Monday, December 9, 2013

Michael Strahan To Acquire Large L.A. Mansion

BUYERS: Michael Strahan and Nicole Mitchell Murphy
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $16,000,000*
SIZE: 15,600 square feet, 9 bedrooms, 11 full and 3 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: In case any of y'all celebrity real estate-o-philes haven't heard, retired professional pigskinner turned turned wildly popular morning chat show host Michael Strahan—he took over for Regis Philbin in the fall of 2012—and his long-time fiancée Nicole Mitchell Murphy—she's a former model, reality television denizen, and the ex-wife of Eddie Murphy—have been on a serious real estate whirligig the last few years.

In April 2011, after a four year long slog, Miz Mitchell Murphy finally unloaded a 9,200 square foot Spanish-y mansion in the guard-gated Oaks community in Calabasas, CA for $5,515,000, a pocketbook plundering two million dollar loss against the $7.5 million she paid for the place in 2006.*

In November 2009, not long after he and Miz Mitchell Murphy were engaged, property records show the gap-toothed former defensive end shelled out $5 million for a 10,000-ish square foot faux-Tuscan macmansion in L.A.'s tony Brentwood area that he/they sold in March 2012 for $6,150,000.

A few months later the couple coughed up $7.9 million for a 1926 Mediterranean tear down in the super-prime lower Bel Air area. It's not clear if Mister Strahan and/or Miz Mitchell Murphy ever moved in—we think not—but what is clear is that they flipped the property less than a year later for $11 million in an off-market deal to mid-priced handbag mogul and bone fide real estate baller Bruce Makowsky for $11 million. (Mister Makowsky, according to the sorts of sources who know these sorts of things, razed the residence.)

Since Mister Strahan tapes Live! With Kelly and Michael in New York City it's no surprise he and his betrothed have peeped some spacious and immoderately expensive apartments for them and however many of their combined nine children—she has five children with her ex-husband and he has four, two from each of his previous two wives—live with them. So the gossip goes, the couple recently looked at but passed on a 5,500 square foot, multi-winged duplex penthouse on the Upper West Side that was previously toured by actor Bradley Cooper and is currently listed at $20,000,000, reduced from $24.9 million and down considerably from its original asking price of $29 million.

Back on the west coast, as per celebrity gossip juggernaut TMZ, the couple lease an opulent, Neo-classical/semi-Italian villa in Beverly Hill's guard-gated and (in)famously ostentatious Beverly Park enclave. The house is owned, as it turns out, by none other than the aforementioned purse pasha Bruce Makowsky who owns at least two other mansions in Beverly Park. However, hunties, the unmarried couple will soon decamp Beverly Park and head back to Brentwood where they are—according to our impossibly well-connected informant Peter Propertyseller—in contract to acquire a big and brand new residential behemoth listed with a fat $17 million price tag.**

Listing details show the freshly finished, 15,600 square foot center hall neo-Colonial style mansion, tightly wedged onto a walled, double-gated, and high-hedged shy acre that backs up to a thickly treed ravine, was designed by Harvard educated, CalArts-trained, and Santa Monica-based residential architect Winston Brock Chappell. There are, as per digital marketing materials, 9 bedroom suites and a total of 11 full and three half bathrooms on three luxuriously-appointed and elevator-serviced floors.

Guests are surely meant to be impressed into silence and awe by the cavernous foyer and voluminous adjoining formal living room that both have 20-foot boxed wood ceilings, black glass chandeliers, and French white oak floors stained a deep and dark chocolate. Main floor spaces also include a roomy but hardly huge formal dining room (below, top), a compact den with built-in entertainment center (above, lower right), and a fully-paneled library with flat-screen surmounted fireplace and French doors. The bodily evacuation and maquillage reapplication needs of guests are accommodated in a pair of convenient, party-friendly powder rooms. Somewhere there are, as per listing details, two guest/family bedrooms with private bathrooms on the main floor.

Less formal, main floor family quarters orbit around an open-concept great room comprised of an informal dining area that overlooks and opens to the back yard, a fireplace anchored family room, and an all-white center island kitchen fitted and kitted with snow white cabinetry, slab marble counter tops, and top-quality appliances.

