She is currently ranked as the world’s fifth-richest woman, which is fortunate because her spending habits could easily break a lesser billionaire. But with a net worth that is widely reported to hover around $20 billion, Laurene Powell can afford to be wildly extravagant. Her latest splurge — which we shall get to in just a moment — went down just last week in San Francisco.
Ms. Powell is, of course, the widow of the late and great Steve Jobs. Our Mr. Jobs met his untimely death back in 2011, but it is only within the past three or four years that Ms. Powell’s spending has really shifted into high gear.
A few days back, a mansion-sized house in San Francisco’s pricey Russian Hill neighborhood sold (after just one month on the market!) for $16,500,000 in cash, the second-highest price paid in the city so far this year. The seller was leading venture capitalist Danny Rimer, who paid $12,375,000 for the house back in 2013.
The interesting thing about this transaction, y’all, is that the buyer’s real estate agent was not a San Francisco local but rather a Malibu-based SoCal man. Naturally, the nosy Yolanda was all too curious about who from Malibu would be cuttin’ such a fat check up north.
Well, lookie here. Though the buyer’s identity is screened behind a strangely-named LLC with a Palo Alto (CA) address, Yolanda happens to know it is none other than our very own Ms. Powell — a well-known Malibu aficionado. But we digress.
The four-level, 6,100-sq-ft residence was originally built in 1902, but y’all can tell that it has been extensively remodeled over the years — most recently in a contemporary manner with interior design by noted San Francisco-based decorator Steven Volpe, a favorite of the Silicon Valley crowd.
Some of the house’s coolest features are a two-car garage — a very rare thing in SF — and a real, usable backyard. Look! There’s a firepit, an outdoor dining area, a garden and everything.
Indoors is a very cool, contemporary yet comfy situation. An open floorpan blends the formal areas together into one giant room and includes a chic kitchen with marble countertops and high-end appliances. The dining area features French doors opening to a balcony with views of the bay.
There are three guest/family bedrooms on the home’s second level, but the real showstopper is the master suite, which encompasses the entire top floor. The glassy space contains a private balcony with panoramic views of the city and various landmarks. A private bathroom is slathered in marble and contains a glassy shower plus a soaking tub.
Speaking of views, you’ve got them galore. Russian Hill may not be quite as prestigious as SF’s Pacific Heights ‘hood, but there’s a pretty park only a block from Ms. Powell’s new house. And the local In-N-Out is only three blocks away, if she finds herself craving a late-night snack!
And here are some floorplans for all you fun folks.
This San Francisco acquisition caps off — or maybe it doesn’t — Ms. Powell’s $100+ million real estate shopping spree that she began only a few years back.
In late 2014, Ms. Powell paid $16,300,000 for a 10-acre equestrian estate in tony Los Altos Hills (CA).
The property is equipped with state-of-the-art equine facilities including a massive 13,000-square-foot barn with 12 stalls, full-size riding ring, pastures, and the only residential structure on the property: a 2-bed and 1-bath caretaker apartment.
In April 2015, Ms. Powell dropped a dumbfounding $44,000,000 in cash on an unfinished bluff top compound that looms over Malibu’s sublime Paradise Cove neighborhood. Two years later, as Yolanda first told y’all, she forked over another $16,500,000 to buy the little house next door, which she is combining with the larger parcel to create one mega-estate.
For all you beancounters, that means Ms. Powell has already spent $60,500,000 in Malibu. And that does not include the many millions she is spending to create a customized multi-acre spread up there. Last time Yolanda drove by on PCH, the place was still under major construction.
The Florida estate happens to be directly across the street from a much larger compound owned by Bill Gates. Coincidence? Nope! Ms. Powell’s daughter Eve is an accomplished equestrienne and frequently competes with Mr. Gates’ daughter Jennifer in tournaments and such.
Back in California, Ms. Powell is at long last building her late husband’s dream compound in the low-key but high-priced community of Woodside. Mr. Jobs envisioned the $20 million spread before his death but did not live long enough to see the parcel become anything more than vacant land.
Proposals put forth by Ms. Powell when applying for permits and such show a compound measuring a total of nearly 16,000 square feet. However, it’s not a mega-mansion that she is planning to build. Rather, the future estate will be centered around a main residence of a very modest 3,706 square feet. Then, as best Yolanda can tell, there will be at least 8 smaller buildings on the site: two guest houses, a yoga studio, a sauna building, a wine press building, an olive press building, a garden shed, and a relatively small “garden” barn. For more information on the fancy yet decidedly bucolic and rustic project, which was designed by architect Chris Garrick, go here.
While they await completion of the new Woodside compound, the Jobs family bunks up at their longtime home in Palo Alto.
The English Country-style house, 5,678 square feet with 7 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, sits on a corner lot in a particularly leafy and mansion-packed area of town.
In addition to her $130+ million worth of residential real estate, Ms. Powell also lays claim to several other big gurl toys. These include at least two Gulfstream jets — one of them a $65 million G650 — and a $100 million superyacht co-designed by her late hubby and christened “Venus”. Last year, Ms. Powell was spotted vacationing on her floating mansion with her boyfriend of the past several years: former Washington D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty.
We can’t forget to mention that Ms. Powell is one of the world’s leading philanthropists — though most of her giving is done on the DL — and has also become an major investor in varied industries, including sports, magazine publishing, and education.