Sunday, December 30, 2007
LOCATION: Strait Lane, Dallas, TX
SIZE: 14,748 square feet, 8 bedrooms, 7 full and 4 half bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: This spectacular contemporary estate is situated on exclusive Strait Lane on a 4.697-acre gated estate with breathtaking views of a private lake with fountains and waterfalls flowing down to a creek, a jogging trail, tennis court, resort-like pool, and scenic grounds. Additional features: Guest Quarters, Handicap Amenities, Lake Front Lot, Library/Study, Media Room.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Alright children, Your Mama is going to bring y'all one more house of scratch out your eyes upsetting interior decor before we begin the New Year. Now puppies, this one is a doozy, so hurry and gitchyer nerve medication or your big bottle of booze or whatever else will prop you up as we wade through this decorating disaster deep in the heart of Texas.
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and trust Your Mama children, it is. We have been there, done that and seen just how big it can really be. And real estate is no exception to this old adage about the Lone Star State. This Texas-sized contemporary mansion occupies nearly five acres on Strait Lane in a swanky section of Dallas and belongs to Phil Romano, a well known restaurateur who mints money creating and developing mid-priced concept and themed restaurant chains including Fuddruckers, eatZi's (now nearly defunct), and Romano's Macaroni Grill.
According to public records, Mister Romano purchased the 4.7 acre property in February of 2000 for $4,535,300. Records provided to Your Mama by Texas's own Billy Blabbermouth indicate the current residence was built in 2001 and measures a Texas sized 14,748 square feet. Listing information for the property reveals a few other big numbers associated with the house: 8 bedrooms, 7 full and 4 half bathrooms (which adds up to enough damn terlits to require a part time gurl just to scrub all the bowls), 5 fireplaces, a 4 car garage, and a tremendous temperature controlled wine cellar large enough to satisfy any well to do winos oenophilic needs.
Accessed down a long and purdy tree lined driveway that terminates in a large circular motor court, the copper roofed Romano residence overlooks a small man made lake complete with the sort of fountain that only very rich people install in their back yard lakes. The estate features a tennis court at the front of the property, a large swimming pool complex with cabana, and a 1,204 square foot detached building that property records indicate are staff quarters. For all those amenities, property records reveal that the new owners can expect a staggering $180,000+ bill from the tax man each year.
Now children, Your Mama has looked hard at the photos of the interiors of this house. In fact, we have looked really damn HARD. We have tried and we have endeavored, but alas and with all do respect to the Romanos, we simply have nothing nice to say about what we see. Not. One. Thing.
It appears to Your Mama that the Romano's rather unwisely and unfortunately hired whichever person or company that is responsible for the interiors of Fuddruckers or one of the other money making chain restaurants Mister Romano created. And therein lies the crux of the interior decorating issues. Quite simply, a $17,500,000 home should never look like a mid-priced themed restaurant in some middle brow mall in Peoria, or Tallahassee or Dallas. Ever.
The "decorator" must have finagled some kid of steep discount on leather furniture and those alabaster bowl chandelier things. Your Mama is so troubled by all the leather seating groups and seeing that same fixture in just about every damn room that we are nearly speechless. Who does that? Who? Okay, so people who don't have the financial wherewithal to hire a high priced decorator might do it if the fixture is on sale at Home Despot, but it's just criminal for someone of Mister Romano's financial stature to allow this to have been down in his multi-million dollar home.
Your Mama does not even know how to begin to make sense of the kitchen with that horrific abstract pattern painted on the wood ceiling. What's left to say about his room except that Your Mama fully expected to see a overweight family of o-beasts in matching sweat suits chowing down on one-pound bacon cheddar burgers, milkshakes and a few baskets of chili cheese fries.
Up in the Master bedroom we are concerned about the wrath of PETA and we are perplexed and puzzled by that yellow lighted strip thing mid-way up the wall. A large and well equipped dressing room and closet is dee-voon of course. But a giant two floor dressing room fitted out with (more) leather furniture, another alabaster bowl chandelier thing looing like a not very elegant haberdashery in Milan, not so much.
Even with the help a big fat sleeping pill, Your Mama could never get a moments rest in a house like this. However Mister Romano and his family sleep well on Strait Lane secure in the knowledge their neighbors possess similar sized bank accounts including billionaire Kenny Troutt (Excel Communications), former loud-mouthed billionaire politico Ross Perot, and Ralph and Cathy Oats, who made boo-coo bucks selling water filters and Ephedra based weight loss supplements and currently live in a house that looks like a scaled down model of the damn White House. Now that's klassy.
Your Mama is not too familiar with the luxury real estate market in Dallas so we haven't any clue if $17,500,000 is a decent price for this house or not. Perhaps all your Texas real estate freaks can weigh in on that. In the meantime, Your Mama wishes Mister Romano and family a Happy New Year and we sincerely hope they make their New Year's resolution not to hire a restaurant designer to do up their next mansion.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
BUYER: Ryan Seacrest
SELLER: Kevin Costner
LOCATION: Nichols Canyon Road, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $11,500,00 (sale)
SIZE: 8,172 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Say what you will regarding the much speculated about sexual ambiguity of the frosted, fake tanned and well frocked Mister Ryan Seacrest, but he's richer than the damn Pope and he recently completed a pricey and full scale re-decorative redo of the natty Nichols Canyon casa he purchased in April of 2006 from smug (and formerly sexy) Oscar winning actor Kevin Costner.
Chill out children, Your Mama is well aware that this purchase is O.L.D. in the world of celebrity real estate, but given that Mister Seacrest recently debuted his overhauled Spanish style crib in the shiny pages of Architectural Digest, Your Mama thought that all the children who do not take the time read or spend the money on fussy interior decoration glossies might like a peek into the metrosexual hunny's private lair high in the hills above the Hollywood world in which he has inexplicably become a major player.
