 19, 2014

Dame Helen Mirren's Hollywood Pied-a-Terre Still for Lease

OWNERS: Dame Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $40,000/month
SIZE: 6,699 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: One of the things that often flabbergasts celebrity real estate newbies is that scads of top-level stars who own multiple, multi-million dollar residences often lease them out, presumably to off-set the enormous costs of owning several high-maintenance homes or some other such unfathomable reason. Sacha Baron Cohen has his compound above Laurel Canyon quietly available for $85,000 per month; Dan Aykroyd recently put his picturesque spread in Pacific Palisades up for rent at $45,000 per month; Steven Spielberg has his ocean front compound in Malibu up for grabs at a $150,000 a month.

Another of the A-grade celebs who regularly leases out her Los Angeles pied-a-terre is the utterly sublime and sexy Oscar-, Emmy-, BAFTA- and Golden Globe-winning—not to mention Tony nominated—British actress Dame Helen Mirren (The Queen) and her equally accomplished Oscar-winning film director husband Taylor Hackford (Teenage Father, Ray, Proof of Life, An Officer and a Gentleman).

Property records suggest the two-parcel property was purchased by Mister Hackford back in 1986, a few years after he divorced his second wife and a decade before he and Miz Mirron were married. The double-gated and privately situated, Runyon Canyon adjacent estate sprawls across more than 6.6 acres directly above an aggressively lackluster if centrally located cluster of apartment complexes at the eastern edge of Hollywood. The hillside estate was once the home of silent film star Dustin Farnum, one of Cecil B. DeMille's first and greatest discoveries and the hastily chosen namesake of two-time Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman.

A long gated driveway decadently zig-zags up the lushly planted hillside and sweeps around to the front of the house where there's a motor court able to accommodate parking for 10 or 12 cars. Listing details (and other online resources) indicate the main house, a Colonial-kissed Mediterranean villa originally built in 1911, spans a comfortably spacious 6,699 square feet with four bedrooms and seven bathrooms. A separate, house-sized guest cottage of 2,740 square feet has another four bedrooms and three bathrooms, as per the L.A. County Tax Man. (There are also at least two additional structures of unknown utility tucked discretely behind a high-hedge and a dense and mature copse.)

A double height, center hall entry with wood floors and impressive staircase connects to a lengthy and elegantly casual formal living room where there are a hefty handful of antique looking tables and sideboards and a pair of matching, roll-armed sofas that square face off against each other in front of a wood-burning fireplace surmounted by a swirly, gilt-trimmed mirror. Multiple sets of French doors open to stone terrace that runs the full width of the rear of the residence. Beyond the living room a less-formal library/den has another fireplace, at least one more set of French doors and built-in book shelves.

The roomy formal dining room has more French doors, more antique (looking) sideboards and a highly-polished, double-pedestal table surrounded by seven or eight rivet accented light caramel-colored leather wing back chairs that any fool can see were an effectively idiosyncratic choice by Miz Mirren and/or Mister Hackford and/or, possibly, their lady and/or nice-gay decorator.

The commodious if outdated eat-in center island kitchen has Mexican paver tiles on the floor, ordinary white cabinetry topped with thin slabs of specked gray granite, and a mixy-matchy suite of appliances that include a super-sized commercial grade range. (The children will note the original, wood-faced ice boxes in the back wall.) The mini-manse's service areas also include a secondary stair hall and a butler's pantry enviably larger than most suburban kitchens.

At least two of the upper level bedrooms open to a house-wide veranda with an over-the-tree-tops view across Los Angeles. Lower level rooms open to a deep terrace and wide, red brick stairway that leads down to a large, terrace-encircled rectangular swimming pool that still has, according to listing photos, a diving board. 

Some of the Mirren-Hackfords nearest neighbors include German-born producer Roland Emmerich, contemporary art world mover and shaker Margo Leavin, four-time Emmy-nominated producer-director Tony Krantz, boho-glam American oil heiress and yoga instructor Normandie Keith, and television writer/producer Anna Fricke and writer/producer Jeremy Carver who only a month or two ago shelled out a bit more than $3.4 million for an updated and upgraded turn of the (20th) century cottage.

This is hardly the first time Dame Mirren and Mister Hackford have put their Tinseltown pied-a-terre up for rent. It was set out for let in 2007 at $40,000 per month and again in 2011 at $40,000 per month and yet again in 2013 for—You got it, brainiacs!—forty grand a month. Fun tidbit: A card carrying member of the (totally fictitious) Lavender Real Estate Club once told Your Mama that Tinseltown cashmere queens Max Mutchnick and his legal eagle husband Erik Hyman lived here before they bought their English Manor in Bev Hills in 2007 for almost $17 million. 

Until last August (2013), when property records show they sold it for $960,000 the Mirren-Hackfords owned a high-hedged and gated Craftsman style triplex property in a downtown adjacent neighborhood Santa Barbara, CA. In fall of 2006T, the couple have were reported by no less than The New Yorker (October 2 issue) to also keeps homes in London, Provence (France), and New York. Sorry, Charlies, but Your Mama doesn't have many specifics on these homes but their 19th century London townhouse, a "former customs house, near Tower Bridge, on the cobbled backstreets of East London," according to The New Yorker, stands four stories and backs up to communal gardens. However and for the record, Your Mama can't confirm or deny that the Mirren-Hackfords still own homes in London, Provence and/or New York.

listing photos: Coldwell Banker


Anonymous said...

She does still own a property in London and is frequently spotted in her neighbourhood (Wapping) when in town. It's a nice, quiet area along the river, just east of Tower Bridge. Graham Norton also (or at least did) lived in the same area, and frequently walks his dogs through the local parks and dines in the local restaurants. Being a quiet, non-touristy neighborhood (surprising given the proximity to Tower Bridge/Tower of London), the few celebs who do live around act very normally and can easily maintain a low profile. Rumour had it that Rod Stewart had a penthouse flat in a nearby building, but I don't think anyone has ever confirmed as much.

Anonymous said...

dow - dee

Anonymous said...

they also have a place in NOLA, where he made "Ray" and some others, I think

Sandpiper said...

Such. A. Classic. Where do I sign? And, err, is the lease super negotable?

Anonymous said...


I love this house. It has character. Beautifully decorated rooms with an elegant mix of antiques and new. Timeless, attractive and easy to live in while still elegant and tasteful. Nothing showing or pretentious yet graceful and tasteful. Having seen this house my opinion of Helen Mirren has just shot up.

And I love that kitchen. There's something about simple white cabinets and earthen tile floors that works so well. Bright and cheerful and endearing. This is a kitchen I can cook in! And I suspect Ms Mirren does too given the large collection of cookbooks right on the counters. Woe betides anyone who guts it and replaces it with a sterile beige modern creation from darkest reaches of Calabasas used only by the catering folks.

My one criticism is the dining room chairs. Not practical at all. The deep wings means it's difficult to have a proper table discussion and it'd be hard to pull up to the table as the chairs would encourage you to sit too far back.

BTW, Mama, I'm surprised you didn't comment on the dreaded pots and pans hanging over the stove!

Sigh. I don't want to rent this house. I want to *BUY* this house.

Anonymous said...

Quite the pied-a-terre

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Sacha Cohen reads this blog so he can see what one can lease for 45K per month less. Fool.