BUYER: Stephen Merchant
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 2,935 square feet, 3-4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: It may be an exaggeration to say all real estate roads in Los Angeles lead back to Ellen DeGeneres but not by much. The ground breaking comedian turned daytime chat fest queen, bestowed with the esteemed Mark Twain Prize in 2012, has bought and sold so many luxury homes and compounds in Los Angeles, not to mention Montecito and the Santa Ynez Valley, that despite having discussed the lady’s real estate doings at length at least a couple dozen times over the last seven or eight years, this veteran property gossip can barely keep tally. Sean Parker, Ryan Seacrest, Will Ferrell, Eric Smidt, Jessica Simpson, Adrian Bellani, James Perse, Jordana Brewster and Heath Ledger all own or owned homes they bought from or were previously owned by Miz DeGeneres.
In the fall of 2007, at just about the same time the incurably itchy-footed Miz DeGeneres and wife Portia di Rossi shelled out nearly $30 million for sitcom writer Max Mutchnick and husband Erik Hymans’ radically and expensively reconceived compound above Coldwater Canyon in Beverly Hills, she sold two homes on adjacent properties in the Nichols Canyon area of Hollywood Hills for $10 million. The buyer of the both properties was an acronymically named trust that shields the identity of the buyer but real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak told Your Mama she’ll swear on a lifetime supply of her signature “Giorgio” perfume that the trust is controlled by a low profile and not-famous heiress to a Washington State-based window manufacturing fortune.
The larger of the two Nichols Canyon properties spans more than 1.6 city view acres and hosts a sprawling, low-slung mid-century modern era residence rebuilt by the maverick architecture firm Marmol and Radziner for the fella who sold it to Miz DeGeneres for an unknown sum in 2005, commercial director David Ramser. The smaller of the two properties, a .43-acre parcel picked up per property records by Miz DeGeneres in March 2006 for $1.868 million, occupies a plateau just below and to the south and includes a thoroughly updated post and beam residence originally built in 1956.
Property records show the window manufacturing heiress continues to own the larger property but put smaller one up for sale on the open market in latter days of April (2014). Multiple offers quickly drove the final recorded sale price to $3,160,625, a substantial $410,625 more than the $2,750,000 asking price. As with the seller’s, the identity of the buyer is shielded behind an opaquely named trust but once again good ol’ Yolanda swore on a lifetime supply of her signature “Giorgio” perfume that its Emmy winning television writer and producer Stephen Merchant (“The Office,” “The Ricky Gervais Show,” “Hello Ladies”).
Listing details describe the boomerang-shaped house as having been recently rebuilt and designed by Alexandra Hedison. Those who follow the Byzantine intricacies of A-list lesbians in Hollywood may recognize Miz Hedison as a gal with a diverse resume (photographer, director, actress, designer) and the former girlfriend of — You got it! — Ellen DeGeneres. (That romance, in case your curious, ended before Miz DeGeneres acquired the Nichols Canyon properties.) Of course, Your Mama doesn’t know a telephone pole from a barbershop but dirt-dishin’ Yolanda says she’s certain Miz Hedison was once romantically linked with the window manufacturing heiress. Maybe she was, maybe she wasn’t. Whatever the case, what we do know — because it was reported by all the celebrity gossip glossies — is that just a few months ago Miz Hedison married Jodie Foster in a hush-hush ceremony after less than a year of courtship. But anyways…
According to the digital marketing materials we studied, the 2,935-square-foot single-story residence, at the end of a long gated driveway, contains three-to-four bedrooms and four bathrooms. Terrazzo floors in the brief but proper entrance hall extend into the over-sized dining area of the angled open concept main living and entertaining space. A long bank of floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors in the dining room make an obtuse angle and continue on to the combination living room and kitchen. Glass sliders on opposite walls open up and transform the living room area into an open air pavilion anchored at one end by a fireplace and at the other by a comfortably large and well equipped center island kitchen lined with earthy and unadorned walnut cabinetry.
One guest/family bedroom, tucked off on its own down a long hall behind the dining room, has direct access to the swimming pool terrace through sliding glass doors and makes use of a hall bathroom that, somewhat unfortunately, does double duty as the guest powder room. An open tread staircase in the front hall leads up to a second, flexi-use guest/family bedroom that sits atop the two-car attached garage and has a private balcony, built-in desk and an attached bathroom.
There are two more bedroom suites in a separate wing beyond the living room. The smaller bedroom has a private bathroom, walk in closet and sliding glass door access to a private patio while the other, the master bedroom, has a fireplace, walk-in closet and a glassy, galley-style bathroom. Should the resident so chose, a pocket door in the master walk-in closet allows the entire wing, which also includes a laundry room, to be used as an exceptionally roomy master suite.
In quintessential and even cliché southern California style, every room in the house opens to a well-tended outdoor living space. The living room opens through floor-to-ceiling glass sliders on one side to a tree-shaded dining terrace that wraps around the far end of the house to a sunny terrace off the secondary bedroom in the master wing. Like every other room on the lower level, the opposite wall of the living room opens through more floor-to-ceiling glass sliders to a foliage lined concrete terrace the surrounds an (also) boomerang-shaped swimming pool.
We can’t say whether Miz Hedison ever occupied the boomerang post and beam just sold to Mister Merchant because we don’t know. Whether she did or didn’t we’d none-the-less bet both our long-bodied bitches, Linda and Beverly, she’s moved in to the gated and high-hedged Beverly Hills mansion that Miz Foster bought in late 2012 for $11.75 million. Coincidentally enough, the Miz Foster’s residence sits just above the aforementioned Coldwater Canyon compound that Miz Hedison’s ex-, Ellen DeGeneres, bought from Max Mutchnick and sold to Ryan Seacrest.
In order to bring this celebrity real estate circle to a close and just in case any of the children somehow managed not to already hear, Miz DeGeneres recently sold a pedigreed and sensitively restored A. Quincy Jones-designed mansion in the Holmby Hills for $55 million to sometimes polarizing digital media iconoclast Sean Parker. The Missus DeGenereses purchased the property just six months earlier for just under $40 million — meaning they realized a $15-plus million profit — and are widely reported to have already laid out around $16 million for two condos that comprise a full floor of the newly erected and supah-swank Beverly West tower that marks the eastern terminus of the Wilshire Corridor. This property gossip can’t help but wonder to whom and for how much more than they paid the house-hopping couple will eventually and probably soon sell the condos.
Listing photos: Deasy Penner & Partners