YOUR MAMAS NOTES: If the children will recall, in late February of 2010 Your Mama relayed the über juicy real estate rumor whispered to us by several well connected informants that property developer Brad Korzen and his superstar decorator/authoress/fashion daredevil wife Kelly Wearstler had quietly floated their legendary and quite substantial Beverly Hills estate on the market with a monumental asking price of around $50,000,000.
Three gin & tonics into last night while perusing the newest listings in Los Angeles, Your Mama ran across a listing for Mister Korzen and La Wearstler’s Malee-bee beach house, which they apparently share with three other families and not entirely unexpectedly heaved on to the open market this week with an fat asking price of $21,900,000.
Even all boozed up Your Mama immediately recognized the residence as La Wearstler’s. Not only is the place worked over with an easily identifiable version of her sometimes discombobulating signature style of harrowing decorative abandon, the house appeared in all its glory on the glossy pages of the November 2009 issue of Metropolitan Home. According to the Metropolitan Home article, when Mister Korzen and La Wearstler bought the beach house it was “reminiscent of an ’80s surf-and-turf restaurant.” A couple of years of intensive renovations later and the old surf-and-turf style has been replaced with a kind of Super Studios meets Michael Taylor meets an eight ball of cocaine from the 1970s mixed with a soupçon of Fornasetti and a dash of the Museum of Natural History all of which is blanketed with every shade of cream, sand, tan, taupe, beige, biscuit, ecru and café au lait known to (wo)mankind.
A peep and a poke around the somewhat convoluted and incomplete property records and a quick consult with the ever knowledgeable Lucy Spillerguts reveals that Mister Korzen and La Wearstler–and presumably these three other families that share the house with them–paid $8,500,000 for the beach house in August of 2004. Records and previous reports also show that the property was purchased from none other than Janet Jackson, otherwise known as Miss Jackson if Your Nasty.
Chickens, how do you think Miss Jackson If Your Nasty feels about La Wearstler being quoted in a national and well respected interior decoratin‘ publication essentially calling her former home a steaming hot pile of architectural and decorative doo–doo? Oh low-erd. We have a feeling that both of these ladees can take off their earrings and really throw. it. down. like a couple of prize fighters and Your Mama would not want to find our self in a dark Beverly Hills alley standing between La Wearstler–who would no doubt be sporting a tutu, toe socks and some sort of rat’s nest of a hair don’t–and an angry and decoratively scorned Miss Jackson If Your Nasty.
The Los Angeles County tax man shows Mister Korzen and La Wearstler’s ocean front house measures 5,658 square feet while listing information eyeballs it at “approximately 6,000 sq. ft.” According to listing information, the house sits on 72 feet of Carbon Beach frontage, surely some of the most expensive sand in California. There are, according to listing information, 6 bedrooms and 4.5 poopers including a master suite with its own private sitting room. One has to wonder how these bedrooms get divided up between the four families who share this place. Who gets the master bedroom? Do they take alternate summer weekends? Flip coins? Draw Straws?
A windowless, almost like fortress like front facade runs along the Pacific Coast Highway that La Wearstler has somewhat softened with a uni-brow of planted hedges that she’s placed along the roof’s edge. While we’re concerned about the lack of parking on the property–there is only the 2-car garage and whatever street parking that can be snatched up, Your Mama does indeed love us a seriously solid and formidable facade that makes no beef or bones about declaring, “You better step off Missy Hoo Hoo and Peeping Pete because there will be no peering through the windows of this house.” At least not from the street side.
Looking beyond La Wearstler’s wacky, unflinching and, yes, rather courageous day-core defined by a conscious tension between hard and soft and an almost cacophonous melange of organic and geometric shapes reminiscent of the Age of Disco, and we find airy interior spaces with bleached hardwood floors, funky light fixtures, and walls wrapped with several kinds of stone including, according to listing information, Honey Onyx, Calcutta Gold and Cippolino stone.
The step down living/dining/lounging room features a fireplace with a monolithic and modern carved stone surround that reaches to the ceiling and a series of tall window openings that spill the interior space onto the terraces that hang over the sand. We’re not sure–so don’t nobody make the fool mistake of quoting Your Mama on this–but the multi-purpose room appears to stretch the full width of the house, which would make it somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 or 70 feet long, a stunning, rare, valuable and almost civic stretch of interior space for an ocean front house in Malibu.
The bedrooms all appear to be hotel-suite sized each with, which Your Mama hopes and prays an en-suite pooper. Otherwise a potentially malodorous situation could develop between the 4 families that share this house and cause a serious rift. Other notable features of Mister Korzen and La Wearstler’s beach house, according to listing information, include a total of 3 fireplaces, central heat and air conditioning, a media/music room, a private spa, direct garage access, inside laundry facilities (as opposed to a couple of machines stuck up in the corner of the garage), a heavy duty security system, and guest/staff quarters.
While Your Mama is not really sure that some of Miz Wearstler’s stylistic frippery will withstand the brutal test of decorative time, there are without question some utterly magnificent moments and pieces that we think should make every decorating fool and shelter rag reading queen sit up and take a wee bit of notice. Did y’all see those barrel shaped dining room chairs? Gore-jhus. The Escher-esque staircase? Weird but wonderful. The utterly bee-zare but brilliant slipper chairs and matching couch in the living room that look like smooth boulders wrapped Christo-like with a million yards of ruched fabric? Fabulous. We don’t want them in our house, but we could certainly spend some time looking at them and wonder how well they hold up against sea salt, sand and the kind of damp daily fog banks bring.
Of course there are some glaring mistakes such as those inadequately sized stick chandelier thingamabobs hanging from the ceiling in the living/dining/lounging room and the kitchen is also problematic for Your Mama. We appreciate that the wall between the kitchen area and the living/dining/lounging room was opened up so that the ocean view can penetrate deep into the house, we l.o.v.e. a built in banquette breakfast table (we don’t know why, we just do), the veined marble is absolutely stunning, and there’s certainly an enviable and generous amount of counter space. But, that said, Your Mama can only describe La Wearstler’s beach house kitchen as all done up and did over in a mausoleum chic manner. Don’t misunderstand Your Mama. We like a clean lined and functional kitchen space as much as the next water boiler, but we do not, thank you very much, want to prepare a meal on a surface that closely resembles the sort of thing on which a dead body would be laid out for a viewing by the family.
We know some of you Midwesterners and East Coast types who covet the wide open spaces of the Hamptons or Newport, RI will hiss and howl about how it’s certifiably insane for a person to pay twenty million clams for a beach house that sits right up against the very bizzy Pacific Coast Highway with neighbors so close on both sides you can converse and pass sugar from kitchen window to kitchen window. But all those other people who understand the geography and lexicon of oceanfront living in southern California will surely get the absolute rarity and desirability of a house this wide on this particular stretch of sand. Will Mister Korzen, La Wearstler and those three other families be able to parlay that rareness and desirability into a big Kaching! on their investment of $8,500,000 for the property and–we’re guessing–several million more in renovations?
Only time will tell chickens. Certainly there is enormous appeal about a newly renovated house on Carbon freaking Beach. However, according to the peeps at listing and sales figure aggregator Redfin, the current state of the real estate market isn’t really on their side. Excluding private sales, there have been just 10 transactions in excess of $10,000,000 in Malibu in the last 12 months and the the highest price paid for a single family house in Malibu in the last year is $16,500,000 for a 1+ acre Point Dume estate that happens to have Barbra Streisand as its next door neighbor.