The fully-finished basement offers two more bedrooms (suitable for less-favored family members, guests or live-in domestic staff) plus a windowless lounge area. Other basement-level creature comforts include: a windowless game room with billiard and poker tables; an also windowless 20-seat screening room with tiered seating and a 15-foot screen; a fitness room with attached bathroom, dry sauna, and steam room; and a 1000-bottle temperature-controlled wine cellar and tasting room equipped—like the paneled library upstairs—with a costly air filtration system for efficient removal of cigar (and other) smoke. Other notable features in the basement designed to impress and entice the rich and/or famous are a cedar-lined storage room for furs, gowns, and tuxedos as well as a separate walk-in safe for cash, jewels, and other valuable.

The upper level master suite occupies a wing of its own with separate sitting room, a vaulted ceiling and fireplace in the bedroom, a private terrace, and dual walk-in closets and bathrooms, at least one of which as a free-standing soaking tub and direct access tot he pergola-shaded private terrace that overlooks the backyard and thickly treed canyon behind. Four more guest/family bedrooms on the upper level each have private bathrooms and walk-in closets and there are, as per digital marketing materials, two additional guest/family bedrooms on the main floor.

The usable, flat area of the back yard isn't particularly large for a home of this magnitude and expense but it is jam packed with mansion-type amenities: deep, stone-tiled verandas; a long and narrow patch of grass that wraps around the side of the house; a 59-foot long swimming pool and inset spa; and an open-air pavilion replete with pool bath, fireplace, wet bar, integrated ceiling heaters, and an outdoor kitchen/barbecue set up.

*F.Y.I., the non-celeb buyer caught a classic and an almost immediate case of The Real Estate Fickle and sold the six bedroom residence a year later for $6.5 million to douchey, Lambo-driving rapscallion, Justin Bieber.

**Peter Propertyseller told Your Mama that he heard through the Platinum Triangle property gossip grapevine the deal was going down for $16 million but the transaction has yet to be completed and/or recorded so the sale price—and the actual transaction itself—are still just some good ol' fashioned celebrity real estate rumor and gossip, at least until you read about it in one of the more respectable property gossip columns.

listing photos: The Agency

Friday, December 6, 2013

Big Sean Buys Valley View House in Hollywood Hill

BUYER: Big Sean
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,675,000
SIZE: 4,500 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: One of the Bizzy Boys at Celebrity Address Aerial recently let Your Mama know that an up-and-coming and well-connected, 25-year old hip hop recording artist from Detroit who goes by the stage name Big Sean shelled out $1,675,000 for a freshly rehabbed and sparsely faux-quoined, mullett-style mock-Med residence in the Hollywood Hills.*

Well, children, we're not afraid to admit that Your Mama had never heard of this Big Sean person but it didn't take too many clicks or clacks on our handy-dandy lap top computer to discover that he's not really very big—he's merely 5'8" tall and supermodel slender—and that he's newly engaged to actress Naya Rivera who, in case you don't recognize the name, plays sassy and sexy Latina lesbian Santana Lopez on Glee. Our travels across the internets also turned up the official video for Big Sean's newly released single, Fire, that features pop music's favorite twerking and tongue wagging hellion Miley Cyrus who—if Your Mama can be permitted to critique out of our element—does an impressively effective job in her portrayal of a slutty video vixen who really knows how to sit  on top of a humongous hunk of dramatically back-lit marble. Anyways...

From the street B.S.'s new house looks like a rather mundane if carefully groomed and compact single-story residence. However, children, the house, perched on a wicked steep lot with a San Fernando Valley view in a not-so-glam section of the Hollywood Hills above the Cahuenga Pass, drops mullett-style two more floors at the back to encompass five bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms in about 4,500 square feet on three, elevator-free floors.

A low front wall, newly planted privet hedges, and a sliding electronic driveway gate define the tight, stamped concrete driveway that does double duty as an extremely low maintenance and water conserving all-concrete front yard. Carved wood pillars and a shallow portico signify the entrance to the residence on its uppermost floor through double front doors that open to a foyer the size of a small living room. A pony wall** is about all that separates the foyer from the only slightly larger "formal"living room where single-pane French doors open to the front yard/driveway and a gas fireplace was wedged—uncomfortably by our persnickety estimation—in a corner between two windows.

