YOUR MAMAS NOTES: The other day while we puttered around minding our own damn beeswax and mixing up a super-sized early afternoon gin & tonic, Your Mama received a flurry of covert communiques from The Bizzy Boys at Celebrity Address Aerial who pointed our nosy nose towards a casually uptown country mansion in Los Angeles, CA owned by sitcom creating superstar Bill Lawrence and his comedic actor wife Christa Miller and listed with a price tag of $10,950,000.
While not without acting charms or joke-timing abilities, Miz Miller is none-the-less a lucky lady who seems to have benefited greatly from some good ol‘ fashioned Tinseltown nepotism. The former child model, was once shot for a soap advert by the legendary snapper Fracesco Scavullo, landed her first tee-vee gig in 1985 on the sitcom Kate & Allie., a program on which her Auntie Susan starred. That, hunnies, would be her one-time Emmy-winning and seven more times-nominated Auntie Susan Saint James who was then and is now legally wedded to three-time Emmy-winning NBC sports television super-producer Dick Ebersol.
Miz Miller later appeared on programs such as Northern Exposure, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Party of Five and Seinfeld before she landed her first big gig on the hokey but wildly successful but no longer airing seven times Emmy-nominated sitcom The Drew Carey Show (TDCS). While doing her thing for her nine seasons on TDCS she hooked up with and hitched her wagon to television writer/producer/creator Bill Lawrence who rocketed to the top of the Hollywood heap in the mid- to late-1990s with the Emmy and Golden Globe winning political sitcom Spin City.
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Mister Lawrence went on to create, produce and write the screamingly successful 17-time Emmy-nominated hospital comedy Scrubs. As that hit show wound down in 2009 and ’10 Mister Lawrence shifted into high sitcom gear and created–and currently produces and writes–the Golden Globe-nominated Cougar Town, the Courtney Cox post-Friends vehicle that’s essentially a less optimistic and more acerbic version of Friends if the friends were a boozy gaggle of 40 year old under achievers in a sleepy coastal town in Florida. Miz Miller, the advantageously-bred and well-betrothed little minx, appeared in 89 episodes of Scrubs and currently stars and holds her own in Cougar Town along with the soo–blime Busy Phillips, the magnificently-formed Josh Hopkins and the under-rated Ian Gomez.
In early 2001, not too long after Mister Lawrence and Miz Miller threw their life-lots in to the same bowl of soup, they acquired a 6 bedroom and 6 bathroom residence in the shadow of The Getty Museum in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles, CA. Their nearby neighbors included action film producer and genre game-changer Joel Silver and actors Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart. Your Mama finds conflicting information in records we accessed on the property but it appears the Lawrence-Millers paid $4,300,000 for the 6,312 square foot house and sold it either in May 2007 for $6,422,000 or September 2009 for $7,300,000. Either way they pocketed what to most people would be a small fortune.
A few years after buying a big house in Brentwood, the couple went and bought a big beach house in the Bu. According to The Bizzy Boys and confirmed by our deep throat source Lucy Spillerguts, Mister Lawrence and Miz Miller coughed up $4,500,000 in September 2003 to buy rocker Pat Benatar’s 6,107 square foot house perched the cliffs of Malibu’s star-studded Point Dume. The 4 bedroom and 5 bathroom residence has a swimming pool on the ocean side of the house and a private stairway that zig–zags precariously down the cliff to the crescent-shaped beach at Dume Cove. Now, bunnies, while it would most certainly be heavenly to walk out our back door and sink our portly tootsies directly in the sand and sea, it gives Your Mama heart palpitations to think of having to haul all the way up those rickety-looking stairs every time we felt nature calling or wanted a hunk of damn cheese.
Anyhoo, all those booty-busting stairs must not scare the Lawrence-Millers who, three children later, traded up from their home on Halvern Drive in Brentwood to a 9,552 square foot East Coast traditional-style mansion in the rustic but ritzy Lower Mandeville Canyon area of Brentwood. Records indicate that in April 2007 the pair paid actress Victoria Principal a princely $12,600,000 for their privately situated mansion that provides the family of five 6 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms and lovely tree-top canyon views.
