SELLER: Estate of Bob and Dolores Hope
LOCATION: Toluca Lake, Calif.
PRICE: $23 million
SIZE: 14,876 square feet, 8 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: The new year brings the storied and already much publicized Bob and Dolores Hope Estate in L.A.’s affluent and fully celebrified Toluca Lake area a new real estate agent — Toluca Lake specialist Craig Strong of the John Aaroe Group — and a new, $23 million asking price.
The estate spans four parcels that encompass 5.16 walled, gated and landscaped acres and first popped up on the open market in September 2013 at $27.5 million before the asking price was slashed in mid-2014 to $21.8 million. (It was taken off the open market in the fall of 2014.)
The nearly 15,000-square-foot mansion, which current digital marketing materials describe as “English traditional style,” was custom-designed and built in 1939 for Mister and Missus Hope by architect Richard Finkelhor, who also designed homes for Tinseltown icons Zeppo Marx and Barbara Stanwyck, and renovated in the 1950s by Hollywood Regency king John Elgin Woolf, who also did up homes for a slew of stars such as Agnes Moorehead, Judy Garland, Paul Lynde, Ricardo Montalbán, Cary Grant and Ira Gershwin.
Rivet-accented double doors set in to a deep and inviting porch open to a roomy foyer with elegant curved staircase, and it’s straight ahead and down a couple of steps to an immense formal living room that overlooks the manicured grounds. The mansion’s main floor living and entertaining spaces also include formal and family dining rooms, a library, a bar and billiard room, a family room with monumental stone fireplace and — natch — a chef-friendly kitchen with commercial-grade fittings.
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Current listing details show a total eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms in the main house that includes staff quarters, four guest/family bedrooms and a sprawling, second-floor master suite complete with fireplace, private sitting room, a wee study nook with built-in bookshelves, glass sliders to a huge terrace that runs the full width of the house, dual bathrooms and loads of closet space.
In addition to the main house, the Hope Estate has a two bedroom and two bathroom pool house and a 4,000-square-foot production office/guesthouse that once housed Mister Hope’s on-site staff.
Mature trees ring the estate’s grounds, arguably more like a private park than a backyard. Extensive stone terracing along the rear of the residence gives way to rolling lawns with a one-hole three-par golf course, formal gardens and both an outdoor swimming pool as well as a second, glass-enclosed indoor pool for all those bone-chilling Southern California mornings.
Due to its easy-access proximity to a slew of studios, the Toluca Lake community has long attracted a bevy of famous folk from Amelia Earhart, W.C. Fields, Doris Day, Red Foxx and Tex Ritter to modern-day celebs like Swoosie Kurtz, Steve Carell, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Eric McCormack, Patricia Heaton and a flotilla of (former) Disney stars including Hilary and Haylie Duff, Zach Efron, Miley Cyrus and Ashley Tisdale.
At the time of Missus Hope’s 2011 death — Mister Hope passed in 2003 — she still owned three homes in Palm Springs. Two small and relatively nondescript homes in the historic Movie Colony ‘hood were sold in 2013 — one went for $725,000 and the other for $480,000 — while the couple’s massive, space ship-like mansion perched like a floppy torus in the swanky and gated Southridge enclave is currently listed at $24.999 milion after first being heaved and hoed on to the open market in early 2014 with a hilariously rose-tinted asking price of $34 million.
Listing photos: John Aaroe Group