Thursday, February 27, 2014
James Wan Buys Nebil Zarif's House in The Birds
BUYER: James Wan
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 7,500 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Last night, whilst still in recovery from a fantabulously clamorous four-day weekend with long-time pals Miss Anne, Soozie Soo and the tirelessly trampy Fiona Trambeau, Your Mama received a covert communique from inestimable real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak who let the cat out of the bag about Malaysian-Australian horror movie wunderkind James Wan—now 36 years old—shelling out $9,750,000 to upgrade his living circumstances in the star-studded Bird Streets 'hood high above L.A.'s forever-chic—or, depending on your point of view, sheek—Sunset Strip.
Property records we peeped and perused show Mister Wan acquired the property, via trust, from a fella named Nebil "Bilo" Zarif. Mister Zarif is a Turkish-born businessman and winemaker who was once married to L.A.-based heiress, activist and philanthropist Nancy Davis, the fifth child and third daughter of Texas oil tycoon turned Tinseltown power player Marvin Davis. (Mister Davis once owned and lorded over 20th Century Fox as well as the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Aspen Skiing Company, the Pebble Beach Corporation, and the legendary Beverly Hills estate known as The Knoll, once owned by Kenny Rogers and now owned by tool and die mogul Eric Smidt). Anyways, Mister Zarif sired three children with Miz Davis, two of whom—Brandon and Jason—became tabloid catnip in the early and mid-Aught for the shenanigans they participated in with dimmed but not forgotten celebutantes and gossip glossy veterans like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. But we digress...
James Wan, born in Malaysia and raised in Melbourne, Australia, may not be a highly recognized name outside of Hollywood but within the insular confines of Tinseltown he's long been a shooting star in the high octane, blood curdling and highly lucrative horror/action flick genre. Ten or so year ago, when just a 20-something year old whippersnapper, Mister Wan and Australian screenwriter/producer Leigh Whannell co-created the globally successful and seemingly ceaseless silver screen psychological horror series Saw, currently in production on its eighth installment.
In addition to his impressive and clearly financially fruitful executive producer credits on about half the Saw films, Mister Wan has also directed an over-flowing handful of other feature length horror films (Dead Silence, Death Sentence, Insidious and Insidious; Chapter 2, The Conjuring). Last year he was tapped to direct the upcoming seventh installment of the also ceaseless and money minting Fast and Furious franchise. In short, he's a very busy—and, hence, wealthy—player in the crowded and competitive horror/action flick sandbox.
As it turns out, children, this isn't the first time Your Mama has (dissed and) discussed this particular property. Back in May 2007, before Mister Zarif gave the property its current modern-minded make over, we briefly discussed the property when it popped up for sale on the open market for an undisclosed amount. The house has been on and off the market ever since at a variety of prices. In October 2013—after Mister Zarif gave the entire property a high-end if fairly generically contemporary and not entirely cohesive overhaul—the property was re-listed on the open market with an indisputably optimistic $13,495,000 price tag that fell steadily and precipitously to $10,250,000 before Mister Wan came along and, at long last, took Mister Zarif's Bird Streets white elephant off his hands in mid-February (2014) for—as we mentioned earlier—$9,750,000.
There are, as per listing details, five bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms in the sprawling, approximately 7,500 square foot single-story main house. A self-contained detached guest house provides additional living space with a combination living room and kitchen space, a city-view bedroom, and a bathroom larger and far more luxuriously equipped than most master bathrooms.
An unexpectedly spacious, gallery-like foyer with multiple skylights and concrete floors leads directly into the main living space, an open-concept area with extra-wide plank wood floors and entire walls of glass that slide open to the backyard entertainment and recreation area. A fireplace with a carved stone (or possibly cast concrete) mantelpiece that looks like it came from the Loire Valley (or someplace like that) warms and anchors the far end of the living room.
At the other end of the long, angled space there's a much more modern fireplace surmounted by an inset flat screen television in the dining area that's open to the kitchen across a super-sized double-wide center island that includes snack counter seating for five or more. The kitchen itself is sleek with two-tone cabinetry—white and chocolate, high quality integrated appliances, and some sort of slab stone (or solid surface) counter tops.
The oddly-shaped master suite has a dramatically high vaulted ceiling with exposed wood beams, an awkwardly positioned fireplace, a flat-screen television hung from the ceiling above the bed for optimal—ahem—news and sitcom watching, and two long banks of sliding glass doors that open to the wrap-around back yard.
Other features of note include a walk-in wine cellar, a separate gym located in a detached pavilion, and a compact and fully-carpeted cave-like screening room with a fourth fireplace, suede covered walls, and a super-long sofa opposite a super-sized wall-mounted flat screen television.
The outdoor living and entertaining areas wrap around two long sides of the angled residence. The rooms along the long, angle side open to an expansive flagstone terrace with free-form swimming pool and slightly raised spa. At the kitchen end of the house a slightly elevated and pergola-shaded platform with built-in barbecue, four-stool snack and booze counter, and a pizza oven. The rooms that open to the ass end of the .63 acre lot hook into a mostly trellis-shaded deck that extends from the above-mentioned gym pavilion and out towards a glass railed perch that provides sweeping, multi-million dollar views across a wide swathe of Los Angeles.
Mister Wan doesn't have far to move his things since, our research and resources indicate, he currently lives literally just around the corner in a nearly 3,000 square foot house with three bedrooms and four bathrooms that was purchased in June 2007 for $3,210,000 via the same trust that bought Mister Zarif's house. As of this morning, Mister Wan's old house does not appear to Your Mama to be listed for sale on the open market.
listing photos: The Agency