Friday, April 30, 2010

Madonna of Madrid Lists Los Angeles Hideaway

SELLER: Penelope Cruz
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $3,695,000
SIZE: 3,334 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: This morning Your Mama received a lovely missive from Big Dave at Celebrity Address Aerial who pointed our beady little eyes in the direction of a "Balinese Modern" style residence above Los Angeles' Sunset Strip owned and listed for sale by freakishly fetching actress Penelope Cruz, a.k.a the Madonna of Madrid.

Unlike all these talent free pretty faces that inhabit Tinseltown–you know who you are ladees–Miss Cruz is a force to be reckoned with on the silver screen earning an Oscar for her part in Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona plus two additional nominations for Nine and Volver. She also appeared in All the Pretty Horses, Vanilla Sky, Gothika and Los Abrazos Rotos, her fourth film with Oscar winning and flaw-less filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar.

The never married Miss Cruz tends to keep her private life private but according to all the gossip glossies she has a penchant for coupling up with her high profile co-stars such as Matt Damon, that creepy Tom Crooz character with whom she is still palzee-walzee, and her current beau–the most handsome, sexy and talented of them all–Oscar winning actor Javier Bardem (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, No Country for Old Men, Before Night Falls, Jamón Jamón)

Property records show that Miss Cruz, who speaks an impressive four languages, purchased her Sunset Strip area residence in May of 2005 for $3,138,000. Apparently Miss Cruz only used the property as an occasional crash pad because in 2008 she put the place out for lease at $14,500 per month and the property is still listed as available for locations shoots through at least one of the many location agencies in Los Angeles. This is sort of strange for a ladee known to protect her privacy and personal life like a mama bear protecting her cub.

Anyhoo, listing information and property records for Miss Cruz's crib both agree that the single story house measures 3,334 square feet and includes 3 bedooms and 3.5 poopers plus a room for the maid or office use. Carved wood doors open from the street into a small courtyard with fountain that leads to the front door. Due to the parcel's pie shape, the interior spaces are punished with some awkward angles and odd relationships between rooms, i.e. the living, dining and family room areas. Some of the wacky angles and relationships are soothed by the uniformity of the bamboo floors laid throughout the house and when the house was fully decked out with Miss Cruz's combination of Bali meets Hollywood glam there was a flow to the spaces that made them feel more appropriately positioned.

The good sized gourmet kitchen has all the expected high grade appliances and granite counter tops but we're a little concerned about the pea soup green colored cabinetry, a color that unfortunately repeats itself on the wood frames surrounding the windows and French doors in the rest of the house. Maybe in real life that hue works better, but in pictures it's kind of bone chilling.

Miss Cruz's boo-dwar opens to the back yard through French doors and includes a wall of wardrobes and dressing area with a full length mirror perfect for the pre-red carpet dress checks, sitting area, and a bathroom commodious enough to contain an antique dining room table and two slip covered chairs. We're not sure exactly why Miss Cruz would want an antique dining table in her pooper but perhaps she like to take her morning tea near the terlit or play Canasta with her assistant before she steps into the shower.

The house wraps around a large terrace at the back of the house. A classic kidney shaped swimming pool is surrounded by several lounging locations and a swatch of grass that gives way to a down slope and downtown views.

Miss Cruz's nearby neighbors include writer/producer Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Charlie Wilson's War) and Guinness heiress Evgenia Citkowitz and her man-mate actor Julian Sands (Boxing Helena, 24, Lipstick Jungle) who made the knees of Your Mama and everyone else we knew buckle with desire back in 1985 when he starred as George Emerson in A Room With A View.

photos: Sotheby's International Realty / Brett Lawyer

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oh No She Diuhnt! And Oh No He Diuhnt!

We should prolly just keep our fat trap shut about this because it's barely about real estate but we can't help it...

Your Mama was perusing Curbed LA yesterday afternoon awaiting inspiration and lightening to strike when we read with a grisly combination of righteous indignation and breathless flabbergast their rehash of the utterly absurd US Magazine report about how Brad freaking Pitt–allegedly–has his panties in a twist about his ex-wife Jennifer Aniston's new found affection for all things architecture.

See puppies, architecture is kinda Brad's thing, you know? Apparently–and allegedly–back when the Pittster and Missy Hoo Hoo were still married and re-working Wallis Annengberg's big ol' house in Beverly Hills she would mock poor Brad for his thing, you know? So he's little sensitive and possessive about his thing, you know?

Then along comes the big, ugly dee-vorce–that was, mind y'all, finalized 5 damn years ago–and Mister Pitt's seemingly endless adoptions and breeding events with Angelina Jolie, all of which–according to previous tabloid reports–left ex-Missus Pitt bereft and tumbling into the arms of bad boys like Vince Vaughan and diarrhea mouthed musician Jon Mayer.

If Us Magazine's unidentified source is to be believed–and we paraphrase liberally here–when jealously didn't work it's bitter magic on the Pittster ex-Missus Pitt moved on to Plan B: She went and bought herself a humongous Hal Leavitt designed house in Beverly Hills and then proceeded to pay nice, gay decorator Stephen Shandley a pretty penny or three to do up the place in a kind of high style, an time consuming and exceedingly exercise that was all, according to Us Magazine's source, just a pathetic "ploy" to get the Pittster's attention.

Bitch, pleeze.

Are we, the tabloid reading public, really supposed to believe that ex-Missus Pitt is so wrecked and desperate to restart her long dead romance with the Pittster and that rat's nest on his chin that she would spend a staggering $13,500,000 to buy an architecturally significant home and god only knows how many millions more on a re-do just so that she could get her pretty house on the cover of Architectural damn Digest and thus, finally and at long last, snatch the Pittster's attentions away from his global do-gooding baby momma Angelina Jolie and their 87 children? Really?

Listen celery sticks, Your Mama his hardly Miz Aniston's biggest fan but even our cynical pea-sized brain does not and can not allow us to believe that Miz Aniston is that many kinds of berserk. Like that Bravo tee-vee executive and budding talk show queen Andy Cohen says, "Here's what:" All these gossip glossies have just got to drop their incessant and stoopid bizness about ex-Missus Aniston still spending her nights lonely and locked up in her Hal Leavitt designed and Stephen Shandley re-worked mansion pining away for the Pittster and his architectural thing. It's tie-urd. A been there and done that so many times times we got a bladder infection kind of tie-urd.

Okay? Enough.

A Bel Air Beast In Contract

Strap on your safety belts, hitch up your britches and grab a big fat nerve pill children because there's a big deal going down in Bel Air that is sure to drop jaws and make every owner of a home listed at more than $25,000,000 grin with glee and breathe a deep sigh of relief that there really may be some life in the extreme upper end of the Los Angeles property market.

In February of 2009, amid much hoopla and tittering by real estate watchers and gossips, real estate developer Mohamed Hadid listed his newly completed, colossal 48,000 square foot beast in Los Angeles' uppity Bel Air neighborhood with an equally uppity and porcine asking price of $85,000,000.

