YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Buckle your safety belts, butter beans, because today Your Mama plans to take a rather circuitous route to get the the meat of the celebrity real estate matter at hand, a well-known Los Angeles, CA residence known as The Tree House, once owned by Ellen Degeneres, later owned by Heath Ledger, and recently listed with $2,995,000 price tag.
Anyone and everyone who pays any attention at all to the celebrity real estate scene knows well that stand-up comedienne turned 16-time Daytime Emmy-winning chat show queen bee Ellen Degeneres suffers from a wicked case of The Celebrity Real Estate Fickle. Just as soon as ol‘ Ellen gets her under panties in the cupboards, it seems, she gets ants in her pants and starts thinking about a new house to call home. Your Mama isn’t sure why America’s most beloved Sapphic sister rarely remains rooted in a single residence for more than a few years. It may (or may not) have something to do with the fact that she has an impressive track record for pulling in substantial profits on the sale of her homes or it may (or may not) have something to do with something else. What do we know?
Anyhoo, the most recent example of Miz Degeneres‘ property capriciousness is her current multi-crib compound in Beverly Hills (CA) that she cobbled together in 2007 and 2008 at a cost of well over $40,000,000 and until recently had on the open market with a pocketbook punishing asking price of $60,000,000. The listing disappeared from the internet a couple weeks ago and since all kinds of scuttlebutt has made its way down the Platinum Triangle gossip grapevine to Your Mama. One person told us (but we can’t confirm) that he heard Miz Degeneres may have a well-heeled party on the line. We also heard (but can not confirm) from the always catty Kitty Hazclaws that “she just got sick of all the Eurotrash traipsing through the house” and took it off the market. What all that means is we don’t really have an iota about what’s going on in Miz Degeneres‘ over-active real estate brain. About all we know for sure is that the property was on the market earlier this year and now it’s not.
Something else we do know is that many of Ellen Degeneres‘ domiciles wind up in the hands of other high profile media and entertainment industry denizens. In November 2007, Miz Degeneres sold a magnificent estate with an historic George Washington Smith-designed mansion in Montecito, CA for $20,000,000 to billionaire Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google. She’d only bought the property 13 months earlier for $15,750,000.
Several years before, in 2003, she pocketed $4,500,000 when she sold a contemporized traditional mansion in a star-studded enclave in the Bev Hills Post Office area to celebrity manager Rick Yorn. The house had previously been owned by sitcom actress Jami Gertz and later by entertainment industry honcho Tom Freston. Mister Yorn in turn sold the house in 2005 for $5,275,000 to bubblegum pop singer turned apparel tycoon Jessica Simpson who, as far as Your Mama knows, still owns the posh property.
In the mid-Naughts the trailblazing showbiz lesbian pieced together a 4-property compound nestled into a forested hollow in the Hollywood Hills above Laurel Canyon. One of the properties was then and is now known as The Tree House due to its sylvan perch in the thick tree tops that surround the house. Miz Degeneres purchased the largest portion of the compound from another A-list homosexual Tinseltowner, Will & Grace co-creator Max Mutchnick who–as it turns out–later sold her the largest portion of the sprawling Bev Hills compound where she currently resides with her long-locked lady-wife actress Portia de Rossi (Better Off Ted, Nip/Tuck, Arrested Development).
Miz Degeneres‘ Laurel Canyon compound wrapped around a property owned by music and entertainment industry bigwig Guy Oseary who sold in 2006 and, in a celebrity real estate coinky-dink, moved to a much larger celebrity-style spread in the same secluded, famous folk-filled enclave where–as mentioned above–Miz Degeneres once owned the abode now owned by Jessica Simpson. But we digress from our digression….
