Friday, November 30, 2012

End of Week Wrap Up

Halle Berry puts a $15,000,000 price tag on her walled and gated Los Angeles residence. It was here, the the driveway where Miz Berry's ex-husband and current beau threw it down macho man style the other day.


1980s New Wave British rocker chick Siobahn Fahey—co-founding member of both Bananarama and Shakespears Sister and the former wife of Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart—dropped nearly two million smackers on a house in the Hollywood Hills so she can spend more time with her two L.A. based sons.


Former fashion model turned reality t.v. denizen Kelly Bensimon—formerly of The Real Housewives of New York City—finally, after years of unsuccessful efforts, sold her five bedroom cedar shingled house in the East Hampton (NY) for $5,760,000, a lot of money by any standard by a far cry from the twelve million she (reportedly) wanted last summer and the $10,900,000 she (allegedly) wanted in spring 2009.


Earlier this week some delish scuttlebutt made its way down the celebrity real estate gossip grapevine that, despite recently spending six and some million on a Spanish Colonial mini-mansion in Beverly Hills, Emmy-winning actor Kelsey Grammer wants to move his new family into a swank Holmby Hills mansion he previously shared with his former family. Only thing is, ex-wife Camille Grammer, formerly of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, co-owns the home and she's not so keen on the idea, especially since it's on the market she thinks it'll be harder to sell with Kelsey living there.

But that's not even the good part. Newer reports cite court documents that reveal Mister Grammer wants to move into the Holmby Hills house because his cash flow's a bit pinched since his most recent sitcom, Boss, failed to find any Showbiz traction.

Turns out the carrying costs for the Holmby Hills estate come to a whopping $48,130 per month, half of which gets covered by ex-Missus Grammer who—one imagines—isn't so keen on coughing up 25 grand a month to house Mister Grammer, New Missus Grammer and their infant child.


Elle Decor takes a glossy look-see into the Los Angeles (CA) home of much published, world renown and unapologetically pretentious nice-gay decorator Martyn Lawrence Bullard and, Lowerhd have mercy children, it's just as grand, graphic, glammy, multi-layered, kaleidoscopically colorful, expensive looking and internationally oriented as anyone who watches the flamboyant and whimsically dapper Mister Bullard on Million Dollar Decorator might well expect.


Bazillionaire tech tycoon and famously voracious real estate buyer Larry Ellison picks up his tenth house on Carbon Beach, the hoitiest of the toitiest stretch of sand in Malibu. No word on how much he paid yet—transaction records have yet to surface on the interweb—but what is known is that he bought the house from super producer Jerry Bruckheimer and that he already owns the homes on either side of his latest acquisition.


The contemporary home of the late, conservative and sometimes controversial commentator and political pundit Andrew Breitbart—in the affluent Westwood area of Los Angeles, CA—popped up on the market with a $1,995,000 price tag.


Tinseltown icon Jack Nicholson put a $595,000 asking price on a now vacant, .4(ish) acre residential parcel high in the Hollywood Hills. Mister Nicholson bought the property in 1975 for just $49,000 and in September 2011 the existing residence—which he leased out—was irretrievably damaged by fire.

Billie Joe Armstrong Lists Newport Beach Cottage

SELLER: Billie Joe Armstrong
LOCATION: Newport Beach, CA
PRICE: $1,895,000
SIZE: unknown square footage, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: On the heels of Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong's profanity-laced tirade on stage in September at the iHeartRadio music festival in Las Vegas—an unwise jeremiad that led to him entering a rehab treatment facility for unspecified substance abuse—he and his missus Adrienne have put their itty-bitty beach cottage in Newport Beach, CA on the market with an asking price of $1,895,000.

Property records show the sassy pop-punker and his eco-boutique owning missus picked up the petite cottage located just a couple short blocks from the beach in the densely packed Peninsula Point area of Newport Beach in May 2006 for $1,699,000 and listing information indicates the house was subsequently re-built from the studs up—no doubt at considerable expense—in 2007.

Listing information does not indicate the square footage but The Orange County Tax Man shows the fully renovated and upgraded 1946 shingled cottage measures just 924 square feet. Based on listing photographs it would seem to Your Mama that, although obviously compact, the cottage is considerably larger.

A short white picket fence defines the decidedly diminutive front yard that gives way to a deliciously deep and charming front porch. A glass-paned Dutch door—we do so adore a Dutch door in the right circumstance—opens directly into the relatively roomy living room finished and furnished with with wood floors that may or may not be bamboo, white-painted paneled walls, bamboo blinds, a too-tropical rattan ceiling fan and lots of porch-style wicker and rattan sofas and chairs. Built in shelves and a built-in niche flank the fireplace with hearty red brick surround and french doors at the back of the room open to an narrow, brick-paved and bamboo-shaded side/back yard patio where listing information notes there's an outdoor shower for rinsing off the sand and salt from beach excursions.

The living room opens to the spacious and cook-friendly eat-in kitchen equipped with white Shaker-style cabinetry, some sort of slab stone counter tops, lots of four-pane windows, top grade commercial-style appliances and a white porcelain farmhouse style stink.

There are a total of three adequate but hardly huge bedrooms, one downstairs with private bathroom and two more upstairs.

