Friday, August 31, 2007

The $165,000,000 Mega-Estate of Leonard Ross (Part Two)

Yesterday Your Mama featured a few snaps of the exterior and grounds, and today we present to all the hungry children photographs of a couple of the public rooms at "Beverly House," the Bev Hills mega-estate that attorney/financier Leonard Ross has on the market for a spine tingling and astronomical sum of $165,000,000.

Strangely, Your Mama has never been invited to the mega-estate by the lovely Mister Ross, so we can't be entirely certain of anything we're talking about here. As such, please be aware that Your Mama may in fact be completely wrong in our assessment and depiction of the various rooms and their intended uses.

At the top left we see what appears to be an extension of the entrance hall. Probably this is called "The Gallery" because it's not unusual for extraordinarily rich people to call wide hallways "galleries." Hallways are for poor people.

On the upper right we see a room whose sole purpose appears to be for drinking liquor. The entire room is comprised of a large, fully stocked bar so that one can dash over from the screening room next door to have Isaac refresh your gin and tonic without hardly missing a line from the film. While we think this room looks a mess, Your Mama appreciates the effort Mister Ross makes as a host to never let his guests' highball be empty.

Your Mama is not quite sure how we feel about a room that architecturally feels more like a train station than a private home, but if we're being honest, and we always are, Your Mama will tell the children that we rather like the room in the lower two photos, which we are quite certain is the screening room (notice the projection equipment poking through the holes on the back wall?). The soaring ceiling and elegant scale of the room give it a real sense of grandeur that has run smack into eclectic and cozy with the nutty red velvet sofa and the tufted chaise lounges, which we think are magnificent. However, we're not so inclined to say nice things about that cockamamie artwork. And the wallpaper? Horrific.

Tomorrow we will have additional snaps for the kid of a few more of the public rooms. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Kimora Lee Simmons

A little birdie tells Your Mama that the N. Doheny Drive house that Kimora Lee Simmons had on the market has been SOLD. Miz Kimora was given the house in the the big dee-vorce decree from Russell Simmons, and like all good dee-vorcées she quickly put the place on the market for $5,800,000.

All the real estate gossips went wild. But alas...almost immediately after being placed on the MLS, the listing was removed, leading to some speculation about the status of the house.

However, Your Mama has come to understand from one of our little snitches that the house closed last week for $5,665,000.

Which makes sense, because Miz Simmons has already bought a new house for her and the Simmon's heirs that happens to be right next door to Jessica Simpson and her faltering career.

Steven Weber Flips Out in Malibu

SELLER: Steven Weber
LOCATION: Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA
PRICE: $3,820,000 (sale price)
SIZE: 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms (total)
DESCRIPTION: Enjoy incredible white water views from this newly renovated hideaway. Located on a private gated street, this property is perfect for a celebrity, it's like living in a small boutique hotel. The compound includes a beautiful garden plus geo and plans for a pool and is just a short walk from one of Malibu's most private and beautiful beaches. Soon to appear in a National interior design magazine. Detached guest house could be used as writer's room or converted in a a private music studio.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama is going give Mister Big Time an assist on this one. Yesterday the man with an uncanny ability to dig up deeds and documents discussed the Malee-boo property that actor Steven Weber recently sold for $3,820,000. However, Your Mama is able to offer a couple of additional insights about and photographs of the property.

Located in a gated enclave off busy Pacific Coast Highway, the house occupies .42 of an acre overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean. Mister Weber, who is perhaps best known for his role as the goofy brother on the long cancelled Wings television program, purchased this house in April of 2006 for $2,849,000. Perhaps the gentleman purchased the property with some of his earnings from his recent stint on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, a program Your Mama has never bothered to view.

After purchasing the property, Mister Weber and the wifey, who live in a big house in Brentwood that measures 5,200 square feet with 6 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms, embarked on a renovation of the entire property, which Your Mama thinks is quite fetching.

Property records indicate the house measures 1,400 square feet, which is indeed the number that Mister Big Time reported. But what that number does not include is the square footage in the two separate outbuildings that comprise the entire property. So really, this isn't just a 1,400 square foot house with three bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. It is indeed a compound with a smallish main house and two separate guest units, each with their own bath and one which includes a small kitchen area as well.

Your Mama also happens to know that the house was indeed on the open market with an asking price of $3,850,000. How do we know? Because Your Mama has a digital copy of the listing information which we saved back in mid-May. Unfortunately, we inadvertently misplaced the listing information in our vault and forgot about it until Mister Big Time discussed the sale of the property yesterday afternoon at which point we went sifting through the mounds and piles of information we have on celebrity real estate until we found the proverbial pot of gold which included listing information and a cache of photographs.

Your Mama happens to like this property quite a bit. The architecture of the house and out buildings isn't much to look at on the outside, but the gated street is a nice feature for keeping the riff raff from parking on your doorstep with their boogie boards and sandy children. The main house does indeed focus on the fantastic view, but all three of the buildings on the property also face a interior courtyard. While that back deck overlooking the azure ocean is a gorgeous thing on lovely days, a wind protected courtyard is a desirable foil to the punishing sea side winds when the weather in Malee-bee is less than optimal.

