A remarkably private estate tucked into the mountains above Beverly Hills has debuted on the market, packing an aggressive but perhaps not entirely unreasonable $19.5 million pricetag. Long owned by the 1960s Chanel model Ann Davis Yeardye, the house is sited in a celeb-friendly pocket of the Beverly Hills Post Office area and is totally invisible from the streetfront, tucked away on a flag lot behind towering jet-black gates. In other words, it’s perfect for a Hollywood hotshot or other high-profile person looking to beat a hasty retreat from a red carpet awards show, fundraising gala, or dinner at Craig’s. And perfect for hiding out from those pesky accompanying paparazzi.
Though she’s not exactly a household name, Irish-born Yeardye and her family have left their mark on the fashion world many times over. The former model was long married to Tommy Yeardye, the colorful Irish-born former stuntman known as “Muscles” who occasionally stunt-doubled for Rock Hudson and Victor Mature in their 1950s and ’60s films.
Following his short-lived Hollywood career, Tommy Yeardye became a wealthy international entrepreneur who successfully dabbled as a real estate investor and restaurateur. He remains best-remembered, however, for founding the world-famous Vidal Sassoon chain with the eponymous hairdresser, providing the financing and the business acumen that turned the outfit into a global success with 25 worldwide salons and several hairdressing academies.
The Yeardyes were also parents to Tamara Mellon, the L.A.-based designer who co-founded the Jimmy Choo shoe brand and the longtime fiancée of CAA founder Michael Ovitz. In the 1970s, the Yeardye family moved from London to L.A. for business purposes, and Mellon was raised in a large home in the flats of Beverly Hills that is now owned, for what it’s worth, by Greek shipping heir Paris Latsis.
In an ironic twist of fate, Mellon and her mother currently live in the very same 90210 neighborhood pocket — barely a quarter-mile apart as the crow flies — but remain estranged and have not spoken in many years, ever since Mellon sued Yeardye in 2008 for millions of dollars tied to the Jimmy Choo brand acquisition.
According to records, Yeardye bought this Beverly Hills villa in 2005, the year following her husband’s death. She paid $6.3 million for the 1980s contemporary estate and is now looking to triple her money on the place — before taxes, realtor fees and 15 years of hefty carrying costs, of course.
Guests will be suitably impressed by the extra-long driveway, framed by long rows of exquisitely shaped ornamental trees, and by the commodious motorcourt, which can easily accommodate ten luxury vehicles. The U-shaped structure itself, which is mostly single-story but includes two separate upstairs wings, bears more than a passing resemblance to the midcentury homes in Beverly Hills’ coveted Trousdale Estates enclave.
Inside, the various rooms were done up by legendary ’80s designer Kalef Alaton and flaunt a frilly yet undeniably luxurious design motif, with thick window curtains, Grecian columns and such. There are also wide-plank hardwood floors, high ceilings throughout, and floor-to-ceiling windows that drink in the sunlight. The fireplace-equipped great room connects to the formal dining room and library, and nearly all the home’s public rooms offer direct access to the gardens.
The kitchen adheres to a more stark, industrial vibe with its stainless appliances and no-nonsense white cabinetry. For rushed meals or snacks, there’s a convenient breakfast bar and a separate greenhouse-like breakfast nook with space for a reasonably large table.
Located on the main floor, the master suite boasts a baronial bedroom with sitting area and extra-tall bookshelves filled with antique knick-knacks and bric-a-brac, most of which are probably worth more than the average new Toyota Yaris. There are also dual attached bathrooms and dual walk-in closets with plenty of storage space for hardcore clotheshorses. The home’s three guest bedrooms are tucked into the two separate upstairs wings.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the property, however, are its head-on views of the Century City skyline, the Pacific Ocean and even Catalina Island. An enormous backyard loggia has space for full-scale entertaining and overlooks a black-bottomed swimmer’s pool. There’s also a separate spa, rigorously maintained formal gardens and patio overlooking Benedict Canyon below.
Other notable homeowners in the immediate neighborhood include Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott, Cary Grant’s widow Barbara Jaynes, soap opera creator Lee Phillip Bell and “Friends” actress Lisa Kudrow, who owns the home immediately next door.