SELLER: John Bersci
LOCATION: Benedict Canyon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $7,995,000 (reduced from $11,495,000)
SIZE: 7,256 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: The Harvey Mudd Estate. Designed by Elmer Grey, 1922. A trophy property and Beverly Hills landmark with significant old Hollywood character and historical relevance. Located at the end of a private street and surrounded by major estates. Home features grandly proportioned public rooms, magnificent hand-carved wood paneling, library, breakfast room, conservatory, gym, wine cellar, and more. Situated on one acre of beautifully landscaped gardens, pool, and outdoor areas for major entertaining.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Today we will not be discussing a celebrity owned house children, but rather the Beverly Hills mansion of John Bersci, one of Los Angeles’ most successful property flippers who recently put his Benedict Canyon Drive residence on the market with an asking price of $11,495,000.
Listen children, there are house flippers like that Bravo boob-toob reality star Jeff Lewis and then there are house flippers like John Bersci. While these two gentlemen may be in the same bizness of buying, renovating and selling houses at substantial and sometimes shocking profits, they do not, and Your Mama repeats, do not play in the same sand box. While Mister Lewis and his colossal kisser dabble in $1-3,000,000 houses (mostly) in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, Mister Bersci is over in the Platinum Triangle working over properties that often sell for between five and $25,000,000. Okaaay?
Property records show that Mister Bersci scooped up what is known as the Harvey Mudd estate back in June of 2004. For those that do not already know or are too lazy to Blackle him, Mister Mudd was a Los Angeles based mining magnate and engineer whose friends and family had a Claremont, CA science and engineering college named in his honor…that would be the Harvey Mudd College, natch.
Anyhoo, we were unable to suss out the Mister Bersci’s purchase price but thanks to Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills we learned that not long before Mister Bersci’s purchase, the asking price for the (approx) one acre estate located at the end of a very private lane was $5,950,000. So for better or worse, let’s just assume he paid somewhere around that number.
Listing information reveals that the Tudor style house was built in 1922 and was designed by noted California architect Elmer Grey, the man responsible for designing iconic buildings such as the Beverly Hills Hotel. According to the Los Angeles County Assessor, the 7 bedroom and 7 bathroom house sprawls across 7,256 meticulously crafted square feet of luscious living space. If you’re into the numerology, and Your Mama isn’t, all those sevens might make this a lucky house.
The two-story impress the guests style entrance hall with its glittering chandelier, magnificent hand carved paneling and taxidermy peacock spills into a modestly sized sitting room all done up with outrageous floor to ceiling orange drapery, neo-classical day beds, several Bergere chairs in orange, blue Chinese urns and and a Versace-like inlaid floor that gives Your Mama goose bumps. We don’t ordinarily go in for this kind of over the top fussy day-core, but we can’t help it, orange is our favorite color and that room looks like a dee–voonly dee–luxe location to lay around and smoke weed.
The dining room seats at least 12 and has extravagantly swoopy architraves and the bookshelf lined and puse colored library is simply yummy. We are particularly drawn to the way the books are set on the shelves in a haphazard manner. This would indicate these books actually get looked at and read rather than just put out on display. We’re not sure what room that is with all that leopard print and Chinoiserie (the conservatory? the den?), but it all looks like it cost an arm, a leg and a liver.
Your Mama was rather surprised to see that Mister Bersci’s kitchen has not been did up and done over like one of his famous flips. Instead we get a cliche black and white floor that looks like linoleum, dated and not very expensive looking black appliances and an industrial sized pot rack looming rather dangerously over the breakfast counter. This is clearly a case of the cobbler needing new shoes and we expect that the new owner will be dialing his/her kitchen designer while signing documents at the closing table.
At the top of the intricately carved stair case there are at least half a dozen exuberantly decorated bedrooms such as the powder blue master which is stuffed with all sorts of Chinoiserie (Mister Bersci obviously likes his Chinoiserie, don’t he?), a marble mantled fireplace and a sitting area that can comfortably seat six or seven people. Your Mama finds something odd and a little upsetting about having a sitting area for so many people in such a private chamber. Besides people planning on getting all orgiastic, who invites that many people into their bedroom for a sit down?
The grounds include meticulously maintained gardens, intimate seating areas for small groups, a large lawn for hosting charity events and gin and tonic fueled croquet tournaments, a heated swimming pool for late night skinny dipping and an inground spa perfect for a little aquatic bowm-chicka-bow-bowm.
The Harvey Mudd mansion is tucked way up a tree covered lane, surrounded by major estates and, according to property records, has many notable neighbors. There’s the estate once owned by Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery which prop records show is now owned by a film and television executive. There’s Maurice Marciano who co-founded the Guess fashion empire, Oscar nominated producer Arthur Hiller, The Boss Bruce Springsteen has a West Coast hideout nearby, and an approximately 6.25 acre hilltop lot that several sources told Your Mama is owned by super rich super producer Jon Peters (A Star is Born, Flashdance, Rain Man, and many more) which was recently on the market with an insane asking price of $39,500,000.
Perhaps the most well known and in the news house that Mister Bersci has recently renovated is the gigantic 1930s Georgian on S. Mapleton Drive that was widely rumored and reported to have been in escrow with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner but remains on the market with an asking price of $23,500,000 (reduced from the original asking price of $27,500,000). We heard the couple backed out (see item No. 5), but honestly puppies we don’t know what the real story is with that house and those Garfleck people. Maybe they’re buying it, maybe they’re not. Maybe they’re buying that house in Brentwood they’re always photographed looking at or maybe they’re staying put on Tigertail Road. Who knows? And after all their looky-looing shenanigans, we’re not sure if anyone cares anymore.
Whatever the case with the JenniBens, it is Your Mama’s humble and entirely meaningless opinion that given the property’s provenance, location and construction quality, the almost seems like a bargain for Bev Hills, which of course is a very different sort of real estate bargain then in most locales, isn’t it?