Friday, May 31, 2013

Your Mama Hears...

...(via the New York Observer) that Kanye West wants 4.5 million bucks for his Big Apple bachelor pad, a 2,300-ish square foot two unit combination crib in SoHo that he had decked out in austere, haute-minimalist style by maverick Italian architect Claudio Silvestrin in 2007. Property records we picked at and perused reveal he paid a total of $3,140,000 in two separate transactions for the fourth floor apartments.*

Mister West's East Coast pied-a-terre apparently popped up on a New York City-centric real estate listing service but quickly disappeared in—you got it—a proverbial New York minute. A subsequent report in today's New York Post reveals that the 21-time Grammy winner's top producing real estate agent hosted an invite-only open house yesterday for some of the city's top brokers. There are—not surprisingly—"more than a dozen" pair of high-cost sneakers in the master closet and—more surprisingly—several small statues that one broker who toured the space described to The Post look like "an angel, or a little boy Cupid." Oh dear.

Other high profile residents of the full-service building include actor Julianna Margulies and model/t.v. presenter Padma Lakshmi who records show paid nearly eight million clams for her two-unit penthouse pad in early 2012.

Mister West also owns a contemporary, art-filled residence in the Hollywood Hills he's been trying to unload on and off since at least May, 2010 when it was briefly on the open market for $3,995,000. The multi-story hillside house is currently priced at $3,150,000.

Mister West reportedly also maintains an apartment in Paris near his fashion world b.f.f. Riccardo Tisci, the very same Givenchy creative director who just bought a West Village townhouse from high brow performance artist Marina Abramovic and with whom Mister West has been salaciously rumored to share something more than just Platonic. Whatever the case—and who cares, really?—the tabloids and celebrity gossip blogs went berserk this week with unconfirmed reports that the newly divorced Miz Kardashian has agreed to live in Paris with her baby daddy for at least three months after the birth of their bundle of joy. Hard to believe her mother/manager would allow that, but K.K. is a grown woman, and can do what she likes right? Anyways...

In February (2013), Mister West's soon-to-be baby momma Kim Kardashian shelled out $9,000,000 for a 9,000 square foot faux-Tuscan/mock-Med mish-mosh macmansion in the guard gated Bel Air Crest community in Los Angeles. Call us a cynic—and we've certainly been called worse—but Your Mama can't imagine Mister West, a man who fancies he has posh and cutting edge taste, actually living in such a downright ordinary macmansion any more than we imagine our mean ol' pussy cat Sugar speaks Cantonese. We shall see, butter beans, we shall see.

*Mister West bought the first and larger of the two apartments in December 2004 for $1,890,000 and the smaller adjacent unit in February 2006 for $1,250,000.

photos: Claudio Silvestrin

Steve Martin To Shed St. Barts Villa

SELLER: Steve Martin
LOCATION: Saint Barthélemy, French West Indies
PRICE: €8,750,000
SIZE: 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Late last night Your Mama received a covert communique from a friendly fella we'll call Bart St. Barts who thoughtfully forwarded a digital press release meant to get the word out about semi-retired and famously private comedic deity Steve Martin putting his mountain top vacation villa on the swish Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy up for sale on the open market with a multi-millionaires only asking price of €8,750,000.*

Saint Barthélemy, the trendily chic and prolifically pricey crown jewel of the French West Indies, is typically more simply referred to by the international jet-setters and globe trotters who can afford to vacation there—as well as those of us who only wish we could afford to vacay there—as St. Barth or, for all us American English speakers, St. Barts.

Over the last ten or fifteen years the tiny island has become a winter time hot spot—especially over New Year's—for sun seeking celebs and demi-celebs such as Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, Rachel Zoe, Michael Kors, Andy Cohen—here he is a few years ago doing the beach thing with Daniel Craig, Demi Moore, Simon Cowell, and Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. In addition to the hordes of spendy Showbizzers and ridiculously rich media mavens like Martha Stewart, all manner of moguls, royals and potentates also congregate in great numbers on the French-controlled collectivity.

Frequently seen hobnobbing and cavorting around the ultra-exclusive island during the winter holidays are big time movers and shakers like tech tycoon Paul Allen, diversified businessman Ron Perelman, paper and media pasha Peter Brant and his aging gracefully supermodel wife Stephanie Seymour, art dealer Larry Gagosian, famed fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier, and late night chat show honcho David Letterman. Last year, the children may recall, Russian gajillionaire and inveterate trophy property collector Roman Abramovich paid—so the stories go—about $90 million for a 70-ish acre, multi-pavilion beach side compound built on land once owned by rich and profoundly powerful banker David Rockefeller.

Your Mama doesn't know how much Mister Martin paid for his St. Bart's getaway that he picked up sometime in 2008 and was last listed for $9,000,000.** What we do know is that Mister Martin, a card-carrying Mensa member and an astute collector of name brand modern art who is surprisingly proficient at throwing a lasso as well as playing the harmonica and the banjo, recently became a father for the first time at the ripe old age of 67. That may seem, children, like a clunky segue and it very well may be nothing more than a real estate coinky dink but every celebrity real estate gossip knows that when people as famous and/or rich as Mister Martin have a baby, get married and/or get divorced they very often also shake up their real estate portfolios. Anyhoo...

Current listing details show Mister Martin's gated, tropical Colonial style villa occupies a private perch high in the hills of Lurin where its mountain top vantage provides postcard perfect, 180+ degree views over and beyond the sleepy, swank, and duty-free port city of Gustavia as well as across the yummy, sparkling blue waters of St. Jean Bay and directly down on busy Gustaff III Airport.***

The single-story house has four en suite bedrooms and a total of 4.5 bathrooms, according to listing information, in an unknown amount of air conditioned square footage. At the heart of the boomerang-shaped residence is a multi-winged, open plan living area with red tile flooring and airy, exposed beam vaulted ceilings. One end of the central living room opens through collapsing glass doors to a lush, wind protected interior courtyard while the other end has floor to ceiling windows that suck up the quintessential Caribbean views.

