A lot of wealthy folks still seem to be under outdated, preconceived notions about the Hancock Park/Windsor Square neighborhoods of Los Angeles. They say there’s too much traffic, there’s too much crime, people there are too stodgy and blue-blooded and old money.
Which is all a bit of a shame because the area is actually highly diverse — more so than most other pricey LA enclaves — and increasingly youthful. And the houses are historic and often quite beautiful. And there’s really no more crime than, say, in the Hollywood Hills. Come on now. But still the stigma persists.
But a change, it is a-comin’. Folks are slowly beginning to realize the residential treasures that the area holds. A tanker load of new money has flooded the historic homes and thus prices are skyrocketin’ right quick. One textbook example is former Beverly Hills residents Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos and his wife Nicole Avant, who made jaws drop back in 2014 when they rudely slapped down a record-busting $15,947,000 for the Hancock Park residence of Melanie Griffith & Antonio Banderas.
Kat Von D, Holly Madison, Shonda Rhimes, George Takei, Damon Wayans, Kathy Bates, and Ozzy & Sharon Osbourne all own massive mansions in the centrally-located neighborhood. Most of those folks are the exact opposite of blue bloods, wouldn’t y’all say?
Here’s another example. Only two years ago (January 2015) a stately but stale 1917 mansion sold for $3,850,00 to a flipper/developer who waved his magic modern wand over the property and sold it just a few days ago for an impressive $8,000,000.
The buyers are shielded behind a blind trust, but Yolanda happens to know that they are veteran TV actress JoAnna Garcia and her pro baseball player hubby Nick Swisher. A close examination of property records reveals that the house may technically be owned solely by Ms. Garcia, but for the sake of simplicity and since we ain’t privy to their financial arrangements we’re just gonna say it was both Mr. Swisher and Ms. Garcia who forked out the big bucks.
Our Ms. Garcia — a Florida native — has been bouncing around Hollywood for over 20 years and has popped up in many wonderful films and TV shows. Mostly TV shows.
Per our good friend Mr. Wiki Pedia, Ms. Garcia’s best-known small screen roles are as Sam in Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Cheyenne Hart-Montgomery on Reba. But she’s also starred in many projects of a more current nature, such as in Privileged (2008–09), Better with You (2010–11), Animal Practice (2012), Once Upon a Time (2013–present) and The Astronaut Wives Club (2015).
We can’t say we’ve ever heard of Mr. Swisher before, but according to our friend Mr. Pedia, he’s playing in Major League Baseball since 2004 for a whole bunch of teams: the Oakland Athletics, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, and Atlanta Braves. He even won the 2009 World Series with the Yankees and was an All-Star in 2010. At one point Mr. Swisher even had a $70 million contract with the Indians. So suffice to say he’s a pretty big deal.
The Traditional-style house has the flair of an Italian villa! Or maybe that’s just Yolanda’s liquid lunch talking. Either way, the exterior is festooned with all sorts of delicious architecutral doodads. The double front door opens to a vaulted entrance hall that continues into a step-down great room and — in a distinctly modern manner — also provides a clear view of the backyard through the glass rear wall.
Separate corridors off the main entrance hall lead to various other rooms, like the formal living and family rooms. The wide-plank oak flooring motif continues throughout the main floor.
The great room features a flat screen TV and another fireplace (Yolanda counts at least three on the first level). Sets of glass-paned doors dramatically bring the outdoors right inside and vice versa. Somewhere on the ground floor there’s a wine room with tasting table and spotlights to bring the vintage into clear view for boozy eyes. How thoughtful!
Also conveniently located off the main entrance hall is the formal dining room and the gourmet kitchen. Naturally, the massive center island is slathered in Calacatta marble (although the listing says Calcutta, so maybe the marble is actually from India? Hmm.) All the appliances are high-end and the backsplash is that trendy white brick.
The staircase sports an interesting chandelier overhead — multiple blown glass round globes of different sizes. Looks like something Jeff Koons might dream up. Yolanda’s not an expert in chandeliers, so we don’t know who was responsible for this piece, but we like it. And y’all can be assured it costs more than the new Caddy sitting in our driveway.
The master suite has yet another fireplace in the bedroom. Dual bathrooms have have walk-in showers and soaking tubs. Walls in his bathroom get a cool wood treatment, while hers is saddled with the ubiquitous Calacatta or Carrara marble. If this were our house, Yolanda would make her man trade her, for sure. Including the master suite, there are a total of 6 bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms.
The backyard isn’t huge (remember, the property is only .41-acre), but it has numerous amenities including an outdoor dining table with plenty of grub space, a firepit, and an outdoor family room with a fireplace. There’s even a dirt trough for bocce ball games!
A bit bizarre is that built-in flatscreen TV, which is certainly great for parties. But what happens when it rains? Ain’t it bad for the screen or something?
And that pizza oven reminds us of the LIN Demolitionmech from the Star Wars universe.
In any case, the house is located in a fabulous neighborhood in the middle of LA. Thus, it’s perfect for entertaining and the developer/flipper clearly kept that in mind during the renovation/expansion process. We love the house.
Another thing we love is how elaborate the marketing for these high-end homes has become. Regular old photos or even drone footage just doesn’t cut it anymore. The agent for this property actually filmed a mini-movie starring this house. There are “actors” and even a “storyline” that features a young family (dad, mom, kids). They come home, do family stuff and then grandma and even the family golden retriever helps the kids prepare a surprise anniversary dinner for their parents. Cute.
It’s certainly somethin’, ain’t it? In any case, we must give kudos to the real estate agent. The house sold for just 5% under the original ask, which is pretty damn good.
Anyway, this ain’t Ms. Garcia’s first time at the wild real estate rodeo. Way back in 2006, long before she hitched her wagon to Mr. Swisher’s donkey, Ms. Garcia paid $2,395,000 for a bachelorette pad located on a celeb-friendly street located just above the world-famous Sunset Strip. Not that it really matters to her fat pocketbook, but Ms. Garcia took a $101,000 loss on the property when she sold it last year (July 2016) for $2,294,000 to a non-celebrity couple.
Mr. Swisher is similarly unlucky with real estate — last year he attempted (and failed) to sell his penthouse bachelor pad in Scottsdale, Arizona for $1,849,000. That price happens to be nearly $440,000 less than what he paid for the place back in 2008. Gulp.
As of right now, Mr. Swisher has his unused luxury unit currently available for lease at $6,000 per month.
Mr. Swisher also owns a 7,124-square-foot, 5-bed/9-bath mcmansion that just happens to be located in Ms. Garcia’s hometown of Tampa, Florida. The corner lot house, which sits just across the street from Chapman Lake, was acquired for $2,957,500 back in June of 2010.
Listing agent: H. Blair Chang, The Agency
Ms. Garcia & Mr. Swisher’s agent: Alex Brunkhorst, The Agency