YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: Property records show celebrated cinematographer Janusz Kaminski sold his long-time compound in Beverly Hills in a covert, off-market deal for $15.5 million and several plugged in tattletales including Our Fairy Godmother in Bel Air and real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak snitched the new owner is none other than bottomless-pocketed software heiress turned three-time Oscar-nominated powerhouse film and television producer Megan Ellison. The Polish-born cinematographer — who frequently collaborates with Steven Spielberg, has been nominated for six Oscars and is the winner of two, for “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan” — acquired the property for $2.125 million in 1996, shortly after he married his now ex-wife Holly Hunter.
The 1.12-acre spread, discreetly and privately tucked down a long, gated and tree-shaded driveway on a quiet and coveted street behind the Beverly Hills Hotel, is anchored by a 4,965-square-foot, four-bedroom and four-bathroom 1920s Spanish hacienda-style residence renovated and upgraded, according to listing descriptions from earlier in the year when the property was available as a luxury lease at $50,000 and then $40,000 per month, with “modern influences.” A grandly proportioned but comfortably casual living room features blond hardwood floors, a fireplace, a reading nook with built-in cushioned banquette and at least two sets of steel-trimmed glass doors that extend almost all the way to the generously high and beamed ceiling. An expensively outfitted and sky-lit kitchen with U-shaped center island is open to a family room and informal dining space with vaulted ceiling and glass doors to an outdoor living room with kiva-style corner fireplace that overlooks a curved swimming pool and spa.
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The multi-structure compound additionally offers a guest cottage that dates to the 1920s and includes a living room, full kitchen, one bedroom and one bathroom. A third, contemporary and partially subterranean structure with a drought tolerant green roof, was built as an office/media lounge with smooth-paneled walls, a couple of banks of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, a full bathroom and a solid wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that slide open to a sunny patch of grass.
Over the last decade Miz Ellison, who just lost a bundle on another fixer-upper property in Beverly Hills that she bought in April 2016 for $13.5 million and sold per property records in November for $12.25 million, has become a property gossip column staple the last several years having bought and sold a handful of multi-million dollar homes in Los Angeles. Between April 2009 and February 2011 she paid a combined $32.6 million for three side-by-side properties on a prime street in the Bird Streets ‘hood above the Sunset Strip that she sold at an enviable profit over the late summer and fall of 2013 for a total of $46.75 million. Her current residential holdings in Los Angeles include but may not be limited to a multi-residence mountaintop compound in the Mount Olympus neighborhood above L.A.’s Laurel Canyon that she acquired in a handful of transactions between late 2013 and the spring of 2015 for a total outlay of about $35 million. So the real estate scuttlebutt we’ve repeatedly heard goes, the “True Grit” and “American Hustle” producer plans to radically renovate the property, hence her need for a temporary residence such as the one she just bought.
The prolific producer, who has at least seven high-profile film and television projects on her docket including an as-yet untitled David O. Russell series staring Oscar winners Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore that will air on Amazon, not surprisingly also maintains an impressive and expensive pied-a-terre in New York City. In May 2013 she shelled out $2.8 million for a quirky one-bedroom and one-bathroom apartment — it has a circular, dome-ceilinged living room 31-feet in diameter — in an iconic Beaux Arts building on the border between Soho and Little Italy and our research suggests that in March of this year (2016) she quietly paid $3.425 million for an adjacent two-bedroom and two-bathroom apartment that according to online marketing materials from the time of the sale features an 18-foot-high, sky-light topped ceiling in the living/dining room that stretches more than 35-feet from end to end.