Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pillow Talk




Readers of my blog know that I am personally pillow challenged.   For clients – I have no problem picking out pillows – and rarely even give it a second thought.   For myself  - it’s a totally different story.   When I bought a new sofa a few years ago – I began a long search for pillows:  an embarrassing number of sets passed through my doors and out again at an alarming rate.   There were the striped cotton ones, the gray and white toile ones, the feed sack ones, the silk velvet tiger ones, until finally – I settled on the Oly Studio zebra ones – which I loved.  That is, until I moved my zebra rug downstairs and it all became just too – zebra-y.   I wrote about  my pillow issues HERE and many readers weighed in with their opinions of what I should replace them with.  There were some great suggestions and  in the end, I settled on a deep pink linen to match the suzani throw (a lot of readers had suggested this.)   That is until I changed my mind – and decided on a deep brown velvet (another reader idea.)     The latest from the workroom is they are currently making up both colors, one for summer, and one for winter.   I’ll keep you posted.   I had thought the subject of me and pillows was finally over for good, until now.   I’m totally afraid I might change my mind yet again,  when Rebecca Vizard rolls into town this next week with her entire stock of fabulous hand made, antique pillows.  Oy.  



image Becky Vizard surrounded by all her beautiful pillows. 


Vizard owns B.Viz Design which makes all different kinds of hand made pillows using beautiful antique textiles such as tapestries, suzanis, and vintage Fortuny.   There are also embroidered pillows, appliquéd pillows and stump work pillows – the thread actually becomes three dimensional.   Vizard lives and works at Locustland Plantation in St. Joseph, Louisiana, where her studio looks out over a picturesque cotton field, pecan orchard and Lake Bruin.   She is an important figure in her tiny, impoverished town – employing many of its Delta women to stitch the antique textiles into true works of art.   B. Viz Design was born when interior decorator Vizard couldn’t find what she needed for a project.   On a hunt, she found some antique textiles and bought up the lot – creating pillows out of it.  Gerrie Bremermann of New Orleans was an early devotee who carried the goods in her Magazine Street store.   The big break, though, came when Neiman Marcus discovered Vizard and ordered her pillows for all their stores.    The business has been growing steadily ever since.   Becky is always on a search around the globe for her priceless textiles and her collection is extensive.  Some pieces, such as the fragile ecclesiastic textile fragments are held onto for many years until she finds the perfect trim to accompany it.    




An 18th century metallic applique and trim applied to a pillow made of soft aqua colored velvet.


Vizard works with top interior designers around the country and her pillows appear in more magazines than you can count.   She is bringing her inventory to Houston this Monday, November 2nd through Wednesday, November 4th to one of my favorite haunts – Watkins Culver.   Her pillows are so beautiful – and quite tempting!   I’m sure I will be in big trouble here when I see all the pillows together.   Help!!!!  




A chocolate and white Fortuny is classic.


Accompanying Becky to Watkins Culver will be her good friend Ann Connelly whose twenty-year old art gallery, Ann Connelly Fine Art, is located in nearby Baton Rouge, Louisiana.   Connelly will be  bringing an assortment of fine French and Italian school drawings, as well as some contemporary works.   Connelly started her gallery with the antique works on paper – traveling to Paris several times a year in search of art to present to local interior designers.  Her business has continued to grow through the years, and today, the gallery is over 3400 sq. ft.    Along the way, Connelly moved into contemporary works –  her gallery now has a roster of over 30 artists.   She sells to the public but continues to concentrate on providing decorators with art for their clients.    Ann still travels extensively, as Becky does – and the two now often do so together, having recently returned from Venice.




Ann Connelly Fine Art specializes in both contemporary and antique works. 


If you are in Houston this coming week – be sure to drop in at Watkins Culver and see Vizard’s and Connelly’s art work!  Details of the event are at the end of this post.




A few of my favorite designs, this vintage Suzani pillow, of course!  These pillows would actually look great in my family room.  Oh no!!!




Blue and white Fortuny – these pillows would be so pretty on a white slipcovered sofa with apple green walls.  




This Fortuny would be beautiful in a bedroom or on a living room sofa.




The tapestry remnant pillows are gorgeous.   Like these.




And these – wonderful for a chair.




There is a nice sized selection of antique appliqué pillows.  




A beautiful antique damask pillow with trim – so pretty on a living room sofa.




How fun!  Antique suzani stockings.   There are also little pillows for wedding ring bearers – and a host of other soft ornaments.  



