Around the time he became CEO of Playboy Enterprises, L.A.-based financier Ben Kohn began the construction of a lavish new estate in L.A.’s Brentwood neighborhood, within one of the area’s only guard-gated communities. Before the house was completed earlier this year, Kohn changed his mind about moving into the mansion — or maybe he intended to flip it all along — because the place was shopped around off-market and toured by Justin Bieber and Haley Baldwin, who allegedly took a shine to the house and initiated escrow on it, though that deal was ultimately called off. (The high-profile couple eventually paid $25.8 million for a different home, this one high in the mountains above Beverly Hills.)
In June, the Kohn compound popped up on the open market with a $30 million pricetag, and the property quickly sold for $25.8 million — the biggest deal recorded in Brentwood so far this year. The new owners are tech entrepreneur-turned-leading Bitcoin investor Josh Jones and his longtime wife Tweeny Kau, who already live in the general area but had been seeking a residential upgrade.
Described as a “young and hip Mediterranean” in listing materials, the nearly 9,300 sq. ft. structure was designed by L.A. megamansion specialist William Hefner, with interiors by Estee Stanley. The red-tile-roofed house sports a mesmerizing entryway, with double glass doors that swing into a foyer that opens — via another set of double glass doors — directly to the backyard, where there’s a sprawling lawn and Century City skyline views framed by mature olive trees.
Gorgeous herringbone-patterned hardwood floors flow into the living room, which offers a beamed ceiling with a crystal chandelier and fireplace. Other public spaces have decidedly contemporary finishes, like the formal dining that easily seats 10 and opens to an outdoor terrace. The magazine-worthy kitchen offers book-matched marble walls, designer Bluestar appliances sheathed in a shiny black lacquer, and custom rustic oak cabinetry for contrast. There’s also a family room that opens to a screened loggia with a limestone fireplace.
The master suite, one of five bedroom suites in the house, includes multiple banks of windows with dazzling views of the entire L.A. basin and — on a clear day — the Pacific Ocean, plus a marble-slathered bathroom and dual closets. There’s also an upstairs family room and a carpeted screening room that’s more casual than the typical mansion’s movie theater but perfectly suits the effortlessly luxurious, low-key vibe of the property.
Outdoors, the 1.8-acre hilltop lot boasts al fresco dining area, a substantial gated motorcourt, and a lap-lane swimming pool with inset spa. The aforementioned grassy lawn is big enough for a soccer pitch — just make sure any out-of-bounds balls don’t go flying down the steep hillside.
Jones, a 42-year-old alumnus of Claremont’s Harvey Mudd College, co-founded web hosting service Dreamhost in 1996. Since then, the company has grown to employ 200 and now services over 400,000 customers worldwide. But to the public at large, Jones may be best-known for his early involvement with Bitcoin, a lucrative investment — Jones describes himself as a bitcoin “billionaire” — that turned sour after he reportedly had $45 million worth of bitcoin currency stolen from him online account, a major theft that was widely reported online.
In addition to his new $25.8 million Brentwood estate, Jones and Kau own at least four other multimillion-dollar homes on L.A.’s Westside, according to property records, all of them in Santa Monica. Their main residence appears to be a $6.2 million Cape Cod-style in a leafy part of the city, while they also own side-by-side teardown houses in the same general area. Shortly after the Brentwood mansion was acquired in July, the two Santa Monica teardown were both put up for sale, asking a total of $11.6 million.
And in 2018, the couple also purchased a plum oceanfront property in Santa Monica that consists of a 1930s cottage sandwiched between two massive neighboring mansions. Records show that demolition permits have since been acquired for the address in question.