Friday, September 28, 2012

Kevin James Throws It Down in Delray Beach

BUYER: Kevin James
LOCATION: Delray Beach, FL
PRICE: $18,500,000
SIZE: 26,509, 8 bedrooms, 9 full and 3 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Thanks to a brief note from The Bizzy Boys at Celebrity Address Aerial—and a previously overlooked report by the intrepid peeps at the Palm Beach Post way back in mid-August (2012)—Your Mama has learned that Emmy- and Razzie-nominated stand-up comedian, sitcom success and low-brow comedy movie superstar Kevin James shoveled out some serious, unambiguously Tinseltown-A-lister type of loot for a humongous house in the somewhat unexpected and out-of-the-way Delray Beach, FL.

In late August (2012) Mister James and his part-time-actress wife and baby momma Steffiana De La Cruz shelled out $18,500,000 to purchase an honest-to-goodness, ding-dang celebrity-style doozy of a (sort-of) oceanfront residential compound in Delray Beach that sprawls across two lots that total 1.85 acres. The Palm Beach County Tax Man shows the main mansion has 12,808 square feet, as does listing information easily conjured out of the interweb. Listing information we peeped also states—it should be noted—the actual living spaces encompassed by the entire "Mediterranean Revival estate" spans a far more substantial, real estate baller-sized 26,509 square feet with a total of 8 bedrooms and 9 full and 3 half bathrooms.

Does it seem surprising or odd to any of the children that Mister James—a man whose professional shtick is pretty much summed up by portraying stupid but lovable middle class straight guys—can afford to acquire and maintain an estate of this magnitude? For chrissakes, the 2011 taxes alone, even after an 11.3% reduction, came to a nauseating $240,492, according to public records. Believe it or not, booter beans, that's a hefty and even prohibitive annual tax nut for a just-regular-rich person, especially since the taxes don't cover the—likely to be exorbitant—costs associated with property insurance, staffing and security, landscaping upkeep and swimming pool maintenance. The utility bills—we can only to imagine—could probably choke a middle class Clydesdale and quickly drive a run-of-the-mill millionaire to the poorhouse.

Luckily for Mister James, he's not just a run-of-the-mill millionaire. See children, for his Showbiz efforts and talents he is extraordinarily well compensated and, more importantly to his future working opportunities, Mister James pretty much mints money for movie studios. In 2007 it was reported his salary for the final years of the now heavily syndicated sitcom King of Queens was upwards of $400,000 per episode, and possibly as much as $500,000 per episode for the final season. That's a lot of damn chicken scratch, you know. Rudimentary calculations on our bejeweled abacus indicate the professionally charmed Mister James very well may have hauled in over four million clams just for the abbreviated 9-episode final season. And that's not counting the piles and miles of greenbacks, one imagines, he earns in residuals. Not bad work if you can get it, right?

Since King of Queens went dark in 2007 Mister James has steadily built his professional reputation as a comedic movie star who can deliver prodigious profits with a handful of starring roles in sophomoric, fart-humor movies like I Now Pronounce Your Chuck & Larry, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Grown Ups and Zookeeper. Your Mama freely confesses that we've never seen any of these movies so we can't and won't speak to their quality as cinematic entertainment but we can tell the children that hordes and swarms of people paid good money to see them. Just those four movies, according to Box Office Mojo, have a total of $810,648,293 in worldwide box office receipts. The residuals from non-theater revenues must also, one imagines, boggle the brain.

Now it makes perfect sense that Mister and Missus James can afford a Wall Street fat cat-priced residence, right?

The nearly two acre lot isn't directly on the beach but sits across the street. The location allows for plenty of direct and oblique ocean vistas from the house, for sure, but, unless there's a a tunnel we don't know about, actually getting to the beach requires a mad dash across a probably not usually very busy two-lane road and a trek across a short stretch of rolling dunes.

The cavernous formal living room, with massive fireplace, lighted built-in display niches and soaring beamed ceiling, has three, exceptionally tall arched French doors that open out to an ocean side loggia. The baronial formal dining room has yet another massive stone fireplace as well as a series of arched French doors separated by tall, Macedonian stone Doric columns.

Other spacious and luxurious entertaining spaces include a mahogany-paneled billiard room with inlaid stone floors and built-in wet bar, an adjoining, carpeted "club room" with another fireplace,  and a bookcase-lined library with—you got it—yet another fireplace.

The colossal and expensively equipped eat-in kitchen has an undulating, barrel-vaulted brick ceiling, all the top-grade appliances money can buy, both butler's and storage pantries and a walk-in fridge/cooler. The nearby family room contains—yep—a fireplace, built-in bookshelves and a trio of towering arched French doors that connect to a second outdoor living loggia that overlooks the swimming pool complex.

Upstairs five family/guest bedrooms each have access to a private bathroom and share a separate playroom/den. The house-sized master suite has a column-encircled entry vestibule and a behemoth bed chamber defined by a rather monolithic wood fretwork panel. The suite opens privately to a deep covered terrace with fireplace and ocean view. The suite is complete with an adjoining meditation lounge, a pair of "wardrobe rooms" and a titanic bathroom with his and her areas plus a free-standing, egg-shaped soaking tub set on an inlaid, free-form bed of stone in the center of the room.

The luxury appointments and accouterments extend down into the extensive finished basement area where, according to listing information, there are staff quarters, a wine room, a game room, a fitness room, and a professional-style spa with hydrotherapy tub, massage area, shower space and steam room.

In addition to the sumptuous main house, the double-gated, resort-like seaside estate contains several motor courts and parking areas, an underground 8-bay garage, fairway-like lawns, stone pathways that meander through lush tropical gardens, several shaded porches and loggias for escaping the relentless south Florida sunshine, a slightly sunken sport court with viewing platform and a separate guest house that overlooks the saltwater swimming pool and semi-circular spa. A monumentally-scaled, stone-columned poolside cabana is outfitted with a colossal carved stone fireplace, pool bath and summer kitchen.

In addition to his dee-luxe new digs in Delray Beach, Mister James still owns, according to our resources, two homes in the, like, oh-muh-gawd, ur-suburban Los Angeles community of Encino (CA), both of which he bought before he was married. In May 2002 he dropped $1,450,000 on a 5,386 square foot mock-Med mini-mansion in an itty-bitty gated enclave just a couple blocks north of Ventura Boulevard and in August the following year he forked over $3,200,000 for a far more substantial 10,042 square foot mock-Med mansion with 7 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms tucked privately up a shared drive and behind gates in the foothills a few blocks south of Ventura Boulevard. Your Mama does not know an oscillating fan from a palm tree so we really can't say what plans Mister and Missus James have for their west coast abodes but as of this morning, based on our brief and unscientific research, neither home appears to be on the open market.

listing photos: via Zillow

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Update: Diddy's Digs

Last week all us celebrity property gossips jawed endlessly over the high-floor, one-bedroom party pad in Midtown Manhattan that rapper-mogul Sean Combs—a.k.a. Puffy Piddle or Diddle Daddy or P. Daddle or whatever—kerplopped on market with a heavy-duty $8,500,000 price tag.

At that time there weren't images included with online listings but we happened to notice today the addition of a treasure trove of jaw-dropping photographs that depict a sassy, supuh-swah-vey pied-a-terre done up pretty much exactly like what Your Mama imagines ordinary, non-VIP club goers imagine the invite-only VIP room of a swank Las Vegas nightclub looks like. Yes? No?