B.Viz Design pillows have been featured in dozens of interior design  magazines.  Many of the pictures are quite well known – see how many you recognize.  Here, Vizard’s pillow made the front cover of Veranda.



image In this well known photograph, a pillow for Phoebe Howard.




imageGerrie Bremermann is a huge fan of  B. Viz pillows – here two tapestries rest in chairs.




imageBarry Dixon uses Vizard’s pillows on many jobs.  What a beautiful picture!



image One of the more popular rooms on the blogosphere from two years ago – Fiona Newell Weeks.



The pillows made it on this bed from Mary Evelyn McKee.




And on this bed by Barbara Westbrook.



 image  A large  B. Viz pillow in Southern Accents for Phoebe Howard.



imageAnother well known photograph – two pillows rest in the front chairs.  Gerrie Bremermann.




imageCharles Faudree is another fan.




image Yes, B. Viz is in this famous photograph too!  




Another cover story for House Beautiful. 




image Suzanne Kasler used B. Viz pillows in several rooms in this house – featured in House Beautiful.





Barbara Westbrook – in the Belgian House cover story in House Beautiful - used several pillows from B. Viz Design. 



image  Christopher Maya used B. Viz pillows for this published house. 





Joining B. Viz Design, art from Ann Connelly Fine Art gallery will also be at the show at Watkins Culver.



imageAlong with the framed works on paper will be some contemporary art work.





Ann Connelly’s art studio is also featured in many magazine spreads.  Here, the Vera Wang Couture Campaigne used a painting from the gallery.



imageAnd, here too – more art work from Ann Connelly.




This charming living room features antique pieces on paper from Ann Connelly’s gallery.



image  While this bedroom used a contemporary work of art from Ann Connelly Fine Art.  Interesting curtain feature here. 






Information about the show at Watkins Culver.  Call 713-529-0597 for more details.

B.Viz Design’s web site is HERE.   Ann Connelly Fine Art’s web site is HERE.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Frank and Jamie McCourt Have a Lot of Houses

By now, anyone and everyone who follows the money trail around Los Angeles knows there's a War of the Roses about to erupt on the staid streets of the Holmby Hills where the dueling and dee-vorcing owners of the L.A. Dodgers Frank and Jamie McCourt own an impressive compound on Charing Cross Way.

For those who do not recognize their names, Mister and soon to be ex-Missus McCourt made piles of money developing commercial real estate in Boston, Mass. In 2004, they cashed out and purchased the L.A. Dodgers baseball franchise for a whopping $430,000,000.

Missus McCourt, an attorney with a Masters degree in business, was installed as vice-chairman and named president of the team in 2005. In March of 2009 she was promoted to CEO making her the highest-ranking woman in Major League Baseball earning $2,000,000 per year. Until last week, when her soon to be ex-huzband fired her.

The gory he said/she said details of Missus McCourt’s termination are all over the interweb, but suffice to say she says it’s unwarranted and he says she was insubordinate and that she was having an improper relationship with her bodyguard/driver. Your Mama does not know what is true and what is not true, but what we do know is that the people at gossip juggernaut TMZ managed to get a hold of the Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage filed by Jamie McCourt on October 27, 2009. How they do these things, we don't know, but the document was not only posted on their site it was also forwarded to Your Mama by Sandy Spreadtheword. It took us the better part of half a day and a pitcher of gin and tonic to read the 137-page document which details the couples accumulation of wealth, how they spend all that money and what kind of spousal support the soon to be ex-Missus McCourt is looking for.

By far the most interesting sections of the long document are those that detail the couple's personal real estate holdings and the amounts of money required to maintain them. By our count, the McCourts maintain 7 private residences and own two more parcels of prime property on which they intended to build two more. Prior to moving to Los Angeles in 2004, the couple lived in Massachusetts so that seems a good place to begin a chronicle of their real estate lives based on information culled from public property records and the dee-vorce docs.

According to previous reports and property records, prior to moving west, Mister and Missus McCourt called a Brookline, Mass mansion home since 1993. As best as we can tell, the couple coughed up $4,500,000 for the 8,249 square foot Cottage Street estate that ballooned to a gargantuan 18,216 square feet. Records show that property was sold in August of 2007 for $16,000,000. Interestingly, and somewhat eccentrically, when they sold the property they reserved the right to remove the entire kitchen–lock, stock, and counter tops–if the kitchen was ever to be remodeled or the mansion torn down.

Like many moneyed people in Massachusetts, Mister and Missus McCourt and their four sons often spent vacations on Cape Cod. In the year 2000, the then happy couple dumped $19,500,000 for a 5-parcel ocean front estate on Main Street in the Village of Cotuit, MA that spans more than 90 acres and includes two private ponds.

