Monday, October 19, 2009

A Couple of Magazine Queens List Casa Above Beachwood Canyon

SELLER: Luis Barajas and Jim Turner
LOCATION: Durand Drive, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $3,175,000
SIZE: 4,881 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: One of the rare Landmarks in Beachwood CynCasa de Lila, unsurpassed 360 degree views from downtown, the ocean & the Hollywood sign. Sited on its own promontory w/ apprx 1/2 acre of private gardens, palms, waterfalls, pool, flat gardens w/ outdoor dining & cooking area. 2 story gst house. Oversize entry w/ superb entertaining public rms, superlative detail includes a game pavilion, luxury master suite, office, tall glass windows bring the views in. This celeb Mediterranean has it all.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Listen chickens, besides suffering a wild and serious case of the dreaded writer's block, we're all kinds of concerned and distracted because our dear Mama Cooter is about to undergo the knife so please bear with us as we muddle through the next few days, get Mama Cooter back on her feet and locate some pithy words deep in the recesses of our tiny, gin soaked brain to adequately describe the long list of celeb owned properties we've got lined up to discuss.

Today we're going to attempt to discuss an art filled house in Los Angeles high above Beachwood Canyon that is being marketing with an asking price of $3,175,000 as a "celeb Mediterranean." A peep and a poke around the property records reveals the current owners are not celebs in the classic sense but rather a couple of publishing bigwigs named Luis Barajas and Jim Turner who live, work and play in a celebrity saturated sandbox. Starting in the late 1980s, these two magazine entrepreneurs turned a tiny Dallas, TX publication called Detour into a slick, L.A. based magazine about fashion, style and culture. In the late 1990s, they split with the publishers of Detour and formed Flaunt, an even slicker and sexier L.A. based publication focused on fashion, style and culture.

For what it's worth and in full disclosure, although we've never met, spoken to or even seen Misters Barajas or Turner, we have a special fondness in our cold, dark heart for their magazine. Some time ago, a quite pricey product Your Mama sold in the erstwhile little shop of home related things we used to have in New York City was once prominently featured in their magazine. The pretty pictures resulted in a number of lucrative custom commissions from famous folks like Kiki Dunst and Benjamin Bratt. But that was a lifetime ago and another story for another time and place...

Property records show Misters Barajas and Turner purchased their Durand Drive domicile in July of 2003 for $2,175,000. Records indicate the property is comprised of three parcels that combined measure more than a half acre. According to property records and listing information the residence measures 4,881 square feet and includes 5 bedrooms and 6 poopers spread throughout the multi-floored main house and the 2-story guest house.

At the street level is a two car garage, a couple of additional parking spaces and wooden gates that open to stairways that climb and climb and climb and climb and climb up the near vertical hillside to the front door. There are so many stairs leading to the front door that Your Mama feels out of breath just thinking about it. Fortunately, thanks to Tom Tellsallaboutit, we've learned that there are two elevators in this house. That's right, two. One rises from the street level to the house and another that services all four levels of the main house.

One enters the residence through a wood framed glass front door that opens to a double height entrance hall with marigold colored walls–which much to our surprise we like, a unexpected green marble floor–which we do no like, and enough artwork–including a Jeff Koons ceramic Puppy–to open a art gallery. There is little Your Mama loves more in day-core than artwork that reflects the tastes of the homeowner(s) and books that at least give the illusion that the homeowner is literate, which of course Mister Barajas and Turner most certainly are.

The lavishly long living room has tile floors, pale yellow walls with a glossy yellow ceiling, a fireplace tucked up into the corner, a curved wall of windows that looks out over the canyon and another wall of windows that opens to a covered terrace and swimming pool. Mister Barajas and Turner have provided more seating areas in the living room than we care to count and have somehow with their wildly mis-matched collection of chairs, pillows, sofas and table lamps managed to create a cohesive and cozy space oozing with personality. This is not easy to do and will certainly will not be to every one's decorative taste, but Your Mama happens to love the eclectic cacophony that keeps our eyeballs moving through the room in search of the next interesting object.

The hexagonal tile floors continue into the orangey-yellow dining room where a Warholian portrait of Jackie Kennedy hangs above a second, oddly located fireplace. We'll concede that the massive mirror behind the dining room table fits the space like a glove, we never like to see mirrors in dining rooms because we have no interest in watching people masticate in visual stereo. The triangular shaped kitchen has Mexican tile floors–although a different shape and pattern of tile than that in the living and dining rooms, mottled marble counter tops, taupe colored and glass fronted upper cabinetry and the usual compliment of stainless steel appliances including a Hyundai sized Viking brand range. Other public–or semi private–rooms include a library/office with an amoeba shaped desk that has a view of the canyon through a set of French doors that open to a slim, tile terrace. The transom window above the French doors is a particularly interesting architectural element.

We presume what is called a "gaming pavilion" in the listing information is the tile floored room which has the pool table. Misters Barajas and Turner have most definitely flipped the bird at PETA with stuffed and mounted animal heads that include a buffalo and a moose in the game pavilion, a deer in the office/library and even ore dead animal bits in the form of antlers can be found in one of the guest bedrooms. The many sided master bedroom features more of the hexagonal tile flooring seen throughout much of the house, a wood ceiling, fireplace, dressing area, multiple closets and, natch, a private pooper.

In addition to the above mentioned covered and colonnaded terrace that runs along the long side of the narrow swimming pool, the property has many other terraces, patios and outdoor nooks and crannies as well as large, surprising flat gardens including a circular lawn area with a giant ficus tree in the center. Because the property sits tucked into a tight curve on a promontory high above the street, there are huge views in every direction and enough privacy for Mister Barajas and Turner to run around nekkid as jaybirds without fear of the neighbors catching anything more than fleeting glimpses of their naughty bits and berries.

Although it's an extremely tough time to be in magazine publishing, we're going to assume and hope that Misters Barajas and Turner are selling their stunning villa with it's highly personalized day-core because they're moving on to even better digs.

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