SELLER: Jeffrey Katzenberg
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
SIZE: 9,173 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms (plus separate guest house)
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Real estate watchers and property gossips around the world went ape shit in October 2009 when super-producer and entertainment industry honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg—once the assistant of Barry Diller now the co-founder and current CEO of DreamWorks Animation—somewhat surprisingly spent a staggering (and reported) $35,000,000 on a 6.34 acre estate perched on a private promontory in a particularly prime part of Beverly Hills, CA. The much-coveted, estate sized parcel sits just above the famed and historic Greystone Mansion and was sold to Mister and Missus Katzenberg by Simon “Si” Ramo, the 90-something year old physicist/engineer frequently described as the mack-daddy of the Intercontinental ballistic missile.
Mister Katzenberg quickly razed the existing 8,704 square foot mid-century modern residence (shown below), ripped out the tennis court, filled in the city view swimming pool, and hired all the necessary people to design and erect a marginally larger, U-shaped mansion that lightly hugs a massive courtyard and/or motor court at the front of the house.
Someone with whom we have the good fortune to be acquainted—let’s call him Dale Trooze—espied the architectural renderings for Mister and Missus Katzneberg’s planned mansion some time ago at a Beverly Hills City Council meeting during which Mister and Missus K. requested and granted a variance to raise the roof height of their planned residential monument to Tinseltown wealth and success to 18 feet from the much lower 14-foot high limit normally applied to the swanky and trendy Trousdale Estates neighborhood where the unusually wide and winding hillside streets are lined with sleek and sprawling low rise mid-century modern mansions, a few of which remain architectural and decorative time capsules and many of which have either been drastically renovated or replaced completely with a more new-fangled kind of contemporary residence formed of gleaming, prairie-like interior spaces, endless walls of full height (and high-maintenance) glass with cutting edge UV protection, and all the remote controlled high-tech/smart home mumbo-jumbo money can buy. Anyhoo, Dale Trooz snitched that the architectural renderings he peeped showed a fairly rectilinear pavilion of more than 11,000 square feet with a “monolithic” roof line.
That all said (and at unnecessary length), it’s not Mister and Missus Katzenberg’s new, soon to be finished residence in Trousdale Estates that really concerns Your Mama today but rather the couple’s most recent residence in Beverly Hills they heave ho-ed on to the (open) market this week with an asking price of $9,400,000.
Property records indicate Mister and Missus Katzenberg have owned their huge home in the Beverly Hills flats just below Sunset Boulevard since March 1985 when they paid $2,685,000 for the architecturally undefinable residence—listing information somewhat generously calls it a “Contemporary Mediterranean”—built in 1985 on a flat .54 acre parcel and designed with scads of decorative Frenchy (faux)quoining and a sober (and unfortunately sobering) rusticated base on the ground floor.
The two-story main house measures 9,173 square feet, according to current listing information available online, and includes a total of 5 bedrooms and 6 full bathrooms. A sizable second, fully detached two-story structure at the rear of the property adjacent to the swimming pool contains a poolside cabana plus 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms suitable for use as a home office and/or as guest/staff quarters.
The voluminous main entry, which oozes with a showy 1980s kind of success, seeks to impress guests and the impoverished Chinese food delivery man alike with polished marble floors and floating bridge that spans the double-height space and connects the bedroom wings on the upper level. A wide opening and a short set of steps descends into into the formal living room with buff-color wall-to-wall carpeting underfoot, a wood-burning fireplace to anchor and warm the pale and airy space, and a series of nearly floor-to-ceiling arched windows that listing information mis-labels as “Palladian.” (Palladian windows by definition, children, are divided into three parts with a central arched opening that’s always wider than the flanking openings that are always rectangular and enclosed at the top by an architrave.)