For the privilege of living in Kevin Costner's sloppy real estate seconds, the manicured Mister Seacrest reportedly outbid pop diva Gwen Stafani, and property records reveal the toothy radio host dumped $11,500,000 for the gated flag lot parcel that includes a 5 bedroom and 4 bathroom, 8,172 square foot main house with a glammy motor court sitting at the end of a long celebrity style driveway. There is plenty of garage space for Mister Seacrest's pimped out whips, a tennis court with a long view over Los Angeles, staff quarters, a gym (natch), and a gorgeous swimming pool (not pictured) perfectly sunk into a swath of deep green grass as well tended as Your Mama reluctantly imagines Mister Seacrest's nether regions and naughty bits to be.
According to the January 2008 article in Architectural Digest (you must subscribe to read it online puppies), the house, dubbed Casa di Pace, was worked over by well known interior designer Jeff Andrews, whose website quotes Mister Seacrest as saying, "He understood the feeling of peace I wanted to capture in my home. The house now feels timeless due to his ability to clearly capture and execute MY vision." (Emphasis added by Your Mama.) So it would seem to Your Mama that what you are really looking at up there in the photos children, is Mister Seacrest's own interior design "vision" made manifest by a well paid shopper and fluffer.
Now children, quite frankly Your Mama does not care which way Mister Manicure swings and it is certainly none of our beeswax, but the man shops like Katie Holmes, primps like Miss America, works and colors his hair like nobody's bizness, guides his very accomplished decorator and still he wonders why the world thinks he might be friend of Dorothy? Puh-leeze!
And just what does Your Mama think of Mister Seacrest's House of Peace? Well, children, it's certainly decorated, isn't it? While it's all a little fussy for Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter, the interior spaces have a cozy and intimate feeling and a nicely considered and muted palette–except for that not very nice burgundy color in the entrance rotunda which we're not feeling very positive about. Truckloads of mammoth carved wood furniture have been paired with velvet this and leather thats in an effort to create that unique brand of interior decorating "masculinity" that can only be achieved with the deft hands of a professional (and most likely nice gay) decorator and the fat bank account of a sexually ambiguous single man. Yes children, it's lovely, comfortable and "masculine," but it's also about as butch as Mister Seacrest.
Now that Mister Seacrest has allowed the world into his home via Architectural Digest, Your Mama wonders if he's considering selling the place. It has been our experience that celebs and quasi celebs who allow the glossies and tabs into their home for extensive photo shoots often put their houses on the market shortly thereafter. We'll see. But until such time arrives that Mister Seacrest decides to move and and execute his decorating vision somewhere else, Your Mama wishes him heaps of pace in his casa.
Mister 50 Cent purchased the place in September of 2003 for $4,100,000 and claims to have put in millions more freshening up the interiors. However, Your Mama would like to point out that the shot full of holes singing sensation didn't even bother to buy new dining room chairs to replace the ones left by girly voiced boxer Mike Tyson. So just where did these millions go?
Mister 50 Cent, a man who reportedly earned $100,000,000 from a very savvy investment in Vitamin Water, originally put the property on the market for $18,500,000, an unrealistic and ego driven price tag if we've ever seen one. The house was advertised in all the glossy real estate magazines and was much discussed by all the real estate gossips. But alas...no one seemed eager to cough up that kind of cash to own their own motel sized mansion.
So Mister 50 Cent got creative and had the MTV come and do a special Cribs episode highlighting the house, a television event that quite frankly just highlighted the insane bluster and arrogance required to ask nearly $20,000,000 for an ass uglee house in a part of Connecticut not known for $20,000,000 houses. Now people of Farmington, Your Mama has nutthin' negative to say about your little neck of the woods, we're simply stating that your corner of the world isn't where one thinks of ridiculously rich tycoons shacking up.
Apparently no one stepped up after that piece of dramatic television history and now, thanks to our doom and gloom commenter Average Joe, Your Mama has learned that Mister 50 Cent has drastically reduced the asking price of the property that in addition to 19 bedrooms and 30+ terlits (19 full and 16 half, reportedly) includes six kitchens, a 3,500 square foot disco, a Gucci pool room, and a indoor shooting range, all features Your Mama would never recommend in a private home because they're stoopid.
Anyhoo, the update here is that the price of the home has dipped all the way down to $12,000,000, and it appears the house is now listed with an Atlanta, GA based company called Greenmark Investments who have laid out very specific rules and instructions for how to purchase Mister 50 Cent's Connecticut crib.
See if you can follow: According to Greenmark's website, in order to purchase Mister 50 Cent's property, a potential buyer must show proof of funds (this is not so unusual in this price range), all offers must be submitted in writing and signed by the buyers BEFORE VIEWING the property, 10% of the purchase price is to be escrowed with, now pay attention here kids because this is the good part, with 1% of the purchase price to be escrowed BEFORE VIEWING the property, and 30% of that deposit is non refundable. Yes puppies, you read that correctly, we said non-re-fund-a-bull.
Do the math kids, that means that it costs $40,000 just to VIEW Mister 50 Cents monstrous manse. That ought to separate the wheat from the looky-loos and curious cats.
Greenmark's website goes on to say that a buyer will have two weeks to perform due diligence and at the time of (sale) contract signing, the remainder of the down payment is due with no contingencies.
There ain't no messing around here. So listen puppies, if any of you out there with a few million to spare and an eye for funereal drapery, private lakes, indoor swimming pools and quirky ownership provenances, be sure to get with these folks from Greenmark. But just keep in mind they are not fooling around with any body's emaciated bank account or second thoughts about purchasing.
As they say in the bizness, there's a lid for every pot, and it only takes the right price to flush out the right buyer. Perhaps at $12,00,000, Mister 50 Cent can do that. What do you think?
Friday, December 28, 2007
The Newsday Gurls are reporting that the 2.1 acre (or 1.9 acre according to Newsday) Southampton estate of the late Patricia Kennedy Lawford finally sold for $9,800,000. Your Mama discussed the society maven's 10,467 square foot house on fancy First Neck Lane back in late April 2007 when it was on the market for $12,500,000. Your Mama does not have an iota who owns the limited liability company who plunked down nearly 10 million clams for the 10 bedroom and 12 bathroom house that Your Mama was told is a fixer, and if the Newsday gurls know who bought it, they certainly aren't telling Your Mama.
