SELLERS: Stacey Sher and Kerry Brown
LOCATION: Beverly Hills (Post Office), CA
SIZE: 7,800 square feet, 4-5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms (in themain house)
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Decades ago prolific, Oscar-nominated writer/producer/director Blake Edwards (The Pink Panther film franchise, Victor Victoria, S.O.B., 10) and his Oscar-winning wife/widow Julie Andrews (Victor Victoria, The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins) owned a sprawling spread in a discreet (and discrete) Beverly Hills Post Office (B.H.P.O) enclave long popular with Tinseltowners and known as Hidden Valley.
The private and gated estate—a multi-structure compound, really—is currently owned by Oscar-nominated film and television producer Stacey Sher and her musician husband Kerry Brown who currently have it on the market with a $5,795,000 price tag.
Miz Sher may not be an instantly recognizable household name but she’s got an impressive and growing list of big money movie credits that include Erin Brockovich, Pulp Fiction, Gattaca and Reality Bites as well as the high-larious police parody boob-toob series Reno 911!, nixed from the air in 2009. According to the Internet Movie Data Base Miz Sher has a hefty slate of star-studded films in various stages of production that include (but are not limited to) Get a Job (with Bryan Cranston and Anna Kendrick); Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (with Leo DiCap, Jonah Hill, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington and Jamie Foxx); and Runner Runner (with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake).
Mister Brown, no professional slouch, earns his no-doubt considerable keep as a musician and music producer/recorder/mixer for bands and singers like The Smashing Pumpkins, the ever-entertaining hot mess Courtney Love, (nearby neighbor) Jessica Simpson, The Bangles and a couple gals from The Go-Gos. He’s additionally produced and mixed a number of soundtracks for movies like P.S. I Love You, Along Came Polly and Scream.
Property records indicate the highly-customized, boomerang-shaped compound was picked up by Miz Sher and Mister Brown in August 2000 for $2,910,000. Online documentation also indicates the low-key but luxe-living couple first first hoisted the B.H.P.O. property on to the (open) market in mid-February 2011. Your Mama isn’t sure what price they put on the place back in February 2011 but details available online via the fine folks at Redfin reveal the asking price was dropped three times and the property twice (and unsuccessfully) put into escrow before it was taken off the market around Christmastime (2011). It was subsequently re-listed at its current asking price in late April of this year.
By Your Mama’s boozy (and quite possibly inaccurate) count, based on a study of the site and floor plans included with marketing materials, the 1.61 acre entourage-accommodating, star-style compound includes a substantial main mansion with 4 (and potentially five) bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms (shown above) plus two more potential bedrooms and 2 full and 2 half bathrooms spread throughout two additional, detached and inhabitable structures on the property (shown below).
Once past the enclave’s not particularly authoritative-looking security booth, remote controlled gates provide additional security for the compound and give way to a private drive that slopes up to a bifurcated motor court that easily accommodates 6 or 8 (or more) luxury automobiles. One arm of the motor court tucks in to an inviting, tree-shaded courtyard nestled between the front of the house and a steep, landscaped hillside down which tumbles a (man-made) waterfall. The other arm of the motor court curls up and around to second, larger parking pad. There is not, as far as we can tell, a garage on the property.
The main mansion was originally designed by much lauded and applauded architect Wallace Neff and built in 1948. Since then the 7,800 square foot residence has been significantly remodeled and altered—some purists might say mangled—in to a kind-of-confusing but not completely displeasing, Craftsman-Colonial-esque architectural pastiche with vine-laced red brick walls and arch-dormered, stained glass and Palladian-style windows framed with contrasty but complimentary, espresso-colored (or perhaps ebony) trim work.
On one side of the tile-floored foyer there are two spacious family/guest bedrooms, each with private en suite facility. On the other there’s a roller rink-sized, 1,120 square foot living/dining room with lustrous wood floors; an elegantly minimalist red brick fireplace; wide, glass sliders that open to a deep and voluminous covered porch; and a party-friendly, sunken wet bar with two walk-in booze closets and a bank of windows that peel back and open to the front courtyard. The relatively low ceilings in the living/dining room are (arguably) somewhat mitigated by the large light well and sky light in the center of the room held aloft by an unexpected, theatrical and quirky quartet of carved wood palm trees.
The service core and less-formal family quarters of the L-shaped mansion orbit around an expensively-equipped, Craftsman-y center island kitchen with built-in breakfast banquette and luscius custom cabinetry that may (or may not) be mahogany. An adjoining butler’s pantry is well-equipped with a full-sized fridge, sink and dishwasher but does not seem to connect directly to the dining area and the laundry room is large but, let’s be honest, inconveniently located all by itself in a window-free chamber in the basement Your Mama’s opinionated house gurl Svetlana (probably unfairly) described as a ” damn dungeon.”A smallish bedroom off the kitchen has direct access to a hall bathroom and is probably best suited to a household office space or domestic staff suite.
On one side the kitchen a 28-foot long, brick-floored and window-lined family room with brick fireplace opens out to the aforementioned deep and voluminous covered porch off the living/dining room. On the other side of the kitchen—accessible from a short corridor off the kitchen as well as a short corridor off the living/dining room—a mostly mauve, mahogany and cream colored, state-of-the media room has stepped seating for 10 or 12 and a pair of side-by-side arched French doors that connect to the front courtyard and, presumably, are hung with heavy-duty black-out curtains.
At 2,680 square feet, according to marketing materials, the master suite privately occupies the entire second floor and is far larger than Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter’s (updated and upgraded but almost ludicrously more) modest cottage in the Hollywood Hills. A vestibule landing at the top of the wide staircase opens through double doors directly in to the bedroom proper that offers up a fireplace; a pitched and painted wood ceiling that dips a bit low for our comfort; just two rather puny windows and one set of French doors that open to wee, canyon view private patio; and industrial-looking, oatmeal-colored wall-to-wall carpeting.
