YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Every now and then, along comes a Los Angeles, CA listing that lives up to its toe curling and awe inspiring asking price. In this case, it’s a perfectly polished, newly renovated Georgian style mansion sitting on 1.5 flat acres in a particularly posh part of Bel Air with a not inconsequential asking price of $19,500,000. The owners, as it turns out are actress Lori Loughlin and her habiliment honcho husband Mossimo Giannulli.
Miz Loughlin–that’s pronounced Lock-lin bunnies–has been catting around Hollywood for a very long time. The blond mommy of two, who reportedly turned down the lead role in Blue Lagoon that went to Brooke Shields, didn’t rise to the top of the Tinseltown heap until the mid 1980s when she began a long, 153 episode run as sexy John Stamos‘ gal pal cum wifey on Full House. Once that show was canceled, she appeared on the short lived situation comedy Hudson Street. Next came a long dry spell until the mid-naughts when she popped up for a season or two on boob-toob drama Summerland and then a single season on some Your Mama ain’t never heard of show called In Case of Emergency. For the last few years Miz Loughlin has been cashing paychecks from her gig on 90210, the silly but popular redux of the 1990s cult boob-toob hit Beverly Hills 90210.
Signore Mossimo Giannulli is, of course, the creator of the wildly successful mid-range clothing line Mossimo, mostly available at big box discount retailers like Target. High fashion the Mossimo brand is not, but that’s clearly of no matter to our Signore Giannulli who is probably laughing hysterically at the high fallutin‘ but cash strapped couturiers all the way to the bank and then back home again to his twenty million dollar estate in Bel Air.
Property records show that Signore Giannulli and Miz Loughlin purchased their Bel Air property in March of 2002 for $8,010,580. At that time, according to the Los Angeles county tax man, the 1.43 acre estate, all flat as a damn pancake and ringed by massive and mature trees, included a much more modest, 4,928 square foot mini-mansion built in 1942. The couple proceeded to hire noted classically minded Ferguson & Shamamian Architects to work over and expand the main house and add a few this and thats including a guest house and pool pavilion.
Once the building and banging was complete, Signore Giannulli and Miz Loughlin had renowned nice, gay decorator Michael Smith come in and do up the interiors in a very dignified, genteel, and traditional manner. Although the day-core is rigorously conceived, meticulously executed and unquestionably correct, Your Mama finds it all a little decoratively turgid, fussy, and even predictable. But then, East Coast Grandmother-chic really isn’t our decorative cup of tea. Some of the children surely already know that Michael Smith–who is called Granny Smith by more than a few sharp tongued tarts in the interior day-core industry–is the very man hired by President and Missus Obama to do over the interiors of the White House’s private quarters. So, you know, he’s a big deal and despite our affinity for something less faux aristocratic, Miss Smith knows what she’s doing when it comes to high end and purdy if somewhat bland day-core that strains to be anything but edgy or modern.
Let’s digress for just a moment, shall we? After an extensive renovation that included moving the swimming pool and adding a lot of chintz things, Smith sold his recently completed and somewhat feminine house in Brentwood area of Los Angeles in February of 2010 for, according to property records, $10,000,000. That house, a one-time 1950s ranch, was also reconceived by Ferguson & Shamamian Architects. Mister Smith, who may or may not have bought a new crib in LaLa Land, decamped for a doo–plex penthouse pied a terre in New York City that once belonged to Inge and Osbourn “Oz” Elliott, he being the former editor of Newsweek, she being the founder of fabric emporium China Seas, and they being the inspiration for the cosmopolitan couple Flan and Ouisa Kittredge in the play (and later film) Six Degrees of Separation.
The Loughlin/Giannulli home is approached via one of two electronically controlled drive gates connected by a wide gravel driveway that arches up to the mostly symmetrical front facade, all white brick, cornflower blue shutters, chunky quoins, multi-paned sash windows, and slim columns that direct traffic through the slim portico to the off-center front door that is topped with a traditional scrolled pediment.