We don't know who's responsible for the chatoyant white lacquer ceilings, the thick, cement-colored wall-to-wall shag carpeting, the cushioned Lucite furniture or the disco ball-inspired column in the living room but it looks to Your Mama like maybe musician turned interior designer Lenny Kravitz done got nightclub-like decorating claws up in there. We're not hatin', we're just sayin'.

Anyhoo, just to recap, the 2,292 square foot spread—set 700-feet above the street with stomach-dropping Central Park and city views and equipped with a state-of-the-art home automation system—was originally designed with 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, but two of the bedrooms were re-purposed into a media lounge with deep, black velvet sofas and a piano room with well-stocked wet bar and a glitzy, Lucite baby grand piano.

Mister Combs, who owns homes in Miami (FL), Alpine (NJ) and East Hampton (NY), acquired the sybaritic aerie in 2005 for $3,820,000 and is (allegedly) on the hunt for a much more substantial piece of the Manhattan residential real estate pie.

listing photos: Prudential Douglas Elliman

Chris Meloni Does It in the C.T.

BUYER: Christopher Meloni and Sherman Williams-Meloni
LOCATION: New Canaan, CT
PRICE: $4,381,000
SIZE: 8,063 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5 full and 3 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: The children may recall that former Law & Order: SVU man-hunk actor Christopher Meloni—who was, dare we say, even more sizzling in the steamy prison drama Oz (1998-2003)—and his lady-decorator wife Sherman Williams-Meloni put their 60th floor Midtown Manhattan condo-crib on the market in March (2012) with, as you'll soon see, an in-hindsight-rose-tinted $12,000,000 price tag.

Mister and Missus Meloni's three bedroom and 4.5 bathroom high-floor Big Apple perch—located in the same, slender, smoked glass tower where Sean "Diddy" Combs recently put his higher floor three bedroom into two bedroom party pad up for sale for $8,500,000 and New Age guru Deepak Chopra has a even higher floor apartment with two bedrooms and two bathrooms listed for $3,595,000—remains unsold, but with a shrunken but still astronomical asking price of $9,950,000.

Luckily for him and his family, the well-compensated, Emmy-nominated actor—he reportedly took in $395,000 per episode in his last season of L&O:SVU—doesn't need to unload one multi-million dollar residence to acquire another; The hard-charging property gossip gal at the Post revealed today that Mister and Missus Meloni decamped—or will eventually decamp—for the bucolic and affluent enclave of New Canaan, CT where in late August (2012) they dropped $4,381,000 on a fully-landscaped, four-ish acre estate anchored by an unquestionably luxurious but perfectly ordinary two-story proto-suburban mansion with 8,063 square feet of expensively but blandly finished interior space.

Listing information Your Mama easily squeezed out of the interweb reveals the 16-plus room residence was built in 2006 and sits on "one of the highest elevations in New Canaan" with "extraordinary views to Manhattan." There are, according to listing information, total of five bedrooms, five full and three half bathrooms plus four fireplaces, an attached three-car side-facing garage with direct entry into the kitchen's service area, and a convenient pair of typically New England mudrooms.

The double height entry, with under-stair powder pooper, gives way to a spacious, step-down living room with fireplace and semi-circular wall of tall, arched windows that overlook the back yard. A quartet of clustered rooms, situated off the foyer, include a fully-paneled billiard room with built-in wet bar, an also fully-paneled library/media room with fireplace flanked by built-in bookshelves, a somewhat useless southwest-facing sun room with long curved wall of windows, and a secluded office with private half bath and yet another built-in wet bar.

Less formal family quarters are accessed directly from the foyer or through a compact butler's pantry that links the dining room to the expensively equipped but stylistically ho-hum center island kitchen complete with walk-in pantry, wine room, half bathroom, white raised-panel cabinetry and gray-veined green counter tops that are probably granite or marble or some other high-cost material. The breakfast area off the kitchen steps down into a semi-circular family room with fireplace, built-in bookcases and backyard access.

Front and rear stairs connect to the second floor where one guest/family bedroom has direct access to a private bathroom and a second makes use of a roomy hall bathroom. Two more guest/family bedrooms, each with private bathroom, occupy a wing of their own and straddle a sitting room with built-in bookshelves and media center.

Double doors open from the upstairs landing directly into the decent-sized and wall-to-wall carpeted master bedroom with brass-accented fireplace and semi-circular wall of multi-pane windows. French doors lead out to a petite loggia where a spiral staircase twists tightly down to a lower level covered porch off the library/media room and corkscrews up to a small roof terrace with pastoral, if knee-knocking, wrap-around views.

The large but hardly excessive, attached master bathroom has inset marble tile flooring, double sinks, soaking tub for two and separate stall shower. The adjoining walk-in closet/dressing room appears on the floor plan included with marketing materials to be larger than all four of the guest/family bedrooms. This spatial imbalance may (or may not) make it crystal clear to resident children, other family members and/or overnight house guests that their creature comfort ranks lower on the square footage food chain than the Louboutins and John Lobbs owned by the master and mistress of the manor. 

The tree-ringed grounds include long driveway and baronial circular motor court with additional parking around the side by the garage. There are acres of gently undulating lawns, a newly-built six-stall horse or car barn, and a stone terraces that extends off the rear of the house and steps down to surround a free-form swimming pool and elevated spa set into a man-made bank of boulders and mature landscaping.

If she hasn't already Your Mama imagines Missus Williams-Meloni will soon roll up her interior decorator sleeves and get to work on a transformation that will turn this ho-hum house into a publication-worthy showpiece—like their Manhattan apartment, as seen in the March 2008 issue of Architectural Digest. Mister Meloni will do his part to fund his fortunate family's multi-million dollar lifestyle with upcoming silver screen roles in 42 (with Harrison Ford), the next of the never-ending Superman movies (Man of Steel), the comedy They Came Together, and the in-production drama Small Time.

listing photos: William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Iconoclast Comedienne Phyllis Diller's Digs

SELLER: Estate of Phyllis Diller
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $12,900,000
SIZE: 9,266 square feet, 8 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama knows we're a little late to this particular celebrity real estate rodeo but we figure better late than never in the case of the long-time Los Angeles, CA residence of outlandish and recently deceased comedienne Phyllis Diller that was recently pushed on the open market with a star-style $12,900,000 asking price.

In what may or may not be a coinky-dink, Miz Diller—may she rest in peace—was born and bred in Lima, OH, the same small Midwestern town where that motley group of teenagers on the super-gay hit tee-vee program Glee sing and dance their way through the trials, tribulations and humiliations of puberty, young love and high school. A classically trained musician from her youth—she could tickle and tinkle the ivories with the best of Tinseltown entertainers of her era like, say, Liberace—Miz Diller didn't pursue music as a career, but rather became an advertising copywriter and mother of five.

Sometime in the early-1950s, at a time when polite society considered it ludicrous and downright undignified for a lady to do stand up comedy, a nearly-forty year old Miz Diller did just that; She put on a fright wig and a pair of mid-heel ankle boots and bravely took a totally bizarre but inspired twist into the male-dominated, dog-eat-dog Showbiz arena of stand up comedy. Somehow, in that glowering, buttoned-up climate, she killed it with her punishing parody and and brutal self-deprecation.

