Monday, September 21, 2009

Christina Ricci Up In The Oaks

SELLER: Christina Ricci or somebody else
LOCATION: Park Oak Drive, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,549,000
SIZE: 2,428 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Private, romantic, secure hideaway on one of the most coveted streets in the Oaks. Spectacular mosaic tiled pool and lush patio areas perfect for evening nights entertaining and peaceful weekends vacationing at home. French doors, high beamed ceilings and archways provide rich architectural elements.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: At the end of July (2009) a lovely house in the discreetly post Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles hit the market with an asking price of $1,650,000. When we first looked at the listing photos every single one of Your Mama's celebrity real estate synapses starting firing. Like we always do when we get that tingly feeling that comes with our innards screaming, "This is a celebrity owned home," we took an somewhat futile peep and poke around the public property records. Stymied by confusing and indecipherable records, we did a little asking around with several of our better informed informants who were, bless their little usually very helpful hearts, no help at all. Facing a celebrity real estate dead end, we abandoned our research and promptly forgot about the property. Then, late last week we heard from Vlad the Revealer who asked Your Mama if we could confirm that the aforementioned house in Los Feliz was still owned by former child star turned bonafide film star Christina Ricci (Mermaids, The Addams Family franchise, The Ice Storm, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Monster, and New York, I Love You).

Well butter beans, upon that savory name being dropped in our lap, our fervor and interest in the property heated right up all over again. That's because–true confession–Your Mama has a bit of a real estate soft spot for Miss Ricci. See puppies, we feel a certain residential affinity to Miss Ricci because, believe it or not, Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter used to occupy the same downtown doo-plex apartment in New York City where Miss Ricci once lived. Although the apartment technically belonged to her mother Sarah, amongst our more humdrum mail, we would sometimes find invitations to swank parties and store openings addressed to the younger and famous Ricci. Being the bizzy bee and nosy Nelly we are, we opened them. We would have happily forwarded the invites to Miss Ricci, but at that time we had yet to sink into the byzantine world of celebrity real estate and had no idea where the little ladee resided. Don't bother to ask if we used to the invitations to gain access to and get drunk on free booze at said parties and store openings because Your Mama will plead the fifth.

Anyhoo, after receiving the missive regarding Miss Ricci from Vlad the Revealer we once again scoured the property records and checked in with a few of our informants. Aerial Dave indicates that Miss Ricci sold this house in 2004 and bought another house on nearby Red Oak Drive in 2005. Interestingly, records do indeed reveal that Miss Ricci–through a trust–did spend $1,505,000 for the 2 bedroom and 3 pooper residence on Red Oak Drive. However, two always very reliable and unconnected sources also told Your Mama that the pretty house on Park Oak Drive, currently listed at $1,549,000, is also and indeed owned by the bantam Miss Ricci. So, while there is some confusion on the property and we are simply not sure if Miss Ricci owns this house, at the very least, she did own it at one time.

Listing information indicates the tile-roofed residence on Park Oak Drive measures 2,428 square feet and includes 3 bedrooms and 3 full poopers. The flat fronted and unassuming street fa├žade is dominated by a gaping archway over the garage door that positively dwarfs the nearly hidden front door which opens to a staircase that rises to the main floor. On one side of the stair landing is the "formal" living room with a wonderfully high beamed ceiling and a wood burning fireplace topped by a glammy gilded mirror propped on the mantel. On the other side is the dining room, a keenly and successfully restrained space kept from feeling nekkid by another large gilded mirror leaning up again the wall and a glitzy crystal chandelier hanging over the square, distressed wood farmhouse table. A few steps up from and open to the living room is a family room area that opens to the rear terrace through French doors and is furnished with a massive, mink colored velvet sectional sofa. This isn't what Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter would do sofa-wise, but we can imagine it's a soft and silky spot to settle into for a long night of gin and tonics and reality television.

Up a few more steps from the family room and located along an arcade that overlooks the dining room are the bedrooms including the white walled master which opens through dark framed French doors to the the back yard and the mosaic tiled swimming pool and spa surrounded by thick greenery and a couple of well-laced Japanese maples. What can not be seen in the photo of the bedroom above is a third, very heavy framed gilded mirror propped up against the wall, a device utilized as a unifying decorative theme in the house. Your Mama hopes and prays there are no more than these three gilded mirrors propped up against the walls in this house because any more would be, as our friend Fiona Trambeau would say, flooding the car. Take note chickens, just because three ornate gilded mirrors are good does not mean four is better.

