Thursday, April 24, 2014

Prince Puts Marbella Villa Up for Sale

SELLER: Prince
LOCATION: (West of) Marbella, Malaga Province, Andalusia, Spain
PRICE: £4,613,800
SIZE: 5,900 square meters, 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: This morning Your Mama awoke to a kindly communique from a fancy-schmancy P.R. lady in London who thoughtfully let us know via press release that His Not-Actually-Royal Music Industry Highness Prince put an characteristically lavish estate he owns in Marbella—that's on the Mediterranean coast in the south of Spain for all the geographically challenged—up for sale with an asking price of £4,613,800. (Our currency conversion contraption indicates that amount equals, €5,5,609,420, $7,753,080 or 15,973 Bitcoins.)

So goes the story as told in the press release, Mister Prince originally acquired the hill topping estate in 1998 as a wedding gift for his then wife, Mayte Garcia. Their intertwined monograms appear throughout the property, which may or may not thrill the next owner, and there is an "enormous portrait of the couple in the main hall." (That isn't something everyone wants prominently displayed in their foyer, a posed portrait of Prince and his first wife? No?) The press release goes on to say that after the sudden death of his week-old son and the subsequent breakdown of his marriage, Mister Prince, "resolved never to set foot in the house again." Miz Mayte, on the other hand, apparently made "occasional use of it at weekends."*

Online listing details show the two-story, flesh-toned and marble balustraded villa sits down a long private drive on a 5,900 square meter parcel—that's about 1.46 acres as per Your Mama's rudimentary tabulations—west of Marbella in the wealthy hills of El Paraíso. (A smokey-voice real estate agent gives a video tour of the property here.)

There are a total of six bedrooms and six bathrooms, according to online marketing materials, including five guest bedrooms and an unrevealed number of bathrooms on the upper level. The celebrity-sized master suite—not pictured in listing photos we perused—sprawls across two levels and is entered through what listing details rather curiously call a "fantasy door." That's right, a fantasy door. There's a canopied bed with—as one might imagine—a lurid and achingly cliche mirrored ceiling and the bathroom—at least we think it's the master bathroom—is sheathed floor and walls with a grey-veined blush pink marble. The bathroom is way too showy for Your Mama's far less glitzy personal taste in crapper day-core, but the color and veining of that marble is kind of special. Anyways...

There are, as per listing details, lustrous marble floors and air conditioning throughout the main floor living spaces that include a pretty nearly histrionic, many-sided double-height entrance hall—it could have eight or even ten sides, we can't quite tell—that features a double staircase with marble balustrades and what appears to be a bridge that traverses the voluminous space.

A series of tall, arched French doors in the sunny and glitzy formal dining room and the (unfortunately also flesh-toned) formal living room as well as the adjoining breakfast room open to large terraces with panoramic views that sweep over hills and valleys to the shimmery blue of the Mediterranean in the distance. The almost clinically unadorned kitchen looks fully Euro-contemporary with a rigorously adhered to white and crimson color scheme, glossy cabinets with nary a pull to be seen, and high-grade stainless steel appliances.

The entire property is ringed by a high wall and a dense row of cypress trees and is fitted and kitted with a comprehensive security system that includes both outdoor and indoor surveillance cameras because, children, Prince don't fool around when it comes to security, even at a residence he swore never to step foot in again. Other luxuries and amenities include a dedicated security room, a generator, water tanks, irrigation system, private water well, an elaborate lighting program both indoors and out, and, somewhere up in there, a two-chair hair and make-up salon.

The landscaped grounds include roomy, balustraded terraces that overlook a heated swimming pool, a palm dotted gentle slope of well watered lawn, and an open-air cabana tucked into a shady spot at the edge of the yard. Listing details also call out a tennis court but this property gossip would probably vomit with flabbergast to learn Mister Prince actually used the damn thing to play tennis. What, pray tell, does a marvelously theatrical creature like Prince wear to play tennis? Custom-made high-heeled sneakers and a deep purple, self-wicking chador?

Mister Prince has probably owned a number of glammy residences all over the globe but he makes his home in the affluent suburbs of Minneapolis, MN. In Chanhassen he owns a couple of adjoining lake-front parcels where there was once a purple house called Purple House where some say his father lived and that was razed in 2003. He owns another couple of adjacent parcels in Chanhassen where a house once stood and also appears to have been razed. Also in his property portfolio, a modest house on a leafy street in Chanhassen, the famous Paisley Park Studio complex (also in Chanhassen) plus a couple more fairly humble houses on the western edge of Minneapolis proper.

*Something about that timeline just doesn't seem quite right since Mister Prince and Miz Mayte were married in 1996, their infant son—may he rest in peace—died in 1996, and they announced their divorce in 1998, the same year the press release says he purchased the place as a wedding present. But anyways...

listing photos:

Catherine Deneuve to Sell (Honest-to-Goodness) French Chateau

SELLER: Catherine Deneuve
LOCATION: near Guainville, France
PRICE: €3,990,000
SIZE: about 13,000 square feet, 10 bedrooms, unknown bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Some of y'all may have already read on Luxuo or Habitually Chic or Domaine or Curbed that enigmatic French actress Catherine Deneuve hoisted her Directoire-style late 18th-century chateau near Guainville, about 75 kilometers west of Paris—that's about 47 miles for all us metric system eschewing Americans—up for sale with an official prix of €3,990,000. (A quick consult with Your Mama's handy-dandy currency conversion contraption shows that equals 5,506,400 U.S. dollars at today's rates and 11,255.94 Bitcoins.)