She honed her wickedly sardonic, high-camp housewife schtick and distinct, open-mouthed guffaw throughout the 1950s and '60s with regular appearances in comedy clubs and on television programs such as What's My Line and Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. Her professional salad days came—some might argue— in the late 60s and 1970s when she cut a broad and lacerating swath through one of Comedyland's to-date frothiest heydays of game-changing, cutting-edge comedy.

The iconoclast joker never really laid down her microphone and performed—nay, chewed up the damn stage—well into her eighth decade with her vicious, typically dead pan delivery. She was and will always be one of the greats, a zany but whip smart insult comedy trailblazer and Tinseltown tour de force who paved the way for a slew of funny, sharp-tongued women who include (but are hardly limited to) Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr, Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, (newly slenderized) Lisa Lampanelli and Whitney Cummings.

For the younger children who may not be familiar with the comedic stylings of Miz Diller, we offer a few examples of her doing her thing:

Here she pretends to smoke—she never actually smoked— while she verbally slices and dices her faux-husband, Fang, on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1969.

Here she is in 1977, as she tears into Fang's profoundly fat—and hopefully mostly fictitious—mother in a five-plus minute barrage of scathing and scathingly hilarious bon mots.

Here she is in 1978, briefly and brilliantly roasting Joan Collins in a pink fright wig, and here she roasts Ronald Reagan in what appears to Your Mama to be the early 1980s.

And finally, here she is, in her late 80s, serving it with razor blade sharpness in a short, but searing dress down of herself in regards to her own advanced age and advancing decrepitude.

Good stuff, kittens, good stuff for sure, but, anyhoo, let's get back to the real estate matter at hand, shall we?

Current listing information states the 9,266 square foot residence sits on 1.23 gated acres with 8 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms and was originally built in 1914 for steel magnate/U.S. Senator Lawrence C. Phipps from Colorado for use as a vacation home. A 2002, Ruth Ryon-written profile in the Los Angeles Times reveals Miz Diller acquired the roomy and faintly gloomy, English Country-style manor house in the fall of 1965 and, over the nearly 50 years she occupied the premises, named many of the mansion's 22 rooms.

The ample, vaulted and beamed main living room—dubbed The Bob Hope Salon after her mentor who gave her a large oil portrait of himself that stands on an easel next to a picture frame-laden concert grand piano—has wood floors, a fireplace, and a Gothic, paneled seating nook lined with leaded- and stained-glass windows. There's a second fireplace and some pretty awful swagged gold braid drapery in The Sarah Siddons Room—that would be the formal dining room—and a third fireplace in the wood-paneled and vaulted salon Miz Diller called The Bach Room and used as an memento-filled office. The tile-floored and red-walled room shown in listing photos is presumed by Your Mama to be the loggia mentioned in Miz Ryon's 2002 article in the L.A. Times as a passageway between the front door and the bar.

A room with a pump organ became, of course, The Pump Room; a mirrored telephone closet was designated the John Wilkes Booth—after Lincoln's assassin, natch; and a powder room was christened The Edith Head, after legendary costume designer Edith Head.

Listing information describes the (clearly dated) kitchen with its red brick wall(s) and black and white tile flooring as a "Classic stainless still [sic]," but it was dubbed by Miz Diller as The Scarlet Scullery for its blood red cabinetry. Last week Miz Diller's son, Perry Diller, told the L.A. Times the kitchen was  the "center of their family life" and that Miz Diller was a capable cook who would whip up culinary concoctions she gleefully saddled with unappetizing names like "garbage soup" and "heart burn salad."

We're not sure what nickname Miz Diller gave to her own bedroom—one can only imagine—but some of the guest bedrooms that open off the picture-lined upstairs gallery were, according to Miz Ryon's 2002 article, denominated The Canary Suite for its yellow day-core, The Giuseepe Verdi Suite for its green day-core—verdi means green to the Italians—and The Lincoln Bedroom was once furnished with Lincoln-era things and later used by Miz Diller as an office.

A couple of rooms were given over to Miz Diller's vast collection of beaded and bedazzled costumes and famously extensive (fright) wig collection.

The partly campy, partly Old-School correct and partly perplexing day-core and contents of the house will be auctioned, according to Miz Diller's son, Perry, in an article in The L.A. Times. We don't know if the wigs will go up for grabs but lawhrd have mercy on the auctioneer if they do because Your Mama imagines every drag queen and wig-wearing wacko from Sydney to Singapore will stuff themselves into a tacky beaded baby doll dress, slap on a pair of cha-cha heels and high tail it to the auction house where we should all expect a stiff and shady bidding process that could easily turn into a show-down/ho-down of world record-breaking proportions.

Although we can't be sure, it appears to Your Mama's boozy eyes that there may be a number of fake plants and flower arrangements throughout the residence. Rule No. #8 in Your Mama's Big Book of Decorating Dos and Dont's is emphatic that fake flowers and/or faux-greenery should be scrupulously avoided in all circumstances. No flowers, so the rule reads, are better than phony flowers. However, children, we just can't seem to stick this rule on Miz Diller because, even though we know her eccentric stage presence was a persona and not really her, it just makes perfect sense this wonderful wackadoodle would have fake flower arrangements. Yes? Are we right? They're perfect! They are!! For her!!! And that, hunties, is what real and fearless personal style—as opposed to publication-worthy perfection—is all about.

The house was built around a central courtyard that looks like it's maybe seen better landscaping days and a wide screened porch on the southwest facade overlooks broad if somewhat tired-looking lawns and gardens dotted and shaded with numerous mature specimen trees. The property does not currently have a swimming pool or tennis court. That seemed odd to Your Mama until we figured Miz Diller probably wasn't much into exercise or getting her head wet.

So then, Your Mama wants to know, what do the children think? Will Miz Diller's nearly 10,000 square foot digs be razed to make way for a substantially larger new residence with such new-fangled luxury-living necessities as, say, a fitness studio, panic room and walk-in in humidor, or will someone opt to update and upgrade the existing structure?

1. 2. 3. Go.

listing photos: Bruce Nelson & Associates

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hilary Swank Lists Pacific Palisades Pad

SELLER: Hilary Swank
LOCATION: Pacific Palisades, CA
PRICE: $9,495,000
SIZE: 6,722 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A little birdie from Redfin alerted Your Mama to the online listing for the Pacific Palisades, CA residence of two-time Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby, Boys Don't Cry), now up on the open market with a $9,495,000 price tag.

Of course, Your Mama don't know a heifer from a hamster so we really can't do anything but guess and assume the decision to sell her luxurious Pac. Pal. pad may or may not have something to do with all the gossip glossy reports about Miz Swank and man-friend/talent agent John Campisi splitting up in May 2012 after five years of un-wedded coupledom.

Property records show Miz Swank picked up the spacious 1928, ocean-view Mediterranean-style mansion in March 2007—just about the time she and Mister Campisi hooked up—for $5,800,000. Current listing information states the three-story residence was worked over and "restored" by the Santa Monica- and Santa Barbara-based A-game architects Mark Appleton & Associates along with New York City-based designer Mark Zeff.

