Impeccably connected real estate professional Lou Slipps sent word more than two months ago that the Holmby Hills estate of recently deceased socialite and philanthropist Betsy Bloomingdale was being discreetly shopped around with an asking price of $55 million. We’ve since heard from trusted confidants Peter Propertyseller and Our Fairy Godmother in Bel-Air that the Platinum Triangle gossip grapevine is awash in rumors that fashion-world icon and occasional filmmaker Tom Ford (“Nocturnal Animals”) is fixing to shell out somewhere north of $40 million for the sumptuous spread of more than three acres.
The gated estate, where Bloomingdale and her late husband, department store heir and financier Alfred Bloomingdale, for decades wined and dined a slew of Hollywood glitterati, business titans, and European royalty, is anchored by a late-1920s mansion transformed for the couple in the late 1950s by celebrated decorator/designer Billy Haines from a stately Spanish colonial to an elegantly glamorous Hollywood Regency-style affair. Tax records, which may or may not be accurate, indicate there are 9 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms in not quite 10,000-square-feet of space that was described to this property gossip by someone in a position to know as “dripping with class and old money.”
Numerous and ample formal and informal entertaining spaces, which Bloomingdale famously filled with zinnias and dahlias clipped from the estate’s parterre, are complemented by an intimate, red-walled library and a sprawling master suite replete with a dozen closets. An outdoor living room and al fresco dining terrace at the back of the house overlooks a broad carpet of lawn that stretches out to a resort-scaled swimming pool backed by a low-slung pool house. There’s also a parking-lot-sized motor court with a central fountain at the front, a secondary rear motor court for garage access, and a tennis court tucked out of view in a sylvan corner of the estate.
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The Bloomingdale estate would seem to be something of a second choice for Ford — always painstakingly scruffy-chinned with a photogenically smoldering gaze — and his husband, magazine editor and writer Richard Buckley, who earlier this year were widely rumored and reported to have engaged in an ultimately unsuccessful negotiation to pay $53 million for the former Cubby Broccoli estate in Beverly Hills, now owned by developer and boutique hotelier Brad Korzen and maximalist decorator Kelly Wearstler.
The Buckley-Fords are certainly no strangers to high-style luxury, and unsurprisingly maintain a sophisticated portfolio of high-maintenance private residences that includes the so-called Brown-Sidney House — a restored and updated Richard Neutra-designed home and guest house in a plummy pocket of Bel-Air that they acquired in late 1997 for an unknown amount. They additionally keep a 9,500-square-foot mansion on a hilltop in Santa Fe, N.M., and a 20,000-plus-acre ranch and architectural compound in the desert boonies near Galisteo, N.M., which came up for sale earlier this year with a knee-knocking $75 million price tag. The huge ranch’s main residence is an extraordinarily long, land-hugging, ultra-minimalist, concrete-and-glass pavilion that appears to float on a shallow, lake-sized reflecting pool. The compound also provides a state of the art horse barn with eight stalls, two guesthouses set privately away from the main residence designed and built by Marmol Radziner, plus four separate staff buildings and a fenced tennis court.
aerial photo: Google