One of the Los Angeles skyline’s most instantly recognizable homes sold this spring. Following the unexpected death of its owner, the Hollywood Hills “hang glider” house — so-called because it’s perched atop one of L.A.’s highest promontories like a hang glider ready to take flight — came up for grabs. In better condition than ever, and with a covetable architectural history and some of the best views around, the place garnered lots of attention.
Sad circumstances aside, the listing was also timed perfectly, debuting right as the real estate market was at its white-hot peak, post-COVID lockdowns. The ask was $7.99 million, but it appears a fierce bidding war broke out among potential suitors, driving the sales price all the way up to $9.4 million. The all-cash buyer was Canadian tech guru Jacob “BA” Blackstock.
While he’s not exactly a household name, you’ve probably used a Blackstock-designed product. The 45-year-old comic artist is best known for cofounding Bitstrips, the company that makes Bitmoji — yes, those little smiley emojis. Bitmoji debuted in 2014 and became an overnight sensation; Snapchat took notice, snapping up the company in 2016 for $100 million, paying Blackstock in a mix of cash and stock. Blackstock subsequently joined the social media juggernaut as an executive, where he’s remained ever since. Today, the Toronto native is still CEO of Bitmoji, a subsidiary of publicly-traded Snap, Inc.
Built in 1975, Blackstock’s highly unique new house was designed by innovative maverick architect Harry Gesner. Known also for his iconic boat houses and Malibu’s Wave House, Gesner crafted this place for lumber mogul Mike Hyne, who wanted to show off his logs — so to speak — via a palatial new pad. That explains why the entire house appears crafted from a forest’s worth of wood, with hardwood-sheathed, log-crammed interiors reminiscent of a modern mountain cabin. That’s in stark contrast to most other Hollywood Hills mansions, which are primarily all steel and concrete.