Former Guns and Roses gee-tarist Slash has finally unloaded a Hollywood Hills house that he bought during the reported dissolution of his marriage to a ladee named Perla. Mister Slash purchased the Wattles Drive house in December of 2005 for $6,250,000 and quickly put the 5 bedroom and 6 bathroom house back on the market for $6,995,000. The property sat and sat and sat until Mister Slash filed a million dollar lawsuit against his real estate agent whom he claims misrepresented particulars about the house including size and the number of cars that can be parked on the property or some such nonsense.
Anyhoo, the price was steadily dropped to $5,995,000 and according to Mister Big Time, the house was finally (FINALLY!) purchased for an undisclosed sum of money by Randy Wolf, a relief pitcher for the San Diego Padres. Whatever price the ball player paid, it's quite safe to assume Mister Slash lost hundreds of thousands of dollars on his real estate gamble on Wattles Drive.
Mister Big Time announced that Mister and Missus Slash also unloaded their long time Sherman Oaks home on Valley Vista Boulevard. Your Mama will have more for the children on that transaction later.
Thank whatever Jeezis you pray to that Eddie Murphy's ex-wife and baby momma Nicole Murphy has finally unloaded the Sacramento area estate she once shared with the filthy rich funny man who has more babies with more mommas than Your Mama can bother to count anymore. If you'll recall, the ex-Mrs. Murphy recently ran into a little trouble with the lender on the property, and while foreclosure proceedings did not commence, the bank was mad as a bee in a jar to get the $78,000 that was in arrears.
That little bother of matter must have been cleared up because thanks to B.S. Beaverman (via LuxuryRealEstate.com), Your Mama has learned that the mother of five sold the 11,158 square foot pile of vile to a Nevada real estate investor. The records Your Mama accessed reveal that the buyer is a man with the last name of Willis who paid $6,100,000 for 2.5 acre property that includes a 5,200 square foot guest house.
The house was purchased by the then married Murphys in 1998 for $3,825,000. Located in the exclusive gated community of Los Lagos in the unincorporated area called Granite Bay, the house features 10 bedrooms (including Shrek and French-village themed children's rooms which Your Mama is feels certain are just horrendous), 14 bathrooms, a 12 seat movie theater, 12 car garage, video arcade parlor, gym, swimming pool and a tennis court. LuxuryRealEstate.com reports that the sale included most of the furnishings including at least 20 televisions and $200,000 grand piano.
It was the always resourceful and on top of things Mister Big Time that first posted photos of the house, and children, they are worth seeing. But hunnies, grab a vomit bag before you click over because they are really something to behold.
If they put on their thinking caps, the children will recall that Your Mama first discussed the 9,882 square foot Ocean Boulevard property in early December when the ocean front property first hit the market. Property records reveal that the chisel chested cantante scooped up the 5 bedroom and 7 bathroom Mediterranean style house in April of 2007 for $16,250,000, and according to a source who claims to have been up in his casa, the estate is undergoing "mild renovations." These tweaks and fixes clearly include having a nice gay decorator get up in there to stage the place with clean lined moe-derne furniture that includes a creamy colored velvet sofa, a trio of shiny silk pillows, a cute little Saarinan side table and some West Elm-ish chairs in the kitchen with its lovely brick barrel vaulted ceiling.
Obviously there is no "life" in this staged decor, but as far as staging goes, it's far and above what Your Mama sees much of the time. At least there isn't a damn chenille lap blanket tossed across an ottoman, or even worse, a tawdry little tableau on the coffee table of an open book and reading glasses that make a house look post-apocalyptic and deeply sad to Your Mama. Clearly this is not the upsetting handiwork of Staging Girl in a Toyota–no offense gurl, and congrats on your new pink Toyota, but this is all a bit more restrained than your work.
Now puppies, if any of you screaming teenage gurls or horny homosexuals think you are going to parade up and down the soft sands of Golden Beach thinking you might catch a glimpse of Mister Martin's bikini clad bubble booty frolicking by the ocean side swimming pool, yer wrong. And yer stoopid too. Not only would that make you creepy, no one, and Your Mama means no-bodee-at-all, actually thinks Mister Martin shacks up in this house. It appears that the savvy real estate investor simply plans to flip the property and pocket a few million bucks for his troubles.
As for his whereabouts, well children, Your Mama has not heard from Mister Martin in a stone age and we can only assume he's camped out in one of his many other residences which include a Miami Beach mansion on N. Bay Road, a sophisticated pied a terre at the super chic 40 Bond in Manhattan, and a big house in Dorado in his native Puerto Rico.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
1. Ms. O'Connell - tell us something about your background - where you were born, where you grew up, where you went to school?
2. How did you get started in the design business?
To make my Bank Manager happy! - I was always short of money. I showed a certain talent doing up my houses and people used to say: you should do this professionally and get paid! I've always been very disciplined, blessed with extraordinary energy and loved, loved dearly what became my profession! Designing houses is not puffing up cushions!! You have to visualize finished rooms, be patient with workers and clients and keep in mind that you are a service, not a star. Humility and a sense of humor have helped a lot along these years!! I looked at houses, palaces, cathedrals, farms all my life, wherever I've been visiting. Places have inspired me and traveling has helped a lot.
3. Who are those in the business that inspired you early in your career?Pauline Rothschild, the American wife of Philip Rothschild, had the best taste I can remember. All the grand houses in England and Ireland with fabulous furniture, never pompous and then the Far East: China with the purity of the Ming style, the beginning of minimalism. Always Bali, from the magic of the island 30 years ago with the perfection of their bamboo houses to the sophistication and today's grandeur of the Aman Resorts: the huge hall of the Amanusa with scented baskets of tuberose flowers and the impeccable, exquisite style of the Amankila, the best hotel on a beach I have ever seen.
4. Tell us about your company Port of Call! What gave you the idea to import oriental furniture? What were the obstacles, what were the successes?I lived and worked in Hong Kong in the '90s for 2 years and, when I came back to London, I started Port of Call. (note: the company Port of Call was started in 1975, the gallery opened in 1994) That was the beginning. The shop was pretty, different and people liked it. I did not realize I was starting a serious trend!! Port of Call has been a very successful shop and a very successful company, sophisticated, yet simple and the eclectic mixture of furniture did and does work very well! There have been no obstacles, just a lot of people copying, taking and making my ideas more commercial along these years. I sold Port of Call gallery and company in 2006. I go on working as a Design Consultant and I am very busy.
