YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Long before Kara DioGuardi took a seat at the judges table on reality television juggernaut American Idol from 2009-2011, she was a sensationally successful and respected songwriter, singer, producer and music publishing mini-mogul who’s penned pop ditties for the likes of Britney Spears (Ooh Ooh Baby), Christina Aguilera (Ain’t No Other Man), Ashlee Simpson (Pieces of Me), Celine Dion (Taking Chances), Faith Hill (Lost)–breathe, breathe, breathe–The Jonas Brothers (Play My Music), Pink (Sober), Carrie Underwood (Mama’s Song), and Meat Loaf (If I Can’t Have You).
In her recently released soul-baring book A Helluva High Note she says–and presents proof–that she asked to be released from her contract after just two seasons on American Idol. She describes the experience as “the depths of humiliation.” Yikes. Anyhoo, she quickly moved on to appear as the sympathetic but still stern head judge on Bravo’s Platinum Hit, an Idol-style program about song writers rather than song singers. In addition to writing songs and doing reality shows the multi-talented showbiz dervish currently trods and stomps the boards in a seven week run as Roxie Hart on Broadway’s long-running revival of Chicago.
Since August 2004 Miz DioGuardi has owned a 3 bedroom and 3.5 bathroom Spanish-style casa in the Beachwood Canyon area of Los Angeles she bought for $1,199,000. She heaved the house on to the market in January 2010 for $1,649,000 but, alas, the cozy crib was de-listed three months later without being sold and the house remains in her property portfolio.
Of course, Your Mama does not know a ceiling fan from a a cluster of grapes so we really haven’t any idea what Miz DioGuardi plans to do with her Beachwood Canyon property but we do know in March 2007 the sweet and sincere seeming songstress dropped $3,500,000 on a second celebrity-style estate in Tinseltown, a tree-ringed 3.5 acre hilltop property in Studio City, CA. We also know that Miz DioGuardi had existing 4,100 square foot house was extensively reworked and expanded, no doubt with significant input from her handsome contractor/artist husband Mike McCuddy. The couple have occupied the rebuilt residence since at least April 2011 when the house was briefly mentioned in an interview/article on The Daily Beast.
We also know, thanks to an informant we’ll call Linda Lipsmacker, that Miz DioGuardi and Mister McCuddy–who split their time between Los Angeles, CA and itty-bitty Prospect Harbor, ME–recently hoisted their reconceived marital mansion in Studio City on the rental market fully furnished with a hefty monthly asking price of $45,000.
To a tightwad like Your Mama that certainly sounds like a lot of moolah for a house in Studio City, or anywhere else for that matter. In fact, as of mid-day today the next most expensive house in the 91604 zip code listed on the MLS is a rather garish 6,300 square foot hillside mansion with 6 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms priced at $12,500.**
**The MLS listing shows Miz DioGuardi’s house in the 90068–a Hollywood and Hollywood Hills zip code–although the Los Angeles County Tax Man shows it’s in the 91604, the zip code for Studio City. Make of that what you will, children.
Anyhoo, listing information shows Miz DioGuardi-McCuddy’s Studio City residence–a stately but architecturally awkward faux-French neo-Normandy style pile with quoined exterior corners–measures around 7,600 square feet and includes 5 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms. A flat-roofed turret marks the main entrance to the house, located at the tail end of a long, gated driveway that curves gently as it climbs up from the street to a motor court and front-facing garage where combined there’s enough room–as per the listing–to park 12 automobiles.
Guest are greeted–and surely meant to be impressed–in a double-height foyer with lustrous black and white marble floor, elegantly curving staircase, and decadently drippy crystal chandelier. An unfortunately off-center doorway at the end of the foyer leads into a small solarium with leaded glass windows and views over the San Fernando Valley.
A formal living room on one side of the foyer has a steeply pitched vaulted ceiling, glistening herringbone patterned wood floors, a wood-burning fireplace with rugged 20-foot high river rock chimney breast, and six arched French doors the open the room to the warm winds that blow across The Valley during the Hades hot summers. The day-core skews to a decidedly and somewhat surprising high-glam 1940s thing that includes a gleaming ebony grand piano, a pair of identical tufted sofas covered in luscious lavender velvet and two antique glass chandeliers that are probably Italian and each probably cost more than a decent used car.
The glitz factor gets hiked up to a fever pitch in the formal dining room where the wood floors shine like mirrors, the walls are totally blinged out in a shimmering silver glitter material and ten whackadoodle collar-backed chairs covered in silver leather line both sides of the rectory-style table refashioned in what appears to be stainless steel and/or mirrored glass. We imagine this room looks amazing at night by flickering candlelight but Your Mama also imagines a person needs to don a dark glasses just to pass by that room on any given day when the bright sunlight streams in through the numerous arched–and curtain-free–French doors.
The less formal living quarters of the DioGuardi-McCuddy’s mansion also have shiny wood floors–although not in a herringbone pattern as in the formal living and dining rooms–and include a family room, a pair of sitting rooms that share a double-sided gas (or maybe it’s alcohol fired) fireplace and an over-sized center-island kitchen with white Shaker-style cabinetry, white marble counter tops, all the expected top-grade appliances, breakfast counter and separate eating area.
In addition to the curved staircase in the front foyer, and additional spiral stair connects the informal family areas to the second floor bedrooms that include an extensive master suite with wood floors, dramatic vaulted ceiling with exposed rough-hewn beams, sitting area, a very contemporary gas or alcohol-fired firebox with flat screen tee-vee mounted above, and private balcony with view over the motor court and swimming pool. There’s also copious closet space and a celebrity-style bathroom with a many-gabled vaulted ceiling with exposed wood beams, a glassy herringbone patterned wood floor, double sinks, soaking tub for two, and separate marble shower.
Listing information also indicates the mansion also comes equipped with a sauna and an art studio where, we presume, former teacher turned contractor and artist Mister McCuddy makes his paintings.
The expansive grounds include flat and rolling lawns, various entertainment terraces and balconies, a fountain or two, and an unfortunately located infinity edged swimming pool and spa sunk, essentially, into the grassy ground right in the front yard. Of course, this isn’t a front yard that can be viewed by the neighbors like most folks’ front yards, but this swimming pool is still, as far as we’re concerned, in the front yard. We’re certain much thought went into the location of the cement pond and there’s probably a thousand good reasons for it to be right where it is but in Your Mama’s opinion–which ain’t worth more than a tinkle and a squat–it looks like the damn thing just dropped out of the sky and landed there in the front yard where it hovers uncomfortably over the motor court.
It’s not clear to Your Mama if Miz DioGuardi and Mister McCuddy want to lease out the property on a short- or long-time basis and we have no idea why they’d opt to lease the property at all. Then again, if someone wanted to pay Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter forty-five grand a month to lease our house we’d happily pack up our personal things and vacate the property tout de suite too.
listing photos: Coldwell Banker / Beverly Hills North