SELLER: estate of Ron Wilson
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
SIZE: 7,580 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: The celebrity real estate well continues to run a bit dry so today, rather than discuss the home of an actual famous person, we point our attentions on a mansion owned by noted and recently deceased interior designer Ron Wilson who did up digs for a number of high profile people and whose secluded and historic Beverly Hill, CA estate was recently pushed on the market with a celebrity-sized asking price of $7,295,000.
Mister Wilson’s (still active) website explains his roster of clients “come primarily from the private sector” but he none-the-less described himself as a “celebrity interior designer” with name brand clientele such as Princess Diana, Michael Landon, and Johnny Carson–all three dead now–Tom Selleck, Eddie Murphy and country music king Kenny Rogers for whom he designed and decorated two legendary Los Angeles estates. First he did Lionsgate for property mad Mister Rogers and then The Knoll, one of the trophiest of Tinseltown’s trophy estates now owned and in the final stages of a gut renovation by tool tycoon Eric Smidt who purchased the approximately 45,000 square foot mega-mansion in 2005 for an undisclosed but rumored and reported $46,000,000, give or take a few million.
Doing over Lionsgate and The Knoll are certainly feathers in any high-flying decorators cap but Mister Wilson’s biggest claim to decorative fame wasn’t, children, his association with Kenny Rogers but rather with uni-named international showbiz super nova Cher. Mister Wilson’s website claims he did the day-core for 19 of Cher’s homes beginning in the 1970s when he slapped his magic on a Bel Air mansion she shared with then-husband Sonny Bono and clean on through the 1990s when he did the day-core for the Gothic meets Moroccan mansion the Emmy-, Oscar- and Grammy-winning entertainer had custom-built on a bluff in Malibu in the late 1990s. Cher continues to own the Malibu mansion that at one time in the not so distant past was listed with an elephantine asking price of $45,000,000 (later reduced to $41,000,000).
In author Michael Gross‘ just released non-fiction book Unreal Estate, a snappy and sassy Mister Wilson–described as “estranged” from and a “former friend” of Cher–drops a number of savory bon mots about various subjects and clients. He’s quoted–perhaps cattily, perhaps not–of his longtime client and benefactor Cher, ‘”She was sure she was a descendant of an Egyptian…so she started changing her face and built her Egyptian house [in the Benedict Canyon area of Beverly Hills]. She simply liked to change.”‘
Anyhoo, property records are a big vague on the matter but it appears to Your Mama that Mister Wilson acquired his 1930 Mediterranean mansion, privately situated high above the street on a ridge top behind double columned gates at the tail end of a winding cul-de-sac lined with impressive estates, as recently as 1997 and perhaps as long ago as 1981. Listing information shows the two-story residence measures 7,580 square feet and contains a total of 6 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms.
Note children that the day-core, while elegant in that swish and casually fussy upper crust southern California sort of way, is hardly our cup of decorative tea but we’re loathe to speak (too) ill of the dead, particularly the recently passed, so we’re not going to carp and harp too much about that sort of thing.
The front of the house wraps around a large courtyard that connects the motor court and garages to the wrought iron and glass front door that opens into a double-height entry. The party-sized public rooms include a somewhat narrow but very long formal living room with massive carved stone fireplace and banks of French doors that open to a pergola-shaded terrace with panoramic and leafy views over the tree tops from downtown to the Pacific Ocean. The formal dining room, with saltillo tile floor and peach colored walls comfortably seats 30 as per listing information.
Less formal gathering areas are contained in a suite of three rooms comprised of a family room with fireplace, beamed ceiling, and French doors, a media lounge and a bar room, which we presume is a room set aside specifically for the imbibing of boozy beverages. The nearby kitchen complex includes a lounging area, casual dining area and a large and well-equipped if stylistically snoozy center island kitchen with miles of wood cabinets and a menacing, Mercedes-sized pot rack.