Mister and Missus Armstrong have long maintained a home base in northern California's Bay Area. In November 2009 they sold a 6,122 square foot French Normandy-style abode in a good part of Oakland for $4,800,000 and moved to a walled, gated and privately situated 7,178 square foot house with 6 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms in the leafy and affluent Piedmont community—about 15 miles east of the restaurant lined streets of San Fran's Mission District—that they picked up in November 2005 for $3,200,000 and fully re-built.

listing photos: HOM Sotheby's International Realty

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Katherine Heigl Wants a New House

SELLER: Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelley
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 3,690 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Usually when a listing surfaces on the open market that announces that it's owned by an unnamed celebrity we usually find out the celebrity sits pretty far down Tinseltown's totem pole of fame. That, howevuh, ain't the case with a recently renovated 1920s center hall Colonial style residence in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles that popped up on the open market yesterday with an asking price of $2,659,000 and is owned by Emmy-winning hospital drama and rom-com actress Katherine Heigl (Grey's Anatomy) and her country music singing hubby Josh Kelley.

Property records and reports from the time of their purchase reveal the Miz Heigl and Mister Kelley—who recently adopted their second daughter—picked up the walled and gated residence for $2,550,000 in September 2007.

Your Mama happens to know the couple did a major overhaul of the property and, at it's current price—just $109,000 more than they paid—they're looking at a net loss of at least a couple hundred thousand when the renovation expenses, carrying costs and real estate fees are factored in. C'est la vie in the world of house-hopping celebrities who don't seem to blink or bat an fake eyelash at tossing a quarter million clams—or more—down the real estate drain every time they get sick of their house.

Anyhoodles poodles, current listing information, besides calling it "reminiscent of Architectural Digest" and "Celeb-owned," reveals the four bedroom and 3.5 bath traditional has 3,690 square feet with high ceilings, dark wood floors throughout and heavy duty crown moldings and a lot of vintage light fixtures.

The center stair hall—where the stairs are fitted with an awful but probably necessary baby fence—opens on the left through French doors to a glammed up formal living room where there's a fireplace, a lavender velvet sofa, an antique-looking library in the center of the room filled with objet and other tchotchke and two sets of French doors that provide a view of the lattice-lined driveway and the garbage bins.

The back of the central entry hall connects to the less formal and more private open-plan family area at the rear of the residence that includes a spacious center island kitchen that mixes a little bit of modern with a little bit of traditional. There are white Shaker style cabinetry and white subway tile back splashes, gray slab granite—or possibly concrete—counter tops, the usual collection of high grade stainless steel appliances and a stainless steel farmhouse-style sink, lots of multi-paned windows and a Sputnik-style chandelier hung over the center island work space and snack counter.

Thick columns hold aloft what seems to be an architecturally unnecessary archway that divides the kitchen from the breakfast room area. More columns and another seemingly unnecessary archway divides the breakfast room from the family room where there's a white leather sectional sofa that makes Your Mama feel squeamish in our belly, lots of built-in faux-distressed cabinetry and side-lit French doors to connect to a slender grillin' and chillin' deck that runs along the back of the house and over looks the fully landscaped backyard.

The second floor master bedroom has a fireplace, a Baroque, blood red tufted headboard straight out of Auntie Mame's manse, a walk-in closet and a sun-splashed corner bathroom with tumbled stone floors, marble topped vanity with double sinks, white tile accents, a separate soaking tub and an only partially glass-enclosed shower stall that we sorta think might have benefited from being fully enclosed.

A narrow, gated driveway runs up along one side of the house to a tree-shaded flagstone dining terrace with stacked stone outdoor fireplace. A detached two car garage at the very back of the property appears to have been converted to some sort of living space or at least it looks like it's not set up for parking cars anymore. A tall fence and lush plantings separate the driveway/dining terrace from the main part of the high-hedged backyard where there's a wee patch of grass, a sizable spa and smallish swimming pool.

Miz Heigl also owns a second house in the Los Feliz area that was purchased in September 2007 for $2,000,000 and the four bedroom and four bathroom abode is occupied—so we've been told but can not confirm—by Miz Heigl's ever-present mother. The Heigl-Kelleys also maintain a rural and semi-remote spread in a swank gated enclave just outside of Park City, UT that they appear to have purchased sometime in 2011.

Last year, in October 2011, after a long and bumby ride on the bucking bronco of real estate Miz Heigl finally unloaded a 3 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom residence—also in Los Feliz—for $965,000. That's all well and good except that property records show she paid $1,500,000 for the place in May 2006. That's a staggering, $535,000 loss, according to Your Mama's bejeweled abacus, not counting improvements, carrying costs and real estate fees.

See, we told you that some well-compensated celebs—and others with significant cash flow—are so emotionally invested in getting rid of a house they own they are, on a whim or otherwise, willing and able to take a hard hit to their deep pockets. Must be nice, right?

listing photos: Keller Williams Realty / Los Feliz

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Travel Day

Today is a travel day for Your Mama so rather than leave the children totally high and dry we thought we'd post a few of our favorite videos from the YouTube:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pharrell Puts Miami Penthouse On Market

SELLER: Pharrell
PRICE: $16,800,000
SIZE: 9,080 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A little canary down in South Beach flew by the other day and let Your Mama know that uni-named Grammy-winning songwriter/producer/rapper, art collector, entrepreneur and sartorial daredevil Pharrell has hoisted his titanic tri-level penthouse condo in Miami, FL on the market with a sky-high asking price of $16,800,000.

Property records show Mister Pharrell picked up the penthouse in March 2007 for $12,525,000 from a well-known property developer and it wasn't long before he was involved in an ugly legal imbroglio over numerous water leaks that came, according to at least one online report, from "at least six sources in the home, such as the penthouse pool, plant watering system, and Jacuzzi."