A wide and windowed, L-shaped corridor passes a two room walk-in closet before it makes a hard right and connects to a completely separate and windowed cubby for the terlit (and bidet). The industrial-looking, oatmeal-colored wall-to-wall carpeting in the bedroom and corridor inexplicably continues in to the over-sized main bathroom area outfitted with double sinks, a couple of built-in linen cabinets, jetted tub set catty-wompus in a green marble platform and a separate shower stall with window.
Since we know any number of the children are thinking it we’re just going to say it out loud: It is kinda gross and never, ever acceptable to put wall-to-wall carpeting in any part of an abluting or evacuating facility. That is, as some of y’all may already know, Rule No. 17 in Your Mama’s Big Book of Decoratin’ Dos and Don’ts. Darlings, think about it for a hot second. As the dee-voon strip of bathing-suit clad beef jerky that was Dixie Wetsworth used to say, “Moistchuh.”
Anyhoo, just off the carpeted bathing room there’s a second and much bigger, custom-fitted walk-in closet and dressing room with big windows, two vanities, lots of white cabinetry and a vanity-assuaging but insecurity ensuring expanse of mirrored wall.
The dressing room adjoins a properly stocked home fitness facility with wood floors, floor-to-ceiling storage cabinets, and huge sky light. French doors in the fitness room connect to a smaller room (improbably) labeled as a bedroom on the floor plan. The “bedroom,” which would most definitely make a much better yoga studio, Pilates nook or massage parlor, opens out to a small balcony and winding brick stairway that descends to the front courtyard. This exterior stair set up means, of course, that when Fiona the hard-bodied fitness expert comes to administer a brutalizing work out or Sven the muscled masseuse comes for a firm, apés work out rub down they need not traipse through the entire house.
A classic, kidney-shaped swimming pool and spa—located an unfortunate distance from the main house, clear across the bi-winged motor court—is surrounded by a wide brick terrace and outfitted with an outdoor fireplace and pergola-shaded barbecue station/outdoor kitchen. An arched deck extends out from the brick terrace in to the shrub- and tree-tops that run along the curving street frontage.
A little birdie told Your Mama the swimming pool adjacent pool house/guesthouse/recording studio was originally built by Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews who gave it the whole 1970s chalet-style Sound of Music look. The multi-level and multi-purpose pool house/guesthouse/recording studio structure measures, according to marketing materials, 2,480 square feet.
The brick red and half-timbered structure incorporates two rooms that could be dressed up as bedrooms; one full pooper (with convenient exterior and interior access) plus two more half crappers; three sitting rooms (shown on the floor plan as a living room with fireplace, tee-vee lounge and den/library); a lofted office area; a rustic but rock-n-roll dining room with brick floor, vaulted dark wood-beamed ceiling, brick fireplace and glizty chandelier; a recording suite complete with control/mixing room complete and leopard fabric-lined vocal booth and music studio; and one fully-equipped kitchen that does double duty as the foyer plus a eensy-weensy kitchenette/wet bar tucked into a closet in a corner the recording studio.
A third, barn-like accessory building of about 1,200 square feet and a fairytale-ish walk-in kiln—a considerable stroll from the main house, beyond the swimming pool, past the pool house/guesthouse/recording studio on the far side of the lighted tennis court (with telephone-equipped viewing pavilion)—is sure to delight the Pablo Potter, Kitty Crafter and/or Martha Stewart in all of us. Concrete floors run throughout the high ceilinged main space as well as the separate kitchen(ette), half bathroom and storage rooms large enough to make a horder glow with glee.
A sunny, Saltillo tile terrace in front of the art studio/storage structure gives way to a flat, curving strip of pock-marked lawn where the current owners have created a children’s playtime haven with sunken trampoline, elaborate play structure, tiny play house and basketball court complete with bleachers.
The discreet (and discrete) Hidden Valley enclave remains a popular and pricey locale where scads of rich and/or famous folks maintain both full- and part-time residences. Current big name home owners in the somewhat secluded (but far from remote) community include Cameron Diaz who bought her 3-acre compound in June 2010 for $9,447,500 from the soo-blime actress Candice Bergen, new mommy Jessica Simpson, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Penelope Cruz, Ziggy Marley, Guy Oseary, and Welcome Back Kotter actor turned professional gambler Gabe Kaplan.
As a Hidden Valley celebrity real estate aside: Blingster supermodel turned trophy wife turned clothing mogul and reality tee-vee star Kimora Lee Simmons owns a faux-Tudor-ish-style house in the ‘hood she bought back in August 2007 for $5,900,000. As far as we know, even after she spent boo-coo bucks on an extensive renovation that included replacing the tennis court with tennis court-sized lawn area, Miz Simmons hasn’t herself occupied the premises for a very long time.
Miz Simmons—the ex-wife of music and clothing tycoon Russell Simmons—unsuccessfully attempted to sell her unwanted Hidden Valley mini-estate in 2008 and 2009 with asking prices as high as $7,750,000 but eventually, we’re told by a little birdie in the position to know, took it off the market and made it available as a high end lease.
In the last days of May 2012 Miz Simmons got back on the real estate merry-go-round and re-heaved the 7 bedroom and 8 bathroom mansion back on the market with an asking price of $4,650,000. Within two weeks the property was put in escrow (with multiple offers, someone snitched) but even with a full-price sale, the lady’s looking at a $1,250,000 pounding to her designer pocketbook not counting improvements, carrying costs and real estate fees.
listing photos and floor plans: Prudential California Realty