The main house was built in 1909, measures 7,516 square feet and includes 10 bedrooms and 6.5 poopers. A second, smaller house on the property has another 3 bedrooms and 2.5 poopers which all adds up to an unlucky 13 bedrooms and 10 terlets in 8 full and 2 half poopers.

Court documents indicate the McCourts spent $605,000 on improvements to the property and that they have an $18,000,000 equity line of credit secured by two of their properties, this being one of them. Court documents also indicate that the massive estate is quietly being shopped around with a hair-raising asking price of $50,000,000. Considering they’re into the place for just over twenty million smackers, a fifty million dollar sale–which Your Mama imagines is a bit of a pipe dream–would next them a mind boggling thirty million dollars.

Before buying the big estate on Cape Cod, in 1998, the erstwhile couple spent $775,000 on what is described in the dee-vorce docs as a “golf home” on Willowbend Drive in Mashpee, MA. The house contains a total of 9 bedrooms and 4.5 poopers, some of which according to the dee-vorce docs are in the finished basement.

Upon arriving in LaLa Land in 2004, they immediately cowed and wowed all the real estate people that fill the fancy offices on Cañon Drive in Bev Hills buy plunking down $21,250,000 for an estate on Charing Cross Road, directly across the street from the Playboy Mansion. Court documents reveal an additional $14,000,000 has been spent on improvements to property which included replacing the outdoor tennis court with an indoor Olympic size swimming pool that has its own pool house, sauna, steam room, shower, dressing room and massage room.

The post-renovation main manse,–their primary residence before busting up–now measures approximately 15,000 square feet and in addition to the 4 bedrooms and 10 poopers, there is also a fully-equipped work out room, a dance studio and guest quarters. The house also contains the kitchen from their Brookline mansion, which they spent $180,000 to remove and ship to California.

According to court documents, the monthly costs for the McCourt’s massive Charing Cross Road mansion total a toe curling $202,716 and include $68,313 for decorating and furnishing, $29,997 for domestic staff, and $5,866 in utilities. Think about that for a few seconds my butter beans. Mister and Missus McCourt and paying more every month to keep their lights on and the lawn watered than most people make in a month. There is, according to records and court documents, an elephantine $13,800,000 mortgage on the property.

A few months after buying the Charing Cross Road residence, in November of 2004, the couple scooped up the property next door for $6,500,000. Their intention, according to dee-vorce docs, was to utilize the 8,385 square foot, 8 bedrooms and 10 pooper property as guest quarters. However, despite spending an additional $4,800,000 in basic improvements and architectural fees, the property has been used for little more than storage. There is no mortgage on the property. However, between the two Holmby Hills properties, according to court docs, the McCourts have spent a mouth drying $46,550,000. It’s certainly not the ninety or so million Gary Winnick paid for his Bel Air spread, but it’s none the less a heart stopping mound of moolah.

In July of 2007, the couple went a-searchin’ for a Malee-boo beach house and found what they wanted in a swoopy John Lautner designed house on Carbon Beach for which they paid actors Courtney Cox and David Arquette $27,300,000. Since splitting with Frankie, Jamie has been occupying the Malibu residence exclusively. According to dee-vorce docs, the 4,486 square foot, 4 bedroom and 5.5 pooper architectural tour de force costs $151,054 per month to maintain, most of which goes to property taxes and servicing a $16,500,000 mortgage.

A few months later, in January of 2008, the couple decided they needed more room at the beach and purchased the property next door to their dee-voon Lautner house. Records and court documents reveal they paid $19,000,000 for the 3 bedroom and 3 pooper property where their children and guests stay when visiting them at the beach. Because the soon to be ex-Missus McCourt is a swimmer, a lap pool is being installed at this property because the small pool at the Lautner next door is, apparently, not big enough for lap swimming. According to dee-vorce docs, this property swallows up $88,106 in monthly costs and was used to secure an $11,400,000 mortgage.

In 2004, about the same time they moved west, the property mad McCourts forked over $6,000,000 for a 3 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom condominium on East Core Creek Drive in Vail, CO. Although the condo was paid for with cold, hard cash, according to the dee-vorce docs, an $18,000,000 equity line of credit was secured with this condo and their Cape Cod compound as collateral.

The couple own two additional pieces of land on which they planned to build two more luxurious residences. In 2006, they spent $7,700,000 for unimproved property at the by invitation only Yellowstone Club in Montana. No house has been built on the property.

In late 2008, seemingly just before they called it quits, they spent $4,625,000 for a vacant parcel of land at the dee-luxe El Dorado Club in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. A residence for the property has been fully designed by not yet built.

