Friday, January 29, 2010

Montecito Manse of Diandra Douglas Up For Grabs

SELLER: Diandra Douglas
LOCATION: Montecito, CA
PRICE: $29,000,000
SIZE: 7 and some acres, 7 bedrooms and a lot of bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Late in the night, well into our second pitcher of gin & tonics and about half way through a particularly disturbing episode of The Housewives of Orange County, Your Mama received a thoughtful missive from Big Dave over at Celebrity Address Aerial who linked us over to an opulent estate in Montecito, CA. Turns out the ocean view spread and it's Italian Villa style mansion, called La Quinta, belongs to a ladee named Diandra Douglas, the wealthy ex-wife of two-time Oscar winning actor Michael Douglas. Your Mama will always remember Mister Douglas for his Emmy nominating spin on Will & Grace as the lunky and closeted private eye who dances (poorly) with and rubs up on Will in the most vulgar and entirely unattractive manner. However, the Hollywood scion has also starred in dozens of films including iconic cinematic treats like Fatal Attraction, Wall Street, War of the Roses, Basic Instinct, and Coma, the very first film that scared the skin clean off our body. Oh, Mary, mother of God, all those people just hanging there, connected to tubes, still as death. Just thinking about it makes Your Mama need a damn nerve pill.

But we digress/ Mister and first Missus Douglas, that would be Diandra, married in 1977 and the following year first Missus Douglas pushed out a baby whom they named Cameron. Gossip glossy readers will already know that just yesterday, Cameron pled guilty to being a meth dealer and is expected to be sentenced from 10 years to life. A meth dealer! Making matters worse, while on house arrest awaiting his arraignment or trial (or whatever), his stoopid gurlfriend got caught smuggling the bad boy heroin tucked up in an eklectric damn toothbrush. Gurl, Pleeze. Dumb ass move on both of these people's part, but sad, sad, sad for Cameron's family.

Anyhoo, Mister and Missus Douglas remained coupled for a couple of decades but went kaput sometime before the year 2000 when Missus Douglas legally became ex-Missus Douglas. There was quite a bit of tawdry, tabloid style drama concerning the demise and dissolution of the Douglas' 23 year marriage. Before the ink was even dry on the dee-vorce decree–or rather, before there was any decree to be inked–Mister Douglas had hooked up with Welsh siren Catherine Zeta Jones wooing her, it is said, with the utterly icky and completely inappropriate line, "I want to father your children." Lo-ward have mercy children, it just makes Your Mama's skin crawl to think about some 50 something year old man saying something so ridiculous to anyone, let alone a woman who is 28 years younger. It's just so damn cliché, we can. not. bear. to. think. about. it. Miz Zeta Jones, on the other hand, was in her prime birthing years and clearly wasn't creeped out by Mister Douglas' dreadful and disturbing overture. Au contraire, mon frère, the May-December duo, who reportedly met at the Deauville Film Festival in France in 1998, quickly mated and made baby out of wedlock who was born in August of 2000, the very same year Mister and Missus Douglas' dee-vorce became final. Miz Zeta Jones had a few months to shed her baby weight and work out the pre-nup details that reportedly guarantee her somewhere around $2,800,000 for every year she stays married to Mister Douglas. That sounds a little like...Well, we all know what that sounds a little like. She wed he in November of 2000–also the same year Mister Douglas got dee-vorced–in a decadent ceremony at the Plaza Hotel. See why there might have been some nasty feelings on ex-Missus Douglas' part? No wonder she took him to the cleaners. The newlyweds took up residence in Bermuda, maintain a Manhattan apartment on the Central Park West and soon popped out another shortie.

As interesting and all that may be, we're not here to yammer on about the Viagra popping senior citizen and his young enough to be his daughter wife, but rather to discuss ex-Missus Douglas who, it was widely speculated and reported, received a settlement somewhere in the neighborhood of $45,000,000 when she kicked Mister Douglas to the curb. She was also, apparently, granted substantial alimony–we'll get to that in a minute–and given that property records only show her name on the deed(s) it would appear she also received their sprawling Montecito, CA estate that she recently heaved on the market with a brain burning asking price of $29,000,000.