For this amount of money, we would have encouraged Mister Weber to install a higher grade of appliances in the kitchen. Yes, the Viking range is lovely, but we would prefer to see a nice strong lady Bosch dishwasher and of course a counter depth SubZero for the refrigerator/freezer. We very much appreciate the bold red color of the cabinets in the kitchen as well, but we suspect these cabinets were not replaced during the recent "renovation" but rather just painted a bright color to freshen them up. Effective, but again, the cheap way out. The butcher block counters are okay, if they're new, but a stretch of cloud white Zodiaq would have been a better choice in our book.

Believe it or not, Your Mama actually prefers to be located just up the hillside from the beach in Malee-boo, as this house is, rather than to have a place that sits right on the sand. We just can't be bothered with the sort of maintenance and upkeep that houses which front directly on the ocean require. Who needs to worry about the damn house falling into the ocean every time the wind kicks up and a storm rolls in?

Naturally we love the white paint palette than is offset by bursts and punches of color in the furniture and fabrics. While we understand this scheme is not to every one's liking, Your Mama happens to think it works perfectly in this seaside retreat.

The circular room is the larger of the two guest units. Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter L.O.V.E. a guest house almost as much as we love our new pussycat Sugar, and we think it this guest house is a wonderful folly and an excellent place to stash guests so they are not all up in one's bizness early in the mornings and late in the evenings. There is just nothing worse than a guest who does not know better than to go to bed before the hosts do and does not have the good sense to stay in their damn room until the hosts have had a chance to visit the terlit and set the water to boil for coffee in the morning.

Your Mama suspects the days of flipping houses in the Los Angeles area for monster profits are coming to an end before long, so many congratulations to Mister Weber on his successful and lucrative Malee-boo flip.

Sources: Big Time Listings

Thursday, August 30, 2007

O at Home

The new issue of Oprah's magazine O at Home is on the stands, and usually, it's not exactly something I would blog about. But isn't this cover beautiful? I adore it and it really caught my eye today! Gosh, I wonder why? Could it be because of the ultra-chic woman pictured below?

Probably. Thanks to my favorite fashionable blogger from New York, the fast-becoming famous Habitually Chic, I already knew Charlotte Moss was going to be in O at Home this issue. Those of us who devour every word Habitually Chic writes, were informed by her that Charlotte's new "must see" store in NYC had been photographed by Oprah's staff. This picture of Miss Moss was snapped by none other than Habitually Chic herself at their meeting last week. In case you missed this interview, read it here.

The current O at Home is wonderful, for reasons other than Charlotte, but she is certainly the star. I'll give you a sneak peak of the bedroom featured on the cover. It's typical Charlotte and it's to die for! Enjoy.

No one does four posters better than Charlotte. Styled to utter perfection, the photograph is typical Moss, with attention paid to everything, down to the smallest detail.

UPDATE: Paris Hilton

Well, well, well, it appears that the online gossip juggernaut TMZ has all the inside poop on the difficulties ensuing regarding the sale of Miz Paris "Pokey" Hilton's N. Kings Road property that she placed on the market for $4,250,000 shortly after she was released from the clink n Lynwood where she was sent for her famous automobile misdeeds.

Apparently, interested buyers came running and screaming for far and wide to purchase Pokey's Mediterranean style house. TMZ reports that Pokey's uncle, uber real estate agent Mauricio Umansky, revealed that the buyers are a couple who hail from the big state of Texas who have agreed to pony up just under $4,200,000 for the 2,707 square foot house.

Here's where the trouble starts. According to TMZ, the house did not appraise for the purchase price, and in fact, the highest appraisal is reported to be $3,600,000. What Your Mama wants to know is in this era of sub-prime crises, mortgage melt downs and skittish lenders, what financial institution allows multiple appraisals in order to go with the highest one? Your Mama is certainly no expert on the world of mortgages, but that just sounds unusual. Very unusual indeed. That is unless the transaction is not contingent on a mortgage and the appraisal was done only to satisfy the buyer's curiosity of an appraised value.

Umansky says the purchase price includes the furniture and chandeliers which combined have a claimed value between $600-700,000. Which is a convenient number given a $3,600,000 appraisal on a $4,200,000 purchase price.

However, perhaps this is all neither here not there as Mister Umansky, who seems eager to reveal all the details of the deal, told TMZ that the buyers are paying mostly cash for the property, are only financing $1,000,000, and as such it's really of no matter at what value the house appraised. Umansky, according to TMZ, state the deal will be closing next week.

Listen up Motormouth Mauricio, Your Mama has got no beef with TMZ, but next time you want to be telling the world all the real estate bizness of your rich and famous clients, be sure and get in touch with Your Mama. Seriously.

