YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Australian celebrity chef Curtis Stone made his initial marks on the culinary world in the kitchens of some of London’s better eateries and in the far reaches of northern California’s ocean side community of Eureka where he’s the executive chef of the highly regarded Restaurant 301. In today’s world, “celebrity” chefs don’t just cook in the kitchen, they cook on the boob-toob too. Mister Stone’s star is in the fast lane and in the service of celebrity chef superstardom he’s cooking up a glamorous in Los Angeles, CA where he’s already got a celebrity gal pal–Lindsay Price–and where he recently acquired a multi-million dollar house in a somewhat secluded pocket of the Hollywood Hills.
Not only does Mister Stone have a series of cookbooks including Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone: Recipes to Put You in My Favorite Mood, he has a line of kitchen utensils and glassware and he whipped up recipes for in-flight meals for United Airlines. Who knew there were even actual in-flight meals to be had on United Airlines anymore. Anyhoodles poodles, due in part to his steaming boyish good looks, twinkling eyes and a pair of gorgeous guns–he was on People’s 100 most beautiful people of the year in 2006–Mister Curtis television career is quickly blossoming like the exploding fuchsia bougainvillea that clings to Your Mama’s front porch. In the past Mister Stone shook his well-shaped money maker with appearances on Today and Martha. He starred in some program called Take Home Chef, appeared on the third season of The Celebrity Apprentice and he lost to super-chef Bobby Flay on the always fascinating Iron Chef America. As an aside: If none of y’all have ever seen the spunky and buttery southern fried kitchen-momma Paula Dean on Iron Chef you are missing a great tee-vee moment. That bitch is crazy in each and every of the very best ways.
Anyhoo, Mister Curtis currently sits on the panel of judges and investors for The Next Great Restaurant and he’s the new hostess with the mostess on the third and current season of Top Chef Masters. It shouldn’t be long now before he’s hosting his own cookin‘ show on the tee-vee program. We’re surprised he’s not already been snapped up by Oprah Winfrey for OWN.
Property records reveal that Mister Curtis actually bought his house in the Hollywood Hills at the tail end of December 2010 and they also show he paid a very-celebrity $3,100,000 for the contemporary crib that’s perched on a bluff above Lake Hollywood. That’s right, puppies, there is indeed a very scenic lake tucked up into the hills behind Hollywood. The Lake Hollywood neighborhood is not, to put it mildly, easily accessible. There are only a few very circuitous and windy ways in an out of the upscale enclave that also, as it turns out, happens to be a tourist mecca where all the Hollywood tour vans bring mid-westerners and Japanese people to take pictures of the Hollywood sign from one of if not the most supreme vantage points in the entire city. Also under the spell of the looming sign, one of the best–but unofficial, meaning not quite legal–dog parks in all of L.A.
A thick screen of towering bamboo hides a courtyard entry where water spills over the edge of an elevated boulder with the center carved out for a pond. The Paul Hinckley-designed domicile, according to listing information, shows the wood, stone, steel and glass residence measures 4,257 square feet and includes a family-friendly 6 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms.
The home’s main rooms include a living room with dramatic vaulted Douglas Fir ceiling and a bank of French doors with horizontal mullions that swing open to a very narrow strip of land between the house and the lap lane of the backyard swimming pool. A two-way fireplace separates the living room from the formal dining room that has French doors that also open to a claustrophobically-narrow and precarious-seeming strip of land that separates the house from the lap lane of the swimming pool. The very contemporary (and shockingly expensive) Bulthaup kitchen next door to the dining room marries sleek steel and glass accents with warm walnut cabinetry that looks suspiciously like the walnut cabinetry in Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter’s kitchen, which is nice but, we can assure the children, didn’t cost but a fraction of what this Bulthaup kitchen surely cost.
A large meditation/spa/fitness room has what listing information intriguingly called “a luxurious indoor/outdoor bath area.” A mahogany staircase leads up to the second floor where there are four family bedrooms, an office and a master suite with luxurious private facility, walk-in closet and French doors that open to a balcony that hangs over the backyard with stunning views of the canyon, lake and city lights.
The L-shaped swimming pool has three distinct areas: a large rectangular area at one end and a spa at the other end connected by a lap-swimming lane. As mentioned, the lap lane (and spa) run parallel and perilously close to almost the entire length of the rear façade. Any of the children who have been around her longer than a hot minute know that Your Mama despises those understandable but annoying child-proofing fences that surround so many swimming pools. But for safety’s sake we would prefer that the pool not be slammed up against the back of the house where a tipsy or downright drunk guest could easily tumble out of the living room if someone were ever to do what Your Mama affectionately calls “The Elaine Benis,” which is when after hearing some particularly juicy gossip morsel someone abruptly and violently pushes another person backward and screams “Get out!”
