After nearly four decades of high luxury bunking in L.A.’s swank Benedict Canyon — with his model wife Sharon Tweed, of course — tongue-waggling Kiss bassist Gene Simmons is looking to rock out of his custom-built mansion, which has been set out for sale with an attention-grabbing $22 million pricetag. As was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, the couple are leaving California behind, having relocated to a 24-acre spread near Washington State’s majestic Mount Rainier.
Simmons and Tweed began house-shopping together shortly after they met at a party at the Playboy Mansion in 1983. At the time of their introduction, Tweed was still dating Hugh Hefner, but the long-lasting couple hit it off right away. They bought the land in 1984 for just $1.35 million, subsequently spending about five years and as much as $12 million transforming the estate into the rock star-approved extravaganza that it is today. Fans of the iconic rocker will recognize the house as the setting for the provocatively named A&E channel reality TV show “Gene Simmons Family Jewels” that ran from 2006 to 2012.
Located on a 1.84-acre lot high up in the mansion-packed mountains above Beverly Hills, the huge residence is totally invisible from the street and sequestered behind an imposing brick wall and wooden gate. A long, winding driveway swoops up to a huge motor court and the estate’s multiple garages. Marketing materials indicate there is off-street parking for nearly three-dozen cars. Covered in a smooth tan stucco atop of base of rough-cut stone walls, the showy three-story manse measures in at about 16,000 square feet with seven bedrooms and seven full and two half bathrooms.
Inside the home’s glassy front French door, guests will be immediately dazzled by the dramatic rotunda-like grand foyer that features buttercup-yellow damask wall coverings, an inlaid compass in the wood floor and a gracefully curved staircase that leads up to the second floor. The downright cavernous formal living room has towering 30-foot tall ceilings and a soaring window that stretches from the floor to ceiling. A fireplace anchors one end of the voluminous room that is overlooked by a second-floor gallery. Entered via a series of arched doorways, the dining room seats eight at a round table under a glitzy crystal chandelier and spills out to the gardens through French doors festooned with opulent drapery. And, for the vino that might accompany any meals, the house also has a wine cellar.
The gourmet kitchen is spacious and delightfully cheery with pale-yellow walls, white cabinets and tan-colored granite countertops. A bi-level bar divides the kitchen from a plushly appointed family room that sports a show-stopping coffered ceiling, a simple stone fireplace and a trio of full-height arched French doors that lead to a grassy courtyard garden. Elsewhere, the home includes a posh library and a billiards/games room.
The estate’s seven bedrooms are scattered throughout the mansion. Two of the bedrooms feature vaulted ceilings, hardwood flooring and huge windows that let in plenty of natural light. Several bedrooms also have wrought iron accented terraces that look out over the grounds.
Decoratively speaking, the residence is surprisingly tame for a larger-than-life rock star like Simmons, but it does have three entire rooms devoted to Kiss memorabilia — everything from Kiss-brand “condoms to caskets”, with one of the rooms, strangely enough, dedicated to Hello Kitty and Kiss crossover merch. Sorry old-school Kiss fans, the memorabilia is not included with the sale of the home.
Outside, the park-like grounds of the stately property have been meticulously landscaped and carefully maintained with mature trees that were brought in via a flatbed truck. A kidney-shaped swimming pool set into a sun-dappled clearing is replete with a 60-foot-long waterslide, and there’s a lighted tennis court discreetly nestled amongst trees near the entry gates.
Some of the surrounding estates are owned by Hollywood denizens like Kate Upton, Vin Diesel and John Mayer, who bought his place a couple years ago for $13.4 million from from Adam Levine, and the nabe’s newest A-List residents are Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden who have recently ponied up $14.7 million for a stylishly redone estate nearby.
The listing is held by Joshua Altman and Matthew Altman of The Altman Brothers at Douglas Elliman. Earlier this year, Simmons also put a much smaller home in L.A.’s Laurel Canyon area on the market for $2.2 million. Formerly occupied by his adult children, Sophie Tweed-Simmons and Nick Simmons — who have upgraded to a larger home elsewhere in the hills — that place has since been re-priced at $1.9 million.