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Ted Danson Nabs Rustic Canyon Retreat

BUYERS: Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen
LOCATION: Santa Monica, CA
PRICE: $3,470,000
SIZE: (aprox. 2,700 square feet), 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms plus a 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom guest house

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: There’s no evidence we know of they sold or even plan to sell their current west coast outpost in on the border between Brentwood and Santa Monica but, as we first heard from real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak and later confirmed with property records, Hollywood A-listers Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen quietly dropped almost $3.5 million—$3,470,000 to be exact—for a two-story Craftsman cottage nestled into in a scenically sylvan and semi-rustic canyon between Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades.*

Mister Danson, who—so the tabloid gossip goes—sports what is surely one of the finest, more discreet and most expensive hair systems in all of Hollywood, rocketed to fame and fortune in the 1980s on the legendary and still-in-syndication sitcom Cheers. Since 1993, when Cheers went off the air, Mister Danson has been continuously and lucratively employed in a series of sitcoms (Bored to Death, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Becker) with brief forays into dramatic films (Saving Private Ryan) and dramatic television (Damages). Currently he shakes his veteran money maker on the boob-toob mystery-drama supernova CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. An actor with real if sometimes underutilized chops, Mister Danson can legitimately brag about his two Emmys—both for Cheers—and dozen more nominations, nine of them for Cheers. He also has three Golden Globes on his book shelf plus 8 more nominations and, although always been a bridesmaid and never the bride at the People Choice Awards, he can none-the-less claim an impressive seven nominations.

Miz Steenburgen, Mister Danson’s third wife for nearly 20 years now, may have a lower public profile, perhaps, than her husband but she’s no less buried in industry awards and recognitions. She won an Oscar and a Golden Globe in 1981 for her role in the critically well regarded if largely under the radar dramedy Melvin and Howard* and in 2012 she shared a Screen Actors Guild Award with the cast for the much-lauded feature film The Help. She’s was nominated for two other Golden Globes (Goin’ South, Ragtime), twice more for SAG awards (About Sarah, Nixon), and she landed an Emmy nomination in 1988 for her lead role in the mini-series The Attic: The Hiding of Anne Frank.

The deal for the Danson-Steenburgen’s canyon residence appears to have gone down off-market because, not for some scouring, Your Mama did not turn up a recent, open-market listing for the property. A little hocus-pocus on the internets did turn up, however, a listing from 2011 when the house was listed for $3.15 million. (Use yer noggins now, children. That means the listing photos from 2011 may or my not accurately depict the house in its present condition.)

The quiet canyon—where one long-time resident with whom Your Mama is friendly swears on his law library there are more Priuses per capita than anywhere else in Los Angeles—is home to at least two drop dead delicious Ray Kappe-designed homes as well as a fair number residences owned by famous folk including Robert Downey, Jr. and Bradley Cooper.

Set behind gates and a high wall of shrubbery, the two-story shingled Craftsman was originally built in 1922 but has obviously been extensively updated and upgraded since then. As best as this experienced property gossip can parse from listing details and property records, the approximately 2,700 square foot main house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. A two-story, detached guest house has two more flexi-use rooms, the upper with an itty-bitty veranda and both with en-suite poopers.

At the time the property was listed in 2011, the front door opened—and may still open for all we know—directly into a long living room with honey-toned wood floors, a (partly) vaulted and sky lit ceiling with exposed trusses, a fireplace, and a full wall of open bookshelves and closed storage around a 30-pane window. We almost didn’t but eventually realized we would be remiss as a thoroughly snarky property gossip not to address that gawdawful, terrarium-like step-down seating bay that just off the living room like an all glass wart. If, as we all no it does, Rule #7 in Your Mama’s Big Book of Decoratin’ Does and Don’ts explicitly states that greenhouse windows over kitchen sinks are strictly verboten then y’all can imagine the linguistic vitriol we might have for an greenhouse window that is so big that several people can sit in in the damn thing at the same time? Pleeze. We are down with a cushioned nook in which to curl up and read or strum a gee-tar but there has to be a better solution than this glazed disaster. (Or is the horror just us?)

The wood floors switch—or, at least, switched in 2011—to well-worn Saltillo tiles with a semi-gloss finish in the adjoining combination kitchen and dining room. A full wall of bookshelves lend an intellectual cast to the dining area and a generous bank of ten-pane glass doors open to the red brick terraced backyard. Back in 2011 the modestly-sized and sky-kit u-shaped kitchen had ever-so-humble white raised panel cabinetry and boldly selected tomato red ceramic tile counter tops, a four-seat snack peninsula, and an honest-to-goodness commercial grade range. We are not going to go there about the greenhouse window over the sink but we will tell you in combination with the super-sized one in the living room it makes us need a nerve pill like a bird needs the sky to fly. Anyways…

Two family bedrooms on the main floor share a hall bathroom that, as far as we can surmise and not ideally, does double-duty as the guest bathroom. The master suite takes up the entire second floor and is complete with more honey-toned wood floors, a vaulted ceiling with rustic exposed wood ridge beam, a fireplace, cushioned bay window and a small private veranda. There’s also roomy slate-floored bathroom with garden tub and a fitted walk-in closet probably larger than most $2,500 per month studio apartments in lower Manhattan.

There are several foliage and fenced ringed red brick patios sprinkled throughout the property as well as a multi-level red brick terrace in the backyard that gives shape to a petite swimming pool and attached spa. As the planted (and planter dotted) terraces step up the hillside they give way to a rugged and naturally maintained hillside.

In addition to their Craftsman cottage in Rustic Canyon, Mister Danson and Miz Steenburgen’s property portfolio also includes a relatively modest (if plainly pricey) three bedroom and three bathroom residence on the border between Santa Monica and Brentwood that they picked up in October 2009 for $3.11 million. As a getaway they own a 9.49 acre spread in lovely-lovely Ojai, CA, that they snatched up in June 2005 for $4.5 million—the property was owned briefly in the late 1990s and early 2000s by Ellen Degeneres—and a couple of years ago they bought a wee brick cottage in Nashville.

Although we know nothing of such a thing we’d be a bit surprised if they didn’t maintain a modest pied-a-terre in New York City. On historic, gorgeous and semi-waspy Martha’s Vineyard the Danson-Steenburgens own a pair of parcels that combined encompass six acres with two substantial residences and several additional outbuildings of unknown utility. The first part of the compound appears to have been purchased in 1994 for $940,000 and the larger second parcel in May 2002 for $3.85 million but it’s probably best nobody repeats those figures like they’re the truth.

*Not that any body does—our should—give a rat’s crap but iffin this property gossip could had the cheddar to choose any street in Los Angeles on which to reside it would be the very one on which the Danson-Steenburgen’s new digs happen to sit. 

 
(2011) listing photos: Deasy Penner

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