SELLER: Michael Bay
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 7,919 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Given that construction appears to be close to completion on his titanic new ultra-modern hilltop villa on a private promontory in L.A.’s swank Bel Air area it comes as no surprise to this property gossip that action film director Michael Bay has—as we first heard in rapid succession last night from three separate celebrity real estate good samaritans—put his long time residence that’s also in Bel Air up for sale with a $13.5 million asking price.
Mister Bay, a veteran of and a polarizing figure in the entertainment industry, started out as a director of music videos and commercials. He won, in fact, a prestigious Clio Award in 1992 for a spot he did up for the venerable international disaster relief organization Red Cross. In the mid-1990s the chisel-chinned canine lover shifted away from advertising and found his Showbiz sweet spot in big budget blockbuster action flicks. His directorial debut—Bad Boys with Will Smith—hauled in nearly $150 million in global box office against about $20 million in production costs. Not bad for a rookie, right? Some of his other higher-cost and ever higher grossing movies include The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, The Island, and the ridiculously lucrative Transformers movie franchise.
His special effects enhanced movies are frequently panned by the critics and movie goers alike, not to mention quite decidedly not the sorts of films Your Mama and/or The Dr. Cooter would pay 11 or 14 dollars to see at a movie theater. But that doesn’t stop movie goers around the world from flocking to theaters like bugs to a busy bug zapper to watch Mister Bay’s grandiose movie-making handiwork. By some estimates, Mister Bay’s movies have raked in more than 4.5 billion dollars in worldwide box office receipts, more than half of which comes from the three Transformers movies.
Whether or not Mister Bay pines for the mostly elusive critical approval and/or some sort of public validation from his peers for his cinematic spectacles—and we really have no idea how he feels about anything at all—Your Mama likes to imagine he struts and laughs all the way to the bank on the back of his hefty handful of Golden Raspberry nominations.
Anyways, property records how Mister Bay acquired his long-time Bel Air digs, perched on a city view hillside of nearly one, gated acre in a desirable section of lower Bel Air much coveted by both high- and low-profile rich and/or famous types,* back in April of 1999 for $5,160,000. The two-story house was designed by the late, Santa Barbara-based architect Jack Warner** and currently has, as per digital marketing materials, a total of four bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms in 7,919 square feet of sparely done but none the less costly and finely finished interior space.
A long driveway lined with a low stone wall fashioned from rough cut Indiana limestone—or some other high-priced stone—snakes deep into the property along a sylvan hillside to a small (and not very attractive looking) motor court at the front of the house. Inside wood floors finished in an almost ebony dark chocolate make a grounding counter point to elegantly high ceilings and crisp and art flattering white walls.
At the center of the house, a roomy formal living room looks large enough to host a raucous cocktail party and opens through sliding glass doors on either side of a monumentally-manteled fireplace to a loggia with city views and a double-pyramid glass roof. In the formal dining room a rhythmic row of three frameless, single pane windows extend from the floor almost to the ceiling, two of which appear to slip into the wall and open to a terrace with elevated built-in fire pit.
The sleekly-done kitchen looks like it was fitted with some saturated taupe-tone and sleekly unadorned but probably preposterously pricey cabinetry from one of the fancier European kitchen outfitters and, through double doors off the living room, a family room has direct outdoor access, a wall-mounted flat-screen discreetly tucked into a corner, stone tile floors laid at a 45-degree angle to the rectangular room, and—deep pocketed hardcore boozers can breathe a sigh of relief—a professionally equipped, four-stool wet bar.
Listing photographs show an additional office/lounge with another monumentally-manteled but more portly fireplace strikingly similar in design to the one in the formal living room as well as a den/library with a third, also monumentally-manteled fireplace, this one an even chunkier, vaguely Escher-esque, and geometrically-angled poured concrete confection of minimalist modernity. And, as is customary of a movie director of Mister Bay’s success and attendant financial abilities, the house is fitted with a temperature controlled wine cellar and a state-of-the-art screening room.
Digital marketing materials indicate there are two guest/family bedrooms with en suite facilities plus a staff room—presumably and one hopes also with private en suite facility. The deluxe master suite is complete with sky lights, triple-wide gas fireplace surmounted—naturally—by a large flat screen television, and a adequately spacious but hardly humongous bathroom handsomely fitted with in modern-Zen style with a double sink vanity, an all-glass shower stall, and a separate soaking tub set into a slab stone shelf in front of a curving wall of frameless glass with a through-the-palm-tree-tops city view.
The backyard, due to the apostrophe-shaped parcel and its hillside topography, isn’t particularly large but does appear well organized with several defined but interconnected outdoor living spaces. The aforementioned glass-roofed dining loggia gives way to a tiny, flat patch of tree-shaded lawn and is flanked by open terraces, an elevated fire pit on one side and and a row of sun loungers on the other. A wide set of steps at the foot of the sun loungers descends seductively to the swimming pool and inset spa that cantilever over the hillside with views that sweep from the San Gabriel mountains in the (smoggy) distance over L.A.’s compact cluster of downtown skyscrapers to the glimmering towers that comprise Beverly Hill’s commerce- and business-oriented next door neighbor, Century City.
Does anyone else think that Berry Gordy could buy this house to add to his neighboring, multi-residence compound? Or maybe a high-end developer will snatch it up, tear the existing house down, and spec-build something more than twice the size? Is that just Your Mama who feels that way? Anways…
In late 2009 Mister Bay spent $10.9 million to acquire a nearly five acre private promontory in lower Bel Air. The property, with it’s spectacular if dated, Burton Schutt-designed and Billy Haines-decorated 1950’s atomic-modern compound had been owned for a lifetime by politically connected (and deceased) steel magnate Earle Jorgensen and his (also deceased,) well-born and philanthropy-focused wife Marion Jorgensen. Much to the chagrin of preservation-minded modern architecture enthusiasts, Mister Bay razed the sprawling 6,000-ish square foot single-level residence and its trio of matching outbuildings so that he could spend an honest to goodness small fortune to erect an aggressively modern 30,000 square foot residential monument to his Showbizness success and financial prowess.
Although he sold a 5,400 square foot modern tucked into the posh mountains of Montecito in May 2012 for $4.9 million, Your Mama’s research on the internets indicates that along with his new super modern mega-mansion in Bel Air and the much smaller and less ostentatious contemporary Bel Air mini-estate he just put up for sale, Mister Bay still owns the super-modern, 17,000+ square foot bay front micro-compound in Miami Beach he bought from Hulk Hogan in August 2007 for $17,000,000.
*Some of Mister Bay’s nearest neighbors include Jennifer Aniston, Robert Maguire III, Clint Eastwood, Berry Gordy, and, just up the hills, a decrepit hill top estate rumored to be owned and in development by modern manse developer Nile Niami.
**In addition to the Bel-Air Country Club clubhouse, a wing of the Santa Barbara Museum, and a bunch of luxury residences from Hawaii to Kuwait City the late Mister Warner and his still-running Santa Barbara-based firm are well known for their work on club houses at exclusive country clubs.
listing photos: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices