Wednesday, April 28, 2010

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.

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