YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Buckle up butter beans because, after a wee hiatus, the often unlucky in love man magnet and showbiz superstar Halle Berry just jumped back on the celebrity real estate merry-go-round.
We last discussed Miz Berry and her real estate doings back in November 2009 when we dissed and discussed a wonderfully secluded 1.33 acre spread in Benedict Canyon area of Beverly Hills that Miz Berry had on the market with a $5,000,000 price tag. Miz Berry bought the bougainvillea-draped 2 bedroom and 2 crapper crib that marries Old World rusticity with fancy modern conveniences in October 2011 for $2,275,000. After about three-quarters of a year, Miz Berry withdrew the house from the open market and it remains, as per property records, part of her property portfolio.
Said house, tucked deep into the hills of Beverly, is not, mind y’all, where Miz Berry currently lives. As far as we know–which is about as much as a tit mouse–The Oscar-winning actress remains in residence just above the Sunset Strip in the gut remodeled Mediterranean mansion she bought in July 2005 for $5,995,000 from child sitcom star turned race car driver Frankie Muniz.
About a year before we yammered on about her spare dwelling tucked discreetly into the hills of Beverly, Your Mama briefly chit-chatted with the children about a rustic-modern barn-style hoose in the sylvan boonies north of Montreal–that’s in Canada, kids–that Miz Berry and her man-beau/baby daddy Gabriel Aubry we’re rumored and reported to have purchased. We’re not quite sure what they paid for the somewhat isolated property located about an hour north of Montreal in teeny-tiny Saint-Hippolyte but we know it was last listed with an asking price of 1,850,000 Canadian dollars.
With every respect for Canucks of all stripes and types, Bumfuck, Canada might seem to some like a strange place for a pampered Tinseltowner like Halle Berry to buy a private hideaway but Mister Aubry, a helluva looker who struts his man stuff as a male model, is Canadian. Tuh-duh!
The impossibly attractive couple, who together made one baby with an unusual name Your Mama isn’t entirely sure how to pronounce, kicked each other to the curb last fall. Miz Berry says it’s amicable. No longer in need of a remotely located Canadian love nest she/they recently flipped the heavily forested lake front property back on the market with an asking price of 1,898,000 Canadian dollars. According to Your Mama’s trusty currency conversion contraption that amount translates at today’s rates to $1,918,490 in U-nited States dollars.
Current listing information states the property encompasses 63 acres while reports and marketing materials from the time of the Miz Berry and Mister Aubry purchased the property show the spread spans 68 acres. We don’t know why the discrepancy, so don’t bother asking. Anyhoo, the clean-lined barn-like residence measures around 2,500 square foot over three floors and contains 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms.
The unassuming clean-lined barn-like exterior allows the structure to sit in compete harmony with the untamed wilderness that surrounds it and hides unexpectedly dramatic, voluminous, and contemporary interior spaces. Listing information shows the house measures about 2,500 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms.
The cozy but amply-sized main living area has radiant heated concrete floors, soaring vaulted ceilings over the living area, a monolithic cinder block fireplace, and wide wood-framed sliding glass doors that open the room the pristine woods that surround the house. There’s an oddly old-timey wood stove in the dining area where the pine-paneled ceiling has been lowered to a more intimate dinner party friendly height.
The adjacent kitchen has an entire wall of floor-to-ceiling wood-framed glass panels that muddy the visual distinction between indoors and out. This is probably a disorienting but thrilling experience in the dead of winter when it’s 900 below zero outside and warm and cozy inside thanks to the radiant heated floors. The kitchen gives way to a lake view screened porch where Your Mama imagines is the perfect place to laze away a few weeks in the late-late summer when the days are still warm but the evenings gather a sharp coolness about them.
Upstairs there are 2 family bedrooms, an office area with cantilevered built-in desk/work surface, and a not entirely private lofted master bedroom that’s open to and overlooks the living room. The master bedroom has direct access to the only upstairs bathroom that’s shared by the other two bedrooms. More on the in a second. A swinging section of the glass-panel railing in the allows access to a spine tingling catwalk that rings the upper section of the living room and allows someone far more brave than Your Mama to shimmy around at great peril and slide open the massive windows to allow a cool breeze to sweep through the house.
The second floor bathroom, as mentioned above the only full bath in the house, has dark slate tile with light colored grouting on the floor, pine-paneled ceiling, large vanity with–we think–just one sink, a claw-footed tub with tree-top views, and a tile shower area separated from the rest of the room by a single hanging panel of frosted glass. A second hanging panel of frosted glass at the opposite end of the room provides barely even an illusion of privacy for the toilet. Now listen, chickens, we don’t mind that this remote getaway has only one full bathroom for all occupants to share. It’s a quite remote, low-key and, despite it’s airiness, very intimate vacation house, certainly not the sort of place you bring a casual acquaintance or co-worker for a long weekend. This is the sort of place you only bring close friends and family. In other words, just the people who you don’t mind sharing a terlit with. None the less, had we been designing this bathroom we would have provided for a far more secluded and fully enclosed cubicle for the toilet. A little privacy goes a long way in a house with just one full bathroom and sleeping quarters for 3 to 6 six people.
Back on the ground floor, according to listing information, there’s a direct access single car garage with additional storage space, a laundry room, and a powder pooper.
Several decks and tree-shaded patios extend stretch the living space to the outdoors where pathways meander through the all but untamed landscaping that surrounds the house. The land falls gently away from the back of the house down to the edge of the lake where listing photos show a pair of Adirondack chairs set down perfectly into the natural landscape. With scenery this spectacular this there’s really little need for a manicured lawn or rows of precisely pruned hedges.
While Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter sometimes entertain the far-fetched notion of leaving the rat race behind for someplace far, far away like Canada or some other foreign land that isn’t so completely foreign we’d have to eat things we’ve never heard of before, we don’t, in truth, feel that we could bear the bitter depths of winter in the far northern reaches of the northern hemisphere. However, iffin we could we’d happily move right into this house. But for the (probably fixable) bathroom issue and that migraine-making wood stove (also fixable), Halle’s house in the Canadian woods is just about perfect for escaping the bright lights of the big city.
In addition to the house she no longer wants in Saint-Hippolyte, her primary residence above the Sunset Strip and the other house in Beverly Hills, Miz Berry also owns a 5,000-plus square foot ocean front home just below Dick Clark’s bluff-top compound in the guard-gated Malibu Cove Colony. Property records show the newly single mommy of one paid $8,500,000 for the curvaceous glass and white stucco crib back in October 2004.
Listing photos: Sotheby’s International Realty