Current listing information shows the sprawling, 40th floor penthouse measures a suburban mansion-sized 9,080 square feet with five bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms and knee-knocking 360-degree city, bay, ocean and causeway views.

In December 2010 Mister Pharrell had the art-filled aerie photographed for The Selby—if you don't know The Selby, then you should—and in July 2011 he had dextrous design writer and international style maven Mayer Rus all up in there to do a piece for W Magazine. Based on the lush photographs from both of those shoots it seems that Mister Pharrell may (or may not) have moved out much of his personal belongings, in particular his Ms. Pac Man and Galaga video game consoles, his colossal collection of sneakers and his impressive contemporary art collection that includes significant works by name-brand artists such as Takashi Murakami, Keith Haring, KAWS, and Andy Warhol.

The capacious main floor living/dining room has chestnut colored wood floors, a curving ribbon of nearly floor to ceiling glass with terrace access and panoramic water views, a built-in buffet in the dining area and a built-in entertainment center in the living area with a massive flat screen television. A floating staircase connects the main floor to the second floor landing where a gravity defying spiral staircase corkscrews up to a third floor lounge underneath a spectacular and downright Herculean frosted glass dome that defines the triple height space and for some reason isn't shown in any of the listing photographs we dug up online.

Listing photographs do show the penthouse is luxuriously equipped with a sleek center island kitchen, a six (or maybe nine) seat home theater with plush red leather recliners and paneled walls, a billiard room on the second level mezzanine and library/lounge with built-in bookcases and a smattering of multi-colored modern furniture including the naughty-naughty Perspective chair, designed several years ago by Mister Pharrell in conjunction with the French product manufacturing concern Domeau + Pérès. The chair, in case any of y'all aren't familiar, has human-shaped legs. The front legs are those a woman on her tippy toes and the back legs those of a flat-footed man. Mister Pharrell says the chair "represents the love between a man and a woman" but Your Mama—like most people—see the chair as a not very abstract depiction of the couple doing it doggy style.

Anyhoo, the master suite has a bedroom with watery view and direct terrace access, a big bathroom slathered in inlaid marble and what Mister Rus in W Magazine called a "steroidal closet...filled with a teenager's fantasy trove of Technicolor sneakers."

Three levels of vast terraces offer unparalleled all-around views, an outdoor summer kitchen, miles of tiled planter boxes, a spa and a plunge-sized swimming pool beneath a muscular, vine-draped pergola.
steroidal closet is filled with a teenager’s fan­tasy trove of Technicolor sneakers

Read more:
steroidal closet is filled with a teenager’s fan­tasy trove of Technicolor sneakers

Read more:
steroidal closet is filled with a teenager’s fan­tasy trove of Technicolor sneakers

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Property records show Mister Pharrell—recently engaged to his long-time lady friend and baby momma Helen Lasichanh with whom he has young son named Rocket Mann Williams—still owns the 9,116 square foot waterfront mansion in his hometown of Virginia Beach, VA that he bought way back in December 2001 for $1,850,000.

We really have no idea what real estate plans Mister Pharrell may have up his sleeve but in the W Magazine article he mentioned that his residential real estate fantasies include maverick architect Frank Gehry designing him a "Wyne Manor-style mansion" and avant garde architect Zaha Hadid doing him a domicile "that is partially submerged in the ocean." So there's that...

listing photos: Coldwell Banker Previews

Monday, November 26, 2012

Robbie Williams Lists L.A. Soccer Pitch

SELLER: Robbie Williams
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $3,600,000
SIZE: 4,659 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms (total)

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Thanks to an informant we'll call Yolanda Yaketyyak we've just learned that British-born and L.A.-based pop star Robbie Williams has put his multi-residence compound and private soccer pitch in L.A.'s 90210 zip code on the market with an asking price of $3,600,000.

Property records indicate the new daddy purchased the two-parcel compound—located in the Bev Hills Post Office as opposed to Beverly Hills proper—in February 2005 for $3,700,000, an amount that ensures, even with a full price sale, a $100,000 loss not counting improvements, carrying costs and real estate fees.

The two parcel spread spans .81 acres and is set above the famed Mulholland Drive with long views out over the San Fernando Valley. Garden paths and exterior stairways connect two separate residences with separate gated driveways plus a detached guest house—also with separate gated parking pad—that all surround a regulation sized soccer pitch.

Current listing information and property records reveal the two-story main house was originally built in 1947 and measures 3,525 square feet and has three bedrooms, four bathrooms and a swimming pool encircled by trees.

A second, single-story house was originally built in 1951 and has 1,134 square feet, two bedrooms, one bathrooms and its own pickle-shaped swimming pool and free-form terrace with sweeping valley view.

A third, two-story structure adjacent to the fully-netted soccer pitch offers additional living space/lounge plus garage space for four cars.

