Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Jason Lee Lists at a Lower Price

SELLER: Jason Lee
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $3,250,000
SIZE: 2,205 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Ooo-wee children. One of Your Mama's all time favorite celebrity owned properties is back on the market and it's looking even better than before. Back in late 2007 three time Grammy winning R&B singer and guitarist Robert Cray sold his long time compound located in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles for $3,350,000.

Even before the ink was dry on the deed Your Mama had heard from several well connected sources including the always spot on Lucy Spillerguts and the the serious celebrity real estate insider Gabriella Gabsaboutit that the buyer was 2-time Golden Globe nominated actor Jason Lee. Less than three years later the property has been hoisted back on the market with an asking price of $3,250,000, otherwise known as $100,000 less than was paid for it near the very top of a once white hot real estate market.

Mister Lee, a former professional skateboarder, busted into showbiz in the mid 1990s when he appeared in the movies Mallrats and then Chasing Amy. He went on to roles in Almost Famous and Vanilla Sky (with fellow Scientologist Tommy Crooz). By the mid-2000s he was a bone fide tee-vee star on the program My Name is Earl in which he played a mustachioed and well meaning dummkopf who won a bit of money in the lottery and spent all his time doing good deeds in order to atone for his previous life as a petty criminal. The show was canceled in 2009 and Mister Lee quickly got another job sans mustache as a quirky police detective on Memphis Beat on the TNT. Like so many other actors and actresses, Mister Lee has lucratively lent his voice to a number of animated films throughout his career.

Mister Lee's private life is his own beeswax, of course, but he is a public figger after all and for those interested in these things he is currently married to the Turko-Australian model Ceren AlkaƧ with whom he made one baby a couple of years ago and he has another 10 or 11 year old child with the unconventional name of Pilot Inspektor who he made with another lady to whom he was engaged but not married. He also, allegedly, sits on the Board of Advisers for the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a "nonprofit organization dedicated solely to eradicating mental health abuse and enacting patient and consumer protections" founded by those wacky folks at the Church of Scientology. As best as Your Mama can tell, the CCHR's primary concern is to make psychiatrists out to be little more than drug pushing devils.

According to current listing information, which proudly announces that it is a "Gated & Private Celebrity Compound," the property stretches across 1.41 terraced hillside acres and includes a modestly sized 2,205 square foot main house with 3 bedrooms and 3 poopers plus a pool house, detached office/studio space, and a detached 2-car garage where Your Mama imagines Mister Lee keeps at least some of the vintage motorcycles he's known to collect.

There is, of course, nothing "modest" about a modestly sized home that is priced well over three million clams, but the single story main house, built in 1948 and sited with views of the Hollywood sign and Griffith Park Observatory, has an architectural simplicity and honesty that gives Your Mama the good kind of goose bumps. The drive gates open to a large motor court and detached two car garage with adjacent office/studio space. An extra wide gravel path leads to the front door set into the center of the front facade that is literally dripping with foliage in a very purposeful but haphazard sort of way.

The living room has chestnut colored hardwood flooring, a beamed wood ceiling, and opposite the super extra long window that looks out into the gardens there is a monolithic but discreetly designed stacked Arizona flagstone fireplace with a raised hearth reminiscent of something one might find in a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home. The day-core is a smart, warm and dee-voonly eclectic hodge-podge of classic mid-century modern pieces, a variety of mis-matched and multi-colored rugs laid willy-nilly on the floor, photographs leaning against the wall and along the window sill, and stacks of books on just about every flat surface including on the floor, on the hearth, and on the Isamu Noguchi coffee table.

Your Mama would like the children to notice that there does not appear to be a boob-toob affixed to the wall, mounted above the fireplace or, indeed, any television anywhere at all in this room. Your Mama adores the tee-vee and all the banal and jaw dropping crap programs that come pouring out of it night after night. We even more love a room designed for conversation, contemplation, reading, crossword puzzling and listening to music. How rare is this in a day and age when so many folks seem to think that the height of luxury is having cable television in their damn shower.

Just beyond the living room is the dining room that has a concrete floor with custom tile border and wall of collapsing French windows that slide open to create a seamless interaction between the indoors and the outdoors. A 1950s desk-like dining table lit by a single glass orb pendant light (that we think is hung a tad too high) is surrounded by vintage Emeco aluminum chairs. A low table at one end of the room is stacked with more books and a built in wet bar is the perfect spot for a boozer like Your Mama to camp out during a party or during the long slog of the mid-morning hours.

The petite but well equipped kitchen has glossy hardwood floors with custom tile border, concrete counter tops, open shelving, which we love like the dickens, and a white porcelain farmhouse sink with industrial style hardware that sits in front of a long window that echoes and smartly ties in the long window in the living room. See how that's done, kids? Someone was really thinking here. Anyhoo, we're not so fond of the natural wood raised panel doors on the lower cabinets and we're a bit miffed that the refrigerator is located in the adjacent pantry, but these are quirks we could happily get used to.

Each of the three bedrooms opens to the terraces and patios that surround the house and the well-sized master bedroom has a private garden surrounded by a vine covered wall, and an attached pooper with a most unusual tub/shower combination with a curved section that juts out into the room. Of course we don't know a nail head from a book end, but we imagine that bump out is a step to make it easier to get in and out of the thing.

On the hill side of the house an expansive terrace leads to an art and book filled office/studio space with saltillo tile floors that rather interestingly climb up about 1/3 of the bottom part of the walls with the remainder covered with woven grass wall coverings. We don't really recommend running the tile up the walls, but iffin the room were cleared out it could be hosed out without destroying the walls, which isn't an entirely bad thing, right?

The large, rectangular swimming pool with its surround of irregularly sized flagstone is sunk directly into the lawn of a large flat area just below the house. A small pool house, which Mister and Missus Lee use as an apparel design studio, has a wide covered porch for escaping the scorching southern California sunshine and the inside has saltillo tile floors and a vaulted wood beamed ceiling. There does not appear to be a pooper in the pool house which is a real shame because it's a bit of a drag to have to schlep a gin filled bladder back up to the main house even if it isn't really very far. Like with the the kitchen issues, it's an inconvenience Your Mama could get used to even though for three million clams we would prefer not to have to climb any stairs at all in order to do our bizness.

The property has a rough around the edges we-didn't-do-up-the-landscape sort of landscaping that we'd bet our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly cost a fortune to install. A couple of unexpected architectural gems dot the property including a tree house that Your Mama would have chopped off a limb to have as a child and and a vegetable garden enclosed in very contemporary structure wrapped with chicken wire to keep out the many critters who, believe it or not, roam the streets and byways of most if not all of the hillside neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

Listen butter beans, Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter are not nor will we ever be in the market for a three million dollar property but iffin we were ever to find ourselves with pockets that deep we would have surely called Mister Lee's real estate people yesterday and made an offer. A grand and meticulously manicured estate is a lovely thing to behold, but our personal real estate preferences are really more in line with the arty-farty boho sort of thing going on at Mister and Missus Lee's compound.

One has to wonder why the Lees would choose to leave their little slice of paradise in Los Feliz so soon after settling in. Then again, famous folks are a funny lot and who are we to know anything about or question the fickle real estate ways of the rich and famous?

listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty / Beverly Hills

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