The living room is flanked by a casual "formal" dining room on one side and a media lounge with built-in entertainment cabinet and a couple of humble but comfortable-looking couches on the other. For a man who collects museum quality contemporary art, the photo-realist paintings (or whatever they are in the media lounge and throughout the house strike Your Mama as painfully and, well, pitifully banal. It's not that we think he ought to have hung one of his Diebenkorns of Fischls up in there but, holy moly that looks like some seriously cliche, low rent "art." Frankly, we'd rather stare at a blank wall but—let's get real, people—what does it matter since Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter are neither in the market to buy nor lease a ten-plus million dollar villa in St. Barts?

The living and dining areas, as well as the angled, galley-type kitchen that the press release rather generously described as "state-of-the-art,"open to a deep veranda with panoramic views and a built-in barbecue station. The media lounge, on the other hand, links through to a smaller covered porch that online marketing materials suggest is punished with fitness equipment.

Online resources indicate the four bedroom suites are well separated for privacy. Two smaller suites occupy their own wing behind the media lounge. Both have exterior entrances, private bathrooms, private terraces, and—oo la ls—private outdoor showers. A larger, third guest suite, on the opposite side of the house behind the dining room and kitchen, also has an exterior entry, a private deck, and an attached bathroom with French doors that open to a fence-ringed deck with outdoor shower.

The master bedroom is contained in a separate building that all but butts up to the far end of the house beyond the largest of the three guest bedrooms. The suite is complete with an elevated bed area, a sunken sitting area, and an unexpectedly large walk-in closet/dressing room. The attached wood and stone themed bathroom has a wall of glass in the shower that opens to a secluded deck with outdoor shower. French doors in both the bedroom and the bathroom open to a large, wrap around deck with sunken spa and a view that's enough to make even the most jaded globe trotter pee their pants with vacation glee.

The shaded verandas off the main living area(s) give way to multi-level sunbathing and dining terraces that embrace a two-tier, infinity edge swimming pool. Steps at either end of the pool lead down to a curved deck cantilevered slightly over the hillside with dreamy views over all of St. Jean Bay. The interior courtyard provides a serene balance to dramatic views that consume the eyes on the other side of the house. A narrow, red tile lined water channel cuts across a flat lawn and connects a gurgling urn fountain just outside the living room to a a flourishing lily pond the wraps around three sides of a slightly elevated Balinese-y pavilion.

Mister Martin's private residential property portfolio includes at least three additional residence. Since at least 1995, the actually quite shy funny man has owned a 5.86 acre (two parcel) estate in Santa Barbara—on the east side of Montecito—with a very contemporary 7,300-plus square foot residence that's partially submerged in the knoll top on which is sits. In Los Angeles Mister Martin owns a pair adjacent mini-estates on a little known cul de sac nestled into a holler high above the trendy and hideously expensive Trousdale Estates 'hood in Beverly Hills. Property records show he purchased the first of the two Bev Hills properties, with its 7,005 square foot main house, in the early days of 1995 for $3,175,000 from actor Corbin Bernsen and his long-time actress wife Amanda Pays. He scooped up the neighboring property in October 1997 from a not-famous person for an unknown amount.

*Listing details show$11,328,327 (USD) but  quick consult with Your Mama's currency conversion contraption shows the current listing price of €8,750,000 equals $11,363,500, at today's rates.

**Not long after he purchased the property, Mister Martin offered it out for least at $28,000 per week. The press release indicates it can still be leased by the week but did not provide a price.

***Just for shits and giggles: In 2010 The History Channel ranked Gustaff III as the third most dangerous airport in the world behind Toncontín International in Honduras and Tenzing-Hillary Airport, a remote air strip in Lukla, Nepal where most mountaineers begin their hike up the Mount Everest Base Camp.

listing photos and floor plan: St. Barth Properties Sotheby's International Realty

Thursday, May 30, 2013

In Case You Missed It: Robert and Alex

All the children should know by now that Your Mama don't a damn thing about professional athletics but for those of y'all who do know and care about such things we sally forth with the following two quickie tidbits...

We first learned it from The Barefoot Financier but it was first noted by the Washington Business Journal that Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has gone and spent $2,497,000 on a 9,000 square foot mansion in the prosperous Creighton Farms golf community in the rural Washington, D.C. exurb of Aldie, VA.

listing photo: MRIS via Washington Business Journal

According to TMZ, New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez has reportedly accepted an offer of about $30 million for the nearly 20,000 square foot ultra-contemporary mansion he custom built on a pair of Miami Beach (FL) parcels that combined come to about 1.1 acres with 275 feet of private bay frontage.

Your Mama parsed and picked at the nine bedroom and 11 full and two half bathroom behemoth back in August 2012 when A-Rod shoved it on the open market with a publicity ensuring $38,000,000 price tag.

listing photos: ONE Sotheby's International Realty

In Case You Missed It: Jessica Simpson

We're not sure who first reported it but Your Mama first read it on Zillow that pop tartlet turned reality t.v. star turned apparel mogul and Fashion Star judge Jessica Simpson heaved her Beverly Hills (Post Office), CA residence on the open market with an asking price of $7,995,000.

Miz Simpson, currently with baby number two in her belly, paid $5,275,000 for the five bedroom and 5.5 bathroom property in 2007. That was back in the tabloid-y aftermath of her split and divorce from her first husband, former—and current—boy bander Nick Lachey. She's now hooked up and procreating with but not yet married to former professional footballer Eric Johnson, a manly man who Your Mama can't fathom cared much for the hyper feminized—and arguably immasculating—day-core.

Current listing details show the "romantically emotional" 5,500 square foot residence was recently worked over—and hard—by Shabby Chic queen Rachel Ashwell. The formal living room adjoins the formal dining room and the expensively equipped center island kitchen opens up to a window wrapped breakfast area. There's also, according to listing information, a media/family room, an office/library, and fitness room.

The painstakingly and magnificently lit exterior living areas probably cost a fortune in electricity each much but, damn children, they sure look fantastically spectacular. Outdoor living spaces include a walled and gated entry courtyard with gurgling fountain, a foliage enshrouded stone dining terrace, and a stepping stone pathway that leads from the entertainment terrace off the kitchen and family room back to a lap lane swimming pool tucked tightly into dense, towering, privacy ensuring thicket of trees and shrubbery.