The price of the ridiculously opulent 10 bedroom and 14 pooper pile that sits on 2.2 acres was dropped to $72,000,000 in August of 2009. After more than a year on the market the listing is now marked, "Backup Offers Accepted" indicating a deal is in the works for three floor monster mansion that includes 19 fireplaces, a 280 degree view, a 5,000 bottle wine cellar, an honest to goodness ballroom, a professional screening room, a Moroccan themed lounge and Turkish hammam (erroneously spelled "hummam" on the listing), a damn swan pond, and more tangled and tortured boiserie than the damn Palace of Versailles.

Suzanne Saperstein, Candy Spelling and Iris Cantor–a trio of wildly rich single ladees who all have booteek hotel sized houses in Los Angeles on the market–must be spitting jealous and seeing red that they've been trying to unload their high-priced white elephants for years and years and years with no luck and along comes Mister Mohammad Hadid who snatches up a buyer for his insanely expensive behemoth after just 420-some days.

Naturally, upon getting wind of the deal Your Mama put out feelers with a few of our better connected peeps in the Platinum Triangle. Of course, everything is secret, secret, secret regarding the potential deal but what we're hearing back from two separate sources is that the buyer is a big money foreigner and that the deal is going down in the fifty million dollar range. Have mercy. A third source with deep connections in the high end Bev Hills-Bel Air real estate world told Your Mama the "alleged" price being bandied about is closer to sixty million and suspects there may be some kind of business connection/relationship between the seller and buyer.

Other than that the property is marked "Looking for Backup" Your Mama can't confirm any of this information. At this point it's just rumor and gossip. Got that kids? Rumor and gossip. We won't know the real details until the deeds and records are recorded or, more likely, we read about it in one of the more respectable real estate gossip columns.

Mister Hadid, who claims he spent $59,000,000 building the massive manse, made much of his millions developing Ritz-Carlton hotels as well as lavish mansions like the Bel Air behemoth on Carolwood Drive where Michael Jackson expired under suspicious circumstances in June of 2009.

photo: Coldwell Banker Previews / Joyce Rey

Summer's A Comin': Rent Stephen Dorff's Beach House

OWNER: Stephen Dorff
PRICE: $50,000/month
SIZE: 2,298 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Summer's a comin' children and it's time to get your beach rentals lined up and paid for or else you'll be stuck with some shackety-shack in downmarket Hamptons Bays or, even worse, spending weekends next door to a party house in Malibu sponsored by some dorky company who names the house something even more dorky like the Silver Cup House of Sand and Sunshine.

Those with an architectural bent–and a left coast location–might consider this little Buff & Hensman designed number on Malee-boo's La Costa beach that happens to be owned by itty bitty hot bodied actor Stephen Dorff who recently put his contemporary crib out for lease at $50,000 per month fully furnished.

Mister Dorff, for those not familiar with his work and body parts, got his start on the boob toob way back when with small parts on programs such as Diff'rent Strokes and Married With Children. He went on to movie stardom with roles in I Shot Andy Warhol, Shadowboxer–in which he shamelessly bares his condom covered naughty bits, Cold Creek Manor–in which he was panned, World Trade Center, Deuces Wild, Cecil B. Demented, Backbeat and Blade. He will soon appear as a porn star in Adam Sandler's Born To Be A Star and Sofia Coppola's upcoming and anticipated Sunshine.

The actor, who often portrays hot head characters is perhaps as well known for his cockswordmanship as his acting. He's a notorious dater of moe-dells and his catwalker conquests include Shannan Click and Rhea Durham, now Mark Wahlberg's baby momma and new wife. Mister Dorff has also worked his way through a large number of famous actresses including Alicia Silverstone, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Pam Anderson, and Milla Jovovich. He is also widely rumored to have had some sort of thing with REM front man Michael Stipe although neither cop to anything more than a close friendship.

Property records show that Mister Dorff scooped up his beach house in December of 2001 paying $2,546,000 for the architecturally significant residence on La Costa beach, one of the sandier and more desirable beaches in the Boo. Listing information and property records both indicate the modern abode was built in 1969 and measures 2,298 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 3 poopers including an ocean side master suite with access to a private deck through a wide wall of floor to ceiling glass.

Listing information states the day-core was done up by noted Los Angeles decorator to the stars Brad Dunning who, in addition to Mister Dorff's beach house, has worked over interiors for folks like fashion queen turned filmmaker Tom Ford, fashion photographer Dewey Nicks, über agent Bryan Lourd, and Demi Moore and Asthon Kutcher. Your Mama is not generally a fan of earth tone interiors–Your Mama's Momma was way, way, way too into the earth tones and we have a penchant for bright and shiny things–but we none the less think that Mister Dunning has succeeded in that he's respected the original design and spirit of the house without making it look like a cheap decorative time capsule. This looks to Your Mama both modern–as in up to date–and sexy vintage 1978, the sort of place Ali MacGraw, Goldie Hawn, David Geffen, Dyan Cannon, Ryan O'Neal and Linda Ronstadt might have spent summer weekends smoking pot, doing lines, running lines and working on their tan lines.

A small, plant filled courtyard acts as a buffer between the bizzy Pacific Coast Highway and the house. A converging collection of horizontal and vertical lines and planes make up the signature architectural element of the house and a perfect harmony between inside and out is achieved through soaring walls of smoky glass that open and spill out onto the terrace that overlooks the sand and sea. A wide entrance hall–where Mister Dorff has a black baby grand piano–shuttles one into the main living space, an airy affair comprised of a double height dining area with brown tile flooring and a more intimate sunken living room with fireplace, chocolate milk colored shag carpeting, and built in cabinetry chock full of state of the art electronic equipment.

The shag carpeting continues right up the spiral staircase. With all due respect to Mister Dunning, carpeting on stairs is an inflexible no-no in Your Mama's big book of decorating dos and dont's. It just ends up looking matted and dirty, like the sort of carpeting found in a crack house and crack house carpeting just isn't a good look. Ever. The stairs spiral up and into the an office/library/lounge that is the hub from which all three bedrooms spoke. The upstairs lounge has a wall of book shelves–nice to know that Mister Dorff actually reads–and is simply furnished with pair of matching Eames loungers and a drum set. We're guessing Mister Dunning didn't include the drum set in his original plans for the room and we'd get them out of there because not only do they look like scary spider monsters, they make an atrocious clamor when played in a private home.

The children will note Misters Buff and Hensman's clever way of bring both light and the ocean view deep into the interior of the house with huge voids in the walls of the office/library/lounge and ocean side master bedroom that obliterate any visual obstruction between the rooms. Mister Dorff and whatever ladee-friend he may be entertaining nowadays can sit quietly in those Eames loungers reading something by Phillip Roth or maybe Isabel Allende and see the ocean through the void, over the air space above the dining room, through a second void, across the master bedroom and out the wall of windows that open from the master bedroom to its private terrace. Well done gentleman, well done.

