BUYER: Matthew Modine and Caridad Rivera
LOCATION: Venice, CA
SIZE: 2,030 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: First came word, in September (2012), from the real estate focused folks at The Real Deal and the property-obsessed kids at Curbed that 6-foot-4 star of stage and screen Matthew Modine (The Dark Knight Rises, Full Metal Jacket, The Hotel New Hampshire) had hoisted his duplex loft in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood on the market with an asking price of of $2,290,000. (More on that in a minute.)
This week, down the celebrity gossip grapevine, comes news that Mister Modine and his long-time wife, Caridad Rivera, have shelled out $2,450,000 for a very contemporary micro-compound located just a few tiny blocks off hip and hipsterish Abbott Kinney Boulevard in the proudly quirky and still a bit gritty but increasingly expensive ocean side community of Venice, CA.
Property records Your Mama peeped reveal the Venice property was purchased in October (2012) from music industry executive and private investor John Perenchio, the wealthy son of octogenarian multi-billionaire Spanish language television tycoon Jerry Perenchio. Papa Perenchio is, of course, one of the largest landowners in Malibu—he gives Larry Ellison a real estate run for his money—who also owns the Kirkeby Estate, an astonishing, opulent and leviathan chateau-style limestone pile in Bel Air that is most well known by pop culturists as the home of the oil-rich Clampett clan on the genius 1960s sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies but was also featured, even more prominently in its high-toned glory, in the 1960 Jerry Lewis movie Cinderfella. Anyoo…
Interestingly, as per documentation easily dug up online, the younger Mister Perenchio and his wife acquired the Venice property only 17 months earlier for $2,200,000. Since Your Mama does not know a ewe for a ewer, we really can’t say whether or not the Ketchum, Idaho-based Perenchios purchased the Venice property for their own use or why, after less than 1.5 years, they flipped it back on the market September (2012) with an asking price of $2,395,000.
Did y’all catch that? That’s right, butter beans, Mister Modine coughed up $55,000 more than the asking price, an strong indication there may have been at least one other seriously interested party in the two-structure micro-compound that sits on a minuscule, .07 acre parcel on one of Venice’s most desirable walk streets* and contains a total of 2 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms in 2,030 airy square feet of bifurcated interior space.
Listing information from the time of its last sale shows the house was completed in 2003 and designed by eco-oriented Venice-based architect David Hertz at the Studio of Environmental Architecture. As a slight aside, handsome Mister Hertz is also responsible for the earthy and airy, U-shaped contemporary prominently featured on the long-running Californication program with David Duchovny.
The somewhat loosely-defined front entrance of Mister Modine’s new digs in Venice opens off a small, gated and grassy front yard and into a roomy, open concept living space finished with radiant heated polished concrete floors and a soaring, exposed concrete ceiling that appears to magically float above the walls. An elegantly restrained and muscular steel staircase divides the living space from the dining area and expensively equipped but barely-there in-line kitchen. Clearly, children, this is not a kitchen conducive to the preparation of elaborate, multi-course meals. It is, however, perfectly suited to coffee making coffee, gin & tonic mixing and unpacking take away from Gjelina.
A full wall of floor-to-ceiling glass opposite the front door eliminates any visual distinction between the interior living area and the micro-compound’s primary organizing feature, a bridge-crossed courtyard with outdoor lounge area that both separates and links the two-story main house and the additional flexi-use space perched solidly atop a detached three car garage. The outdoor lounge area, tucked under a deep overhang on a slightly raised concrete pad, is well anchored by a massive steel fireplace and chimney breast that not only warms the outdoor area but successfully obscures visibility from the neighboring, two story house.
The open concept concept on the lower floor continues up on the second floor that consists of a flexi-use den/office area, the master bedroom and the master bathroom. The only real barriers between the three spaces are walls that stop well short of the ceiling. This is great thing for air circulation and light penetration but, seriously, if a person farts in the bathroom someone with reasonably good hearing can most certainly hear it and probably smell it in the flexi-use den/office. Crude as that may be to speak about, that’s a real damn concern and far as Your Mama is concerned.
A floor-to-ceiling glass slider in the bedroom connects to a small terrace with solid, privacy enhancing parapet wall. Conversely, in the adjoining bathroom there’s a much less privacy enhancing shower stall lined from the tits up on two exterior walls with clear glazing. Unless Mister and/or Missus Modine harbor a streak of exhibitionism or can tolerate the nosy neighbor making insinuating and judgmental double entendres about their hair washing techniques,*** this shower window situation will need to be remedied with sometime much more opaque.
The floating steel staircase continues up from the master bedroom into a sky-lit well that pierces the roof and opens to a two-sided terrace with wrap around views. The roof terrace is—to be sure—a fab feature, the perfect place to sunbathe sans suit and/or soak up the salty morning mist that often envelops coastal California communities. However, it should be noted that if Mister and/or Missus Modine want to invite friends and/or family up to the roof top terrace for a sundown cocktail they’ll also have to invite them to traipse completely through their bedroom—or their bathroom—to access the staircase. This is not, for obvious reason, an ideal scenario, especially if the homeowner gorged themselves on chili dogs at lunch like Your Mama did.
The flexi-use den/office space has an entire wall of floor-to-ceiling windows and glass sliders that peel back to an open air sleeping porch with fireplace and a bridge that spans the courtyard between the two structures. The bridge leads to another expanse of floor-to-ceiling windows and glass sliders that open to yet another flexi-use room atop the three car garage with private bathroom. The commodious space could easily be utilized for an endless variety of purposes…guest suite, home office, hookah lounge, meditation space, media room, art studio, S/M parlor or whatever other purpose a person may require or fancy.