The long list of previous high profile owners of the home include actress Jami Gertz with financier husband Tony Ressler and Showbiz executive Tom Freston who now owns a larger house around the corner. The ever-peripatetic chat show queen Ellen Degeneres owned the property for a brief couple of years before she sold it to high powered celebrity manager Rick Yorn who, in turn, sold it after just two years to the then newly single Miz Simpson.

Current home owners in the guarded enclave include Cameron Diaz—who bought her house from Candice Bergen, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Reggae royal Ziggy Marley and entertainment industry power player Guy Oseary.

Miz Simpson and Mister Johnson have decamped to the family friendly and equestrian oriented guard-gated community of Hidden Hills where they recently shelled out $11.5 million for Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne's nearly 11,000 square foot Martyn Lawrence Bullard decorated mansion on 2.25 mostly landscaped acres. Their new neighbors include famous folks like Jennifer Lopez, although we wouldn't expect much in the way of play dates and backyard barbecue invitations since—call it a hunch based on nothing but absolute conjecture—we imagine Miz Simpson and Lopez would not like each other very much.

listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty

In Case You Missed It: Kat Von D

Five days ago the long legged blond gal at Trulia Luxe Living reported that Kat Von D, the heavily tattooed high priestess of tattoo and L.A. Ink reality t.v. star, pushed her 1920s Spanish style micro-compound in the celeb-filled Outpost Estates area of the Hollywood Hills on the open market with a $2.5 million asking price.

No surprise to Your Mama, the day-core skews Gothic, dark and brooding with lots of taxidermy in the formal living room and bends towards glammy with shimmery brocade wall paper in the den and formal dining room.

Miz Von D, who was twice affianced to Sandy Bullock's philandering ex-husband Jesse James and is currently engaged to internationally acclaimed DJ Deadmou5—who proposed to her on Twitter, dontcha know?—purchased the walled and gated 4,148 square foot residence in August 2011 for $2,175,000.

Current listing information shows the four bedroom and 4.5 bathroom main residence has hardwood floors, original tile detailing, a turreted entry and an expensively equipped kitchen. The formal living room quickly converts to a screening room with a retractable projection screen and high octane surround sound system. Listing details indicate there's a guest house somewhere on the property, probably atop the detached two car garage at the back of the property.

The backyard isn't big and, while it does have a spa, barbecue station and built-in fire pit, it does not have a swimming pool. It also, unfortunately backs up to a multi-story apartment building that—praize Jeezis—is all but hidden behind a towering row of thick and high hedges.

No word has (yet) reached Your Mama's inbox about the future real estate plans of the soon to be Missus Deadmau5.

listing photos: The Sher Group

In Case You Missed It: David, Darren, Megan, and Madonna

Famously hairy chested, and—ahem—decidedly cheese ball actor and singer David Hasselhoff recently sold his former family estate in Encino, CA, for $3,549,000 and, as was revealed by the celebrity gossip juggernaut TMZ, coughed up $1,950,000 to buy himself a big new mock-Med macmansion bachelor pad in a small, guard-gated enclave in the affluent L.A. suburb of Calabasas (CA).

Online resources show the 5,767 square foot residence—on and off the market since November 2006!—has five bedrooms and six bathrooms. The Baywatch babe's new abode also has a double-height foyer for impressing guests and Chinese food delivery men, a sunken formal living room with fireplace and double height ceiling, a formal dining room and an adjacent center island kitchen, a family room with wet bar, and a office/library loft that overlooks the formal living room.

The 1.54 acre grounds include numerous patios, a waterfall equipped swimming pool and spa, built-in barbecue center, lush semi-tropical landscaping, a grassy play yard and a huge concrete pad with basketball nets but no guide lines or whatever those linear markings on the basketball court are called.

listing photos: Coldwell Banker

Thanks to the New York Observer we learned that wildly successful television super-producer Darren Star (Sex and the City, Melrose Place, Beverly Hills, 90210 and the reprise 90210) sold his swank New York City pied-à-terre at the glitzy Trump International Hotel and Tower on Columbus Circle for $13 million to the family of shopping mall magnate Frank Lowy, otherwise known as second richest man in Australia.

Mister Star acquired the 35th floor spread in 2005 for $6.1 million so the thirteen million clam sale price represents an enviable and elephantine return on his real estate investment.

Listing details show the L-shaped, 3,059 square foot corner apartment has three bedrooms and 4.5 marble bathrooms, including a master suite with two bathrooms and private study/sitting room. The living/dining space stretches almost forty feet with a built-in wet bar in the dining area and there's a stacked washer/dryer in the corridor that connects the living room and the compact but generously windowed eat-in kitchen.

Mister Star owns (at least) one very luxurious residence in Los Angeles, a 6,808 square foot residence on a prime street in Bel Air that he bought in November 2005 for $6,850,000, filled with a small museum's worth of name brand contemporary artworks and had photographed for the March 2012 issue of Architectural Digest.

listing photo and floor plan: Brown Harris Stevens

The long-legged blond at Trulia Luxe Living reported this week that sitcom superstars Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) and Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) finally sold their published, city view house in L.A.'s Bird Streets 'hood—where are the streets are named after birds, natch. They hoisted the 3 bedroom and 3.5 bathroom residence on the open market in September 2011 for $12,650,000 and last week at a steep discount for $9,970,000 million.

Back in December 2011 the modern-minded couple bought a glassy contemporary in Bel Air for $4,150,000.

listing photos: Keller Williams Beverly Hills

We first heard it from the ever industrious kids at Curbed that Her Pop Music Majesty Madonna has done sold her 6 bedroom and 8 bathroom duplex digs at Harperley Hall on New York City's Upper West Side. Not surprisingly, the deep pocketed buyer, identified as Deepak Narula, is a prodigiously rich hedge fund fat cat.

The still fit as a fiddle and strikingly well preserved mid-50s Material Girl first listed her approximately 6,000 square foot multi-unit combination spread in November 2012 with a $23,500,000 asking price. So the celebrity real estate scuttlebutt goes Mister Hedge Fund paid quite a bit less than the last and final $19,995,000 price tag.

The sprawling apartment was decorated with Art Deco zing style by her dilettantish brother Christopher—now a shoe designer—and was photographed in 2007 in all its art-filled glory for Architectural Digest.
The celebrity real estate leprechauns haven't been so kind to Madge on the West Coast where she hasn't had much luck yet unloading her Beverly Hills estate either off market—with a rumored $28 million asking price—or on the open market where it's currently listed at $22.5 million.

