Though real estate prices on the Eastside of Los Angeles cannot compare to the eye-popping figures we see on the Westside, the area is nonetheless sizzlin’ hot in a way that would have been unfathomable a few years ago. Stoking that fire, perhaps, is the fact that many celebs — particularly younger celebs — are eschewing their traditional haunts way out west and migrating in droves ever further east.
In fact, since famous folks almost always use blind trusts to purchase property here in LA, Yolanda can tell y’all where we see the most celebrity purchases. The vast majority of celebs are setting down roots in either the San Fernando Valley or the Eastside (Beachwood Canyon, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and so forth). Pretty amazing since many of those neighborhoods were near the height of undesirability only a decade or so ago.
And high-profile peeps keep pushing the boundaries, too. Just a couple weeks ago, a “private creative oasis” in the still-somewhat-gritty-yet-rapidly-gentrifying Echo Park neighborhood sold for exactly $2,000,000 in an all-cash deal. The sale is one of the highest on record for the area, and there was a fierce bidding war over the property: the new owner paid $405,000 more than the asking price. And the buyer, of course, was a mysterious blind trust.
For reference, the most expensive transaction ever recorded in Echo Park went down last year for $2,275,000.
Yolanda quickly launched an investigation and we discovered that the proud new owner of the recently-sold $2 million house is none other than model and current It-Girl Emily Ratajkowski.
Born in London but raised primarily in San Diego, the now 26-year-old Ms. Ratajkowski first came to attention in 2012 when she posed fully nude for the cover of Treats! magazine, an “artistic erotica” publication. That photo attracted the attention of Robin Thicke, who offered her an unsolicited starring role in the 2013 music video for his controversial (but mega-successful) “Blurred Lines” hit. Though the video engendered controversy with its purportedly misogynistic content, it is responsible for Ms. Ratajkowski becoming the star she is today. And y’all should already know that a spoonful of controversy and a dash of sex appeal can actually be the perfect recipe and launch pad for a career.
In the past five years, homegurl has walked runways at some of the biggest international fashion shows. She has become the spokesperson for major global brands such as DKNY, The Frye Company, Kerastase and DL1961. She showed off her acting chops in the hit 2014 film Gone Girl, and in a Buick Super Bowl commercial during Super Bowl 50. And, of course, she is now the subject of millions of teenage boys’ fantasies, thanks to her multiple Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue appearances (in addition to her myriad other scantily-clad photoshoots and magazine covers). Plus she boasts a whopping 17.5 million followers on the Instagram contraption.
Lest we forget, Ms. Ratajkowski shocked the world when — in late February (2018) — she wed her boyfriend Sebastian Bear-McClard after a whirlwind romance of a few weeks. Yolanda knows very little about Mr. Bear-McClard’s background, but we can tell y’all that it does not appear he financially contributed to this home purchase. The property was acquired through a trust created by Ms. Ratajkowski prior to their relationship, and she had been looking for a home in this price range for months prior to this transaction.
Anywho, to give y’all an idea of how much Echo Park prices have jumped over the past few years, the seller of this property — indie musician Blake Sennett — paid just $335,000 for this place back in early 2010. Imagine that! Our gurl Ms. Ratajkowski just paid him six times what he shelled out for this house eight year ago. And while Mr. Sennett changed up the home’s interior decor and features, he did not alter the structure itself. Ka-ching!
The oddball post and beam mini-compound consists of two separate structures connected by a breezeway. The first is a 1,022-square-foot, two-story “main house” with 2 beds and 2 baths; the other is a tiny 360-square-foot “spare cottage” with one full bathroom and space for a potential third bedroom, a studio, or a gym.
A careful examination of records reveals that the “spare cottage” was built long before the main house — 1946 versus 1963. Since the cottage was not originally configured with a bedroom, Yolanda would guess that this property originally served as some sort of recording studio or storage facility before being converted into a residence in the 1960s.
There does not appear to be a garage on the hillside property, but the listing claims off-street parking for up to three vehicles. A wooden fence and a rolling electronic gate surround the .15-acre lot.
Inside the main house are vaulted ceilings and a 15-foot brick fireplace in the living room. The kitchen has a unique plywood cabinetry and a slim plywood island, plus on-brand stainless appliances. The upstairs living spaces include the master suite and a loft/den area. For its part, the spare cottage is all one room and currently appears outfitted as a guest bedroom with a low-profile bed and convenient French door access to the backyard.
Speaking of the terraced backyard, it sports a riotous array of rather dense foliage for privacy purposes. There are also mature fruit trees, a “succulent garden”, an above-ground hot tub, and a patio area for dining/BBQ-ing.
The property lies just around the corner (literally) from the lovely hillside hiking paths in Elysian Park. But the ultimate benefit to this Echo Park location — especially for a baseball fan like Ms. Ratajkowski — is that it is also walking distance from Dodger Stadium. Y’all know that parking lot gets crazy!
Anyway, Ms. Ratajkowski currently resides in an art-filled and eclectically-decorated Downtown LA loft. Yolanda thinks she is renting the loft, which would make the Echo Park pad her first-ever home purchase. Wise choice, Ms. Ratajkowski. To invest in real estate, we mean. Look how it paid off for Mr. Sennett!
And really, that is the moral of today’s story. Remember kiddies, beauty always fades. And love eventually burns itself out. But real estate — that is forever. Unless, of course, it is oceanfront real estate.