SELLER: Ashley Benson
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $2.995 million
SIZE: 3,085 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: A celebrity-pedigreed property in the pricey and centrally located foothills just above Los Angeles’s bustling and always in vogue Sunset Strip, currently owned by pretty “Pretty Little Liars” breakout star Ashley Benson, has popped up for sale on the open market with an asking price of $2.995 million. The completely updated 1930s French Normandy-style cottage — briefly owned in the early 2000s by newly engaged pop star Kylie Minogue and later, in the mid 2000s, by musician and Eurythmics frontman Dave Stewart — was acquired in 2012 for $2.2 million by the now 26-year-old 2014 and 2015 Teen Choice Award winner, who co-stars with Mary-Louise Parker in the upcoming coming-of-age comedy “Chronically Metropolitan.”
The 3,085-square-foot residence, with turreted entry and lusciously lustrous ebony hardwoods throughout, has three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms and appears in listing photographs to be decoratively done up in a particularly glammy, boutique-hotel manner reminiscent — at least to this veteran property gossip — of Paris Hilton’s former bachelorette pad, which happens to be just down the street. The home’s several living and entertaining spaces include a window-lined lounge, where a large flatscreen television is hung on a paneled wall between a pair of glitzy crystal sconces; a slightly cramped but fully paneled library lined on opposite walls with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves; and a den with a television-surmounted fireplace and freestanding bar. The ample formal dining room, with two showy canopy hood chairs and half a dozen slipper chairs in snow-white tufted leather around a black farmhouse table, has a traditional coffered ceiling and a tile-faced and bookcase-flanked fireplace, while the adjacent kitchen is fitted with thick slab marble countertops on gleaming white cabinetry and adjoins a breakfast nook decadently lit by a moody black crystal chandelier. Our research shows that at the time of Miss Benson’s purchase, the kitchen cabinets were fitted with whimsically menacing pulls custom-crafted from cleavers and other knives but, unfortunately, they’ve been replaced with far more sleek and inoffensive although, let’s be honest butter beans, way more humdrum hardware.
A short stairway just off the entrance hall curves up to a relatively wee guest bedroom with French doors that open to a storybook Juliet balcony that overlooks the walled, gated and tree-shaded courtyard at the front of the residence, while an elegant, stone-treaded and wrought iron railed stairway in the foyer ascends to the upper floor, where a second guest bedroom is furnished as a loungy sort of office space with dizzying, toile-inspired black and white wallpaper, an extra-long black leather Chesterfield sofa, a melon leather pouf, and a chair emblazoned with a skull and crossbones behind a snazzily mirrored campaign desk. The master suite, also upstairs and with black and gold over-sized bee print wallpaper on the vaulted ceiling, has built-in bookshelves and French doors that link to a partly covered deck with a limited, through-the-trees city-lights view. Long strands of bulb lights are hung over the compact but adroitly arranged, multi-level backyard that features numerous stone terraces, a patch or two of drought-flouting faux grass, an elevated spa that spills in to a small, dark-bottomed swimming pool, and a run of fence behind the pool rather courageously painted with carnival-esque bubble gum pink and white vertical stripes.
Miss Benson, whose big showbiz break came in the mid-2000s when, then just a teenager, she landed a plum role on the daytime soap story “Days of Our Lives,” has been much in the celebrity property gossip columns since last fall when she shelled out $4.15 million for an ersatz, 6,131-square-foot Mediterranean villa in the Coldwater Canyon area of Beverly Hills that less than a month later and with few if any improvements or alterations she flipped back on the market at $4.395 million. The price significantly and unceremoniously plummeted just before the Christmas holidays to $3.995 million, and current online listings show the substantially reduced price must have done the trick because the four-bedroom and four-bathroom three-story abode is now in escrow to be sold for an unknown amount to an unknown buyer.
Listing photos: Hilton & Hyland