Madonna continues to own a horse farm in the Hamptons—bought from Calvin's ex-wife Kelly Klein in late 2009—and the near mythic Upper East Side triple-wide townhouse with private garage she bought in 2009 for $32,000,000 and spent heaven only knows how much on extensive renovations that included penthouse level expansion and the addition of roof deck.

listing photos: The Modlin Group

In Case You Missed It: Adriana Lima

According to the celebrity gossip peeps at Celebuzz, Brazilian bra and pantie supermodel Adriana Lima listed her Midtown Manhattan condo crib for $5.5 million. Property records show the smoldering brunette picked up the 2,200 square foot apartment at the full service Metropolitan Tower in late 2003 for $1,995,000.

Listing details show the 42nd floor spread has two bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms plus floor to ceiling windows that provide a through-the-buildings northern view of Central Park. The well-equipped condo, which has month common charges and taxes that rack up to $5,404, also has a handy-dandy home automation system that conveniently controls the lighting, audio visual equipment, temperature settings, and electronic window shades at the mere touch of a button.

Miz Lima and her Serbian professional basketball player husband, Marko Jarić, and their two young children live primarily in Miami, FL where in January 2010 they shelled out exactly $9,000,000 for a nearly 7,500 square foot fixer-upper bay front mansion on the gated and heavily guarded Indian Creek Island enclave. Some of their high profile neighbors on Indian Creek Island include multi-billionaire businessman Carl Icahn, Latin crooner Julio Inglesias, steel magnate Leroy Schecter, hedge fund honcho Eddie Lampert, and Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula.

listing photos and floor plan: The Modlin Group

Wednesday, May 29, 2013



Last month Elle Décor featured Elle DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s quite fabulous horse ranch in Hidden Valley, California.  Not surprising – the ranch is for sale – and has been for a few years.  I’m sure this spread was a way to advertise it on a grand scale, but who cares?  It’s beyond wonderful and judging by how many people blogged about it – everyone seemed to love it. 

That the ranch is now for sale should be no big surprise, NO ONE moves more than these two.  Their real estate dealings are fodder for teasing amongst their friends.  They just can’t stay still. 

But I must say, I was beyond SHOCKED when this week it was announced that  Ellen and Portia had bought the famous Villa di Lemma – John Saladino’s Santa Barbara estate.   Go get a tissue, I’ll wait.  There’s something about anyone else but Saladino living in his house that makes me want to sob.   I mean – no one but John (and his friend Betty) should be entitled to have the keys to this place.  Oh well.  It’s done.  Ellen and Portia will be moving in.    The truth is, though, Saladino had already sold the estate two years ago to another couple who are now selling it again.   The real estate photographs from the Saladino house show it filled with his décor, not the new owners – which is so unfair!  We don’t get to see it with the new owners furniture, which might be a blessing anyway, now that I think about it.   

It will be exciting to see how Ellen decorates Villa di Lemma.  I’m sure we’ll see it in a few years when they sell it.  What a shame.  This is the kind of house that should remain in one family, passed down for generations instead of being up for sale every two years. 

While I do love their horse ranch shown in Elle Decor, nothing will ever match my love for Villa di Lemma, EVER.  It is a beautiful property outside and inside.  And Saladino’s interiors are unparalleled.  How will Ellen and Portia ever decorate it to look half as good?   If she was smart, she would hire the Master, Saladino to decorate it for her.

So, in honor of their purchase – let’s first revisit their horse ranch.  I was very excited to finally find the larger real estate images of the horse ranch.   Included are many more photographs of the property than was shown in Elle Décor.   And afterwards, we’ll take a final look at Villa di Lemma as designed by the Saladino.   

So, a warning to you, grab some coffee, it’s going to be a long ride here.




The main gates to the horse ranch – this dark gray wood is found on all the buildings on the ranch – which unifies the design. 


From Elle Décor:  It didn't take Portia de Rossi long to discover Ellen DeGeneres's passion for decorating. "I got a very thorough education in mid-20th-century French furniture within the first weeks of our dating," she says with a grin. Indeed, there's nothing the television star and comedian loves more than designing a house. "Ellen has moved more times than any person I know," says Los Angeles designer Cliff Fong, her decorating accomplice. The goal, however, is not to flip her homes. "I can only change the furniture so much and I get bored," DeGeneres says. "Then I need a new structure to work on."


Case in point about their moving houses:  Ellen originally owned another horse ranch, 20 acres large, in Santa Ynez that she sold after living there only two years.  Next, she bought a larger ranch in Santa Ynez, this one was almost 120 acres.   She sold it just a year later.  Both sales were very profitable. 

Besides the ranches, Ellen and Portia lived in lavish estates.  First they lived in Montecito in a George Washington Smith estate which they flipped a year later for a profit of close to $4 million when they sold it to the chairman of Google. 



Ellen & Portia’s Montecito estate – with views that terrace down to the Pacific.  This might be my favorite of all their houses up to now.  By buying back the neighboring Saladino estate, it means they must miss Montecito.


The house located in Montecito, California is an escape for Schmidt's prime residence in Atherton

The Spanish styled house designed by George Washington Smith.  You might recognize this house as the place where Kim Kardashian was married – for a few short months.



The real estate pictures from Ellen’s time shows they still have the same furniture, some of which is at the horse ranch.



For instance, these kooboo wicker chairs are all over the horse ranch.


After leaving Montecito,  the couple acquired a compound of houses in Beverly Hills – which was placed on the market for $60,000,000.  Wow.   Eventually, a portion of the estate was sold to Ryan Seacrest for $37,500,000 – at a surprising and staggering loss in the millions.   The Beverly Hills estate was the one property where the couple really lost a money on it.  Most of the either transactions have been very profitable. 


The compound in Beverly Hills was created by buying three houses next door to each other, turning the lots into one big property.  After finishing all the reconstruction on the estate, it was featured in Architectural Digest – and then promptly put up for sale. 



The pond was added to the landscape.  The main house was built for actor Laurence Harvey and actress Joan Collins lived here for awhile.   At this point in time, this was the 7th house that the couple had bought together – after being together for 7 years.   They bought it furnished but Ellen says the living room had been redone 5 or 6 times since.  Portia corrects her and says – 15 or 16, seriously.  OMG.  I want to be friends with Ellen SOOOOOOOOOOOO badly!!!!!  