The substantial and grand yet somehow unassuming hillside house measures a significant but hardly humongous 6,722 square feet, according to listing information, with 6 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms. The spacious, top-floor master suite boasts a corner fireplace, lots of arched windows, a small ocean-view terrace, a walk-in closet and a chandelier-lit master bath complete with two sinks, free-standing soaking tub, separate shower and a Granny-style armchair with Miz Swank's initials,  HS, embroidered on the back.

The elegantly scaled rooms include a step down living room lit by twin chandeliers and warmed by a fireplace. French doors provide direct access to an arch-lined loggia. The open-plan kitchen/dining space includes a dining room large enough to accommodate up to 20—as per listing information—and the adjoining eat-in, center-island kitchen has painted wood beams on the ceiling, bone-colored cabinetry, with the usual collection of high-grade appliances An adjoining breakfast area with big, built-in banquette is the perfect spot to read the morning paper, work crossword puzzles, take light meals and consider the sun as it dips below the horizon line of the glinting Pacific Ocean.

Other notable luxuries include a double-gated motor court at the front of the house, a fitness room, an elegantly butch leather-walled cigar room/wine cellar and a lower level lounge area with built-in wet bar that connects to a state-of-the-art surround sound theater furnished with custom leather recliners for 17 guests. The lower level also contains a guest or domestic suite plus a powder room, according to listing information.

Terraces extend off the lower level of the house and descend to the partly-flat backyard that features a terraced organic vegetable gardens, an all-new extra-long saltwater swimming pool and spa and a poolside dining cabana with fireplace, built-in heaters, an outdoor kitchen /barbecue station and a bathroom with outdoor shower. A foliage-ringed fire pit encircled by circular, stacked stone benches dressed with sunset orange cushions and pillows sits on a promontory with canyon and ocean vistas.

We're not sure what Miz Swank's West Coast real estate plans are but as far as we know, she still owns a compact, high-floor 1,441 square foot condo crib with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathroom in the much-ballyhooed, Robert A.M. Stern-designed Superior Ink building in Manhattan's far West Village that she purchased in the last days of 2009 for $3,575,000.

listing photos: Dream Home Photo for Nourmand & Associates

Filmmaker and Writer Couple List TriBeCa Duplex Loft

SELLERS: David Schisgall and Evgenia Peretz
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $6,950,000
SIZE: 3,500 square feet (approx.), 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: The peeps at PropertyShark reveal it was only about 2.5 years ago that documentary filmmaker/screenwriter David Schisgall and his well-known writer wife Evgenia Peretz shelled out $3,615,000 to acquire and extensively renovate a spacious penthouse loft atop a 19th-century warehouse building on a cobblestone street in New York City's celeb-trendy TriBeCa 'hood.

Thanks to the intrepid and greatly appreciated endeavors of our unofficial—and unpaid—aide-de-camp, Hot Chocolate, Your Mama has come to learn that the wagon-hitched and child-rearing couple appear to have had a real estate change of heart down in ol' TriBeCa. Or, maybe they just caught a a slow-brewed case of The Real Estate Fickle? Or, maybe it's something else entirely. Whatever the reason(s), the couple recently heaved and hoed their duplex penthouse atop a small, doorman-free building on the market with an asking price of $6,950,000.

These two are hardly recently trending, household names in the manner of that sadly dissembling former child star Amanda Bynes or that bed-hopping sit-com actor/reality producer/angel investor Ashton Kutcher but in certain circles of urbane, cultured and sophisticated folks—along with those who like to think of themselves or would like to bes urbane, cultured and sophisticated—they are, believe you Your Mama, deeply entrenched, card-carrying members of the Los Angeles/New York City media-world culturati.

In addition to co-writing the the Paul Rudd-starring movie Our Idiot Brother (2011), Mister Schisgall has directed and produced a handful of  television and film documentaries. They include the short-lived boob-toob series True Life, the Showtime piece Very Young Girls (2007)—a piercing look into the wicked morass of teen-aged prostitution in New York City, and The Lifestyle (1999)—a lurid, maybe NSFW and deeply disturbing must-see romp through the sanity-shattering underground world of middle-aged and elderly swingers in unsuspecting suburban communities in southern California.

For what it's worth and if anyone cares a whit, Your Mama saw The Lifestyle in the long-ago-closed Two Boots Pioneer Theater in New York's East Village when it first came out and we are still perplexed and possessed by a few, truly shocking scenes that an ocean of gin & tonics and a mountain of nerve pills could never wash away. Think grandma prancing around in leather gear with her naughty bits out. Seriously.

Miz Peretz also lays claim to a writer title on the movie Our Idiot Brother—which was directed by her brother Jesse—but is probably best known as a frequent feature and profile writer for Vanity Fair magazine whose journalistic milieu straddles the glossy intersections between art, culture, politics, and Tinseltown. Her professional neighborhood isn't so surprising given that the Harvard- and NYU-educated wordster was raised up in a high-brow wide world peopled with arty-farty intellectuals and globally influential power brokers. Her mother, Anne Labouisse Farnsworth Peretz, is a Cambridge, MA-based painter and social worker who's also—so the story goes—an heiress to the Singer Sewing Machine fortune and her father, Marty Peretz, is a former Harvard professor and the outspoken, lightening rod former co-owner and former editor-in-chief of lefty-lib publication The New Republic.

Current listing information states the approximately 3,500 square foot duplex was "meticulously renovated with the utmost style and sophistication" with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms plus two sky-lit dens and a petite, windowless office.

The elevator opens directly into a snug foyer with lowered ceiling that bursts dramatically into a sky-lit reception gallery separated from the roller rink-sized main living/dining space by a muscular and theatrical yet smartly restrained, floating switchback steel staircase.

Beyond the stairs, in the spatially meaty, 1,000-ish square foot main living space, a simple black firebox anchors one wall and a deliciously long row of (almost) floor-to-ceiling bookcases lines the opposite. Three sets of custom-crafted, steel-framed glass doors open to a 25-plus foot wide and six-foot deep terrace.

A disappointingly wee but well-equipped kitchen and good-sized pantry closet were wedged somewhat uncomfortably into a corner niche off the living/dining area and outfitted with clean-lined white cabinets, thick plank open shelves, zinc covered counter tops and—natch—a complete suite of top-grade, commercial-style stainless steel appliances.

The second floor is given entirely over the somewhat compact master suite comprised of a bedroom and an adjoining, closet-lined dressing room that connects through steel and frosted glass double doors to windowed private pooper finished with poured concrete floors, double sinks, a free-standing claw-footed bathtub and a separate, sky-lit shower.

Besides the forgivable but somewhat pinched size of the bedroom itself, there there are—in Your Mama's humble and utterly meaningless opinion—two obvious—ahem—issues with the design of the master suite.

Number One: There does not appear on the floor plan to be any kind of door that separates the top of the stairs from the bedroom, only an always-open doorway at the top of the stairs. This means, of course, that any child, house guest and/or domestic worker can stand quietly on the landing of the stairway and hear everything that goes up up in there. And we mean everything, the good, the bad and most definitely the ugly.

