Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Your Mama Takes On Tracey Ullman's House

SELLERS: Tracey Ullman and Allan McKeown
LOCATION: Pacific Palisades, CA
PRICE: $5,350,000
SIZE: 5,574 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Who doesn't love a little kismet? Over the weekend Your Mama watched–on the TiVo–the opening episode for the third season Tracey Ullman's State of the Union on the Showtime. Within minutes of the program ending–BLAM!–we received a covert communique from The Rolling Stone who whispered in Your Mama's big ear that Miz Ullman and her producer huzband Allan McKeown recently listed their Pacific Palisades pad with an asking price of $5,350,000. That's kismet, kiddies. Kiz-met.

Being a British gal and all, Miz Ullman started up her ladder of fame across the pond appearing in a number of sketch comedy programs including Girls on Top with the dee-voon Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. In the mid-1980s she had a number of hit songs–yes she did–and in the late 1980s, the funny ladee hightailed it for Hollywood where she did it up royally on The Tracey Ullman Show. Some of you children may be too young to remember this showbiz tidbit, but the high-sterical and wickedly satirical animated series The Simpsons–which happens to be the longest running sitcom in television history–was spun off Miz Ullman's program. Yes it was. Anyhoo, Miz Ullman went on to do Tracey Takes On... in the late 1990s, became an American citizen in 2006 and most recently she created and stars in Tracey Ullman's State of the Union in which she lovingly skewers political, social and pop culture in America.

Your Mama don't care what anyone else thinks about this, but we are of the satirical (and maybe cynical) mind that American life could use a little lampooning every now and then and we think beehawtcha is 12 kinds of smart and funny. Miz Ullman's 11 American Comedy Awards, her Golden Globe Award, and her 6 damn Emmys plus 11 more nominations think she's funny too. Not bad for a high school drop out.

Property records show the Mister McKeown and Miz Ullman–whose is officially, legally, Missus KcKeown–purchased their 1920s Spanish style mansion on a palm tree lined street in the Riviera section of sleepy, family friendly Pacific Palisades in September of 1988 for $1,800,000. Listing information indicates there are 5 bedrooms and 6 poopers in the walled, gated and high-hedged hacienda, although it appears to Your Mama that one of the bedrooms and one of the poopers is contained in a detached guest house that also includes a full kitchen. Our space craving and tyrannical house gurl Svetlana would pee her pants with glee iffin Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter put her up in her own little house tucked up at the back of the property. But alas...

Miz Ullman's house is clearly not nearly as funny as she is although it's not without it's quirky and even whimsical decorative moments. The front door opens into a dramatic, double height foyer with traditional Spanish tiles on the floor and overhead a small rotunda that from the exterior is perfectly appropriate but from the inside looks a bit heavy handed to Your Mama. Particularly when paired with the theatrical almost farcical staircase that splits in the middle to become two staircases and the monumentally sized arched window at the rear.

In addition the the large living room decorated in a manner that sort of makes Your Mama feel like no one ever ever ever goes in there, there is also a dining room with an antique chandelier and a Biedermeier-esqe dining room table surrounded by eight chairs with leopard print cushions. We do so prefer to see a rug on the floor in dining rooms and strongly feel this room would benefit from something deep and dark colored on the floor to ground the space and really set the details of that table off. Your Mama was not going to mention the wine-rack/boo-fay thing on the back wall, but we can't help it: Tracey, hunny, no. Do not let the movers pack that up and move it anywhere but the dumpster. Seriously. And the orchid? Jeezis. Really?

The family room and the kitchen are open to each other. In general we ain't got nuthin' to beef about in there and in fact we love that sofa built into the large, curving wall of paned glass that's evocative of the sleek streamlined moderne style. We also find the cooker to be sufficiently gore-may with commercial style stainless steel appliances with loads of white cabinets including the glass fronted uppers to soar all the way to the ceiling. Nice touch. What we find more than just a wee bit disturbing are the bleached wood floors. It's not that we don't like bleached wood floors it's that the rest of the house has honey colored wood floors. With all the Spanish tile and all the honey colored wood, the addition of a third floor color seems a little disconcerting, even schizophrenic. That issue, however, is easily fixed Anyone who can afford a five million dollar house can surely afford to install new wood floors that match the rest of the house.

Your Mama loves and appreciates the Miz Ullman and Mister McKeown have chosen to maintain the original tile in at least some of their six poopers. We well realize that a certain type of bathroom sybarite will find these vintage 1920s poopers to be insanely out of date and lacking in a few modern conveniences–like, say, counter space–but we love them. We particularly cotton to that blue one with the yellow shower curtain. But then again, Your Mama isn't much of a groomer–tis true–so we don't really require much counter space for lotions and potions and bottles of elixirs that promise eternal youth. We can easily get by with a few inches on either side of the sink for the toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste.

Out back, beyond the central courtyard and across a patch of green grass are a swimming pool and spa with an adjacent guesthouse and spa facilities that include a sauna and indoor spa room painted up in a particularly alarming shade of acid green. Ordinarily we hoot and holler and clap like crazy when we come across a house wherein someone had the decorative cajones to work some bright colors into the palette. Lo-ward knows Your Mama is so sick and ti-erd of all these tone on tone beige houses that subscribe with an almost religious fervor to the damn fool notion that a home needs to be done up in a neutral manner so as not to offend the decorative sensibilities of all the people who don't even have any decorative sense. We thinks that's hogwash.

However, when you take that acid green and marry it to rose colored accents and baby blue tile work, you've got yourself a real live four alarm decorative fire. So, while we do give Miz Ullman deserved credit for stepping way outside the beige box of banal day-core, this particularly egregious crime of chromaticity is not one that Your Mama cares for nor is it one we can safely recommend replicating in your own home. Lo-ward Miz Ullman, iffin we were you–which we are clearly not–we'd be paralyzed with fear of being sued by a guest walking into that room and going instantly blind from charred retinas. In the interest of public safety, Your Mama feels that we must suggest to Miz Ullman and her real estate people that they put a big bucket of dark glasses and a strongly worded warning next to the door letting people know that they're about to be physically and mentally assaulted with a powerful and potentially painful phosphorescence. It's the decent thing to do.

Anyhoo, why Miz Ullman and Mister McKeown would, after all these many years shacking up in there Spanish mansion, decide to sell up is a mystery. Perhaps they're looking for something even more celebrity style? Or maybe they're downsizing now that both of their children are college age? Perhaps planning on spending more time their home in the U.K.? Whatever the case, Your Mama sincerely wishes them a happy new home, much success with her funny new tee-vee programs and the good sense not to take any extra cans of that acid green paint to their next home.

source: Sotheby's International Realty

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