Perhaps inspired and emboldened by Angelina Jolie’s record setting $24.5 million purchase of the multi-acre Cecil B. DeMille estate in the gated and heavily celebrified Laughlin Park enclave in Los Angeles’s ever-more expensive Los Feliz area last year, five-time Grammy nominated multi-platinum entertainer Michael Feinstein, former assistant to Ira Gershwin and self-styled “Ambassador of The Great American Songbook,” seeks to set a new neighborhood record with the gutsy, publicity assuring $26 million price tag he’s hung on his opulently appointed longtime residence less than a mile away in the well-to-do Los Feliz foothills just below The Griffith Park Observatory.
Set nicely above the street on a half-acre corner parcel at the head of a double-gated horseshoe drive where it enjoys an over-the-treetops city lights view and yet is almost entirely obscured behind a high brick wall, imposing iron gates and a riot of trees and foliage, the 15,391-square-foot, 1926 Tudor Revival mansion, which served as the Russian Consulate from 1935 to the early 1950s, has been owned by Feinstein and his husband Terrence Flannery since early 1998 when they scooped it up for $2.1 million. Marketing materials indicate there are five ample en suite guest bedrooms with “cinematic vistas” plus a sumptuous master suite that occupies nearly half of the home’s second floor as well as an attached guesthouse or staff apartment with private entrance.
Carefully preserved architectural details can be found throughout the lavishly embellished mansion’s baronially proportioned and fussily decorated living and entertaining spaces where the well-connected couple has hosted and toasted a slew of famous friends who include Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Joan Collins and Gregory Peck. The double height foyer features an inlaid parquet floor and carved wood staircase; A ballroom-sized formal living room is anchored by an ornately carved wood mantelpiece under a solid wood coffered ceiling; The formal dining room is wrapped in antique wood paneling; And a study/library is warmed by a corner fireplace. Additional creature comforts and luxuries contained in the mansions three floors include a kitchen that will comfortably accommodate a private chef, a skylight topped sunroom, a movie theater, a gym, a climate-controlled wine cellar, a recording studio and an archival grade storage space for Feinstein’s scores of scores, tapes and manuscripts.
Several of the principal rooms on the main floor open through French doors to an expansive, prairie-sized red brick terrace, part of which is shaded by a couple of cantilevered awnings, and the mini-estate’s verdant grounds include slightly but pleasantly unkempt formal gardens at the front and an arguably petite but desirably flat and grassy side- and backyard where there’s a scallop-edged swimming pool and spa.
Feinstein and Flannery plan to decamp their unquestionably grand Los Feliz mansion, where they married in a 2008 ceremony officiated by Judge Judy Sheindlin with performances by Liza Minnelli and Barry Manilow, to a substantially larger and even more palatial mansion they scooped up earlier this year for $7 million in a particularly posh pocket of Pasadena, Calif., where Feinstein serves as the Principal Pops Conductor for the Pasadena Symphony.
The imposingly imperial, 19,970-square-foot mansard-roofed chateau-style mansion, constructed with steel reinforced concrete faced with a red brick veneer and topped by a Vermont slate tile roof, sits behind gates on 1.51-acres and is known as the Cravens Estate after its original owners, tobacco heiress Mildred Myers and John S. Cravens, president of the Edison Electric Company, who commissioned the 50-room behemoth from San Francisco based architect Lewis P. Hobart, also the architect of the gorgeously flamboyant French Gothic Grace Cathedral atop San Francisco’s nabob-y Nob Hill. Built in the late 1920s by the P.J. Walker Company, also the builder of the famed Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, and for decades after the most expensive house ever built in Pasadena when it was completed in 1930, the massive manse came to be owned by industrialist and bakery owner Simon G. Zervos who donated it in 1962 to the Red Cross who maintained the estate as offices for the next 55 years.
Declared a Cultural Heritage Landmark in 1971 and used for the 2010 Pasadena Showcase House of Design, the mansion features extraordinary murals by painter Ernest Pexiotto in the foyer along with a capacious, pine paneled living room with floor-to-ceiling arched windows doors. The dining room has classically elegant black and white checkerboard marble flooring and there’s also a lattice-walled solarium, an unexpectedly modern, updated eat-in kitchen and a wrought iron railed stone staircase that sweeps up to the upper floor under a massive circular skylight. The grounds will require extensive landscaping — it’s currently covered in a lot of black-topped parking lots — and Feinstein told The Wall Street Journal he only agreed to move to the Pasadena mansion if Flannery assured him the house could and would be renovated to include everything he wanted including a meditation room and extensive archive space in the basement to store his vast cache of ‘”scores, tapes and other ephemera.’”
Feinstein and Flannery, who make their primary home in Carmel, Indiana, where Feinstein serves as the Artistic Director of The Center for the Performing Arts, sold their decadently dressed double-wide townhouse on a notably tony block of New York City’s Upper East Side last year for $15.22 million — they’d acquired the side-by-side townhouses in 2004 and 2005 for a combined $6.8 million — and the couple additionally maintain a nearly 50-acre working farm and getaway in the rugged mountains above Carpinteria, Calif., they bought in two transactions, the first in 2013 and the second in 2015, for a total of $5.4 million. The low-slung contemporary residence, which at the time of their purchase was configured with four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms in 4,445-square-feet, sits on a high hill with panoramic mountain, valley and ocean views.
listing photos (Los Feliz): Douglas Elliman Real Estate and Keller Williams
listing photos: (Pasadena): Sotheby’s International Realty