Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday's Big Money Odds and Ends

Your Mama finds our little big bootied self with too much to discuss this Monday morning, but little, it turns out, about big name famous people. So instead we're going to run through a few high-priced and big square footage situations going on around the country.

Last week, or maybe it was the week before, Your Mama passed along the real estate rumor we heard about former vice-president and global warming guru Al Gore buying a house in uppity Montecito–a rumor that was confirmed a week later by the Wall Street Journal.

Today we're going back to Montecito to discuss a a property brought to our attention over the weekend by Willie Wantstoknow, a very contemporary and recently completed glass pavilion on the market with a sphincter clenching asking price of $35,000,000.

Your Mama knew not a thing about the house so, naturally, we took the the internets and did a wee bit of research. It took Your Mama all of about 42 seconds to figure out that the Ashley Road residence was designed, built and currently owned by well known designer/builder/high end house flipper Steve Hermann.

It's not quite clear exactly what Mister Hermann paid for the property in Montecito but between public property records and an older listing Your Mama squirreled out of the interweb we figured out that the 3.49 acre parcel was either listed or sold for $3,450,000. At the time Mister Hermann bought the Oak grove ringed property with babbling brook there was not an existing house.

Using Mies van der Rohe's groundbreaking Barcelona Pavilion and Farnsworth House as well as the late great Philip Johnson's iconic Glass House as obvious references and architectural starting points, Mister Hermann erected his own version of a steel and glass residence that he not exactly cleverly calls The Glass Pavilion. According to the website set up for the property, the Mister Hermann's minimal mansion "catapults these concepts into the new millennium."

In September of 2005, Mister Hermann and his Santa Barbara based architect Sophie Calvin met with the Montecito Board of Architectural Review Committee requesting final review for the residence, which at that time was designed with "approximately 8,889 square feet." Listing information for the property puts the sleek and sexy residence at around 15,000 square feet under roof, a number that Your Mama assumes includes the white floored and walnut-walled art gallery/parking facilities large enough to display a world class collection or to park 32 automobiles.

The flat roofed structure appears to hover a few inches above the perfectly clipped lawn and includes massive walls of book ended marble slabs and barely there walls of crystal clear glass that Your Mama imagines don't look quite as nice streaked with dog nose juice or smudged by the hands of visiting children whose parent's think it's cute to see their children's faces pressed up against the glass.

It's not clear how many bedrooms and poopers Mister Hermann included in The Glass Pavilion but there is at least one, a massive master suite that encompasses a behemoth bedroom that features a floor to ceiling wall of glass, natch, and a fireplace cut in the marble slab wall. The master pooper is not for privacy seekers or the architectural feint of heart. See celery sticks, one entire wall of glass obliterates any sense of barrier or privacy between the indoors and the outdoors. Even the shower, a gigantic marble lined room with multiple shower heads, has a glass wall. Imagine the amount of squeegeeing the house gurl must do in there.

Mister Hermann clearly hopes to make a very serious architectural statement, set an acknowledged architectural standard, and make a few million clams in the process. He may need a little bit of luck given that he recently unloaded a house on Carla Ridge in Beverly Hills, for $7,200,000, under the construction costs according to listing information and well below the $11,900,000 he originally wanted for the house.

Mister Hermann has a long history of selling his houses to celebrities including Frankie Muniz, Byron Allen, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, and Christina Aguilera whose Hermann designed house on Devlin Drive has been for sale since April of 2008 and remains on the market with an asking price of $6,250,000.

Mister Hermann's modern folly in Montecito positively pales in comparison to the steroidal hot mess that time share tycoon David Siegel's Windermere, FL recently heaved on to the market with an asking price of–what for it, wait for it–$100,000,000. That's right puppies, this gentleman and his wife Jacqueline, a socialite and, ugh, beauty pageant producer–have not even finished building their 90,000 square foot monster mansion that they've dubbed–wait for it, wait for it–Versailles, and they've already put it on the market. Versailles! Have mercy, puppies. Could there be anything more uncouth than naming your newly built, Wal-Mart sized house Versailles? Your Mama would laugh our socks off if it just weren't so damn sad.

