Our longtime pal Vlad the Revealer from Celebrity Address Aerial recently inquired about a house in the lovely ol’ San Gabriel Valley city of Pasadena (CA). Records show the property was stealthily purchased by a mysterious blind trust back in April (2018). And being that Pasadena and the surrounding environs are becoming an increasingly desirable residential choice for celebrities — Meryl Streep and Kristen Wiig bought in Pasadena within the past year, and Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling are or were shopping for a large home in the area — Yolanda was quite curious about the buyer’s true identity.
Turns out, as we discovered, the new owner is young Canadian lady named Claire Boucher.
30-year-old singer/songwriter Miss Boucher is much better known by her stage name Grimes, and those of you into the avant-garde music scene may already be familiar with her work. For the rest of y’all, her sort of experimental songs are beloved by artsy critics (she is a longtime Pitchfork favorite) and her work has alternatively been described as “synth pop“, “art pop“, and “dream pop“. Whatever it is, it is undeniably unique, creative, and has garnered Miss Grimes much acclaim and a substantial loyal following since 2012, when her breakthrough album Visions was released.
The rest of us — those of y’all stuck in a mainstream music rut like Yolanda — have probably never heard a song by homegurl in our entire bloomin’ lives. Still, Miss Grimes’s (stage) name should be known to most of you. After all, she is currently in a highly-publicized relationship with LA’s wealthiest full-time resident: Tesla tycoon and rocketman Elon Musk, who makes do with a net worth of $20 billion or so.
We were a little surprised that Miss Grimes would opt to purchase a house in Pasadena instead of moving into her multi-billionaire boyfriend’s Bel Air mansion. But then again, this relationship is very new: their first public outing was at the 2018 Met ball in May. Y’all kids move fast in relationships these days, but maybe not that fast — perhaps the Grimes-Musk couple are not on cohabiting terms just yet.
Plus, as we realized, Miss Grimes actually bought this pad a couple weeks prior to the Met thingamabob.
Anyway, a wee background on Miss Boucher/Miss Grimes: she was born and raised in Vancouver and attended Canada’s McGill University, though she ultimately dropped out before earning a degree. Apparently our gurl self-taught herself music and visual art, which Yolanda personally finds extremely impressive. We watched a few of Miss Grimes’ music videos before writing this story (for research purposes) and she is undeniably talented and artistic. Even if her music is not really our thing, you understand. But Yolanda can still appreciate talent, and Miss Grimes possesses that in spades.
Like her equally creative and hot-headed boyfriend, who has become (in)famous for his Twitter tirades, Miss Grimes is sometimes prone to off-color outbursts on social media. Earlier this year, she posted “welp no music any time soon … music industry is trash,” on Instagram. Although she would eventually delete that comment, she later followed up by saying “working on one final album for my shit label.”
Good gracious! We hope all that ugliness is getting sorted out now. In the meanwhile, let’s take a quick peek at our gurl’s starter house.
Miss Grimes’s new house sits in the coveted Lower Arroyo Seco area of Pasadena. The infamous Suicide Bridge is within walking distance, and Kristen Wiig’s new Case Study house is so nearby — just up the street, in fact — that Miss Grimes could ostensibly hoof over to the Wiig residence to borrow sugar on any given day.
The first thing to note about the Grimes property is that the house does not have a garage. Oh dear! Where will babygurl charge her Tesla?
Well, the property does have a carport capable of sheltering two vehicles, so there is that.
The low-slung abode sits rather hard-up on the street and appears to be one level from out front, but it drops down mullet-style with two full floors out back. As y’all shall see in these photos, this new pad is clearly a fixer that will require a significant amount of money to be groomed for showroom condition. That is probably why Miss Grimes got the place at a discount: though the house was listed for $2 million even, she paid only $1,700,000.
Records show that the house has a commodious (but not huge) 3,721-square-feet of living space with 5 beds and 3 bathrooms, and the seller was a non-famous Chinese woman.
