SELLER: Ian Thorpe
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 2 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: An unexpected communique from a veteran Tinseltown chronicler directed Your Mama’s celebrity real estate attention to a recently listed hillside cottage in L.A.’s rock-n-roll history infused Laurel Canyon listed for $999,000 and billed in digital marketing materials as having been built in 1961 by an unnamed “successful actor” and later “inhabited” by John Lennon who—so the scuttlebutt goes—may have written some of “the world’s most beloved songs” whilst in residence. Marketing materials go on to proudly reveal that the tree house-like abode was—is, actuallly—most recently owned by “a celebrated Olympic athlete with multiple golds to his name.”
Well, children, Your Mama freely confesses that we don’t the least clue who the successful actor was—or is since maybe he’s still alive—and we really have no idea if Mister Lennon ever occupied the premises. We do know, as per public property records, the current owner is five-time Olympic gold medal-winning freestyle swimmer Ian Thorpe who picked up the property in May 2006 for $879,000.
In addition to his five Olympic gold medals, the six-foot-five Aussie also has three silver medals and one bronze. He also broke nearly two dozen world records and took home eleven gold, one silver, and one bronze World Championship medals. He was the shit in the swimming pool to be sure. Since officially (but not permanently) hanging up his Speedo in 2006, Mister Thorpe, among many other sponsorship relationships, developed a line of unisex jewelry, launched an eponymous underwear brand, wrote a cook book (Cook For Your Life, 2011) and penned a memoir (This Is Me, 2012).
Current listing information shows the Thorpedo’s house, set high on a steep, sylvan hillside in a shady ravine, has 2-3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms in an unspecified amount of square footage that the L.A. County Tax Man puts at a compact 960 square feet, a figure that may or may not be accurate to the true square footage of the house.
The kitchen is, clearly, woefully dated and a bit, uhm, bachelor with its twelve dollar range and the bathroom situation is unpleasant to the point requiring a nerve pill to settle our decorative nerves; Not only can Your Mama not imagine how a person can bathe or shower surrounded by flesh colored tile, it’s entirely beyond our comprehension that someone thought it a pursuable notion to convert a Victorian buffet in to a bathroom vanity. The half bathroom isn’t much better due to it’s silvery, faux-glam tropical pattern wall paper that’s a little like putting a disco ball in an ice fishing shanty.
Although the stained glass accents here and there are totally in keeping with the groovy 1960s and ’70s authenticity of the original residence, they’re simply too hippy-dippy for this property gossip’s window aesthetics. Ditto with the shoji screens that slide back and forth over the windows and sliding glass doors in the master bedroom. No thank you, ma’am.
Otherwise, believe it or not, we sort of appreciate the rustic simplicity of the place—the heavily distressed wood floors are of particular interest—and, despite the PETA-unfriendly furnishings, we get a not entirely unwelcome feeling of sexed up comfort from the louche masculinity of the living room day-core that includes a leather sling chair next to the fireplace, a patchwork leather rug, and slightly bulbous caramel colored leather sofa. A full wall of glass peers out on a covered veranda from which there appears to be a limited but charming canyon view.
Boozy types and/or those with vertigo might not care for the bridge and stairs access to the roof and view terraces but Your Mama sees great possibility here. First thing we’d do is replace the horrid lattice wall with something a little less pedestrian—like say, a patchwork fence of reclaimed wood pieces that apes the patchwork of the leather rug in the living room—and screen in that covered section and build in a humble plywood mattress platform to create sleeping porch because—truth be told—Your Mama much prefers to slumber in the open air than in an enclosed room.
Who knows where Mister Thorpe is headed next? Perhaps back to Sydney? Perhaps to greener, or at least less bohemian pastures? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?
listing photos: Brock Real Estate