Friday, February 29, 2008

UPDATE: Rachel Hunter

Back in early February of 2007, Your Mama came across a 5 bedroom and 5 bathroom house up in the hills of Hollywood on N. Crescent Heights Boulevard that carried an asking price of $3,600,000. We had a devil of a time sorting out ownership and by the time we managed to figure out that the house was owned by ex supermodel and Rod Stewart ex wifey Rachel Hunter, it was late May and the asking price had been karate chopped to $2,995,000.

The property lingered on the market for quite some time with the lower price and then, POOF!, it vanished, apparently unable to attract a ready, willing and able buyer. The 4,078 square foot sort of Tudor style house (which is now be marketed as an "English country farmhouse" evaporated from our mind until just the other day when, KABLAM! the property popped back up on the MLS with a new asking price of $3,250,000.

Whhaaat? Please.

All due respect to Miz Hunter and her pee-pol, but what's the thinking process behind re-listing the property with an increased asking price after it languished on the market for a good long while at a lower price? Are we missing something?

Hoo-righ-ah Who?

BUYER: Olena Franchuk
LOCATION: No. 17 Upper Phillimore Gardens, Kensington, London
PRICE: £80,000,000
SIZE: Big.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama predicts that in 36 hours or less no one will remember or even care whether Hourieh Peramam, the recent and alleged buyer of the gaudy Toprak Mansion, is an actual person or some kind of bizarre ploy for marketing the uglee-ass pile on The Bishop's Avenue in North London, because £41,000,000 is loose change for Olena Franchuk, the new and undisputed queen of hideously expensive London real estate.

Hold on to your Vivienne Westwood britches bitches because according to a report in the Daily Mail, the Ukrainian bizness woman and pal of Miss Sir Elton John is believed to have dumped a hair raising £80,000,000 on a huge detached house in the hoity toity Kensington area of South-West London. Yes, you read that correctly kids, that's £80,000,000, a breathtaking 158,756,800 clams to those of us across the pond in the good ol' U-nited States where a good New York City townhouse can still be snapped up for well under $50,000,000.

Contracts are reported to have been exchanged in the last few weeks and if the purchase is fully executed, the sale price of the 5 story house on Upper Phillimore Gardens will shatter the previous record high when Indian born steel baron Lakshmi Mittal forked over a stunning £67,000,000 for his 12 bedroom behemoth on heavily secured Kensington Palace Gardens.

Miz Franchuk's new digs have recently undergone a reported £10,000,000 overhaul which included installing an underground swimming pool, gym, sauna and private cinema. There are "at least" 10 bedrooms and a secure panic room, a feature that is becoming de rigueur in the lavish homes of the freakishly rich. Look closely and you can see the interior spaces appear to have been extended under the entire back garden and all the way to the mews cottage at the rear of the property, which is included in the sale. That's some serious and impressive engineering iffin we say so ourselves.

Miz Franchuk, a well known ladee among big money international philanthropic types, is the daughter of a former president of the Ukraine and the wife of 40-something billionaire bizness man and may-jor contemporary art collector Viktor Pinchuk.

Now puppies, Your Mama certainly has no problem with rich people living up in nice houses. Hell, we're rich and living up in nice houses. However, we do confess that in our little pea brain there's something unseemly and, frankly, vulgar about anyone paying $160,000,000 for a single house that is likely to be occupied, at most, only a few months of the year. We know Miz Franchuk and Mister Pinchuk pledge generously with their time and money to a myriad of charitable causes including AIDS education and research, and we credit them for their good works. But could they not have found a nice house for $60,000,000 and spent the other $100,000,000 curing cancer or feeding every starving child in the Ukraine for many years to come? Just a thought.

(Your Mama would like to thank the many people who forwarded up information and links to this story.)

Kylie Minogue Moves On

SELLER: Kylie Minogue
LOCATION: Mount Wellington Road, French Island, Australia
PRICE: $1,800,000-2,000,000 AUD
SIZE: 221 acres, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Thanks to a leg up from Lovely Luiza from Down Under, Your Mama is pleased to present our first ever discussion about a property in Australia. Hoots and hollers all around. Your Mama apologizes in advance that we simply don't know very much about the Australian property market, so at times we're bound to sound like one of those moe-rons who insist on talking about things they know nothing about.

Princess Luiza linked Your Mama over to an Australian news item which announced that Australian singing superstar and cancer survivor Kylie Minogue has put her French Island hideaway on the market "for tender," which Your Mama thinks is Australian for a sealed bid but very well may just mean "for sale." See kids, we're already sounding like an ignoramus, but try to give us a bit of leeway because Your Mama not wise to the real estate lingo particular to that part of the world.

Listing information indicates the toothy pop phenom is asking between $1,800,000 and $2,000,000 Aussie dollars for the 221 acre property, which translates to roughly to about $1,700,000-1,885,000 US dollars. Since Your Mama has no idea how to look up property records in remote regions of Australia, or any part of Australia for that matter, we'll have to rely on recent press reports in which "insiders" whispered to reporters that Miss Minogue and her then beau-friend, the hotsy totsy Parisian born ack-tor Oliver Martinez, bought the property three years ago for just 400,000 Aussie. The big spread, which they called Beauciel, sits on a high point of of the island with long, wide, and serene bay views over the virtually untouched terrain of French Island.

Naturally, Your Mama had never even heard of French Island, but a little research on the internets and we discover that the virtually unspoiled island is an eco-traveler's paradise sitting smack in the middle of Western Port Bay just 60 kilometers from Melbourne. The island, accessible only by ferry, was once home to the somewhat famous and cushy Mcleod Prison Farm, but now claims just 80 permanent residents as well as scads of potoroos (rat kangaroos) and the largest Koala population in Australia.

After purchasing the two parcel property, the now split couple are said to have dumped another million (or so) Aussie dollars on house renovations, landscaping, and the addition of solar and wind power, something that Your Mama is quite surprised not to see more rich and famous people doing since they are in fact the ones with the pockets deep enough to forge an environmentally friendly path in a world with increasingly decreasing non-renewable resources.

In the after math of her successful battle to beat breast cancer three years ago, Miss Minogue and Mister Martinez retreated to this remote hideaway to recooperate without having to deal with long and unforgiving lenses of the paps being shoved in their faces every time they tried to go to the post office or the grocery market. However, it seems pretty obvious from the lack of personal objects in the residence that the Aussie superstar has already packed her Louis Vuitton cases and decamped from French Island in favor of another secluded getaway that does not remind her of Mister Martinez or The Big "C." Who could blame her?

According to listing information, in addition to the 4 bedroom and 2 bathroom main house, the recently fenced and mostly self sufficient property contains organic fruit and vegetable gardens, plenty of room to run sheep and cattle, a walled garden made from corrugated iron and reclaimed century-old timber that protects a small grove of fruit trees, large rainwater storage tanks, and a restored chicory kiln that houses a back up diesel generator.

Although Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter would have to ferry in all sorts of furniture because, all due respect Miss Minogue, what's currently in the house hurts our eyes and offends our delicate sensibilities, we could happily whittle away a few isolated months every year at Beauciel puttering around the organic gardens and sitting on the large bay view decks with a stack of books and a big pitcher of gin and tonics. The only question for us is would the Australian government allow us to fly in our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly as well as our sour tempered pussycat Sugar? Because even though that cat is a real bitch, we couldn't go anywhere for that long without him.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

UPDATE: Affleck and Garner

Looks like the $22,500,000 behemoth on S. Mapleton Drive in hoity toity Holmby Hills that all the blogs and gossip glossies (see #3) including Your Mama thought Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck were in the process of buying is back on the market.

Perhaps that explains why the real estate seeking couple were out looking at high priced properties in Malee-boo last week.

Just Jack's Shack

SELLER: Sean Hayes
LOCATION: S. Rimpau Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $8,950,000
SIZE: 5,765 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Gated English Country home in great character is located in the most desirable part of Hancock Park. Ivy covered walls and English gardens welcomes you to this absolutely captivating home. Spacious living room, formal dining highlighted by rich dark hardwood fls and French windows. Wonderful gourmet kitchen complete with top of the line appliances opens to family/media room with f/p overlooking pool and patios. Luxurious master suite, separate guest house & outdoor f/p w/ al fresco dining area.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Jack McFarland may have been an out, loud and proud mincer and a major mooch on the television juggernaut that was Will & Grace, but the real life Emmy winning actor Sean Hayes does not speak publicly about his oft rumored gay ways and he clearly does not need that uptight Will Truman's money anymore. That's right children, as you can plainly see from the glossy photographs of the meticulously maintained and stuffy doctor day-core in the Hancock Park house he just pushed out of the pocket listing closet and onto the open market with an $8,950,000 asking price, Mister Hayes eats, sleeps and washes his wigs in big, fat Will & Grace residual checks.