A few flicks of the well-worn beads of our bejeweled abacus reveals that Mister and Missus McCourt have spent $167,050,000 on dee-luxe real estate for their personal and private use and are carrying a diarrhea inducing $59,700,000 in mortgages. How do y’all like them real estate apples?

In addition to chronicling their extensive real estate holdings, the dee-vorce docs also detail the couples lavish monthly expenses which include 24/7 security at both their Holmby Hills home and their Malibu properties when they are in residence as well as racking up $6,870,000 in Net Jets costs in 2008 and 2009. According to Jamie and her forensics accountants, the couple’s monthly household expenses total a staggering $760,209 which includes $538,029 in real estate related expenses, $55,782 per month in personal expenses, which we take to mean hair care, fresh flowers and other luxuries, $33,756 per month in expenses related to their four adult children–three of whom are currently attending Stanford University, charity donations in excess of $30,000 per month, and concierge health care services to the tune of nearly $90,000 per year.

Lo-word have mercy, Your Mama needs a nerve pill just thinking about monthly bills in excess of three-quarters of a million clams. Every. Damn. Month. Jeezis. Even Rich people have gotta understand that is a shocking amount of money in monthly bills.

Due to their profligate ways–which they appear to be able to well afford–Missus McCourt is asking the courts to grant her non-taxable spousal support to the tune of $320,967 if she is reinstated to her two million dollar per year job at the Dodgers or $487,634 if she is not reinstated.

Given that California is a community property state and given that Missus McCourt gave Mister McCourt $1,000 for his first bidness deal and given that Missus McCourt has been an integral part of the couple’s wealth accumulation, it seems to Your Mama–who is not an attorney–that Jamie will not only be awarded stunning sums of money in monthly spousal support but will also end up owning half of the couple’s assets.

Whatever happens, expect the dirty details of their dee-vorce to be played out in the media.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Suzanne Kasler



The adorable Suzanne Kasler on her bed in her former house.


This week we are so excited to have Suzanne Kasler as our guest on The Skirted Roundtable!   Linda and Megan don’t know this – but I am secretly trying to get all the designers on the Cote de Texas Top Ten Designers List to come on the  SRT.  With Suzanne and Charlotte Moss – that now makes two.  And we have another one from my list hopefully coming on in the next few weeks – so that will be three!      SSSH – don’t tell Linda and Megan!!!



image The new book, signed by Kasler, available HERE.


The interview with Suzanne is quite in depth but truly fascinating, especially if you are interested in interior design – which I assume you are since you read this blog!   The three of us each talk about our favorite room in the new book -  and it was so interesting to learn the behind the scenes tidbits about images we have long admired.



image Suzanne’s family room in her former house – this is one of my favorite rooms in the book and we discuss it at length.


Thank you, as always, for listening – and please leave a comment if you want to continue the conversation.  If you have the book – get it out before you start the interview.  If not – we have posted  all the pictures on The Skirted Roundtable blog for you to follow along.   Listen HERE.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Was Michael Jackson House Hunting Before He Passed on to the Great Gloved One in the Sky?

Oh dear jeezis in heaven, the salacious gossip about Michael Jackson's crazy real estate ways hasn't stopped even though his poor, pale little body has been stuck up for eternity in the wall of a fancy mausoleum at the Forest Lawn cemetary.

According to the peeps at gossip juggernaut TMZ, prior to his death in June of 2009, Michael Jackson was negotiating to buy an insanely opulent architectural extravaganza in Los Angeles which can only be described as Mister Rococo making and unholy marriage with Missus Baroque and then proceededing to have influential and torrid affairs with both Sister Size Queen and Blistering Bad Taste. Assuming the report is accurate–and we really don't now if it is or is not–what else would one expect of an eccentric man-boy who kept zebras for pets, wore sequined socks and ladee's garments, wished he was Peter Pan, and had a damn ferris wheel in his backyard?

The 2.4 acre, three parcel estate in question sits in the swank Bel Air area of Los Angeles with a Revuelta Way address but in reality the bulk of the estate faces famed Sunset Boulevard. According to listing information for the house, which is currently on the market with a shocking asking price of $37,995,000, the vast estate includes approximately 20,000 square feet of immoderately lavish interior space with 15 bedrooms and 16.5 poopers spread throughout the main house and the 2-story guest house that over looks the swimming pool complex, spa and fitness center.