When Mister Williams sells his soccer oriented compound above Mulholland Drive he'll be far from homeless in Los Angeles. Property records show he continues to own the 10,681 square foot multi-winged mansion located just over half a mile from his private soccer pitch on one-plus gated and landscaped acres inside the manned gates of the Mulholland Estates community that he bought in July 2002 for $5,450,000 from country music superstar Clint Black. We're not sure what alterations and/or customizations Mister Williams may have made since but at the time he purchased the property it had six bedrooms, eight (or nine) bathrooms, a private recording studio, an elevator, pub room, massive master suite with gym, and a swimming pool with built-in slide.

aerial photo (top): Pacific Coast News
listing photos: The Agency

Monday Afternoon Mish Mash

Even though five-time Emmy winner Kelsey Grammer recently forked out $6,500,000 for a Spanish Colonial Revival style mini-mansion in the flats of Beverly Hills he reportedly wants to move with his current, fourth wife and new baby into a larger Holmby Hills mansion he once shared with his third wife, Camille, and their two children. Problem is, Camille is having none of that real estate merry-go-round nonsense. The 10,000-plus square foot quasi Country English sprawler has been on the market for an eternity at a variety of asking prices and is currently listed at $16,000,000, recently reduced from $17,000,000.


Just months after signing a $54,000,000 contract extension with the New England Patriots, 23 year old tight end Rob Gronkowski spent about $1,600,000 to buy a mock-Med mini-mansion in Tampa, FL, where—so our research revealed—the Patriots do their off-season training.

Besides that the three story house measures 4,781 and has four bedrooms, five bathrooms, three outdoor entertainment areas, a swimming pool and spa, a whole-house surround sound system and one custom built-in fish tank, the only other figure about The Gronk or his new bach-pad in Tampa that our ball crazy b.f.f. Fiona Trambeau thinks is important is—ahem—his size 16 foot.


The Office's Jenna Fischer and her writer hubby Lee Kirk just dropped $1,900,000 on the Mediterranean style estate of legendary baseballer Casey Stengel in the unlikely celebrity locale of Glendale, CA


One of the late and fiercely reclusive copper heiress Huguette Clark's two eighth floor apartments on New York City's Fifth Avenue plus an unknown portion of the other have been sold for $22,500,000 to private equity pasha Frederick Iseman.

The children may recall that Miss Clark's 12th floor spread—originally owned by her mother—was purchased in July for $25,500,000 by hedge fund honcho Boaz Weinstein.


Professional basketballer Danny Granger of the Indiana Pacers has flipped the contemporary Los Angeles, CA residence he bought six months ago for $3,715,000 with an asking price of $4,195,000. The six-foot-eight forward, whose salary topped $13 million in 2012, bought the 5,140 square foot house in the hills from Tinseltown screenwriter Kevin Williamson.

Your Mama don't know a thing from a thing, natch, and we don't mean to be a real beotch about things but we can't really come to terms with the $480,000 price increase in just six months since current listing photos, when compared to listing photos from the time of the July purchase, don't show much if any changes except the addition of a whole lotta depressingly banal furniture and "artwork" that reeks of the handiwork of Staging Lady in a Pink Toyota.

The Miami Beach House Boobs Built

SELLERS: Lisa and Lenny Hochstein
LOCATION: Miami Beach, FL
PRICE: $10,750,000
SIZE: 9,944 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5 full and 3 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Listen children, Your Mama and Sister Woman (and clan) drove out to Big Daddy's ranch the other day morning in the goddamn middle of nowhere where not only isn't there any available WiFi service but there isn't, believe it or not, any internet service at all. We thought about popping into Tinyville to see if we could scare up some WiFi at the dinky diner but we got distracted by a Christmas tree catastrophe—don't ask—and before we knew it it was time to head back to civilization...

Anyhoo, on Thanksgiving, before we left for Big Daddy's, in a glorious haze of tryptophans and gin, we received a covert communique from Betty Butterball who let us know that Dr. Lenny and Lisa Hochstein have their Miami Beach, FL mansion on the market with an asking price of $10,750,000.

Missus Hochstein, in case her name does not ring your celebrity bells, is a former nude model who appears in all her plasticine glory on the second (and current) season of The Real Housewives of Miami and Doctor Hochstein is a well known and highly successful Miami-based plastic surgeon who specializes in facial rejuvenation and boob jobs. Presumably it's Doctor H. who's responsible for Missus H.'s super-sized and very unnatural looking bazooms.

Turns out the Moscow born and New Jersey raised plastic surgeon and the substantially younger and balloon chested former Playboy model have had their house on the market since March 2011—when it was listed with an asking price of $10,750,000—and a few minutes on the interweb tells us we are hardly the first property gossip to discuss the waterfront mini-estate that's located on the northern shore of the northernmost isle of the swank and pricey four-island Sunset Island neighborhood located in the Biscayne Bay just north of South Beach.

Property records show Doctor Hochstein, along another man and woman with the same Hochstein surname, first purchased the property in April 2005 for $4,350,000. They proceeded to custom-build the existing mock-Med manse they dubbed Palacio del Eden and sometime in 2007, right about the time the house was completed, Doctor Hochstein bought out his same-surnamed partners and became the sole owner of the palatial abode where the nipped, tucked and Botoxed couple married in October 2009.*

Current listing information and property records show the essentially symmetrical and decidedly showy domicile sits tightly on just over half a landscaped acre and has five bedrooms and five full and three half bathrooms in 9,944 square feet of gaudy interiors dressed to impress with elaborate frescoed ceilings, intricate vine-like wrought iron railings, solid marble columns and archways, heavy carved wood furniture and cabinetry by the boat load, damask wall coverings and dozens upon dozens of arched windows and French doors.

The meretricious manse was prominently featured on the second season of The Real Housewives of Miami and was the scene of a couple of spectacular and downright tawdry cat fights during which one sassy queen pushed another mouthy queen into the swimming pool and one "housewife" smacked another across the face. There is, of course, absolutely nothing redeeming in behavior like that but ain't none of y'all will convince Your Mama that was not high-larious to watch a bunch of rich and "rich" people who claim to be high brow members of Miami's affluent social circuit screeching like drunken banshees and acting like wild eyed trailer trash.