The simple, over-the-counter moldings and espresso-toned wood flooring in the foyer and living room—the sort of wood flooring that Your Mama would bet both our long bodied bitches, Linda and Beverly, are the engineered type—continue into the formal dining room that has an almost magnificent, not quite square picture window with canyon and San Fernando Valley views.***

The (possibly engineered) wood floors switch to stone—or stone-like—tile in the spacious, center island kitchen. The tile on the kitchen floor looks to Your Mama a little too—uhm—identical to the stone tiles that demarcate the chimney breast in the aforementioned corner gas fireplace in the "formal" living room. The kitchen, equipped with white, double raised panel cabinetry decorated with fluted pilasters, ebony counter tops of unknown material, medium grade stainless steel appliances, and, over the sink, a double-wide greenhouse-style bay window, adjoins a convenient breakfast room off of which open a laundry room and attached two-car garage.

In addition to a small guest/family bedroom with hall bath access, the middle level has a pair of master suites, both with private sitting rooms, small private terraces, walk-in closets, and attached bathrooms with tumbled travertine (or maybe limestone) tile work. Presumably, the master with two walk-in closets, a corner fireplace, and bigger bathroom is meant to be the main master. Incidentally, the corner fireplace in the main master bedroom was treated with the same stone or stone-like tile as the fireplace in the living room upstairs. Listen, children, Your Mama loves us some decorative unity in a home, but all this matchy-matchy mottled beige stone or stone-like tile looks to us like it was bought in a hurry, in bulk, and at a discount from a big box home improvement center. Then again, what do we know? Maybe that is some kind of rare, artisinal travertine, or whatever. Could be. Probably isn't but it could be, right? Anyhoodles, poodles....

One more glute-busting floor below there's a central, wet bar-equipped family/media room flanked by two reasonably sized bedrooms that share a three-quarter bathroom off the the family room. Your Mama imagines Mister B.S. converted or will convert part or all of this lower level to a recording studio.

Outdoor space is limited to the all stamped concrete front yard/driveway and a series of petite, slate-tiled and wrought iron railed balconies that effectively cantilever over the canyon off the rear facade and offer up long if slightly tree-obstructed views out over the eastern reaches of the San Fernando Valley.

Avid celebrity real estate watchers may recall that Mister Big Sean's fiancee, Naya Rivera, has been on a bit of a real estate streak herself. In June (2013) she sold a renovated residence in a Beverly Hills (Post Office) canyon for $1,930,000 and, a few months earlier, paid $2.6 million for a 1930s clapboard-sided traditional at the far western edge of L.A.'s Los Feliz area.

So, children, will these two, like so many other newly wedded rich and famous before them, sell their houses and buy a new, neutral one or will one move into the other's bachelor or bachelorette pad? Pins and needles, pins and needles...

*For the record: Big Sean actually bought his new house several months ago but we didn't know a thing about it until a couple days ago.
**Has we ever complained to the children about how an ill-placed pony wall makes Your Mama crave a damn nerve pill? Well they do. Anyways...
***Oh, how Your Mama wishes that window were square.

photos: David Charmaine for John Aaroe Group

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ryan Tedder Acquires Modern-Minded Micro-Compound in Venice

BUYER: Ryan Tedder
PRICE: $2,850,000
SIZE: 3,551 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5 full and 2 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: We recently received a covert communique from a wise and well-informed little birdie we'll call Polly Wannacracker who snitched to Your Mama that Grammy-winning singer/songwriter/producer Ryan Tedder and his college sweetheart wife, Genevieve, quietly shelled out $2.85 million for a newly built and modern-minded micro-compound the geographic heart of Venice, CA, just off the spendy and trendy shopping and dining strip along Abbott Kinney north of Venice Boulevard.

Mister Tedder, as we were informed by Miss Wannacracker, fronts OneRepublic, a multi-platinum pop rock band that's had a couple of radio-friendly hit ditties including 2007's Apologize. However and agueably, the 34-year old Oral Roberts University graduate is at least, if not more successful and well respected by his professional peers as a songwriter and producer for pop music superstars like Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Natasha Bedingfield, Ellie Goulding, Kelly Clarkson, and Carrie Underwood. Mister Tedder worked with British supernova Adele on her seminal (and sensational) album 21—he co-wrote the ever-so-catchy but humorously cutting ditty Rumour Has Ita collaboration that earned the relatively new father of one a Grammy Award in 2012. It was recently announced in the tabs and trades, we discovered in our cursory research, that Mister Tedder signed on for a no-doubt highly lucrative gig on The Voice as the popular televised singing contest's first in-house songwriter and producer.