Mister Dorff's nearby neighbors include David Spade, music mogul Lou Adler (and his big-balled son Cisco whose house perches on the bluff across the PCH and just above Daddy Adler's), and right next door is the beach house of Oscar winning actress Charlize Theron and her long time man friend, actor Stuart Townsend who, it has been widely reported, is camped out in the ocean front house in the aftermath of the high wattage couple's alleged bust up.

Back in October of 2008 Your Mama discussed Mister Dorff's 1 bedroom and 2 pooper penthouse pied a terre in Manhattan, which at the time he had listed for sale with an optimistic asking price of $3,000,000 and for lease fully furnished with an asking price of $15,000 per month. The Chelsea neighborhood penthouse was later taken off the market and then put back on in early 2009 with an asking price of $2,650,000. In November of 2009, the penthouse was taken off the market. Your Mama finds no record of a transaction indicating that Mister Dorff still owns the West 19th Street apartment that features a glorious and generously sized roof terrace.

photos: Sotheby's International Realty / Jonah Wilson

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's Back...

...It seems that the listing for Nic Cage's former Bel Air mansion–the Gerard Colcord designed one once owned by cheesy crooner Tom Jones and boozy crooner Dean Martin–is just never going to go away. After listing the house for $35,000,000 way back in 2007, chopping the price all the way to $17,500,000 and then losing it to foreclosure in early April of 2010, the now lender-owned property is back on the market with an asking price of $12,750,000.

Interestingly and not surprisingly to anyone who has been inside the house, the property is now being marketed as a bit of a fixer upper with listing text reading, "Bring this home up to today's standards..." In the right hands, it really could be a beauty, an awkward beauty perhaps, but awkward beauty really is the best kind. Just ask a model booker.

Anyhoo, the children will notice that many of the light fixtures–sconces and chandeliers alike–have been removed from the house. Of course, Your Mama don't know a piece of wood from a bunch of grapes, but we're guessing Mister Cage snatched them all off the wall and out of the ceiling and has them in storage, perhaps out in that airplane hangar he's rumored to lease at the Santa Monica airport where he stores his vast collection of vintage automobiles.

Whatever the case, Your Mama wonders if Mister Cage had priced the house at $12,500,000 to begin with if he'd have sold it long ago and spared himself the hassle and indignity of foreclosure.

photo: Pacific Coast News

The Psycho Lady's Bev Hill House Goes on the Market

SELLER: Estate(s) of Janet Leigh and Robert Brandt
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $3,395,000
SIZE: 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Okay puppies, Your Mama is well aware that actress Janet Leigh has been dead for nearly 6 years and that her 4th and last huzband Robert Brandt passed on to the great director in the sky in September of 2009. However, Miz Leigh and Mister Brandt lived in this home for for 30+ years, according to all the obits both died in this house and according to property records it is still owned by Mister Brandt, or at least the estate of Mister Brandt.

Starting back in the mid 1940s, Miz Leigh–the very famous mother of Lady Haden-Guest otherwise known as Jamie Lee Curtis–starred in more than 60 films including Little Women with Dame Elizabeth Taylor and the adult diaper pusher June Allyson, Orson Welle's gorgeous film noir Touch of Evil, The Manchurian Candidate and Bye Bye Birdie. Her most enduring role, the one that solidified her place among the lexicon of Tinseltown's most iconic actresses and earned her both Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations, was as Marion Crane, the embezzling secretary in Psycho who gets brutally offed in the shower by a creepy, dagger wielding Norman Bates.

Miz Leigh and her last huzband, stockbroker Robert Brandt, were married in 1962 and remained married until Miz Leigh died in 2004. According to property records, the couple purchased this woodsy contemporary crib in the Beverly Hills Post Office in October of 1976 for $357,500. Records on file with the Beverly Hills tax man indicate the house measures 4,432 square feet and includes 4 bedrooms and 5 poopers. Listing information, on the other hand, does not state a size and shows there are 4 bedrooms and just 4 poopers.

The half-acre plus sized and triangular shaped property, protected by electronic drive gates and ringed by mature landscaping and shade trees, sits high above Beverly Hills just south of Beverly Park, the illustrious gated community of steroidal mega-mansions. The approach to the front door is, we're sorry to say, lackluster, pedestrian and certainly not celebrity style due in large part to the front facing two-car garage and prison like chain link fencing that surrounds the tennis court and looms awkwardly over the mini motor court.

The house, built in 1976 according to listing information, has interior spaces that scream 1976. There are wood lined walls and wood lined vaulted ceilings, a lot of oatmeal colored wall to wall carpeting, and poopers with patterned tiles in every shade of earth tone. Large windows and oodles of sliding glass doors look out and open to tree top views that almost seem alpine, more South Lake Tahoe than Beverly Hills Post Office. The living room has a built in bar, natch, and a massive brick fireplace. Both are double sided situations that pass through to the library, a cozy if dated room lined with 1970s era book shelves and plantation shutters on the windows and sliding glass doors.

The kitchen, with its rust colored tile floor, nutmeg colored cabinetry, combination of butcher block and russet colored tile counter tops, butter yellow porcelain sink, and mixy-matchy melange of middle-brow appliances looks to Your Mama like someone dipped the damn room in formaldehyde back in 1984. It's not a bad kitchen in that it's decently sized, has large windows above the sink and counter top and opens to the small breakfast area and family room, but it's certainly a room that needs to be gutted, updated, upgraded and hauled into the 21st century. It also needs to have that dangerous pot rack removed before someone gets brained by a rogue copper frying pan that could come loose with even the most gentle earthquake.

A bridge over the main living spaces on the ground floor connects the upstairs bedroom wings that include a master suite with vaulted ceilings, tree top and city views through a wall of windows, a fireplace, sitting area, dressing room and dual poopers, one for Miz Leigh and the other for Mister Brandt. While Your Mama sees dual poopers as just another brawl with our imperious house gurl Svetlana who comes unglued at the mere mention of dual master poopers–it's a selfish conceit in her mind and just another unnecessary terlit to clean–many claim separate terliting and primping facilities are the very key to a happy relationship. Could be. After all Miz Leigh and Mister Brandt were married for an ice age.

Although the lot is well under an acre, Miz Leigh and Mister Brandt managed to squeeze in the aforementioned mini-motor court at the front, multi-level terracing at the back of the house, a large swimming pool surrounding by brick terracing, and an almost north/south aligned lighted tennis court that, according to listing photographs, has been immaculately maintained.

It's really not necessary for Your Mama to dig into the day-core because Miz Leigh and Mister Brandt's personal belongings have obviously been removed and replaced by Staging Lady in a Pink Toyota with a incongruous collection of white sofas, glammy mirrored tables and dressers, a truckload of bulbous pottery, and more fake orchid plants that Your Mama can be bothered to count.