Anyhoo, a gated driveway paved with herringbone pattern brick passes between two detached two-car garages and into a central motor where a pair of towering palms stand on either side of the main entrance. For reasons Your Mama can not fathom or recommend, there are dense thickets of potted plants placed under the twin floating staircases in the gilt-trimmed double-height foyer. Overhead there's a 14-foot diameter stained glass dome that back lit for maximum architectural (melo)drama.

Ample public spaces for large scale entertaining surround and open to a piazza-sized central courtyard and include formal living and dining rooms and a billiards room fitted with a heavy carved wood built-in buffet and display cabinet, a frescoed groin vaulted ceiling and an unapologetically lurid red and gold brocade sofa that sends shivers up and down Your Mama's delicate decorative spine.

Less formal spaces include a colossal center island kitchen with a soaring barrel vaulted brick ceiling, unnecessarily florid carved wood cabinetry and an adjacent family room that opens through a series of arched french doors to a deep loggia and back yard. The lack of decorative restraint reaches its apex, perhaps, in the thirteen seat gold and blood red home theater. Beyond the oppressively—ahem— sumptuous day-core, who puts puts thirteen seats in a home theater? We don't know who cleans the Hochstein's humongous house but Your Mama and The Dr. Cooter's deeply superstitious house gurl Svetlana would have a violent and destructive conniption if we so much as asked her to step into let along tidy up a room with thirteen of anything. Other necessities of the luxe life include a wine cellar and a home fitness room.

The second floor water-side master suite is certainly sizable but who could sleep peacefully in a room that garish? Plus, Your Mama knows it gets hot and icky humid in Miami in the summertime but, still, why didn't anyone think to purchase a rug to cover up the acre of tile flooring in there? And the big ol' master bathroom, well, let's just say a bathroom that decoratively vulgar binds Your Mama right up.

The courtyard and the back of the house open to a mostly stone-tiled waterside back yard where there's a massive, Versace-style mosaic tiled negative edge swimming pool and an open air poolside cabana with built-in barbecue and crapper that means no one needs to traipse through the house soaking wet from a dip in the pool. A row of palm trees along the 100-plus feet of bulk headed shore line where there's a private dock and boat lift.

Although they can probably afford to carry both mansions indefinitely, Doctor and Missus H. have soe incentive to sell their Sunset Island mansion since they've already acquired their next home on Miami Beach's notoriously affluent and star studded Star Island where some of the high profile residents and homeowners include Gloria Estefan, Rosie O'Donnell and Sean "Diddle Daddle" Combs—or whatever silly name he goes by now—along with a slew of real estate moguls and big business barons who include Vladislav Doronin, otherwise known as the beefcakey Russian billionaire man-friend of sometimes volatile supermodel Naomi Campbell.

Property records we peeped show the Hochsteins officially picked up their Star Island estate in late 2011 for $7,200,000 in a long, complicated and somewhat mysterious foreclosure situation.

The one-plus acre, wedge-shaped spread has, according to various online resources, 205 feet of Biscayne Bay frontage, a somewhat run-down 1920s three story Spanish Colonial style main mansion with 8,117 square foot plus three additional guest/staff residences for a total of eight bedrooms and seven full and three half bathrooms.

The house was used as the home of Al Pacino's iconic character Tony Montana in the 1983 movie Scarface.

*Other than her mammoth mammaries that are quite obviously surgically enhanced we really have no idea what if any other surgical or injectable alterations may or may not have been undertaken by Missus and/or Mister Hochstein.

listing photos (Sunset Island): Coldwell Banker Previews
listing photos (Star Island): Alex Shay

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2001 Cadillac Seville SLS

There she is. One 2001 Cadillac Seville SLS with 103,361 miles on it. Pretty clean car. Unfortunately, it does not start, nor crank, nor does the host of electronic gadgetry on this car work. The owner says sometimes he can disconnect the battery and reconnect and vehicle it will start and perform well. Notice the battery charger in the picture. Usually, a clear indication to me that the battery in the car is a paperweight. I see a ton of bad batteries. People will have expensive stereo systems, fancy alarms, and they have a bad battery. They don't mind jumping the car 5 times a week. That spells disaster to electronics. Between, voltage spikes and the eventual backwards jump start it gets ugly fast. Let's get the show on the road with this car.
I hook my Tech2 to see what modules are reporting. I choose Class 2 DTC Check to see what is going on quickly.

This is what I get. Now, this could go many ways here. These vehicles have lots of issues. Bad ignition switches, water leaks soaking modules and causing communication issues. On this model I know that they typically will have windshield and/or passenger door leaks and the SRS (Airbag) module under the passenger seat gets soaked and causes issues. A quick feel under the seat and it feels pretty dry. I then break out the scope and check pin #2 at the DLC and get a constant 12v. The Class 2 communication line is shorted to power. So many things can cause this-bad modules, shorted harnesses, poor grounds. Lets look at the Class 2 line.
Here is part 1.....