Upstairs there are two guest/family bedroom suites plus a third guest suite with exterior access via an ivy-covered stair in the entry courtyard. The peach-colored master bedroom, larger than most people’s living room, has hardwood floors, fireplace, Juliet balcony with city view, dressing room, and an updated bathroom with marble (or maybe it’s onyx) floor, trough-style sink with two taps, separate soaking tub tucked into a mirrored corner and a very sexy glass-enclosed shower with double shower heads. Listing information goes on to state there are “generous add’l staff quarters.”
Just beyond and elevated from the central courtyard, a rectilinear swimming pool with inset spa is surrounded by more saltillo tile terracing, thick carpets of green lawn and lush tropical foliage both potted and planted in terra firma.
This is not the first time in recent years the house has been on the market. Mister Wilson attempted to sell his historic house high above Benedict Canyon and Beverly Hills in early 2008 when it was listed with an asking price of $11,500,000, later reduced to $8,500,000. He also put the property out for lease at a rate of $35,000 and it appears, based on information gathered from Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills, that Mister Wilson did lease the estate out in the fall of 2008 for an unknown amount of money for an unknown period of time to an unknown person or persons.
Some of the nearest notable neighbors to Mister Wilson’s residence include New York Giants co-owner/executive and Oscar-winning film and television producer Steve Tisch (Forrest Gump, American History X, Snatch, The Pursuit of Happyness); financier Lawrence Post; entertainment industry bigwig Sid Sheinberg and his actress wife Lorraine Gary (Jaws franchise, Ironside, Kojak); and Oscar-nominated director Adrian Lyne (Flashdance, Nine 1/2 Weeks, Fatal Attraction). The property is just a couple hundred yards east as the crow flies from the 5.2 acre property super-producer Jon Peters sold in the fall of 2009 to Prince Abdulziz ibn Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz al Saud who has the dander up of a number of his high- and well-heeled neighbors who are having a bit of a snit over the titanic 50-60,000 square foot compound–already scaled down from 85,000 square feet–the luxe-livin’ Saudi prince wants to build on the prime piece of hill top property.
Property records indicate Mister Wilson has long maintained a high-hedged retreat in the swanky Old Las Palmas area in Palm Springs, CA. Records show the .61 acre estate property was acquired in April 1988 for $235,000 and includes a 5,012 square foot residence with 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and a large swimming pool surrounded by sun bathing terraces and a shaded loggia. The property does not appear on the (open) market as far as Your Mama can tell.
Mister Wilson is survived by his long time man-friend and business partner Joseph Guidera who, according to property records, owns two adjacent (and presumably combined) ocean front condo on Malibu’s Los Flores beach purchased in late 2003 for $1,389,000.
Misters Wilson and Guidera also own a 2,100 square foot ocean front house on sandy Corral Canyon Beach also recently put on the market with an asking price of $4,350,000 (above). Records indicate the house was acquired in March 2006 for $4,700,000. Current listing information shows the two-story beach house contains three en-suite bedrooms in the main house plus a separate staff room and bath with outside entrance. Other amenities include a three car garage, Brazilian walnut floors, open plan living/dining/kitchen with wrap around floor-to-ceiling windows and two ocean side decks with long views up and down the coastline.
Thanks to a heads up from long time informant we call Junebug we learned Misters Wilson and Guidera have owned a residence in Westwood/Holmby Hills (above) since August of 2007 when property records show they paid $3,694,000 for a 1932 Monterey Colonial style residence that measures 3,928 square feet with 5 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms. Misters Wilson and Guidera restored and revived the property and according to old listing information provided by Junebug shows the two gentlemen briefly put the property on the market in June 2010 with a $4,199,000 price tag.
Mister Wilson at least once dabbled in the flipping of property. Property records Your Mama peeped and perused indicate the decorating dervish purchased a residence on Bel Air’s Chantilly Road in June 2001 for $1,130,000, flipped it back on the market and sold it less than a year later for $1,950,000. The house was acquired by financier Blaine Lourd and his wife Crystal who in turn sold the house to McDreamy Whatshisface from Grey’s Anatomy in July 2006 for $3,100,000. Mister McDreamy–that would be Patrick Dempsey–listed the house in March 2009 for $3,595,000 and sold it at a significant loss in late August of the same year for $2,571,500 to its current owners, uber (music) agent Kirk Sommer and his wife Chloe.