Property records for the Rimpau Boulevard property are a little fuzzy, but it appears that Mister Hayes purchased the 5,765 square foot house in November of 2001. At this point and time we are not sure precisely what amount Mister Hayes paid, but we do know, thanks to Our Fairy Godmother in Bev Hills, that that house was on the market with an asking price $1,575,000 at the time Mister Hayes coughed up the cash.

Listing information for the "Country English" manse indicates there are 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, which is an awful lot of terlits for one man to keep clean. But then again, Your Mama is quite certain that Mister Hayes does not spend much of his hand and knees times scrubbing terlits, if you know what we're sayin'. Perhaps that dirty job is left for a slim hipped and broad shouldered cleaning man with a tool belt full of cleaning utensils and hair care products.

In Your Mama's humble and entirely meaningless opinion, this place looks a bit too much like the long time residence of a couple of well heeled, dignified, and late model Jaguar driving grandparents who know a thing or two about cruising on the Queen Mary and not the home of a rich and famous actor who publicly pretends to know nothing about cruising, queens or men called Mary, oh-kay?

Your Mama means no offense to Mister Hayes or his nice gay decorator man-friend who did this place up because there's really not much wrong with the sensible, Connecticut furniture showroom day-core...except for the upsetting and inexcusable quartet of pear pictures from IKEA hanging over the breakfast table. What in the world is wrong with people's minds that makes them want to put up pictures of pears in the kitchen? Your Mama's decorating lesson #47 is no pear paintings allowed anywhere on any premises

Now kids, fun as it might be and all appearances aside, Your Mama does not want to get jump into the fracas and fray that surrounds Mister Hayes and the rampant speculation about what sort of person he likes to see laying out nekkid by his pretty in ground pool. We recognize it ain't nobody's bizness but his. But, we'd be dying if we we're lying about this inquiring mind wanting to know.

Anyhoo, Your Mama does appreciate the wainscotting in the stair hall as well as the dark paneling in the faux-manly office from where Mister Hayes conducts his show bizness as well rings all his gurlfriends to invite them over for game night in the big green family room adjacent to the kitchen.

The master bedroom includes a fireplace for romantic evenings, a men's club style bathroom with twin Carrara marble topped vanities, a steam shower large enough for Mister Hayes to invite a few well built friends to sweat out the booze, and naturally, there's a huge closet fitted with custom cabinetry.

Your Mama has no official or even whispered word on why Mister Hayes would shed his Hancock Park real estate skin for some other property, but we speculate it could be because he was denied permission to erect an 8 foot wall at the front of the property which would have keep all the queens in sky high heels from peering in his windows at night. Whatever the reason, it's certainly not because he doesn't have the money to maintain this place. Wherever he may land, Your Mama wishes him a happy home and we sincerely thank him for so perfectly playing the high-larious, lovable and gay, gay, gay Jack MacFarland on primetime television.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

UPDATE: Suzanne Somers

Looks like the always entertaining and forever blond actress, writer, cancer survivor and unlikely tycoon–yes, babies, she is a tycoon–Suzanne Somers and her huzband Alan Hamel have had a real estate reality check on Le Baux de Palm Springs, their 70 acre hideaway tucked up into the hills overlooking Palm Springs, a town Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter luv to visit but where even the young people are old enough to collect the social security.

Even though the exuberantly decorated 10 bedroom and 9 bathroom property came flying on to the market with all manner of press and publicity, the Duke of Ormonde whispers in Your Mama's big ear that "no one has even bothered to tour" the quirky compound with it's hair raising $35,000,000 price tag.

Now puppies, we don't know if "no one" means only one or two looky-loos or if "no one" means not a single soul wanted to see the Somers/Hamel residence at the original asking price, but hopefully for Miz Somers and her big white teeth, the new and improved asking price of $27,500,000 will bring out a few deep pocketed desert dwellers looking for a new home to park their fleet of customized golf carts.

UPDATE: Michael Jackson

Oh lawhd have sweet mercy children because an unnamed Michael Jackson source is out yakking and spinning to all the press people that the gigantic loan that Fortress Investments holds on Neverland Ranch is being refinanced and the 2,600 acre property* will not be sold at auction on the steps of the Santa Barbara county courthouse on March 19.

Refinanced? Whhaaat? Do we smell that krazee talking Raymone Bain?

We have no doubt that Mister Jackson and his people are furiously spinning their rolodexes and working the phone lines looking for a lender damn fool enough to refinance a $24,000,000 loan secured against a property owned by a man who does not work, has no significant income, and who is leveraged plumb up to the top of his wig. Just who gives those kinds of loans anymore besides someone involved in organized crime? Seriously, who?

Now listen here all you Michael Jackson fans who are goin' to scream and yell about how the one time King of Pop earns big royalties from his recordings as well as income from his significant stake in the Sony/ATV music publishing catalog: Zip it! We do not want to hear your nonsense. The 25th anniversary release of Thriller isn't doing as well as hoped and a pop star with proper income does not squat with his three children and that Raymone Bain ladee in the big houses of rich friends or camp out in Las Vegas hotel suites comped by the hotel's generous owners. Get real.

Here's the thing children, whether The White Lady is able to get Neverland Ranch refinanced or sold by some other means, it's clear to anyone with eyeballs to read the writing on the wall, Michael Jackson's fat lady of real estate has done sung. Long ago.

Now then, Your Mama has done worn our fat fingers to the nubbins the last few days so we're off to mix a big pitcher of gin and tonics and drink ourself into a stupor while we watch all those lovable freakos on Project Runway. We suggest y'all do the same.

*Some reports say the property spreads over 2,900 acres.

A Little Afternoon Reading

Our lovely and crack research maven B.S. Beaverman sent us a link to New York property website The Real Deal which details a fascinating story about the tawdry circumstances surrounding the sale of a 12-room pre-war Park Avenue apartment in New York City.

The story is far too complicated for Your Mama to encapsulate in just a few words, but here are a few teasers to entice the curious to read the whole saga: Lord Conrad Black, the FBI and Sotheby's International Realty.


John Stamos: The Next Downtown Dweller

The summer scene around the roof top pool at the Eastern Columbia just got a little bit hotter. According to the good people at Curbed LA, prime time's Emmy winning ER beef cake John Stamos is the latest celebrity to snap up a condo at the big blue building in downtown Los Angeles. According to Curbed's tipster, Mister Stamos will be bunking one of the three penthouse units that are currently (and rumored to be) in escrow.

If true, he'll be able to borrow sugar and French things from neighbors Johnny Depp and his baby momma Vanessa Paradis who have purchased at least one of the penthouse units in the Kor Group condo conversion. If Your Mama were John Stamos and/or Catholic– which of course we are not–we'd be working our rosary and praying there's a secured garage attached because as nice as Miss Kelly Wearstler did up the lobby and as dee-luxe as the roof top pool may be, this is no place to be street parking your Porsche after a long night at Villa. At least not according to our always saucy pal Lucy Spillerguts who regularly roams the rough and tumble streets around the Eastern Columbia.

Now children, this is off topic and we know his career is way too hot for this, but does anyone besides Your Mama ache to see Sexy Stamos poured into a pair of impossibly tight pants, waving his big arms and swiveling his hips around the stage on that awful and too embarrassing not to watch Dancing With the Stars program? Think about that for a minute before you answer.

Rock It Like A Rockefeller

SELLER: Your Mama does not know actually, do you?
PRICE: $27,500,000 ($8,620.88/month maintenance)
LOCATION: 810 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
SIZE: 2 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Originally Nelson Rockefeller's apartment, this property features a 47' living room with remarkable Park views, West and South. Large formal dining room and library with full bath. Currently the apartment is configured as a 2 bedroom master suite with a double staff room and family room. Could be converted back to a 4 bedroom + library.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Thanks to a little birdie we'll call The Viking, Your Mama has learned that a little piece of New York real estate history has hit the market with a $27,500,000 price tag for what amounts to a large and well located one bedroom apartment overlooking Central Park in a not quite a-list building on Fifth Avenue. The full floor co-operative apartment on the 12th floor of 810 Fifth Avenue has a storied history, so bear with Your Mama as we educate all the children who don't study historical high society real estate deals in New York City.