Here is part 2. Lots of modules here which is to be expected on a Cadillac. These modules are arranged in a Loop pattern. GM has 3 different ways to arrange Class 2. Loop is what you see here where communication lines go in and out of every module. Star arrangement where each module generally has one communication wire going to it and there is usually a splice pack where you can take one module off at a time. Finally there is Star/Loop which combines the two. Loop is great for redundancy but can be a little more intensive to diagnose. I like to start with easy. I visually check grounds and harnesses for rubbing or damage. They look pretty good. Next, I start disconnecting modules, cycle key and then look at my scope on Class 2 for activity. I disconnect ABS no luck. Every other module is buried except one-the PCM.
I unearth it and disconnect both connectors.

This is what I have at pin #2 at the DLC now. Perfect Class 2 waveform. Let's recheck the modules with the Tech2.

Nice! I now have modules reporting. The only module not reporting is the PCM. Obviously, it is hanging in the breeze. A quick check of powers, grounds, and 5vref at the PCM reveals no other issues. This PCM is the cause of the Class 2 being shorted to power. Remember, the battery charger, etc. I inform the shop owner of my findings and give him options so he can discuss with this customer. He calls me the next day and tells me money is tight with the customer. He wants to go with a used PCM and still does not want to change the battery. I do not mind setting up used modules as long as it will not cause issues. Be careful. Sometimes replacement of used modules will cause issues. Ask one shop I got called in when they changed a BCM (Body Control Module) on a Caravan to fix a rear wiper issue. Well after the used BCM went in the vehicle got infected with VTSS (Anti theft) and the mileage almost doubled with no going back. Try explaining that to the customer. Be careful! All my customers know to call me first and ask me about used module beforehand. It is something I preach. Ok, so we are going to be putting a used PCM in this Cadillac. New, reman, or used it will have to be setup with proper VIN and calibration. As well as the theft system relearned.
Used PCM installed. Still have great communication. Next....
I hook up my Midtronics battery maintainer to the battery. Not because this vehicle has a bad battery. I will not reflash, program, etc without it. It is a ripple free battery maintainer that holds voltage steady at 13.4v. It is endorsed by GM and has been the industry mainstay for some time. I know guys that flash with jumpacks or battery chargers. I do not have that kind of luck. There is a lot of data being transferred and I want to make sure I have done everything for a successful flash event. A quick check with my DVOM at the battery tells me we have stable proper voltage. Next, I hook up the Tech2 and request info from the used PCM. It will have the VIN and calibrations from whatever vehicle it came out of. I will be overwriting that with proper VIN and calibrations for this vehicle.
I then hook up my Tech2 to my TIS2000 program, input the proper VIN and choose replace and reprogram PCM. This is what is called remote programming. It is when you are downloading calibrations to the Tech2  from the laptop then disconnecting and using the Tech2 stand alone to update programming. Sometimes I use this method other times I use pass thru. I avoid flashing/reprogramming with a J2534 tool whenever possible. I like factory tooling. Less pitfalls and suprises.

There are the correct calibrations. I upload to the Tech 2 and go back to the car.

Here is where it gets a little dicey. These Cadillacs along with certain Corvette models (check your service information) really should be programmed by themselves. Apparently, with so many modules on the communication line if one of them "talked" while a programming event was going on it could corrupt the programming. So GM recommends to reprogram these PCM's with a special stand alone harness that isolates the PCM. Others, I know have made jumper harnesses of their own to work around this. I had some good information that if I pulled the I/P fuse in the underhood fusebox that the chatty modules involved would go to sleep and I could program this PCM. So I did.

Here I rechecked. Sure enough my chatty modules are no longer reporting and the PCM is there. A quick recheck of proper voltage and connections. Lets program!

Here we go.

A couple of minutes later. Lets recheck for proper calibrations.

Bingo. Vehicle still is not going to start. We need to relearn theft.
Here we have a choice to relearn theft. GM typically gives you two choices. One is a long way typically 30 minutes which involves turning key on and waiting, etc. The second way is a program that will run that speeds things up. That is what I use. Again, we request info from vehicle using the Tech2. This time VIN is correct.
I choose theft relearn and upload it to my Tech2.

This is a lot faster. After completion the vehicle starts and runs properly. I clear all codes and make sure to perform any after reprogramming procedures such as oil life reset, crankshaft variation relearn, etc. The Cadillac rides again. Hopefully, that battery gets changed sooner rather than later. 



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gobble Gobble!

Your Mama is thankful for all the children, our spider web of tipsters and informants—you know who you are!—The Dr. Cooter, our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly, our friends and family and Mister Bobby Flay for his delish chipotle sweet potatoes recipe that is so damn simple Your Mama can make it three stiff gin & tonics into the afternoon.

photo: Burton Robert, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

k.d. lang keeps it real with a coupla condos

BUYER: k.d. lang
LOCATION: Portland, OR
PRICE: $639,000
SIZE: 2,017 square feet 1-2 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: unbeknownst to this celebrity real estate gossip until yesterday, when we received a covert communique from a gal we'll call anita snitch, by the time crooner k.d. lang sold her long-time residence in los angeles' laurel canyon in may 2012 for $1,900,000 to maroon 5 keyboardist jesse carmichael she'd very quietly already scooped up her next home in the unexpected and—generally speaking—uncelebrified city of portland, or.

miz lang, who busted up with her long time gal pal last year and has been on tour for most of 2012, opted not for a house in portland but rather a couple of loft-style condominiums in a converted warehouse in the hip and trendy downtown neighborhood known locally as the pearl.