According to TMZ, ol' MJ had his beady little eyes set on the eye-popping property as far back as 2001 when he entered escrow to purchase the estate but backed out when he turned up short of funds. Fast forward to 2008/2009 when MJ was living in a leased house a few twists and turns down Sunset on N. Carolwood Drive. The TMZ reports says MJ was hoping to use some of the proceeds of his This Is It tour to buy the property and began chit-chatting with the current owner about making a second go of buying the improbably palatial property. He even, allegedly, took his trio of children to tour the property which, according to listing information, includes garaging for 20 or more cars, a dining room for 50 or more, 5 fireplaces, a cigar and wine tasting room, more gilded this and thats than in all of the Hermitage, and a vast master suite with three wall-mounted televisions, two massive marble poopers with gold fixture including one with gold swan shaped faucets, and a behemoth bed sitting on a raised platform with a blood red velvet and gilded headboard so absurdly extravagant even Marie Antoinette and Saddam Hussein would have said "Oh hunny, pleeze, no. That's just too much for a simple person like me."

The estate, sometimes referred to by real estate junkies in L.A. as the Tar Estate or–less nicely–as the Tar Mahal, is currently owned by Yousuf Tar. Among other assets, Mister Tar owns the Bernini Clothing and Fragarance lines. The children might recall that Chuck Woolery's suits were furnished by Bernini when he hosted Love Connection.

Henry Simmons Lists Hollywood Hills Hideaway

SELLER: Henry Simmons
LOCATION: North Orange Grove Drive, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,397,000
SIZE: 2,026 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Celebrity owned 3BR/2/5BA beautiful Mediterranean oasis updated w/ contemporary finishes throughout. Gated mini-compound graced w/ tropical grounds offering total privacy & located blocks from Sunset Strip & Runyon Canyon. Open floor plan is complimented by French doors, glass tiled fireplace, cozy library, high ceilings & dark wood floors. Remodeled kitchen connects to adjacent family room w/ vaulted ceilings. Master suite features walk-in closets, steam shower & tumbled marble complete w/ outdoor spa.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Last night, Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter sat on the sofa all bug-eyed with mortification as as that poor Jeff Lewis from the Bravo's Flipping Out program broke up with his bestie Ryan Brown right on national tee-vee. Love him or hate him children, that was genuine reality tee-vee. During the too many commercial breaks we multi-tasked and maximized our precious free time by combing through the new real estate listings in LaLa Land and it wasn't long before we came across a house low down in the Hollywood Hills listed with an asking price of $1,397,000 described in the listing as "celebrity owned."

Well, Your Mama does not have to tell you that our mouth went dry, our blood began to race and we immediately began sifting through the property records. Lo and behold and much to our chagrin, we came up empty handed. So we took a moment to regroup, watched the big lips of Jeff Lewis quiver in honest to goodness sadness and then took a few more minutes to peep and poke around the interweb, twisted our data inside out in the hopes our property record machinations would flush out the identity of the famous owner. But alas children, we wound up still empty handed. We next dashed off a quick missive to our always well informed aide de camp Lucy Spillerguts and waited patiently for her reply. Early this morning while sitting quietly with the I.V. machine slowly drip, drip, dripping caffeine directly into our sleepy veins, we received a succinct communique from our dear Lucy who swears on her new house that the property on N. Orange Grove Drive is owned by actor Henry Simmons.

No babies, we did not know who Mister Simmons was either until we Blackled his name and discovered the tall and dark drink of water has a long list of television credits that includes–but is not limited to–a couple of years on the legendary soap opera Another World in the late 1990s, more than 100 episodes of NYPD Blue during the early to mid 2000s and, from 2006-2008, he appeared in thirty some episodes on a show called Shark, a now canceled program that Your Mama had neither seen nor heard of.

Property records reveal that Mister Simmons scooped up his 2,026 square foot Mediterranean casa at the foot of the Hollywood Hills in November of 2003. It's a wee bit unclear to Your Mama just how much money Mister Simmons paid for the property. One record we accessed shows a sale price of $1,120,0011 while another document we located shows $999,000. We're really not sure why a purchase price discrepancy exists, but one does. Let's just say Mister Simmons paid around a million clams for the property and call it a day.

Listing information indicates the walled, hedged and gated single story house includes 3 bedrooms and 2.5 poopers even though documents on file with the tax man say the house has only 2 full poopers. Again, we don't know why all the documents don't agree, but we're going to go with listing information and say there are three terlits in two full and one half bathrooms.

The front of the house presents a number of different styles that include the classic ocher and red tile roof of a southern California Mediterranean, an almost Regency style bay window on the left side, and a lot of Zen-like bamboo-y plants that shield and obscure much of the front facade. It's all a bit messy, but it sort of works in an organic food shopping, Prius driving, baby carriage left out in the front yard sort of way.