All those children with their thinking caps have do doubt already consulted their mental calculators and determined that with property’s current asking price of $10,950,000, the couple are looking at a considerable $1,650,000 loss not counting the fat real estate fees that could easily run well upwards of a quarter million clams. And that, puppies, is if the couple’s Real Estate–a very successful property purveyor who specializes in the uppity enclave of Brentwood–can perform the unlikely but not impossible feat of a full asking price sale. Combined, the fees and the amount they’ll likely flush down the real estate crapper could amount to a bone-rattling two million dollars, or more. Of course, Your Mama does not know bric-a-brac from a pram so we can’t say with any authority or direct knowledge of why the Lawrence-Millers want to leave their mansion in Brentwood but it seems obvious even to a moe–ron like Your Mama that if they’re willing to take a two million dollar smack to the real estate face on the sale of this house they must want to move reeeeeally damn badly.
Anyhoo, a deep porch that runs along the front of the house overlooks that gated motor court (and side-facing three car garage) and draws one into the front door that opens into a graciously scaled but comfortable house with a tasteful and traditional day-core that looks like it was professionally (and expensively) done in a style that we we’ll call “Sophisticated and Inestimably Rich Greenwich, CT Grandma.” Upscale East Coast Granny is decidedly not Your Mama’s cup of decorating tea and, for what it’s worth–and it’s really not worth a damn thing–we think the addition of a wee bit of some cutting edge–or at least contemporary–art that would create a missing tension that would more overtly suggest the occupiers of the residence are only middle-aged as opposed to having a toe or two in the grave.
Walnut wood floors run throughout much of the main floor rooms including a baby-blue formal living room with fireplace and a formal dining room with coffered ceiling, wainscoting and an eye-catching corn silk blue wall covering that depicts birds sitting on the branches of rose bushes. Or maybe it’s some other sort of bush. Whatever.
The restaurant-sized kitchen has stone flooring, a breakfast area, and over-sized high-grade appliances including a Volkswagen-sized Wolf range and two integrated dishwashers. The adjacent family room, visible through a pair of tall arched doorways that flank a built-in double-sided buffet, has ebony rough-cut beams that criss-cross the ceiling, an stone fireplace with flat-screen tee-vee mounted above it–natch–and French doors the swing inward and lead to a dining terrace shaded by a vine-covered pergola.
Each of the 5 family bedrooms, according to listing information, has en suite facilities and the master bedroom has two plus custom-fitted closets, a fireplace. Above the fireplace in the master bedroom hangs a painting the slides over to reveal a hidden flat-screen boob-toob recessed into the wall.
Additional rooms include a playroom, two wood-paneled offices, media room, an additional sitting room, fitness room and a probably useful but sort of haughty seeming flower arranging/package wrapping room, perfect for the multi-millionairess who probably don’t fluff their own flowers or wrap their own gifts.
Many of the rooms at the rear of the mansion’s main floor open through a series of French doors to stone-floored loggia that frames park-like views of wide and rolling swathe of deeply watered and unnaturally perfect lawn through wide archways. Mature trees surround the backyard and provide desired privacy around the swimming pool and spa surrounded by flagstone terracing and one of those necessary but intrusive looking child-protection fences. Listen, mommies and daddies, we know these fences are sometimes necessary to spare the lives of kiddies who have tendencies to do dumb things like run like a banshee straight into an unattended swimming pool but we still find them–at least 80-percent of the time–visually intrusive, awkward and a constant reminder that a backyard toddler tragedy breathes hotly and constantly down neck of parents and other lovers of tadpoles, tykes and tots who don’t yet know how to tread water.
Given that Mister Lawrence and Miz Miller both seem to be firmly aboard the elusive Hollywood Magic Carpet Ride and that they’re, apparently, willing to accept a multi-million dollar loss on the property, Your Mama expects they’ll again trade up to something, if not larger, than wit more and better amenities like, say a tennis court, a guest house and/or stables for pet ponies and pigs.
listing photos: Prudential California, Brentwood