We have a sneaking suspicion Miz Leigh and Mister Brandt's long time residence will be purchased and razed to make way for some sort of over-sized mock Mediterranean affair filled with elaborately carved corbels, fussy fireplace surrounds and acres of beige travertine and marble flooring. Perhaps we're having a weak architectural moment or an aneurysm but iffin we're being honest, and we always are, Your Mama would much rather have someone cotton to the particular beauties and wonders of this house–such as those soaring, wood lined ceilings–and figure out a way to transform this 1970s time capsule into something more current while retaining the spirit of the original house even if it isn't architecturally significant, you know? They can't all be Neutras, Woolfs, Robertsons or Boons, right? We reserve the right to change our mind on this depending on who buys the house and what architect they choose to build their own version of Barbie's Dream House.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What A Year!!


The Skirted  Roundtable


Yep!  Hard to believe but we’re starting our second year of the Skirted Roundtable.   It was all Linda Merrill’s idea, so blame her, not me.   Linda was a blogging friend of mine from Massachusetts that I had bonded with over our mutual love of the Something’s Gotta Give house.  I kid her about being a grandmother because she’s been blogging with Surroundings much longer than most of us have, but she’s actually younger than Megan or me.   Last year Linda approached me about joining her for a weekly design podcast and I suggested we also ask Megan of Beach Bungalow 8 fame.   Megan and I were emails buddies who had spent many late nights laughing while texting, but then she had to go off and get married and our late night texting  abruptly stopped.   I’d missed our laugh filled sessions, so I begged Linda to ask Megan to join us.   Our plan was straight forward -  we would talk over Skype since we lived in Texas, Massachusetts and California and it would only be audio because everyone looks like a troll on Skype, even the gorgeous Megan.      Initially we promised ourselves we could keep it short and sweet:   fifteen minutes of talking about design and fifteen minutes of talking about blogging, period.  We actually kept to that schedule  for a few months until we started having guests and our short and sweet turned into one hour plus.    It’s been so much fun this past year - we record on Monday nights at 11:00 pm EST and usually don’t end the conversation until 1:00 am.    We’ve had some incredible guests – Charlotte Moss, Alessandra Branca, and Vicente Wolf, to name a few.   I will confess that my stomach was in knots interviewing Charlotte – she’s one of my idols and I still can’t believe she agreed to talk with us!   We’ve got some more great interviews lined up for our second year – noted author Diane Dorrans Saeks and interior design extraordinaire Mary Douglas Drysdale are coming up soon.

As always, it’s your support and loyalty that makes it all worthwhile and we can’t thank you enough for listening and leaving comments.  Just a reminder – the Skirted Roundtable is available on I-Tunes for downloading by subscription.   



Lee Stanton poses.  Sigh.


This past week on the  Skirted  Roundtable, our guest was the absolutely gorgeous (!) noted antiquarian Lee Stanton from Los Angeles.   If you are like me and are interested in antiques and the antiques business, be sure to listen to his interview.    He is a fascinating man and we really learned a lot about antiques from him  - I hope you will too!!!   To listen to Lee’s interview, please go HERE.

Sonja Morgan's Townhouse: On Then Off the Market

SELLER: Sonja Morgan
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $7,250,000
SIZE: 4,500 square feet (approx.), 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: All the children–at least those that have been coming around for awhile–know that Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter both have an unhealthy and probably damaging affection for all the ladees of The Real Housewives... series on the Bravo. (Are you listening Andy Cohen? Your Mama is about to give y'all some more free press even though you don't give us the time of day. What can Your Mama say, we're nice like that.)

Anyhoo, Your Mama may have left our cold, dark heart in San Francisco but we left the memories of most of our adult life in the En-Why-See so out of all those crazy broads we have a real soft spot for the high drama behawtchas in New York City. We even like that Bethenny one who can turn a phrase like nobody's bidness but will lacerate you with her razor sharp tongue and not invite you to her wedding if you get on her bad side by doing something so foolish as, say, spending more time with your huzband who's undergoing cancer treatments than with her and her unrelenting quest to teach woman how to embrace "Thin Thoughts" and stay "Naturally Thin" by eating next to nothing.

For reasons not yet explained publicly, Miss Cohen and his people thought it was a swell idea–or at least a ratings boosting idea–to toss another claws out kitty into the cat box. Enter sexed up dee-vorcee Sonja Morgan, one of LuAnn's charity circuit gal pals who seems to have a spider web of connections to the other women. Ramona–whose behavior gets more bizarre by the minute–knows sexed up Sonja for 20 years and, in a funny and embarrassing coincidence, sexed up Sonja is shtupping Argentinian "actor" Max Palacio who was previously seen on the program as a man-beau of Kelly Bensimon.

Miz Morgan, a forty six year old bottle blondie with a pre-teen piglet, is an interesting ladee if you think ladees who married well and dee-vorced better are interesting. From the wee bit o' research we did on the interweb we've pieced together a Reader's Digest version of Miz Morgan's life that we think and hope is accurate. The socially ambitious Miz Morgan (nee Tremont) hails from Albany, the state capital of New York. According to Miz Morgan herself, she put herself through college, modeled in Europe, and brokered deals–whatever that means–before landing in New York City where she was a hostess/public relations gal at San Pietro, a Midtown Manhattan Italian eatery on East 54th Street. It was there she became acquainted with an older, well bred gentleman named John Adams Morgan, a direct descendant of American steel tycoon and voracious art collector John Pierrepont Morgan.

Mister Morgan would have been quite a catch and offered instant social credibility for any single gal with social ambitions on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Not only is Mister Morgan wealthy, more importantly he's old(ish) and distinguished New York money. Certainly not van Rensellear old money, but a definite cut or three above all the newly rich Wall Street financier types. Anyhoo, eventually Mister Morgan and Miss Tremont were married and moved into a townhouse east of Lexington Avenue–the wrong side of Lexington according to real estate snobs. They made a baby and made the international social scene in glitzy locales such as Connecticut–where they had a country house, Switzerland, Aspen, Malibu and the Bahamas–where their yacht was often parked. She also made besties with other high-toned and well connected ladees like Ann Dexter-Jones–that's Samantha Ronson's mommy–Ivana Trump and (Baby) Jane Holzer, the former muse of Andy Warhol. But alas, as love often does, Mister and Missus Morgan's affection for each other swirled down the terlit of time. In 2006 the Morgans split and in 2008 they were divorced.

Before going splitsville, Miz Morgan agreed to finance a film through her company Sonja Productions. According to Hannibal Pictures Miz Morgan did not cough up the promised cash. She was sued for breach of contract–or something like that–and a California federal court awarded Hannibal Pictures $7,060,000. Miz Morgan, according to reports, has not yet paid her court ordered judgment and as a result Hannibal Pictures is now going after her assets in a Manhattan Supreme Court. Oh dear.

This new court case may–or may not–explain why Miz Morgan's townhouse on East 63rd Street–which had been for sale for a very long time–was taken off the market in mid-March of 2010. It might also explain why she might want whatever income, publicity and proceeds might result from her stint on The Real Housewives of New York City.