5. You have such a wonderful and defined design sensibility. Your choices of fabrics, your use of antiques and iron furniture, the oriental accents --- did you always favor interiors with these elements?
I always loved fabrics, textures and red color. There are a hundred shades of white and a hundred shades of red to choose from if you want to be difficult. Gray and black are divine only when their quality is perfect. I love velvet silks and Fortuny fabrics from Venice, French silks from Lyon, marvelous embroidered Ottoman textiles, Irish linen. I am, sometimes, extravagant in the lining. I want the inside as chic and precious as the cover. That is why I use the striped cottons a lot. I never, never use lining as such. Iron furniture taste comes from my childhood in the Italian countryside. We always slept in fabulous iron beds. I love them, you can dress them up or leave just the frames. They are chic to die for!!
6. What do you think of the younger generation turning to mid century modern design and retro?
A lot of people are turning to mid century design, but it is not my idea of simple luxury!! There is an incredible freedom of choices in today's design.
7. After great success in Europe and England, do you care about conquering America too?
I always loved U.S.A.! How can you not be overwhelmed by the mineral beauty of New York, by the real perfect deco of South Beach in Miami?, by the chic of your flag?! I loved New Orleans as it was. Your south is divine and you all marvelous people! Of course I would love to work in America!
8. And lastly, what do you see in the future for you and your interior design business?
To be a Consultant to some super projects bringing new ideas and a different soul wherever is requested.
"The World According To Mimmi"
- Fireplaces wherever possible with logs in large country baskets.
- Pure and dramatic benches in precious woods from Northern China to sit on.
- Candles, candles, candles at night mysterious and sensuous lighting!
- Oversized tables somewhere full of books or clean, as sculptures.
- I like bedrooms, with impeccably crisp white linen. Lots of pillows piled up and no bedspreads. They can look sober and innocent! I will always fit double beds in small guest bedrooms. They are comfortable, even when there is little space left for anything else.
- I like wonderful, simple curtains with tape borders, bias borders, unlined or the most extravagant, rich, voluptuous layers, always spectacular! I like them flirting with light and shadows. Curtains have become a signature in a lot of places I have decorated.
- Books in large oversized bookshelves along walls.
- Kitchens that are kitchens, not metallic displays, where it is wonderful to cook and eat casually. Meals should always be a sensuous and fun occasion to gather friends sharing the pleasure of food.
- Outdoor furniture used indoors: folding old garden chairs that make serious furniture looking bearable and less pompous. Wonderful Javanese teak tables and chairs. They all look good indoors.
- Flowers: only one colour and really tight together: all red, all purple, all white, all yellow!
- Fabrics: from crisp linen and cottons to the most extravagant silks from Claremont in London. I buy textiles wherever I travel: batiks in Java, old silks in Bangkok, silk velvets in Venice and in Como, old precious textiles at London specialised fairs. The romance with fabrics and textures has been a long faithful affair throughout my life!
Upholstered twin beds in Italy. Chairs serve as night tables to hold piles of books that Mimmi loves.
The villa in Tuscany with its comfortable and inviting living room filled Mimmi's favorite books, and a basket filled with wood awaiting a fire.
A departure from the iron bed: bamboo. Black and white ticking.
Orange and black guest room in Italy. Mimmi's candles are an important element to her.
The great hall filled with tuberoses at the Bali Hotel: Amanusa. One of Mimmi's favorites.
Mimmi's favorite beach resort: In Bali, the Amankila
Entrance to the bedroom suites at the Amankila.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
SELLER: Peter and Tara Guber
LOCATION: Papa'a Road, Anahola, Kauai, HI
SIZE: 171 acres, 15,000 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms (main house)
DESCRIPTION: ...Enter your gated compound and lazily drive down a country road to your spacious 15,000 square foot classic Hawaiian style main home with two 4,000 square foot guest bungalows all of which have been tastefully furnished by the famous California designer Waldo Fernandez. The main home has 6 bedrooms and 8.5 bathroom with his and her private living rooms. Exceptional wood finishes, a professional kitchen, and generous ocean view lanais allow for easy island living. A swimming pool, beach cabana, yoga studio, a 3 bedroom caretakers home, horse stables, numerous fenced corrals, super large workshop and barns add to this perfect estate...
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: When Christmas comes, heaps and scores of rich and famous folks head for the islands, and according to one Hawaii bound source we'll all The Wicked Wahine, many pack their teeny bikinis and bee line for the island of Kauai where they shack up in fabulous estates and resorts around Kilauea on the rugged northeastern coast. Before she jetted off to her own ocean front rental, The Wicked Wahine whispered to Your Mama that this year the island locals can expect to wait hand and foot on such Hollywood luminaries as Ben and Christine Stiller, prolific novelist and television writer Michael Crichton, former Bond stud Pierce and wifey Kelly Brosnan, the Beastie Boys, and Sex and The City's "milk it for all she can" Sarah Jessica Parker, her Broadway baby huzband Matthew Broderick and their boy child.
And of course, the entire island of Kauai knows to expect fabulously rich producer Peter Guber and his yoga nut wifey Tara, who have spent the last several years trying to unload their massive Papa'a Bay Road estate called Tara Plantation for a blistering $46,500,000.
Mister and Missus Guber bought the 171 acre spread in 1998 for a reported $7,200,000 and proceeded to build their own version of a Hawaiian heaven that overlooks Papa'a Bay. The vast estate includes everything a media mogul might want or need for a few weeks winter getaway, including a monstrous 15,000 square foot plantation style main house with wide verandas and boatloads of bamboo furniture and flower printed fabrics. Although the main house provides 6 bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms (including dual master baths and, strangely, his and her private living rooms in the master suite), two 4,000 square foot guest houses ensure the Gubers are not peeved by pesky holiday house guests who might fornicate and/or snore loudly in the guest bedrooms of the main house.