Property records and other digitally accessible resources show the newly constructed, two-building micro-compound, a boxy configuration of glass, concrete, steel, and horizontal wood cladding, was designed by sustainability-minded SoCal architect Matthew Royce. We gathered from our perusal and parsing of listing details that the 3,551 square foot, two-story main house has three to four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. A architecturally matchy-matchy but fully detached, two-story structure at the extreme rear of the property postage-stamp size urban lot, where it backs up to a slightly grungy alleyway, offers generous additional living space.

A commercial style aluminum and frosted glass front door set under a shallow overhang opens directly into a lofty, multi-purpose living space with high ceilings, exposed structural elements, polished concrete floors (that Your Mama hopes are radiantly heated), modern art-friendly white walls, and floor-to-ceiling glass sliders that slip effortlessly into the walls to create a seamless transition from the house to the landscaped central courtyard that both divides and unites the main house from the back house.

The kitchen has custom walnut cabinetry, a three or four stool center work island snack counter, a full-height pantry and a somewhat unfortunately located adjoining half bathroom. A separate room tucked discreetly beyond the main living area was sparely staged as an office but, due to its private bathroom, is easily converted to a guest or family bedroom.

A floating tread staircase leads to the upper level where the industrial-edged polished concrete floors of the ground floor give way to a much more intimate, luxuriously rustic, and drop-dead dee-voon wide-plank French oak. Each of the comfortably-sized two guest/family bedrooms on the upper floor have direct access to a private bathroom.  The sun-flooded master suite, also on the second floor, has floor-to-ceiling glass panels that slip into the walls and, for all intents and purposes, quickly converts the bedroom into a sea-breezy sleeping porch. There's also a good-sized walk-in closet and the attached bathroom has a glass-enclosed shower stall and an free-standing egg-shaped soaking tub set in front of a floor-to-ceiling frosted glass panel that opens into the wall and exposes a tiny private terrace.

The staircase, which manages to be be both weighty and light at the same time, continues up to a spacious but mostly undeveloped roof terrace (above top, left and right) with wrap around views of jagged roof tops and swaying palm trees.

The aforementioned, detached and self-contained flexi-use structure at the back of the property offers another 1,000 square feet of open-concept space, as per listing details, and is fitted and kitted with more (and still delicious) wide-plank French oak floors; more disappearing walls of glass; a simple but fully-equipped, walnut-cabineted kitchen; a sun-flooded, full-height loft; and 1.5 chic-ly utilitarian poopers, a full one upstairs and a roomy powder room downstairs. The sizable structure would make a pretty sweet guests house, a super-luxe and super-sized—ahem—man cave, a not particularly private rental unit or, as Your Mama imagines more likely with Mister Tedder, a professional quality at-home recording studio.

Mister and Missus Tedder divide their time between Los Angeles and the somewhat unlikely but hardly podunk Rocky Mountain city of Denver, CO, where according to property records and other online resources they own a gated, four-lot mini-estate in a small gated enclave in the affluent Belcaro neighborhood, a state-of-the-art recording studio, and a BBQ joint.

listing photos: Pardee Properties

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Nigerian Magnate Kola Aluko Nabs Another

A freshly finished Italianate mini-compound set behind motorized gates and high hedges on a prime street in the famously rarefied lower Bel Air area of Los Angeles popped up on the open market in June 2012 with a fat but hardly unheard of $29,000,000 price tag. The main villa and its detached guest/pool house—declared an "architectural triumph" in digital marketing materials—were conceived and executed by esteemed if somewhat under-the-radar architect Tim Morrison who—according to this—shares office space with and often works in tandem with also-esteemed West Hollywood-based architect Thomas Proctor.*

The steeply sloped, very vaguely boomerang-shaped and thus somewhat challenging street-to-street parcel encompasses just .7 acres and, depending on where online you look, the mini-compound's overall total square footage is 19,485 or 18,563 spread between a substantial main villa and a three-story detached guest/pool house. Either size it's a whole lotta luxurious interior space wedged onto a tight and lot that also features a couple of loggias, a wee patch of grass or two, and several sizable terraces hemmed by sturdy sturdy sturdy stone balustrades. A decidedly contemporary infinity edged swimming pool was engineered into the hillside over by the guest/pool house and and eight-plus car subterranean garage is decked out with a mosaic tiled car wash area, a deluxe feature we know Hector Q., mobile car washer to L.A.'s rich and famous, can appreciate.