Now that we've digressed into the whos and whats of Miz Morgan let's get down to brass tacks, the real estate. As mentioned above, until mid-March of 2010 Miz Morgan had her Upper East Side townhouse on the market. In fact, according to the peeps at Street Easy, Miz Morgan has been trying to dump her 5-floor crib since April of 2008, right about the time her dee-vorce was finalized. The townhouse was first listed with an asking price of $12,000,000. Nine months later the townhouse was taken off the market and another nine months later–this brings us to November of 2009–it was put back on the market with a new listing broker and a new and reduced asking price of $9,250,000.

Two months later Miz Morgan hacked a million clams off the asking priced and six weeks (or so) later she cleaved another million off the price tag, bringing it down to $7,250,000. Are the children keeping up? Two weeks later–we're in the middle of March 2010 now–the listing was marked "no longer available."

Property records indicate the townhouse was purchased by Mister and Missus Morgan in 1998 for $9,100,000. Listing information shows the very narrow, limestone clad townhouse measures around 4,500 square feet and contains 5 bedrooms and 5 poopers. However, according to the floor plan included with marketing materials, there are 4 bedrooms–the fifth appears to have been converted to some sort of gym/over-sized pooper room–and a total of 5.5 terliting facilities including the powder pooper in the entrance gallery on the ground/garden floor.

Like in most townhouses, even the really skinny ones like Miz Morgan's, the main living spaces are contained on the lower floors, The ground floor has a living room with a sickening peach color on the walls and a wacky argyle patterned hardwood floor. The living room gives way through some support columns to an "office" area that opens to the rear garden. On one side of the stair hall on the second floor a small library overlooks 63rd Street and on the other a windowless dining room serves as a wide but tight hallway to the kitchen, a crowded, u-shaped affair with a wide and tall row of windows overlooking the back yard. The mahogany cabinetry is topped with green granite counter tops, the sort of granite Your Mama expects to find in a bank and not a kitchen.

The master suite encompasses the entire third floor and includes a private sitting room/study that opens to a narrow balcony. The children will note, however, that in order for Miz Morgan–or her "friend" Max–to get from her bedroom to the trio of walk-in closets and/or the generously sized pooper she–or he–must cross the public stair hall. Now children, we appreciate that the master suite includes a large pooper with a bee-day, soaking tub and separate shower, but let's be honest, who wants to pay upwards of seven million clams to have to dart across the stair hall butt nekkid in order to get to the bathroom?

The fourth floor has that aforementioned combination gym/over-sized pooper room as well as a bedroom with a small, windowless private pooper and two sets of French doors that open to a terrace. The fifth floor holds two more bedrooms that share a pooper with bee-day. The rear bedroom has a small kitchenette, which is nice for midnight snacking.

Some of the additional luxuries of Miz Morgan's townhouse include the five fireplaces, mahogany lined elevator that accesses all five living levels (but not the basement), central heat and air conditioning (a less common luxury than non-New Yorkers might think), and a fourth floor terrace overlooking the backyards of the surrounding townhouses and buildings.

Other than to make note of the cockamamie rooster figurine on the mantel in the dining room Your Mama really doesn't have much to say about Miz Morgan's uninspired and tired looking day-core except that it emits that certain sort of high-nosed thrift store je ne sais quoi that says "we have so much old money that we do not need to buy new things or hire a nice, gay decorator to do the place up in order to impress the arrivistes."

Your Mama expects that the children who give a rat's ass will have to wait and see what transpires with Miz Morgan's current legal ugliness with Hannibal Pictures before we'll know what's what with the townhouse. Will she lose it to Hannibal? Sell it for a song? Or will her paycheck courtesy of Andy Cohen allow her to pay her debt to Hannibal and remain in residence at the townhouse she's called home for the last 12 years? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cote de Texas at the Decorative Center Tuesday

Yes, you heard that correctly.   This Tuesday,  I will be part of a panel discussion on the Evolution of Design presented by The Editor At Large in conjunction with the Decorative Center of Houston’s Spring Market 2010.  Whew, that’s a mouthful.    Also on the panel will be Ronda Carman of All The Best blog, Jillian St. Charles of HGTV fame, and Brad Ford, interior designer extraordinaire who also writes the blog Design Therapy.

The event will be held at the Decorative Center on Woodway on Tuesday April 27, at 3:00 p.m.   Veranda magazine is also hosting an event that morning at 10:30 am.   Both events are open to the public.

So…….if you would like to come here me discuss the Evolution of Design and how it ties in with the internet and blogging, please come!   The event will take place in the ground floor Gallery.    I’m looking forward to meeting you!

p.s. If you don’t know what I look like,  I’ll be the girl on the panel with the I.V. drip of Valium hanging from my veins!!!!   Yes, to say I am just a tad bit nervous about this is a huge understatement.  It sounded like a great idea six months ago.  YIKES!!




Elijah Blue Takes a Los In West Hollywood

SELLER: Elijah Blue
LOCATION: West Hollywood, CA
PRICE: $1,100,000
SIZE : 1,455 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 1.75 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Earlier today Your Mama discussed Lady Jane Fonda leasing a crib in the same Sunset Strip apartment tower as Cher. As it turns out, we have a little and additional real estate news related to Cher to share today.

Back in September of 2009, Cher's natural born son Elijah Blue listed his gated and high-hedged house in West Hollywood with an asking price of $1,295,000. A few weeks later the price was chopped to $1,195,000. In January of 2010, according to property records, Mister Blue sold the
fully renovated house for $1,100,000.

Mister Blue's father is Gregg Allman–of The Allman Brothers–and like both of his famous parents, thirty something year old Mister Blue is an artist and musician. Using the stage name P. Exeter Blue I, he fronts the indie rock band Deadsy and also works solo as Elijah Blue and The Trapezoids. For what it's worth, his past taste in ladees has run to gals like Bijou Phillips, Kate Hudson, Nicole Richie and Heather Graham.

Records also show that the petite property, located just a half block off the far too trendy Paris Hilton haunt Robertson Boulevard, was purchased for $1,400,000 in August of 2008 through a trust known to be connected to Cher. Since Your Mama does not, contrary to popular opinion, know Cher, we don't know if Mister Blue owned this house or if it was, technically and legally owned by his sugar mommy. Whatever the case, a few quick calculations on our bejeweled abacus shows that Mister Blue–or Cher–lost $300,000 plus at least another $40,000 in real estate fees on his case of the real estate fickle. Your Mama doesn't care how much money Cher has–and she surely has more than the freaking Pope–it's never a feel good day after losing well over a quarter million clams.

Property records and listing information shows Mister Blues former 1,455 square foot residence has 2 bedrooms and 2 poopers. An electronic gate opens from the narrow, jacaranda tree-lined street and leads to the front of the 2-story house that, we regret to inform, does not have a garage in which to park. Certainly some folks are not bothered by this lack of automobile shelter, but in a city with an unhealthy obsession with shiny and expensive cars, the lack of a garage was surely a deal breaker for any number of interested parties.