even though property records show the units were purchased from the same seller in two, simultaneous transactions in late february 2012, it appears to your mama the two condos are fully combined into a single living space. The larger unit, as per the multnomah county tax man, measures 1,188 square feet and the smaller just 829 square feet for a total of 2,017 square feet. listing information we managed to squirrel out of the internets shows the open-concept loft has one bedroom and 1.5 bathrooms plus an interior den/bedroom with a built-in murphy bed for overnighting guests.

property records show miz lang picked up both units for $639,000, a real ding-dang bargain compared to the cost of a comparable, centrally located 2,000+ square foot loft in a major metropolitan area like los angeles, san fran or the big apple.

yellow birch floors run throughout the spacious, 31-foot long living/dining area that has high, exposed concrete ceilings, a trio of gigantic casement windows and a half-height t.v./art wall that separates the living room from the bedroom area and is cleverly designed on a swivel so the boob toob can be seen from either the living room or the bedroom.

the kitchen, open to but separated from the living room by a long and wide peninsula snack bar, has slab granite counter tops that waterfall over the end of the peninsula, a complete suite of high-grade stainless steel appliances and flat-fronted birch—or maybe maple—cabinetry, some which have metal-framed frosted glass doors.

as far as your mama can tell there's no door that separates the custom-fitted closet/dressing area from the master bathroom that's tucked behind a horizontal grid of frosts glass panels that doesn't quite extend to the ceiling. Although its barely private, the bathroom with well equipped with limestone flooring, slab granite counter tops, a super-sized soaking but and a separate over-sized stall shower tucked behind frosted glass panels.

listing information shows the elevator accessible combo condo crib has private laundry facilities that appear to be located in the half bathroom deeded parking for two cars, city and mountain views, and access to the fully decked and landscaped roof terrace. monthly hoas—those are home owner's association fees—run $661 and cover, heating expenses, insurance, building management, common area maintenance, water and cable t.v. costs.

as far as we know, miz lang does not currently own any other real estate but, then again, what do we really know anyways?

listing photos: John L. Scott Real Estate via Estately

Monday, November 19, 2012

Madonna Says Bye-Buy To Upper West Side Duplex

SELLER: Madonna
PRICE: $23,500,000
SIZE: 6,000 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Thanks to a tipster we'll call Bernardo Bigmouth Your Mama has just learned that her pop music madjesty Herself—that would be Madonna Ciconne Penn Ritchie—has put her long-time New York City duplex spread on the Upper West Side up for sale with a $23,500,000 price tag.

Miz Madonna no longer needs the multi-unit co-operative apartment in the distinguished  Neo-Italian Renaissance style Harperley Hall building on the corner of Central Park West and West 64th Street since she now has an elephantine 12,000+ square foot triple wide townhouse extravaganza on the Upper East Side that she bought in 2009 for $32,500,000 and spent millions more renovating and expanding.

Listing information shows Madge's 5th and 6th floor duplex offers more than 6,000 square feet with 10-plus foot ceilings, five wood burning fireplaces and 110 feet of frontage on Central Park. There are, according to online marketing materials, large living spaces on both levels with wide French doors and park-facing Juliet balconies and a park-facing formal dining room, a library and an eat-in kitchen fitted with marble slab counter tops, sleek chocolate brown cabinetry, a snack bar and and a dining area with a full wall of bookshelves.

There are, according to listing information, four separate bedroom wings with a possibility of six or seven bedrooms and a total of eight bathrooms. The master suite offers A-lister luxury with "endless closet space" and a vintage-style bathroom outfitted with twin pedestal sinks, claw-footed soaking tub and separate marble-lined shower.

The mini-mansion sized apartment has well-taken care of oak flooring, central air-conditioning, and a state-of-the-art sound and humidifier system. The full-service Harperley Hall building offers its well-heeled residents a central courtyard with manned gatehouse, access to a 20 car garage—we're not exactly sure who determines who gets to actually park in it—a bike room, laundry facility, a fully landscaped roof terrace and an on-site fitness facility that that exercise nut Madge would not have likely made use of since her apartment had a private one installed. Monthly maintenance runs $11,774, according to listing information.

Miz Madonna had the place decorated by her younger bother Christopher Ciccone who worked it the sprawling duplex over but good with pedigreed furniture, haute Art Deco details and an insane art collection the includes works by Tamara de Lempicka, Laure Albin-Guillot, Fernand Léger and Picasso. The apartment was photographed for the Architectural Digest.

As far as we know, in addition to her townhouse Madge still owns a horse farm in the Hamptons and a very private, French Country style mansion on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills (CA) that Your Mama has repeatedly heard through the Platinum Triangle gossip grapevine might be quietly available for somewhere in the neighborhood of $28,000,000. She also owns a spacious 7th floor unit at Harperley Hall that she picked up in April 2008 for $7,350,000 but does not appear to be included in the current listing of the 5th and 6th floor duplex. Perhaps that's to come. We shall see!

*For what it's worth, nasal-voiced actress Fran Drescher has also long owned an apartment in the building.

listing photos: Brown Harris Stevens

Allison Janney Loses Palm Springs Getaway to Foreclosure

SELLER: Allison Janney
LOCATION: Palm Springs, CA
PRICE: $2,250,000
SIZE: 6,657 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Over the weekend, while Your Mama did some peeping and poking around in the property records regarding the John Lautner-designed Bob and Delores Hope house in Palm Springs, CA that recently and very quietly available through an upscale Beverly Hills brokerage with—so the rumor goes—an astronomical $45,000,000 asking price, we happened across documentation that reveals the sublime and much-lauded four time Emmy winning actress Allison Janney (West Wing, Juno, The Help) owned a house just down the street from the Hope house that—quelle horror—she lost to unforgiving maw of foreclosure in September or October 2012.

