Friday, February 14, 2014

Your Mama Hears...

...There are a couple of mega-deals about to go down in the hoity toity Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles. One involves a major mansion on Delfern Drive just north of Sunset Boulevard and is more widely tittered and yakked about by upper end property watchers since it's listed on the open market and shows up on digital listings as a pending sale. The other big deal currently in the works, so we've been told by two separate informants, is going down on the down low in a quasi off-market deal. More on that later but first let's discuss what we know about the first property, okay?

In the late 1960s, after they tired of their previous home in L. A.—a glassy and low-slung affair on Mulholland Drive they had designed by mid-century modernist Richard Neutra in the late 1950s*— Teledyne founder Henry Singleton and his wife, Caroline, commissioned high-class architect Wallace Neff to design a large and luxe Southern Colonial mansion on three super-prime parcels in the heart of the Holmby Hills.

Mister Singleton went to meet the great aeronautical engineer in the sky in 1999 and in early 2008 the palatial spread hit the open market with a sky-high asking price of $85 million. The house did not sell but, according to Your Mama's sources, the property was soon leased to freshly bankrupt tech entrepreneur Halsey Minor. We're not sure exactly how long Mister Minor remained in residence or if there were any subsequent tenants after he moved out but we do know that the estate did not show up for sale on the open market again until September 2013 when it popped up with a new and improved but still astronomical asking price of $75,000,000.

Current digital marketing materials show the grand, gated estate encompasses a total 7.65 acres and includes a dignified 15,520 square foot main residence with ten bedrooms and 12.5 bathrooms. Although 15,000 square feet is small in the age of 40,000 mega-mansions in the early 1970s when this house was completed it was considered almost preposterously enormous. Other interior features of note include: a Versailles-inspired oval-shaped double height gallery; a vast formal living with marble mantled fireplace; an oval formal dining room with fireplace, a paneled library/den also with fireplace; a family room with exposed wood beams on the ceiling and yet another fireplace; and a colossal eat-in kitchen that may or may not have a fireplace, we're not sure.

The walled, gated, and fortified grounds feature a parking lot-sized motor court, an attached four-car garage, a prairie-like patio on the back of the house that overlooks acres of rolling lawns and free-form pond, a greenhouse folly with domed room detail, a lighted and lattice-fenced tennis court, and—naturally—a swimming pool with adjacent open air lounge.

Online resources show the house went into escrow in early February with an as yet unidentified buyer for an as yet unknown amount. Our Fairy Godmother in the Holmby Hills told Your Mama that she heard (but can't confirm) the buyer is British, a rumor that falls in line with the name that for the last several years always pops up as a buyer (or potential buyer) when a house of this magnitude and expense goes up for sale or into escrow in Los Angeles: British-Croatian Formula One racing heiress Tamara Ecclestone. The preposterously pampered 29-year old gal can certainly afford it and has a well-known penchant for ludicrously expensive homes—several years ago she paid around £45 million for her hotel-sized house in London on Kensington Palace Gardens that she spent untold millions more to gut renovate, however, Your Mama isn't convinced the newly married and currently preggers Miz Ecclestone actually wants a trophy estate in Los Angeles where her younger and blonder sister, Petra, already owns The Manor, a 56,000-ish square foot behemoth she bought in mid-2011 for $85,000,000 from wealthy Hollywood widow Candy Spelling.

If any of the children would like to confidentially clue Your Mama to the rumors and details of the pending sale please feel free to give us a ringy-dingy or send a covert communique because, you know, inquiring minds want to know.

Your Mama also hears that the sale of the Singleton mansion isn't the only super-sized deal going down in Holmby Hills, which is arguably the finest—or at least the most exclusive—neighborhood in Los Angeles. Stay tuned....

*The Singleton family heirs sold the Neutra-designed house in 2004 for about six million bucks to hair care mogul Vidal Sassoon and his fourth wife, Ronnie Holbrook. Mister Sassoon went to meet the great cosmotologist in the sky in the spring of 2012 and in early days of 2013 the all-glass house was sold for $16,500,000 to French luxury goods tycoon Fran├žois Pinault. Anyways...

listing photos: Coldwell Banker

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