SELLER: Jill and Thomas Barad
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA (Brentwood)
SIZE: 9,393 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: This may be the mansion Barbie built but there is, as far as Your Mama’s boozy peepers can see, nary a narrow-waisted Barbie doll to be seen anywhere on the premises. We do spy a cigar store Indian and a profusion of other dolls, statuettes, portraits and figurines but not even a whisper of Barbie or Barbie-ness except maybe for the tiger-stripe stair runner in the foyer and the wall-to-wall leopard print carpeting in the game/exercise room.
Then again, this house, recently (re-)listed at $11,250,000, is in Los Angeles where it’s hardly unusual for animal prints and fabrics to be used as an interior decoratin’ mo-teef in large and traditionally opulent high end abodes in or near the Platinum Triangle.
Could be the mansion’s owner Jill Barad long ago put that Barbie business to bed and we’re just barking up the wrong and long-dead tree in order for a cheap and easy angle. Could be, yes, but onward we press none-the-less.
Missus Barad, herself once a bit of a brunette bombshell glamor puss, dontcha know, worked her way up the corporate ladder at Barbie maker Mattel, ignoring the proverbial glass ceiling all the way. In 1997 she became the Chanel-suited powerhouse CEO known for her keen ability to spot, package and monetize fast-moving trends in popular culture. Alas, her tenure at the top of the multi-national toy-making conglomerate came to a quick and abrupt end when she resigned in early 2000. The previous year, it seems, Missus Barad green-lighted the $3.5 billion acquisition of a company that hemorrhaged money at a (reported) rate of $700,000 to a million dollars a day and Mattel’s stock price quickly plummeted more than 65%. The shareholders and board tend not to like when things like this happen and Missus Barad was ushered out the door, but not before she was politely and generously granted a fat severance package (reportedly) worth $50,000,000.
We’re not exactly sure what Missus Barad has been up to the last dozen or so years since her tenure as at the top of Mattel went up in smoke. We seriously doubt a go-getter like Missus Barad would, but she certainly could afford to sit around and eat bon bons all day with her husband and kids. At least that’s probably what we’d do with a fifty million dollar post-firing payout: sit around, talk on the phone, pick at our hideously callused heels and eat bon bons by the pool.
This isn’t the first time Missus Barad and her Mister—very part-time movie producer Thomas K. Barad (Crazy People in 1990 and Open Window in 2006—have attempted to ride the bronco at this particular real estate rodeo. In June 2010 they briefly listed their Sunset Boulevard mansion at an unknown asking price and in February 2011 it was re-listed at $12,900,000 then quickly de-listed after a price cut in June (2011). In early March (2012) the property popped back up with its current price tag of $11,250,000.
Property records aren’t as thorough as we might hope but at least one database we perused shows Mister and Missus Barad spent $725,000 for the property over the summer of 1987. It’s not clear if at the time of the sale the 24,119 square foot parcel had an existing house. What is more clear, based on various online listings and property records, the existing mansion was built in 1991 or 1992.
In March 1998, Mister and Missus Barad dropped $1,500,000 for the two northeasterly adjacent parcels, 24,389 and 11,326 square feet respectively. The additional lots brought their entire Bel Air-adjacent spread up to 1.37 acres. Tucked behind a high hedge between the house and the half-acre(ish) flat lawn next door Your Mama spots a construction trailer, both an eyesore and hint that Mister and Missus Barad may (or may not) have planned to further develop the undeveloped parcels in such a way as to seamlessly combine the three contiguous parcels into one cohesive estate that jives with the existing, carefully landscaped grounds that surround the residence.
Listing information shows the mock-Med mansion, set above a screaming s-curve of Sunset Boulevard and all but hidden by a gorgeous chorus line of jacaranda trees and wrought iron driveway gates, was designed by architect Steve Giannetti, measures a stately 9,393 square feet and contains 6 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, including a multi-level master wing with sitting room marble bathroom where a soaking tub is set into a shelf in set into a wide bay lined with squashed-looking windows.
A center foyer impresses guest and FedEx delivery people alike with it’s marble tile floor, capacious double-height ceiling and loopy, wave-like pattern of the wrought iron banisters. The essentially conventional lay out provides for all the customary and expected, well-proportioned rooms such as formal living and dining rooms, and a fairly formal library/den with glossy wood paneled walls, built-in book cases, Parquet de Versailles-style hardwood floors, wedding-caked coffered ceiling, 19th century French fireplace mantel, and a flat screen tee-vee tucked up into a niche above the two-seat wet bar.
Slightly less formal is a family room with carved stone fireplace and high arched French doors and a little more less formal still is an especially spacious, mixed-use game/exercise room with shallow vaulted ceiling and window-lined (and curtain swagged) nook perfect for a bridge or poker table. There’s plenty of room in the middle and around the edges for a big, brown sofa, a fringe-pocketed pool table with—much to Your Mama’s flabbergast—a bunch of crap stowed underneath on a tarp or blanket, a pair of old-school console video games, and a variety of exercise contraptions that may (or may not) be a treadmill, stair-stepper and/or—dear Jeezis!—and elliptical thingamajig.
Listen chickens, Rule No. 77 in Your Mama’s Big Book of Decoratin’ Dos and Don’ts is quite explicit when it informs and educates those who absolutely must have exercise equipment in their home than it must be kept in a separate room or other space tucked way from every other living area of the house. Let’s get real, babies, no one with any dignity or a single shred of style thinks it’s cute to have a medicine ball in the breakfast room, a stationary bicycle shoved up next to the bed in the guest bedroom, or a set a free weights in the god damn dining room. That’s because, of course, it ain’t cute.
Anyhoo, current listings we’ve seen on the interweb don’t include a single photograph of the kitchen, not usually a very good sign when it comes to the condition or quality of the cookery. Usually if it’s not pictured it’s because it could knock the wart off a witch with its ugly. However, do note listing information describes the kitchen as “gourmet…with Sub-Zero, Viking and Thermadore appliances,” which sounds pretty nice even though we’d bet our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly it’s not done up in a manner that matches our own admittedly opinionated and narrow tastes.
The backyard isn’t exactly tiny but not particularly big either with a long terrace that runs between the back of the house and a plush, deep-pile carpet of bright green lawn. At one corner of the lawn there appears to Your Mama to be a topiary in the shape of a big ol’ lion. Yes, that’s right, a topiary lion just outside and in full view of the paneled library/den. How very whimsical and ornamentally aristocratic is that? Anyhoo, an elevated circular spa set into a semi-circular limestone niche anchors one end of the lawn and an octagonal open-air pavilion with built-in barbecue station the other. The especially long and narrow swimming pool nestles into the thickly planted slope behind the house that’s held back by a substantial, curved limestone retaining wall festooned with a handful of carved stone lion’s head fountains that dribble and spit water into the pool in an arched and most elegant fashion.
We have no idea if Missus Barad maintains a private museum and/or secret stash of rare Barbies in a temperature controlled vault secured by retina scan and only accessible through a hidden panel in the master bathroom but wouldn’t that be absolutely mortifying and magnificent at the same time if she did? A kind of awful blessing that would, we think, make so many feel so much better about their anemic retirement plans and faux-Baroque bathroom vanity cabinets bought on sale last year at Costco? Think about it…