Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ryan Tedder Acquires Modern-Minded Micro-Compound in Venice

BUYER: Ryan Tedder
PRICE: $2,850,000
SIZE: 3,551 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5 full and 2 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: We recently received a covert communique from a wise and well-informed little birdie we'll call Polly Wannacracker who snitched to Your Mama that Grammy-winning singer/songwriter/producer Ryan Tedder and his college sweetheart wife, Genevieve, quietly shelled out $2.85 million for a newly built and modern-minded micro-compound the geographic heart of Venice, CA, just off the spendy and trendy shopping and dining strip along Abbott Kinney north of Venice Boulevard.

Mister Tedder, as we were informed by Miss Wannacracker, fronts OneRepublic, a multi-platinum pop rock band that's had a couple of radio-friendly hit ditties including 2007's Apologize. However and agueably, the 34-year old Oral Roberts University graduate is at least, if not more successful and well respected by his professional peers as a songwriter and producer for pop music superstars like BeyoncĂ©, Jennifer Lopez, Natasha Bedingfield, Ellie Goulding, Kelly Clarkson, and Carrie Underwood. Mister Tedder worked with British supernova Adele on her seminal (and sensational) album 21—he co-wrote the ever-so-catchy but humorously cutting ditty Rumour Has Ita collaboration that earned the relatively new father of one a Grammy Award in 2012. It was recently announced in the tabs and trades, we discovered in our cursory research, that Mister Tedder signed on for a no-doubt highly lucrative gig on The Voice as the popular televised singing contest's first in-house songwriter and producer.

Property records and other digitally accessible resources show the newly constructed, two-building micro-compound, a boxy configuration of glass, concrete, steel, and horizontal wood cladding, was designed by sustainability-minded SoCal architect Matthew Royce. We gathered from our perusal and parsing of listing details that the 3,551 square foot, two-story main house has three to four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. A architecturally matchy-matchy but fully detached, two-story structure at the extreme rear of the property postage-stamp size urban lot, where it backs up to a slightly grungy alleyway, offers generous additional living space.

A commercial style aluminum and frosted glass front door set under a shallow overhang opens directly into a lofty, multi-purpose living space with high ceilings, exposed structural elements, polished concrete floors (that Your Mama hopes are radiantly heated), modern art-friendly white walls, and floor-to-ceiling glass sliders that slip effortlessly into the walls to create a seamless transition from the house to the landscaped central courtyard that both divides and unites the main house from the back house.

The kitchen has custom walnut cabinetry, a three or four stool center work island snack counter, a full-height pantry and a somewhat unfortunately located adjoining half bathroom. A separate room tucked discreetly beyond the main living area was sparely staged as an office but, due to its private bathroom, is easily converted to a guest or family bedroom.

A floating tread staircase leads to the upper level where the industrial-edged polished concrete floors of the ground floor give way to a much more intimate, luxuriously rustic, and drop-dead dee-voon wide-plank French oak. Each of the comfortably-sized two guest/family bedrooms on the upper floor have direct access to a private bathroom.  The sun-flooded master suite, also on the second floor, has floor-to-ceiling glass panels that slip into the walls and, for all intents and purposes, quickly converts the bedroom into a sea-breezy sleeping porch. There's also a good-sized walk-in closet and the attached bathroom has a glass-enclosed shower stall and an free-standing egg-shaped soaking tub set in front of a floor-to-ceiling frosted glass panel that opens into the wall and exposes a tiny private terrace.

The staircase, which manages to be be both weighty and light at the same time, continues up to a spacious but mostly undeveloped roof terrace (above top, left and right) with wrap around views of jagged roof tops and swaying palm trees.

The aforementioned, detached and self-contained flexi-use structure at the back of the property offers another 1,000 square feet of open-concept space, as per listing details, and is fitted and kitted with more (and still delicious) wide-plank French oak floors; more disappearing walls of glass; a simple but fully-equipped, walnut-cabineted kitchen; a sun-flooded, full-height loft; and 1.5 chic-ly utilitarian poopers, a full one upstairs and a roomy powder room downstairs. The sizable structure would make a pretty sweet guests house, a super-luxe and super-sized—ahem—man cave, a not particularly private rental unit or, as Your Mama imagines more likely with Mister Tedder, a professional quality at-home recording studio.