Anyone who is familiar with or has bothered to read anything about the Gubers know they were doing the downward facing dog and the warrior pose long before Yoga became ridiculously trendy with the Hollywood set. Missus Guber is such a devotee that she has developed her own somewhat sensual practice called Contact Yoga, where couples contort and pretzel each other into upsetting and uncomfortable looking shapes and poses. So naturally, Tara Plantation features a Yoga House where the Gubers and their guests can get centered and get in touch with their chakras before dressing up in their grass skirts and downing a few pitchers of mai-tais.
The Guber's getaway also features riding stables for the horsey house guests, a tennis court for the sporteef minded moochers, a long stretch of gorgeous sandy beach for those few in LaLa land who tan the old fashioned way, and naturally, a swimming pool is provided for all those fraidy-cat weekend whiners who won't swim in the bathtub warm waters of Papa'a Bay.
The Gubers have been trying to unload their impressive piece of Polynesian paradise for years, and Your Mama is hardly the first to discuss their lush and dee-luxe property. Not only was the high priced hideaway once (but no longer) near the top the list of the world's most expensive homes, much ink has been laid down over the long and bitter battle waged between the meditating magnates and local surfers and activists who were all kinds of pissed when the Gubers blocked an access road to the beach that ran across their property.
Oh lawhd have mercy children, the Hawaiian locals do NOT take kindly to some rich Hollywood haole cutting off their access to the waves. Oh no. As The Wicked Wahine explains it, "The local surfing rights never get fucked with," and in true American style, lawsuits were filed, much bitching and moaning ensued, and it all ended in Federal Court. Recent reports indicate that the Gubers won the war when the judge ruled the Gubers do indeed have clear title to the land, including the disputed roadway. Which of course means they're free and legal to prevent surfboard toting beach goers from trekking across their back lawn to get to the beach. Luckily for the locals, there is another access point to that particular beach, however it reportedly involves a potentially dangerous climb over slippery rocks.
Anyhoo, now that the lawsuits have been put to bed, perhaps a fabulously rich tycoon with a thing for swaying palm trees and extreme privacy will now feel free to scoop the place up for it's $46,500,000 asking price. As an added bonus to security conscious millionaires, Your Mama hears through the gossip grapevine that that the whole place is wired up like Fort Knox and that a super security system allows Mister Guber to know when a terlit flushes in Kauai while ensconced in the couples sprawling home base in Los Angeles, which sits privately and perfectly up behind the exclusive Hotel Bel Air.
So that the children get a full spectrum idea of the Guber's vast real estate wealth, in 2004 the Gubers divested themselves of another mammoth weekend ranch located just 10 minutes outside Aspen, the searingly expensive winter celebrity haven where gals like Mariah and Goldie strut the streets in full length fur coats and the airport is forever clogged with the shiny Gulfstream 550s of tycoons and honchos of all stripes. The karmic couple took in a reported $46,000,000 when they sold their 650 acre Mandalay Ranch, which included a 15,000 square foot main house with 7 bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms, a screening room and an indoor gym and basketball court.
Your Mama is breathless thinking of the vast amount of money required to maintain a home of this scale and magnitude in Hawaii. Certainly it costs more each year to keep this place afloat than most of the well earning children make in a year. So y'all just think about that while Your Mama hooks ourself up to the oxygen tank, takes some nerve medication, and breathes.
LOCATION: N. Wetherly Drive, Los Angles, CA
SIZE: 4,340 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Dramatic double gated circular driveway Mediterranean on lush estate-sized lot. The former James Cagney residence has been restored to its original splendor. Period details combined with updated fixtures and finishes make this a true trophy property. Resort-style pool and spa. Detached bonus space as office, garage, gym.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Thanks to a friendly and well connected tipster we'll call Junebug, Your Mama has learned that even before Miz Amanda Peet and her screenwriter huzband David Benioff sold their Angelo View Drive house high above Holmby Hills, they purchased the former James Cagney estate above Sunset Boulevard on N. Wetherly drive that happens to sit die-reckly across the street from the house that child actor turned race car drive turned Hollywood "thug" Frankie Muniz has on the market for nearly four million clams.
The fall of 2006 was surely a bizzy and stressful time for Columbia educated Miz Peet and Mister Benioff who learned they were preggers, unwed (but affianced), and living up in a 2 bedroom house that would not easily accommodate a nanny, not to mention the in-laws in town to visit the unexpected bundle of joy. So lickety-split-like they got hitched at the end of September and then bought a 4 bedroom 4.5 bathroom family friendly house at the end of November for which property records reveal they paid an impressive $4,625,046.
Before any of you lefty liberals jump down Your Mama's throat about our perceived moralizing about the couple getting baby before getting married, back off. We got not issue with that sort of thing. People do what they do and frankly, we don't give a rat's ass if they had 12 damn children and remained unmarried just as long as they took the necessary steps to protect the children's health and well-being.
Anyhoo, the Mediterranean style house sits privately and securely behind gates on N. Wetherly Drive and once belonged to vaunted and Academy Award winning actor James Cagney. In addition to the living and dining room, kitchen with breakfast area and pantry, den, family room, and library/study, listing information for the property indicates that a detached building at the back of the property houses a garage and space for an office and/or gym.
Overhead views of the house indicate that solar panels have been affixed to the roof, which impresses Your Mama greatly. With all the sunshine and money in Los Angeles we are perpetually flummoxed by how few people actually install these sorts of energy friendly apparatuses. We well understand that someone who can pay upwards of $4,500,000 for a home can certainly afford high heating and air conditioning bills without worry. However, it's really not about affordability, but rather what makes sense over the long haul. Yes children, Your Mama wants to know, why aren't the rich and famous in Los Angeles leading the charge towards kitting ones house with alternative forms of energy generation? They all bought Prius hybrid cars to park next to their SUVs, so why not solar power?
Please keep in mind that the uninspired interiors in the photos do not belong to the Peet/Benioffs, but rather the previous owner, who records indicate was writer and poker fanatic Andy Bellin (Poker Nation). So we'll not bother to heave over that obscene coffee table in the living room assuming that it was hauled off to the dumpster long before Miz Peet and Mister Benioff moved in.