Your Mama can't resist having a go at Miz Devenuve's chateau because this, buckeroos and pussy willows, this ain't one of those frustratingly ubiquitous, crazy ass faux-chateaus we're always dissin' and discussin' around here. Chateau de Primard is the real damn deal. This is how one does a French chateau, children, and some of those people in Beverly Park (and elsewhere) ought to take note.

Digital listings reveal the sublimey patinated chateau, about an hour from the Arc de Triomphe says one listing, was given a (probably insensitive) overhaul in the 1960s but has since "undergone significant restoration" of the chateau's "original character." Inside, the rooms appear generously proportioned without being vulgar and, although a bit dowdy here and there, we are certain Your Mama's Euro-centric and eagle-eyed chum Adrienne The Greek would swoon dramatically for the original floor tiles and emphatically affirm the un-fussy day-core as "absolutely correct," and/or "just as it should be." What need, after all, does a cinema icon like Catherine Deneuve have to try to impress with, say, a perfectly calibrated multi-million dollar overhaul spearheaded by famously autocratic architect Thierry Despont or a quintessentially and chicly Frenchified decorative scheme by Jacque Grange? That's right, none is the answer to that question.

Current digitally accessible marketing materials show the dignified and essentially symmetrical, four floor edifice sits on about 18 hectares—about 44 acres—up against the Eure river and contains a total of 1,200 square meters, somewhere right around 13,000 square feet. Ground floor living and reception spaces include a large sitting room, a sitting room-boudoir—whatever that is, a library, formal dining room, and a 50 square meter—about 540 square feet—kitchen.

On the second floor—more commonly known to Europeans (and others) as the first floor—encompasses a 700-ish square foot master suite, two more guest/family bedrooms with a shared bathroom, an additional guest suite, and an "annex bedroom, whatever that is.

There's a second, approximately 700 square foot master suite on the third floor plus two children's bedrooms, another guest suite, laundry facilities, and a "bathroom and a restroom," whatever that means. Listing details also mention something called a "70 m2 sauna suite." Your Mama's just gonna assume that means a 750-ish square foot health and wellness suite complete with massage treatment space, fitness facilities, maybe a mani-pedi station and/or a built-in hair washing bowl, and, of course, a sauna. Tucked up into the eaves in the "Beautifully converted" attic there's a "relaxation room," whatever that is, and a "home cinema."

The grounds, redesigned by celebrated landscape architect Jacques Witz, include sculpted hedges and trees, vast lawns, and stone terraces. Somewhere there's some sort of farm component or petting zoo because listing photos include one of a group of farm animals, a couple of sheep, some goats, what looks like a miniature horse or pony, and a cute little big-eared ass. Next to the rectangular swimming pool that's sunk simply into a hedge-girdled patch of lawn below the house is a colorful statue of Homer and Marge Simpson sitting on a sofa. Well, children, we're not sure we can totally support that particular eccentricity but we live, hunties, for an unexpected and funny-freaky flash of any homeowner's unfettered individuality on display in such a loud and proud way. Does that even make sense?

We have no idea what Miz Deneuve's future real estate plans hold so let's digress for a moment, shall we? One of Your Mama's favorite and very probably not true stories about Miz Deneuve has nothing to do with real estate. Ages ago, back in the late 1900s, Your Mama and our charmingly loose cannon bestie Fiona Trambeau flew steerage to London to visit Fiona's cousin—let's call him Mister Crownfallsout, and his life-long man-friend who we'll call him Freddy Fussbudget even though he really doesn't figure much into the story.

After a thrilling week in London doing all the things one does in London and getting completely turned around on the Tube more times than we'd ever confess, Your Mama, Fiona and Mister Crownfallsout hopped on the Chunnel for a few days in Paris. It wasn't our first time on the Chunnel, thank you very much, but it's a feat of derring-do that never fails to impress this jaded property gossip.

Anyways, one cool February evening in Paris—it was cool and it was February—we haphazardly landed in a street-side cafe in the over-so-trendy Marais where we proceeded to tipple more than a few back. Mister Crownfallsout, a never ending fountain of arcane (and very probably not true) details about the lives of famous and not famous people, swore on his next door neighbor's dog that Catherine Deneuve, already then a woman of a certain age, looked so damn good because she has gold filament running throughout her face. Whenever her this sags a little or her that gets to drooping she—or her physician or whomever—simply roots around in her hair until they locate the necessary filament and give it wee twist at its end. Voilá! Up go the fallen ramparts of Miz Deneuve's face.