The interior of the 1922 house has been updated, upgraded and opened up to include wide openings between the living room and dining rooms as well as the dining room and the family room/kitchen at the back of the house. The living room has buttercup colored walls, dark chocolate wide plank floors and a wood burning fireplace with an ebony glass tile surround. Mister Simmons, clearly a fan of a colorful and international sort of day-core, has outfitted the room with wicker arm chairs, a leather sofa, multi-colored pillows and various knick knacks and paddy whacks that look to Your Mama like they were prolly bought at Pier 1 Imports rather than in Nepal or Tibet.

The chocolate wood floors–and the Pier 1 Imports day-core–extends into the unfortunately chandelier-less dining room painted a pale shade of melon. Some sort of tortoise or capiz shell chandelier would have worked wonders in here. Anyhoo, the dining room has a small bump out painted a rich shade raspberry that opens to the side yard through a pleasant wall of French doors framed by shiny–possibly silk, coppery-orange curtains. Listen chickens, although Your Mama does not care for Mister Simmon's decorative tastes and while we do l.o.v.e. the color orange, we feel very la-dee-dah-meh about the melon color. None the less, credit where credit is due, we do appreciate how Mister Simmons–or his nice gay decorator or his paint specialist or whomever–used darkening shades of color to entice and draw the eyeball from the front of the house towards the back even if we're not loving the actual colors.

A wide set of French doors opens from the dining room into the family room/kitchen/breakfast room which is all hexagonal Mexican tile on the floor and multi-paned windows on the back wall that open through more French doors onto the rear terrace. The kitchen has honey colored cabinetry, a big ol' sky light and all the blah blah blah of a well equipped kitchen even if the stainless steel appliances are not as industrial grade as we might prefer in one point four million dollar crib. The children will note that it appears that someone cheaped-out on the kitchen counter tops which appear to be granite tiles instead of granite slabs. Listen babies, Your Mama knows that everyone has a budget and not everyone's budget extends to the latest, greatest and most expensive materials. However, trust Your Mama when we tell you that granite tiles are a strict no-no. Granite tile counter tops are what Home Despot addicted landlords install in the kitchens of their crappy rentals when they are trying to fool a prospective tenant into thinking a house or apartment is high end when it is really middle-brow.

The home's three bedrooms include a master with a walk-in closet, a private pooper with a steam shower–which we love even if it's not a pretty steam shower, wall to wall deep shag carpeting–Oh, come on! No! Pleeze.–and a set of French doors that open to the rear terrace where there is a sunken spa surrounded by foliage. This is, obviously, the perfect spot for anyone who sees sitting in hot bubbling water as foreplay. The terrace leads down to a another larger terrace surrounded by towering and privacy making bamboo. Somewhere on the property that looks like it might be in some sort of basement, Mister Simmons has installed a home gym with rubber matting, a rack of free weights and a treadmill. Your Mama doesn't care for home gyms but it ain't easy looking all rock solid the way Mister Simmons does so it makes perfect sense he'd have a set up like this at home.

Mister Simmons home is well situated for easy access to the Sunset Strip, Hollywood, West Hollywood, the studios in Burbank and, one of Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter's favorite places in L.A., Runyon Canyon where pooches of all sizes and breeds are allowed to run free and sniff each others booties. Your Mama hasn't a clue where Mister Simmons will be headed next, but wherever it may be we wish him a happy home free of granite tile and super shag carpeting.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Colin Hanks the Younger Buys Modest Casa

BUYER: Colin Hanks
LOCATION: Hollyridge Drive, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,025,000
SIZE: 1,560 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 1.75 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Magical Spanish-style home designed by famed architect Paul R. Williams. Located on desirable Hollyridge Loop, the residence is situated on a knoll behind a gate for privacy. This house features a large open living rm w/ hi ceilings, fireplace & banks of windows, FDR & sunny kitchen. A few steps up lead to the 2 bedrooms, each w/ en-suite baths & the library/den which opens outside. There is also a separate studio. The property consists of lovely grassy gardens, tranquil patio spaces & views.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Some siblings and offspring of Tinseltown types grab hold of their famous family member's coattails and milk their fame for all it's worth. They pine for publicity and make secret deals with the paps so they can get their pix in the tabs. They frequent all the star-studded hot spots in Hollywood and appear in reality tee-vee programs that often expose them as no-talent nepotists. Sometimes–for better or worse–their efforts to trade on the family name lead to fame and fortune as is the case with folks like Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and her former bff Nicole Richie. For others, their story often ends in obscurity after their 15 minutes of fame evaporates like water in the desert. Those in this category might include Aliana Lohan, Brody Jenner, Sean Stewart, Ashlee Simpson and all the other Kardashian ladees not named Kim whom Your Mama strongly recommends bank what they're earning now because it is our humble and meaningless opinion that they are simply not interesting or talented enough to cultivate long term fame and fortune. Infamy? Maybe. Fame? Pleeze. No.