Online listings Your Mama perused indicate there are a total of nine bedrooms and 14 bathrooms on the property. The main villa, a three story, elevator-equipped edifice that proudly opens to canyon and city views, contains three principal guest/family bedrooms on the upper floor plus an exceptionally spacious 2,200 square foot master suite. (F.Y.I. 2,200 square feet is just shy of the average size of an American home, children.) In addition to a separate sitting room and bedroom, the master suite has dual, custom-fitted dressing rooms and a pair of marble-slathered bathrooms, one leaning toward dapper (for him) the other bending more towards elegantly feminine (for her). Three more secondary guest/family bedrooms share the lower, semi-subterranean level with staff quarters, a gym, and a media room. There's an additional bedroom and bathroom in the detached guest/pool house in addition to a poolside living room with fireplace.

The impress-the-guests-style foyer in the main villa has limestone floors, double-height coved ceilings, and a heavy duty staircase that wraps around the room with some the chunkiest carved stone balustrades y'all have ever seen in your damn life. We don't care for the oval islands in the all-white and marble-countered kitchen because they just seem so forced and unnecessary and, although it's purdy to look at from certain angles, we feel uncomfortable with how the negative edge pool and the stone balustrades the flank it seem to want to scratch each other's eyes out. Also, unless it's the garage, Your Mama is baffled to the point of flabbergast by the vast, stone tile floored, and depressingly low-ceilinged lower level that looks like it could be a ballroom for hire at a Best Western in Minot, ND, but, other wise, in the hands of a talented and/or nice-gay or lady decorator, we think the house and grounds could be pretty spectacular if not exactly in line with our own personal taste. Anyhoodles, poodles...

Property records show the property in question was owned until the late 1990s by philanthropic real estate developer George C. Page who gifted the property to Pepperdine University, a prestigious (and pricey) private school in Malibu, that quickly sold it in July 1999 for $1,160,000 to a fella who quit-claimed it in 2002 to a corporate entity easily tied on the internets to the aforementioned architect Timothy Morrison. Mister Morrison borrowed a whole bunch of money and built the existing, Italian Riviera-ready mini-compound that was sold, according to property records and other online resources, in late October (2013) for $23.5 million. The buyer, according to property records, was an anonymous corporate concern that shields the identity of the owner so we can't say for sure but good ol' Yolanda Yakketyyak, a trusted and well-coifed real estate yenta who runs in high and even higher social circles, swore to Your Mama the buyer was Nigerian energy and aviation tycoon Kola Aluko.

Don't worry, children, if you'd not heard of Mister Aluko. He was, after all, just a year ago named to Forbes Magazine's list of Ten Nigerian Multi-Millionaires You've Never Heard Of. He has, however and to be sure, developed a slightly higher, playboy-ish profile since he's been poppin' up real regular in the property gossip columns for the last year or so and been palling around with Entertainment Industry big shots like Leo DiCaprio, Jay-Z and P. Diddy. So the stories go, the latter two hosted Mister Aluko's star-studded birthday party in Beverly Hills last year. Also raising his pampered, jet-setter profile in the international gossip columns is recent (alleged) association with the drop dead dee-vine if occasionally volatile supermodel and mega-rich man serial dater Naomi Campbell.**

Mister Aluko  may not (yet) be a hardcore real estate baller but, according to Your Mama's admittedly unscientific research and probably not comprehensive findings, the lavish living (and some say shady) Nigerian businessman hardly needs another high-maintenance mansion in Los Angeles. In July (2013) Mister Aluko shelled out $8.62 for a four bedroom duplex condo in a fine and full service if not exactly A-Grade pre-war building on Fifth Avenue in New York City and last year he allegedly spent just over $40 million to buy two top-of-the-line properties: one a gated, late 1990s French Country-style pile on a swank cul-de-sac just above Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills and the other a newly erected and aggressively contemporary situated just a few doors down from the Italianate mini-compound Yolanda swears he just bought. We can't vouch for it—making it just rumor and gossip, of course, but Yolanda also told Your Mama Mister Mister Aluko plans to use his new mini-compound as a guest house for his international business associates.