Number Two: As far as we can tell from our study of the floor plan, any one who wants to make use of the unusually expansive, partially decked and nicely planted wrap-around roof terrace must traipse through the master bedroom. Uh, no thank you very much. Nobody, at least nobody Your Mama knows, wants to have their down-nosing frenemy or fancy-pants co-worker over for dinner in order to impress them with their property prowess and obvious financial chutzpah only to have no choice but to ask them if they would mind passing through the master bedroom, the most inner of inner real estate sanctums, in order to get to the roof terrace where they can contemplate the head-on view of the nearly-completed Freedom Tower, rising phoenix- and phallic-like from the hallowed grounds of the downed World Trade Center. With proper and plentiful resources, this traffic snafu can probably be fixed by a smart architect or clever space planner, of course, but still....

We're not sure where Miz Peretz and Mister Schisgall plan to decamp but a quick peep and poke around public property records show she sold an approximately 2,000 square foot loft on Duane Street in August 2010 for $2,800,000.

listing photos and floor plan: Halstead Property

Tuesday Tidbit: J.K. Rowling

SELLER: J.K. Rowling
LOCATION: Merchiston, Edinburgh. (That's Scotland, puppeenuh weenuhs)
PRICE: £2,250,000
SIZE: 6,847 square feet, 8-9 bedrooms, 3 full and 2 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: As already discussed by almost every other celebrity property gossip on the planet, near billionaire British writer J.K. Rowling "She-Rah of the wildly lucrative Harry Potter books" recently put a Victorian-era residence with 8 bedrooms and 3 full and 2 half bathrooms, situated in the affluent Merchiston area of Edinburgh, on the market with an asking price of £2,250,000, an amount otherwise known, according our currency conversion contraption, as 4,053,280 U.S. dollars at today's rates.

There (probably) aren't any wizards in the basement or magic potions in the cabinets, but marketing materials for the 6,847 square foot former residence indicate there are—among other features—a top-notch security system (that may or may not include magic wands), under-floor heating and at least half a dozen fireplaces for taking the damp edge off Scottish mornings, a cross-shaped entry/stair hall with (truly mortifying) buff-colored wall-to-wall carpeting, a 35-plus foot long family/dining room with two fireplaces offering direct garden access, a modestly-scaled main floor master suite and a concealed door that disguises access to the ground floor service quarters.

In addition to the the fully refurbished and restored main house, the walled, gated and fully landscaped mini-estate encompasses several outbuildings that include (but may not be limited to) a couple of semi-detached storage rooms, a summerhouse, detached two-car garage and a low-slung, just under 700 square foot split-level contemporary structure comfortably equipped with kitchen and bathroom and suitable for use as a home office/writing room, guest and/or in-law accommodations, a meditation retreat and/or—quelle horreur—a man cave.

Miz Rowling will hardly be left homeless when she unloads her already vacated Merchiston manor house. She reportedly owns another estate in Edinburgh, purchased for about two million pounds in 2009, a townhouse in London and a getaway estate in Perthshire. That's also in Scotland, laddies and lassies.

listing photos and floor plan: Rettie

Monday, September 24, 2012

Another $95 Million Manhattan Spread Up for Grabs

SELLERS: Gilbert and Charlene Haroche
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $95,000,000
SIZE: 7,000-ish square feet, 7 bedrooms, 7 full and 2 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Over the weekend, with much fanfare and hullabaloo, the property gossips at the New York Times gleefully revealed that Liberty Travel co-founder Gilbert Haroche and wife Charlene heaved their grand(iose) full-floor residence at the legendary and legendarily high-nosed Sherry-Netherland building on New York City's Fifth Avenue on the open market with a publicity generating $95,000,000 price tag.

It's not clear (or reported) exactly when Mister and Missus Haroche purchased their sprawling Fifth Avenue aerie, but The New York Times did say they spent about two years on an extensive renovation that combined several 18th floor apartments into a single sprawler with approximately 7,000 square feet of voluptuous interior space and another 2,000-or-so square feet of elegantly planted terraces.

A trio of attended elevators open into a gilt-trimmed private landing with intricate mosaic tile floor that sumptuously shuttles residents and guests into a roomy formal living room outfitted with inlaid parquet floors and a wood-burning fireplace, not to mention tassel-trimmed draperies, champagne colored sofas, and a burled wood baby grand piano that Your Mama would bet our long-bodied bitches, Linda and Beverly, cost the spendy couple more than a well-equipped Mercedes-Benz.

Additional public and semi-private spaces include a stiff-lipped formal dining room with Midtown views, a window-lined corner solarium with direct view of the Central Park and the Plaza Hotel plus a library with even more inlaid parquet floors and high-gloss mahogany paneled walls and built-in wet bar.

The suburban mini-mansion-sized eat-in kitchen is expensively equipped with a large center island, bone-colored cabinetry with mottled gray slab granite counter tops and all the over-sized, commercial-style appliances—including a pair fridge/freezers and warming ovens—that one can and should expect in any home anywhere with a $95,000,000 price tag. Both the formal dining room and the kitchen overlook a south-facing terrace with an unobstructed (if oblique), multi-million dollar view of The Plaza and the towers of Midtown.

Current listing information, and recent, tongue-wagging reports, about Haroche's decision to sell report the 15-room residence contains a total of 7 bedrooms with 7 full and 2 half bathrooms including a two-bedroom and two-bathroom guest suite with a small kitchen. The royalty-worthy master suite, accessed by a bowling-alley-length closet-lined corridor, features dual bathrooms and dressing rooms—one fully-lined with floor-to-ceiling mirrored cabinets—plus a private, north-facing terrace with skyline views of Upper East Side and Central Park. Two additional staff suites on separate floors allow residents and live-in domestics an unusual and highly desirable amount of privacy.

Living at the Sherry-Netherland is described in current marketing materials for Mister and Missus Haroche's palatial apartment as "an expression of privilege since 1927," and privileged living comes—natch—at an almost unimaginable sky-high price. A few quick flicks of the well-worn beads on Your Mama's bejeweled abacus determined the maintenance charges run a throat-constricting $648,000 per year, based on the approximately $54,000 per month figure reported in The New York Times.

Your Mama's rudimentary—and entirely unscientific—calculations indicate it would take a New York state minimum wage worker who earns $7.25 per hour almost 45 years to pay just one year of Mister and Missus Haroche's mind-altering maintenance fees. Mix a stiff gin & tonic and take a moment to ponder that, kittens, because it's really quite extraordinary.

Anyhoo, the gargantuan monthly fees cover the owner's share of building's property taxes plus access to all of The Sherry's elegant, five-star hotel amenities and services that include twice-a-day housekeeping and turn down service, 24-hour concierge, access to the swish private club Doubles (located in the basement) and room service—for additional fees, natch—available on demand from the swank Harry Cipriani restaurant located in the building's lobby. What the fees do not include, as far as we can tell, is access to a fitness facility, so any of the sportier billionaires who might consider the purchase of this apartment will also need to lay out a few more pennies for a gym membership.

Your Mama don't know a palm tree from a swimming pool but it seems to us that Mister and Missus Haroche might be wearing rose-tinted real estate glasses. The next most expensive apartment currently available on the open market at The Sherry is a spacious, U-shaped two-unit spread on the 16th floor listed as unfinished space for a $19,500,000. The Sherry-Netherland is unquestionably a supremely swank and impressive place to live or maintain a multi-million dollar pied a terre and the Haroche's apartment is undeniably rare in its magnitude and location, even for New York City, but, the highest recorded price paid for an apartment in the building since the middle of 2004—according to the record keepers at StreetEasy—is $11,100,000, in March 2011, for an 8-room corner residence on the third floor with three bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms plus a windowless, cell-sized staff room with attached bathroom, an almost preposterously puny kitchen, two fireplaces and monthly maintenance fees of just over eighteen grand.