This house is much more contemporary than their other ones have been.



The entry hall shows Ellen’s love of texture.  Her furniture tends to be old, rustic, heavy and usually important.  Mixed in is a sleek ping pong table.



The living room is a mix of styles with contemporary sculpture.




I recognize some of the furniture from the ranch – like this rug and sofa.   The painting is a Warhol/Basquiat. 




I really love the breakfast room with its wicker chairs and old table.   That lamp is now at the farm as is the console.




The cabinet is antique Gustavian.  Love the textile on the bed and the end tables.




The bathroom is incredible.  Look how pretty that tree’s bark is – like a piece of sculpture.  Love all the chairs – everything Ellen does is always so layered.



  This room in the house reminds me of the Romantic Barn at the ranch.  Some of this furniture is in the barn now.

Architectural Digest has additional pictures from this house if you want to see even more.


After the property was sold to Ryan Seacrest, the couple then moved to another contemporary house in the Trousdale Estates area of Beverly House.   They keep a nearby condo for staff and guests.   Must be nice.

Real estate photographs from the house show how contemporary it is.  But design aficionados might recognize this place.


Can you guess whose house this once was?


Here are the pictures of how the house once looked – when Kelly Wearstler owned it.  She photographed every nook and cranny for her 2006 coffee table book Domicilium Decoratus.   The new owners changed most of it, as you can see.  



I am dying to know if the famous black kitchen remains – or if Ellen had it removed?



And, then, there are the properties in Malibu, naturally.   In 2011 Ellen and Portia bought Brad Pitt’s contemporary house that he had painstakingly restored, but of course less than a year later, they sold it for a profit of just $1 million.  Just a million!

The Pitt estate sits on a bluff over Malibu.  He bought this house when he had no children, but had to sell it because it wasn’t children friendly and he had quickly become father of the year. 


And views of the ocean and a state park

Hmmm.  Not my favorite, by a long shot.  I don’t think the couple are really beach people. 


Which brings us to the Horse Ranch.   The ranch is located in the heart of Hidden Valley near the Santa Monica mountains of Thousand Oaks, California.  It’s just a stone’s throw away from the beautiful house (also a horse ranch) where It’s Complicated was filmed HERE.   Bought in 2009, Portia thought that this ranch would keep Ellen busy redecorating for many, many years – it has eight cabins on the property.  But it only took one year for Ellen to completely renovate and furnish the 26 acre ranch – which truly shocked Portia.  Two years later, it was put on the market for sale – and then later, it was taken off the market.    The ranch was once owned by actor William Powell, it then became a monastery and later – a rehab center.    When the couple bought it – it was a professional horse facility.   Many movies and TV shows have been filmed on the property over the years.

Portia rides horses and boards two there – but tells of the time that she found antique furniture in one of the stalls in the barn, which Ellen had set up as sitting room.  Portia ended up writing her book there.    Besides the 8 cabins, there was a main house, that the couple had to tear down because it was uninhabitable.   Each cabin has its own design vibe – Belgian, contemporary, etc.  They have lived in each of the cabins but finally moved for good to cabin Five – a rather small and cozy one. 

There are two large barns:  The Art Barn and the Romantic Barn – which are used for living, dining and play rooms – and for entertaining when they have sleep over guests.  The magazine  hints that the couple wants to stay here forever, but with Ellen’s penchant for moving – who knows?  Well, we know!  The property was recently listed again.  Ellen says it will be hard to convince Portia to leave because she loves the place and she loves to ride.  Portia has said the riding horses helped her overcome anxiety and anorexia.   You can’t ride on the Saladino estate, so now I'm worried about poor Portia!!!   It seems a tad unfair.

While the photographs in Elle Décor are luscious, so are the real estate ones.  And if you liked the property and wanted to see more – here is your chance.  There are so many pictures of the ranch and the cabins that weren’t in the magazines. 

Designers:  Jay Holman and Cliff Fong

Photographers:  Elle Décor:   William Abranowicz



The 26 acre horse ranch is located in Hidden Valley, Thousand Oaks, California – on Hidden Valley Rd.   While the ranch has everything – the one thing it doesn’t have is a swimming pool!!



Hidden Valley Road – to the ranch, with views of the Santa Monica Mountains.



There is a tennis court with stands, a windmill, a treehouse, a yoga cabin, and stables with trails on the property.  Everything was updated – including the landscaping.




Every building on the ranch is painted a dark gray.




Cute kooboo wicker chairs under an old oak tree.  The windmill is in the background.  These look like the same chairs that were at the Montecito house.



And the same scene – styled for Elle Décor.  There is an 100 year old oak tree grove on the property.  This tree is incredible.




The terrain consists of old oak trees and boulders – some of which are huge.




Like these.



And the 100 year old oak tree grove.



And a pergola – styled by Elle Décor.  The French antique day bed really belongs on the balcony of Cabin #6.  Elle Décor moved a lot of the furniture around on the shoot – from one cabin to another.




The painted gray Art Barn – which serves as a living room/dining room when entertaining. 



The dining area of the Art Barn.  You can tell that Ellen and her designers love Restoration Hardware – the aesthetics are very similar, except Ellen uses original antiques – not reproductions.   The furnishings in the dining area were changed since the real estate pictures were taken.  I do love the new décor much better. 




The kitchen area of the Art Barn – with its large bakers rack and old blackboard.  Blackboards are a recurrent design element on the   ranch.  They are everywhere!   And so are concrete floors.  Many of the cabins have these same unfinished floors.  Also, the same white paint is found in each interior, along with ivory colored linen curtains.



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A view from the Real Estate pictures – you can the structure of the barn better here – with the dining room on the right side and the living area on the left.   You can see here the dining room furniture was changed since these pictures were taken.  New chairs, new consoles, new accessories.



And from the kitchen, a look into the area where art is painted – the easels are set up. 




The living area  with old antique rugs and concrete floors.  Tufted sofa and deconstructed wing chair along with feedbag upholstery on the ottomans.   The furniture in the living area has been changed.