Sources: TMZ, Pacific Coast News (photo)

The $165,000,000 Mega-Estate of Leonard Ross

SELLER: Leonard Ross
LOCATION: N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $165,000,000
SIZE: 20,570, 9 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms (main house as per assessor)
DESCRIPTION: "The Beverly House Compound." The most spectacular estate available. Located 3 blocks north of the Beverly Hills Hotel on approx. 6.25 acres of land and approx. 75,000 sf of living space of all structures. Legendary and incomparable history, formerly owned by William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies, Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy honeymooned there, never before has this estate been available. Shown to pre-qualified clients only.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama is one lucky bitch, because the other day we received a stupendous cache of photographs from a gentleman we'll call Sneaky Pete. The photos, of attorney and financier Leonard Ross's $165,000,000 house in Beverly Hills, include snaps of the exterior and the deliciously and obscenely lavish interiors. Like we did with the photos of Miz Suzanne Saperstein's $125,000,000 pile in the Holmby Hills, Your Mama is going to post a few snaps each day for the next few days so that all the children are not overwhelmed by the over the top interiors and the outrageous opulence of the grounds.

What can Your Mama tell the children about this staggeringly expensive Beverly Hills estate that has not been said a thousand times before? Certainly everybody already knows that the house was built in 1927 for Milton Getz and designed by the same engineer who designed Hoover Dam and the Greystone mansion, one of the other famous and vast estates in Bev Hills.

And of course everybody already knows the house was once owned by newspaper tycoon William Randolph Heart, who purchased the house in 1947 for his long time mistress Marion Davies. Hearst, who filled the house with life sized portraits of his lady friend, met his maker in 1951 in this very house, and Your Mama would not be surprised to hear that his corpulent ghost still roams the hallowed halls of the colossal crib.

Just weeks after Mister Hearst met his maker in 1951, Miz Davies married and moved in her own side action lover Horace Brown, who inherited the property when Miz Davies met her maker in 1961. Talk about a sugar mama. Brown subdivided the property and sold off the parcels in 1966, but it wasn't until 1976 that Lenny Ross bought the big house and started buying up the subdivided parcels.

According to listing information and a myriad of reports, the 6.5 acre estate now comprises 4 residences (plus an apartment and security cottage), three swimming pools, two tennis courts, 29 bedrooms, 40 bathrooms, and extravagant gardens that Your Mama imagines cost more to water every year than some small countries' gross national product.

Property records on file with the assessor show the big house, which Hearst dubbed "Beverly House," measures 20,570 square feet with 9 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms. Which seems a mite smallish considering all reports and listing information for the property state there is an outrageous 72,000+ of combined square feet under roof on the property.

Seventy-two thousand square feet. Lahwd children, there are some hotels with less square footage. Imagine the number of full time staff people and cleaning gurls it takes to keep this behemoth from turning into a West Coast version of Grey Gardens.

Not a single fancy schmancy real estate professional that Your Mama has spoken to thinks this collection of residences will sell for more than $100,000,000, let alone the $165,000,000 asking price. But prospective buyers should know that at least a couple of the properties can be used as high income producing rentals to offset the huge mortgage.

All the reports say that the Ross property includes several residences, but Your Mama was surprised to learn that two of the residences are currently available to lease? One property, sprawling across three-quarters of an acre, includes a single story 3,476 square foot 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom house with swimming pool and tennis court and can be had for the multi-millionaire only price of $45,000 per month.

A second property, a two-story 6,365 square foot house on just under an acre, includes 7 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms and a large kidney shaped swimming pool. This house can be had for $57,500 per month (unfurnished), or $65,000 per month furnished on a long term lease or $75,000 per month furnished on a short term lease.

Your Mama imagines that when you've got a gargantuan house with a dozen bedrooms or more, it's really not necessary to also maintain and additional 10,000+ square feet of housing with another dozen bedrooms and bathrooms.

Stay tuned kiddies, we'll have some gorgeous pictures of the interior spaces in the next couple of day.

UPDATE: David Spade


What do the children have to say about David Spade's ocean front getaway in Malee-boo which is on the market for an eye popping $16,000,000? Y'all remember we discussed this property a few weeks back, and were particularly puzzled by the exterior, which we thought looked like it was covered in scaffolding.

Recently, additional photos of the property have surfaced with the listing information, including photos of the shabby and, dare we say, not very chic interior. Ms. Rachel Ashwell is prolly having a huge hissy fit right now looking at this low-brow version of her signature style.

We can and do appreciate a white slip-covered sort of vibe in an ocean front house, but is it just Your Mama who thinks this place looks a little, uh, a little feminine for a sexed up heterosexual bachelor?

Your Mama would never have imagined that this wee little man and his insanely snarky 'tude who bags big name babes like Lindsay Lohan, Heather Locklear, and Pam Anderson, would live up in a place like this. Perhaps we are just being ridiculously stereotypical and short sighted, but we really did expect to see an interior more reminiscent of the black leather sofa Hollywood bachelor who drives a Mercedes G55 AMG and effortlessly picks up all the short skirted and big boobed Hollywood hussies at Teddy's and LAX sort of decor.

Only time will tell if Mister Spade sells this house for anywhere close to its asking price, but in the meantime, Your Mama hopes he calls a nice gay decorator to get in there and pull the place together so that it looks like a damn $16,000,000 house.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Guardian Statue by Annechovie

My very second post to my blog, Cote de Texas, was entitled Concrete Statuary and in case you missed it, this was the post:

My favorite shape is the urn, as in a crusty, old, concrete garden urn. I love placing urns inside the house with or without something inside of them. Another accessory I love using inside the house is garden statuary. This lady has been guarding my front window for many years. She is not an antique, but a copy of one. She is concrete, of course. I abhor all those "light weight" fake concrete items on the market today and would rather pull my back out moving real concrete than using the faux thing. My lady had been in the corner of the window for years, but recently I moved her to the middle of my window, framed softly by the silk curtains. She's much happier now that she can be easier seen.

