Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Vera Wang Goes Way Modern on the West Coast
BUYER: Vera Wang
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
SIZE: 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Probably all of the children already know about New York City-based wedding dress designer turned lifestyle guru Vera Wang's recent acquisition of a very contemporary crash pad in Beverly Hills, CA. Since we're a little tardy for this party, we're going to try to add a little additional meat to this celebrity real estate bone by also recapping some of Miz Wang's other and many real estate transactions over the last few years.
Back in early August Your Mama heard from one of our more reliable informants–let's call her her Wanda Tellyousomething–who whispered in Your Mama's ear that Vera Wang and her home builder turned tech entrepreneur husband Arthur Becker were just about to close on a glam and glassy pied a terre in the trendy Trousdale Estates area of Beverly Hills. We jumped on our bedazzled and bedraggled princess phone and made a few calls to other sources but, alas, didn't turn up a confirmation on the matter. However, we should have known that Wanda Tellyousomething's lacquered acrylic nail was spot-on correct because ol' Wanda always has juicy and accurate 411 on high-end real estate deals in the Platinum Triangle.
Being asleep at the celebrity real estate wheel meant the scoop landed in the laps of the much more respectable gals at The Wall Street Journal to whom many of the gabby high-end brokers in Tinseltown with bulging rolodexes full of high profile clients prefer to tattle their celebrity real estate tales. Your Mama imagine we are, quite frankly, too contrary, uncouth and low rent for most of those folks.
Anyhoodles poodles, we really have no idea why Miz Wang and Mister Becker wanted a fancy modern house in Los Angeles but a fancy modern house they did want and a fancy modern house they did buy. Redfin and others now reveal that the luxe-living couple just coughed up a considerable $9,200,000 for a boxy and low-slung sprawler that recently underwent a full-scale renovation by well-known L.A.-based high-end house flipper Steve Hermann.
All the Los Angeles area real estate freakos and fans know that Mister Hermann has done up and did over many handfuls of showy and shiny multi-million dollar homes in Los Angeles and Montecito. Mister Hermann once sold a house high above the Sunset Strip to pop star Christina Aguilera, who still owns it despite significant efforts to sell it, and twenty-something year old Oracle heiress/movie producer Megan Ellison (True Grit, Waking Madison) owns not one but two adjacent homes on which Mister Hermann performed his home renovation hocus-pocus prior to her purchasing. Young Miss Ellison, as many of y'all already know, also owns a third contiguous and contemporary crib but it was not a product Mister Hermann's design mind.
Property records show Mister Hermann picked up the Trousdale Estates fixer upper in June 2008 for $5,000,00. He spent the next couple years and, as per listing information, another $3,000,000 on a high-style renovation that transformed the H-shaped house into a slinky signature style that reflects his personal vision of modern southern California living. Your Mama has been in a number of Steve Hermann-designed homes and although we find them a bit slick and oddly impersonal for our personal taste they are, to be sure, spectacular and gleaming machines designed for a high-gloss life that appeals primarily to the sorts of people who can afford them.
Two Junes after purchasing the property, the house briefly appeared but was quickly de-listed and then re-listed in March 2011 with an asking price of $10,900,000. It wasn't long before Miz Wang and Mister Becker swooped in from New York and put the property in escrow, but not before they negotiated for a hefty 16% discount off the asking price.
It should be noted that the seller, Mister Hermann, a licensed real estate agent affiliated with the upscale Westside Estate Agency, represented himself in the transaction; Miz Wang and Mister Becker were represented by powerhouse property purveyor Stephen Shapiro, one of the owners of the hugely successful boutique brokerage where Mister Hermann currently hangs his real estate shingle.
Listing information does not indicate an exact square footage but the Los Angeles County Tax Man shows that before Mister Hermann got his hands on the house it measured 4,394 square feet. Unless he expanded the residence–and perhaps he did, we don't know–the Wang-Becker's Bev Hills house encompasses about 4,400 slinky and louche square feet that strongly projects a quintessentially Los Angeles kind of real estate sexy.