Clearly, children, Mister Aluko needs another twenty-some million dollar estate in Los Angeles like he needs another $50,000,000 boat like the one he bought a couple months ago and either loaned or leased in September to hip hop/pop power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce. But, if Your Mama has said it once we've said it 47,000 times before: Who, pray tell are we to make heads nor tales of the profligate real estate ways of the ever wealthier, increasingly itchy footed, and astronomically spendy super rich?

*Misters Morrison and Proctor are the folks who did up the Beverly Hills home now owned by Posh Spice and David Beckham as well as the guys who did the fairly recent re-do of a pedigreed—and gorgeous—Spanish Colonial estate in Beverly Hills that was formerly owned by actor James Colburn and later the Sultan of Brunei. The Bev Hills estate changed hands a few weeks ago when big business executive Kent Kresa, former chairman of both General Motors and Northrop Grumman, sold it for $27.5 million to—Your Mama heard word through the Platinum Triangle real estate gossip grapevine—a prominent Saudi Arabian multi-billionaire industrialist. Anyways...

**In addition to Mister Aluko, Miz Campbell has over the years been squired by an international crop of multi-millionaires, billionaires, and near billionaire who include: Italian Flavio Briatore; American Sean Puffy Diddy Daddy Combs; Brazilian Marco Elias; and, most recently, hunky Russian real estate baller Vladimir Doronin.

listing photos: Rodeo Realty

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

DJ Avicii Buys Bruno Mascolo's House in the Hollywood Hills

SELLER: Bruno Mascolo
BUYER: Tim Bergling, a.k.a. Avicii
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: Unknown
SIZE: 7,007 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: In case any of the children haven't yet heard, DJs—the kind that do their thing in thumping mega-clubs and not the kind on the radio—are the this generation's rock stars and, as modern day rock stars, they earn rock star-sized incomes. Take, for instance, Sweden-born DJ Tim Bergling, a two-time Grammy-nominee known professionally as Avicii. For the last couple of years the dance genre DJ was ranked at number three on DJ Mag's Top 100 DJs list and the Forbes folk recently ranked the toe-headed 23 year old remix master and record producer as the sixth highest earning DJ in 2012 with a haul of around $20,000,000.*

By Your Mama's quick and elementary calculations on our bejeweled abacus, Mister Avicii earns almost $55,000 per day. That's $55,000 every day of the damn year, children. So, though he may be just a young laddie of 23 or 24 years old, he can well afford to pay—as we were first told by Our Fairy Godmother in the Hollywood Hills he did—an (as yet) unknown number of millions of dollars for an ultra-modern mansion in the much-coveted Bird Streets 'hood above L.A.'s Sunset Strip that was last listed on the open market with an asking price of $15,750,000.

The residence in question was owned, as per property records and previous reports, by hair care and beauty business bigwig Bruno Mascolo, the head of the U.S. division of the international Toni & Guy hair cutting empire and the former co-owner to the TiGIi Linea haircare conglomerate that was acquired by Unilever in early 2009 for nearly $412 million. As far as the property record data bases and other online resources that Your Mama peeped are concerned, Mister Mascolo paid exactly $10,000,000 for the highly libidinous, sharp-elbowed, and bi-winged contemporary in February 2009 and had it on the open market at a couple of different prices since the summer of 2012.

Our research shows the two-story residence was designed by modern-minded SoCal architect Paul McLean and built on spec as a collaboration between L.A.-based property developer Brad Kuish and nice-gay interior designer Ryan Brown. Older listings still available on the internets show the house has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms in just over 6,500 square feet while more current digital marketing materials show there are six bedrooms and seven bathrooms in 7,007 square feet of proudly sleek and decidedly aspirational interior spaces defined by soaring ceilings, extra wide plank wood floors, and vast expanses of floor-to-ceiling windows and Fleetwood sliders that fill at night with a twinkling, multi-colored carpet of lights.

