Monday, December 8, 2008

Randolph Duke's Glam Pad In the Hollywood Hills

SELLER: Randolph Duke
LOCATION: Fareholm Drive, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $8,250,000
SIZE: 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Thanks to a lovely lad we'll call Fashionista Freddie, Your Mama has learned that dress designer Randolph Duke has put his Hollywood Hills house on the market with an asking price of $8,250,000.

All the fashion magazine readers will already know that Mister Duke, a middle aged man who still struts around with his shirt unbuttoned to his damn navel, is the man responsible for saving the legendary house of Halston and all the children who flip through the gossip glossies at Oscar time know that Mister Duke creates glitzy, glam, glittery and sometimes sheer gowns for red carpet walkers like Hilary Swank and Angelina Jolie. All the house bound home shoppers will also recall the Mister Duke peddles several product lines on the Home Shopping Network including line of ladees garments called The Look which is, more than likely, where the well preserved and meticulously groomed clothing queen earns all his real money.

Anyhoo, according to property records and multiple reports, Mister Duke scooped up his three lot property on a promontory high above Fareholm Drive back in June of 2004 for $2,250,000. He quickly hired the L.A.-based Xten Architecture to create a cantilevered crib that is both anchored to the hillside and floating above the city. Ten-foot tall retracting glass walls blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors and there are jaw dropping jet liner views over Los Angeles from every corner of the house.

Listing information for the open plan and unabashedly modern manse, dubbed Open House by the architects, indicates there are 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms on three levels where both interior and exterior walls are virtually non-existent. In fact, the master bedroom, which occupies the entire top floor, has only beaded curtains as visual (and auditory) barriers between the sleeping chambers and the stair well to the lower floors. This is all well and good if you're home alone, but maybe not so great when you want to watch some porn get bizzy with your man-friend while your mother is sleeping in the guest room one floor below.

Anyhoo, Mister Duke and his decorating ladee filled the house with furniture that does not adhere to a particular style or time period. We've got Louis the XVI chairs pulled up to a rough cut wood dining room table, petrified treet stump stools and coffee tables set off against plush and custom designed sofas, faux fur up the wazoo and stainless steel accents juxtaposed against the stacked stone fireplace which cleverly hides the building mechanicals.

The exterior spaces on the hill side of the house include a small patio behind the dining room with a terraced succulent garden and a romantic terrace tree shaded terrace perfect for catered dinner parties and spreading out a week's worth of gossip glossies. Cantilevered terraces extend the interiors spaces on the view side of the house where a long narrow reflecting pool forms a visual barrier between the living spaces and the carpet of lights below. The swimming pool and spa, which appears to hover over the city, have been lined with shiny silver leaf tiles, a visual decadence than not everyone can get away with but seems perfectly appropriate in the home of a male clothing designer known for his dee-luxe and hideously expensive evening dresses.

While Your Mama can certainly appreciate the appeal of this house, it's a bit tough to imagine living in a place like this. Just like some dresses wear the woman, this house could easy over-power and over shadow its inhabitants. That does not seem to be the case for Mister Duke who uses the house as a de facto office, showroom and party space as well as a his private home.

Eight and a quarter million clams is a lot of money in a quickly sinking high end real estate market. However, we do hear from one of our better connected sources in the Hollywood Hills that high priced contemporary houses in the hills are still attracting a lot of attention from buyers with big bank accounts. We shall see children, we shall see.

P.S. Mister Duke's "glamorganic" digs have been photographed and published in about a thousand million publications and online magazines such as Architectural Digest, 1st Dibs, and British Elle Decor as well as the architects' website where the children can see heaps and loads more (and better) photos and floor plans of the place.

P.P.S. If you care about such things, Kanye West lives a few doors down and across the street from Mister Duke in and art-filled kontempary krib.

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