Ok, ok, like I said, it was one of my first posts! Hopefully they got better along the way. Truthfully though, I've always liked that post because I adore the picture that accompanies it. I like the way the statue is framed in the draperies, I like the lighting, the glimpse of my tree outside the window - I was proud I had taken this picture.

And so, when I noticed that quite a few of the design bloggers were having an artist paint a special vignette, I wanted a painting too! The question became, of what? Style Court had had her newly upholstered chair immortalized, Patricia Gray chose to have a client's room painted, and online, there were renderings of pictures from design magazines that I liked. The artist behind this work is none other than Anne Harwell, aka, annechovie. Anne takes commissions for her renderings of interiors in the Mark Hampton style, but she also does exteriors or anything else you might want. If you have a special "view" you like or perhaps you have something else in mind you would like painted, Anne is more than happy to work with you to create exactly what you want. She's very pleasant to work with, sweet, kind, and most importantly patient while you make your final decision. My experience with Anne was first rate and I highly recommend her. To see all the work she has posted online, visit her Etsy store here. Below, is Anne's lovely vision of my guardian statute.

Anne, thank you so much, I adore my piece and I am most grateful to you!


Two from Texas

Interior designers from Houston have gotten quite the national press this year. House Beautiful had a cover story of Carol Glasser's design of my friend's Swedish home in River Oaks. Elle Decor did a cover of another Houston designer, Randy Powers. Veranda this month featured Houstonian Renea Abbott's work on its cover. But none of these veteran designers had quite as much press as Joe Shaffer. Joe's client, an owner of a real estate company, has two homes - both of which he designed, and both of which were featured this year. The Houston home is shown in Veranda and the country home is in Elle Decor. It's fascinating to look at how one woman, one designer, and two homes are either alike or different. The Houston home is a vision in soft celadon. The color weaves its way throughout the home tying the upstairs with the downstairs. The Houston home features predominantly French antiques juxtaposed with contemporary art work. The country home outside of Fredricksburg is also filled with French antiques, but some are of the more provincial kind. Again, there is a continuity of color, but this time it's creamy and gray tones. Both homes feature patternless, neutral fabrics and both homes share an air of sophisticated intelligence. Which home would you prefer to own, given the choice?

A tablescape sets the mood of the city house, contemporary art work mixes with sophisticated antiques.

One end of the living room with a French antique sofa, French chairs, a whimsical collection of antique suitcases, and an antique carpet.

A larger view of the living room showing antique Fortuny draperies, antique barometer, and important contemporary art.

The dining room takes on a relaxed atmosphere with a short, flirty skirt over a curvy iron table. I adore this room.

The sitting area of the master bedroom. Note the striped blue and white dhurri and blue and white garden seat set underneath the tea table. I love the symmetry of the mirrors and lamps on the commode between the two windows framed further out by the striped pillows.

The other side of the bedroom showing the gorgeous bed.

Country Home:

Texas limestone house with original tin roof set in the Hill Country. This type of architecture was popular with the German settlers who populated this part of Texas. The Hill Country is Texas' Provence.

Limestone walls in the kitchen, chandelier dresses up the rustic antiques.

Pale neutrals set a quiet tone in the living area. These antiques would work in the city house too. The lack of drapes in the country home gives a sparser look as compared to the cosier Houston home.

Another view of the living room. Striped pillows are the only patterned fabric. Linen fabric dresses down the French settee.

Another living area matches the mood of the other room. Love the architectural piece over the door.

French provincial commode with gold mirror. The owner had been accumulating antiques she bought in France for years in anticipation of owning a country home.

Crystal sconces are an unexpected touch in this rustic bathroom.

Gorgeous, curvy iron bed in guest room.

Louis XVI adds elegance to the attic styled bedroom. The owner, a single woman, hired a local landscape architect to help with the project. Apparently, he now lives in the house with her - according to Star, I mean Elle Decor magazine.

As for me, I'm unable to choose which house I prefer - I like them both too much!

Hang On Children...

UPDATE: Clearly Your Mama can't leave the damn children for even a single day before they start ripping on Canada and all those lovely and too-tanned old people in Palm Springs. It's like elementary school children fighting on the playground slapping each other just to slap each other.

For the record, Your Mama lurves Palms Springs, but then again, we're as old as the Coachella Valley itself, and except for the bitter cold, we love Canada too and have never understood some American's dire desire to be superior to Canada.

We have surfaced from the deep and will be bringing you some good real estate pornography shortly. But keep in mind it's deep in the month of August, and most real estate gossips are taking some time to sun their buns and bbq their corn, so forgive Your Mama if we aren't as prolific as usual.

Now, be nice children.