Anyhoo, previous reports and listing information for the property show the shockingly opulent and laughably lavish "residence" has a long list of amenities that will stop the hearts of even the most jaded real estate watchers. Buckle your safety belts butter beans: There are 13 bedrooms including and 8,000 square foot master suite, 23 poopers, a 2-story tall front door that weigh more than a ton, a 7,200 square foot ballroom/entrance gallery with a 30-foot stained glass dome and 2 staircases, a total of 11 kitchens, 2 movie theaters–one for the children and one for the adults that looks like the Paris Opera House–full service spa with massage room, underground parking for 20 cars, a 20,000 bottle wine cellar, two-lane bowling alley, video arcade, 3 swimming pools including one that is a half acre in size, a rock grotto with 3 separate spas behind an 80-foot waterfall, full-sized baseball diamond, two tennis courts, and an indoor roller rink.

In an interview from the spring of 2009, Missus Siegel said even though she and the Mister were building the biggest house in America–one that is nearly twice the size of the damn White House–they still wanted it to be a home. A home with 11 kitchens and 2 movie theaters, but a home none the less. Misss Siegel seems to have a bit of the Candy Spelling Syndrome. The "I didn't know we were building such a big house because I don't know how to read architectural plans." According to Missus Siegel, they did not set out to build the biggest house in America, but since they have 8 damn children (and 5 nannies) they just kept adding things to accommodate their large family, things like an indoor roller rink, and pretty soon they were at 90,000 square feet. She also claims she didn't know they were building the biggest house in the country until people like Robin Leach and their security system installers told them it was the biggest house in America. Oh lo-ward, does anyone else need a nerve pill?

We don't know Missus Siegel and certainly don't expect so we don't really know what kind of person she is other than how she chooses to represent her self in interviews...interviews she agreed to do. But we can't help but be left with a bitter and icky taste in our mouth about a woman who while touring the interviewer through their not yet completed palace had the ugly audacity to reveal that she and the Mister didn't exchange Christmas gifts in 2008 because, "you know, since times are tough." Really? Your Mama does not begrudge anyone their wealth or their creature comforts but ladees like Missus Siegel ought to learn to watch her damn mouth because is there really anything more hideously pretentious than touring someone around your new 90,000 square foot house and then acting like you can sympathize with people who have real money problems? The kind of money problems that mean their children sometimes go hungry. Bitch please. We know you came from modest circumstances Missus Siegel, but if you're going to live like an oil rich Arab royal, Missus Siegel, you're really better off just owning it and not making and vapid apologies and excuses for it.

One has to wonder why, in this crappy economy, a time that even has the super rich keeping a tight pull on their purse strings, that Mister and Missus Siegel would chose to sell. Hmm. Did they have a moment of sanity and realize that a 90,000 square foot house–even for a family of 10–is utterly preposterous? Is it another attempt at pretending to be humble? Or are their other issues?

Speaking of audacity, Your Mama has been getting scads of emails and phone calls the last couple of days regarding the Holmby Hills mansion where Michael Jackson did in June of 2009. It was reported that Mister Jackson was paying $100,000 a month for the privilege of living in the Richard Landry designed 7 bedroom and 13 pooper property on N. Carolwood Drive.

The owners of the palatial pile, controversial clothing manufacturing mogul Hubert Guez and his wife Roxanne, recently put the 16,169 square foot mansion back out for lease with an mind blowing asking price of $300,000. Per month. Granted, the price includes the furniture, maid service and a security guard, but still, $300,000 per month is a lot of damn money for a house that few people besides Michael Jackson would have paid $100,000 per month for last year.

There were post-Michael Jackson death reports that flashy and press seeking clothing impresario Christian Audigier–he of the the tasteless Ed Hardy brand and etc.–was going to lease the house to use as his business headquarters. Even though Mister Guez became the CEO of Ed Hardy in the fall of 2008, it would seem that Mister Audigier never moved his operation into the house.

If anyone were to ask Your Mama, and no one did, we think putting a $300,000 monthly price tag on a mansion in Bel Air is a little like putting a $100,000,000 asking price on a mega-mansion outside Orlando, FL. It's good for the publicity–see, we and every other property gossip is yakking about it–but it's not likely that Mister Guez or Mister Siegel will get anything close to their astronomical asking prices. It's possible, but unlikely. Time will tell puppies, time will tell.

No comments:

Post a Comment