Before we get to all that, let's all have a bit of real estate fun and go back in time so that we can weave in some of ex-Mrs. Douglas' other real estate transactions and romantic doings because, puppies, they are fascinating and deeply intertwined. Soon after getting a lucrative dee-vorce from her famous huzband, ex-Mrs. Douglas became entangled in a tempestuous relationship with a hedge hog with the comical, can't-make-this-shit-up name of Zack Hampton Bacon III. Mister Bacon wanted to marry ex-Mrs. Douglas. She refused, the story goes, unless he agreed to pay her the hundreds of thousands of clams in alimony she'd be giving up if she remarried. They did not marry. They did, in March 2004, have have twin piglets by surrogate–they are biologically Mister Bacon's–and lived in a New York City townhouse on East 69th Street owned by Mister Bacon.

Not long after the couple's twin bundles of boy joy were born, ex-Mrs. Douglas and Mister Bacon went splitsville. They squabbled about custody and she packed up her expensive things and moved a couple of blocks north to a 6-floor townhouse on East 71st Street that she bought in August of 2005 for $5,450,000. By the middle months of 2007, ex-Mrs. Douglas had a new huzband, gee-tar maker Michael Klein, and had hoisted her Upper East Side townhouse on the market with a gutsy asking price of $10,250,000.

Presumably ex-Missus Douglas wanted to sell the East 71st Street townhouse because prop records reveal that in May of 2007 she and her new Mister paid $15,250,000 for a much more grandiose townhouse with 8,000 square feet on 6 floors supremely located on a particularly swank block of East 65th Street. Before moving into the new house, the newlyweds–who must have been doing some renovation work on their new townhouse–reportedly took up temporary residence in the West 12th Street townhouse owned–but never occupied–by Band-Aid heiress Libbet Johnson who bought it for $9,100,000 from brilliant but faux-humble actress Meryl Streep. Why ex-Missus Douglas and the new Mister would need to hole up in Libbet's house when ex-Missus Douglas still owned her for-sale townhouse on East 65th Street is a mystery to Your Mama.

But alas, cupcakes. Romance again eluded ex-Missus Douglas and by late 2008 Mister Klein had dumped the dee-vorcée–so the story goes–and high-tailed it back to his raw food chef ex-wifey Roxanne. Oh what a tangled and woeful web some folks weave. At the time Mister Klein ditched her, ex-Missus Douglas had still not sold her East 71st Street townhouse and the asking price had plummeted a million clams to $9,250,000. Finally, in December of 2008, prop records reveal that the once again newly single ex-Missus Douglas–and now ex-Missus Klein–sold the East 71st Street house for the complicated price of $9,382,700. Property records also show that ex-Missus Douglas/ex-Missus Klein continues to own the East 65th Street townhouse where, presumably, she and her twin boys live when in residence in New York.

Now then, let's shush on back to the scenic coast of Caleepornya and get on with discussing ex-Missus Douglas' Montecito manse currently listed with the scorching asking price of 29 million smackers. As best as we can tell from a peep and a poke through the records, Mister and ex-Missus Douglas purchased their Montecito manse in January of 1979 for–are you sitting down, children?–$275,000. It's hard to believe that number reflects the total purchase price, but that's what we found kiddies.

The estate encompasses two stunning, private and very desirable ocean view parcels way up in the hills where Montecito becomes the fire-prone Los Padres National Forest. Records show the individual parcels measure 3.19 acres or 3.86 acres or 2.74 acres or 4.17 acres because we found records that show all four of those figures. Adding to our property size confusion, listing information indicates the property measures 7.03+- acres and the plat included in marketing material shows that one lot measures 4.04 acres and the other 3.01 acres for a total of 7.05 acres. Let's just put this to bed and say there are two lots totaling a hair more than seven acres.

A long, gated and tree covered driveway leads to a large motor court where carved antique carriage doors with pedestrian inserts open into the foyer, which has handmade tile on the floor and a groin vault on the ceiling. A 52-foot long galleria with groin arched ceilings and arched French doors directs traffic into to the 37-foot long living room with its heavy beamed ceiling, random plank and pegged oak floor, antique hand-carved limestone fireplace surround, and three fan-top French doors that open to a long loggia with panoramic ocean views–not to mention silly, billowy and gauzy curtains–and a groin arched ceiling. Heaven's to Betsy children, all this jibber-jabber about groins is driving Your Mama to drink and distraction.