...Your Mama had some unexpected meetings and appointments come up this morning and we are running behind. Now clam up and don't be sassing Your Mama bout needing your daily patient and we'll have some delicious photos and discussions for you later in the day.

Feel free to discuss the state of the real estate market in the comments sections. How's business in your local area?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Steven Cojocaru's New Digs in the Hills

BUYER: Steven "Cojo" Cojocaru
LOCATION: Rising Glen Road, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $3,800,000
SIZE: 3,850 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Mid-Century Modern ground up restore. Pvt and secluded. Long pvt and gtd drive. Former celeb owned. No expense spared. Done w/ warmth, style and comfort. 2 romantic and scap mstr suites and 1 gst ste all w/ own pvt bth. Chef's kit offers the ultmt in design & function feat all Viking appls. Media rm/lounge with 92" proj screen & wet bar, indr/outdr russound stereo sys. Automtd fpl. Soaring ceils. Flat grassy yard. Lrg open spaces lead out to seamless connection to infinity pl.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Back in mid-May, Your Mama discussed the Spanish style house in the hilly section of Hollywood Boulevard which famous fashion diva and celebrity sissy boy Steven Cojocaru had on the market for $2,995,000 after reducing the asking price from $3,150,000. According to property records, Miss Cojo finally unloaded the property in June of 2007 for $2,900,029. Naturally, Your Mama wondered where this peacock would be moving his heavy duty arsenal of lip gloss and hair products.

Then, out of the blue like manna from heaven, we learned in Ruth Ryon's most recent Hot Properties column in the in Los Angeles Times, that Miss Cojo had indeed purchased another house up in the Hills of Hollywood. Details in Miz Ryon's report were slim, but with the help of our Fairy Godmother in Bel Air and our always accurate informant Lucy Spillerguts, Your Mama was able to track down the location and the listing of Miss Cojo's new lair.

Property records and listing information indicate that Miss Cojo purchased this house in March of 2007 even before closing on his Hollywood Boulevard residence. Located on Rising Glen Road just north of Sunset Boulevard, the house sits on a private flag lot overlooking the twists of turns of treacherous Sunset Plaza Drive, a road so terrifying Your Mama will not drive it after dark for fear of being mutilated in a head on collision with a married middle aged industry executive with hair plugs, a Porsche, and a prosty in the passenger seat.

Obviously the 40 something year old Miss Cojo has no such fears, because the hyper active fashion maven with the new kidney just paid $3,800,000 for a freshly remodeled mid-century modern house that measures 3,850 square feet and includes 3 sexy bedrooms and 3.5 lovely bathrooms. Interestingly Miz Ryon reported that the house had 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, but our sources and information say something different. Hmm.

Property records reveal that the house with a butterfly winged roof line as flamboyant as Miss Cojo himself, was previously owned by gifted actor Brock Peters, who met his maker in 2005. The house was subsequently purchased for $1,625,016 in November of 2005 and given a head to toe make over before being placed on the market for a whopping $4,299,000. Listing information reveals that the house was later reduced to $3,999,000 before Miss Cojo stepped up with his Louis Vuitton bag to pay $3,800,000 for the property. For all the mathmatically challenged children, Cojo's purchase price is more than twice the seller's purchase price. Certainly, the seller put considerable money into the renovation and carrying costs, but that is still a shockingly large mark up and represents just another example of the Los Angeles real estate market gone wild.

Your Mama recognizes and sees Cojo as a certain type of stereotype and caricature of a gay man, but we happily confess to having a soft spot in our cold heart for Miss Thing. In the homophobic Hollywood world where big and little name celebs alike commonly hide their homosexuality, this man dared to flat iron his hair, put on a satin suit and a face full of make up and present himself and succeed in the world on such mainstream television shows as that ridiculous The Today Show, who shamefully fired Cojo just weeks after his first kidney transplant.

Ever the lemonade maker who deftly turns a raw deal into a perfectly tailored pair of skinny jeans, this glamazon has gone on to bigger and better things at Entertainment Tonight where he offers pithy and motor mouthed fashion reports on the sartorial wins and losses of the Hollywood elite and discusses the questionable fashion choices of all the poorly and scantily dressed starvelets that clutter up the red carpet.

We wish Miss Cojo a long life in the new house. And Coho hunny, please invite Your Mama over to your new house. We have some amazing detoxifying green tea that'll help your new kidney stay pink and lovely.

UPDATE: Robert Wagner and Jill St. John

Yesterday, Your Mama discussed the reported sale of Mister Robert Wagner and Jill St. John's Brentwood ranchette. We admitted to being a tad short on information about the property and the sale, and as such we put feelers out with our extended circle of contacts in the Brentwood area to cough up some information.

From a tipster we'll affectionately call The Savannah Snitch, Your Mama received a vintage Architectural Digest magazine that featured the Wagner/St. John ranchette, including photos and all sorts of information about the property. Please keep in mind children that the photos above are from the mid 1980s and may or may not have any resemblance to how the house looked more recently and prior to the recent sale.