Then there are those that manage to forge their own way in the wicked world of Hollywood. Those might include peeps like Kate and Oliver Hudson, Tori Spelling, Rashida Jones, Tracee Ellis Ross and wild child turned earth mommy goddess Angelina Jolie. Listen children, Your Mama is not so stoopid that we don't recognize there was most likely some amount connection making nepotism involved in the careers of each of these people. However, whether you like them or not, they have proven they are more than just the child of a celebrity by having resumes that does not include amateur porn videos.

Colin Hanks–the early thirties son of super star Tom and his first wifey Samantha Lewes–falls into the latter category and it him and his recent purchase of a decidedly un-celebrity style house in Los Angeles' Bronson Canyon neighborhood that we'd like to discuss this afternoon. Mister Hanks the Younger started his own modest climb up the ladder of fame in the late 1990s when he appeared on the ill-fated UFO serious Roswell. He has gone on to make short arc appearances on The O.C., Mad Men, and Numb3rs on the boob toob as well as roles in films such as W, The House Bunny, My Mom's New Boyfriend and King Kong. According to his growing resume on the IMDB, the younger Mister Hanks also has meaty roles in several upcoming films in which he'll appear opposite big names like Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Tambour, Ann-Margaret, and Chloë Sevigny.

Now then, let's get down to property tacks. Property records show a 1926 Paul Williams designed Spanish style house on Hollyridge Drive was purchased in early October of 2009 for $1,025,000 through a trust that sounds like it was chosen by a Buddhist. A few clicks, clacks and inquiries on our trusty laptop lead to a covert communique from our nearly omniscient aide de camp Lucy Spillerguts who tells Your Mama that the buyer of the casa pequeña is indeed Colin Hanks, son of Tom. Listing information we received via Babbling Babette tells us the one story but two level casa measures a modest 1,560 square feet and includes just 2 bedrooms and 1.75 poopers.

The gated, white stucco and red tile roofed house sits atop a small knoll above the street where there is a detached 2 car garage. A meandering flight of brick stairs leads to the pergola shaded front door which opens directly into the living room which has wood floors, a wood burning fireplace, many paned windows and a gently arching, barrel vaulted ceiling. A small dining room with a high, peaked wood ceiling that mirrors the wood on the floor sits between the living room and the kitchen which has had a few updates (i.e. the stainless steel dishwasher) but is none the less all manner of hot mess. It appears the old, flat fronted cabinetry was stained a deep charcoal, which we like as an inexpensive alternative to all new and expensive cabinetry. However and sadly, Your Mama's positive comments on the petite cooker end there. There is an old fashioned jalousie window above the sink and the counter tops are a vibrant, almost violent shade of tur-qwaze tile. In the right circumstances a case can be made for jalousie windows and vividly colored counter tops that scream, "EASTER!" Lo-ward knows Your Mama is drawn to bright colors like a vampire to blood but this tur-quaze in simply awful. It is not, the children will note, not the worst of the kitchen issues. Let's begin with the insane placement of the dishwasher which when open prohibits use of the sink. Next might be what we fear is linoleum floor. And lastly, perhaps the most heinous of the bunch is that brown, built in relic of a range which just makes Your Mama's blood boil with surly objection. Just like ev-er-ee body else, we are all for re-using and recycling, but this crazy cooking contraption drags that concept so far over the line it makes Your Mama need a damn nerve pill to settle our jumpy decorative sensibilities. Who thought it was a good idea to keep this thing in the kitchen? Seriously? Who?

In addition to the two bedrooms which, according to listing information, are located a few steps up from the main level and each have en-suite poopers including one in which marble counter tops have been laid on cabinetry from the 1950s, there is a library/den that opens to the rear garden through French doors. The terraced back yard has several flat seating areas including a long, narrow strip of lawn perfect for exercising long bodied bitches like our Linda and Beverly and a flag stone tiled terrace that provides a view of downtown L.A. from over the roof top and through an army of palm trees.