Then again, there have been several jaw-dropping purchases of condos the last year or so in New York City including a $70,000,000 duplex penthouse atop the Ritz-Carlton scooped up by gambling honcho Steve Wynn and an $88,000,000 simplex penthouse at 15 Central Park West picked up by Russian multi-billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. However, to date, as far as Your Mama knows, the most expensive co-operative apartment to ever change hands happened earlier this year for $52,500,000, a situation that makes the Haroche's sky-high asking price seem a little rose-tinted. But then again, what do we know?

Well-heeled current and past residents of The Sherry are rumored and reported to include Miss Diana Ross, journalist/talk show host Charlie Rose, Barbra "only from the left side, please" Streisand, Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Warner, George Burns, mutual fund billionaire Charles Johnson, scented candle king Harry Slatkin and wife Laura (who now live in an regal and ritzy 19th-century Beaux Arts townhouse on East 74th Street bought in 2005 for $11,720,000 from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Arthur Penn), deceased tech titan turned art/trophy property collector and philanthropist Max Palevsky, fat-cat financier Roberto de Guardiola and his interior designer wife Joanne who reportedly own five contiguous combined units, as well as any number of other potentates, captains of industry and financiers who are so ridiculously rich and discreet that most of the children have never even heard of them.

The Old Grey Lady was invited in to the Haroche's apartment for a tour and took lots more photographs for the children to feast on.

Turns out, this isn't the first time Mister and Missus Haroche have put a $95,000,000 price tag on one of their properties. Back in 2007 and into 2008 they had Hillandale, their 263-or-so acre estate in Stamford, CT, up for sale with the same sky-high price. The estate does not appear to have been sold and it does not appear to be currently listed on the open market.

Hillandale, formerly owned by the illustrious Sulzberger family who own the New York Times, straddles the Connecticut and New York state border and, according to multiple reports from the time, is comprised of a 20,000-or-so square foot stone main mansion with 8 bedrooms, 10 full and 4 half bathrooms, 9 fireplaces, and an indoor pool plus four additional residences. There's also a private chapel built with materials imported from France, an authentic tepee (whatever that is), a private lake, an outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, acres and acres of landscaped grounds that include painstakingly manicured parterre gardens and five-plus miles of private roads.

listing photos (New York City): Brown Harris Stevens and Prudential Douglas Elliman
listing photos (Stamford/Pound Ridge): Sotheby's International Realty via Luxist

Friday, September 21, 2012

Reese Witherspoon Lists Los Angeles Lot, Too

SELLER: Reese Witherspoon
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $7,995,000
SIZE: 2.53 acres

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: While celebrity property gossips around the globe went hog wild this week over Oscar-winning movie star and producer Reese Witherspoon putting Libbey Ranch—her historic and published ranch in Ojai, CA—up for sale with a $10,000,000 asking price, a kindly informant we'll call Mandy Canyon whispered to Your Mama that she also (but much more quietly) made a now-vacant parcel in the Mandeville Canyon area of Los Angeles available as an off-market listing with a $7,995,000 price tag.

Avid celebrity real estate-o-philes probably recall that currently-with-child Miz Witherspoon somewhat surreptitiously acquired the equestrian-minded estate—once owned by Tom Selleck—in an off-market deal in August 2010 from silk-robe wearing actor and part-time lawman Steven Seagal for $6,900,000.

Whatever obviously now scuttled plans Miz Witherspoon and her ladder-climbing talent agent husband Jim Toth had for the nearly flat 2.53 acre estate clearly involved the complete removal of an existing 7 bedroom and 9 bathroom Spanish-style residence as well as that of the swimming pool, stables, riding ring and whatever other structures may have been on the property.

What do the real estate experts and otherwise opinionated think? Even though she only bought it just over two years ago is Miz Witherspoon's bucolic spread in Mandeville Canyon worth a million dollars more now that the existing structures have been razed and removed?

Of course Your Mama don't know a pea pod from a zoot suit but it seems to us Mister and Missus Toth are in the mood to shake up their real estate portfolio. Does this mean we may see the happy and procreating couple list her long-time residence in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles? What about the almost 6,500 square foot, quoin-cornered and mansard roofed mini-mansion she owns in her native Nashville? Will that property go up on the block, too? We'll just have to wait and see, won't we children?

listing photo: The Agency

Did Y'all Hear...

...Puff Diddy—or Fiddle Faddle or Diddle Daddy or whatever name multi-monikered music mogul and entrepreneur Sean Combs goes by nowadays—pushed his plush one bedroom Midtown Manhattan pied-a-terre on the market this week with a sky-high $8,500,000 asking price? Well, he did, as first reported yesterday in the Post.

Mister Diddy clearly hopes to double his real estate money; Public property records reveal he scooped up the high-floor urban spread in 2005 for $3,820,000. It remains to be seen if that's realistic but not bad work if you can get it, right?

Listing information shows the 2,292 square foot apartment—set 700 (or so) vertiginous feet off the street on the 66th floor of the mixed-used Park Imperial building—was originally designed with three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms but is currently configured with just one bedroom, two (or maybe 2.5) bathrooms plus a media lounge and a piano room with built-in wet bar.

Diddy's digs are "fully customized for the most sophisticated living," according to current listing information, and include a marble-clad foyer—natch—and a nearly 500 square foot living room geared-up with 9-foot flat-screen tee-vee and blessed with two full walls of floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic city and Central Park views. The adjacent and (no-doubt) swankly accoutered eat-in kitchen is outfitted with a breakfast banquette—which we love because we're mad for a well-conceived built-in banquette—and the master suite, a rear flank tucked privately behind the kitchen, is practically crowded with a quartet of closets, two of them walk-ins.

Being the super-slick and filthy rich cat he is, Mister Diddy equipped the apartment with a new-fangled home automation system that controls the window shades, lighting, and state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment.

Mister Diddy putting his big ol' one bedroom up for sale isn't such a shocker to celebrity property watchers and real estate gossips given he's been spotted peeping far more consequential, multimedia tycoon-worthy cribs around town such as an almost twenty million dollar duplex penthouse in TriBeCa, now listed for considerably less at $16.9 million. Maybe he ought to have another look-see around there?

The blinged-out entertainer currently also maintains a waterfront mansion with a dozen poopers on star-studded Star Island in Miami Beach (FL), a hideaway in the Hamptons where he frequently hosts his annual White Party, and a large residence in the exclusive and affluent bedroom community of Alpine, NJ.

exterior photo: Kate Lenova for Property Shark
floor plan: Prudential Douglas Elliman

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Adrienne Maloof Lists Bev Hills Mansion Amid Bitter Divorce

SELLERS: Adrienne Maloof and Paul Nassif
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $26,000,000
SIZE: Huge with 8 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Buckle your safety belts, butter beans. As already reported by gossip juggernaut TMZ earlier today, L.A.-based businesswoman Adrienne Maloof of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fame and her Bev Hills plastic surgeon husband Paul Nassif have hoisted their humongous, gilt-trimmed Richard Landry-designed faux-French chateau in the guard-gated Beverly Park community on the market with an engorged asking price of $26,000,000.