A plaza-like motor court with front-facing two car garage stretches out in front of the single story residence, a series of nearly transparent pavilions that include a total of 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. A muscular spine-like colonnade of thick posts and beams protects a gurgling water feature and wall of floor-to-ceiling glass that runs across the front of the house and allows someone standing at the frameless all-glass front door to see clear through the house, past the swimming pool to the explosive city views.
The front door opens directly into the open-plan main living space with gleaming white terrazzo floors, 12 foot ceiling with ring of clerestory windows, and walls of glass with wide sections that slide open to obliterate the distinction between indoors and out. A simple fire box set into an entire wall of horizontally striated stone slabs provides a necessary anchor in a vast space that visually floats above the city. We could do without the flat-screen mounted above the firebox. Does there have to be a tee-vee in every room? Doesn't anyone else besides Your Mama sometimes like to be in a room where there isn't a boob-toob blaring?
Other expensively and meticulously finished entertainment areas include a super-sleek kitchen with highest end Euro-style cabinets and appliances, a huge family room with two vast walls of floor-to-ceiling glass, and a home theater with tiered seating for thirty movie-viewers and reality tee-vee watchers.
In the backyard an infinity edged spa is elevated to soak in the view while the rectangular swimming pool is sunk perfectly and dramatically flush with the surrounding stone slab terracing. Various dining, lounging and sunbathing terraces are tucked into the deep eaves and pinwheeled around the swimming pool. A narrow strip of grass softens the transition from the terrace to the steep hillside at the rear of the property and is just large enough to satisfy the pooches and other outdoor peeing pets
It seems strange to Your Mama that Miz Wang, whose eponymous fashion and lifestyle brands typically impart a modernish spin on traditional minded designs, would opt for something this aggressively contemporary with such extreme exhibitionist tendencies. But, brava biotch! We may find the wedding industry repellent but we applaud Miz Wang's nervy and uncharacteristically flashy choice in a west coast pied a terre.
When Miz Wang's pharmaceutical industry tycoon daddy Cheng Ching Wang died in the fall of of 2006, she and her brother inherited a substantial amount of luxury residential real estate including an estate in Southampton, NY, a big spread about an hour north of New York City in bucolic Pound Ridge (NY), an ocean fronting estate in über-posh Palm Beach and an elephantine duplex in New York City at the breathlessly high-brow and fearsomely expensive 740 Park Avenue.
Within months of Big Daddy Wang meeting his maker the Wang heirs placed their father's Southampton spread on the market. The 8 bedroom and 9.5 bathroom post-modern-ish mansion sold about a year later $11,500,000.
In October 2007, Miz Wang famously decided to buy out her brother's stake in their parent's gigantic duplex apartment at 740 Park Ave. Property records and previous reports reveal she coughed up an astonishing $23,100,000 for her brother's half of the colossal co-op.
At the same time Brother and Sister Wang sold their father's house in the Hamptons in November 2007 they hoisted his Addison Mizner-designed Palm Beach, FL mansion Villa Traquila on the market with an asking price of $23,000,000. The price later dipped to $19,000,000 and it was finally sold in May 2008 for an unknown amount of money.
November 2007 was a busy real estate month for the Wang siblings who also pushed their father's 33-acre Pound Ridge, NY estate with its 5 bedroom and 6 bathroom contemporary house on the rental market at $25,000. Iffin we're being honest–and we always are–we'd confess we have no idea what's happened to this property since then.
Prior to moving into her parent's former pad at 740 Park Avenue, Miz Wang and family occupied an approximately 6,000 square foot full floor spread in a dynamite pre-war building just a few doors down from Mommy and Daddy Wang. She heaved the mansion-sized third floor apartment (shown above) on the open market in July 2007 for $35,000,000 and sold it for $33,600,000 in early January 2008 to one of the lucky daughters of multi-billionaire industrialist Ira Rennert. Mister Rennert's other daughter, iffin anyone might be interested, paid $32,000,000 for an approximately 7,500 square foot duplex at 740 Park Avenue just a few weeks after her sister closed on Miz Wang's pad at 778 Park Avenue.
listing photos (Los Angeles): Westside Estate Agency and www.stevehermann.com