Encino, located in the San Fernando Valley and long the red-headed stepchild in LA’s family of luxury real estate neighborhoods, has lately been coming in to its own. We’ve seen a big spat of expensive sales of new spec-mansions bought by an increasing number of wealthy celebrities who are gladly forgoing the Westside, drawn in by this Valley area’s less pretentious atmosphere, the value its real estate still provides, and its easy access to many of LA’s suburban amenities.
In addition to those new spec-builds, Encino also boasts a few historic architectural gems. Take the Smokey Robinson estate, which got its name from the legend who owned it from 1988 to 2002. However, the “classic Southern Colonial” (per the listing) was actually built way back in 1880 and moved from its original LA location to Encino (via horse-drawn carriage!) in 1912. Eventually came Mr. Robinson, who sold it to entertainment industry entrepreneur Mike Greenfield. Our Mr. Greenfield gave the place a makeover before likewise selling it last year (2016) for $3,250,000.
Last year’s buyer was a longtime LA real estate investor/developer named Gidi Cohen. Ever the savvy fellow, Mr. Cohen gave the house another cosmetic refresh in the form of those demure grey-and-white decor colors that are so popular nowadays. He also added a new pool w/ spa and a 1,600-square-foot guest house but wisely left the lovely main house mostly untouched, save for the cosmetic upgrades, an expansion off the rear, and a new exterior balcony off the master suite.
Anyway, the house just sold for a whopping $8,253,000, a $5 million profit for Mr. Cohen (before renovation costs are subtracted, of course). Feel free to correct us if we’re wrong, y’all, but Yolanda believes that this might be the biggest residential home sale in Encino. Ever! So naturally, we were curious about the new owner.
Turns out it’s a couple that y’all probably know, at least if you’re a fan of reality TV like Yolanda. It’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Kyle Richards and her luxury real estate broker hubby Mauricio Umansky, who frequently pops up on his wife’s show.
For those of you surprised that the Richards-Umansky clan can afford a home of this magnitude, don’t be. According to BrokerMetrics, Mr. Umansky — the co-founder of The Agency brokerage — has had more than $160 million in transaction volume over the last twelve months. Assuming an average commission of 2.5%, that’s over $4 million in gross pay. And that $160 million, kiddies, doesn’t include referrals or Mr. Umansky’s many off-market deals, including that $70 million sale to foreigners Karen Lo & Edward Chiang in Malibu’s Serra Retreat, which he brokered earlier this year.
The waterworks-lovin’ Ms. Richards, for her part, is no slouch in the money department either. She has appeared on all eight seasons of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and unconfirmed reports say she may haul in $500,000 — or possibly even more — per season.
Yolanda finds this place to be an enormous style upgrade from Mr. Umansky and Ms. Richards’ current home: a comfortably luxurious but rather banal residence in the northernmost reaches of Bel Air that they bought for $3,000,000 in early 2011 and have since extensively remodeled with help from Ms. Richards’ longtime BFF Faye Resnick.
Anywho, the couple’s new Encino mansion — 10,600-square-feet w/ 7 beds and 8 baths — sits just south of busy Ventura Boulevard (actually, it backs right up to a commercial strip of the Boulevard, though you’d never know it). Large metal gates flanked by red brick posts swing open to a long driveway that meanders past formal gardens and carefully clipped boxwoods, plus a formal fountain adorned by four stone fish carcasses puking water into the basin.
The front door swings open to a proper entry vestibule with a classic black-and-white checkerboard tile floor and a neo-Georgian staircase.
To the left of the entryway is a living room w/ marble fireplace; to the right is a sitting area w/ another marble fireplace. The kitchen has been fully renovated with all-new appliances and a center island with barstool seating. Most of the home’s common areas have greyish hardwood floors, a very “in” color right now. Oh, and there’s plenty of open space for Ms. Richards to perform her famous splits.
Other downstairs rooms include a family room with yet another massive marble fireplace and a bathroom with those checkerboard floors and yet another — you got it! — marble fireplace. Yolanda counts no fewer than six of them wood-burning orifices throughout the main house, in case y’all were wondering. Naturally, the house also has a home theater.
There are at least four bedroom suites on the home’s second level, including the master, which sports one of those oh-so-trendy glass-walled showers, yet another fireplace, and a walk-in closet for accommodating Ms. Richards’ designer wardrobe. It may pale in size comparison to some of her fellow RHOBH stars’ closets — Lisa Vanderpump’s and Erika Girardi’s, for example — but it’ll do.
The master suite also boasts the aforementioned 800-square-foot outdoor deck that overlooks the wondrously private backyard with its rectangular swimming pool, inset spa, and open-air guest house.
That guest house also has checkerboard tile floors — maybe there was a sale on black and white tile or somethin’ — and at least one bedroom suite for Kim Richards, if she needs a doghouse to stay in after going on another Target shopping spree. The home’s 1.54-acre grounds also include a wee putting green, a gazebo, and “meditation gardens”, whatever that is.