Tabloid readers and reality tee-vee watchers aren't surprised by this real estate turn of events since the always bickering in front of the cameras couple have split up and are currently in the early stages of a divorce that's already turned bitter and ugly.

Property records we peeped reveal the quondam couple purchased the unapologetically palatial property in May 2004 for $12,708,000. It doesn't take a mathematics savant or a even functional calculator to see the Maloof-Nassifs hope to double their money less carrying costs, improvements, renovations, maintenance and upkeep, real estate fees, and the various other expenses related to owning a residence and property of this magnitude.

Listing information available online does not currently indicate the square footage of the obviously immense and conspicuously opulent faux-chateau but does show the hulking house sits on almost two, painstakingly manicured and expensively maintained acres with 8 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. Public records, for the record, show the incorrigibly palatial pile has 7 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms in 12,882 square feet.

Now children, before we really dig in and get our claws dirty, let's have a wee caveat, shall we? Despite her lurid allegations of physical brutality, Your Mama happens to think Mister Nassif comes off on the boob-tube a lovable galoot of a guy and in spite of her (too) tiny feet and terrifying maquillage we find Miz Maloof to be a charmingly nervy and savvy entrepreneur/television personality but we are, even still, utterly confounded to the point of gut wrenching mortification at their wildly extravagant decorative proclivities.

Is it just Your Mama or are there others who also have extreme difficultly getting past the ludicrously palatial and comically ostentatious day-core? Are we more per-turbed by the statue of two hugging children (and small dog) on the park bench near the front door that may or may not be a Seward Johnson situation or more dis-turbed by the several portraits of Miz Maloof sprinkled throughout of the house? For the life of us we can't figure out if we're most particularly and distressingly drawn—like a driver to a mangled roadside car wreck—to the oil painting of Miz Maloof dressed in a ball gown and admiring herself in a hand held mirror or the one above the fireplace in the family room in which she's depicted nearly prostrate on a sofa with a small child—presumably one of her own—perched upon her belly.

Furthermore, we can't decide what is more equilibrium upsetting: the white and gold baby grand in the formal living room that only Liberace could (and should) love or the truly vexatious rocking chair like object set awkwardly in front of the fireplace? Are we more concerned with the ego of someone whose capacious master bedroom looks like it was decorated by the pope himself or do we fret endlessly about the psyche of someone who installs shiny, blood red leather reclining chairs in their home theater? What makes Your Mama's decorative skin crawl more? The frilly floral window treatments in the colossal, two-island kitchen and breakfast room, the gold and tassel trimmed blue brocade drapery extravaganza in the formal dining room, or the red velvet swagging above the windows in the poker-playing room?

The double-gated, high-maintenance grounds are comparatively sedate compared to the faux-Baroque/Rococo decor—there's not a stature of David to be seen in listing photographs—and include a circular fore-court connected by a swooping driveway that wraps around to a second motor court and four-bay garage on the side of the house. Out back there's a soccer pitch-sized lawn, numerous terraces and covered patios, an outdoor kitchen/barbecue center, extensive swimming pool and spa complex, tennis court, and detached guest house converted at least partially to a sports memorabilia-festooned, multi-purpose work out facility.

The $26,000,000 asking price is hardly rare for the hoity-toity 'hood where at least one house once had a terrifically optimistic fifty million dollar price tag but recent sales have come in significantly lower. Comedian/actor Martin Lawrence unloaded his gaudy, 13,855 square foot mansion in June of this year (2012) for $17,200,000. An unusually contemporary, 13,081 square foot residence on 3.5+ acres a couple doors down from Miz Maloof and Mister Nassif's spread—most Beverly Park mansions are steroidal versions of Tuscan villas and Mediterranean manor houses (or whatever)—was sold in January of this year for $21,750,000 and Miz Maloof's castmate Lisa Vanderpump sold her equally opulent and similarly scaled mansion directly across the street last September (2011) for $18,800,000.

As an aside, Miz Vanderpump's former mansion was severely damaged in a fire in late June (2012) and it's not known—at least by Your Mama—whether the new owners plan to repair and renovate or raze and start all over again.

We don't normally mention real estate agents around here—we think they prefer we leave them out of the equation—but it's notable that Miz Maloof and Mister Nassif have chosen Beverly Park honcho Mauricio Umansky (at The Agency) who happens to be married to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' cast member Kyle Richards.

listing photos: The Agency

In-N-Out Heiress Buys Adrián Beltré's Behemoth Bradbury (CA) Compound

SELLER: Adrián Beltré
BUYER: Lynsi Martinez*
LOCATION: Bradbury, CA
PRICE: $17,410,961
SIZE: 16,600 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 14 full and 2 half bathrooms

NOTE TO THE CHILDREN: Scads of photos of the property can be seen here, here, here, here, here here, here and here.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: According to a covert communique from a trusted snitch—let's call him Bradbury Barker—exceedingly well-compensated professional baseball baseball player Adrián Beltré, the former third baseman for the L.A. Dodgers now throwing, catching and swinging for the Texas Rangers, sold his titanic resort-like estate in the über-affluent, suburban community of Bradbury, CA in late August (2012) for the somewhat unusual price of $17,410,961 to Lynsi Martinez, the low-profile heiress to a substantial Southern California-based fast food fortune.

Missus Martinez may not be, Your Mama realizes, a household name in the manner of movie stars like Tom Cruise or trouble-making tabloid train wrecks like Lindsay "In Trouble Again" Lohan and Paris Hilton but her family's 275 (or so) In-N-Out Burger joints spread throughout southern California and the southwest hold near-mythic and cult-like status amongst fast food hamburger connoisseurs who laud their low-cost, high-quality, never-frozen ingredients and not-so-secret "secret menu." They have also made 30-year Miz Martinez remarkably rich with, by at least one fairly recent account, a still-growing net worth of half a billion bucks.

Itty-bitty and decidedly sedate Bradbury, tucked into the often oppressively smoggy foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains about 22 miles (or so) northeast of downtown Los Angeles, might seem to some like an out-of-the-way place for a filthy rich and twice-divorced young mother of toddler twins but it happens to be one of the most expensive enclaves in the entire country and Miz Martinez seems to prefers a low-key if luxurious suburban lifestyle.

In 2010 Forbes ranked Bradbury-Duarte as the most expensive zip code (91008) in the country with a spine-straightening median home price of $4,276,462 and Miz Martinez—now the owner and president of the privately held burger chain and a hardcore drag racing aficionado—was bluntly (and reductively) described in a scathing Wall Street Journal review of a book about the fascinating, deeply religious and (in)famously turbulent In-N-Out dynasty as having "only a high-school education and an affinity for joining off-beat Christian sects."

Property records indicate Mister Beltré purchased the approximately 4.16 acre spread in the ritzy (if starchy) heart of the 24-hour guard-gated Bradbury Estates enclave for $3,425,000 in April 2006 and proceeded to custom-erect a massive, mod-Med/pseudo-Italianate residential monument to his mountain of money and athletic success.