From the mid-1930s through the early 1960s, oil heir Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, who went on to become Governor of New York State and later Vice President of the U-nited States, and his first wifey Mary Todhunter Clark Rockefeller owned and occupied a tremendous triplex penthouse riding atop 810 Fifth Avenue. The young and really rich Rockefellers hired modern architect Wallace Harrison to design their gargantuan aerie and they paid Parisian decorator du jour Jean-Michel Frank to do up the day-core of some of the 30 rooms. The Rockefeller penthouse was reportedly filled to the brim with cutting-edge furniture and fiercely contemporary artworks by folks like Fernand Leger, Henri Matisse, and Hans Arp as well as gilded consoles by Giacometti, loads of Louis XV-style furniture, and acres of candy colored carpets, which certainly sounds, uhm, colorful.

In 1962, after pushing out and raising up 5 children, the couple went splitsville and the Missus took the top two floors and the Mister kept the entire 12th floor for himself. A very short time later, Mister Rockefeller found and married another ladee named Margaretta Fitler Murphy, but everyone just called her Happy. After the big nuptials, Mister Rockefeller and his new wifey purchased another full floor co-op in the neighboring building at 812 Fifth Avenue which they combined with the former triplex's 12th floor of 810 Fifth which provided the couple and the two children they would have with nearly 12,000 square feet of Fifth Avenue fabulosity. The floors of the two units were not at the same height so a half staircase had to be installed to connect the combined units. The stairs were located behind what is now a bookcase in the library at 810 (see plan here.)

Because the first Mrs. Rockefeller lived upstairs, and perhaps to selfishly spare him any unnecessary drama, Mister Rockefeller reconfigured his combined units at 810 and 812 so that he and Happy could enter through 812 Fifth while First Wifey continued to use the entrance at 810, thus eliminating any chance encounters or a possible fracas between the two well married women as they waited for the lift with its white gloved operator.

The fixer upper duples with 17 rooms (some reports say 12 rooms), 6 bedrooms, and a 1,200 square foot wrap terrace was eventually sold to healthcare honcho John Foster who famously sold it on to music mogul David Geffen for $31,500,000 after the fussy co-op board–which at the time included socialite Jan Cowles and philanthropist Elizabeth Rohatyn, wife of financier and former Ambassador to France Felix Rohatyn–dragged their feet but eventually gave the West Coast based billionaire the gilded and difficult to come by stamp of approval.

Then, of course, as anyone who follows New York real estate knows, the fickle and obscenely rich Mister Geffen turned around and quietly put the duplex back on the market without ever moving in or making any alterations to the duplex. Property records (and multiple reports at the time) reveal that the duplex was quickly purchased by the Blackstone Group's Pete Peterson for $37,500,000, a man whose alliterative name Your Mama delights in and approves of highly, natch.

Anyhoo, let's get back to the full floor unit on the 12th floor of 810 Fifth Avenue. At some point, and Your Mama confesses we don't know when, Nelson and Happy sold their combined units which were incorporated back into their respective buildings as single units. It is the lowest floor of the original Rockefeller triplex at 810 that is currently available to purchase by any rich, well connected individual able to finesse, charm and woo their way into the hearts of the co-op board.

Although the full floor units at 810 Fifth were originally configured with 4 bedrooms, 4 bathroms, a library, and 4 itty bitty staff rooms flanking a servant's hall, the current layout of the 12th floor features nearly 48 feet of paneled living room overlooking Central Park with two fireplaces, a wet bar, and some seriously tired and uninspired day-core. To the east sits a good sized but unfortunately Peptol Bismol pink dining room, and to the north, a paneled library with an attached guest bathroom and a kitchen adequately sized for Lucinda the staff gurl to comfortably whip up poached eggs and blinis.

The mammoth master suite consists of two large rooms. Presumably one is meant to be a bedroom and the other a private office, sitting room or a boudoir. Don't y'all just love that word? It's boo-lovely rolling across the lips. Anyhoo, the two rooms are separated by twin walk in closets, dual dressing rooms and a master bath with his and her terlits and bidets. Now how elegant is that that in this co-op the owners need not wash their private parts on the same bidet?

Interestingly, the staff suite is joined to the master bedroom through a walk in closet. Your Mama assumes this back door bizness is so that good ol' Lucinda can discreetly slip into the boo-dwar (or whatever that room is) and leave the ladee of the house her morning mood pills and the man of the house his before bed bourban without disturbing them as they dress, poop, and/or fornicate in other areas of the multi-room master suite.

There is an additional bedroom in the apartment which is really part of the staff suite and not suitable for the sort of high-fallutin' guests that are likely to be dragging in and out of an apartment like this in their Valentino gowns dripping in doo-dads from Van Cleef & Arpels. In addition to a private bath and bedroom, the staff suite also has what is called on the floor plan a laundry slash family room. Now does anyone really see the owner of this apartment settling into a long night of reality television in the same room where Lucinda launders the sheets and hand washes the under garments? No children, Your Mama does not see that happening either.

Clearly, the apartment's day-core is in dire need an update at the least and more likely the new owners will have to give the place a total overhaul directed by one of the better nice gay decorators who ply their trade in the rarefied air and better addresses along Fifth and Park Avenues. This particular brand of high-klass interiors are not Your Mama's forté, however, we're just certain our good pal The Social Butterfly can hook the new owner up with a well preserved and impeccably mannered gentleman decorator who for a large fee would be more than happy to squire the new owner(s) of this apartment around to all the better shops and showrooms in Paris.

Former residents of 810 Fifth include William Randolph Hearst Jr. and the notorious and much maligned Richard Nixon. In addition to the aforementioned Rohatyns and Jan Cowles, other current residents of the building are believed to include board president Eric Sheinberg (former partner at Goldman Sachs), art patron Maureen Cogan, former Archer Daniels CEO Dwayne Andreas, and records indicate the building's newest super rich resident is Lazard Frere's William von Mueffling who forked over $25,000,000 for the 10th floor apartment in July of 2007.

Here's the question for all you New York old money types, arrivistes and also for all the service class that cater to the well to do along Fifth Avenue...who currently owns this place? Unfortunately that is a name we've yet to be able to ferret out. Email Your Mama with your dirt.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Say Bye Bye to Neverland Ranch

Veronica Hearst is not the only famous and formerly rich person grappling with the soul crushing and credit wrecking world of foreclosure. Fortress Investments, the long suffering lender who holds the multi-million dollar mortgage on Michael Jackson's once beloved Neverland Ranch, has reached the end of their patience rope with the financially strapped and fallen music icon.

According to the always well informed celebrity gossip Roger Friedman who pens the Fox 411 column, Neverland Ranch has been foreclosed on and is scheduled to be sold at auction on March 19 unless The White Lady manages to scrounge up $24,525,906 and 61 damn cents. And quick.

If the 2,600 acre ranch on Figueroa Mountain Road in the Santa Ynez Valley is auctioned off on the steps of the Santa Barbara county courthouse, the sale will include "every single thing that is or isn't nailed down" including furniture, fixtures, appliances, and "all merry go round type devices." It would be fascinating to know what objects and personal items Mister Jackson left behind when he fled Neverland Ranch in shame and humiliation in June of 2005 after being acquitted of child molestation charges.

No one, including Mister Friedman and Your Mama, thinks Mister Jackson can or will do anything to stop the sale. The man is broke and hideously leveraged as it is. We presume he will spend the next few weeks praying that the sale produces enough dough to pay off Fortress so he can finally wash his hands of the uglee affair. If the auction does not produce a satisfactory bid, Fortress is likely to take possession of the ranch and list is with a local realtor, a turn of events that will have every real estate gossip in the world salivating and hoping to swing a seat on the press tour.

Poor Michael Jackson. The man was once a musical force and prodigy who sat on top of the world, and now his entire world is collapsing around him. Your Mama hopes he's on the horn right now trying to convince Tito or LaToya to let him move in with one of them because the Dr. Cooter is adamant that The White Lady and his trio of cute kids can not, under any circumstances, come live with us.

In Other London Property News...

UPDATE LATER SAME DAY: Well kids, as you've all noted in the comments section, this alleged purchase by Simon Cowell was some kind of a dirty hoax perpetrated on all the good real estate gossips and Your Mama is pissed. The only thing true about the report is the Mister Cowell already owns a house in Holland Park. Blah, blah, blah. Sorry to feed the children rotten food, but sometimes we get poopy information.