Although we haven't got any use for those disturbing faux "Mediterranean" style tract houses built all over Orange County, all the children surely know by know that Your Mama is partial to a well done old-school Mediterranean manse and this one seem to fit the bill with its tiled roof, second floor balconies and decorative iron work. Not unlike the Peet/Benioffs previous contemporary home, this place is not quite right, but with a few tweaks, twists and clever landscaping, Your Mama imagines this property could be a real stunner. We also like to think Miz Peet hired herself a nice gay decorator to go in there and slice and dice the interiors as well as successfully merge the vintage architectural details with the contemporary interiors we saw in their Angelo View Drive home.
The long narrow backyard is bordered by tall trees for privacy and terminates in a deelishus swimming pool/spa combination that sits far enough from the main house to inspire images of scantily clad pool boys delivering drinks and nibbles to nekkid sunbathers. It is also perfectly placed away from the house for installing one of those child safety fences that folks with young kiddies are so fond. We just hope and pray that Miz Peet will not allow one of those horrendous and deeply disturbing removable pool fences that just make Your Mama dee-pressed and angry.
Now then, Your Mama wishes Miz Peet and Mister Benioff a happy home and a Happy New Year in their not so new home.
LOCATION: Angelo View Drive, Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $2,300,000 (sale)
SIZE: 2,432 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Enter through the front doors to find a sunken living room with a stone fire place, walls of glass and head-on downtown city views. This prime cul-de-sac location offers the perfect one story modern with a pool overlooking oak trees. Chef's kitchen with all top of the line appliances, a full bar area that services the living room and cozy den. Large master suite with great walk in closet.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Since the real estate bizness often slows down to a trickle, and even grinds to a halt for many over the December holidays, Your Mama plans to pepper our discussions over the next week or two with some older celebrity real estate deals, including this Double Whammy for ack-triss Amanda Peet and her screenwriter huzband David Benioff that went down back in February of 2007.
Now listen folks, Your Mama does not want all you super successful brokers writing, calling and commenting that it's a fallacy that that bizness slows down at the end of December because you sealed a $10,000,000 deal over egg nog on Christmas damn Eve. We know all about holiday deals. However, most folks are not eager to sign on the real estate dotted line while their attorney is in Snowmass and their banker is in Switzerland shushing down a foreign slope.
So the average brokers, those who do not typically write offers or negotiate deals the last few weeks of December, simply drink themselves silly over the holidays and wait for the New Year to begin when people once again become serious about buying, selling and making deals. Besides, let's be honest, who wants to look at a house with an elaborate creche on the front lawn and all that moronic Christmas tchachke covering every flat surface?
Anyhoo, let's get back to the Angelo View Drive house way up in the Bev Hills Post Office that Miz Peet and Mister Benioff recently traded in for a bigger, better and more family friendly house in the Hollywood Hills.
Property records reveal that Mister Benioff purchased the 2,432 square foot, 2 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom house in May of 1999 for $850,000. Your Mama wondered where young Mister Benioff might have had the financial wherewithal to purchase a home in this price range when he was just in his late twenties and did not yet have any credits in the film and/or television industry. Well, a little research on the IMDB tells us that Mister Benioff (birth name Friedman) has a very rich father who happens to be pals with our dear leader President Bush. Now, Your Mama does not know shit about whether Mister Benioff's father had anything to do with this purchase, we're just saying it don't hurt to have a daddy with a fat bank account, does it? Since buying this house, Mister Benioff has gone on to a respectable and well paying career writing movies including 25th Hour, Troy, and the soon to be released The Kite Runner, a gripping and soo-blimely written book Your Mama only hopes Mister Benioff did justice.
Your Mama has to confess to a little something about this Peet gurl. We know she's a pretty and bonified celebrity and she owns a resume a mile long with scads of film and television credits. But seriously kids, Your Mama could not pick her out of a crowd if our next gin and tonic depended on it. We certainly don't mean any disrespect to Miz Peet, we really don't. But hunny, we just cain't put a face to your name without googling you first.
We digress. The single story contemporary house with it's sunken living room and kidney shaped swimming pool please Your Mama quite a bit. Yes children, we recognize that the interiors would have benefited greatly from the deft and savvy hand of a nice gay decorator, and like many of you, Your Mama thinks a mammoth and nicely worn Oriental rug with a complicated pattern and a red and black color base would look smart in the living room. We're also furrow browed over that pair of faux-looking Wassily chairs in the living room. None the less, there's nothing particularly offensive about what we're looking at...it just needs some editing and punching up.
Onto the exterior where Your Mama is fine with the somewhat brutal 1980s-ish rectilinear modern rear elevations. We're calm if not thrilled with the with the dark window frames and we can tolerate the smooth grey concrete surrounding the pool as long as it's kept in impeccable condition. We are however, somewhat unnerved by the front facade which not only looks like a crappy house in Palm Springs, but the inexcusably banal landscaping surely has the neighbors in a snit. We're also puzzled and somewhat upset by those louver things that have been affixed to the front of the house. Are these for texture? Do they provide a kind of privacy screening for windows behind them? Whatever the case, we're certain a good architect (and probably a nice gay decorator worth his Prada shooz) could come up with a better solution if given two minutes and ten dollars.
But don't let our sass and snark fool you. Your Mama actually likes this house, we just thinks it needs some tightening of the screws to bring out it's full potential as a living space.
The former Peet/Benioff house may only be in the Bev Hills post office children, but it's at least in good real estate company sitting just a few doors down from one of the many mansions owned by media magnate Rupert Murdoch, around the corner from wacky Jim Goldstein's shockingly futuristic Lautner designed tour de force, and is also spitting distance from the Davies Drive house perky nippled and ladee loving Ricky Martin sold in May of 2006 for $15,000,000. Yes children, as an aside, Your Mama has recently heard from several well connected sources who have been all up in Ricky's bizness, and they swear on their mamas that metrosexual Mister Martin is indeed a boob man. We're sure some of you have something to say about that.