Your Mama does not know if the new crib in Venice signals a permanent move to Los Angeles for Mister and Missus Modine but we do know that back in New York City, in an area of Chelsea that remains—as far as we know—without power due to the wicked onslaught of super-storm Sandy, the Modine’s ground floor and basement level duplex loft remains on the open market with an asking price of $2,290,000.
Current listing information shows the two-floor apartment measures 1,668 square feet and contains one real bedroom and 2.5 bathrooms. There are, according to marketing materials that include a promotional video narrated by Mister Modine himself, 17 foot ceiling on the upper level and Nordic ash flooring throughout the main living spaces except in the kitchen where the wood was replaced with a more durable and easier to clean limestone.
The open plan living space stretches approximately 31 feet, according to the floor plan. There’s a wall of windows at the living room end, a dining space in the middle and, at the other end, just off the spacious entrance hall, a sleek, limited edition all glass kitchen manufactured in Italy. By “all glass” Your Mama assumes that means the cabinets are faced with glass and not that literally everything is actually made of glass.
The upper level master bedroom—downright puny by suburban standards but decent sized by New York City standards—opens directly off the main living space and offers two custom-fitted closets, a smaller one tucked inconveniently behind the door from the living room and the other a walk-in and -through situation that connects the bedroom to the small and windowless but well-outfitted bathroom with rusty-looking stone tile flooring, minty-grey glass-tiled walls, a floating wood vanity (with just one sink) and a glass-shielded walk-in shower with one of those really annoying rain head showers and and even more annoying multiple body spray nozzles.****
Mister and Missus Modine—or their lady or nice-gay decorator—have counter-balanced the boxy, unadorned architecture of their master bedroom with warm Mission style furniture, dozens of artworks hung salon style on two walls, and a double-layer of multi-textured curtains, a privacy-protecting sheer under heavy black and white brocade drapes that extend dramatically from the ceiling to the floor.
Mister Modine himself stated in the promotional video he made to help sell the apartment, the flexi-use lower level—marked as a “rec room” on the floor plan—was used by his family as the bedroom for one of his two daughters. The lower level room has a wide wall of windows and glass doors that peel back to an ipe wood decked outdoor space that doesn’t look to be completely private.
Besides the fact that there’s only a half bathroom on the lower level that means that every time a resident or guest wants to take a bath or have a shower they have to haul their hiny up a full flight of stairs to the bathroom just off the entrance hall. Also a wee bit problematic for those who might use the “rec room” as a bedroom, the laundry room is also down there. That means when Laverne shows up on Thursday morning and wants to wash the week’s kitchen linens and under things you had better be up and out of bed because you know that lady don’t tolerate a lazy bones who sleeps past seven.
The sale price includes one of the largest storage units available in the building and that the apartment is pre-wired for high-speed internet and cable television, which is kind of ironic since Mister Modine reportedly does not even own a damn television.*****
Listing information shows the monthly taxes and common charges total $3,101 and that the fairly recently converted, pre-war building—formerly the Press building and re-christened as Loft 25—offers a 24-hour attended lobby with a garden view mail pick-up center and residents only screening/conference room and separate fitness center.
There’s also a 5,000 square foot pet-friendly roof terrace with barbecue station, outdoor shower and—as it turns out—a head on view of London Terrace, the very building where Your Mama and The Doctor Cooter lived when we resided in New York City. Over the years we lived at London Terrace we occupied several apartments and ground floor office spaces in various sections of the massive, mixed-use pre-war complex but we are 100% certain the 16th floor bedroom of the last apartment we occupied before we packed it up and schlepped it west five years ago had a perfect view down onto this the still not quite finished roof top.
But we digress into a powerful nostalgia brought on by the horrific impact of Sandy on New York City and the surrounding communities, states and regions.
Listing information states that Mister Modine’s Chelsea loft is just steps from the High Line park in the heart of Chelsea’s gallery district. And it is, which is a good thing iffin you like the High Line. (And who, pray tell, does not like the High Line?) However, what listing information does not indicate is that the building is also directly across the street from a substantial low-income housing project. We lived there for years without giving this proximity to housing project more than a passing thought but we’re certain there are uptown types who would step out of a cab and immediately think, “Oh, hell no.”
*A walk street residence, just as its name suggests, is only accessible along a lane too narrow to accommodate anything wider than a wheelchair or golf cart. Automobiles are not aloud on a walk street. Automobile access to the property in question as well as most other walk-street residences in Venice is restricted to a separate alley way.
**We’re quite sure that there are swarming hordes of people of all creeds and financial abilities who love them a rain head shower and/or body spray nozzles like nobody’s bizness but Your Mama just finds all that a lot of unnecessary hooey. Although we have experienced them, never in our life have we ever sat on the damn sofa and thought it would just be so magnificent and relaxing to stand butt-nekkid in the shower and be pelted by powerful water jets from all angles on every part of our body. No thank you. Anyhoo…
***Naturally, Your Mama has no idea of Mister and Missus Modine’s new neighbors in Venice are nosy and/or at all the least bit concerned with their individual hair washing techniques.
****We know some people love a rain head shower and multiple body sprayers like a bear loves honey but, hunnies, we simply do not care to stand butt-nekkid in the shower and be pelted and bruised by waters shooting out of God knows where at every part of our tender-skinned body. No thank you, please.
*****We can not confirm or deny that Mister Modine does or does not actually own a television. We read it on the Internet Movie Data Base. But if he doesn‘t then we say, “gee-awhed, not another Tinseltowner without a television. Do we spot a trend?