Anyhoo, Mister Blue's former abode is pushed up to the very back of the lot effectively making the long narrow front yard the back yard. The private, hedge surrounded yard consists of a large but narrow lawn area and small patio at the front of the house comprised of way too many materials.

Your Mama is not sure if Mister Blue is the person responsible for transforming the interiors of the traditional style residence into a open, airy, minimal and loft-like space nor do we know if Mister Blue or a previous owner is responsible for converting the house into an upside down situation where the bedrooms are on the bottom floor and the main living spaces on the second floor. It's certainly an unconventional and unexpected architectural turn of events but it does allow for the main living spaces to take advantage of the high vaulted and trussed ceilings on the second floor, an element impossible to duplicate on the first floor.

The dark, espresso colored hardwood floors make a bold contrast to the gallery white walls and ceilings and altogether provided a clean environment for Mister Blue's choice of minimalist but comfortable furnishings that include a set of moss green sofas–both armed and armless–a chunky contemporary interpretation of a picnic table for the dining room area and a paired down kitchen with slate tile flooring, dark stained cabinetry and the expected assortment of stainless steel appliances.

The dark floors, white walls, and Zen vibe continue into Mister Blue's bedroom done up with a large platform bed, a sisal area rug and couple of painting of trees shades of brown and ochre. In addition to the two bedrooms, kitchen and main living area, the home includes what listing information calls a "sophisticated den w/ huge walk-in closet." We don't know what makes it "sophisticated."

Mister Blue's West Hollywood hideaway was purchased by non-celebrities and according to a source we'll call Charlene Chatterbox, Mister Blue has decamped for the mean streets of Venice where he's settled–or will soon settle–into a house on a walk street just off Abbott Kinney, Venice's primary shopping street where Your Mama will shortly be headed in search of sneakers.

As far as we know, Cher's other son Chaz–formerly her daughter Chastity–continues to live in a modest West Hollywood house not so far from her brother's recently vacated residence. In addition to her doo-plex pied a terre at the Sierra Towers, Cher still shacks up in her castle sized casa in Malibu that's she's been trying to sell on and off over the last few years with a super star sized asking price of $45,000,000. Cher also recently sold a newly completed compound in Hawaii that Your Mama does not think she ever spent a night in.

Your Mama Hears...

...That there's a new dee-vuh taking up residence at the Sierra Towers, the very same famed Los Angeles apartment tower where big shit beehawtchas like Joan Collins, Cher and Elton John maintain dee-luxe digs.

Watch out ladees because here comes Barbarella.

That's right puppies, the newest celebrity resident of Sierra Towers is none other that two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda herself. Your Mama hears from two separate and unconnected sources–we'll call them Whispering Juanita and Nancy Knowseverything–that Miss Fonda looked at and poo-pooed every single available unit in the star studded building including the $4,250,000 spread on the 30th floor before finally deciding on a dumpy 1 bedroom and 1.5 pooper rental apartment on a high floor. That's right, a rental.

No word reached us on what Miz Fonda Vadim Hayden Turner's monthly nut is, but according to listing information we managed to milk out of the interweb, the 1,237 square foot unit was last listed with an asking price of $5,000 per month. We'd bet our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly, it's somewhere near and around the amount.

Neither Nancy nor Juanita know why the actress/activist/fitness guru/born again Christian decided to lease instead of own. Perhaps she's waiting for some new real estate meat to land on the market before she pounces on a purchase? Whatever the case Your Mama needs a nerve pill imagining the lobby, tension thick as an anti-aging serum from La Prairie, as Elton John, Cher Diahann Carroll, Joan Collins and La Fonda all want their cars pulled around by the valet to the front of the building at the same time.

The Sierra Towers has a long, long, long history of celebrity residents including billionaire David Geffen, former friend Matthew Perry, proud of his peen actor Vincent Gallo, celery stalk thin stylist Rachel Zoe, unlikely lady killer Fred Durst, rat-packer and former Kennedy in-law Peter Lawford, and swellegant Oscar winning actor Sidney Poitier. It's also where Lindsay Lohan leased–and owned–before she went lesbian, where Brody Jenner (ugh) is shown to live on that horrible and utterly pointless reality program The Hills–we do not know whether he actually lives there or not–and we hear through the tweenage gossip grapevine that baby's butt smooth Twilight hottie Taylor Lautner has been spending a lot of time in the building although he is not a resident.

photo: Pacific Coast News

Friday, April 23, 2010

Helpful Critiquing



A few months ago, I showed pictures from a  design job I had recently completed at my across–the-street neighbor’s house.  The project was a complete redesign of her formerly yellow and red decor which I updated in soft aquas and fabrics, mostly using Karvet’s Windsor Smith linens.  



This view shows the fireplace.  We bought an antique mirror from Tara Shaw and flanked it with two white washed wood pieces from Pottery Barn.



image Along this side wall, I temporarily stacked three wicker baskets until the client finds a antique she likes, hopefully a Mora clock.   Looking at these photographs I realize that the only furniture we reused from the owner was her coffee table which I felt fit in with the new decor.  The remainder of her older furniture was divided between an upstairs playroom and the garage - to be sold.   


After I posted these pictures of the project, I received word that another blog had also posted these same pictures!!    This other blog The Artful Lifestyle used Photoshop to show how a painting would look on the fireplace instead of the Tara Shaw mirror.   Additionally, they photoshopped more art work above the trio of baskets.   Hmmm.   Was this helpful critiquing?   Constructive criticism?    The blog, it turned out,  is written by two women from Atlanta who own an art gallery – Huff Harrington Fine Art -  where they sell fine art.   Additionally, they have a prominent online website where they also sell the art. 



image The Photoshopped Picture


This  is one of the photoshopped pictures that The Artful Lifestyle created showing my client’s mantel with a painting from their stable of artists.   I particularly liked this painting by Doug Foltz that they chose!   The photoshopped picture looks so real -  it actually seems like the painting is really on the mantel instead of the Tara Shaw mirror!




And here is another Photoshopped picture showing a painting by Lorraine Christie, which I also liked.  


I must really have a tough skin to find amusement in all of this.  After all, The Artful Lifestyle was basically saying they disliked the antique mirror I had chosen for my client and would have rather seen art work there!   Not only did they THINK this, they actually wrote an entire blog story about it and photoshopped all these pictures to prove their point!!!!!     Instead of crying over their constructive criticism, I put my fragile ego and insecurities aside and chose to see this in the true, fun spirit, in which it was written.     And, to be even more generous and jovial, I wanted to be sure that everyone would read their article so I advertised the story on the left hand side of my blog saying “NEW BLOG STORY WORTH READING” and linked it back to their blog.  That’s when all the real fun started – for them!