On the other side of the swimming pool from the house a wide flat lawn perfect for playing fetch with Fido stretches back until it drops off into the rugged canyon lands. From the backyard there’s and exquisite, up close and personal view of the Hollywood sign. No matter what some of you children say about Los Angeles, living with a direct (or even indirect) view of the iconic and divinely campy Hollywood sign is a geographic thrill not so unlike having a view of Coit Tower in San Francisco, the Space Needle in Seattle or the Empire State Building in New York.
It appears that things have gotten at least sort of serious between Mister Stone and his lady-friend of just over a year, soap-story and tee-vee actress Lindsay Price (All My Children, Beverly Hills, 90210, Lipstick Jungle, Eastwick). Miss Price has allegedly moved into the house, which makes sense since she is this very moment in the process of selling her bachelorette pad in the upscale and celebrity-packed Toluca Lake area of Los Angeles.
Miss Price must really have been itchin‘ to live in unmarried carnality with her big-shit Australian food cooker because she has her starter house in the Toluca Lake area of Los Angeles (above) on the market for significantly less than the $1,150,000 prop records show she paid for the modestly scaled 1926 Spanish-style casa in 2007. According to the folks at Redfin, Miss Price officially listed her 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom crib in mid-January 2011 with an asking price of $895,000. Within a week the property–located walking distance both into the heart of the Toluca Lake shopping district and from Mily Cyrus’s house–was put into escrow and is now marked “Pending,” which means the closing is eminent.
A few flicks of the well-worn beads on Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus shows that even if Miss Price and her Real Estate managed to convinced the buyer to pay full price–and, let’s be honest hunnies, what’s the liklihood of that?–she’s facing a quarter of a million dollar loss on the property not counting any money she put in for repairs and renovations, not to mention the fat real estate fees that could easily run to upwards of thirty grand. It must be love.
A short wall, tall hedges and a motorized driveway gate hide a surprisingly tatty-looking front yard. A narrow path streaks across the “lawn” to the the front door that opens directly into the living room where this is, among the other ordinary accouterments of semi-suburban living, a fireplace and a wall-mounted television. The chestnut-colored wood floors in in the living room run throughout the house and, according to listing information, are new. A flattened archway connects the living to the dining room that has a hideously generic Home Despot “chandelier” and a decorative aspect that looks like someone tried to copy something out of a Martha Stewart magazine.
A surprisingly well-sized kitchen has ordinary but crisp white cabinetry with raised panels, engineered stone counter tops and stainless steel appliances. It’s not a bad kitchen it’s just an uninspired kitchen. We’re thrilled Miss Price didn’t try to dress the kitchen up with ridiculous clusters of fake greenery around the tops of the upper cabinets that fall just barely but painfully short of the ceiling. We recognize that not every kitchen is going to win an award for high-design but–in Your Mama’s world–every kitchen, even the most humble among them, can and should have something special about it. We Miss Price’s kitchen might have been nicely pushed forward and maybe even completed with the introduction of little more than an antique rug like, say, this Turkish Oushak rug from the late 19th century. Just a thought.
The remodeled facilities in the master bedroom were done up with some 1920s vintage-style however, this is not, we fear, a house of authentic upgrades but rather a house where reasonable and probably moderately expensive facsimiles stand in for actual architectural and design authenticity. We like the tile work pattern that runs around the room and in the correct circumstances we j’adore a console lavatory. But we’d bed our long-bodied bitches that console sink in Miss Price’s pooper is not actually vintage but a reproduction. Nothing wrong with that, just something to note.
Moving on…The backyard isn’t very large but it is a quintessentially southern California yard where a vine-draped pergola-shades a terrace off the back of the house, a citrus tree or two provides fresh-picked fruit and a swimming pool and spa with flagstone coping takes up too-large a part of the yard. The two-car garage, according to listing information was converted to a guest room/office/pool house with hardwood floors and a giant white slip-covered sectional sofa.
Since only Mister Stone’s name appears on the deeds and documents we espied it does not appear to Your Mama that Miss Price and Mister Stone purchased the house in the Hollywood Hills together. But then again, we don’t know a donkey from a Kardashian so…