A walled and secured courtyard entrance has both water and fire features that make for a rather dramatic passage to the even more (melo)dramatic main entrance, a glass-walled bridge that spans a vertigo-inducing concrete crevasse over the swimming pool and links the two wings of the H-shaped residence. The bridge/foyer, roomy enough to accommodate a sitting area and/or baby grand piano, opens on the right into an banquet hall-scaled Great Room. At one end there's an Italian-crafted center island kitchen expensively fitted with Euro-style appliances, waterfall counter tops of unknown but most assuredly pricey material, and a convenient, four-seat snack counter. There's also a 300+ bottle temperature-controlled walk-in wine vault, a dining area with built-in buffet and floating shelves, and a sun-drenched family room with fireplace and two towering walls of glass with panoramic city views.

The upper level of the opposite wing contains a study and a spacious but hardly humongous master suite complete with custom-fitted walk-in closet/dressing room and a Thassos marble-lined bathroom with double-wide all-glass shower. Two entire walls of glass in the bedroom slide open to a glass-railed balcony with an all but unobstructed view that sweeps over Los Angeles from downtown to Century City to—on a clear day—the Pacific Ocean more than ten miles away.

A boutique-hotel-y, double-wide staircase (not shown in listing photos) leads down to the one wing of lower level where there are a couple of bedrooms, a glass-walled game room, and a separate media room with state-of-the-art projection system, tiered seating and a built-in wet bar/candy counter. The lower level of the opposite wing contains several more bedrooms and bathrooms plus a four-car attached garage with direct entry to the house.

Lower level rooms look out and/or open on to the central courtyard where there's a spa tucked back into the aforementioned concrete crevasse overlooked by the entry courtyard as well as a 75-foot long, infinity-ended lap lane swimming pool with built-in cantilevered sun bed. The multi-level terraces around the pool provide plenty of room for preening and sunbathing as well as a built-in barbecue station.

Mister Mascolo and his blonde missus, Kyara, also own an ocean front home in the illustrious Colony community in Malibu (CA) that's currently on the open market with a $15.98 million price and—it was snitched to Your Mama by Our Fairy Godmother in the Hollywood Hills—in May (2013) they acquired a gated and privately situated fixer upper on a prominent perch above the Sunset Strip that was once featured on Million Dollar Listing and was purchased, as per property records, for $13.875 million.

*According to Forbes, The highest earning DJ in 2012 was Adam Wiles, a six-foot-five-inch Grammy-winning 29 year old music re-mixologist whose stage name is Calvin Harris and who raked in a mind-bending $46 million last year. Earlier this year (2013) Mister Harris, a native of Scotland, dropped seven million clams on his own Zen-inspired contemporary bachelor pad in the Hollywood Hills.

listing photos: Hilton & Hyland

Monday, December 2, 2013




The Southampton/Museum District Home Tour “Cool Classics” is always the best home tour of the year.  The houses are always exceptional.   The tour is this coming Sunday – December 8th – from 12-4 pm.
Cathy Blum, who is in charge of putting the tour together said this:   “I just saw the best house I have ever seen in my 35 years of seeing tons of houses and my heart is 
still pounding. It brought tears to my eyes like when you see an incredible
work of art. This is not a house to be missed. It was a total renovation of
a wonderful old Southampton home on the Boulevard and was loving in restored by
the owner (a two year project).”




The house that Cathy Blum loves is located at 2241 Sunset Blvd. and +was totally renovated by Martha Baxter Finger and Blake Winston. 



Here’s a peek at what the house used to look like – beautiful, but in need of updating.  The brick was cleaned of the ivy and painted a trendy white.  A new fireplace becomes a focal point on the front façade.  Martha Baxter Finger is an interior designer working out of Houston.  Her own house was recently featured in Paper City Magazine.  Her house is a mix of mid century modern and fabulous antiques.


Here’s a look at her work, first her own house as seen in Paper City:



The living room is a mix of modern art and more traditional furnishings.  I love the green plaster walls and green silk curtains.  The French chairs are Jansen.  Baxter worked with architect Michael Landrum on remodeling the house.  Her husband had  owned it, but the house needed to be enlarged to make space for their blended family.  And while Baxter was used to living with beige, neutral colored interiors, her husband insisted on color in their newly designed home. 



The plaster walls continue into the dining room – furnished with a skirted table and a set of Jansen chairs. 




The entry staircase with the fabulous bronze railing.





The family room with fireplace and built in shelf. 




The family room – looking out towards the back.  A French table sits behind the sofa.




The office is painted dark – and has a beautiful antique desk that is juxtaposed against the more contemporary ceiling.




