BUYER: Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri
LOCATION: Beverly Hills (Post Office), CA
SIZE: 7,644 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Those of the children who tune in to the luxury-sector real estate hijinks on Million Dollar Listing may recall episode five of the most recent season when smiley, suit-clad broker Josh Altman and his business-partner brother Matthew signed up to sell an ersatz, mid-renovation Mediterranean mini-mansion in a celebrity-saturated street in the Beverly Hills Post Office (B.H.P.O.). The house was owned, it was revealed on the show, by old family friends of the brothers’ Aspen-based parents.
The brothers bickered and disagreed about whether, as Josh wanted, they should market the multi-million dollar property mid-renovation or wait until construction was complete, as Matthew thought more prudent. Josh won out and they slapped a $9.9 million asking price on the under construction property and, as is the way of reality television, it wasn’t long before the brothers received an $8.7 million offer that they seemed to think they could push to a sales price much closer to $9.5 million. Alas, property records and other online resources show the house actually sold in mid-September (2013) for $8.5 million.
Although property records shield the identity of the new owner behind a generically-named trust, good ol’ Yolanda Yakketyyak called yesterday from her vintage Seville and tattled to Your Mama that she’s 100% certain the buyers were magnificently-named, Dutch-born commercial director and reality television producer Bertram van Munster and his reality television producer lady-mate, Elise Doganieri.
In addition to a couple thousand television commercials under his professional belt, Mister van Bertram spent much of the 1990s as a successful producer and cinematographer on the still-running, four-time Emmy-nominated reality t.v. juggernaut Cops. His real claim to Tinseltown fame and fortune, however, came in the early 2000s when he (co-)created the addictive, high octane and now internationally formatted reality competition program Amazing Race, which he now executive produces. Miz Doganieri shares co-creator and executive producer credits for Amazing Race with Mister van Bertram (and others) and since 2003 the rabidly watched show has dominated the Outstanding Reality/Competition Program category at the Emmys with nine wins. The couple are also both listed as producer for several short-lived reality competition shows such as Take the Money & Run, The Great Escape, and Oprah Winfrey’s philanthropic-oriented endeavor The Big Give.
Listing information, property records, and other digital resources show the property encompasses and up-sloping parcel of not quite an acre with a main house that was originally built in the mid-1950s. It was purchased by the sellers—an interior decorator (without a website that we could find) named Denise Cohen and her hubby, Warren, in December 2007 for $4,500,000.
Digital listing details show the gated, compound-like spread has a total of five bedrooms and seven bathrooms between the main house and detached guest house and that the recent re-do of the vaguely boomerang-shaped residence included the installation of luxurious, contemporary interior finishes and fixtures such as Turkish limestone terraces, wide plank white oak flooring, custom wrought ironwork, and a pair of Cleveland Art chandeliers in the voluminous foyer that each weigh several hundred pounds and easily retail at more than $12,000 apiece.
Unless the central foyer with its 20-foot ceiling and artisinal crystal chandeliers is supposed to do double duty, Your Mama did not espy in listing photographs a proper formal dining room. What we did find was a reasonably roomy, step-up formal living room with fireplace, pitched ceiling, and a row of French doors with arched transoms that open to a fairly narrow but long loggia that runs along much of the front of the curved residence.
Decorative glass and wood pocket doors in the foyer/formal dining room slide open to reveal a spacious and decidedly modern kitchen fitted and kitted with clean-lined, flat-fronted cabinetry of walnut or teak or some other richly striated wood. There are cook-pleasing, top-grade appliances and and a thick slab marble or onyx that waterfalls over the edge of the chunky center island where casual eaters can belly up to a five-stool snack bar. Is it just Your Mama or do the vintage-looking lantern light fixtures over the island seem an incongruous choice? Anyhoodles, poodles…
An archway and a short corridor on the far side of the kitchen connects through to a step-down pub room with a professional-grade, three-stool wet bar and an intricately articulated and possibly painted ceiling. The pub room adjoins what Your Mama imagines is meant to be the home’s primary living and (casual) entertaining space. The generously-scaled room—let’s call it a multi-purpose living and dining room, with vaulted ceiling, rustic exposed wood trusses, and no fewer than seven sets of French doors with arched transoms that lead out to various areas of the property’s 8,000 square feet of balconies, loggias, and terraces that surround the house and swimming pool(s).
The master suite, privately situated all by itself on the far side of the formal living room, has a large bedroom with a fireplace dressed with a puzzlingly ornate sculpted stone or poured concrete mantelpiece. A tiny and utterly impractical, quarter circle-shaped sunken lounge in the corner of the room has a curved, custom-fitted tufted bench and leads out through sliding glass doors to private outdoor space that includes a canyon-view terrace for sunbathing, a fire wall, and a plunge pool.
The master suite also has a boutique-style dressing room and a sun-flooded, garage-sized bathroom with two sinks, two giant toiletry cabinets, a separate make-up vanity, and one of those free-standing egg-shaped soaking tubs that cost as much as a small car. A separate, party-sized steam-shower room is finished shiny, pebble-tile, a built-in bench, and a tremendous window.
In addition to the various balconies and the long (if slender) loggia that runs along much of the front of the house the main outdoor recreation and entertainment areas are located well below the front of the house. A second swimming pool has a small, semi-circular attached spa and is surrounded by terraces large enough for a couple couples to fox trot (or twerk or whatever). There’s a vine-draped and trellis-shaded dining/lounge area, and a curving wall with cushioned built-in bench.
We’re not sure how many bedrooms and/or bathrooms there are in the guest house that sits next to the swimming pool but we can surmise from listing photos that the capacious, open-concept and contemporary main space has concrete floors, a double-height exposed wood ceiling, a rather monumental stacked stone fireplace, a precarious-looking corkscrew staircase, and a full kitchen with upper-end appliances and a vibrant tomato red tile back splash.
Some of the other high-profile peeps who own homes on the same snaking, B.H.P.O. road include but are not limited to Demi Moore, Jon Voight, Jon Lovitz, and Lisa Vanderpump.
Property records reveal that Mister van Munster and Miz Doganieri own an approximately 7,500 square foot Italian villa-type residence in the swank, north of Montana Avenue section of Santa Monica, CA, that they acquired in November 2008 for $5,500,000. As it turns out, the couple had the house for sale for about a week over the summer (2013) for $6.2 million but now have the six bedroom and 10.5 bathroom mini-mansion up as a luxury lease at $29,500 per month. Features, according to digital marketing materials, include an elevator that serves all three floors and a fully finished basement level with a home gym/staff room, a 1,000 bottle wine cellar, and a state-of-the-art screening room with built-in bar/candy counter.
listing photos (B.H.P.O. and Santa Monica): Hilton & Hyland