According to the article that accompanied the photographs, Mister Wagner bought this house after the tragic and mysterious death of Miz Natalie Wood. Soon after purchasing the 1.6 acre, two parcel property, the dapper actor was able to persuade Cliff May, the king of California ranches and the original architect for the house, to design several extensions to the main house which more then doubled the length of the house. May also added at least one fireplace, bringing the total number to six. Which, of course, sounds lovely and romantic, but children, just imagine the deforestation required to keep all six of these fireplaces ablaze.

Additionally, and according to the article, Mister May designed a fully self sufficient guest house, over-hauled and extended the stables, added a detached office for Mister Wagner, remodeled the kitchen, added a sitting room for one daughter and a bath/dressing area for another. Finally, Mister May added a pigeon tower that was identical to the one he designed and built on his own Sullivan Canyon property called "Mandalay." No babies, we don't know what a pigeon tower is either, and can't imagine why anyone would want to build a structure that houses or in any way fosters the promulgation of pigeons. Your Mama deeply loves all the animals of the world, but we love the naughty pigeons just a little less.

Shortly after we posted yesterday's discussion of the Wagner/St. John ranchette, Your Mama heard from our old–and we mean O.L.D. old–friend Louella Hopper, who we know from our pre-historic days at Vassar. Ms. Louella tells Your Mama that she hears that the property sold in the $12,000,000 range and not the $15,000,000 that has been reported far and wide.

Ms. Louella also told Your Mama some shocking, defamatory and not repeatable rumors and secrets about Mister Wagner that Your Mama would not dare repeat. Your Mama just about had a stroke after hearing the smutty gossip and had to pour a big stiff gin and tonic, heavy on the lime and gin, in order to return to our right mind. Although we were stunned into silence, Your Mama was not at all surprised Ms. Louella would go there, afterall, we know the old gurl always did have a taste for the sordid vulgarities of life. Our dear Ms. Louella happens to be privy to all things deliciously scandalous and salacious in the world of Los Angeles real estate, and has recently started her own little blog called LA Real Estate Undercover, which discusses the literal and figurative ins and outs of the Los Angeles real estate scene. Dear Ms. Louella has always had her bejeweled ear to the ground and her pencil skirt over her head, so trust Your Mama when we tell you that ol' Louella Hopper knows of what she speaks...unless she doesn't, in which case she lies. Either way the children are going to L.O.V.E. Louella Hopper's wild ride!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Robert Wagner and Jill St. John Sell Their Brentwood Ranchette

SELLERS: Robert Wagner and Jill St. John
LOCATION: Old Oak Road, Brentwood, CA
PRICE: approx. $15,000,000
SIZE: 4,556 square feet, 6 bedrooms 5 bathrooms (main house); 2,448 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (guest house)

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: That Ruth Ryon at the LA Times is getting awfully clever discussing properties in her Hot Properties column that were never on the open market. Obviously that just chaps Your Mama because it makes it so much more difficult for us to chase down information for the children. One such recent property sale is the Brentwood ranchette owned by aging actor Robert Wagner and his wifey, Jill St. John, which Miz Ryon reports has been sold for "close to $15,000,000."

Your Mama is undeterred. We endeavor to scratch and claw until we get the answers we want from our vast web of sources, informants and tipsters. Although in this case, we must confess, it is proving to be a little more difficult that we had anticipated, and there is just so much Your Mama still does not know about this property.

Mister Wagner of course is probably best known for his role as the super rich Jonathan Hart in the cheesy 1980s crime drama Hart to Hart which co-starred the legendary and awesome Stephanie Powers. On a more personal level Mister Wagner is undoubtedly remembered as the twice married to huzband of Natalie Wood, who fell off the couple's yacht Splendour and mysteriously and tragically drown while sailing off the coast of Catalina with that wonderfully disarming and kooky actor Christopher Walkin. Ironically and sadly, Splendour was the very same boat on which the couple wed for the second time in 1972.

Since the Wagner property, which spans two parcels comprising 1.6 acres, was never on the open market, Your Mama is sorry to report we do not have a single photo of the 5 bedroom and 6 bathroom house that was designed by Cliff May, the undisputed king of the classic California ranch house who pioneered the notion of indoor/outdoor living.

According to Miz Ryon, the one story house was designed and built by the amazing Mister May for himself and his family in 1940 and later remodeled several years later. In 1953, according to Miz Ryon, the May family vacated the premises for another, much more lavish home in horsey Sullivan Canyon which lies between Brentwood and Pacific Palisades. May's estate, called "Mandalay," has been torn down, although there are still a fair number of Cliff May ranchos tucked up into Sullivan Canyon.

Interestingly, Miz Ryon, who did note that the sale included two adjacent parcels, did not mention that the second parcel includes a 2,448 square foot guest house with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Thanks to our Fairy Godmother in Brentwood, Your Mama was able to get our grubby hands on a few photos of the guest house (below).
Property records indicate that in April of 1983 Mister Wagner paid just $220,000 for the property with the main house. It's unclear to Your Mama whether the purchase of the second parcel with the guest house occurred at the same time or at a later date. Anyone? What is also unclear to Your Mama is whether the guest house was also designed and built by Cliff May. Records indicate the guest house was built in 1946 and the interior photos with the saltillo tile floors and vaulted and beamed ceilings do lead us to believe this is also a Cliff May structure, but again, we don't know.