Another photoshopped picture:  Here’s what The Artful Lifestyle recommended for the side wall.   I must say, I do love this painting by Angela Nesbit!


Apparently after I advertised their blog story, The Artful Lifestyle blog was flooded with readers from who had clicked on to read it.   The owners of Huff Harrington Fine Art, Meg Harrington and Ann Huff, were thrilled with their new blog traffic and tried to think of a way to say “thank you” for all their new readers.    Like I’ve said a million and one times, bloggers are some of  the nicest people in the world.   So, that is how it happened that last week, while I was just sitting outside on my porch, internet surfing, as usual, the doorbell rang.   There stood the sweaty UPS man struggling with  a HUGE package addressed to Cote de TexasPor moi?   Hmmm….  Unexpected HUGE packages tend to send a certain thrill down my spine and I got even more excited when I opened it:   a framed print from Huff Harrington Fine Art – along with a long, typed explanation.    The art work was their “thank you” for the blog link and extra traffic.  WOW!  


You know how the old saying goes, it’s not the gift itself, but the thought behind it?    Listen to how much thought Huff Harrington/The Artful Lifestyle put into their gift.  Amazing.   Get comfortable, it’s a long story.


The Story:



Remember this cover of House Beautiful showing Jill Brinson’s home?  Remember how I fell in love this house – seriously in love, like enough to leave Mr. Slipper Socks Man for?   (Does anyone else understand leaving a man for a house?)    I was so crazy about this house that when we interviewed the editor in chief Stephen Drucker on The Skirted  Roundtable, I drilled him about the cover story, hungry for  more juicy details.    I was a goner, totally and irrevocably obsessed with this house.   But I wasn’t the only one.  Visual Vamp was also enthralled with it, enough so that  she redid her living room to emulate this cover.  Below is Valorie’s photoshopped picture of her living room reinterpreted as Jill Brinson’s.




Visual Vamp’s Fake House Beautiful Cover


This is the fake cover story that Valorie of Visual Vamp did on her blog, imitating the House Beautiful story.   I think that Valorie’s faux cover truly captures the original cover story.  When I saw what Valorie had done,   I was deep green with envy, to say the least.  I wanted to copy the House Beautiful cover too!  Before I started, I asked Valorie if she would mind if I blatantly stole her blog idea.   Of course she didn’t so I stayed up the night redecorating my own family room ala Jill Brinson.   Interestingly, neither Valorie nor I thought to ask Jill if she minded!!!!!      Here’s what I came up with:`





This is my faux cover story of House Beautiful showing  my own family room – trying to look like Jill Brnison’s.   Of course, I wrote all about my folly on the blog HERE.       So, you are probably asking yourself, exactly what does THIS have to do with the Huff Harrington Fine Art’s gift to me?    I told you this was a long story!!!   Relax, I’m getting to the punch line, I promise!!!





Here is the point:   If you look closely at the cover, next to the sofa, there is a small framed print of a horse.   The horse print is the work of one of Huff Harrington’s artists:  Georges Nasri.   The two owners of Huff Harrington Fine Art, Meg and Ann,  knew how much I adored Jill Brinson’s house, so they thought I would probably love to own something that Jill Brinson loved too – like, for example, her Georges Nasri print.  But, as they explained,   instead of a horse, they thought I would appreciate something more feminine, more ME, so they chose  another Nasri piece.     I TOLD you how much thought they put into this gift!   Wouldn’t you just love to have such thoughtful and considerate friends as Meg and Anne?????    As their long, typed message said, they chose a print for me from one of Nasri’s works of “fashionable women who are sophisticated and oozing with a certain je ne sais quoi.”    Apparently, Nasri’s works sell quickly, so they held onto this particular print and then had it framed.   They said I should hang it in my dressing room (a new room that they think I should create after I kick Mr. Slipper Socks Man out to the guest room!)   Are they mind readers too?????    Instead of that, I hung the charming and utterly delightful print over my jewelry cabinet in my bathroom.   It’s perfect for that spot! 




And, here is the framed Georges Nasri print from Huff Harrington Fine Art.   I absolutely love it  - it’s perfect for this spot!   I think Meg and Ann were completely right in choosing this print for me instead of one from the equine series like Jill’s.    This is more “me” than a horse!    I actually had to fight Elisabeth for it though.   I must say, this is probably even more my daughter than me!     She was drooling over this!!!




 image And here’s a close up.  Sorry about the glare.  The space is so small, it was impossible to take a shot from farther back. 


As I am now starting my fourth year in blogging, I must say, the experience has been nothing but fabulous.   I never imagined all the fun I would have – meeting people from all over the world, online and in person.   Everyone - the readers, the bloggers, the vendors, the designers – everyone has been so supportive, thoughtful, loyal and kind.   I could never express in words how truly satisfying all these experiences have been.    Sometimes it takes the sincerity of someone like Meg and Ann of Huff Harrington Fine Art to make you stop and relish it all.     I only hope I’ve been worthy.


To visit the website of Huff Harrington Fine Art, go HERE.

To visit their blog, The Artful Lifestyle, and read the original story about my client’s art work, go HERE


Reminder:  the new Skirted Roundtable is now up with Lee Stanton, noted antiquarian.  To listen, go HERE.

Friday This and Thats

Listen puppies, the celebrity real estate world has been a bit stale lately so instead of trying to squeeze blood from a turnip we're going to dump a few of the tidbits, morsels and updates that have languished on our plate the last few days and weeks.

But first we're going to have a wee update on the rumor and gossip whispered to and passed along by Your Mama regarding Candy Spelling bailing out of her $47,000,000 deal at The Century building: According to the peeps at Curbed LA who communicated with Miz Spellings publicist, the deal is on. Now that that is cleared up...

Septuagenarian sexpot Burt Reynolds (Boogie Nights, Evening Shade, Cannonball Run, Smokey and the Bandit, Deliverance, and etc.) has had a rough go of it lately. Last year the Academy Award nominated and Emmy winning actor checked himself into rehab for a nasty addition to prescription pain killers and in March of 2010 he underwent quintuple bypass surgery. Lo-werd have mercy children, Your Mama did not even know a person could have a quintuple damn bypass.

Mister Reynolds' real estate luck seems to have worn thin too. The gum snapping and famously mustachioed man has been trying to unload his water front spread in Florida for five unfruitful years. He first listed his Hobe Sound estate in 2005 with an asking price of $15,000,000, a number that by 2007 had bizarrely increased to $15,900,000. In early 2008, when Your Mama discussed the 3-acre estate, the asking price had plummeted to $10,500,000. This week, Mister Reynolds once again chopped the price, all the way down to $8,995,000.

In addition to the 12,538 square foot residence with 5 bedrooms and 7 poopers, the estate also includes private dockage capable of handling a large boat or two, a 2-bedroom guesthouse, caretaker's residence, exercise and wine rooms, a large cinema, billiard room, an office with antique paneling, and, natch, a beauty salon for keeping the aged movie icon gets his hair did and mustache trimmed.