It's horrible and probably enough to send a person to hell but, needless to say, we thought we'd died. Fiona spit up her escargot. She did! Who had ever heard of such a thing? Not us, at least. Of course we have no way of knowing if it's true but the beauty of the thing is that as outrageous as it sounds it's totally plausible in a Brazil sort of way.* Beauty—or "beauty" if you prefer—is such and ugly business, isn't it? But anyways, there we go digressing into a booze-fueled nostalgia.

*If any of y'all didn't understand that reference to the dystopian masterpiece Brazil, you're probably young enough to be Your Mama's grandbaby.

exterior listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty
interior listing photos: Winkworth

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mid-Week Pick Up Sticks: Akon

We first heard about it from the fellow at the always well-researched San Fernando Valley Blog but it was celebrity gossip juggernaut TMZ who revealed a couple weeks ago already—and Your Mama completely missed it—that uni-named R&B/hip hop entertainer and producer Akon dropped $1,950,000 for a concrete and glass contemporary in the sort of unlikely and hot as Hades Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills.

Listing details show the 4,028 square foot two-story house was built in 2004 on nearly half an acre with five bedrooms and six bathrooms. At the time Mister Akon purchased the modern-minded residence there were smooth concrete floors throughout the main floor living spaces—most or all of the bedrooms appear to have been carpeted—with a high-ceilinged and sky-lit open plan living/dining area with built-in wet bar, a roomy family room, and an industrial-inspired center island kitchen with commercial-grade appliances.

Akon—born in St. Louis, MO, of Senegalese ancestry with the stunningly lengthy birth name Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Bongo Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiampaid—quickly brought in a team to transform the suburban residence into a series of Miami Beach-y boutique hotel lounge-like spaces melodramatically bathed wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling in overlapping layers of blue and purple light.

Mister Akon unveiled the newly rehabbed house in all it's nightclubby—ahem—glory when he hosted his own 40th birthday bash there a few weeks ago and those wily gossip hounds at TMZ managed to get a hold of some post-reno photos. And, children, y'all should listen to Your Mama and go have a look-see at Akon's vision of luxury living. Gurrrl, please. It's all very swah-vay and Las Vegas libidinous—right there in sleepy Woodland Hills!—but, Lowerd have mercy, children, do some people really want to live up in a goddamn VIP section of a nightclub? Not this property gossip, thank you very much.

The tiger-owning R&B/hip hop entertainer and producer appears to be a neophyte real estate baller and owns, according to the always informative and well-researched San Fernando Vally Blog and The Bizzy Boys at Celebrity Address Aerial, at least four or five houses in the Atlanta area. They include a faux-quoined mansion in Alpharetta on 4.6 acres bought in early 2008 for $1,65 million and a big (ugly and ostentatious) 15,000 square foot mansion on 13 acres (above) with 10 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms in Sandy Springs, GA, that was purchased in February 2007 for $2,685,000

listing photos (Woodland Hills): Rodeo Realty
aerial image (Alpharetta): Bing

Mid-Week Pick Up Sticks: Eva Mendes

The long-legged blonde gal at Trulia Luxe Living let all us celebrity real estate watchers and gossips know that drop-dead gorgeous actress Eva Mendes sold her starter home just above L.A.'s Sunset Strip for $1,278,630, $9,630 over the asking price.

Moletastic Miss Mendes—who may or may not be engaged to drop-dead gorgeous actor Ryan Gosling—purchased the house with her former man-mate, George Gargurevich, for $584,000 in late 2002. (They split in 2010.)

Listing details show the 1,732 square foot hillside house—the long-legged lady at Trulia Luxe Living called it a "dramatic and downright funky Mid Century home"—has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. There are glittery city views, walls of glass, and several decks that allow for an easy-breezy, classically SoCal indoor-outdoor lifestyle. There's a half-sunken 1970s-style hot tub and built-in banquette seating on the main, lower level deck. Somewhere there's a tiny, raised planter garden area and, below the main deck, a fully secured and very on-trend chicken run.

We're not sure exactly who occupied this house the last few years—Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Bueller—but Your Mama's research on the internets indicates Miz Mendes or maybe Mister Gargurevich decamped long ago to a much more impressive and celebrity pedigreed 1920s Mediterranean villa in the Los Feliz area that was purchased in April 2008 for $3,219,000 and previously owned or occupied according to The Movieland Directory by Red Hot Chili Pepper Chad Smith, comedic actor Paul Rudd,* and Jules Asner, wife of Steven Soderbergh. Listing details from the time of the purchase show the gated and high-hedged property has a 3,779 square foot residence with four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a swimming pool, and a celebrity-style screening room.

*Some online resources indicate the Los Feliz property in question was purchased in 2008 by Paul Rudd and that would make him the current owner since 2008 was the last time the property changed hands. And maybe he does own it. We're honestly not quite sure at this point but we're working on that. We do have access to digital resources that say Miz Mendes owns the home and, as was noted by the long-legged gal at Trulia Luxe Living, Mister Gosling was recently photographed smiling and peeking over the gate and one of Your Mama's better connected sources, Mirakle Mike, told us Miz Mendes has lived in the Los Feliz house in question for quite some time. Make of all that what you will.

listing photos: Nourmand & Associates