Mister and Missus Tedder divide their time between Los Angeles and the somewhat unlikely but hardly podunk Rocky Mountain city of Denver, CO, where according to property records and other online resources they own a gated, four-lot mini-estate in a small gated enclave in the affluent Belcaro neighborhood, a state-of-the-art recording studio, and a BBQ joint.

listing photos: Pardee Properties

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Nigerian Magnate Kola Aluko Nabs Another

A freshly finished Italianate mini-compound set behind motorized gates and high hedges on a prime street in the famously rarefied lower Bel Air area of Los Angeles popped up on the open market in June 2012 with a fat but hardly unheard of $29,000,000 price tag. The main villa and its detached guest/pool house—declared an "architectural triumph" in digital marketing materials—were conceived and executed by esteemed if somewhat under-the-radar architect Tim Morrison who—according to this—shares office space with and often works in tandem with also-esteemed West Hollywood-based architect Thomas Proctor.*

The steeply sloped, very vaguely boomerang-shaped and thus somewhat challenging street-to-street parcel encompasses just .7 acres and, depending on where online you look, the mini-compound's overall total square footage is 19,485 or 18,563 spread between a substantial main villa and a three-story detached guest/pool house. Either size it's a whole lotta luxurious interior space wedged onto a tight and lot that also features a couple of loggias, a wee patch of grass or two, and several sizable terraces hemmed by sturdy sturdy sturdy stone balustrades. A decidedly contemporary infinity edged swimming pool was engineered into the hillside over by the guest/pool house and and eight-plus car subterranean garage is decked out with a mosaic tiled car wash area, a deluxe feature we know Hector Q., mobile car washer to L.A.'s rich and famous, can appreciate.

Online listings Your Mama perused indicate there are a total of nine bedrooms and 14 bathrooms on the property. The main villa, a three story, elevator-equipped edifice that proudly opens to canyon and city views, contains three principal guest/family bedrooms on the upper floor plus an exceptionally spacious 2,200 square foot master suite. (F.Y.I. 2,200 square feet is just shy of the average size of an American home, children.) In addition to a separate sitting room and bedroom, the master suite has dual, custom-fitted dressing rooms and a pair of marble-slathered bathrooms, one leaning toward dapper (for him) the other bending more towards elegantly feminine (for her). Three more secondary guest/family bedrooms share the lower, semi-subterranean level with staff quarters, a gym, and a media room. There's an additional bedroom and bathroom in the detached guest/pool house in addition to a poolside living room with fireplace.

The impress-the-guests-style foyer in the main villa has limestone floors, double-height coved ceilings, and a heavy duty staircase that wraps around the room with some the chunkiest carved stone balustrades y'all have ever seen in your damn life. We don't care for the oval islands in the all-white and marble-countered kitchen because they just seem so forced and unnecessary and, although it's purdy to look at from certain angles, we feel uncomfortable with how the negative edge pool and the stone balustrades the flank it seem to want to scratch each other's eyes out. Also, unless it's the garage, Your Mama is baffled to the point of flabbergast by the vast, stone tile floored, and depressingly low-ceilinged lower level that looks like it could be a ballroom for hire at a Best Western in Minot, ND, but, other wise, in the hands of a talented and/or nice-gay or lady decorator, we think the house and grounds could be pretty spectacular if not exactly in line with our own personal taste. Anyhoodles, poodles...