In March of 2006 Miz Degeneres sold two of the four parcels that made up the bulk of her Laurel Canyon compound–the portion(s) she’d bought from Mister Mutchnick–to comedian Will Ferrell, a shamelessly funny man who parlayed his fame and popularity on Saturday Night Live into low-brow comedy movie super stardom. Another of the compound’s homes, a boxy and glassy contemporary, wound up in the hands of daytime soap story stud Adrian Bellani (Guiding Light, Passions, RPM Miami) who in September 2007 paid, as per property records, $1,995,000 for the 2,267 square foot hillside house. Mister Bellani flipped the house back on the market in May 2009 but, alas, there were no takers. The 2 bedroom and 3 bathroom pad was de-listed in early February 2010 and our research show it remains in his property portfolio.
That, at long last, brings us back to the real estate matter at hand, The Tree House property that just popped up on the market with an asking price of $2,995,000.
In August 2005, about two years before Mister Bellani acquired the above-mentioned contemporary, Miz Degeneres sold The Tree House for $2,100,000 to a man who quickly flipped the property in June 2006 for $2,300,000 to Heath Ledger. Mister Ledger, as all the children surely know, went to meet the Great Director in the Sky in January 2008 when he accidentally overdosed on a lethal cornucopia of prescription pills. Within six months the executors of Mister Ledger’s estate sold The Tree House for $2,500,000 to a Miami-based corporate concern.
A few minutes poking around on the interweb turns up evidence that directly connects the Miami-based corporate concern to a man named Gerardo Celasco, which happens to be the very same name that Adrian Bellani was born with. Gerardo Celasco also happens to be the very same name that appears on the deeds and documents for the boxy and glassy contemporary house next door that Mister Bellani bought in September 2007.
Now, children, let’s be sensible: We’re not able to say with 100% certainty that the Gerardo Celasco who bought The Tree House in July 2008 is the same Gerardo Celasco/Adrian Bellani who owns the boxy and glassy contemporary next door. Indeed, stranger things have happened but what are the odds that one Gerardo Celasco bought a house immediately next door to a different Gerardo Celasco?
Current listing information does not indicate the square footage of The Tree House but the Los Angeles County Tax Man’s website indicates it’s 1,861 square feet. Listing information does show the walled and gated 1951 modern has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms plus an office.
A gated brick stair case climbs down the hillside from the street to the front door but owners and their more favored guests are more likely to enter through the electronically gated driveway that gently slopes down from street level to the two-car garage and back entrance to the house.
Intimately scaled living and dining rooms both have pitched wood ceilings, polished concrete floors, and wide banks glass panels that slide and swing open to the approximately 2,500 square foot deck that cantilevers over the hillside and juts into the leafy tree tops of a mature sycamore grove.
The dining area of the deck, just off the dining room and the sleek galley-style kitchen, is open to the sky while the largest lounge area is shaded by a vast trellis structure that creates a confusing but pleasant striped pattern of shadows on the deck. Tucked back in to a cozy corner a seating area offers a built-in bench sofa and drop down projection screen for outdoor movie and reality tee-vee watching.
It’s unclear to Your Mama if Mister Bellani occupies this residence, the one next door, or neither one. Given that we know about as much about Mister Bellani as a turnip knows about molecular metaphysics, it’s entirely possible that Mister Bellani uses both of the properties as high-style and high-priced rental properties.
Certainly there are a lot of anti-Californians who will carp about the ridiculousness of the near three million dollar asking price for such a small house with no pool and no big city view. Your Mama also knows there are scads of scornful Real Estate Chicken Littles righteously convinced it’s pie in the sky to even imagine this house could be sold for half a million more than was paid for it three years ago, before the economy totally soured and tanked the real estate market.
Howeveh, children, at the risk of engaging in the dangerous art of real estate soothsaying Your Mama would not be least bit surprised if this house sold quickly and if not close to asking price then certainly more than the $2,500,000 Mister Bellani’s corporate concern (allegedly) paid for the place. It’s just too good and too unique not to appeal to a deep pocketed buyer willing to pay big bucks to own a modestly-scaled residence that churns with a classic SoCal kind of modern architectural chutzpah. We shall see, puppies, we shall see.
listing photos: Rodeo Realty