Whether a sign of significant softening in the high-end marketplace or, perhaps, a reflection of a too-bullish seller getting serious about selling, a sumptuous, showbiz-pedigreed Beverly Hills, Calif., estate once owned by Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston is now listed at $44.5 million, $4.5 million less than its last ask of $49 million and a staggering $11 million below the pie-in-the-sky, $56 million price tag the property was saddled with when first came for sale about six months ago amid a deluge of publicity.
Designed by illustrious, high-society architect Wallace Neff and built in the 1930s for actors Fredric March and Florence Eldridge along a particularly prestigious street in Beverly Hills, the aristocratic spread was later owned by photographer and Vanderbilt heir Shirley Burden. Philanthropist Wallis Annenberg came to own the house but sold it in 2001 to entertainment attorney Ken Ziffren, who held on to the property for about five years before he sold it to Pitt and Aniston in 2001 for $12.5 million.
After an exacting and no-doubt ungodly costly three-year renovation, during which they installed a black and white checkerboard pattern heated marble floor in the kitchen, a state-of-the-art screening room and, in a bar/pub room, wood floors imported from a 200-year-old French château, Pitt and Aniston sold the house the year following their 2005 divorce for about $13.5 million to its current owner, hedge fund executive Jonathan Brooks. Among other alterations and improvements, Brooks added a lighted tennis court with an ultra-modern court-side pavilion topped by a loft-inspired guesthouse.
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Concealed behind an exceptionally tall and scrupulously clipped hedge, the multi-winged French Normandy Revival mansion measures in at around 12,000 square feet and contains four en suite bedrooms along with an ample variety of formal and informal entertaining spaces commensurate with home of this size and provenance. According to listings jointly held by Susan Smith of Hilton & Hyland and Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency, there are a total of nine full and four half bathrooms spread throughout the estate’s approximately 1.2-acre grounds.
Beyond an intimately scaled circular foyer there’s a ballroom-sized living room with glossy, dark-stained wood floors and a book-matched white marble fireplace. Floor-to-ceiling windows open to a broad entertaining terrace that overlooks the manicured grounds at the back of the house. The separate dining room has a fireplace with inky-black penny tile surround and the kitchen and adjoining breakfast room are lined with marble-topped black-lacquered cabinetry and premium-grade appliances including an imported range.
Designed to pamper the homeowner in spacious luxury, the master retreat encompasses a private study and a large bedroom with antique carved marble fireplace under a groin-vaulted ceiling. There’s a gleaming, all-white bathroom with an over-sized shower behind a curved wall of glass and a huge, fully paneled dressing room is fitted with bespoke built-ins under a high, arched ceiling.
Set well below the house at the bottom of two, elegantly curved stone staircases, there’s a stone-walled bar and lounge that opens through walls of windows to a cozy patio with outdoor fireplace and a boutique hotel-worthy swimming pool and spa surrounded by flagstone terracing and sculpted plantings. Behind a wall of mature trees, the lighted tennis court and guesthouse are accessible by separate, secured entrance.
Since married to and divorced from actor Justin Theroux, Aniston now resides in a stunning, custom renovated A. Quincy Jones designed mid-century mansion in Bel Air she scooped up in 2012 for almost $21 million — it was featured last year in all its casual but rarefied glory in Architectural Digest — and Pitt, since married to and divorced from Angelina Jolie, bunks down in a multi-residence compound in the celeb-favored foothills of L.A.’s Los Feliz area that he purchased in a handful of transactions between 1994 and 2009 for a total of almost $5 million.