...It is being reported that resident American Idol sourpuss Simon Cowell dumped a huge wad of his reality television moolah on a posh house in the hotsy totsy Holland Park area of West London. In addition to the on the decline American Idol, Mister Cowell has a piece of several other lucrative pies including the original signing contest Pop Idol, as well as The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent.

Apparently Scowlly Cowelly coughed up £40,000,000 for the Grade-II listed home and has embarked on a significant renovation that includes installation of or work on a swimming pool, spa, kitchen, car park and something called an underground extension. Is that a basement, or is that some kind of James Bond style underground tunnel that will allow Mister Cowell to enter and exit his pricey pad without being seen by the other stinking rich millionaires in his new hood?

Stateside, Mister Cowell has spent the last few years on a full scale renovation of a 9,335 square foot mansion on N. Palm Drive in the Bev Hills flats.

Thanks to the good people at Glitterati Gossip for hooking us up to this one.

Your Mama Hears...

...That Jennifer Affleck and Ben Garner (or whatever their names are) are keeping their real estate agent very bizzy. All of Your Mama's sources still say the a-list couple did indeed buy the humongous Holmby Hills house we discussed a few weeks ago, and now we hear they're out touring high priced properties in Malee-boo, including a newly built $25,000,000 mansion on the cliffs of Point Dume (pictured above) that features 7 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, private beach access, a home thee-ay-ter, 2 family rooms, a kitchen with two of everything, and a detached guest house for their growing army of personal assistants and nannies.

Your Mama sees a new S-Class Mercedes in the future of their lucky real estate agent.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Little Mid-Week Mish Mash

In an interesting twist to the stunning foreclosure sale of Veronica Hearst's (now former) Palm Beach play pen Villa Venezia, freakishly rich retired professional golfer Greg Norman sat with the representatives of New Stream Capital as they bid and bought the 28,000 square foot mansion at auction for just $22,000,000. Mister Norman, who was recently embattled in a public and bitter dee-vorce and is now engaged to tennis ace Chris Everett, has reportedly been on the hunt for a Manalapan mansion to call home and some rumors say he may be one of the eight parties said to be interested in purchasing Villa Venezia from New Stream. Why else would he be there, right?

Your Mama has received confirmation from a well placed and confidential source who yesterday whispered in our big ear that recently rehabbed rock star Richie Sambora did indeed buy the Calabasas crib of San Diego Padres pitcher Randy Wolf. Good thing the place is walled, gated and secured because Mister Sambora does not need that wild eyed Denise Richards collapsed and crying on the front porch anymore. (We tease. Your Mama has no idea if Miz Richards ever resorted to such hysterics, but we do think she's wild eyed.)

Did the once high flying celebrity real estate agent Joe Babajian finally get a deal on his Trousdale Estates domicile that he's been trying to unload ever since he was indicted on hair-raising charges of fraud, money laundering and other nefarious and naughty activities?

Joebab's fully and meticulously renovated house on Carla Ridge in the eastern edge of the Bev Hills was first listed at $6,995,000 and almost immediately reduced to $6,895,000. Recently, the asking price was karate chopped to $6,595,000 which must have brought in the buyers because the listing is now marked, "Looking For Backup." The possible sale no doubt comes just in the nick of time for ol' Joebabs to hand over a giant retainer to Thomas Mesereau, the high profile and high priced attorney reported to be representing Mister Babajian in his trial scheduled to begin in July, 2008. Stay tuned because this one just gets more interesting.

Poor little faux rebel rocker Avril Lavigne. Not only is the kohl-eyed pop princess reportedly having a devil of a time getting all the mommies of pre-teen gurls with black nail polish to cough up the cash for tickets to her current concert tour, she can't seem to get her former residence in the guard gated celebrity enclave of Mulholland Estates sold either.

We're starting to think The Spitter left some seriously bad juju in the house that scares the money of potential buyers back into their bank accounts. Has the listing agent considered having the house "cleaned" they way that kooky Jeff Lewis from The Bravo TV's Flipping Out does? Think about it. Nothing else has worked and desperate times call for desperate measures.

Miss Lavigne, who in 2006 got married in a big white princess dress to Sum 41 front man Deryck Whibley, first listed the 6,894 square foot house a looong time ago (too long ago for Your Mama's booze addled brain to recall) for nearly $7,000,000. Over time, the asking price was cut, whittled and chopped to it's current asking price of $5,800,000. At least two (we hear three) buyers stepped up to the plate and then backed down. The house remains unsold like Av's concert tickets and meanwhile she and Deryck still gotta pay the fat mortgage on the house they bought last year in Bel Air.

Russ Weiner, founder of Rockstar Energy Drinkand spawn of right wing radio wingnut Michael Savage, is also having trouble unloading several high priced properties in the Hills of Hollywood. Three properties to be exact. First there was the four story flesh colored house on Franklin Avenue that was originally priced at $3,995,000 (maybe higher?) and has been languishing on the market for a real estate eternity at $3,500,000. Then came "The Fortress" on curvy and swervy Sunset Plaza Drive which has also been on the market for a lifetime. Last week, the price of the architecturally intriguing property was chopped from $11,900,000 to $9,900,000. (Your Mama thinks the price of this house started in the neighborhood of $14,000,000, but we just can't recall and we don't have time to look. So one of you people look for Your Mama and let us know. Thanks.)

Then came the icing on the cake which is that monstrosity on Sierra Alta Way that Mister Weiner bought in September 2005 from the humorously named NBA basketball player Carlos Boozer for $8,600,000. Hoping to cash in on the white hot real estate market, Mister Weiner and his people first put the 17,893,000 square foot pile of uglee on the market at a delusional $22,000,000. Is anyone surprised that there have been several price reductions and just last week the asking price was slashed to $15,900,000?

The bleeding heart children should have no fear and lose no rest that even if Mister Weiner manages to off load all three of these properties all at once, he'll be homeless. Oh no. The young and exuberantly rich fixture on the Hollywood party scene also owns one of the more modest spreads up in super swank Beverly Park.

UPDATE: Veronica Hearst

Hold on to your britches children because Veronica Hearst's real estate shit has finally hit the fan and the Manhattan-based socialite is screwed six ways from Sunday as far as Your Mama can tell. Now puppies, before any of you get your moral panties in a bunch, we are not dancing on Miz Hearst's real estate grave. The ladee bleeds just like everyone else and her financial woes are nothing to be gleeful about. However, Your Mama has been following Miz Hearst's trail of foreclosure tears for quite some time and we need to see the story through to its inevitable and uglee climax.

According to the Palm Beach Post, the dirty deed has been done and the 28,000 square foot, 52 room Villa Venezia was auctioned off in a foreclosure sale for just $22,000,000. The children will recall from previous discussions that Villa Venezia is the palatial Palm Beach pile for which Miz Hearst plunked down a hefty $29,870,807 just a couple of months before her huzband and newspaper scion Randolph Hearst died in 2000.

Over the years Miz Hearst borrowed heavily against the property, presumably to pay its $375,000 yearly tax bill and to maintain her lavish lifestyle of private jets, Couture Dior and $100,000 tables at charity galas. The buyers of the estate that stretches gracefully from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Worth are New Stream Capital, the plaintiffs in the foreclosure proceedings who happen to be the very same outfit that holds more than $40,000,000 in mortgages owed by The Widow Hearst.

According to a recent and eye popping article in the New York Daily News, Miz Hearst has been very bizzy selling everything that isn't glued down or already mortgaged in an effort to scare up some cash. And it looks like she's gonna need all the pennies she can find in the sofa cushions because the ladee reportedly put up her full floor co-op in a swanky Fifth Avenue building and her 45-acre estate in New Castle, NY as collateral against the massive mortgages in the event the foreclosure sale of Villa Venezia did not produce enough to pay off New Stream, which of course, it did not.

Since Villa Venezia sold for just $22,000,000, Miz Hearst remains in deep financial doo-doo with New Stream for another $16,000,000 (or more), and as such they can force the sale of her other collateralized assets in order to recoup their money. Oh dear. So get ready children, because unless the bible scholar sells a boatload of baubles and rare books or finds a benefactor to loan her another $16,000,000, Your Mama expects we'll see New Stream go after at least one of Miz Hearst's other properties to pay off her still considerable debt. These people at New Stream are clearly done messing around and waiting for Miss Missy Socialite to restructure her debt, hawk her jewelry or find a rich huzband. They want their damn money and they're gonna do whatever it takes to get it.