The powder room walls are mirrored.   Mercury glass sink.




Room off the kitchen features a sectional designed by Baxter.




The master bedroom brings more of the green in with the tufted velvet headboard and curtained canopy.



In the master bedroom there is a Mexican day bed in front of the window.




I love the master bathroom!  It was inspired by Jean Michael Frank.  The marble drawers are spectacular! Just gorgeous.


In addition to Baxter’s own house, this house is featured on Jeffrey Alan Mark’s web site – with the interiors credited by both Marks and Martha Baxter Finger.  The house is located in Austin, Texas.



The Austin, Texas house designed by both Jeffrey Marks and Martha Baxter.  The walls are gray stucco, covered in ivy. 




Beautiful property and landscaping.



Walking into the house – the floors are black Morocco styled tile, and the stair treads are also black tile.  Love the zebra against the black floors and stark white walls.



The entry is two story with a wood ceiling.  Fabulous space.



The living room is incredible!  Dark wood floors and ceiling with a large stone mantel, topped with carved wood.  The steel windows and door are fabulous.  Beautiful ceiling and oval window. Love the antique table against the windows.  Just beautiful.



The library with a large antique rug and fabulous stone fireplace.  I love how they painted the shelves black against the white walls.



Off the entry is the dining room with slipcovered chairs and dramatic wood table.



The kitchen is exotic with wire chairs and lanterns and wood floors and ceiling.  




The wine room is most fabulous – especially with the luxury of each chair having its own Hermes blanket. 

Seeing this house that Martha Baxter designed with Jeffrey Alan Marks and her house in Houston – makes me so excited to see the house she designed that is on the Cool Classics tour.  AND after hearing what Cathy Blum said about it – it sounds like this house will be the star of the tour.

To see the Austin house on Jeffrey Alan Marks’ web site, go HERE.




Another house on the tour is this one located at 2027 Bolsolver which was recently purchased by its current owners.  I had seen it when it was for sale and I’m excited to see what it looks like now.



Here is how it looked when it was sold – the house was so perfect, I can’t imagine it being improved on!



And then there is this house on the tour –located on Albans.   This is how it looked when it was sold several years ago.  It is located on Albans and has the distinction of being owned by Ginger Barber – many, many years ago!  This house was featured in several magazines, including Country Home and a now out of print Houston magazine.

Actually it was this house in 1994 that introduced Ginger to the public.  I remember being so in love with this house and studying every picture, every fabric, every accessory and trying to emulate her style – something I still do today, almost twenty years later! 

I found the old magazine from 1994 and scanned in some pictures of that house.  Many of you will probably recognize them.  It will be so interesting to tour this house, all these years later and see how it has been changed and remodeled over the years!  Here’s how it looked+-------------------------


all those years ago:



It’s so interesting to look back on how Ginger decorated all those years ago.  She used antiques and slipcovers back then, just as she does today.  Also, she used lots of English bamboo – like this antique hall tree.   The dining room is through the opening.  Of course there is a paisley shawl – a must have accessory back then.  And baskets.





The same view from a different magazine shows more of the dining room.   Surprisingly, the dining room is more contemporary than the Ginger of later times with its glass topped table.




This carving has stayed with Ginger through all her moves.  This was a great buy, something she has hung onto longer than most of her other possessions.




The living room had slipcovered furniture and an English cricket table.  Two wonderful wicker chairs sit in the front window.  This look is somewhat similar to her look today -  but this is much more cluttered.  Today, Ginger’s interiors are edited and toned down.  They aren’t nearly as busy as this room was.



In another magazine – you can see this English piece that Ginger has used in almost every house since.  It’s a great piece and she accessorized it with antiques and books.




Here’s a close up of the piece – back then.




The kitchen had terra cotta tile floors and a diamond patterned backsplash.  It will be interesting to see how the kitchen has been changed.  Of course – today Ginger’s styling is quieter.  But back then, the more cluttered the kitchen, the better!  Imagine photographs on a refrigerator shown in a magazine today!




The family room was added on – the pine mantel is so Ginger.  I still love the striped chair in the corner.




Wow - her son is now full grown!  Time flies.   The barley twist gate leg table is still a fabulous touch.  I wonder if Ginger has kept those lamps – but with white shades?


If you are in Houston this Sunday, be sure to take the Cool Classics Home Tour!