A freshly finished Italianate mini-compound set behind motorized gates and high hedges on a prime street in the famously rarefied lower Bel Air area of Los Angeles popped up on the open market in June 2012 with a fat but hardly unheard of $29,000,000 price tag. The main villa and its detached guest/pool house—declared an “architectural triumph” in digital marketing materials—were conceived and executed by esteemed if somewhat under-the-radar architect Tim Morrison who—according to this—shares office space with and often works in tandem with also-esteemed West Hollywood-based architect Thomas Proctor.*
The steeply sloped, very vaguely boomerang-shaped and thus somewhat challenging street-to-street parcel encompasses just .7 acres and, depending on where online you look, the mini-compound’s overall total square footage is 19,485 or 18,563 spread between a substantial main villa and a three-story detached guest/pool house. Either size it’s a whole lotta luxurious interior space wedged onto a tight and lot that also features a couple of loggias, a wee patch of grass or two, and several sizable terraces hemmed by sturdy sturdy sturdy stone balustrades. A decidedly contemporary infinity edged swimming pool was engineered into the hillside over by the guest/pool house and and eight-plus car subterranean garage is decked out with a mosaic tiled car wash area, a deluxe feature we know Hector Q., mobile car washer to L.A.’s rich and famous, can appreciate.
Online listings Your Mama perused indicate there are a total of nine bedrooms and 14 bathrooms on the property. The main villa, a three story, elevator-equipped edifice that proudly opens to canyon and city views, contains three principal guest/family bedrooms on the upper floor plus an exceptionally spacious 2,200 square foot master suite. (F.Y.I. 2,200 square feet is just shy of the average size of an American home, children.) In addition to a separate sitting room and bedroom, the master suite has dual, custom-fitted dressing rooms and a pair of marble-slathered bathrooms, one leaning toward dapper (for him) the other bending more towards elegantly feminine (for her). Three more secondary guest/family bedrooms share the lower, semi-subterranean level with staff quarters, a gym, and a media room. There’s an additional bedroom and bathroom in the detached guest/pool house in addition to a poolside living room with fireplace.
The impress-the-guests-style foyer in the main villa has limestone floors, double-height coved ceilings, and a heavy duty staircase that wraps around the room with some the chunkiest carved stone balustrades y’all have ever seen in your damn life. We don’t care for the oval islands in the all-white and marble-countered kitchen because they just seem so forced and unnecessary and, although it’s purdy to look at from certain angles, we feel uncomfortable with how the negative edge pool and the stone balustrades the flank it seem to want to scratch each other’s eyes out. Also, unless it’s the garage, Your Mama is baffled to the point of flabbergast by the vast, stone tile floored, and depressingly low-ceilinged lower level that looks like it could be a ballroom for hire at a Best Western in Minot, ND, but, other wise, in the hands of a talented and/or nice-gay or lady decorator, we think the house and grounds could be pretty spectacular if not exactly in line with our own personal taste. Anyhoodles, poodles…
Property records show the property in question was owned until the late 1990s by philanthropic real estate developer George C. Page who gifted the property to Pepperdine University, a prestigious (and pricey) private school in Malibu, that quickly sold it in July 1999 for $1,160,000 to a fella who quit-claimed it in 2002 to a corporate entity easily tied on the internets to the aforementioned architect Timothy Morrison. Mister Morrison borrowed a whole bunch of money and built the existing, Italian Riviera-ready mini-compound that was sold, according to property records and other online resources, in late October (2013) for $23.5 million. The buyer, according to property records, was an anonymous corporate concern that shields the identity of the owner so we can’t say for sure but good ol’ Yolanda Yakketyyak, a trusted and well-coifed real estate yenta who runs in high and even higher social circles, swore to Your Mama the buyer was Nigerian energy and aviation tycoon Kola Aluko.
Don’t worry, children, if you’d not heard of Mister Aluko. He was, after all, just a year ago named to Forbes Magazine’s list of Ten Nigerian Multi-Millionaires You’ve Never Heard Of. He has, however and to be sure, developed a slightly higher, playboy-ish profile since he’s been poppin’ up real regular in the property gossip columns for the last year or so and been palling around with Entertainment Industry big shots like Leo DiCaprio, Jay-Z and P. Diddy. So the stories go, the latter two hosted Mister Aluko’s star-studded birthday party in Beverly Hills last year. Also raising his pampered, jet-setter profile in the international gossip columns is recent (alleged) association with the drop dead dee-vine if occasionally volatile supermodel and mega-rich man serial dater Naomi Campbell.**
Mister Aluko may not (yet) be a hardcore real estate baller but, according to Your Mama’s admittedly unscientific research and probably not comprehensive findings, the lavish living (and some say shady) Nigerian businessman hardly needs another high-maintenance mansion in Los Angeles. In July (2013) Mister Aluko shelled out $8.62 for a four bedroom duplex condo in a fine and full service if not exactly A-Grade pre-war building on Fifth Avenue in New York City and last year he allegedly spent just over $40 million to buy two top-of-the-line properties: one a gated, late 1990s French Country-style pile on a swank cul-de-sac just above Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills and the other a newly erected and aggressively contemporary situated just a few doors down from the Italianate mini-compound Yolanda swears he just bought. We can’t vouch for it—making it just rumor and gossip, of course, but Yolanda also told Your Mama Mister Mister Aluko plans to use his new mini-compound as a guest house for his international business associates.
Clearly, children, Mister Aluko needs another twenty-some million dollar estate in Los Angeles like he needs another $50,000,000 boat like the one he bought a couple months ago and either loaned or leased in September to hip hop/pop power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce. But, if Your Mama has said it once we’ve said it 47,000 times before: Who, pray tell are we to make heads nor tales of the profligate real estate ways of the ever wealthier, increasingly itchy footed, and astronomically spendy super rich?
*Misters Morrison and Proctor are the folks who did up the Beverly Hills home now owned by Posh Spice and David Beckham as well as the guys who did the fairly recent re-do of a pedigreed—and gorgeous—Spanish Colonial estate in Beverly Hills that was formerly owned by actor James Colburn and later the Sultan of Brunei. The Bev Hills estate changed hands a few weeks ago when big business executive Kent Kresa, former chairman of both General Motors and Northrop Grumman, sold it for $27.5 million to—Your Mama heard word through the Platinum Triangle real estate gossip grapevine—a prominent Saudi Arabian multi-billionaire industrialist. Anyways…
**In addition to Mister Aluko, Miz Campbell has over the years been squired by an international crop of multi-millionaires, billionaires, and near billionaire who include: Italian Flavio Briatore; American Sean Puffy Diddy Daddy Combs; Brazilian Marco Elias; and, most recently, hunky Russian real estate baller Vladimir Doronin.
listing photos: Rodeo Realty