James Franco’s former Chateau Marmont villa pops up for sale

Everyone in LA loves the Chateau Marmont hotel. The idiosyncratic Sunset Strip hotspot has been a favorite celeb hangout for decades — and the 1929 structure is listed as a Historic-Cultural Monument. Until recently, the hotel’s own website boasted a quote from Columbia Pictures founder Harry Cohn: “If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont.”

Some of the Chateau’s happenings are legendary — Lindsay Lohan was banned from the premises over an unpaid $46k hotel bill, John Belushi overdosed in his room, and Britney Spears got the boot for smearing food all over her face. And that’s just the stuff we know about! Ah, if only those walls could talk.

Chateau Marmont – looming over the Sunset Strip

Well, if you’ve always wanted to live the celebrity Chateau lifestyle without the confinement/drawbacks of a pricey hotel suite, you’re in luck. Directly across the street is a celeb-pedigreed villa. While not actually part of the hotel, it quite literally lies in the Chateau’s shadow — you couldn’t live any closer if you tried. And though not publicly listed for sale, the property is offered as a not-so-quiet pocket listing with a $6,995,000 ask. Originally built in 1923, the heavily renovated Tuscan-style abode (described as a “Contemporary Traditional” in the listing) has a marginally interesting history.

In 2006, actor James Franco — Yolanda knows him best for portraying Harry Osborn in Spiderman, but he’s starred in many a Hollywood blockbuster — paid about $2.4 million for the convenient casa. He remodeled the whole place in a chic, trendy manner and reportedly entertained many young women here before selling the premises (in early 2010) to the current owner.

Though set in a rather public location — it’s right under the Chateau and atop the Strip, after all — Mr. Franco’s former villa is remarkably secure, surrounded by high walls and top-notch alarm sensors plus a bevy of security cameras for celeb-style privacy.

Anyway, the current owner — who paid Mr. Franco $3,300,000 in cash for the property — is a mysterious woman named Alba di Angeli. Yolanda has previously written about this enigmatic lady, though we’ve never seen a photo of her and Google references are virtually nonexistent, which is unheard-of for a such a wealthy individual. Yolanda strongly suspects Ms. di Angeli either changed her name at some point or paid big bucks to have the internet scrubbed, which apparently can be done. (Who knew?)

We also suspect there’s a specific reason Ms. di Angeli is being so secretive. But until she puts her cards on the table, we’ll have to keep guessing as to what that is. Or perhaps a kind soul will inform us?

Alba di Angeli’s hubby Johannes Brugger

The only things we know for certain about Ms. di Angeli is that she showed up in California about 10 years ago with loads of cash and is now married to an LA-based personal trainer named Johannes Brugger. But we digress.

Within the snazzy shack are 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms in a roomy 5,215-square-feet of living space, per the listing. Two attached garage spaces lie out front, plus there’s a detached two-car garage and additional off-street parking for another three vehicles ’round back.

A dark-bottomed swimming pool lies just off the southern side of the residence. Although the quarter-acre lot isn’t particularly big, a good-sized lawn (perfect for the doggies!) is squeezed into one corner of the property. There are also mature trees and a surprising number of spacious verandas and patios scattered around the premises, including one with direct views of the entire Chateau, basically.

We mentioned how this home was completely redone by our boy Mr. Franco, and the interiors look mostly unchanged from 2010. However, Ms. di Angeli has made indeed made a small handful of decor tweaks. Most notably, she added a large center island (with bar-style seating) in the kitchen. The shockingly expensive La Cornue range, however, was installed during Mr. Franco’s ownership.

Sophisticated ebonized hardwood floors gleam their way throughout the entire house, and the open-concept floorplan lends each room an airy feeling. Wood-beamed ceilings lend the place some visual warmth. And that living room fireplace — oh my! It looks big enough to heat the entire house.

Ms. di Angeli also added some custom features in the upstairs master suite, including a shiny chrome stripper pole — good for exercise, y’all — a giant Marilyn Monroe painting, and a wee writing desk. The master bath is swaddled in 19th-century marble — likely quarried in some faraway land.

As y’all might expect — given her husband is a personal trainer — Ms. di Angeli also has a large gym on the premises with a convenient massage table for post-workout relaxation. Or relaxation post-arduous shopping trips on the Strip. Did we mention this place is walking distance to all the hottest WeHo spots?

Another cool outdoor feature is a covered cabana-type thing with a full kitchen and space for al fresco dining — an absolute must-have in Southern California. The BBQ will come in handy during star-studded neighborhood get-togethers — this property is located right down the road from the homes of Jimmy Kimmel and Dakota Johnson. Just to name a couple.

Back in 2015, Ms. di Angeli expanded her Sunset Strip holdings with the $2,155,000 cash purchase of the smaller villa next door, which she used as a guesthouse. That place is also available off-market (price undisclosed). So if you’ve always wanted a compound in the Hollywood foothills, here’s your opportunity.

Ms. di Angeli’s two-house compound

Ms. di Angeli is selling her Chateau-adjacent complex because she has already purchased a larger estate elsewhere in Los Angeles. Back in 2016, records show our gurl forked out $7,400,000 (in cash) for a nearly two-acre gated compound in the Studio City hills. The secluded two-house property was purchased from two gentlemen: Emmy-winning screenwriter Joe Keenan (Frasier, Desperate Housewives) and his longtime partner/husband Gerry Bernardi.

For you number crunchers, this sale remains the biggest (or second-biggest?) residential transaction ever recorded in Studio City. In the three years since her acquisition, our Ms. di Angeli has thoroughly renovated the entire estate and recently moved in with Mr. Brugger.

PS — Young ladies, please take heed and don’t go trying to hawk Girl Scout cookies to this couple. Alba di Angeli has hired 24/7 armed security guards to patrol her Studio City compound. Knock on the gate and you may be shot on sight or hauled off to the clink. Or both!

Listing agents: Mauricio Umansky, Eduardo Umansky & Farrah Aldjufrie, The Agency

  1. Dj says:

    I am confused….for 4 yrs johannes was my trainer and while it’s very possible he would marry a very wealthy older woman (both myself and his mother Fay drilled that into him….) I can”t help thinking that maybe yolanda has made a mistake here and his father Johannes Brugger sr maybe is married here? Although I did pull up that johannes jr divorced his wife (who I introduced him to at the gym )

    1. Peter says:

      I also knew Johannas. Wish i knew more. We were great friends. Lost track after the Price is right thing. Miss ya brother!

      Pete Luke

  2. Sandy Santa Monica says:

    Any place that looks like I might find William Holden floating in the pool is going to rate high with me (especially on Sunset). I can understand why it wouldn’t be for everyone, but I love old Hollywood, and yes, I love this house.

  3. Jayne Mansfield II says:

    Hey, I know this house! Yes it’s literally ten steps away from the chateau. But I had no idea that James Franco owned it, or that he sold it to the weird lady. The insides aren’t what I imagined but still fab! Betcha a celebrity buys it. Angelyne? xx

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