Full disclosure: this transaction actually went down several months ago. We planned to write about it back then but for whatever reason kept putting it off, so here the ol’ gurl is today playing catch-up. Apologies.
Anyway, we think this story will still be of particular interest to y’all for a couple reasons. For one, we actually quite like this property, even if the architectural style isn’t the sort of thing we typically go in for. We would definitely live here. So for the one or two nuts who have ever wanted to critique Yolanda’s real estate taste, take heed of this opportunity.
But more importantly, folks occasionally ask us what LA’s “best” residential neighborhood might be. There’s no right way to answer that, of course — lots of them are good for different reasons, and each has its own personality — but we would definitely say that the most expensive neighborhood, at least for the moment, is Holmby Hills.
Sandwiched between the much larger communities of Beverly Hills and Bel Air and neatly bisected by Sunset Boulevard, Holmby Hills is made up of only a few dozen homes, most of them sprawling, multi-acre estate compounds. Of the three $100+ million sales LA has seen, two of them went down in this wee little area. Heck, this neighborhood is so posh that it even sports its own art gallery. Which happens to be right across the street from today’s house, incidentally.
How much does it cost to live in LA’s most exclusive neighborhood? Well, the good thang is that not every property out there is $100 million. Today’s house is one of the cheapest in the community, and it recently sold for $8,735,000. Still a boatload of cash, but a far cry from billionaires-only territory.
Amidst multi-acre tennis court compounds — some of them among the most expensive in the world — sits the tiny .22-acre, street-to-street property. Next door is the longtime main residence of Hard Rock Hotel founder Peter Morton, and on the other side is a spec-mansion currently asking $45 million. Some other folks within sugar-borrowing distance include billionaires like Bruce Karsh, James Packer, Yuri Milner, Zhang Jun, and Tom Gores, just to name a few.
See? You don’t have to be a billionaire to live amongst billionaires. But you still need a lot of money, of course.
Unfortunately, we do not know how this particular house came to be or why this property is so much more petite than all its neighbors, but it does have a rather interesting recent history. In 2009, the 1930s Mediterranean-style house was sold to musician Jeff Lynne. Our Mr. Lynne held onto the house for only one year before dumping it at a loss to his next door neighbor — Mr. Peter Morton, of course. And although we really don’t know why Mr. Morton wanted this place — maybe he used it as a guest house or as staff quarters — we do know that he sold it in 2015 for $4.5 million. The buyer? The notorious Woodbridge, an investment firm/Ponzi scheme that went belly-up last year.
During their ownership of the property, Woodbridge gave the house a comprehensive renovation, complete with all-new contemporary interiors and a modern exterior look. That slick redo seems to have done the trick, as the property then sold at a major profit — the aforementioned $8.735 million.
The new owner, who purchased the house through an LLC, is a young woman named Fajer Al-Rajaan.
The Kuwaiti Miss Al-Rajaan — known professionally as Fajer Fahad — is just 30 years old and a member of what some folks might call the “new international jetset”. Though sometimes referred to as Princess Fajer Al-Rajaan in publications, as best we can tell she is not actual royalty. Though she certainly has the funds to put many royals to financial shame.
For those of y’all wondering who Miss Al-Rajaan is and where someone so young gets $8.7 million for a Holmby Hills house, kindly allow Yolanda to enlighten you.
Miss Al-Rajaan is the younger daughter of Fahad Al-Rajaan, an international finance expert and successful banker who served as Director of Kuwait’s Social Security Fund for more than 30 years. In 2016, Kuwaiti officials accused him of using his position to embezzle vast sums of money — totaling some $390 million, allegedly. Per the authorities, much of the moolah was transferred to bank accounts controlled by his wife and daughters. Our Mr. Al-Rajaan, who fled the country, was sentenced to a 10-year prison term in absentia and an international arrest warrant was issued.
Last year, Mr. Al-Rajaan was arrested by British authorities, and there was talk of him being extradited to Kuwait. But to be honest, Yolanda is uncertain about whether that ever happened, and we do not know if Kuwaiti authorities have recovered any of the (allegedly) stolen loot. Whether he is still in custody also remains unknown (to us).
Whatever Mr. Al-Rajaan’s murky current situation may be, it is abundantly clear that his daughter does not have any trouble paying her bills. Miss Al-Rajaan divides her time between apartments in Paris and Dubai (and her LA home, of course). She also sports a whole assemblage of famous friends, including folks such as Sofia Vergara and Jessica Alba.