The Art Barn – styled by Elle Décor – Ellen has filled it with antiques and Americana.   Here, from Elle Décor, is the living area of the Art Barn.   Remember that the real estate pictures were taken two years earlier – so some rooms are furnished differently.    For instance, these two white club chairs are found in a small cabin – but they are now in the Art Barn.   And while I do like the wood circle, I miss the portrait that was hanging there.    Love the new light fixture and the Danish leather chairs.  Judging by the furnishing in the Art Barn alone, it’s obvious Ellen is still redecorating.




Off the Art barn is an alfresco dining area – under umbrellas.




At the back of the barn is this concrete enclosed living/dining terrace.  I love all the spots around the property where you can just sit – or have lunch or dinner outside.




The second barn is called the Romantic Barn – because the couple celebrated their first wedding anniversary here.   The mood is completely different from the Art Barn.  Both barns resembles art galleries or studios – and the new owners may use them as such.    Ellen gifted Portia with the three 20th century factory lights that she had seen in a gallery.  This is used for game playing – ping pong and poker and entertaining. 



The Romantic Barn for Elle Décor.  Love that console table and the blackboard and large portrait and bust.  Just love the style here!!  Again, this room has been updated since the real estate pictures were taken.  Or did Elle Décor make the changes????



Romantic Barn:  an original Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair with a Gustavian cabinet.  Ellen made that sign for Portia’s 1st anniversary Paper gift.


Which barn is your favorite?  The Art Barn or the more rustic Romantic Barn??? I have to say the Romantic Barn…maybe.  Hard to choose!!




On the ranch there is a horse facility with six stalls, both a dressage and a jumping arena, a judges stand, 3 grass horse turnouts and 2 dirt turnouts, there is also a hay barn, tack room, an office and a public bathroom that Ellen and Portia restored as a sort of folly – with its own original blackboard, of course. 




The barn, now painted a trendy gray – as are all the 8 cabins.




The main horse barn – which Ellen tries to decorate.




Six oversized stalls – can be changed into twelve.




The entrance to the horse stables?? – I love this!   Original burlap lining on the antique sofa – with antique German feed bags.  Dying to know where they are from?  Did they get the bags from blogger favorite “A Beautiful Mess” HERE?   I’m sure this is the only horse barn in America that looks like this.  LOVE!!!




The Real Estate pictures – Ellen decorated one of the stalls and Portia ended up writing her book here.    Since this picture was taken, this stall was spruced up.




And in Elle Décor – Portia’s writing room, now restyled.  In the center is the antique sofa with burlap bags.  Portia’s gorgeous horse – an Oldenburg gelding.   The stables are paved with rubber tires.   The French iron chair in the office actually came from another cabin.   Elle really does have the decorating disease BAD – to do this to a horse stables.  Too funny!  Ellen call me – let’s talk.



One of the smaller cabins is screened in.



And is set up for yoga.  This cabin and one other are the only ones painted gray.




Oak trees outside Cabin #5  - the fog over the mountains is just beautiful – fabulous photograph from Elle Décor.  Portia and Ellen have moved back into Cabin #5 with its screened porch and the view of a boulder the size of an apartment, laughs Ellen.  Love the way this area is landscaped.  



The front of Cabin #5 has a large screen in porch.



And in between Cabin #5 and #6 – stands a dining table with more Kooboo chairs and a fountain to the left made out of a large vessel.



The screened in porch which attracted the couple to this cabin – vintage chairs and an antique table.  Is there a new chair anywhere on the entire property?




Cabin #5 is relatively small compared to #6 and #8 – but its location must appeal to the couple.  In the sitting room, a large number of wonderful paintings hang.  Love the human and dog portraits.



I really like #5’s kitchen with the planked cabinets and the marble countertops with the subway tile backsplash.  Great cabinet and island mixed with another blackboard.  I love how the blackboards become an art piece.   Rare wood floors are in here.  Love the burlap chair in the dining area which I think is now in the Romantic Barn.



Past the kitchen counter is a sitting area with a brick fireplace and another wonderful antique burlap chair.  Love the birds on the mantel.  The windows in this cabin are charming.  This burlap chair is also now in the Romantic Barn – not sure if Elle Décor moved it or Ellen.




Antique bench, table and Windsor chairs make up the breakfast room – with its linen curtains.  Again, the same decorative elements, like the curtains, are found throughout which helps create a cohesive look to the ranch.  Another element is the same white paint, which is Farrow and Ball’s All White.   This door leads to the outdoors table set up between Cabins #5 and #6.



The bedroom – love the striped rug and the blanket.  The headboard looks too contemporary – but hey, they didn’t ask me!





Cabin #6 with wrap around porches.



And how the cabin is laid out.  This also has been redecorated.  Again white walls, beamed ceiling and concrete floors with rugs.



Cabin #6  The kitchen.  Elle Décor.  The picture makes it look really pretty – a mix of antiques from all different eras, including vintage contemporary chairs.



How it looked two years ago – all the styling on the mantel and the shelves was changed, as was the furniture.  



Cabin #6 – the living room.   Elle Décor.  This side of the living room was completely redecorated.   The feel went from Americana Shabby to Belgium Vintage.




Here you can see what the room used to look like.  They must have a lot of dogs because in each cabin there are dog beds – love these!   Which décor do you prefer – this or how it is now?




The bedroom in Cabin #6 is quite nice and has the same thick linen curtains found in other cabins.  The tufted headboard is a bit of a surprise – seems so traditional! 





The balcony off the bedroom in Cabin #6 – has an antique French day bed that Elle Décor used under the wood pergola photograph.




Cabin #8 – the largest on the property.



A trough outside Cabin #8 is repurposed as a fountain.  Love the lantern!




The large deck at Cabin #8  - with Kooboo wicker furniture.  Notice the golf cart – they use those to get around the large property.  Must be nice!  




Off the living room of Cabin #8 is this outside area – hidden behind gray painted concrete walls.




As is the rest of the ranch, this area is very Restoration Hardware looking.




Inside Cabin #8 – a long living/dining/kitchen room runs from one side to another.  Ellen collects antique fencing masks – seen here.  Another large blackboard hangs on the wall. 




Elle Décor’s view of the living room in Cabin #8.  Belgian bricks make up the mantel – while two large log stores flank it. 



In the real estate photos – a larger view of the living area – with a wood console behind the sofa. 



