BUYER: Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 4,926 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Four-time Emmy nominated Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson—always the Emmy bridesmaid never the bride—married his slender, swarthy, and scruffy-faced man-friend, Justin Mikita, in July (2013) in a downtown New York City ceremony officiated by legendary playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner and attended to by a small flotilla of Showbiz types.
Like so many other rich and/or famous newly-wedded heterosexuals, the happy couple soon sought a new nest. We’d heard word through the celebrity real estate gossip grapevine they peeped properties deep in the spiritual heart of the San Fernando Valle but it wasn’t until Yolanda Yakketyyak and Lucy Spillerguts both snitched to Your Mama that Misters Ferguson and Mikita—or is it the Misters Ferguson-Mikita now?—coughed up $4,550,000 for an updated and well preserved Spanish Colonial Revival residence with a celebrity pedigree in a star-studded pocket of L.A.’s Los Feliz neighborhood.
Rock star power-pair Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale bought the house in 1998 for $1,375,000 and sold it in April 2007 for $4,795,000 to two-time Emmy nominated television writer/producer Mark Brazill (3rd Rock From the Sun, That 70s Show). They moved, in case y’all don’t know to to a gated community in the Beverly Hills Post Office where they spent $14 million on a large modern mansion previously owned by J.Lo.
Mister Brazill, bless his heart, caught an immediate and raging case of The Celebrity Real Estate Fickle and, just a month after he bought it, flipped the property back on the market with an asking price of $4.885 million. Sadly for Mister Brazill, it took a number of price chops before, finally, in October 2009, he managed to unload the property for $3,995,000, a heart-stopping $800,000 loss not counting carrying costs, improvements, upkeep and real estate fees.
The buyers, according to property records were artist Bill Nelson and Lara Merriken, the latter the entrepreneurial creator of the Lärabar snack bar. Mister Nelson and Miz Merriken, according to digital marketing materials, made a long list of crucial restorations and renovations (i.e. new tile roof with copper gutters and custom swimming pool tiles) before they listed the the property in March (2103) with an asking price of $5,195,000.
A long, gated driveway sweeps up and across the steep slope in front of the house that listing details show was originally built in the late 1920s and is currently configured with four bedrooms and four (or maybe 4.5) bathrooms in 4,926 square feet.
It takes a full flight of exteriors stairs to get from the motor court and front-facing three car garage to an unexpectedly large, Mexican paver-tiled terrace with a perfectly lovely sky view over the thick and mature tree tops that provide the gated and fortified mini-estate with visual privacy from the street and surrounding homes. An antique, carved wood door leads into a grand, rotunda-type foyer that is sure to impress guests and the hunky FedEx delivery man both with paver-tile floors inset with shiny black tiles; a vintage light fixture that is either original to the house or looks like it could be; a dramatic, Norma Desmond-worthy curved staircase with swirly wrought iron banister; and a hand-painted, exposed wood ceiling.
We don’t care so much for the parquet flooring in the cavernous formal living room—it seem out of character for this room—but we are otherwise down down down with the the rest of the room that features a voluminous, 25-foot exposed wood ceiling; a barely-adorned carved stone (or possibly but hopefully not poured concrete) fireplace; and French doors with terraces access and a super-sized arched window with side garden view. Tucked into a tight cranny between the curve of the staircase in the foyer and the living room there’s a downright clever and fully-wood paneled office nook or writing room or whatever.
There’s a tall, barrel-vaulted ceiling and snowflake-patten tile floor in the library and in the spacious formal dining room there a paneled coffered ceiling finished with pretty-nearly the exact same if less chatoyant rich and reddish brown tone as the wood floors. The children will note the rich and reddish brown wood floor in the dining room is the fourth—and not the last—floor treatment on the main living level but, thankfully, the wood floors in the dining room extend into the sunny breakfast room as well as into the kitchen itself, a high-end country-style affair with industrial-style stainless steel appliances, marble counter tops and a pair of huge and chunky woodblock center islands set end to end for maximum snack and prep space.
A fifth floor material/pattern presents itself as oatmeal-colored wall-to-wall carpeting in the partly-paneled family room that does double duty as a screening room with a projection system and large screen that drops out of the ceiling at the touch of a button or a flip of the switch or whatever mechanism it is.
Three family bedrooms on the second floor share a single hall bathroom while the reasonably roomy master suite has space for a sitting area in the bedroom plus a small private balcony, dual closets, and a renovated master bathroom with lots of arches and a spine straightening groin vaulted ceiling.
The .55 acre, street-to-street lot has numerous patios, terraces, balconies, and courtyards as well as an outdoor fireplace, a terraced swimming pool and spa with custom tile work, a raised vegetable garden, a yoga pavilion—it’s L.A., after all, and a decked perch at the top of the property with long views over the trees towards the Pacific in the far off distance.
Some of Mister Ferguson and Mister Mikita’s new, high-profile neighbors include comedic actress Kirstie Alley, Weeds and Orange Is The New Black creator/writer Jenji Kohan, and Red Hot Chili Pepper Michael “Flea” Balzary. Until recently Twilight heartthrob Rob Pattinson lived on the same street but he’s since decamped for rented digs in the same Beverly Hills Post Office enclave where Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale live and has his lavishly landscaped house on the open market for $6,750,000.
Eagle-eyed celebrity real estate watchers may recall that it was only just a bit more than three years ago that ginger-haired and usually bearded Mister Ferguson shelled out $759,000 for a compact two bedroom and one bathroom Spanish bungalow in the Silver Lake area. The fate of the bungalow is as yet unknown…at least to Your Mama. Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Bueller?
listing photos: PostRain Productions for Sotheby’s International Realty