The rambling, glassy and low-slung house was designed by prolific Coachella Valley-based modernist architect Hugh Kaptur* and built in 1977 for Oscar-winning actor William Holden who, may he rest in peace, died just a few years later in 1981.** We're not exactly sure when Mister Holden—or the heirs/executors of his estate—sold the sprawling ridge line residence in the exclusive, guard-gated Southridge enclave but we do know from property records that it eventually came to be owned by a wealthy—and now deceased—Detroit-based attorney whose widow sold the property in late July 2006 for $3,950,000 to Miz Janney and restaurant consultant and self-described menu engineer Gregg Rapp.**

Of course, Your Mama does not know a gila monster from a cockroach so we really can't say whether Miz Janney (and Mister Rapp) acquired the property as an investment, for personal use or for some other reason. However, there's plenty of evidence available online that they returned the residence to the open market in early 2008 with an unknown asking price.

The property was de- and re-listed several times over the next couple of years and in March 2010—or thereabouts—the property popped back up on the open market with a sky-high asking price of $5,500,000. By October (2010) the price tag had plunged to $4,495,000 and later shrank even further to $3,995,000, just a smidge more than Miz Janney and Mister Rapp paid for the place in 2006, near the apex of the most recent and dramatically burst real estate bubble.

It appears to Your Mama that the house was put into escrow in April 2012 but, alas, the transaction was not consummated. Six short months later, according to online documentation we perused, a lending institution took over ownership of the property in a foreclosure proceeding and quickly re-listed the house with an substantially lower asking price of $2,250,000. Within two weeks an offer was accepted by the bank and a sale is, as of today, pending.

Listing information still available online states the sprawling, two story steel and glass residence sits on 3.17 ridge line acres and spans 6,657 square feet with a total of five bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms**** that include a massive master suite with two-way fireplace, 36-foot long walk-in closet/dressing room and a spacious bathroom with fireplace, indoor/outdoor shower, and a sunken tub set in front of a wall floor-to-ceiling windows.

A long and wide driveway capable of parking multiple cars leads to a three-car car port. Inside, exceptionally roomy public entertaining spaces include a vast foyer/living/dining area with fireplace and long expanses of floor to ceiling windows and sliders, a fully paneled library, a separate Balinese-themed media room, an eat-in kitchen and a gigantic lower level entertainment room with built-in wet bar.

The house opens up to both a cantilevered covered deck that runs along the back of the house and connects to the backyard area where there are multi-level terraces, a party-sized spa and a negative edge swimming pool that pushes out over the steep and craggy hillside.

The location high above Palm Springs and the house itself are spectacular but the majority of the finishes and day-core are downright kooky and/or decidedly outdated. Just get a load of the parquet floors, the bizarrely-Balinese style library, the oblong fireplace extrusions, the 1980s era kitchen equipped with notably up-to-date appliances and the fully paneled library that looks like it was ripped straight out of a mansion in the flats of Beverly Hills. None-the-less, in the deft and skilled hands of a smart architect and a nice-gay or lady decorator the house could be a knock-'em-out showstopper with panoramic canyon, desert and valley views. We can only hope the new owners don't do one of those godawful and ridiculously cliche, retro-minded Hollywood Regency meets The Rat Pack themed day-core of which so many folks in Palm Springs seem to be so persistently and ubiquitously enamored.

Property records reveal that Miz Janney still owns a fairly nondescript, 1,925 square foot ranch-style residence with three bedrooms and two bathrooms on two adjacent parcels nestled into a steep slope near the tail end of a quiet canyon cul-de-ac in Studio City, CA that she picked up in late May 2011 for $799,000.

*Almost a decade earlier Mister Kaptur did up a two-story contemporary a few doors down from the Holden house for manly actor Steve McQueen. The McQueen house is now owned by California-based businessman Michael Kilroy who also owns the very daring, John Lautner-designed Elrod House next door as well as the house directly across the street, designed by Arizona-based architect Michael P. Johnson and called The Boat House.

**Mister Holden previously owned another glassy abode in the Deepwell Estates area of Palm Springs that he shared with actress Stephanie Powers and was later owned by actress Tippi Hedren. As it turns out, the four-parcel estate was acquired in July 2011 for $1,349,000 by a couple of fellas from Miami who—we understand from a desert dweller—have given the original mid-century modern über-modern update and renovation.

***We're not sure of the connection between Mister Rapp and Miz Janney but since they both grew up in upper middle class circumstances in Dayton, OH we have to assume they're long-time friends. As it turns out, Mister Rapp also owns another house in the Southridge enclave, a William Cody-deisgned house that he bought for $261,000 in early 2002 with long-time family friend and Ukrainian-born former professional basketball player Vitaly Potapenko. Mister Potapenko went to college in Dayton and that appears to be the connection between him and Mister Rapp. Online documentation suggests Mister Potapenko either sold or gave up any ownership in the house to Mister Rapp in 2005 and, although he's so far managed to hang on, Mister Rapp has repeatedly battled foreclosure on the property since early 2010.

****Some online listings show the house at 8,000 square feet with five bedrooms and seven bathrooms while at least one property record data base we consulted shows the house has 7,508 square feet and the Riverside County Tax Man shows there are just three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Make of that what you will.

listing photos: Windermere Real Estate Coachella Valley and Keller Williams Realty