As of Monday morning, we also don't have any answers about who paid such a huge some of money for a property that backs up to bizzy and loud Sunset Boulevard. Which means we really know frustratingly little more than what Miz Ryon reported. So all you Brentwood people, please, give Your Mama a shout on the email and fill in some of the gaps. After all, the children want to know, and Your Mama just hates looking like an ignorant fool with egg on our face because we aren't able to come up with proper information.

Sources: LA Times, Rancho Style, Internet Movie Data Base

Rafael Furcal's Townhouse of Horrors

SELLER: Rafael Furcal
LOCATION: S. Oakland Avenue, Pasadena, CA
PRICE: $1,159,000
SIZE: 1,860 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Fantastic "Celebrity" owned newer one of a kind 3 level incredible "Venezian townhouse. Shows like a model. May be Largest unit in complex. Mahogany flrs, custom stone work, ganite & custom tiles, master suite with fireplace, open cooks kitchen, Viking appliances outside Viking grill, Private elevator, 3 bedrooms, 5 baths, Great bonus/billiard/media room, 2 car private garage, Flat sceen TV & sound equip & some furniture is available. Great unit!

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama knows about as much about baseball as Prissy knew about birthin' babies in Gone With the Wind. Which is basically nothin'. So quick now, boil up some water and get me a pile of clean towels because Your Mama is going to attempt to tell you something about Rafael Furcal, who the internets tell us is a short stop for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Pasadena condominium he has on the market for $1,159,000.

Now babies, ordinarily Your Mama can not be found combing the condominium listings in Pasadena. We know that Pasadena has some gorgeous Greene and Greene residences and we are well acquainted with the so called Suicide Bridge that spans the Arroyo Seco in Old Town Pasadena. But that is about it for our paltry knowledge of pretty Pasadena. However Your Mama received an email from a gentleman we'll call Lenny Loudmouth who tipped us off to this listing.

Of course, before chatting with Lenny Loudmouth, Your Mama had never iven heard of this Mister Rafael Fucal. A quick search on the internets and Your Mama learned that Mister Furcal, a native Dominican, goes by the naughty sounding nick name "Fookie," has a couple of DUIs under his belt, performed something rare called the "unassisted triple play, and a quick look at the photos provided with the listing for the condo Mister "Fookie" calls home, tells Your Mama that the short stop stops short of having good taste. This well developed athlete could certainly benefit from a nice gay decorator to getting up in his townhouse condominium to work some serious magic.

According to property records, Mister "Fookie" only purchased this 3 bedroom and 4 bathroom townhouse style condominium in April of 2006 for $1,139,000. Which means that with the current asking price of $1,159,000, Mister "Fookie" will be losing money on the transaction after the real estate fees are paid. Which is pretty tough to do in the greater Los Angeles real estate market, even with the mortgage markets in turmoil.

We can all thank the baby jeezis that this three floor townhouse comes with it's own private elevator servicing all floors, because not all Pasadena townhouse lovers have the physical abilities and stamina that a professional baseball player like Mister "Fookie" surely has.

No babies, your eyeballs are not going bad, the photos of the interior are indeed fuzzy with some sort of dizzying pattern, but if you squint your eyes, you'll find it's not worth the effort to do so.

Your Mama has got two questions that perhaps the children can discuss:

1. What is it about heterosexual bachelor men that makes them want a pool table? You don't find these felt covered monstrosities up in the homes of single homosexuals. And do not tell Your Mama that the gays don't play pool. Because if you say that then clearly you have never been to bar where the homosexually inclined congregate. Fierce pool competitions children, fierce.

2. Who is the bikini clad babe in the big photograph hanging on the back wall of the bedroom? Please tell Your Mama that is not Mister "Fookie's" mama.

Note to Lenny got any additional information on Mister "Fookie" that you would like to see discussed on Your Mama's little blog, you be sure to give us a shout.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

John O'Hurley's House of Hemp

SELLER: John OHurley
LOCATION: Monte Cielo Court, Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $6,200,000
SIZE: 5,283 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Yesterday, the good people over at People announced that actor John O'Hurley and his wifey Lisa have put their Beverly Hills house on the market for $6,200,000 and Your Mama and all the internet children have Miz Rachel P. to thank for sending us the link, because Your Mama does not read that particular magazine...too many human interest stories about folks with missing limbs that have nothing to do with celebrities. Thank you People, but we do not want to read about Rhonda and her inspiring story of losing 300 pounds so she could carry a child. Please.

Anyhoo, The bizzy Mister O'Hurley has many nice acting credits under his belt, but Your Mama best remembers the grey haired actor as the arrogant and dimwitted J. Peterman on Seinfeld. We bet you do to. We'd be remiss not to also mention his recent turn in Spamalot (in Las Vegas, natch), his hosting duties on the game show Family Feud, and his less admirable appearance on the awful hit show Dancing With the Stars. We know that show is a huge success, HUGE, but Your Mama just cringes with embarrassment for the folks on that show. We'll watch it, but we gotta keep one eye closed whenever a former Teen Beat heart throb or an aging actor with a saggy booty struts out on the stage in a pair of too tight pants and a flowing flamenco blouse. Poor things. Everyone has gotta do what they gotta do to pay the mortgage and stay in the public eye.