But we digress yet again. Interestingly, the Angelo View Drive house appears to have been flipped by the folks who purchased the house from the Benioff/Peets in March of 2007 for $2,300,000. Records on file with the county show another sale in May of 2007 for $2,660,026. Not sure if that's because of buyer's remorse or if some real estate devil simply made a quick six figure return on their investment. Hmm. Anyone? What Your Mama really wants to know is what kind of fool pays $360,000 more for a house that sold previously just two month earlier? Honestly.
Next up, Your Mama performs a double whammy with information and photos of the Hollywood Hills house where Miz Peet and Mister Benioff have recently set up house with their new baby.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Your Mama has parties to attend, presents to open from the always generous Dr. Cooter, gifts to wrap for our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly, a mean ol' pussy cat named Sugar to make nice-nice with, and friends and family to feel all warm and fuzzy about.
Now get off the damn computer and go be with your people and leave Your Mama alone for a day or two while we get our holiday on without you people fussing and fighting like dimwitted and boozed up buffoons in a tawdry little roadside bar trying to woo the big boobed lezbeeun barmaid.
Photo: Casa Sugar
Sunday, December 23, 2007
In addition to their spread at the Waldorf Astoria in New York and their Bel Air estate which sits catty-corner to Nic Cage's ivy covered behemoth on Copa de Oro Road, Rick and Kathy Hilton also own a Hamptons hideaway which property records reveal they bought in 1999 for $2,385,000. The house features 7 bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms, a swimming pool, high hedges, and sits just a quick dash on a Schwinn from the famously gay beach at the bottom of Fowlers Lane.
Located on Fordune Drive in Water Mill (adjacent to Southampton), the Hilton estate occupies 2.7 acres in the gated enclave of Fordune, on land that was once part of the 235-acre Henry Ford II estate. The Ford estate, called Fordune, natch, was subdivided into approx. 40 estate sized parcels by an Italian businessman who purchased the entire estate from Ford's ex-wife Anne in 1975 for the bargain basement price of $1,800,000.
Everyone who has ever been to the Hamptons or reads anything about Hamptons real estate knows that the Hilton family often leases their shingled house, and last year they reportedly pocketed approximately $350,000 for the summer season, which by Your Mama's fuzzy math would cover the year's expenses and leave just a wee bit extra left over for a new suit for the Mister Hilton to wear when he's showing all those pricey mansions in Los Angeles.
However, what the Vanity Fair article so scandalously reveals is not that the Hiltons do indeed lease their house, plenty of rich and famous do that in the Hamptons, it's that according to an insider who has been INSIDE the Hilton's Hamptons house, it's filthy. Fil-thee!
Apparently, last summer's renters were mortified to find the house in shabby condition and Vanity Fair's wealthy New York based source hisses, "This house was left exactly the way it was when the renters saw it in November. Everything in it is moldy and filthy. Most of the screens on the windows are broken. Their dogs are obviously not house-trained. But they don't see it. These are people whose daughter has sex on tape, and they think that's fine."
The catty source goes on to claim that according to a mutual friend the tenant was so irate that he (or she) shouted, "Do I have to give you another $300,000 to get screens on the windows?"
Can y'all hear Your Mama and all the inhabitants of the Hamptons gasping and clutching our scandalized hearts? Oh dear Jeezis, Your Mama is sure the Hiltons are pissed. PISSED!
Your Mama is not aware of the Hilton house being available to lease for the 2008 summer season, but we imagine (and hope) that if they do decide to put tenants in there from Memorial Day to Labor Day they'll get those screens fixed and have the carpets steam cleaned.
LOCATION: Middle Lane, East Hampton, NY
PRICE: $275,000 (summer season 2008)
SIZE: 2.2 acres, 7,000 square feet (approx.), 7 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: English Tudor style home. Magnificent gardens and grounds on 2 plus acres. Short stroll to the ocean and village. 7 bedrooms, 6.5 baths, solarium, library, gourmet kitchen. Heated pool, pool house, 2.5 car garage. Very private.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: According to the gossip gurls at Newsday, the pretty but infamous Ted and Generosa Ammon house smack in the middle of one of the swankier sections of East Hampton, NY has already been leased for the 2008 summer season. The well to do Memorial Day to Labor Day tenants are reported to have coughed up $275,000 for the Middle Lane seasonal rental/crime scene.
Anyone who lives within two hundred miles of East Hampton, reads glossy gossip magazines like Vanity Fair, or watches tawdry made for T.V. movies already knows that the 7,000 square foot English Tudor style house is where millionaire financier Ted Ammon was brutally bludgeoned to death in October of 2001.
However, that's not even the scandalous part of the story. Oh no, children. Back in October 2001 when Mister Ammon turned up dead, the Mister and Missus Ammon were engaged in a ballistic and bitter dee-vorce battle. Shockingly, just three months after the murder and before the Mister was even cold in the ground, the widowed wifey married her electrician boyfriend Daniel Pelosi. Naturally, both Generosa and Daniel were "persons of interest" in the murder investigation. However, it was only after Generosa keeled over from breast cancer in 2003 that Mister Pelosi was convicted of the crime. Now, instead of being kept in the lap of luxury by his vastly wealthy wife, Mister Pelosi is living up in some penitentiary as the "wife" of some 250 pound gorilla who calls him Sally or some other ladee name. Karma is a bitch children. Remember that next time you're feeling like slicing and dicing your rich spouse.
Property records reveal that back when Mister and Missus Ammon were happily wedded, they purchased the 7 bedroom and 6.5 bathroom house in August of 1992 for $1,075,000. The couple adopted a couple of Russian twins who we presume noisily scampered around the 2.2 acre estate and happily frolicked in the heated pool that sits on the other side of a man-made lagoon from the house. That is until mommy got greedy and figured the best way to work out the financial details of the dee-vorce was simply to have her blue collar beau-hunk ice the huzband while his will still granted her his entire fortune.
After a lengthy and acrimonious custody battle, the Ammon children were eventually awarded to Mister Ammon's sister and reportedly live in Alabama. But surprisingly, they continue to own the East Hampton estate which, according the Newsday gurls, still contains "much of the art and collectibles that Generosa Ammon held near and dear." Which, quite frankly, seems a mite bit creepy to Your Mama.