Property records show the property in question was owned until the late 1990s by philanthropic real estate developer George C. Page who gifted the property to Pepperdine University, a prestigious (and pricey) private school in Malibu, that quickly sold it in July 1999 for $1,160,000 to a fella who quit-claimed it in 2002 to a corporate entity easily tied on the internets to the aforementioned architect Timothy Morrison. Mister Morrison borrowed a whole bunch of money and built the existing, Italian Riviera-ready mini-compound that was sold, according to property records and other online resources, in late October (2013) for $23.5 million. The buyer, according to property records, was an anonymous corporate concern that shields the identity of the owner so we can't say for sure but good ol' Yolanda Yakketyyak, a trusted and well-coifed real estate yenta who runs in high and even higher social circles, swore to Your Mama the buyer was Nigerian energy and aviation tycoon Kola Aluko.

Don't worry, children, if you'd not heard of Mister Aluko. He was, after all, just a year ago named to Forbes Magazine's list of Ten Nigerian Multi-Millionaires You've Never Heard Of. He has, however and to be sure, developed a slightly higher, playboy-ish profile since he's been poppin' up real regular in the property gossip columns for the last year or so and been palling around with Entertainment Industry big shots like Leo DiCaprio, Jay-Z and P. Diddy. So the stories go, the latter two hosted Mister Aluko's star-studded birthday party in Beverly Hills last year. Also raising his pampered, jet-setter profile in the international gossip columns is recent (alleged) association with the drop dead dee-vine if occasionally volatile supermodel and mega-rich man serial dater Naomi Campbell.**

Mister Aluko  may not (yet) be a hardcore real estate baller but, according to Your Mama's admittedly unscientific research and probably not comprehensive findings, the lavish living (and some say shady) Nigerian businessman hardly needs another high-maintenance mansion in Los Angeles. In July (2013) Mister Aluko shelled out $8.62 for a four bedroom duplex condo in a fine and full service if not exactly A-Grade pre-war building on Fifth Avenue in New York City and last year he allegedly spent just over $40 million to buy two top-of-the-line properties: one a gated, late 1990s French Country-style pile on a swank cul-de-sac just above Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills and the other a newly erected and aggressively contemporary situated just a few doors down from the Italianate mini-compound Yolanda swears he just bought. We can't vouch for it—making it just rumor and gossip, of course, but Yolanda also told Your Mama Mister Mister Aluko plans to use his new mini-compound as a guest house for his international business associates.

Clearly, children, Mister Aluko needs another twenty-some million dollar estate in Los Angeles like he needs another $50,000,000 boat like the one he bought a couple months ago and either loaned or leased in September to hip hop/pop power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce. But, if Your Mama has said it once we've said it 47,000 times before: Who, pray tell are we to make heads nor tales of the profligate real estate ways of the ever wealthier, increasingly itchy footed, and astronomically spendy super rich?

*Misters Morrison and Proctor are the folks who did up the Beverly Hills home now owned by Posh Spice and David Beckham as well as the guys who did the fairly recent re-do of a pedigreed—and gorgeous—Spanish Colonial estate in Beverly Hills that was formerly owned by actor James Colburn and later the Sultan of Brunei. The Bev Hills estate changed hands a few weeks ago when big business executive Kent Kresa, former chairman of both General Motors and Northrop Grumman, sold it for $27.5 million to—Your Mama heard word through the Platinum Triangle real estate gossip grapevine—a prominent Saudi Arabian multi-billionaire industrialist. Anyways...

**In addition to Mister Aluko, Miz Campbell has over the years been squired by an international crop of multi-millionaires, billionaires, and near billionaire who include: Italian Flavio Briatore; American Sean Puffy Diddy Daddy Combs; Brazilian Marco Elias; and, most recently, hunky Russian real estate baller Vladimir Doronin.

listing photos: Rodeo Realty

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

DJ Avicii Buys Bruno Mascolo's House in the Hollywood Hills

SELLER: Bruno Mascolo
BUYER: Tim Bergling, a.k.a. Avicii
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: Unknown
SIZE: 7,007 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: In case any of the children haven't yet heard, DJs—the kind that do their thing in thumping mega-clubs and not the kind on the radio—are the this generation's rock stars and, as modern day rock stars, they earn rock star-sized incomes. Take, for instance, Sweden-born DJ Tim Bergling, a two-time Grammy-nominee known professionally as Avicii. For the last couple of years the dance genre DJ was ranked at number three on DJ Mag's Top 100 DJs list and the Forbes folk recently ranked the toe-headed 23 year old remix master and record producer as the sixth highest earning DJ in 2012 with a haul of around $20,000,000.*