Beyond the raised ceiling and stark white walls–which Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter love even though a significant number of the children will probably loathe them–perhaps the most notable and interesting feature of the day-core are the wood floors which have been done in a deep and glossy azure. In truth, we've never seen this done and had a nice, gay decorator ever suggested to Your Mama that we refinish our wood floors in a dark blue we would have huffed, puffed, gotten on our high horse and booted that queen right out the front door. However, in all fairness, we have to say, it's a rather striking and works well with the spare and bare-footed glamor of the day-core seen in the majority of the house.

The kitchen, on the other hand, has nary a speck of glamor to be squeezed out of it–that chandelier is too paltry to count–and appears to need a serious re-do. However, it's not all the grey tile from the 1980s that has Your Mama all freaked out. On no hunnies, our kitchen conniption is all about that pernicious pear painting someone brazenly dared to hang on the wall in the breakfast area as if it is art. Larhd have mercy children, does Your Mama really need to go on another tear regarding our utter disdain for pear paintings? In the event that any the children or misguided decorators with a predilection for pear paintings missed our January 2007 rant on pear "art," here it is again, for better or worse, in it's entirety:

Hunnies, we have got to break into our normal posting routine here because Your Mama is too outraged to keep our mouth shut.

On Saturday, the 20th of January, The Sun, one of Britain's most aggressive and intense tabloids, featured photos of Brad and Angelina's new house in New Orleans. And yes children, it is the same house Your Mama told you they bought last week, on the 17th, thank you.

But Your Mama is not here to gloat about breaking stories. No sirree Bob. What we want to discuss is all these damn pear paintings that keep popping up in pictures of rich people's houses. That's right babies, one of the photos in The Sun's article shows a giant pear painting hanging over a fireplace in one of the rooms.

Do you recall that pear abortion in Cher's flip nightmare in Palm Springs? Well if you do, you know Your Mama was not happy about it. If not, you can read about it here.

Anyhoo, we were alerted to this pear by our San Francisco based anglophile friend Fiona Trambeau. And Lahwd children, Your Mama just about came unglued when we saw this decorating tragedy. We were so disturbed we had to go take us a nerve pill. Please.

Who are all these gay decorators who are telling their clients to be hanging paintings of giant pears up in their houses? WHO? WHO ARE THEY? Because Your Mama would like to sit them down and give them a severe tongue lashing. Then we'd like to take them up to the roof and beat their asses until they haven't got enough sense to know what a pear is.

We have had enough of the pears. Do you hear Your Mama? ENOUGH. And we don't want to be seeing any other fruit up on the walls either. All you gay decorators out there need to have some mercy on our souls and not be putting that kind of shit up on the walls. Honestly! If you need the name of some good galleries, you just let Your Mama know and we'll get you some phone numbers and addresses. Now then, stop it with the pears.

What do the children think. Is it just Your Mama who finds this fruit fetish offensive?

Okay? Do y'all hear Your Mama on the pear paintings? Please don't make us have to repeat that rant.

Although Miss Ricci was spotted house hunting in the Silver Lake section of Los Angeles in March of 2009 with her erstwhile man-beau Owen Benjamin, she has long had an affinity for the celebrity packed Oaks neighborhood in Los Feliz. In addition to the Park Oak Drive and Red Oak Drive residences, Miss Ricci aslo owned the Lloyd Wright designed Samuel-Novarro House–which had been restored by the architectural preservation minded actress Diane Keaton–that records show she purchased in June of 2005 for $2,979,000 and sold at a loss in June of 2006 for the unusually complicated price of $2,827,525. The discreetly posh Oaks neighborhood is also also home to the large lipped, micro-managing house flipper/reality tee-vee star Jeff Lewis, musician and legendary ladee's man Adam Levine and, of course, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who have a 1.6 acre, five-parcel compound on Briarcliff Road that has two side-by side swimming pools–perhaps one is a kiddie pool for their multi-cultural brood of young children?–and several homes/buildings including a recently rehabbed Craftsman style residence.

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