When Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine put his glossy midcentury modern residence — provocatively and aptly known as the Steel House — on the market in September, the steel-and-glass pavilion generated widespread publicity, with real estate publications nationwide fawning over the sleekly restored showplace. Qualified buyers flocked to the residence, which subsequently quickly sold in just one month for $4.1 million, a whopping $315,000 more than the asking price and nearly double what Valentine paid for the property back in 2006.
The winning bidder, records reveal, is Getty oil heiress Aileen Getty, a longtime property gossip column staple and former junkie turned activist and philanthropist. Born into privilege as the granddaughter of industrialist J. Paul Getty — the world’s onetime richest man — the longtime L.A. resident has been outspoken about her battles with drug addiction, anorexia and self-mutilation as a young woman, and the resultant wild lifestyle that led to her contracting HIV in the mid-1980s.
Aided by the carefully curated eye of architectural design expert Mark Haddawy, Valentine skilled restored Getty’s new L.A. home; gleaming white terrazzo floors look original to the 1960 structure but are actually a recent addition, as are the exposed steel beams in the ceiling, a unique open fireplace in the open-concept living area, and whimsical seafoam green cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms. All three of the nearly-2,100 sq. ft. home’s bedrooms sport funky electric blue carpeting and unstoppable views through floor-to-ceiling walls of glass.
Tucked into the Los Feliz foothills just below Griffith Park, the .29-acre property additionally features a wee outdoor terrace with a dynamic city lights view and a swimming pool with inset spa. Somewhere on the mini-estate is also a redwood-sided jacuzzi and a freestanding sauna building adjacent to a multi-level alfresco dining deck.
Over the years, Getty has become a high-end real estate gossip column veteran, especially noted for her frequent buying and selling of drool-worthy residences in the Southern California area. She once owned an idiosyncratic two-house compound atop L.A.’s Runyon Canyon that she bought from Walmart heiress Sybil Robson Orr and sold for $11.2 million in 2013 to Katy Perry. (Incidentally, Perry recently sold that compound to iconic restaurateur Michael Chow for nearly $14 million.)
Back in 2016, Getty bought a $12.5 million charcoal-colored mansion on Malibu’s Point Dume from apparel and lifestyle entrepreneur James Perse. Since then, the house has been on and off the market at a variety of prices, most recently at a loss-representing $12 million. Although the light-flooded, chicly turned out property is not currently listed on the open market, it remains available on the Getty family realtor’s website.
And then there was Getty’s spectacular multi-acre compound in Ojai, Calif., about 1.5 hours northwest of Los Angeles. Records show she bought that forested spread — with a main mansion designed by acclaimed architect Paul Williams — in 2015 for $7.1 million and flipped it just two years later for $9 million to fellow heiress Alix Marcaccini, daughter of the late British billionaire Sir James Goldsmith.