An elegant traditional estate conveniently sited in the Hollywood foothills just above the iconic Sunset Strip recently traded hands for nearly $9.2 million. Originally built in the late 1930s, the house was sold by tech tycoon Sean Rad, co-founder of juggernaut dating app Tinder, and acquired by exceptionally prolific songwriter/record producer Benny Blanco.
Blanco may not be an international household name in the vein of John Lennon or Bruce Springsteen, but the 31-year-old Virginia native has arguably contributed more to contemporary pop music than just about anyone else. Over the course of his 12-year career, 27 songs written or co-written by Blanco have hit top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, among them “Señorita,” by Shawn Mendes and Camilla Cabello, “Love Yourself,” by Justin Bieber, “Teenage Dream,” by Katy Perry, “Don’t Wanna Know,” by Maroon5 and “Die Young” by Ke$ha. For those smashes, and many more, Blanco has received BMI’s Songwriter of the Year award on five separate occasions and has been nominated for seven Grammys.
It’s not particularly surprising that Blanco would be in the mood for a significant residential upgrade. Last year, 93 songs from his extensive catalog were acquired by the publicly-traded Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited for an undisclosed — but doubtless substantial — amount.
The formerly Rad-owned Hollywood estate includes a four-bedroom main house with about 5,000 square feet of living space, plus a wee detached guest studio, all on a flat lot that spans just over a third of an acre. Tucked privately behind gates and tall hedges, there’s a substantial motorcourt with pleasingly crunch pea-gravel but no garage.
Completely covered by a thick layer of vines, the two-story house offers formal living and dining rooms with leaded glass windows, hardwood floors throughout, a wine cellar and huge chef’s kitchen with top-of-the-line designer appliances. There’s also a media room, multiple sets of French doors leading to the gardens, and downstair’s maids quarters.
Upstairs are two guest bedrooms — both of them ensuite — plus the master suite, which has its own substantial wing with an office, a boutique-style walk-in closet, and a sumptuous bathroom with soaking tub and marble everywhere.
Towering hedges gift the backyard with a wondrously private, park-like feel. A substantial lawn sweeps around the rectangular swimming pool, and a trellis-covered area has ample space for alfresco dining. The detached guesthouse — it’s actually a converted two-car garage — offers one large room with a kitchenette and a bathroom.
Rad and his partner Lizzie Grover have moved just up the road, to a $24 million, brand-new compound they bought from high-end real estate broker Kurt Rappaport. They also continue to maintain a historic ranch in Montecito, Calif., that Rad bought from Ellen DeGeneres and Portia di Rossi back in 2016.
As for Blanco, the budding real estate baller owns at least four other multimillion-dollar homes. In L.A., his main residence is a renovated mini-compound in a prime neighborhood cranny of West Hollywood, purchased for $2.13 million in 2015. But he’s also got another house elsewhere in WeHo, a bungalow-style abode that he picked up last year for $2.34 million.
Back in fall 2018, Blanco coughed up $4.4 million for a modest — if still inordinately pricey — oceanfront home along Malibu’s Las Flores beach. And he still holds the deed to a condo in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood that he acquired in 2011 for just under $3.5 million.
Jason Oppenheim and Mary Fitzgerald of The Oppenheim Group held the listing; Branden & Rayni Williams of Hilton & Hyland repped Blanco.