SELLER: Ronnie Sassoon
BUYER: François Pinault
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Some of you may have read it first somewhere else but Your Mama first learned from the kids at Curbed that multi-billionaire French luxury goods purveyor François Pinault just dropped $16,500,000 on the so-called Singleton House, a glassy, low-slung Richard Neurtra modernist affair in Bel Air commissioned in 1959 by L.A.-based industrialist Henry Singleton.
Monsieur Pinault, if the name doesn’t ring a bell, heads up PPR, the Paris-based multi-national conglomerate that wholly or partly owns a long and impressive list of luxury goods operations including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Boucheron, Brioni, Puma and Tretorn. Since the late 1990s Monsieur Pinault has held a majority interest in the illustrious Christie’s auction house. He’s the father of François-Henri Pinault, the headline making hubby of Mexican bombshell actress Salma Hayek and—far more scandalously—supermodel Linda Evangelista’s baby daddy.
Anyhoo, the Singleton House was bought in 2004 for about six million clams by hair care mogul Vidal Sasson and his wife Ronnie who gave the place a complete and much disputed redo and expansion that many architectural purists complain does not remain true enough to Neutra’s original design. According to an April 2011 article in Architectural Digest, when re-construction was completed the couple called up haughtily flamboyant Million Dollar Decorator Martyn Lawrence-Bullard to consult on the interiors, “particularly upholstered pieces and textiles.”
Whatever opinion one may hold as to the purity of the Sassoon’s redo of the 5.23 acre gated estate, it none-the-less remains a cocky and courageous example of modernist architectural chutzpah nestled gingerly on a tree-shaded knoll high above the Stone Canyon Reservoir with the exact sort of canyon and city views from which some L.A. residential real estate dreams are made.
According to the most recent listing, the single-story residence spans about 6,400 square feet with four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a living room with an imposing stone fireplace, an open-concept dining room/center island kitchen and a roomy media room with built-in seating lounge, sunken wet bar and a wall of floor-to-ceiling glass sliders.
The grounds of the estate are mostly left au natural except immediately around the house where the painstakingly tamed landscaping includes large stones allegedly placed into the broad flat lawn that surrounds the swimming pool by the Japanese-American artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi.
The Sassoons first put the Singleton House up for sale in 2007 with a eye popping $19,995,000 asking price. However, the property languished on and off the market for years at a variety of prices during which time they sold their Hal Leavitt-designed house in Beverly Hills that they’d previously had re-worked by architect Larry Totah. Last May (2012), the well-maintained 84-year old Mister Sassoon died at the Singleton House after a two-plus year battle with leukemia.
P.S. Given Monsieur Pinault’s well-known propensity for collecting blue chip contemporary artworks, Your Mama can’t help but wonder if the sleek and contemplating Anish Kapoor sculpture that the Sassoons set in a courtyard next to a huge and wonderfully gnarled olive tree was included in the purchase.
listing photos: Westside Estate Agency