By Your Mama's quick and elementary calculations on our bejeweled abacus, Mister Avicii earns almost $55,000 per day. That's $55,000 every day of the damn year, children. So, though he may be just a young laddie of 23 or 24 years old, he can well afford to pay—as we were first told by Our Fairy Godmother in the Hollywood Hills he did—an (as yet) unknown number of millions of dollars for an ultra-modern mansion in the much-coveted Bird Streets 'hood above L.A.'s Sunset Strip that was last listed on the open market with an asking price of $15,750,000.

The residence in question was owned, as per property records and previous reports, by hair care and beauty business bigwig Bruno Mascolo, the head of the U.S. division of the international Toni & Guy hair cutting empire and the former co-owner to the TiGIi Linea haircare conglomerate that was acquired by Unilever in early 2009 for nearly $412 million. As far as the property record data bases and other online resources that Your Mama peeped are concerned, Mister Mascolo paid exactly $10,000,000 for the highly libidinous, sharp-elbowed, and bi-winged contemporary in February 2009 and had it on the open market at a couple of different prices since the summer of 2012.

Our research shows the two-story residence was designed by modern-minded SoCal architect Paul McLean and built on spec as a collaboration between L.A.-based property developer Brad Kuish and nice-gay interior designer Ryan Brown. Older listings still available on the internets show the house has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms in just over 6,500 square feet while more current digital marketing materials show there are six bedrooms and seven bathrooms in 7,007 square feet of proudly sleek and decidedly aspirational interior spaces defined by soaring ceilings, extra wide plank wood floors, and vast expanses of floor-to-ceiling windows and Fleetwood sliders that fill at night with a twinkling, multi-colored carpet of lights.

A walled and secured courtyard entrance has both water and fire features that make for a rather dramatic passage to the even more (melo)dramatic main entrance, a glass-walled bridge that spans a vertigo-inducing concrete crevasse over the swimming pool and links the two wings of the H-shaped residence. The bridge/foyer, roomy enough to accommodate a sitting area and/or baby grand piano, opens on the right into an banquet hall-scaled Great Room. At one end there's an Italian-crafted center island kitchen expensively fitted with Euro-style appliances, waterfall counter tops of unknown but most assuredly pricey material, and a convenient, four-seat snack counter. There's also a 300+ bottle temperature-controlled walk-in wine vault, a dining area with built-in buffet and floating shelves, and a sun-drenched family room with fireplace and two towering walls of glass with panoramic city views.

The upper level of the opposite wing contains a study and a spacious but hardly humongous master suite complete with custom-fitted walk-in closet/dressing room and a Thassos marble-lined bathroom with double-wide all-glass shower. Two entire walls of glass in the bedroom slide open to a glass-railed balcony with an all but unobstructed view that sweeps over Los Angeles from downtown to Century City to—on a clear day—the Pacific Ocean more than ten miles away.

A boutique-hotel-y, double-wide staircase (not shown in listing photos) leads down to the one wing of lower level where there are a couple of bedrooms, a glass-walled game room, and a separate media room with state-of-the-art projection system, tiered seating and a built-in wet bar/candy counter. The lower level of the opposite wing contains several more bedrooms and bathrooms plus a four-car attached garage with direct entry to the house.

Lower level rooms look out and/or open on to the central courtyard where there's a spa tucked back into the aforementioned concrete crevasse overlooked by the entry courtyard as well as a 75-foot long, infinity-ended lap lane swimming pool with built-in cantilevered sun bed. The multi-level terraces around the pool provide plenty of room for preening and sunbathing as well as a built-in barbecue station.