Located up Coldwater Canyon on a small cul de sac of just four houses, the newly renovated "Italian villa" sits spitting distance from bawdy comedian Jack Black's low slung modern house, but Your Mama just can't imagine these two sitting down together for a bottle of wine and backyard bbq.

The 5,283 square foot house, freshly renovated by the 52 year old O'Hurley who recently became a first time daddy with his much younger blond wifey (surprise!), has 5 bedrooms a living room, dining room, eat in kitchen and a media room. According to the listing information, this house also has nine damn bathrooms, so it is just a good thing there are also maids quarters for the overworked Lucinda to crawl to after scrubbing nine terlits day in and day out.

Your Mama wants to discuss two of those nine bathrooms, specifically the two master bathrooms, which listing information and decor clearly indicate are for a him and a her. Guess the well to do Bev Hills homos and lesbos will not be living up in this house with it's distinctly his and hers master bathrooms. One is all dark marble and woody with a men's club feel and the other is light and bright with a mirrored side table and a soaking tub, because everyone knows the ladies like to soak. It's just so cliche. Obviously this can be changed, but where is a power lezbian in Hollywood going to find more of that chocolate brown marble?

According to the website set up by the listing agent, the walls of the entrance hall have been covered in Japanese silk-hemp. Which can be very convenient when you can't get through to your too dope dealer who's too bizzy with all the young Hollywood starvelets to make a house call. You can just smoke the wall paper.

Perhaps now that there is a baby O'Hurly, the couple prefer to live in a house that does not span three full floors of living space. Certainly chasing a small child up and down the stiars is good for keeping the nanny's weight down, but not so good if the baby takes a tumble. Or maybe they're just looking to cash in on the property.

Your Mama stands corrected on the dates Mister O'Hurley purchased this house...the records we accessed showed a purchase date of in 1990, however, multiple sources have confirmed what one of our lovely readers stated in the comments section that indeed Mister O'Hurley purchased the house only in December of 2004. The records we accessed did show a 1990 purchase date, but this is not an exact science children. We apologize for the error, we do strive to be accurate, but sometimes mistakes are made. Thanks to those who assisted in bringing the error to our attention.

Sources: People

Friday, August 24, 2007

Check Mate!

One of my favorite fabric houses these days is Chelsea Editions or Chelsea Textiles, depending upon which side of the pond you are located. Chelsea specializes in hand embroidered fabrics made in India. Besides selling fabric, they also sell reproduction furniture based on Swedish antiques. Though Chelsea is famous for their embroidered fabrics, it's their check fabrics that speak to me. Chelsea sells checks in every colorway, but, apparently, they must not be very proud of them because the checks are absent from their web site! Despite their second class status, I've become check crazy. I recently came to this conclusion looking around my house and going over projects I've worked on lately. I just can't get enough of checks. Here's what I mean. This is my sitting room with it's checked daybed and checked french chair:

And here's my unfinished bedroom with it's Chelsea checked headboard and drapes:

And here's a client's Swedish sofa that I covered in a Chelsea check:

And here's a pink Chelsea check:

Oh, look, here's a taupe check:

And here's another Chelsea check on the bench and a Chelsea embroidered duvet.

I'm not the only designer who loves checks. Mario Buatta has a thing for them too. Here he uses a check on the settee:

And here in a Houston home, Buatta uses a red check for the draperies:

Buatta must like big scaled checks, he uses a yellow one for these draperies:

Mariette Himes Gomez uses checks in the traditional way, on the back of a French fauteuil:

Someone who loves checks more than me, New York designer Jeffrey Bilhuber surprised people with his excessive use of checks in his new apartment:

Bilhuber's dining room:

Houston's Michael Siller also covered an entire room in his house with checks. Do you think he inspired Bilhuber?

Dallas designer Cathy Kincaid uses checks to line the bed's canopy.

Michael Smith is known for using this blue and white check in his designs. It shows up again and again:

Kathryn Ireland uses checks alot, also. Here she uses a dark blue check to contrast with the all white French styled bedroom:

In this vintage photograph, socialite Gloria Vanderbilt sits under one of the collages that she was famous for making. The check in the collage matches the fabric on the couch. The two matching Venetian mirrors are drop dead gorgeous! Playing next to her are her two sons. One is the famous CNN reporter: Anderson Cooper. Are you aware of what happened to the other son?

In France, checks are frequently used as a secondary fabric to toile:

John Stefinidis, interior designer extraordinaire, likes to use checks:

New Orleans' Gerrie Bremermann uses checks often. Here one shows up on the duvet:

Houston Designer Ginger Barber uses a check as the only pattern in an otherwise neutral room:

Despite the luxurious fabrics used in this room, a simple check shows up on the pillows:

Interior Designer Diane Burns uses silk checks in her French styled bedroom:

A checked fabric livens up a bedside bench:

Victoria Hagan puts the check on the floor with an Elizabeth Eakin rug:

Here, Ikea gets in on the check act with it's slipcovered sofa:

And finally, here on Chelsea Edition furniture, is, of course, a Chelsea Edition check!