All due respect and compassion for the plight of the Ammon twins, but Your Mama would never spend $275,000 to lease a Hamptons house that is filled with a murderous woman's belongings. Nor could we even consider spending more than a quarter million clams to look at those blinding copper panels and that shameful beige recliner in the solarium all damn summer.
Your Mama recommends that whoever it is that has plunked down $275,000 for the 2008 summer season bring a heap of sage to burn and a few pounds of garlic to ward of the bad juju that might still be lingering in the house. Otherwise enjoy that lovely little pool house and remember to pretend to not see Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld on the beach next summer because the last thing those two want is some yay-hoo renter shouting at them as they try to quietly sun themselves on the beach behind their $50,000,000 estate.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Now Orlando, dolly, let's discuss that monolithic privacy fence. Your Mama understands you gotta do what you gotta do to maintain a sense of personal space so you can parade around nekkid the way you like to do. But seriously hunny, the damn thing looks like a prison and it's unclear whether your aim is to keep the world out or you in. Hopefully a little clever landscaping will be able to soften this unpleasant and aggressive fence.
And what's with the chain link fencing standing in front of the tall black fence? Quite frankly Mister Bloom, all due respect, but it is tacky and hostile to your neighbors for a man of your means to stretch cheap chain link fencing across the public side of your property. Besides, that shit just gives the place a not very elegant "Billy John Joe Curly Junior marries his second cousin in a shotgun wedding" sort of vibe. So you have to know that Your Mama desperately hopes you remove that abomination, if only so that your neighbors won't think you rude and insensitive to their aesthetic needs.
Source: Pacific Coast News (photos)
Friday, December 21, 2007
LOCATION: Via de la Paz, Pacific Palisades, CA
PRICE: $4,699,000 (list)
SIZE: 5,250 square feet (approx.), 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: East Hamptons style, artfully designed 3-story new constructions, 5,000+ sf, 5 bd/5.5 ba, great room w/ soaring 16 foot ceiling, chef's kitchen w/ Viking appls. LR w/ coffered ceiling. FDR, master suite w/ custom brkfst bar, bath w/ steam shower. 4 bedrm suites upstairs, 5th suite down w/ pvt entrance. 3rd story media room. Restoration glass skylight illuminates 2nd floor picture gallery. Backyrd w/ Italian wd burning pizza oven.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Back in the late 1980s and well into the 1990s, Mister John Goodman played the lovable and HUGE daddy on the sitcom juggernaut that was Roseanne. Then the show went to shit (sorry Roseanne hunny, but it did, and you know it), Roseanne the TV character won the lottery, became a spoiled bitch and then poof! Dan Conner was booted from that shitty little house in Lanford and the Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor was out on the street hustling for gigs.
In the subsequent years, Mister Goodman parlayed his tremendous fame into a very bizzy career with a dizzying list of television and film credits. Like so many actors looking to make heaps of money without actually appearing in front of the camera, he's recently voiced characters in big budget cartoon flicks like Cars, Monsters, Inc., Bee Movie and the upcoming Bunyan and Babe.
In September/October of 2007, the famously fat funnyman did a somewhat secret stint at Promises, the very same uber luxe rehab resort in Malee-boo where rich and famous galore flock to be treated for addiction issues. Promises lays claims to many celebrity successes, but it is also the very same fancy facility Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan unsuccessfully attempted to get sober. Your Mama sincerely hopes that Mister Goodman's sobriety sticks better than it did for either of these two fading stars.
Anyhoo, Your Mama hears from a very reliable source that Mister Goodman has recently purchased a new and newly built home in Pacific Palisades that was listed for $4,699,000. We've not yet been able to ascertain a purchase price for the home, but we're quite certain that our good buddy Mister Big Time will be able to ferret that number out before too long. Located just spitting distance from the Gelson's Supermarket, where all the fruit is so shiny sunglasses are required while shopping, listing information for the quasi East Coast style house indicates Goodman's new digs measure approx. 5,250 square feet and includes 5 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms. The master bedroom includes a "custom brkfst bar," a slightly unusual but handy feature for those mornings when you simply can't face Svetlana the house cleaner, the hard ass Swedish nanny, or your own children before you've had a big cup of java to fortify your nerves.
Additionally, there is a media room tucked up under the eaves on the 3rd floor which sounds interesting, but seriously we hope there's a kitchenette up there because who wants to be humping and climbing up and down all those damn stairs in search of more ginger ale, Bourbon and popcorn in the middle of that wonderful television freak show that is The Housewives of Orange County?
We are a mite surprised that the builder of the property did not squeeze an itty bitty swimming pool into the smallish back yard, because if Your Mama has said it once, we've said it a thousand times, we would not dream of forking over in excess of $4,000,000 for a house that did not have a heated cee-ment pond. We know some of you are not "pool people," and good for you. But, frankly, for that kind of money Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter not only want a pool, but a good looking and barely dressed pool boy to live in the basement included in the purchase.
Clearly the house has been staged to within an inch of it's life, but as staging goes, this isn't the worst sort of fake decor offenses. Rather than look like a Home Despot interior design showroom the decors screams "Restoration Hardware couture," a description our pal Kenny Kissentell so cleverly coined.
Back in the 1990s, Mister Goodman lived in the Louise Avenue house in Encino that now belongs to troubled, dee-vorcing, and "He's Big in Germany" actor/singer/boozing beast David Hasselhoff. Although some reports say Mister Goodman later owned a house on the 600 block of Amalfi Drive in Pacific Palisades, but Your Mama suspects that is actually a different John Goodman because some of the particulars of the personal information in the records simply don't match up with personal information for our ack-tor subject.
However, what we have ascertained is that at some point Mister Goodman actually moved to New Orleans and purchased a 4,900 square house on Coliseum Street in the Garden District from Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, whose recent real estate doings Your Mama discussed yesterday. Property records reveal that Mister Goodman paid $1,800,000 for the 4 bedroom and 3.5 bathroom house that features a swimming pool and a two car garage.
Your Mama hasn't a clue whether Mister Goodman is relocating back to Los Angeles or if he's simply securing an outpost for when he's in town for professional obligations. Whatever the case Your Mama wishes Mister Goodman a happy home and a lifetime of sobriety.