YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Last month all the celebrity real estate gossips were a-twitter and agog about how ever more unlucky in real estate actress Scarlett Johansson (Iron Man, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Lost In Translation) lost her shirt, her skirt and her Agent Provocateur panties when she sold her big 0l’ Mediterranean style bachelorette pad in Los Angeles at a loss in excess of $3,000,000.
That’s right puppies, Miss Johansson had a perfectly good if not great 7 bedroom and 7 pooper mansion in Los Angeles, CA that she bought in May of 2007 for $7,000,000. Two years later the curvy actress caught a case of The Real Estate Fickle so bad that she was compelled to sell the house for an even-steven $4,000,000, a stunning three million dollar bang to her bank accounts not counting renovation costs and the fat real estate fees. Of course Your Mama don’t know a lemon from a coffee pot but given that this wasn’t the first time Miss Johansson sold a property at a loss Your Mama has to wonder if the woman is just a financial fruit bat or if there something more purposeful and clever at play like maybe she needed the gigantic write off for her her taxes.
Anyhoo and whatever the case, sell at a huge loss she did and now word is starting to slip-slide down the real estate gossip grapevine that Miss Johansson and her well-formed if a bit too ripped actor man-mate Ryan Reynolds have shelled out a few million smackers for a new house just a couple hills over from the one she just sold at an airplane hangar sized loss.
According to several of Your Mama’s better connected sources ScarJo and RyRey recently closed on a mid-century modern style house designed in 1968 by noted southern California architects Buff & Hensman. The deal for the single story contemporary located in the hills of Los Feliz with big views across the twinkling lights of Tinseltown went down last week, according to property records, for $2,900,000. That a person would pay a few thousand clams more than the asking price for a house in today’s topsy turvy market is a bit of rarity, but according to property records they did indeed pay $51,000 more than the last known asking price of $2,849,000.
If Your Mama hauls out our bejeweled abacus and flicks and clicks the well worn beads we figure that when the $3,0000,000+ loss of Missus Reynold’s bacherlorette pad on Senalda Road is added to the purchase price of the lovebirds’ new nest, the real price of their new digs is more than $5,900,000. Let’s be honest chickens, these two lookers could have easily opted to stay put in the house on Senalda Road and waited out the market hoping and praying for better real estate days. But if we’ve said it once Your Mama has said it four million times, who are we to question or understand the wacky real estate ways of the rich and famous?
Listing information for the well preserved property we hear ScarJo and RyRey just bought shows that the low profile pad measures 2,835 square feet and includes just 2 bedrooms and 3 poopers. In addition to the guest bedroom and private master suite that features its own walled mini-garden, listing information also indicates that when originally built the house had a total of 4 bedrooms but two of the secondary bedrooms were subsequently combined and put into service as a library/office space.
The front of the property has an un-gated black-top motor court with front facing two-car garage all of which, Your Mama imagines will soon be protected by high hedges, an electronically controlled access gate, and a state of the art surveillance system. A covered walk from the driveway leads through a small planted courtyard to the front door. The home’s primary living spaces face the back yard and the panoramic view. The large living room retains much of the home’s original features such as hardwood floors, a clean lined brick fireplace, and wood beamed ceiling. A long wall of floor to ceiling glazing allows for a “seamless” visual flow between the indoors and the outdoors, which of course was a primary objective with many of the architects who operated in what we now consider the mid-century modern milieu.
Situated on the same axis as the living room along the back side of the house is the renovated kitchen that manages to maintain a style dialogue with the original house while incorporating all the modern conveniences expected in a multi-million dollar home such as high quality cabinetry and high grade stainless steel appliances that include double ovens and a side-by-side fridge and freezer combo that probably cost more than a Mini Cooper. The kitchen is open not only to the wall of glass that sucks up the view on the back side of the house, but also the dining area and adequately sized corner family room that, like the living room, is wrapped in floor to ceiling glass panes that open to the backyard and the view that, on a good day, extends all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Extra deep overhangs help to modulate light and shade part of the deck that runs along the back of the back of the house and steps down to a flat grassy yard, many sided swimming pool, and adjacent sunbathing deck where ScarJo and RyRey can tan their slender movie camera friendly bodies. There does not appear to be a spa attached to the pool which is a bit of a problem. Your Mama does not care to sit in a boiling vat of water like some sort of damn lobster about to be cooked and eaten, but the Dr. Cooter does and a yard like this with a view like that is calling out for a hot tub, perhaps even one of those round old-school redwood types surrounded by ferns and candles like it was 19 damn 72.
Anyhoodles, what if any renovation plans ScarJo and RyRey have for their newly acquired mid-century modern remains to be seen but Your Mama hopes that they’ll choose to retain and maintain what architectural integrity the house has. We just think it’s kind of nice when people show some residential restraint and leave architectural well enough alone. Before all you architecture snobs get your panties in a kerfuffle recognize that Your Mama understands that the house isn’t exactly a stellar example of mid-century modern style or, frankly, even one of Buff & Hensman’s better projects. However, in a city where too many people don’t seem to think twice about swinging the wrecking ball at a multi-million dollar house in order to make way for a monstrous beast of a mansion–just look what Jeffrey Katzenberg is doing over there in Beverly Hills where he paid a bone chilling $35,000,000 for an 8,704 square foot house built in 1965 that he’s knocking down in order to build his own gargantuan Barbie Dream House–it’s just nice to preserve some properties for the architectural record books.
Property records and about a bazillion reports reveal that prior to Miss Johansson becoming Missus Reynolds, she laid out $2,100,000 for a midtown Manhattan penthouse pied a terre that measures a modest 1,270 square feet and includes 2 bedrooms, 2 poopers, and a large terrace with glittery city views. At the time of the purchase it was was widely rumored and oft reported that ScarJo went prowling for a penthouse apartment because the immediate neighbors around the West Village apartment she was leasing at the time were all bent out of shape about her constant cigarette smoking.
There have been a myriad of recent reports that ScarJo and RyRey bought a cruddy little farmette somewhere in Louisiana that they’re renovating with an eye towards eco-friendly things like a solar electrical system but honestly butter beans, we don’t know nuthin‘ about that. Maybe they did and maybe they didn’t.
listing photos: Deasy Penner & Partners