The entrance gallery, which runs from the front to the back of the house, has black and white marble on the floor in a checkerboard pattern, a gently curving staircase, and slate and a gray vertically striped wall covering. Nestled into the curve of the stairway a round table is covered with a fringed tablecloth and holds a spray of what appear to be orchids–ugh–and a small collection of antique globes. This might be a good place for Miz Loughlin and Signore Giannulli to set their car keys when coming into the house iffin Mister Smith had left any room for the homeowners to actually set their keys on the over-stuffed table.
To one side of the entry is the ballroom sized formal living room with hardwood floors, double height vaulted ceiling, fireplace and a lot of fussy furniture. At the center of the formal dining room is a very shiny, round dining room table surrounded by 8 chairs with dark rose colored cushions that may or may not be silk. The intricate pattern of the rug is paired with the intricate pattern of the wallpaper that are both set against the intricate pattern in the plaster ceilings. All together and despite all the patterns, it’s a well balanced room that could just as easily be in a the sprawling Park Avenue apartment of a socialite or in the Connecticut country house of an aged industrialist and his third, much younger and bored wife who has little more to do with her time than shop, have her hair and toes did, and redecorate.
The “country kitchen,” which Your Mama finds surprisingly small for a house of this magnitude, has white cabinetry, marble counter tops, a long breakfast bar, and a complete coterie of high grade stainless steel appliances that combined cost more than Your Mama’s big BMW. The kitchen is open to the breakfast room where a blond table and a few French looking chairs with elaborately scrolled backs sit below a chinoiserie style pendant lamp. The adjacent family room has built in bookshelves, and wood burning fireplace, more of Mister Smith’s signature mixy–matchy upholstered furniture and French doors that open to the rear terrace.
According to listing information, the main house has 5 bedrooms and 5 poopers, including what information calls a “master wing” and a “separate outside” guest bedroom and pooper. There are two more bedrooms (and an unknown number of terliting and bathing facilities) in a guest house that Your Mama is guessing is located in the detached building on the far side of the back motor court where there is garaging for at least 4 dee–luxe and lavishly expensive automobiles and SUVs.
The manicured and well-watered grounds encompass vast expanses of lush and unnaturally green lawns large enough to have several competitive games of pre-dinner croquet going at once, a number of terraces at the back of the house that overlook the gigantic swimming pool and pool pavilion that is fronted by a vine shaded pergola and contains a double height ceiling, fireplace, built in wet bar, pool table and a couple of over-stuffed sofas covered in a very Palm Beach leaf print pattern. Beyond the pool and pavilion is a lighted north/south aligned tennis court and around one side of the house sits a silly, circus tent like folly where, Your Mama hears through the well-heeled Bel Air real estate grapevine, Miz Loughlin keeps all her body torture equipment that enable her to maintain her, Hollywood slim and hard bodied girlish figure even as she begins the downward side of her forties.
In addition to a lot of big bizness bigwigs and entertainment executives most people have never heard of, Mister Giannulli and Miz Loughlin’s nearby neighbors include Emmy winning Will & Grace alum Debra Messing, Rick and Kathy Hilton (that would be Paris the heiress’ lucky lucky lucky parents), former Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel, ousted Disney CEO Michel Eisner, Bob Newhart, and financially beleaguered actor Nic Cage, who no longer lives in the ‘hood because he lost his nearby estate to foreclosure in the spring of 2010.
Your Mama really has no clue or inside information about why Miz Loughlin and Signore Giannulli would opt to sell their Bel Air estate so soon after completing what was clearly an expensive and time consuming endeavor. Conventional real estate wisdom dictates that this sort sort of scenario indicates money or marriage troubles, but Your Mama would not bet that’s the case here. We’re far more inclined to go with the classic, often perplexing and all too frequent explanation of rich and famous folks having a real estate change of heart. We shall see.