The library and the baronial sized dining room, like the living room, have heavy beamed ceilings, random plank and pegged oak floors, fireplaces, French doors that open onto terraces and into the garden, and blah, blah, blah. What Your Mama finds most inneresting about this room is that ex-Missus Douglas has put a high-gloss baby grand piano in there so that her dinner guests can dine to the tinkle of the ivories. Is that the very picture of elegance, children, or is it just pretentious and a bit strange?

The 800-square foot kitchen has white cabinetry, blue granite counter tops–which is unusual and not entirely pleasant to see–a fully equipped butler's pantry, a built-in banquette and fireplace in the breakfast area, and the full complement of high-grade and uber-expensive appliances one should find in a $29,000,000 kitchen even if no one but Chef Lamar will ever use them. There is, according to marketing information, a half-pooper just off the kitchen and next to the back stairs the lead to the 2 bedroom and 1 pooper staff quarters.

The family room, according to listing information measures 37 feet by 18 feet. A few flicks of the well worn beads of our bejeweled abacus reveals those measurements work out to a devilish–if you believe in such nonsense–666 square feet. The architecture and day-core is more of the same: heavy beamed ceiling, hand made tile floor, fireplace, and three sets of French doors that open into the garden courtyard.

According to listing information, ex-Missus Douglas' domicile contains 7 bedrooms. As best as we can tell, that count includes the 2 staff rooms and the manager's/guest apartment which in addition to its own bedroom has a living room, kitchen and, we have to assume, a private pooper. There appear to be four principal bedrooms in the main house, each with a pooper of its own. The master has not one but two poopers, a gentleman's bath done up in Italian marble and a ladee's bathing and evacuation center with Jacuzzi tub, a double shower bathed in Italian marble, a corner fireplace and two walk in closets. The master suite also includes a large sitting room and a bedroom with, you guessed it, random plank pegged oak floors, French doors that open to a large brick terrace, panoramic views, and a corner fireplace. We will not discuss the shades in the bedroom. They are simply to horrible to deal with.

The back of the house opens up to terraces, patios, loggias and vast meticulously maintained gardens that tumble down to the 70-foot long swimming pool and the adjacent vine-covered pool/guest house. The pool/guest house contains a large living room with–yes–a beamed ceiling and French doors that open to the tennis court on one side and the pool deck on the other. There is also another damn fireplace, which makes nine by our count. There is also full kitchen with Corian counter tops, a full pooper with hot-air sauna, and large room that can be utilized as an exercise room or, better yet, as a bedroom for Sven, our hard-working Sveedish masseur who does not speak a word of English or Spanish or any other language we can understand. Not only would Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter d.i.e. to have Sven as a full-time masseur, so would our imperious house gurl Svetlana who doesn't, the poor dear, know better than to bark up the wrong tree.

Moving on...The gardens are without question spectacular and without question spectacularly high-maintenance. The gardens, which surely require several bare chested men be on the property 7 days a week pruning, mowing, and sweating in the most attractive manner, include acres of rolling lawns, overflowing beds with flowering plants, palm trees, fountains, stone urns by the dozen, secret spots where Sven can work his magic outdoors, and magnificent vistas over the treetops and towards the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands. The views alone, children, are worth many millions. Montecito is a bit staid for our real estate tastes, but it is gor-gee-uhs and we certainly wouldn't say no to an opportunity to live up with all those elegant rich people. The grounds also include an elaborate Japanese water garden with a tea house or some such thing stuck in the middle. Now children, riddle me this: Iffin Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter were in the market for a 29 million dollar mansion–which we will never, ever be–and we cottoned to this lovely spread, would we in addition to Sven and Svetlana need to keep a couple of Japanese girls on retainer who know the intricate tea rituals? Would a couple of Brits suffice?

Also scattered about the gardens, according to listing information, is a fence dog run–a punishment we would never inflict on our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly–a citrus orchard, large and muh-tour shade trees, a fenced vegetable and herb garden with raised beds and extensive exterior lighting for impressing garden guests in the night.

We certainly don't have any idea why ex-Missus Douglas is selling La Quinta, but we certainly can't blame her. Not only will she likely pocked tens of millions of dollars, we imagine an estate like this–even with paid help–is a lot to manage for a single lady with two young children and another huzband to catch.

photos: Sotheby's International Realty

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