YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Anyone with a penchant for preserving historical Los Angeles real estate should probably bow down and kiss the Oscar winning toes of actress Diane Keaton. Yes puppies, she does cut a funky and not always flattering fashion statement as she clomps around Rodeo Drive in her ankle length skirts, funny hats, extra-wide belts, and gloved hands even in the 85 degree mid day heat. But you know what? Your Mama relishes and respects that this intelligent and accomplished woman of a certain age works her own style and does not capitulate to the Hollywood ideal of fake boobies, Botoxed brows and that tawdry, sad and desperate desire to look 30 even when you’re 65. That’s right, we said it, and all you middle aged ladee ack-tur-usses whose bodies and faces have been sliced, diced, pulled and pumped full of Restylane know we are talking about you. Much to Your Mama’s delight, Miz Keaton proudly flips the proverbial bird to all the casting agents, producers, directors and etc. who will only cast young hothouse flowers they want to screw. And we admire her greatly for that.
Anyoo, much as we’re fascinated by it, we’re really not here to discuss the trials and tribulations of growing older in Hollywood, but rather the real estate transactions of the rich and famous and Diane Keaton qualifies as both. Miz Keaton, a well known property flipper who concentrates her renovation energies on historical houses that were designed by big names in the Southern California architectural lexicon, is at it again and is flipping another legendary and architecturally significant property.
Property records show that in February of 2007, the kooky and clearly architecturally savvy Miz Keaton plunked down $9,100,000 for the Lloyd Wright designed Alfred Newman Estate tucked into the inside of a sweeping curve on Sunset Boulevard in Pacific Palisades. Now children, just in case some of y’all don’t know, Lloyd Wright was the architect son of the iconographic and iconoclastic Frank Lloyd Wright.
The 2.625 acre property slopes down from Sunset Boulevard with the 4,386 square foot, 6 bedroom and 5 bathroom residence perfectly positioned at the top of the slope to provide peaceful sylvan views over the tree tops of Rustic Canyon. Built in 1948 for nine time Oscar winning film and television composer Alfred Newman, the property includes a natural spring for irrigation, which Your Mama imagines will be a huge asset when the water wars start in California. And mark Your Mama’s words children, there will one day be bitter battles over scarce water supplies in California. At the bottom of the sloping property is a riding arena, as well as a small barn and stables for putting up the ponies. Behind the house, Lloyd Wright planned open spaces, an area for outdoor concerts and one of his signature hexagonal swimming pools.
The house itself sort of follows the lines of a sprawling and modified A-frame design, but to compare the house to one of those dime a dozen ski chalets in Big Bear or Lake Tahoe would be criminal and enormously simplistic. The roof lines and exterior articulations, while exuberant and even dramatic, are far more subtle, engaged and intricately planned than the average A-frame. However, Your Mama is almost certain some of you brats are going to say it looks like a stoopid ski chalet anyway and that you’d rather have a big house in Hidden Hills than this uglee piece of shit. Whatever.
The interiors spaces, at least at the time that Miz Keaton purchased the property, include the original parquet floors, acres of simple but beautifully executed mill work, long stretches of floor to ceiling glazing with views rural enough to make one forget they’re in the metropolis of Los Angeles, four wood burning fireplaces, and scads of built ins in the unusually shaped rooms.
Your Mama presumes that Miz Keaton did some sort of a restoration number on the house before putting it back up for sale just one year after purchasing the property. However, as of this morning, we’re really not sure whether she did any work to the house or not. Anyone want to email Your Mama and fill us in? Although our Fairy Godmother in Bel Air was thoughtful enough to provide Your Mama with some old photos of the interior spaces, we’ve decided not to post them because we simply don’t know if the interior spaces still look the way they do in the photographs.
Among the other properties Miz Keaton and her team of architectural historians and restorationists have worked over include the Lloyd Wright designed Samuel-Novarro House in Los Feliz that was later owned by young actress Christina Ricci (who has since sold it), and an 8 bedroom and 9 bathroom Wallace Neff designed house on N. Roxbury in Bev Hills that she sold to Madonna who in turn sold it in 2004 and which recently transferred again for a whopping $15,680,000.
We hear from the usually very well informed Kenny Kissentell that Miz Keaton has recently been quite bizzy renovating an 8,434 square foot house in the Bev Hills flats on N. Roxbury Drive that property records show she scooped up in February 2007 for $8,100,000 and where we understand she presently lives.
The Alfred Newman Estate has yet to hit the open market despite the large advert that recently ran in the Los Angeles Times announcing that the property was once again available for purchase. The asking price is not yet public, and none of Your Mama’s contacts have yet to provide us with the somewhat secret number. But we just know one of you giddy little tattle tales will get in touch with Your Mama soon and let us know.