Someone better tell the high fallutin' board at Miz Hearst's co-op because the big spending Widow Hearst reportedly did not get permission to pledge her unit as collateral. And you can't pull that shit with a co-op kids, at least not without stirring up all manner of uppity co-op board rage. Those are sure to be some angry-ass rich people up in 4 East 66th Street if they are forced to deal with a foreclosure and property auction that might allow an undesirable element to swoop in and scoop up Miz Hearst's 7,000 square feet (approx.) of dee-luxe Fifth Avenue dee-lishusness.

If Your Mama were the betting type we'd wager our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly that that the high net worth residents are already meeting in secret to pool their resources in the event they need to purchase the full floor apartment at auction. In fact we would not be the least bit soo-prized if the co-op board's people have already approached Miz Hearst's people about quietly selling her shares back to the co-op at fair market value. We speculate kids, so don't go reporting that like we know what we're talking about.

Anyhoo, it must be some relief for Miz Hearst to finally unload that white elephant in Palm Beach even if she's still has a lot of hot financial coals to walk across before she can slip her feet comfortably back into a pair of 5 inch Louboutin heels. In the mean time we sincerely wish Miz Hearst fortitude and some good damn advice from her top notch attorneys who Your Mama hopes are telling her to sell everything, pay off New Stream, and buy herself an elegant little one bedroom at The Sherry Netherland with the left over cash. That is if she can get passed the board at The Sherry now that she's a financial hot potato.

Another High Priced Summer Rental in Malee-boo

OWNER: Mark Burnett
LOCATION: Malibu Road, Malibu, CA
PRICE: $80,000/month (summer season)
SIZE: 3,375 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: A feast of extraordinary craftsmanship and taste on prestigious Malibu Road. This beautifully furnishes home features hand chiseled beams and cabinetry, old world wood flooring, walls of stone, bi-fold doors opening to the ocean, large media room, state of the art electronic, water walls, custom fixtures and lighting, courtyard living room with fireplace, romantic master suite with fireplace, private patio, sitting room and stunning master bathroom, spa and sauna.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A few weeks ago Your Mama recommended all you people who rent high priced summer homes in Malee-boo hurry up and hop in your hoopdies and head on up the PCH to secure your summer digs before all the folks with more money and time on their hands snap up all the good properties leaving you with only the moldy, barnacle encrusted shitty shacks sitting on a pile of rocks with no beach.

Have no fear all you filthy rich and procrastinating Angelenos itching to stand on the back deck and scope out ol' Paris Hilton as she prances in a pair of size 11 flip flops or watch that Heidi Montag gurl make a bikini-clad fool of herself on the beach, high priced rentals continue to pop up on the market and several are yet to be rented. The fine folks at The Malibu Real Estate Blog recently posted an article which indicated that there are at least five available properties in the $80-100,000+/month price range in the guard gated Malibu Colony and along the sandy stretch of beach on Malibu Road alone, grab your fat checkbooks and GO! because Your Mama will not accept any invitations to some cheap ass rental you had to take because you were too damn lazy too git out to Malee-boo in February to locate a good house.

Property records reveal that one of the ocean front properties currently available to lease in that sky-high price range is owned by Emmy winning reality television super producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice, Are Your Smarter Than a 5th Grader?). If the children use their noodles, they may recall that Mister Burnett is betrothed to Touched By An Angel ack-tress Roma Downey, who has put up an ocean front home she owns in the Malibu Colony celebrity enclave up for lease at $100,000/month for the summer season.

As it turns out, these two real estate rich Hollywood types are able to lease out two prime ocean front properties rather than use the houses themselves because they are lucky and rich enough to live in yet another ocean front estate on the cliffs hovering over posh Paradise Cove that Mister Burnett bought fully furnished in April of 2005 from hoity toity house flipper Sandy Gallin for more than $25,000,000. We hear from the always snappy Kenny Kissentell that the house sits so high on the bluff that these two drive a golf cart down a grassy path to the beach.

Anyhoo, property records reveal that Mister Burnett purchased this house on desirable Malibu Road in April of 2004. It is unclear to Your Mama if the Tinseltown titan ever used the house himself or if it was simply an investment. Listing information and property records show the house measures in at a modest but decent 3,375 square feet and has 3 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, a bed-to-bath ratio that gives the Dr. Cooter goosebumps of joy but causes our house gurl Svetlana to quiver with anger calculating just how much time she'll have to spend on her hands and knees with her head in a terlit rather than sunbathing on the back deck.

The three story "contemporary" residence features a courtyard entrance with a fireplace, which could be nice for those nipply evenings when the wind kicks up off the ocean, and many of the rooms lead to ocean side decks or, like the family room on the lower level, small terraces tucked away from the eyesight of the beach combers and paparazzi that have taken to roaming the sands of Malee-boo hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the Duff sisters sunbathing topless or smoking a fattie with the behemoth balled musician Cisco.

If we're being honest kids, and we always try to be, we do not like this house with it's angular and funky roof lines unhappily married to that turret thing at the front of the house, and while we know almost nothing about ancient Chinese secrets, there just can't be anything harmonious about the Feng Shui of the ocean side elevation. Although we do love a white slip covered sofa almost as much as we love our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly, we don't love half a dozen or more all shoved into one room, and we're certainly not keen on the overall Shabby Chic invites the Dalai Lama to dinner day-core.

The good news is that Malibu Road is less trafficked and thus less noisy than the PCH, the views are undeniably lovely, there are flat screen TVs mounted on the walls in ev-er-ee room (which is a real bonus for reality TV junkies like Your Mama), and unlike some other stretches of ocean front homes in Malee-boo, the neighbors on this section of Malibu Road are less likely to have 24-hour armed security who will question your guests and insist they move their Range Rover back four inches so the bumper won't hang over the property line of their high profile employer.

Your Mama already knows that a good number of you are gonna whine about the ridiculousness of spending so much money for so little space (blah blah blah), and most of you interior design know it alls will not like this house any more than we do. So the question is not what's wrong with the house, but rather, who do you think should cough up the big bucks to rent the place? We're going to say Jaime Pressly, who loves Buddha day-core, but might not have the extra money to lease a beach house until she manages to unload that place of hers in Tarzana.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Randy Wolf Tosses His Crib on the Market

SELLER: Randy Wolf
LOCATION: Vicasa Drive, Calabasas, CA
PRICE: $4,250,000 (list)
SIZE: 10,204 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Spectacular custom built Med. estate, private and secluded. Guarded gate community. Magnificent estate of over 10,000 sq. ft. Features include a ballroom sized entry and dbl. oak stairs, living room and Great Room with three sitting areas each, a gourmet kitchen w/ Sub Zero and Jennaire appliances. Separate Home Theatre HD updated. Wood paneled Game Room. Tropical paradise in backyard. Master suite w/ sitting area. High Tech surround sound throughout.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: All of our friends and family well know that Your Mama does not know a thing about the professional sports people. However, with an assist from our ball crazy pal Fiona Trambeau, we are going to try to make some sense this morning and sound like we know the difference between a baseball and football, which of course, we do not. Not long ago, the world learned that San Diego Padres leftie pitcher Randy Wolf bought himself some new digs in the Hollywood Hills from Velvet Revolver gee-tarist Slash. Surely the children are not still so hopped up on last night's drug and alcohol binge that they can't recall the drama that whirled around that house?

Just in case, let's Reader's Digest the saga so everyone is up to date: In December of 2005, Slash forked over $6,250,000 to buy the Wattles Drive house because, it was rumored, he and the wifey Perla were headed to the high court of dee-vorce and the aging rock star was gonna need a place to lay up with all the Hollywood hussies who were sure to beat down his door with their Lucite heel sling backs the moment they got wind of the split. But the Mister and Missus managed to work out their differences and the Wattles Drive house went back on the market for $6,995,000. No buyers presented themselves. The asking price was reduced several times and Slash got so pissed the house wasn't selling he filed a million dollar lawsuit against his real estate agent claiming the agent misrepresented the property during the purchase. Please. Finally, Slash managed to unload his real estate mistake in December 2007 for $5,725,000, a gigantic financial loss. The buyer was the above mentioned ball tosser Randy Wolf.