Mister Mascolo and his blonde missus, Kyara, also own an ocean front home in the illustrious Colony community in Malibu (CA) that's currently on the open market with a $15.98 million price and—it was snitched to Your Mama by Our Fairy Godmother in the Hollywood Hills—in May (2013) they acquired a gated and privately situated fixer upper on a prominent perch above the Sunset Strip that was once featured on Million Dollar Listing and was purchased, as per property records, for $13.875 million.

*According to Forbes, The highest earning DJ in 2012 was Adam Wiles, a six-foot-five-inch Grammy-winning 29 year old music re-mixologist whose stage name is Calvin Harris and who raked in a mind-bending $46 million last year. Earlier this year (2013) Mister Harris, a native of Scotland, dropped seven million clams on his own Zen-inspired contemporary bachelor pad in the Hollywood Hills.

listing photos: Hilton & Hyland

Sunday, December 1, 2013


If there is one question I get asked frequently by shop owners, technicians, and emails alike is-What scantool should I get? Or, Is this scantool good? Or, I just spent $12k on this scantool and it doesn't do this procedure on this vehicle.

I typically will follow this up with questions of my own. Such as. What manufacturer is the bulk of your work? What functions do you want to do with the scantool? What is your budget?

Without knowing the answers to those questions it is awfully hard to give sound advice. I see many shops that use a $10k scantool like a $99.00 code reader. They would have been better served spending the $9K someplace else in my opinion. Like maybe some training. If that works for you and your shop so be it.

In this age of automotive diagnostics it is nearly impossible to be "loaded for bear" on every manufacturer. Unless, you have deep pockets. Even with that are you using all the capabilities of all your tooling? Lots of aftermarket companies make boastful claims when it comes to coverage and capabilities. Unfortunately, when the tool is in your hand and need to do a function they can fall short at the worst of times. I often say that a good aftermarket tool will have 85% capability on 85% of the vehicle lines. However, that 15% can kill you.

  Here is a small example of aftermarket tooling. Any one of these are a very capable scantool. Being able to read codes/erase, view scan data, graph, and perform bi directional functions on different modules. Some do it better than others. Some are strong on this manufacturer but weaker on others. Again the 85%/85% rule. Some, I have been impressed with and others well not so much. Sometimes it is just easier to break out an aftermarket handheld tool rather than hook up a OE laptop based tool to check data or codes. Time is money. Some aftermarket tools actually graph better/faster than the OE tool for certain manufacturers.

    Here are some OE scantools. These are manufacturer specific tools. Some are handheld and some are PC/Laptop based. The world of OE tooling is a convulated and confusing world. These tools walk the walk. With these tools you should be able to have 100% capability for that manufacturer. Notice, how I said should. They have their hiccups as well. It happens from time to time. Not often though. If you want to do a procedure from start to finish and want to be sure you can do it then OE tooling is for you.
One thing to point out in this photo is the GM Tech2. There is been much chatter about the demise of this tool. Well, it had a recent update and I used it to finish up an ABS control module setup on a 2013 Cadillac CTS just the other day. Granted, there is a PC based version of Tech2 called Tech2Win that could have done the same procedure.

Here is a screen shot from Tech2Win. I still prefer the handheld to the PC based. The point here is don't get rid of your Tech2 and if you do service a lot of GM vehicles a Tech2 is still a smart tooling investment.

You have to ask yourself those three question I posted earlier when choosing scantools. Some tool companies/vendors allow for a "test drive" of tooling. That is always a smart idea take advantage of  if possible. Nothing worse than investing money in a tool that disappoints. A test drive of a week should let you know if that tool is right for you and your shop. Beware, of any tool company that claims that you will never need another scantool.

Another point to remember is comfort. A tool that everyone is intimidated to use will be a tool that sits in your toolbox making you no money. There are plenty of techs throughout the country that are diagnosing issues with vehicles with tooling that many would scoff at. It works for them and they are using that tool to its potential. Many times it is not the tool but the tool wielder. The general publics perception that all you do is plug into the vehicle and the scantool "tells" you what part is bad is grossly exaggerated. The best scantool you have is your brain. Technicians fix vehicles not scantools. Remember that always.