Snapchat’s stock resurgence has been one of 2019’s greatest turnaround stories, delighting investors and sending the net worths of its co-founders to nearly $3 billion apiece. And at least one of those founders has celebrated this major comeback the proper way — by purchasing some pricey real estate, of course.
That founder is chief technology officer Bobby Murphy, the quieter and lesser-known of Snap Inc.’s head honchos. Publicly, he always plays second-fiddle to the brash, supermodel-marrying, gala-attending Evan Spiegel. Yet on the real estate front, he remains significantly more spendy. While Spiegel owns “only” two L.A. homes, Murphy has no fewer than six multi-million dollar residences in his portfolio. Over the past five years, the 30-year-old and his wife, Kelsey Bateman, have stealthily accumulated nearly $37 million worth of prime properties — all of them located in or near the seaside communities of Venice, Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades.
This latest acquisition is a mid-century “architectural gem” (per the listing) with showstopping ocean views. Originally built in 1958, the single-story casa is set on a posh Palisades ridgeline and was extensively renovated in 1991 by modernist architect Lawrence Bernstein, a onetime apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright himself. There are five bedrooms and five bathrooms in a sprawling 4,109-square-feet of interior space.
Pedigree aside, opinions on the home’s actual architectural merit vary widely. Some will no doubt call it disjointed and woefully dated, and perhaps those criticisms are valid. But this author happens to love it — this place exudes a peculiar “Miami Vice” coolness in a way that only late ’80s and early ’90s moderns can.
Though the house appears deceptively modest from the street, this is not your grandma’s L.A. cottage. Unless granny was a Powerball winner, of course. Records reveal that Murphy splurged to the tune of $6,000,000 for the keys, a sobering amount considering the property last sold way back in 1981 for a mere $420,000. Thirty-eight years ago, that was a very large sum of money.
Blondish hardwood and copious heapings of red brick accentuate the interiors. A great room features floor-to-ceiling windows and a boozehound-friendly wet bar with mirrored walls. The kitchen is aggressively dated in style but features all the requisite amenities; as a plus, it’s conveniently sited just off the master suite. There are four guest bedrooms — none of which are ensuite — and a large, fireplace-equipped formal dining room. Generous red brick terraces complete the offering and compliment the property’s most valuable feature: its dazzling views of the sea, Palos Verdes Peninsula and Catalina Island.
Though the .29-acre hillside lot isn’t particularly big, it does feature the requisite grassy lawns front and rear. The property does not include a pool, though the sublime views and location — it’s just a five-minute drive to the ocean — somewhat make up for that regrettable omission.
Astute real estate watchers may recall this is not Murphy’s first Palisades real estate foray. Back in March 2018, he splashed out $19,500,000 for the former Amalfi Rim home of Eddie Albert. That property features a nearly 5,000-square-foot home on nearly an acre of land, set on one of L.A.’s most prestigious (and star-studded) streets. Some of Murphy’s nearest neighbors include Sam Raimi, Kate Hudson, Molly Sims, Kevin Feige and Michael Keaton.
In addition to his two Palisades palaces, Murphy owns a smattering of other less impressive (but far from cheap) properties: a $2.1 million two-story house in Santa Monica, a $2.1 million loft-style contemporary just off Venice Beach, a $2.26 million bungalow in inland Venice and a tiny $5 million shack secreted just behind Venice’s uber-trendy Abbott Kinney shopping lane.