Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hot Shot Photographer Tony Duran's Picture Perfect Pad

SELLER: Tony Duron
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $2,195,000
SIZE: 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama was going to spend the morning discussing the dee-luxe Los Angeles, CA mansion purchased last year by an egotastic music mogul for one of his three baby mommas. Then late last night we heard from Beachwood Betty who directed our attentions to a dramatic and libidinous Los Angeles residence owned by celebrity photographer Tony Duran and we decided to shift gears.

Your Mama realizes that many of the children may not recognize Mister Duran's name. If you've ever opened a magazine with pretty pictures of celebrities y'all have certainly seen some of his sensual, adoring, sometimes homoerotic, and famously flattering photos of stars who are frequently shot in some state of undress and/or with nood or nearly nekkid men with chiseled faces and bodies that could make a gay porn star weep with envy.

Mister Duran is perhaps most widely known for his long photographic relationship with Jennifer Lopez, who he began shooting when she was still Jenny on the Block. He's also snapped memorable and sometimes iconic images of famous folks and Hollywood heavyweights such as Brooke Shields–some of the fiercest photos you will ever see of the woman, big booty BeyoncĂ©, that whackadoodle Tom Cruise fella, Jamie Fox, Brad Pitt, Adrian Brody, Jude Law, Orlando Bloom, a young Justin Timberlake, Anne Hathaway, Natalie Portman, Lindsay Lohan before she was a total tabloid train wreck, Penelope Cruz, Cindy Crawford, Sharon Stone, Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Halle Berry.... Need we go on?

Property records show that Mister Duran picked up his house high above Beachwood Canyon and in the morning shadow of the Hollywood sign in September of 2007 when he paid $1,900,000 for the provocatively designed pad that listing information indicates contains 3 bedrooms and 3 poopers. Property records show the home measures 2,490 square feet but we're not sure if that's a pre- or post-renovation assessment of size.

Like most houses tucked into the hills above Hollywood, Mister Duran's dwelling sits right up on the road, its privacy protected by tall walls and even higher hedges. Your Mama suspects this was a pretty ordinary house before it was transformed into a dizzying piece of architectural origami with cattywompus walls, a Daedalean puzzle of acute and obtuse angles and planes, unexpected voids, chaotic roof lines, cozy nooks and crannies, disappearing corners and large expanses of glass that work overtime to both modulate transparency and provide proper privacy. The house has a kind of Alice in Wonderland quality that would seem whimsical if it didn't have the more sinister–but not entirely unappealing–sensation of seeming like there is a house inside this house struggling to get out.

The interior spaces, a purposefully if self-consciously cacophonous display of architectural chutzpah and bravery that makes Your Mama feel edgy, off-kilter and a little drunk, have been unified by a single minded day-core that exercises itself with a generous tactility created by a delicious use of yummy textures. The fusing effect goes into overdrive as it works itself out in every corner of the crib with a strict and somber palette of black, gray, brown, and gut punches of white. Although we freely admit to being drawn to and interested in the demanding, quirky, and dynamic architecture, this sort of sexed up, almost lurid, I live in a nightclub sort of day-core isn't exactly Your Mama's ideal notion of home. None the less, iffin this kind of glammy theatricality is one's decorative wet dream, many lessons can probably be learned from Mister Duran's lusty and charismatic digs in the Hollywood Hills.

Although Mister Duran's domicile possesses an unassuming, single story street frontage, the house tumbles down three floors at the back. Several outdoor patios and terraces expand the carpeted and concrete floored indoors into the outdoors. One elevated gravel pad offers a sofa and a couple of chunky chairs with soft white cushions sunk into crisp wood cubes. A few steps down from there, a concrete pony wall wraps around the barbecue and beyond that a dining room table–an obvious and affectionate homage to the great George Nakashimia–fashioned from a gigantic, rustic and irregularly shaped slice of wood surrounded by a mess of metal chairs on three sides and a large, high backed upholstered banquette on the fourth. The armless and headless statue looming above the dining table appears to be a full size replica of The Winged Victory of Samothrace. Uhm, hmm, well, no. Not only is this a conceit we can not abide, that thing would surely scare the skin right off Your Mama as we came around the corner of the house in dim light of a boozy dusk not to mention the hysterical fits of voodoo rituals it would likely induce from our superstitious house gurl Svetlana.

Anyhoo, an exterior stair between the barbecue pit and the dining area tunnels under the house and leads down to the property's lowest level where campy, no maintenance fake grass surrounds the angular infinity edged swimming pool. We're certain some of the children are going to spit and whine over the fake grass, but with the exorbitant and ever escalating cost of water in California, fake grass is the new black when it comes to landscaping options. Trust Your Mama on this one, puppies. A deck stretches out from below the house and cantilevers seductively over the pool where Mister Duran (or his nice, gay decorator) has placed a couple of loungers for sun soaking and afternoon massages by Big Sven and his Big Hands. However, it causes Your Mama uncontrollable panic and jerky episodes of hyper ventilating just to think of sitting under that sculptural, spiky, arched thing that looms above those chaise lounges. A multi-sided spa is attached to the swimming pool, a feature likely to please the Dr. Cooter who like little more than sitting in a boiling vat of water with a large glass of expensive red wine.

Beneath the house and adjacent to the swimming pool is a large outdoor living room complete with travertine (or maybe it's limestone or marble) floor tiles, a plush chocolate brown sofa covered in what looks like suede, a couple of modern and "masculine" leather slipper chairs, a large black and white photo of a man's unclothed and breathtakingly beefy backside and yet another disturbing, armless and headless statue, this time of a muscular man's torso. Honestly children, Your Mama is simply speechless that anyone with even an ounce of taste–and Mister Duran clearly has much more than an ounce–thinks it's appropriate to use statues of naked men as day-core. It's just so Rock Hudson we can't bear it.

Mister Duran's house is clearly not for the architectural feint of heart or for someone who prefers a more traditional style of home or a more conventional layout. However, in Los Angeles these sorts of sexified and architecturally aggressive houses are beloved, cherished and desired by many, particularly when priced in the two million dollar range because, let's be honest, if this house were located above the Sunset Strip it would probably be listed at nearly twice it's current list price of $2,195,000.

photos: Rose + Chang

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