The result of Mister and Missus Beltré's efforts, according to listing information we teased up out of the internets, shows the sprawling compound comprises a 16,600 square foot main house with 7 bedrooms, 11 full and 2 half bathrooms plus a 2,500 square foot guest house with three more bedrooms and two more bathrooms, a recreation building, and a 1,300 square foot, open-air poolside cabana with outdoor kitchen and his and her changing rooms and bathrooms.

Almost as soon as the colossal compound was complete in (or around) 2010 Mister and Missus Beltré heaved and hoed the palatial property on the market with a heavy-duty $19,800,000 price tag. The asking price eventually dipped to $19,500,000—as per online documentation we discovered—before the fast food heiress snatched it up for a bit more than $17,400,000.

The multi-winged mansion is entered through a double-gated circular drive that arches up to a porte-cochere and cavernous, meant-to-impress-the-guests-style foyer finished with inlaid marble floors, curved twin staircases, a glimmering, economy car-sized crystal chandelier, and a soaring, 35-foot high custom painted ceiling. There are spacious formal living and dining rooms—natch—plus a dark-paneled library/office with fireplace and glass-fronted display cases.

More casual quarters include a double-height family room with wood floors, hulking, carved stone fireplace and built-in wet bar. The voluminous family room connects through a wide and shallow archway to a more intimate but still super-sized breakfast room that, in turn, joins up with the commodious, double-island kitchen expensively fitted and equipped with slab granite counter tops, top-grade integrated appliances, a kitchen-sized butler's pantry and more carved corbels and accents than ought to be allowed in a single house.

The super-sized master suite includes (but may not be limited to): an amply-scaled bathroom with two-person soaking tub and separate shower; a custom-fitted closet/dressing room; a living-room sized sitting room with fireplace, intricate molding and direct access to a large balcony and a sizable separate bedroom with second sitting area oriented towards a wall-mounted television.

Some of the compound's indoor amusements include: a 20-plus seat movie theater; fitness room; game room with built-in carved wood wet bar; batting cage; temperature-controlled wine cellar and adjoining tasting room with barrel-vaulted brick ceiling.

Numerous outdoor recreation facilities include (but may not be limited to): deep, shaded dining and lounging loggias; vast terraces that step down to an infinity edge swimming pool and spa; a children's playground with jungle gym and sunken trampoline; a north/south aligned tennis court and separate basketball court; built-in fire pit; several putting greens and sand traps set into an acre or more of rolling lawn.

According to the knowledgeable Bradbury Barker, Miz Martinez owns several other homes in the area including a 6,880 square foot mansion on 2.1 hilltop acres in the guard-gated Gordon Highlands community in Glendora, CA that she purchased in February 2006 for $3,150,000. In late 2010, just prior to her (second) divorce, Miz Martinez spent $1,175,000 on a 5 bedroom and 5 bathroom residence in a gated community in Glendora, CA. that Bradbury Barker snitched to Your Mama is occupied by Miz Martinez's second husband Richard, a former employee of In-N-Out and now an ordained minister.

In addition to the scores of ordinary, under-the-radar rich folks—doctors, lawyers, business people and the like—some of the more illustrious residents of Bradbury include a former porn star turned lady-televangelist, a self-proclaimed (but widely debunked) prophet and faith healer, a prominent civil rights activist and media mogul, an exiled Chinese billionaire automotive tycoon, and a former owner of Packard Bell and his former Hong Kong film actress wife.

Mister and Missus Beltré have moved to Dallas where, property records reveal, in April 2011 they scooped up a large but comparatively puny 8,204 square foot mansion last listed for $2,999,000.

*Although The Bradbury Barker swears the property was purchased by Miz Martinez—and has several times provided us with dead-on accurate intel in the past—property records shield the identity of the owner behind a generically named trust we're unable to link directly to Miz Martinez. That makes the purchase rumor and gossip at this point.

listing photos: Deasy/Penner & Partners via Zillow and

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mary-Louise Parker Gives It Another Go in the Big Apple

SELLER: Mary-Louise Parker
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $7,000,000
SIZE: 4-5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Late last night Your Mama picked up a covert communique on our handy-dandy iPhone from our unofficial aide-de-camp Hot Chocolate who'd discovered that famously fearless, award-winning actress Mary-Louise Parker has her 12-into-10-room New York City duplex apartment (back) on the market with an asking price of $7,000,000.

Miz Parker—a single mother of two with an Emmy (Angels in America), a Tony (Proof) and and two Golden Globes (Weeds, Angels in America), not to mention numerous additional nominations—first put her updated and upgraded pre-war Greenwich Village co-operative crib up for grabs with little (or no) fanfare back in March 2012 with a $7,995,000 price tag. The asking price dropped to $7,250,000 before it was briefly taken off the market in early August.

Property records are a bit vague so Your Mama isn't sure exactly when Miz Parker purchased the two-floor, two-unit combination spread—it may or may not have been in June 2003 for an unknown amount of dinero—but we do find clear evidence online that in May 2005 she bought out her philandering ex-man-friend/baby daddy Billy Crudup's interest in the family-sized apartment for a few dollars less than $1,500,000.

Neither previous nor current marketing materials state the exact size of the two-unit combination but Your Mama's elementary school calculations suggest it's somewhere just under 3,000 square feet. What past and present listings do reveal is that Miz Parker's apartment has four (or five bedrooms, depending on how rooms get used), 4.5 bathrooms, 26 windows with four exposures, two wood-burning fireplaces and two private storage rooms. The not-inconsiderable $6,623 per month maintenance and common charges cover full-service building amenities such doorman and elevator attendants, a live-in super and access to a resident's only fitness facility.

The long, lower level entrance hall opens into a spacious, sparely-furnished but art-filled 560-plus square foot living/dining room with beamed ceiling, wood-burning fireplace and Old School parquet floors stained black (or maybe it's a dark chocolate) for a handsome touch of modernity. Half a dozen over-sized windows on two walls provide sweeping views of Washington Square Park and the Empire State Building. The adjacent, S-shaped kitchen may be compact but it's none-the-less impressively outfitted with a walk-in pantry, a built-in banquette and a full suite of top-grade appliances.

There are two potential bedrooms on the lower floor. The smaller, corner room is marked as an office on the floor plan included with current listing information and it appears that Miz Parker converted the larger, lower level bedroom into a fantasy-land playroom space with mural-painted walls that depict—among other things—the famous Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island. The Parker children and their friends probably love the ginormous, twig-festooned playhouse/puppet theater in the corner but, honestly chickens, all those child-sized puppets give Your Mama the heebie-jeebies.

A chandelier-lit floating staircase climbs to the second floor where three bedrooms with private poopers—plus a newly refurbished and luxuriously windowed laundry room—spoke off an intimate sitting area with second wood-burning fireplace, shag rug, and a couple of deep, slip-covered sofa pieces perfect for bedtime stories and boob-toob viewing. Pocket doors separate the sitting area from the master bedroom, complete includes a custom-fitted walk-in closet/dressing room, hair and make-up nook, and a spa-style bathroom with two sinks and separate tub and shower.

Our brief and unscientific research shows Miz Parker does not own any other real estate—she's been known to lease homes in Los Angeles where Weeds tapes—and we have no idea if she plans to remain in New York City where she's lived since the late 1980s or if she plans to decamp to another, no-doubt upscale locale. Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Bueller?

listing photos and floor plan: Brown Harris Stevens