At the other end of the large room is the kitchen with its planked cabinetry and what looks like matte granite countertops.  Each cabin has its own kitchen – which would make this a great guest ranch for the new owners to operate.



In the sitting area of the bedroom in Cabin #8 – a true deconstructed chaise from the 19th century.  Axel Vervoordt’s table is in the window.   Again, this has been updated recently.   Elle Décor.




In the real estate photos,  less substantial looking desk was in here before.  And if there ever was proof of a photographer’s skill, this photograph compared to the one above it – is proof.  Look how much prettier the room looks in the other Elle Décor photo than this one!




And the bedroom in Cabin #8 – love the décor, so quiet and restful.   Love this photograph – notice how the photographer pulled out that table just a bit to give a hint of it in the room and to balance the photo. 




And showing the sitting room and the bedroom which looks over the deck.  You can see that the fabulous coverlet is a new piece, as are the throw rugs.    Makes all the difference.  We will never now if some of these changes were done for the magazine or it they are true redecorating.





Cabin #8’s bathroom – shows its Zen/Asian influence that is found in certain areas of the ranch. 





This tiny cabin is not numbered – so it’s a guess if it is #1, 2, 3, 4, or 7?   Wall to wall seagrass covers the floors – the only cabin with carpeting.  Even though it’s tiny, there is luxury here in the wonderfully rustic furniture.




This cabin appears to be just one room- with a small breakfast bar and refrigerator.  Even the rafters are missing here. 




In still yet another unnumbered cabin, this one has more contemporary furniture mixed with rustic tables.    Notice those chairs?  These are now in the living area of the Art Barn – where they really look so much better there.



The ceiling was raised to make it appear larger – as was done in many of the cabins – and the beams and rafters are exposed.   Love the almost threadbare rug.  And, there it is off the bedroom – another blackboard!




This cabin is painted gray – and is paneled with the high exposed roof.   This is only one of two cabins that is painted gray – not white!



This cabin looks out over one of the horse arenas.  The antique French chair was seen in the Stables in the Elle Décor spread.  I love the way it looks with the large feedbag pillow.



And finally, I have a feeling this is the office on the property – no kitchen and no A/C except for an ancient window unit.  Great sink!   There is also a bathroom that was once the public one on the horse ranch that Ellen kept.  And there is a laundry building too, along with a hay barn and several storage buildings.




So now, we will leave the Horse Ranch – though it isn’t sold, and maybe Ellen and Porita will end up keeping it so poor Portia can continue riding her horses!  Their next house is Villa di Lemma – restored by the great John Saladino as his personal estate in Montecito.  Located near their former house, Villa di Lemma was designed by Wallace Frost in the 1920s.  In 2001, Saladino started his complete renovation of the house that had not been kept up with very well.   It was done at an enormous cost – nothing was left untouched.   The estate was brought back to life using artisans, not construction workers.   This is my second time writing about the house, but I don’t mind!  I would gladly do it once a year!!



Located in the mountains of Montecito – the Pacific can be seen from the property.




Aerial view of the house.  The house is built around a courtyard – and overlooks a terrace with view of the Pacific in the distance.  I put names of the rooms here so you can figure out where it all connects inside.  The building to the upper right – is the office and staff quarters. 


After spending years restoring the stone house, Saladino wrote a book about it , one of my favorite design books.  It even comes with an atmospheric DVD.    He sold the estate two years ago – and the new owners have now put it back on the market.  Ellen and Portia grabbed it up,  signaling a move back to the Montecito area.


The restoration of the house included a new roof made up of 14,000 18th century Italian tiles (the expense!!), all new steel windows and doors, and all new electrical, plumbing and heating.   Inside the house, there are 9 fireplaces!  Besides the main house, there is a guest apartment.    Outside, there is a restored pool and ancient olive trees.   The estate is set on 13 acres and includes an agave garden, an olive allee, a pergola, and an atrium.    The driveway is a 1/4 mile long which winds through a park of over 2,000 trees.    There are six bedrooms and the house is 10,000 sq. ft. 



The Stone Gates lead to the 1/4 mile long driveway into the estate.


The drive to Villa di Lemma is bordered by over 2,000 trees.



When you reach the estate – the motor court is stone paved when you drive through the arch.  Notice that large agave and beautiful eucalyptus trees. 





The motor court and the entrance to the house.  You enter through the open door which is a loggia – open to the elements on the right side. 



The front entrance loggia is flanked by two tall cypress trees.  The window on the left is the kitchen and the window on the right is the media room.  What a grand entrance. 



Close up of the front entry loggia off the motor court.  The right side of this loggia is open to the atrium.   At the end is a fountain.  Gorgeous gas fixtures. 





The entrance.  Up stone steps, the main door to the house is on the left.   To the right is the atrium and lawn.  At the end of the entry is a fountain.  Notice the niche with a beautiful antique urn.  Now THIS is a niche!   Scroll up to the see the beams and how they connect to the stone.    



Looking back at the front entry off the motor court.  Saladino has hung his famous textiles instead of a door. 



The entry hall is to the left.  It looks over this atrium that is set between the media room and the master bedrooms wing.    The French door with balcony on the left is the stairs.   Just gorgeous!



And looking from the entry hall loggia to the atrium.  At the back wall is a fountain. 




Close up of the fountain on the back wall of the atrium.



Looking at the loggia from the atrium.  The media room is at the left.  The windows upstairs are the guest rooms on the second floor.



Off the loggia, the front door to the house opens to an entrance hall.  On the left is another one of Saladino’s famous tapestries that he hangs from walls to create backdrops and doors.




The door opens to the entrance hall – which has a view of the back property through these French doors.  There is a small fireplace in the entry which I love!  I would have it burning night and day.  To the left is the dining room and kitchen and to the right is the living room and master bedrooms.




Turning right off the entry hall to the living room – are the stone stairs that lead up to the 3 guest rooms.  All the banisters thoughout the property are the same.  It took years to sandblast paint off the stone walls in the house – at a great expense. 