Anyhoo, a monumental opening with imposing entablature in the living room gives way to a more intimately scaled library entirely encircled by (completely empty) floor to ceiling book cases, a marble-topped wet bar, and towering French doors that open to a small and lushly landscaped pocket of the back yard. On the opposite side of the entrance hall a formal dining room has buff color walls that perfectly match the buff color wall-to-wall carpeting that exactly matches the buff color wall-to-wall carpeting in the living room.
Like much of the house seen in listing photographs, the dining room feels torpid and utterly lifeless. However, Your Mama suspects (but can not say for sure) that the Katzenberg crib was all but stripped bare of almost every decorative detail and artwork in preparation for the sale. At some point in the not so distant past, we imagine, the entire mansion was much better dressed by a nice, gay or lady decorator, perhaps in the trademark style of dee-voon California decorator Michael Taylor who could actually make magic with all those acres buff color carpeting and truckloads of winter white roll-armed furniture seen in listing photographs.
The floors turn to blond hardwood in the colossal eat-in kitchen at the back of the house where there’s a separate breakfast area and a titanic, butcher block-topped center island with snack counter. There are long runs of raised panel cabinetry that look to Your Mama like they could be exact same buff color as the carpeting in the living and dining rooms, an extra wide window over the primary sink, and a slew of commercial quality stainless steel appliances that include side-by-side fridge and freezers and an industrial stove and hood larger (and probably more expensive) than Your Mama’s big ol’ BMW.
Listing information shows the Katzenberg residence also includes a home gym—listing photos make it appear to Your Mama like the gym space might be carpeted with the same buff color wall-to-wall found elsewhere, which would be totally gross and unacceptable—and a bi-level family room/screening room with two (almost identically arranged) seating areas, a glitzy mirror-backed wet bar, and a wide-format movie screen that scrolls down from the ceiling at the touch of a button in front of a pair of full-height French doors that open the room to the fully fenced and high-hedged backyard entertainment areas.
Upstairs, each of the four family/guest bedrooms have a private bathroom and the expansive master suite, according to listing information, includes a sitting are with fireplace, a second and separate sitting room/office with built-in book and display shelves, a private terrace that overlooks the backyard and what listing information described as “spacious bathrooms.”
A spacious but hardly vast Spanish tile terrace fits snugly into a corner of the back of the house off the kitchen and screening room. A broad, well-watered and tree-dotted lawn extends back to the rear of the property where a dark-bottomed swimming pool is surrounded by a wide, Spanish tile sunbathing terrace that is in turn girdled by precisely pruned trees and shrubbery and towering, fastidiously clipped privacy hedges. At one end of the swimming pool a deep trellis shades a row of French doors that open to spacious two-story poolside cabana with kitchenette and, as mentioned earlier, two guest or staff bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
This section of Beverly Hills, near it’s eastern border with the—ahem—musical community of West Hollywood, happens to be chock full of Showbiz sorts who include Larry King and his 7th wife (or 8th, depending on how one counts) who live directly across the street in a mansion they bought in February 2007 for $11,750,000. Also nearby are pricey properties owned by Golden Globed (and bizarrely British accented) superstar Madonna, music and television mogul Simon Cowell (who is actually British), American actress Lori Loughlin and Italian clothing magnate Mossimo Giannulli who bought their palatial pad in October 2010 for $7,500,000, and, until recently, Terry Semel, the former CEO of Yahoo! who unloaded his 8,804 square foot manse, originally listed for $12,275,000, in late December (2011) for $9,100,000.
In addition to his homes in Beverly Hills, property records and other online data bases show Mister and Missus Katzenberg also maintain an extraordinary Gwathmey Siegel-designed ocean front compound in Malibu, CA as well as a couple of sizable slope-side condominium residences in the guard-gated Bald Eagle Club community located in the rugged Wasatch Mountains in the swank ski resort community of Deer Valley, UT. Property records suggest the two units have been combined into one roomy residence with more than 10,000 square feet, 5 fireplaces, and 10 terlits in 7 full and 3 half bathrooms.