The double front doors swing open to a proper entrance hall lined with dreadfully dated beige tiles. Beyond the hall is a large office/study with views of the Arroyo, and off to the left is a large living room with a fireplace, wet bar, and views galore. (There is also, randomly enough, a teepee sitting in a corner.)
The formal dining area and family room sit just off the living room and adjacent to a woefully dated kitchen with some cheap-looking cabinets, ugly subway tiles, and a very average selection of mid-grade stainless appliances. Unfortunately, the kitchen is also completely windowless, but the vaulted ceiling has skylights, definitely a plus here.
Two of the home’s five bedrooms are located on the main floor, and one appears to have been used by the seller as a large office/work station of some sort. Unfortunately, the current “master bedroom” is also located on the main floor and does not have an en-suite bathroom — one must traipse down a hallway to locate the loo. We hope Miss Grimes sees fit to rectify that with her (hopefully upcoming) renovation.
Downstairs are two more bedrooms and another full bathroom. The residence also includes a spacious gym with hardwood floors, a nice touch. One of the lower bedrooms opens to the home’s backdoor terrace, which features a covered dining space, an old-school BBQ, and a rickety-lookin’ wooden jacuzzi.
The house is perched on a steep cliffside overlooking the Arroyo forest area, so there ain’t really much of a backyard. But views from the back porch take in the lush greenery below — native oak trees and such. It is a lovely setting and the property is admirably private — Miss Grimes has no immediate neighbors.
For all you floorplan addicts, check out the lower right pic above.
Let’s be real, kiddies. This house is a wee bit of a hot mess right now. Not a huge one, but definitely in need of some work. Y’all know it and Miss Grimes knows it, too. We have a feeling she is a smart cookie.
But there is loads of potential here. Yolanda sees it! Though nobody asked us, here is our suggestion to Miss Grimes: convert the home’s lower level into your own private sanctum. Make the master suite the large bedroom in the lower level, then demolish the wall between it and the adjacent bedroom/den. Convert that into a sitting area and you’ll have a sumptuous master (with adjacent gym!) all to yourself. The other bedroom on the lower level can be transformed into a music studio.
On the main floor, please renovate the entire kitchen with new appliances/cabinets/everything. You want it light and bright because there ain’t much natural light in there to begin with. Then rip out the pantry and those walls in between it and the family/dining rooms. Make that whole space one massive room — that will make for fabulous entertaining, we promise.
By the way, keep those two upstairs bedrooms available for guests. Or make it one into a doghouse for Elon if he comes over and starts misbehaving.
We are not too sure what to do about the lack of a garage and the rather scrappy covered parking situation. Maybe just replant the front with some thick hedges for privacy and looks. Screen off that whole area for privacy. Got it?
Doing all this work will not be cheap, of course. Once all is fixed up, Miss Grimes will probably have sunk another $300,000 (at least) into the property, on top of the $1,700,000 she has already spent. But her $2 million house will — upon completion — be worth close to $3 million. Yolanda can almost guarantee it. And more importantly, it will be a fabulous spot in which to live and entertain.
Anywho, speaking of Elon — for those who might not know, the thrice-divorced Mr. Musk currently resides in Bel Air. He has not one, not two, but five different multi-million homes on the same hillside.
Why five? Well, one is his personal residence. One functions as a schoolhouse for his five homeschooled kids. One house is vacant. One was purchased for his ex-wife Talulah Riley. (And yes, Ms. Riley lives two doors away from her ex. Welcome to normal in the Musk world).
The fifth house is the most expensive one of all — it was purchased in an unfinished state for over $24 million by Mr. Musk a couple years back. To be honest, Yolanda is not certain what is going on with this contemporary pad (if it is finished, and who is living there), but we rather wonder if it might have been purchased for Mr. Musk’s mother, the lovely Maye Musk.
Hmmm. We shall see. And for more Musk real estate madness, visit Yolanda’s previous story on the subject.
Listing agent: Eva Lin, Keller Williams Pasadena