Your Mama has one last thing to say about Mister Hanks the Younger's new crib: It's always so refreshing to see someone who grew up the privileged and wildly rich child of one of the world's most beloved and successful movie stars who none the less buys a lovely but small and unassuming house. Of course, this being Los Angeles, it's still an insanely expensive house compared to houses in most parts of the country, but still... We're certain Mister Hanks the Younger could have turned on the charm and squeezed a few more shekels out of Mister Hanks the Elder and bought something more lavish and celebrity style. But he did not. And that, my butter beans, is to the credit of his parents who, apparently, raised a son not saddled with the sort of sickening entitlement too many scions and siblings of Hollywood's elite seem to suffer from.

Anyhoo, Mister Hanks the Younger's new neighbors include Danny Masterson and his ladee-mate Bijou Phillips who purchased Chuck Berry's former 5 bedroom and 4 pooper property directly across the street in June of 2007 for $2,995,000.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Dance Through Paris


I have been busy writing all weekend – working on a new blog post that I was hoping to have finished by Monday for you – but no such luck.    Needing a diversion, I thought I would catch up on some blog reading, when I noticed that my friend Olga Granda-Scott from Coral Gables, Florida had finally posted pictures of her new house.   You remember Olga, right?  I ran into her and her  husband at Round Top where they had a booth.   At home in Coral Gables – they help run the family  antique business  - Alhambra Antiques HERE – one of the better antique shops in their city.  They had packed up a huge truck, filled with all kinds of beautiful things to sell, and headed from south Florida to Round Top, Texas – not an easy drive.   Olga wrote about the trip HERE and HERE.   Luckily she spotted me in the crowd (who could miss me with the ridiculous blue boa?) and came over to say Hi.   Olga is absolutely adorable and I was so surprised to see how young she is.  She looks like she is about 15 – but with three children, I’m guessing I’m off a few years.  


imageHere are just a few of the antiques Olga sells -  to give you an idea of their look.   French, Swedish, Italian – they carry it all and then some.  I’ve been lusting after their crowns – they have a wonderful collection of them.  In fact, Olga is wearing one in the picture of us if you look close enough.




So, tonight while I am trying to ignore the blog post that has been making me slightly insane all weekend, I see that Olga has finally put up pictures of her new house.   




You see, they just sold the house they bought when they one child.  Today with three, they need a little more room.  So after spending many years fixing up this charming house that was built in the 20s – they are moving on.   They sure don’t build houses like this in Texas – it’s so adorable!!   Olga and her husband put in all the lush landscaping during their remodeling. 




This is their new house (well, old house – it’s a 1926 Spanish style stucco) – as they found it – overgrown and in need of some new paint and a good landscaping trim.  I think it looks pretty cute as is.    But wait until you see what they did with the inside.   After I pulled my open jaw off the keyboard – I thought you would love to see how beautifully Olga has decorated her new house.   Makes me wish I owned an antique store too!  You will too, I promise.   To read Olga’s story about the house’s redo, go HERE.



imageWhen you walk through the front door – this fabulous antique clock greets you – along with a marble topped scrolled Baker’s table.  The floor here is river rock – so great looking!   As with most antique dealers, their furniture is always changing.   On Olga’s blog, the pieces that are for sale are linked to the store’s web site.  Hmm – the clock is pretty hard to resist!!!!





Every entry hall needs two clocks, don’t they?  Of course they do, especially when they are this beautiful.   Here a Danish tall clock rests next to the front door.





The living room – you can see the dining room through the two arches.   Notice how thick the arches are – they don’t build houses like this anymore.    The table is a vintage Italian gear with an added glass top.   Scattered throughout the house are industrial pieces, along with all the French and Swedish antiques.   Maximize your view setting to see the entire picture.


image Looking the other direction – there’s a beautiful pier mirror and two chairs.  The cow hide rug was bought at Round Top!   I love the fireplace – it’s gorgeous. 




 A close up of the carved stone mantel perfectly accessorized with an assortment of antiques. 




 In the dining room, an antique Spanish table with painted chairs is mixed with a crystal chandelier,  painted console and another industrial piece – just out of view.  I love the pop of the red shades here. 




Upstairs in the master bedroom, Olga hung two Italian fragments instead of using a headboard.  The bed is made with French linens and is flanked with two different night tables.  The gilt framed chair adds the glamour. 




A collection of Royal Vienna porcelain stands on the night table.  The lamps were made from an iron gate found in an old church.  Be sure to read Olga’s blog story for all the details of the furnishings HERE.    With three children and a business to run, Olga doesn’t get to post to her blog that often, but she promises she is going to show her yard soon.  Olga, don’t make us wait too long!!   OK, I’m back to work on my post.