After it first popped up for sale earlier this year, so-called “Microsoft Millionaire” Chris Peters has managed to unload his historic Bel Air estate for about $16.45 million. That’s a hefty amount of money by any standard, of course, but it also represents a slight loss for Peters, who had paid a sky-high $16.5 million for the property a full 15 years ago, back in summer 2005.
Originally built in the 1920s and co-designed by prolific and venerated architects John Byers and Wallace Neff, the low-slung Spanish hacienda-style compound spans more than 8,000 square feet and has had its share of notable homeowners. In the 1970s and ’80s, the property was owned by colorful Hollywood filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich, who had a recurring role on “The Sopranos,” in addition to writing and directing “The Last Picture Show.” According to Tinseltown lore, Bogdanovich’s longtime friend Orson Welles was a frequent houseguest in the Bel Air home.
In 2002, the house was sold to actor/real estate buff Diane Keaton, who subsequently hired designer Stephen Shadley. The pair reimagined the place for a more contemporary lifestyle, while staying true to Byers and Neff’s original architectural intent. The result, a decidedly stylish and typically Keaton affair, was photographed for a 2005 issue of Architectural Digest, and the property was thereafter almost immediately sold to Peters and his longtime wife June.
Today, the home’s interiors appear remarkably unchanged from its 2005 AD photoshoot, save for some minor decor alterations. Walled and gated for security, the one-acre estate offers a motorcourt hewn from decomposed granite, plus a bountiful array of Mediterranean-esque flowers, hedges and olive trees that evoke the Italian Riviera.
California Mission-style block walls surround the sprawling structure, which houses luxe amenities like maid’s quarters, a movie theater and an open cook’s kitchen with an island slathered in colorful tile. There’s also a bonus room that could easily be converted into a gym, plus a library and an elegant master retreat sporting views of the gardens.
Out back there’s a grassy lawn, dark-bottomed swimming pool lined with vintage tile, and a covered cabana with plenty of space for alfresco entertaining and an outdoor fireplace.
The home’s new owner is Malibu-based fashion mogul Serge Azria, the man behind labels like Joie and Equipment, and a longtime fan of pedigreed L.A. real estate. Earlier this year, he sold another Bel Air property for $24 million to his friends Jens and Emma Grede; that house was built by Paul R. Williams, done up by the late Sandy Gallin and was once owned by Tinseltown star Jane Wyatt.
Azria’s main residence, however, is a freshly rebuilt blufftop compound out on Malibu’s Paradise Cove. Purchased for $41 million in 2013 and since renovated from the studs up, that multi-acre property is likely worth much closer to $100 million today.