As it turns out, Mister Wolf also needed to sell his Calabasas crib on Vicasa Drive in a small guard gated development which was recently on the market for $4,250,000. Property records reveal that the sidewinder purchased the tremendous 10,204 square foot residence on its .78 acre parcel in June of 2003 for $2,385,000.

Listing information indicates that in addition to the large public rooms (living, dining, kitchen, family, and game rooms), the brick shaped behemoth features a whopping 7 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms, which seems like an awful lot of house for a single fellow who was in his mid-20s when he bought the big house.

Now kids, we know that Mister Wolf had better things to do with his time than worry about the day-core of his stupendous suburban mansion, and we realize that the color of his furniture and the intricate swag of his curtains was probably of little or no interest to the man. But perhaps it should have been. Your Mama has never been a fan of these sprawling and newly built suburban mansions that are smothered in beige carpet and stuffed full of even more brown and beige furniture that is set off against black granite counter tops and Home Despot quality lighting fixtures, and this house is prime example of why we get all gaggy and bitchy when we're discussing those sorts of homes.

However, rather than get all steamed up and righteous about those deeply dee-pressing curtains that have us wanting to poke out our eyes with a fork, or that glitzy and impossible to keep clean black marble floor in the entrance hall, we'll try to take the high road this morning and find a few nice things to say. Your Mama always appreciates a long gated driveway with thick foliage at the front of the property to provides at least a sense of privacy and security. The four car garage is great for sheltering a fleet of big BMWs and there are two fireplaces, one in the formal living room and another in the master bedroom. Two is good, but we'd have preferred to see a third to anchor the commodious and beige family room also.

The movie thee-ay-ter is a nice feature (except for the vulgar red carpet), and although Your Mama is not and never will be a fan of grown men having children's toys on display, we do credit Mister Wolf with having such kooky and quirky objects as life size Star Wars mannequins, an air hockey table, and a sofa crafted from the butt end of a 1950s Cadillac. Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter would sooner peel off our own skin than have any of that crap cluttering up one of our homes, but at least the pleasingly paneled game room reflects Mister Wolf's gen-u-wine personality, unlike all those other beige, brown and banal rooms that are totally devoid of life.

We heard rumors from The Calabasas Cackler and the always in the know Lucy Spillerguts confirmed that Mister Wolf's house was purchased by recently rehabbed rock star Richie Sambora, the dumbass who left the soo-blime Heather Locklear for the publicity hungry crazy train that is Denise Richards. Naturally, those two parted company long ago, but not before the world was subjected to any number of pukey reports and photos of them sucking face everywhere they went.

As a side note, Your Mama hears that Slash and Perla have sold their long time crib that hovers above Valley Vista Boulevard in Sherman Oaks and are thisclose to purchasing a big new house on or just off Mulholland Drive. Details are slim at this point, but we'll see what we can dig up in the next few weeks.

Your Mama would like to wish Mister Wolf a happy home in the Hollywood Hills. Listen hunny, let Your Mama give you an unsolicited word of advice: Do yourself and all your guests a favor and spend some of your big San Diego Padres paycheck to hire a nice gay decorator to do up the day-core of your new house. If you need a few names, give Your Mama a shout and we'd be happy to hook you up.

Friday, February 22, 2008

One Hyde Park Floor Plan Porn

Yesterday, Your Mama received some fantastic information from a Continental cohort we'll call French Toast regarding the floor plans for the obscenely expensive One Hyde Park in London's Knightsbridge neighborhood. French Toast directed us towards the City of Westminster website that houses copies of the floor plans that were filed for One Hyde Park back in late 2005.

The moment we received the information from French Toast we began to sweat with glee and set about preparing a snappy discussion only to finish just as we received additional information from another lovely gentleman we'll call English Muffin. Now children, Your Mama does not know who this English Muffin person is, but he's apparently got enough cash and clout to provide Your Mama with an online brochure for One Hyde Park that include photos, an extensive list of services, and a sample floor plan for a typical 5 bedroom apartment that measures (approx.) 8,500 square feet with 5 bedrooms, 6 full and 2 half bathrooms.
While 8,500 square feet is far more space than Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter's hard working house gurl Svetlana would ever agree to clean, we are none the less impressed with the general layout, which the brochure explains can be tweaked and altered with the assistance of the Candy and Candy design team...for a considerable fee, no doubt. Residents and invited guest enter the flawless flats though a private glass elevator and restricted lobby area while staff and service people enter through a different elevator bank altogether, so there's never any reason for the lowly laundry ladee to ever darken the front door of all the rich Russians and mega money Middle Eastern residents.
The floor plan porn (above) reveals that in addition to the wrapped in glass living room with a private balcony hanging over Hyde Park, there is a huge dining room, large library, medium sized media room, an office suite, and a massive eat in kitchen with a large butler's pantry which appear to include dumb waiters to bring groceries and supplies from the garage and the lobby, which we're certain the staff will appreciate for not having schlep everything up the elevators on their minimum wage backs.

The children will note that each of the five bedrooms (one of which can easily be converted into a staff suite) features a private pooper, and the lavish master bedroom contains a large sitting area, private balcony, twin dressing rooms and two ginormous bathrooms.

English Toast informs us that the people at One Hyde Park indicated to him that units range from 1,600 to 10,000 square feet and prices start at around £7,000,000, which converts to $13,651,610 at today's rate on Oanda.

In addition to the amenities we've previously mentioned such as bullet proof glass, a panic room, private underground parking, hotel services by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and etc., the glossy brochure reveal that the bespoke building will offer a full compliment of leisure facilities that includes a 22M swimming pool (72+ feet), a golf simulator, and a fitness room. A communal wine cellar can be used by the ritzy residents for private parties (we presume each owner has individual and locked wine cabinets), and a screening room that seats 30 can be reserved for private screenings. The ground floor will host "smart business facilities," which will include state of the art meeting rooms with video conferencing abilities.

Phew! Now puppies, Your Mama is going to go lay down because we are plum worn out from all the exuberant and unapologetically high priced luxury. We suggest you do the same after you pour over that floor plan and decide where you'd put your recliner. We kid.

Khandi's Khrib of Fours

SELLER: Khandi Alexander
LOCATION: Woodshill Trail, West Hollywood, CA
PRICE: reduced to $2,995,000 from $4,495,000
SIZE: 4,126, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Fabulous! Celebrity owned hip estate behind Chateau Marmont. Head on dramatic city views are just the bonus to this spectacular home. Soaring ceilings in every room, 5 fireplaces, walk-in closet, gym, library, office, pool, spa, and grassy side yard for dogs. 3 car garage, at the end of a cul-de-sac with tremendous privacy and security. This house is sunshine bright with a full on southern exposure. Completely redone. Just bring your toothbrush - property is sold furnished!

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Last week, Your Mama floated a tidbit about CSI: Miami actress and buxom icon Khandi Alexander listing her home located up behind the Chateau Marmont Hotel, where rich and famous folks often gather for cocktails and adulterous rendezvous. Being the nervous and superstitious type that we are, Your Mama's big ol' ears pricked right up when we read through the listing and noted the repetition of the number four: 4 stories, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, 4,126 square feet with an asking price of $4,495,000. We don't have a clue what all those fours mean, but children, mark my words, that number 4 is significant. Some numerologist type should get on the horn quick and try to convince Miss Khandi to sell her khrib for $4,444,444.

Property records show that the dee-lishus Miss Khandi purchased her multi-floor khrib on itty bitty Woodshill Trail in the hills above Hollywood in January of 2006 for $2,850,000. Listing information indicates that in addition to the 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, the "recently redone" house includes 5 fireplaces (too bad there's not just 4), a gym, library, office, a 3-car garage, (why not make room for 4?), a small grassy side yards for the canines, full on southern sun exposure, a swimming pool, spa, and soaring ceilings in every room. Which all sounds good...on paper.

When Miss Khandi's khrib first hit the market, no pictures were included for all us nosy real estate gossip types to pour over. Now there are. And Khandi gurl, we gotta say, we are not impressed. We just hope that you have done packed your flat irons and push up brassieres and already moved on because the photographs of your khrib look about as alive as the nursing home where they used to keep Your Mama's mama's poor old Aunt Velma.

Your Mama confesses: we luv us some Khandi Alexander and because of our undying affection for the bosomalicious babe and her flawless chi-chis, we are somewhat reluctant to speak ill about those upsetting and confusing faux cornerstones on the exterior that fail to give the place a "French" vibe, which is what we think they're supposed to do. We're also not sure we want to get into the entrance hall looking like an airport terminal in Kuwait, the dining room with it's wall of mirrors that force diners to watch all the masticating in visual stereo, and we certainly don't want to bring up the obvious danger of stepping out of that patio door after a half a dozen gin and tonics and falling di-rectly into the mini-pool.

