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Diane Keaton Goes On the Open Market in Beverly Hills

SELLER: Diane Keaton
BUYER: Ryan Murphy
LOCATION: N. Roxbury Drive, Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $12,995,000 (list); $10,000,000 (sale)
SIZE: 8,434 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: A classic and true example of Colonial Revival architecture originally designed by architect Ralph Flewelling, now brilliantly restored via a collaboration of 2 significant “artists.” A monumental front door leads to entry hall/library & thru arches are both DR and LR. The home embraces an inner crtyd w/ fountain that separates kitch/FR on 1 side, from media rm, intimate den and upstairs. Mstr ste w/ dual BAs + 3 add’l BR stes. A sep. gst ste. Pool & yard, paths lined by Olive trees.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A few months ago, our comely confidant Kenny Kissintell whispered in our big ol‘ ear that the quirky, kooky and deevoon actress Diane Keaton was overhauling her pedigreed pad in a fine section of the Beverly Hills flats. A few months later, in November of 2008, the recently rehabbed residence appeared in all its glory on the glossy pages of Architectural Digest. Now, thanks to Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills, we’ve discovered that Oscar winning Miz Keaton has officially listed the house with an asking price of $12,995,000.

As everyone knows, Miz Keaton is a prolific flipper of architecturally significant homes all over Los Angeles, including the Navarro House in Los Feliz (later owned and sold by Christina Ricci) and the Alfred Newman Estate in Pacific Palisades. However, Miz Keaton has a special affection for early California history and as such her most thrilling and sooblime residential re-dos are the several Spanish style cases she’s restored, rehabbed and renovated over the years including a Wallace Neff designed house in the Beverly Hills flats that she sold to Madonna (who, in turn, sold it in 2004).

Now children, the house-hopping hat freak Miz Keaton does not usually list her houses on the open market, so her private residence popping up on the MLS has Your Mama a little stumped, stymied and soo-prised. Perhaps, like so many others looking to unload prime real estate in Southern California, she’s caught up in the slow down and had little luck finding anyone willing to cough up the cash for the pristine property off-market.

Miz Keaton has long worked cheek by jowl on her restoration projects with a nice gay decorator from New York named Steven Shadley.* The designing duo’s latest collaboration is the 8,434 square foot hacienda style house on N. Roxbury Drive which is now available for sale. Miz Keaton entered a contract to purchase house in the early 2000s, but backed out when her feet went cold thinking about the significant amount of work the house needed. However, when the house became available again, she did not hesitate and records show she snatched it up in February of 2007 for $8,100,000. Listing information reveals the property includes 7 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms, including dual baths in the master suite and, according to listing information, a separate guest suite.

According to property records and reports, the beguiling tile-roofed house was designed in the 1920s by little lauded California architect Ralph Flewelling who also designed the Beverly Hills Post Office building (now the Wallis Annenberg Cultural Center of Beverly Hills), the famous fountain at Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards and several buildings on the USC campus.

The Keaton casa wraps around an interior courtyard which acts as its central hub and orders the location and flow of the interior spaces. Although listing information is photographically slim, a quick perusal of the photographically boutiful article in Architectural Digest reveals that the after crossing the plaza-like motor court at the front of the property, entrance to the house is through large wooden doors that open into a double height entrance hall which does double duty as a library and sets the stylistic tone for the entire house. Although entering a house through a library is unorthodox, so is Miz Keaton and for what it’s worth, we rather like this bit of unexpected decorative bizness.

The book shelf lined walls of the library/entrance are filled with books on art and architecture and share shelves with her collection of pots and knick knacks. But perhaps one of the more interesting (and Keaton-esque) elements of the room is located above the bookshelves, where the statement “The Eyes See What the Mind Knows” has been stenciled in large letters that wrap around the walls.

Beyond the library/entrance is a vast dining room with dark wood floors, a vaulted wood-beamed ceiling and a row of French doors that open to the central courtyard. To the right of the library/entrance lies the large living room with a wood burning fireplace, another vaulted wood-beamed ceiling and a few pieces of Miz Keaton’s extensive collection of artworks by both dead and living artists whose work speak to the expansiveness, stark beauty and promise of the western edge of the United States. The living room leads to a den and media room as well as a stair hall that rises to the home’s second floor private quarters.

The commodious kitchen and family room areas are located towards the back of the house with easy access to the courtyard and the back yard. While Miz Keaton and Mister Shadley cling tightly to their thematic day-core in these areas, the utility of the spaces is decidedly modern in that its been opened up to be one large and informal gathering space and features modern appliances and marble counter tops.

Miz Keaton’s extreme efforts to maintain and squeeze out any bit of authenticity and integrity of the house are only matched by the exterior spaces which have been minimally landscaped with native plant life including a crowd of cactus at the front of the property that when lit up at night cast spooky shadows across the white washed walls. The generously proportioned courtyard is paved with bricks and other than the bubbling fountain surrounded by a bunch of gleefully campy statuettes of sleeping Mexicans wearing sombreros, has been left relatively empty. Seating areas have been relegated to the shady colonnade which is fine with Your Mama because we prefer to sip our afternoon cocktails in the shade anyways. The back yard includes a large swimming pool and spa, entertainment terraces and a detached garage accessible through the alleyway at the rear of the property.

Until we hear from Miz Keaton (or Kenny Kissintell), we can only assume that she’s opted to sell this house, a near perfect pad for her and her children, because she’s got new ants in her real estate pants and has set her eyeballs on some old house into which she can sink a fortune and breathe new life. Although Your Mama would love to see Miz Keaton settle down to a life lived well, we always look forward to hearing about her projects because, sadly, too few people in Los Angeles have the patience, sensitivity, pocketbook and moxie to restore iconic architectural treasures rather than rip down and replace with faux-Tuscon monolithic mega-mansion.

*Your Mama does not actually know whether this Mister Shadley person is nice or gay, so don’t none of y’all go spreading that around as some sort of gospel truth unless you have 411 we don’t have. We were simply making a funny.

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