The living room overlooks the back garden.  All the windows in the estate are steel framed.  Just gorgeous.  The living room is pure Saladino – a mix of antiques with Saladino designed upholstered sofas.  Behind the sofa is a beautiful vignette with yet another hanging textile acting as a backdrop for a chest.  A mirror hangs before the tapestry.  I love the way he mixes fine antiques and contemporary art such as the fabulous Twombly.  Notice the beamed ceiling.  The curtains are lilac which blends in with the raspberry colors.     Through the door is the small fireplace found in the entry hall.




Looking the other direction – the back window looks over the pool area.  The door in the corner leads to the two master bedrooms.   Now, how do you think Ellen and Portia will decorate this room?  Will their rustic, textural antiques with chunky tables and consoles look good here?  Will Ellen need to refine her taste and use more elegant pieces?   I hope so.  I am nervous thinking this will end up looking like a Restoration Hardware showroom!!   They should hire Saladino to do the design work.  I would!





Close up – notice how pretty the fireplace is.    This window between the shelves overlooks the swimming pool and the lawn that surrounds it.



And looking straight at the fireplace – love the two urns at the right.    The deep colors mixed with the light sofas look pretty in this room.  Not sure the more neutral monotones that Ellen likes to decorate with will look as good here as they do at the horse ranch!



The swimming pool.   The window overlooking the pool is in the living room – between the shelves.   The garden above the swimming pool is off the entrance hall and the dining and living room.  The guest bedrooms are above this wing where the balcony is.




Looking from the living room, past the entrance hall fireplace, into the dining room.  Love those sconces that frame the French door.



And, looking the other way, from the dining room, up the stairs to the entry hall and into the living room.  I love all the small sets of steps that lead to and from the rooms. 





The gorgeous dining room – filled with creamware and antiques.  The slipped covered chairs are designed by Saladino.  Notice that creamware vase in the window.  The paneling to the right of the fireplace opens to the kitchen.  Notice the curtains – how Saladino treats the fabric like tapestry.  Amazing!  And notice the tables, trays, and candlelights that flank the curtains.



A close up view of the chairs with the blue trim, which is also on the back pillows. 



Looking the opposite way toward the living room.  Love the chandelier – and the plates that hang from the wall. 




Long galley kitchen which opens off the dining room.  The breakfast room is to the right at the back.  The refrigerator and freezer stand side by side, but the section on the left actually is a door and leads to the office and staff suites.  When the door between the dining room and the kitchen is open – the large plate leaning against the wall is the focal point – the eyes lands right here from the entry hall.




Next to the kitchen when you walk in is the sitting area.  The door seen here opens to the front loggia.



Around the back of the kitchen is the breakfast room.  Notice the gorgeous steel doors – that lead to the back garden.  Beautiful chandelier and corner glass cabinet.



Outside the breakfast room and kitchen is the back garden – with this fountain in the ground.


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Charming fireplace placed under stairs in the back building.  Even this small space required an engineering feat to accomplish.  Nothing was easily renovated.  Problems with redoing the stone building added huge amounts to the renovation costs.




Past the kitchen door is the two story office – fabulous desk which is actually a drop leaf table.  The lamp is Saladino’s.   Charming door up at the balcony!!!



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In the office – the painted stairs!!



John’s bedroom.   Antique Empire bed floats in the room.  Notice the double columns behind the bed.   The doors open to the swimming pool lawn and the garden behind the bedroom.



Zuber screen behind the desk in the bedroom.  Gorgeous!!!!!!!!  Love this desk and chairs.  Every antique he owns is just amazingly beautiful.




Behind the bed, the bathroom hides behind yet another tapestry.  A mirror hangs on the tapestry and console is in front.



Between the two master bedrooms is this area, with a Robert Courtright painting, which I love.  Another Saladino lamp.  Betty’s room can be seen through the door.   Lucky Betty.  Love all the stairs the leads into the different rooms. 




The steel door that leads to the atrium next to the entry loggia and atrium.  Notice how thick the stone walls are – and how the steel windows fit into the stone. 



The second master suite, designed for Betty – has its own secret garden.  Love the pillows and the lamp!  Her bathroom is amazing too.  Its picture is in the book.




The gorgeous powder room.  Not sure if I’ve ever seen a prettier one.   Notice how asymmetrically symmetrical the design in.  That faucet!  The mirror!  That lamps!  That sink!    In the book – all the bathrooms are shown and each is amazing.  If you’ve never read the book VILLA – you should.  It’s a collection of beautiful photographs from every room in the house.   And the story of the renovation is so interesting to read.  Great book!





Upstairs, there are three guest rooms – each decorated completely different.  This one has an antique metal day bed that overlooks the back garden.



This guest bedroom suite is called the Primavera.



And, off the entry loggia, overlooking the atrium, is the media room.  Notice the charming corner fireplace.  I love this room with the furniture designed by Saladino mixed with antiques, like the tower of red Oriental trunks on the right.   As usual, a tall antique accent chair is mixed into the design – a trademark of Saladino’s.




Throughout the property there are charming design elements found in the garden, such as this shell vessel that becomes a fountain. 





The garden behind the master bedrooms – that overlooks the swimming pool.




The 2000 year old column adds a sense of proportion to the view of the Pacific. 




View of the swimming pool garden.  I love the gray plants that are everywhere – including the supersized agaves. 



In the allee of olive trees is a table set up for night time entertaining.




And another dining area outside.




The master, himself.


So….. there it is.   The Horse Ranch versus Villa di Lemma.   As you can see there is no place for horses in the Villa – so what will happen to Portia’s riding?   She has said that her love of horses helped her overcome her anxieties and her anorexia.   I suppose until the Horse Ranch is sold they will still visit, but when you own Villa di Lemma – how can you stay away?    Which property do you prefer? 





The Horse Ranch with the oak tree groves and gray cabins and views of the Santa Monica Mountains?



Or would you prefer Villa di Lemma in Montecito – high in the mountains with Pacific Ocean views and breezes?





Do you prefer the Horse Ranch with its white walls and concrete floors and the large Romantic and Art Barns?



Or would you prefer the stone Villa, with its exquisite architecture and wonderful steel windows? 



Lucky for now, Ellen and Portia don’t have to choose – they can have both.  I would choose the Villa myself.  And hire John Saladino to furnish it.   I hope they do too.  It would be shame to turn this into Restoration Hardware – that look is fine for the ranch, but not the villa.    We won’t see how they furnish it until they move in and then decide to put it up for sale a year later!!!



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