(EDIT (1/13/17): Photographs removed at Ms. Kern Lima’s request)
Close your eyes and let Yolanda read y’all a wee bedtime story. Deep down in the dirty dusky darkness, far far away. While long lay the world in sin and error pining, some of us reach for something more.
We claw our way beyond this padlocked reality. Are we really just mere financial mortals, sloughing off our crinkly clothes at the end of each day, only to wake and run the same rat race tomorrow? Over and over again. Rise and set. Rinse and repeat. Slaves to the almighty dinero, shackled to convention and societal mores. Except those of us who aren’t, of course. There must be more to life, more to this existence. What keeps us hurtling forward?
Good heavens! Must we mope about so? We mustn’t, so let’s get down to brass tacks. Here’s a scenario. We want your opinion. If Yolanda were to tell you a story about a former beauty queen turned contestant on a trashy reality show who founded a billion-dollar business and became an international jetsetter with big property holdings in the USA’s priciest neighborhoods, what would you term that story, hmm? Would it be fairy tale or nonfiction?
It’s a fact, kids. Want proof? Take this big Brentwood spec-mansion. After sitting unsold for nearly two years, the place recently found a new owner who still paid a very A-list $12,750,000 for it. Quite possibly an all-cash deal. Yolanda finds no evidence of a mortgage on the property.
At first, Yolanda thought the moolah-flush buyer might be his maroon highness Adam Levine. We knew he had been looking in this general area and in this general price range. But then property records cleared and we saw that the house was not acquired by Mr. Levine. Rather, it was purchased by a secretive corporate entity that links directly back to a North Carolina-based business law/management firm that specializes in managing the affairs of high net worth individuals and families.
Well, we tried every trick in the book in an attempt to find out who the buyer was, but to no avail. And yet — hope springs eternal! Finally, at long last, we got it sorted out and we can tell y’all that the new owners are a married couple named Paulo Lima and Jamie Kern Lima who have together forged a veritable cosmetics empire.
Did Yolanda ever tell y’all there’s a ton of money in makeup? Well, there is. It may not be the sexiest industry anymore (or maybe it is, we’re actually not sure) but it definitely has minted a bumper crop of beauty bajillionaires. There’s Kat Von D, who just bought that humongous Hancock Park house, there’s Randy Ray and Wendy Lewis who took it to the top in Trousdale, and then there’s our favorite — Miss Kylie Jenner. But perhaps the richest of them all is Jamie Kern Lima.
Mrs. Lima, you see, just sold the company she founded — IT Cosmetics — for a whopping $1.2 billion to L’Oreal. So she can afford $13 million houses all day long. And a lot more, too. But it wasn’t always clear skies and luscious lashes for the beauty maestra.
Growing up in the Seattle area, Mrs. Lima got her first exposure to the camera upon winning the 1998 Baywatch College Search and appearing in an episode of the silly series. (No word on whether she had a torrid affair with the Hoff or not.) She then switched gears, became Miss Washington, and competed for the crown in Donald Trump’s Miss USA pageant. Sometime around then, she auditioned — and was accepted — for the very first season of the endlessly-running (and bonafide guilty pleasure) reality show Big Brother. Here she is.
After finally being evicted from the Big Brother house (she finished in a very respectable 4th place. She then packed her bags and enrolled in the ultra-selective Columbia Business School, where she earned an MBA. For those of y’all that don’t know, Columbia is consistently ranked as one of the best — and most selective — business schools in the whole damn world. It’s up there with Harvard and Stanford, kiddies. And guess who was her year’s graduation speaker! Mrs. Lima, natch.
It was at Columbia where the soon-to-be makeup mogul met her future husband, investment banker Paulo Lima. Randomly enough, Mr. & Mrs. Lima were the first-ever couple to be married at the Space Needle in Seattle. Eventually they moved down to Los Angeles. That’s where, in 2007, they were living in a rented Studio City studio apartment, trying to make ends meet.
That’s also where Mrs. Lima, who has some sort of hereditary skin condition, stumbled upon her gamechanger (lifechanger, really). She made her product and hustled enough to land a 10-minute spot on home-shopping juggernaut QVC. And the rest is, well, history. Hundreds of QVC appearances and countless sold-out product shipments later, here she is.
Whew. That’s quite the career ride, no? And yes, kids, it’s not very often that we get to write about a former Baywatch babe and reality show contestant buying a $13 million house — particularly one whose last name ain’t Kardashian or Hilton — but that’s what happened.
The 11,700-square-foot mansion lies in the hills just north of Sunset Boulevard and down a narrow, quiet side lane. The house itself is also not visible from the street — it’s set far back and down a driveway behind the walled and gated entrance. A spacious grass-trimmed motorcourt is fronted by three garage bays. Steps lead up to the front door, which opens into a double-height foyer (per the listing).
The two-story entrance drops down mullet-style to three floors out back. Naturally, the house is outfitted with a swanky Creston home automation system with cameras and gizmo gadgets galore and can be controlled via smart phone.
Just make sure you’re not using a Samsong Galaxy S7, or the house is liable to go kaboom.
A white stacked-stone fireplace and a vaulted beamed ceiling makes the living room feel luxe.
More unexpected is the gourmet “chef’s kitchen”, the design of which skews a bit more traditional than Yolanda would have expected in an otherwise relentlessly contemporary home. For God’s sake, the cabinets actually have visible handle pulls! This will never do!
Well, at least Mr. & Mrs. Lima have the de rigueur Calacutta marble countertops, ultra-high-end Wolf and Miele appliances, and an infestation of those pesky circular recessed ceiling lights.
The listing says the house sports three theaters (!!!) but we just can’t fathom how that’s possible. Just…. why? Would Mr. & Mrs. Lima be down to rent out their place as a high-end boutique the-a-ter? If Brenda’s there, Yolanda is coming over too.
The hefty structure contains a Brady Bunch-sized 8 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms. The top-level master bedroom keeps it extra decadent with his and hers bathrooms and dual walk-in closets, at least one of which would be perfectly compatible with any one of the designer boutiques on Rodeo Drive.
The gym and the library-study are a bit smaller than Yolanda might have expected, but appear every bit as high-quality. The real star of the property, however, is the living space in the lower two photos. Not only does it feature walls and windows of glass and open directly to an outdoor dining balcony, the whole damn outside area is heated. It’s like one huge 1,200 square foot room. Pretty snazzy.
The sumptuous estate also includes a full guest house and complete outdoor kitchen/bbq set. To be honest, fair readers, this house really isn’t Yolanda’s style, but we can appreciate all those gee-whiz gadgets and gizmos that it provides. What we like most, however, is the limited yet lovely view of the rolling, peaceful Brentwood hills. You’d never know that nasty 405 was right on the other side, would ya?
It is Yolanda’s understanding that Mr. & Mrs. Lima primarily reside in New York City. We are quite certain they own something frightfully expensive out there in the Big Apple, but we must confess we don’t have an inkling as to where that certain something is. We wish we did. But for now we remain unfulfilled in that regard!
It’s kinda like life, right? The cattle car of the universe. We’re so preoccupied with getting comfortable, we never see our potential to become free. We just remain. Spinning, slipping, forever unsatisfied. But hope springs anew and tomorrow is another day. So rise and rinse and repeat.
Listing agent: Santiago Arana & Ari Shram, The Agency
Jamie Kern Lima’s agent: Kurt Rappaport, Westside Estate Agency