For some unknown reason, the Miss Khandi's khrib is being sold furnished, which perplexes Your Mama but should please all lovers of fake suede and white rugs.

Here's what Your Mama wants to there an elevator in this house? Because navigating four floors of residence without an elevator could easily get a little difficult unless you're one of those firm gluted exercise freaks that are so common around Los Angeles. The other thing we want to know is if a good pair of binoculars allow one to peer into the rooms of the Chateau Marmont? The ability would certain save on the cable bill because who needs reality TV when you can sit on the balcony and watch the sordid doings at the Marmont day and night?

Although we are not a big fan of this house, Your Mama sincerely wishes Miss Khandi much luck in selling her house and the furniture to someone who likes climbing stairs. And wherever she may land next, we sincerely hope she'll khool it on the fake suede and white rugs. Seriously gurl, give Your Mama a shout and we'll hook you up with a nice gay decorator that will rock your next khrib into the sensational celebrity hideaway you deserve.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Your Mama Hears...

...that Coley Laffoon, the ex-huzband and baby daddy of one-time lezbeeun Anne "Celestia" Heche, is back to a real estate agent. Thanks to a heads up by Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Your Mama has learned that Mister Laffoon has hitched his post dee-vorce wagon to Paris Hilton's daddy at the venerable Hilton and Hyland.

Apparently the former camera operator, who claimed in court documents that his monthly expenses included $2,000/month for groceries and $1,500/month for clothing, wasn't able to convince the courts to up his reported $15,000 per month support payments from Miss Crazy Pants after all.

Back in July of 2007, Your Mama wrote about the Hancock Park house Mister Laffoon once shared with the peculiar Miz Heche and their young child which property records reveal they sold in September 2007 to television writer/executive producer Matt Olmstead and super producer Dawn Parouse for $3,660,000.

Now YOU Can Buy A Place at the Chupi

SELLER: Julian Schnabel
LOCATION: W. 11th Street, New York, NY
Duplex: $32,000,000 (raised from $27,000,000 in April 2008)
Triplex Penthouse: $32,000,000
SIZE: 3,850 square feet (duplex) and 3,845 square feet (triplex)
DESCRIPTION: Influenced by the scale and finishes of European palazzos and the character of Stanford White's cottage architecture, 360 West 11th Street, designed by Julian Schnabel, is New York's most unique residence. These homes have an atmosphere and aura unmatched in the city. Beautiful views of the surrounding city, down to the harbor and across the Hudson river provide bright sunlit rooms. Handmade details include cast bronze door handles, stone fireplaces and cast stone railings. Grand room finished with beamed ceilings, terra cotta tile floors and plaster walls open onto colonnades, terraces & balconies. Amenities include concierge service, an indoor swimming pool with steam room, and private on-site parking.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Bearded, bespectacled and often be-robed artist/film maker/provocateur Julian Schnabel was hoping to people his much maligned and visually pugnacious Palazzo Chupi with hand selected and big money residents culled from his wide circle of friends and associates who could afford to cough up a colossal sum of cash to buy into his one man real estate whirligig on West 11th Street in New Yorks' far West Village. Mister Schnabel's original intention was that the units at the Chupi would never be listed for sale on the open market and that the invitation only status would have New York's super-rich arty farty types bitch fighting for the opportunity to live up next to the artistic genius and shameless self promotion machine that is Mister Schnabel. But alas, even the best laid plans sometimes go awry, and as the always well informed property-philes at Curbed noted last week, the two remaining unsold units have hit the open market with ear piercing price tags of 27 and $32,000,000 respectively.

Before Mister Schnabel decided to offer the two remaining units to the great unwashed but filthy rich masses, he managed to convince some finance guy at Credit Suisse to spend a reported $15,500,000 to move into Schnabeltown, and he was successful at wooing the once smoking hot and still lovely to look at Richard Gere and his wifey Carey Lowell, who where without a Manhattan outpost after they sold their Greenwich Village townhouse in June of 2007 for $12,850,000.

There were all sorts rumors flying around that rock star and wannabe world saver Bono was going to vacate his Upper West Side aerie and move into the Chupi, but that rumor turned out to be just rumor after all. Then came the whispers and hush-hush scuttlebutt that ex-pat material mommy Madonna looked at the building. Your Mama is not surprised the ladee looked and we're even less surprised that she declined to purchase because big living Madge seems to prefer much larger digs than those available at the Chupi. Not only does the music mogul need to house her multi-culti family of five, she's also got to have enough space for the various staff people required to run errands, make phone calls, and answer the door, because you just know Miss Missy herself is not about to greet the Chinese food delivery guy at the front door with a twenty.

Anyhoo, if anyone were to ask Your Mama, which of course no one did, we think Mister Schnabel has some serious real estate cajones to be asking such big numbers for the two remaining units in the controversial Palazzo Chupi. Don't any of your moe-rons misunderstand Your Mama. We are on record as being an admirer of this cockamamie building with its quirky "Pompeii Red" exterior that looks like it's melting, and we giggle with glee over the wacky fenestration and the wonky articulation of the thing as it precariously balances itself like a drunk gurl doing the Sunday morning walk of shame on a pair of chunky platform heels.

Naturally, we love a sleek glass tower as much as the next urban sophisticate, but all new builds in New York simply can not (and should not) be Meier or Dubbeldam designed glass towers and quite frankly, it is just so damn refreshing to see a building that aggressively thumbs its nose at current architectural trend and in the process secures a funky foothold in the too often banal architectural landscape of New York. Have y'all seen the many under-whelming and intensely ordinary "luxury" apartment towers that now line Sixth Avenue in the Twenties? Yes, well, Your Mama would much rather look at the deranged Chupi-cabra on West 11th Street than one of those phallic monstrosities on Sixth Avenue any day of the week.
Amenities at the Chupi include access to the garden patio, private on-site parking (and excellent and rare luxury), and of course there is the indoor swimming pool and steam room. The world wants to know if clothing is required or optional in the pool and steam room areas or if residents can expect to see Mister Schnabel sweating it out in his all together and Your Mama wants to know if we could expect to see Mister Gere sitting in the steam room wearing nothing but his gorgeous grey hair.

But we digress. Currently two of the five units at the Chupi remain unsold, and according to listing information one is a duplex and the other is a triplex penthouse. Listing information for the duplex unit (pictured above) indicates it measures 3,850 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms and carries a stunning $27,000,000 asking price with $10,367 in monthly taxes and maintenance charges. Listing information also indicates that the unit includes a washer and dryer, a big ass fireplace, at least one balcony.

We don't L.O.V.E. the terra cotta tile floors but they have a certain Pablo Picasso-esque quality that makes them work in this building even if they would fail miserably in another. Check the fire hole that sits at the end of the tremendous soaking tub, which we imagine is nice for people who like to soak in a bathtub. It's unfortunate (and somewhat surprising) that the interior photos are not of better quality that would allow us eager beaver looky-loos to get a good long look at the the kitchen. We love the over size window and we're certain the appliances are top quality, but we're just not sure what to make of the dark cabinets and the green looking counters and back splash. We are definitely not loving the way it looks in that picture, but we'll reserve real judgment until we can get a better look.

Upstairs and according to listing information, the triplex penthouse (pictured above) measures 3,845 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms and carries a somewhat unlikely asking price of $32,000,000 with $9,268 in monthly taxes and maintenance charges. Mister Schnabel and his people have graciously included the juicy floor plan for the triplex with the listing. The floor plan reveals that the owner of the Chupi penthouse unit will be the proud owner of 4 balconies, two north facing sliver terraces and a whopping 1,300 square foot south facing terrace on the main floor that should make all New Yorkers who pine for just a tiny piece of outdoor space disturbingly jealous.

Despite the oxygen tank Your Mama would require to daily navigate all those stairs in the triplex, we are actually quite fond of the penthouse floor plan. We love the elevator opening to a huge French door and a small Juliette balcony in the entrance hall. We dig the large living room with its massive fireplace and access to that spectacular and bizarro black and white tiled terrace. We appreciate that the kitchen is large enough to cook comfortably and separate enough from the living room that we don't have to look at the dirty dishes while we settle in to an evening in front of the boob-tube. However, we are concerned about the serious lack of closet space. The children will note the paltry amount of closets in the third floor master bedroom and the total lack of built in closets in the secondary bedrooms. All due respect Mister S. but for $32,000,000, we want closets large enough to park our big BMW and still have room for our sneaker collection.

