On the much-publicized heels of last week’s premiere of a three-week test run of a self-titled daytime talk show, uninymic drag superstar and budding showbiz mogul RuPaul has put his glamorously dressed, circa 1960s home high in Bird Streets nabe above L.A.’s Sunset Strip up for sale at a number so close to $5 million it might as well just be $5 million. The legendary entertainer and veteran TV host, a four-time Emmy winner whose long-running “Drag Race” reality TV competition has propelled drag culture from the underground ballroom scene in New York City on to mainstream television screens around the globe, acquired the city-view property just about eight years ago for $2.5 million. Listed with Stephanie Nahai at Wish Sotheby’s International Realty and described in listing descriptions as a “developers dream,” the modestly sized if hardly inexpensive aerie measures in at not quite 2,400 square feet with three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and the exact sort of panoramic canyon and city views from which oodles upon caboodles of Los Angeles real estate dreams are woven.
A slam-on-your-brakes, vermillion-colored garage door punches up the otherwise unassuming residence that’s mostly obscured behind a forbidding security gate, a simple wrought iron fence and a row of not yet mature privet hedges. Double front doors, also painted vermillion, feature florid brass hardware and open to an entrance gallery where guests are greeted by bold, blood red and eggplant hued geometric pattern wallpaper and a pastel-toned portrait of Dolly Parton with a big ol’ grin and an even bigger blond wig. A custom-cut rug in an elegant and sophisticated if slightly old lady shade of mauve covers high-gloss ebonized wood floors in a light-filled and red-walled living room plenty spacious enough to comfortably accommodate two distinct seating areas. In front of an oversized fireplace surrounded by shimmering, jet-black three-dimensional tiles, a formal, antique settee is dressed down in zebra-print fabric and at the end of the room, set against floor-to-ceiling windows and glass sliders that frame a cinematic sweep over the city, a matching pair of deep-cushioned sofas are upholstered in bright orange with psychedelic, floral print bolsters.
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The dining room’s glitzy, brass and glass dining table easily accommodates eight against a backdrop of city lights and a portrait of Diana Ross with a fluffy white dog reigns supreme over the dramatically monochromatic kitchen that, besides a vibrant, 1960s orange glass chandelier over a center island, is almost entirely void of color with shiny black appliances and dark, steel grey cabinetry and countertops. A cluster of animal print decorative cushions anchors one end of a crimson sectional sofa that floats on funky but impossibly chic, wall-to-wall giraffe print carpeting in the den while the more sedately furnished master bedroom has a full wall of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a deluxe and well maintained if decidedly dated bathroom complete with a jetted tub, separate shower lined in ordinary beige travertine tiles and two sculptural sinks that scream 1996 or maybe 2002. Floor-to-ceiling glass sliders provide an oblique and glittery city lights view from the bed and lead to a small, dark-bottomed and stone accented swimming pool and spa ringed by a slender bi-level concrete terrace that cantilevers over a steep ravine.
RuPaul, whose husband, artist Georges Lebar, maintains a remote ranch on the outskirts of Douglas, Wyoming, has held on to a two-bedroom and two-bathroom condo in a nondescript building just below the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, Calif., that he picked up in late 2007 for not quite $600,000 and he has owned the same 1,200 square foot condo in a stately building along a cobblestone paved street in Manhattan’s West Village since 1995 when he smartly scooped it up for $350,000. Sales in the building over the last several years suggest the unit is now easily worth a couple to several million dollars.