When television titan Shonda Rhimes hoisted her celeb-pedigreed mansion in L.A.’s Hancock Park on the market last year with a $25 million price tag it seemed to many real estate insiders like a pretty big ask for the neighborhood. Even when the price was slashed by two million bucks, there were skeptics. After all, up to that point the highest price ever paid for a single-family home in the historic and historically affluent neighborhood was $19 million.
However, ever the trailblazer, the primetime drama powerhouse has blown that record out of the water with the $21 million sale of the Hancock Park estate that she scooped up in early 2014 for $8.8 million from sitcom star Patricia Heaton. Originally designed by Elmer Grey, and completed in 1923, the stately mansion presides over a corner parcel of 1.14 acres along one of the neighborhood’s most prestigious streets.
It was five years before she moved in. Architect Bill Baldwin was brought in to unify what had over the years become a patchwork of architectural styles into a grand Italianate villa, while the décor was handled by White House decorator Michael S. Smith, renown for creating comfortable, cozy and wickedly expensive spaces for people with big budgets for rare armoires, 18th-century wallpaper and custom-made couches covered in sumptuous designer fabrics. When the home was presented in Architectural Digest, Rhimes described the décor as “classic California—if a little bit romantic.”
All together there are seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms, plus four powder rooms, across the estate’s nearly 12,000 square feet. Highlights include a radiant-heated grey-and-white checkerboard marble floor in the foyer, a honeycomb coffered ceiling in the living room, and a double-height salon where huge arched glass doors embellished with curlicued wrought iron work swing open to the backyard.
Rhimes kept her vintage record collection in the library, the dining room will easily accommodate a dozen diners, and there’s an intimately proportioned family room just off the massive gourmet kitchen. Among other luxuries, the basement holds a children’s playroom and a state-of-the-are screening room, while an apartment atop the detached three-car garage was outfitted for the red carpet regular as a beauty salon.
Shielded by towering hedges and great clouds of verdant foliage, the grounds include sprawling stone terraces, broad sweeps of drought-friendly faux grassing, manicured parterre gardens, a kitchen garden, a pickle ball court, and an open-air cabana with outdoor fireplaces alongside the hotel-worthy swimming pool.
Rhimes was represented in the transaction by Ed Solorzano at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. The buyer was repped by Josh Altman and Matt Altman of The Altman Brothers at Douglas Elliman.
Rhimes still owns at least two other homes in Hancock Park, including a 5,000-square-foot English Country house she nabbed in 2017 for close to $4.6 million, and she expanded the geographic boundaries of her property portfolio in late 2018 with the $11.75 million purchase of a two-bedroom penthouse on New York’s Park Avenue.