Miss Al-Rajaan is also a budding social media influencer with more than 125,000 followers on the Instagram contraption. She’s been named to best-dressed lists and has been profiled in Vogue Arabia. And in her spare time, she toils as a contributing editor for Violet Grey, the publication founded by fashionista Cassandra Grey (Ms. Grey is the widow of the late Hollywood producer Brad Grey, FYI). Clearly, Miss Al-Rajaan is a busy gal.
But let’s move on the the real estate matters at hand.
For the record, the street-to-street lot straddles the Beverly Hills/Holmby Hills border and actually features two different addresses — one of them with the B.H. 90210 zip code, and one with the Holmby Hills/BelAir 90077 zip code. To be honest, Yolanda is unsure about which community this house technically lies in. But although the front of the home faces the Beverly Hills side of town, the property was marketed with the Holmby Hills address. So there y’all have it.
Out front, the 5,446-square-foot house features a gated driveway that leads to an attached three-car garage. From the drive, stone steps lead up to a courtyard and front door. On the outside, the formerly Mediterranean architecture has been massaged into a trendier Spanish Colonial. Inside, things are bright and airy, the contemporary interiors boasting honey-colored hardwoods and milky white marble and limestone.
An international jetsetter like Ms. Al-Rajaan lives life on the go, and the eat-in kitchen boats abundant counter space and a massive marble center island, perfect for grabbing a snack on the fly. For more formal occasions, there’s a nearby dining room table overlooking the backyard and opening to the fireplace-equipped family room. Towards the front of the house is a living room with a vaulted ceiling and another fireplace.
Speaking of the backyard, it’s not very big at all, but it does sport a pool and inset spa. The rest of the space is mainly a stone terrace with various seating and lounging options. Outside the front door — at least we think that’s the front door — is a generous courtyard with an outdoor fireplace for chilly nights.
We know some of y’all might gripe about how this $8.7 million house has no grassy lawn or any landscaping to speak of, really. But Yolanda loves this low-maintenance setup. Really, does anyone need more than a pool, a courtyard, and some tall hedges for privacy? It’s perfect for a young, part-time LA resident like Miss Al-Rajan, though she could no doubt afford a plethora of groundskeepers.
But perhaps the best part of this property is that there is a discreet, camera-watched gate at the rear, just off the poolside terrace. This gate leads to swanky North Carolwood Drive, just behind the house. And we love a property with a discreet rear access point, if you will. Say y’all want to have a pool party, but dread having your raucous guests traipse through this beautiful home. Just have them park out back and enter through the gate! Problem solved. Or perhaps you’re a celeb, and want to have a clandestine rendezvous with your secret lover. But those pesky paparazzis are camped out front! No worries. Just tell him/her to park on Carolwood, and you can get your smooch on by the pool. With nobody being the wiser!
There are 4 beds and 4.5 baths on the premises. One bedroom suite is downstairs — perfect for a live-in maid. The other three bedrooms are upstairs, consisting of two small guest/family suites and a spacious master suite — 900 square feet, per the listing — with hardwood floors, a private balcony overlooking the backyard, a soaking tub, glassy shower w/ rainfall showerhead, and dual limestone vanities.
A peek through records reveals that Miss Al-Rajaan and her older sister Farah own at least a couple other multi-million dollar properties in LA. In September 2017, The Al-Rajaans paid $3,685,000 for a brand-new contemporary house situated on one of the best streets in West Hollywood.
The West Hollywood property is currently available for rent at a rate of $24,995 per month.
At one point the Al-Rajaan sisters owned no fewer than four different units in the luxurious The Century condo skyscraper — over in the Wilshire Corridor — but it appears as though all but one of their residences there have been sold off over the past year. Records reveal the sisters raked in a fat total of $17,400,000 for the three units divested. Two of those sold units, incidentally, are now owned by Nikita Kahn, the young woman best-known as Larry Ellison’s ex-girlfriend.
We hate to get philosophical on y’all, but we know some folks might look at a young one-percenter like Miss Al-Rajaan and scoff at her lifestyle of private jets, posh vacations, and extravagant homes. “So wasteful!” the naysayers might crow. Perhaps they’re right, depending on your point of view. But if y’all were in her position, and afforded the means to do whatever you like, whenever you please, how different would your life be? Think about that, kids.
And it’s always fun to write about a lifestyle like this. So there’s that.