Given that Mister Reynolds scooped up his Hobe Sound estate way back in 1980 for $700,000, he's not in much danger of losing money. Britney Spears, on the other hand...

photo: JIC Realty

Pop super star Britney Spears' had some dark days in 2006 and 2007. She shaved her head, affected a bad and sad British accent, palled around with trouble makers and party princesses like Paris Hilton (remember her?), hooked up with some shady dudes, flashed her baby maker for all the paps, and impulsively purchased a fully furnished mansion in The Summit, a guard gated community off Mulholland Drive. The Summit has long been home to a number of famous people such as Jennifer Lopez when she was still JLo and Puff Diddy–or Diddle Puff or Daddy Diddle or whatever his damn name is. JLo and Fiddle Faddle Daddy have moved on but the community remains home to a number of other famous folks like Gwen Stefani–who bought JLo's manse–and lesser lights like Holly Robinson Peete, and Ed McMahon.

According to property records, Miss Spears paid $6,750,000 for the 7,453 square foot house in January of 2007. Some reports say she coughed up $7,150,000, but Your Mama guesses the higher number may have something to do with house full of furniture Missy Hoo Hoo allegedly bought along with the real estate. The house became the scene of all sorts of crazy including when Miss Spears locked herself in her bathroom and was subsequently forcibly removed and admitted to the psych ward at Cedars-Sinai hospital.

Eventually and many more bumps in the road later, Miss Spears was stabilized with help of medication and her well being turned over to a conservatorship controlled by her Big Daddy, Jamie Spears. In early 2009, no doubt in an effort to bury bad memories and put a number of nefarious man-friends in her rear view mirror, Miss Spears and entourage decamped for another star studded gated community in Calabasas, CA where she settled into a 10,330 square foot mansion where her new neighbors included–and still include as far as Your Mama knows–Brad Wilk of the anti-establishment band Rage Against the Machine and former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker.

Long before that, in early 2008, she had listed her Bev Hills mansion with an asking price of $7,495,000. Eventually and inexplicably the price shot up to $7,900,000. By mid-March 2010, after running through several real estate agents who removed and re-listed the house more times than Your Mama cares to count, the asking price had tumbled to $5,495,000. Yesterday the price sank another $645,000 to $4,850,000. Beehawtcha must be getting eager eager eager to dump this former house of horrors.

A few quick flicks of the well worn beads of Your Mama's bejeweled abacus reveals that best case scenario Miss Spears will lose a gut wrenching $1,900,000 on her Beverly Hills real estate impulse, and that's before any of the real estate agents get their cut that could easily take another $200,000 of out Miss Spears bank accounts. Ouch.

photo: Prudential California–Beverly Hills (Nancy Sanborn)

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the Gucci family–that would be the Italian Guccis famous for their shooz, handbags and sexed up image thanks to former Gucci guru Tom Ford–put their gigantic 14-room doo-plex penthouse atop New York City's legendary Olympic Tower on the rental market at $60,000 per month. Unfurnished only. No dogs, thank you very much.

According to listing information, the titanic, approximately 10,000 square foot penthouse on the 51st and 52nd floors of the famed tower includes 7 bedrooms and 9.5 poopers. We count 7 full and 3 powder poopers on the floor plan but either way it totals 10 terlits, a double digit number that surely requires at least one full time staff person whose sole responsibility is scrubbing terlit bowls.

According to the floor plan, the oddly configured spread has multiple entrances and thus can be divided up a number of different ways providing a variety of different living configurations. The doo-plex digs includes a vast living room wrapped in vertigo inducing floor to ceiling windows, a formal dining room, media room with a sky light, two kitchens–one an eat in number with stainless steel cabinetry, a library/second living room, and a gym. There are also, at least 20 closets, 2 curving staircases, 2 private elevators, 2 wood burning fireplaces, and a hot tub in one master suite and a sauna in the second master suite. The floor plan also shows a "control room." Our imagination runs wild thinking about what a "control room" is for.

photo: Brown Harris Stevens (Daniela V. Rivoir)

Your Mama apologizes in advance to all the children with sensitive real estate constitutions for going here, but the public wants what the public wants and sometimes we have to go where no celebrity real estate gossip should have to go. Brace yourselves.

According to Miss Tammy Tarzana, some of the peeps in the Tarzana, CA neighborhood where Kendra Wilkinson–former gal pal and bed mate of octogenarian Hugh Hefner–and her newish husband Hank Bassett recently rented a mansion are not so pleased about the ongoing filming of her eponymous reality program–Kendra–which is scheduled, according to the note sent recently around to neighbors, to continue until April 30.

One of those neighbors not thrilled with the continued disruption filming causes not to mention near constant presence of paps, according to Miss Tammy, is none other than Mel B–aka Scary Spice–and her man-mate Stephen Belafonte who, according to property records, dumped $3,159,000 in September of 2009 for their 6,727 square foot manse that happens to be across the street from Wilkinson/Basset clan's classic "Mediterranean" mcmansion.

Property records and listing information Your Mama yanked from the interweb shows the double gated Wilkinson/Bassett rental residence was last on the open market with an asking price of $3,100,000, measures 6,744 square feet and includes 6 bedrooms and 7 poopers. Other cliché mcmansion amenities include a 30-foot high impress the guests style foyer with double curving staircases, travertine floors and a large swimming pool with water slide and–drum roll please–a grotto. That's right chickens, you can take the gurl and her plastic boob out of the Playboy Mansion and give her a baby, but you just cain't take the Playboy Mansion out of the gurl.

Property records show that Kendra owns a 2 bedroom and 3 pooper condo in Sherman Oaks, CA she purchased in December 2008 for $488,000 and, because the Mister plays the pigskin for the Indianapolis Colts, the couple also maintain a big ol' brick built mansion in a fancy-schmancy gated community in Carmel, IN.

photo: Pacific Coast News

and finally...

Rumor has it that global warming soothsayer and former vice-President Al Gore has been house hunting in Oprah's back yard. Ever since November of 2009 rumors have swirled and slip-slid down the high-income gossip grapevine in Montecito, CA that Mister Al Gore himself had his eye on a pricey property on posh Park Lane.

Montecito, a bastion of conservative rich people until Hollywood (and The Big O) started snatchin' up insanely expensive estate, seems an odd choice for a ol' boy from Tennessee. But maybe he thinks California is going to drive the green economy and he wants a foothold–albeit a wildly expensive one–on the west coast? Or maybe he's just an uppity liberal too rich to live among common folk?

If Your Mama is being honest, and we always are, we don't know a damn thing about this alleged interest in and offer to purchase a Park Lane mansion. All that we know is that records do not show any recent transactions on Park Lane and according to one source in Oprahville, the local news rag recently reported that Mister Gore snatched himself up some sort of mini-mansion in Montecito. We're still digging down and around into this one trying to get to the meat of the matter and the bottom of the scuttlebutt. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?