Monday, March 16, 2009

UPDATE: Ricardo Montaban

SELLER: Estate of Ricardo Montalban
LOCATION: Oriole Drive, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $20,000,000
SIZE: 6,679 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: The Montalban House, designed by Ricardio Legorreta, FAIA, 1986. A masterwork of cubistic forms and volumes are framed by head-on city, canyon and ocean views. The house reflects a spirited interplay of space, color and light typical of Legorreta's work. On an acre+ knoll, this legendary house features 3 bedrooms up + 2 bedrms dn + guest suite, den, huge LR, formal dining room, swimmers pool, large patio, and motor court for approx. 15 cars.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A couple of weeks ago Your Mama whispered to the children that we had heard from two well positioned Beverly Hills bean spillers that the bird Street aerie of recently deceased actor Ricardo Montalban was about to hit the market with an asking price of around twenty million clams. And, it has.

Thanks to Our Fairy Godmother High Above the Sunset Strip, we've learned that the architecturally significant and visually challenging house has indeed arrived on the open market with a big, round asking price of $20,000,000.

Now children, Your Mama asks that y'all just look right past the dated day-core and the upsetting mirrored wall in the dining room which are completely lacking in charm and have no viable or recognizable relationship to or with the architectural language of Casa Montalban. We ask not only because it's just not nice or in good taste to speak ill of the dead but because the new owner of this house, whomever that will be, will surely hire a smart architect (perhaps even the eponymous firm of the original architect Ricardo Legorreta) and a nice gay decorator who will work the place over, up, down, sideways and inside-out like only the very rich can afford to do.

The house is approached by a gently curving driveway that rises ever so slightly to the massive 15+ car motor court that has more in common stylistically with the central plaza of some dusty down in Oaxaca than the motor court of a heavy duty house high in the hills of Los Angeles that carries an 8-figure asking price. At the front of the property two tall hedges enclose an small area which could be used as a secret garden, a vegetable garden, a private play yard for the children's swing set or just for hiding unsightly things like storage sheds, broken down bicycles and chopped wood.

The residence measures 6,679 dee-lishus square feet of stacked cubes and vast planes that make Your Mama feel all warm and fuzzy inside. We understand this sort of residential architecture is not for everyone, but we happen to love these stripped down minimalist Mexican haciendas and their brutally unapologetic and forbidding facades that Señor Legorreta and fellow Mexican master Luis Barragán were so damn good at bringing to life. Always have, always will.

According to listing information, 3 of the house's six bedrooms are upstairs, 2 are located on the ground floor and there is an additional guest suite (or a staff suite if you're well to do and nice to your live-ins). The large living room features tiles floors and two gigantic windows that flank the fireplace which is really nothing more that a black hole in the wall. The windows look across the rear terrace, over the mountains above the Sunset Strip and across the glittering lights of Los Angeles.

On the north side of the house, a long narrow swimmers pool runs along a wide and private terrace which is paved with the same tiles as the floors on the interior and where the Montalbans could have tanned their nood booties in the scorching southern California sunshine, were they inclined to do so.

All around the house built-in seating areas beckon and covered terraces call for lazy afternoons sipping gin and tonics and reading all the latest gossip glossies. Landscaping is minimal, natch and consists primarily of easy maintenance and drought friendly cactus gardens and gravel, which is a good thing considering California is, in fact, facing a drought. And for the record, Your Mama does not want to hear about how some of the children think the drought is some sort of punishment from heaven or that it's just another one of those many things that make living in California such an obscene idea. There are disasters and drawbacks to just about every part of the U-nited States of America –do y'all remember that thing called Katrina that wreaked havoc on the Gulf States or the Mississippi River running over, flooding and ravaging mile after mile of the Midwest. If you prefer tornadoes to earthquakes or ice storms to droughts, so be it, to each they own.

Interestingly all three houses that occupy the same knoll as the Montalban House either are or have recently been for sale. Next door sits the relatively newly built Tuscan behemoth that belongs to some hedge (fund) hog and is currently listed at blistering $28,000,000 and next to that is crooner Lionel Richie's old house that now belongs to some bigwig Scientologist that has been for sale on an off since 2005 and was until very recently listed on the open market with an asking price of $16,500,000 (reduced from $17,500,000).

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