All the real estate gossip sit on pins and needles to find out just who might be interested in dumping around $30,000,000 for these condos and how long will it take in a market where you can still get a beautiful townhouse in the West Village or a massive co-operative apartment on Fifth and Park Avenues for the same price. And heaven forfend that Mister Schnabel will eat crow and (gasp) reduce the asking price for lack of qualified buyers willing to shell out more than $7,500 per square foot to shack up in the Chupi.

P.S. Your Mama thanks B.S. Beaverman for the assist on this one.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rent Yourself Some Palm Beach High Class

OWNER: Estate of Aimee de Heeren
LOCATION: North County Road, Palm Beach, FL
PRICE: $90,000/month
SIZE: 13,539 square feet, 9 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: The beauty is graced with nine bedrooms overlooking the ocean on the east side of the house, and on the west side there is a salt water pool, floral and rose gardens. There are four fireplaces and an elevator along with a library, living room, dining room, pantry, kitchen, loggia, twelve bathrooms, and many terraces. A two story tower on the ocean hold a living room, bedroom and ladies' and mens' baths. The beach cabana and tennis court complete this splendid vacation paradise.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Yesterday Your Mama discussed the sophisticated and soo-blime Manhattan townhouse of deceased international high society icon Aimee de Heeren, who in life was cultured, multi-lingual, beloved by blue bloods every where, and a devout devotee of Omega 3 oils and Dr. Peter D'Adamo's blood type diet which many in her circle believe kept her looking healthy and many years younger than she actually was. At 90, the ladee was said to look 60, and that, children, is really something to strive for.

Thanks to some late night and in depth digging by Billy Blabbermouth, Your Mama has learned that Louwana, Mme. de Heeren's legendary house in Palm Beach is available for lease at $90,000 per month. Located on an ocean front parcel that happens to sit right next door to that vulgarity that Donald Trump has on the market for $125,000,000, the Addison Mizner designed Louwana was built in 1919 by Gurnee Munn and named after his first wife Mary Louise Wanamaker. Mister Gurnee Munn was our Mme. de Heeren's huzband Rodman's mother's (Fernanda Wanamaker Munn de Heeren) first husbands' (Ector Munn) brother. Does that make any damn sense? Lawhd have mercy on our booze addled brain, Your Mama understands quantum mechanics better than we do the labyrinthine family trees of these high society types.

Anyhoo, Louwana is far from the largest or grandest house to line the swanky shores of Palm Beach, however, it is often referred to as "the last great house in Palm Beach." None the less, at more than 13,000 square feet with 9 bedroom and 12 bathrooms, there is plenty of room for several branches of the family tree to take up residence. According to listing information, the house sprawls over 4 levels, and includes formal living and dining rooms, a library, 4 fireplaces, and elevator and staff quarters.

In addition to the main house there is a large salt water pool set in a walled courtyard on the landward side of the house, a tennis court, a large ocean side lawn for rousing games of croquet or bocci or whatever ball games Palm Beachers play in the winter, and a beach cabana offers a living room, bedroom and his and hers bathroom, because the Lilly Pulizter types apparently don't think it's appropriate for the ladees and the mens to be changing in the same room or sitting on the same terlits.

The interior of the house retains that particular sort of grace and genteel that can only be experienced in a house that has been owned for generations by the same family. These rooms are not about some hedge hog or make-up maven buying a piece of architectural and social history and then hiring a nice gay decorator to go up in there and work the interiors into a fanciful facsimile of what a Palm Beach winter estate is supposed to be. This house has been richly layered over time like a catty wompus wedding cake, every rug, every book, lamp and still life painting adding to the depth and quirky richness giving it that elusive, uber-desirable and strong sense of "place" that decorators and homeowners alike are always trying to create.

No babies, Your Mama does not want any flowered chesterfields, Ming vases or pickled paneling up in our seaside residence, but for this house, in this location, with it's history, there is really nothing to be changed. Except that kitchen, because let's be honest, it's looking rode hard and put away wet what with those broken down blinds and plastic dish drainers from the Wal-Mart over in West Palm. And let's talk about the styling for the photographs. Your Mama understands that some of these photos were taken for a magazine layout, but what's with that Flamenco dress flapping in the breeze on the balcony? Please.

Access to the house appears to be either through or adjacent to a small estate that sits directly on the North County Road and which property records reveal belongs to Christopher Kellogg, a man whom Your Mama assumed had all kinds of cereal money, but The Social Butterfly says that's not the case and that particular Kellogg money, or what is left of it, is also from the Wanamaker fortune. Mister Kellogg is in some way connected by marriage and two or three times removed from Mme. de Heeren, but sorry kids, but we're simply too tuckered out to parse the crazy-making Munn/Wanamaker/Kellogg/de Heeren family trees to determine the exact connection between Mister Chris Kellogg and Mme. Aimee de Heeren. Why don't one of you people do it and let me know what you figure out.

It's quite possible that Mme. de Heeren's Palm Beach estate will come to the sale market as well. Although, wouldn't it be so much better if one fo the remaining Wanamaker/Munn/Kellogg heirs grabbed this horse by the reins? Yes, we think so too.

And Y'all Think Malee-boo Is Expensive?

Come on kids, let's take an imaginary ride on the defunct, too small to stand up in but still fabulous in theory Concord and hop across the pond to discuss some London real estate so expensive that it makes New York City's 15 Central Park West look like the damn ghetto. That's right kids, Your Mama is talking about the Richard Rogers designed residential project called One Hyde Park located in the natty and nabobish Knightsbridge area.

Now puppies, don't even bother to go looking for the website, because this particularly posh apartment block is so insanely expensive and exclusive that the website for the hyper-luxe project does not even allow the average millionaire to ogle and drool over pictures or floor plans. You gotta sign your shit up and request the information, and more than likely the sales people are going to Google your ass to try and figure out if you're at least as rich as the Pope before they start handing out you any information.

Last year, the not yet finished building that overlooks the 350-acre Hyde Park rocketed to real estate gossip fame when one of it's financial backers, a freakishly rich man known as Sheikh Hamad of Qatar, reportedly dropped a record breaking (and obscene) $192,000,000 to purchase one of the penthouse units that is said to measure around 20,000 square feet. That's right kids, $192,000,000

The Times Online, who have thoughtfully mentioned Your Mama and our little endeavor here several times in the past, recently posted an article about the current and exuberant sales numbers for One Hyde Park, and children, the numbers are staggering. So sit right down now and swallow yourself a big fat nerve pill cause you are gonna need one when you learn how much coin it takes to live up in One Hyde Park.

Although the building is not due to be completed until 2010, The Times reports that half of the 80 apartments have already been contracted for sale with an average apartment price of roughly $39,230,000. (Gasps and cries of the impoverished are heard around the world.) That number is so shocking and unbelievable that Your Mama is going to type that average apartment price of roughly $39,230,000.

The Times goes on to report that only 14% of the contracted buyers are British, 11% come from Continental Europe, another 25% hail from the Middle East, and a whopping 39% have been bought by Russians, which makes sense because everyone knows the Russians have new money coming out of their Versace clad crappers.

The interiors of One Hyde Park are being worked over by the well publicized people at Candy & Candy and include marble work surfaces, wooden baths (huh?), and floor to ceiling refrigerators. The building itself will feature 24-hour hotel services for when the richie rich residents have an uncontrollable hankering for a milkshake and fois gras at 3:30am, a private underground tunnel to the nearby Mandarin Oriental Hotel, private elevators with new fangled eye scanner security, private underground parking, a panic room and bullet proof glass. Now kids, Your Mama can understand a panic room. We live in a dangerous world. However, there is simply no way Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter would ever fork over $40,000,000 to have neighbors hated enough by dangerous killers that they to want and require bullet proof windows in their home, you know what we're sayin'?

So next time y'all wanna bitch about what a cottage on Carbon Beach costs or the purchase price of a 6 floor townhouse in Manhattan, just try to remember that it ain't shit compared to what all the mega millionaires are paying to shack up at One Hyde Park.

Super Rich Snap Up Apartments... (Time Online)
One Hyde Park (Business Week)
Big Sales... (Luxist)