On this blog Yolanda gabs about two types of people, generally speaking: rich folks and really rich folks. And airport stores heiress turned fashion designer Alexandra von Furstenberg most assuredly falls into the latter category.
Ms. von Furstenberg — born Alexandra Miller — famously married into royalty in 1995, when she hitched her wealthy wagon to Prince Alexander von Furstenberg, the son of fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg and Prince Egor von Furstenberg. Though the couple amicably divorced long ago (in 2002) and Ms. von Furstenberg recently married her longtime beau Dax Miller, she retains her ex-hubby’s surname and continues to work for her ex-mother-in-law’s fashion group.
Ms. von Furstenberg — a furniture designer by trade — also owns her own eponymous LA-based store, where she peddles modern acrylic furniture pieces that range from a $26,000 Bullet Acrylic Coffee Table to a $425 cherry red candy bowl and lots of other unusual stuff in between.
But Ms. von Furstenberg did not need a royal husband or pricey furniture to make her a very rich woman. Oh no. She was already phenomenally wealthy as one of the three daughters of American-born British multi-billionaire Robert Warren Miller, who made his $2.6 billion fortune primarily by building the Duty Free (DFS) airport shops empire.
Mr. Miller is internationally best-known, however, for his three very famous socialite daughters, all of whom married extraordinarily well. The trio are collectively known as the Miller sisters. We’ve already told you about his youngest, Ms. von Furstenberg — whose real estate we shall discuss today — but there’s also his eldest, Pia Getty, who married (and divorced) Christopher Getty, an heir to the multi-billion-dollar Getty Oil empire. And then there’s Mr. Miller’s middle daughter, Marie-Chantal, Crown Princess of Greece, who is currently the wife of Crown Prince Pavlos, son of the the last King of Greece.
But Ms. von Furstenberg is the only one of the three sisters who resides primarily in Los Angeles, so naturally she is the one we are most interested in and it is she whom we shall discuss today.
Back in early 2012, a wealthy but low-profile Hidden Hills-based couple named Gary & Gilena Simons paid an even-steven $10 million for a shack on a 1-acre flat (and prime) piece of blufftop land located on the famously celebrity-swarmed Point Dume neighborhood of Malibu.
The couple appear to have renovated the existing cottage and changed up the landscaping a bit, but even so they must’ve made a bundle last month (January 2017) when they flipped the property for $16,000,000 to a corporate entity front for Ms. von Furstenberg.
The house is located on what is probably one of the two best streets on Point Dume, on top of the cliffs and directly overlooking the sea. An unpretentious wooden gate swings open to a dirt (!!) driveway that leads directly to an olive green garage door attached to a shockingly modest house. Looks like something you might find out in a unswanky corner of Simi Valley, don’t it? (No offense to any Simi Valleyans here).
We get the look that the decor is aiming for — sort of a hippie-dippie free-spirited non-conformist holistic silly beach vibe — but it just ain’t working for Yolanda. Especially that Joseph’s-couch-of-many-colors. And that rather hideous dining table set. Egads.
But the kitchen has all top-grade appliances and there’s a cute little table outside.
The 2,273-square-foot structure has three bedrooms. There are two nearly identical “masters”, each with hardwood floors and glass slider doors. Yolanda spies a bidet.
The third bedroom has a kid-friendly bunk bed setup and about a million photographs on the walls. After all these spec-mansions Yolanda has been featuring on this blog in recent weeks, it’s sorta nice to see a house that actually looks lived-in.
Perhaps the property’s most unusual feature is the detached “air conditioned casita” in the front yard. It looks just big enough to accommodate a couple chairs, and Yolanda can’t fathom why someone would rather sit here with a view of the dirt driveway rather than out back with a view of the ocean.
In addition to the sizable plot of land, the $16 million value is all in this cliffside view of the ocean. Although the house has no direct beach access, listing information does note that it carries a coveted Riviera 3 beach key, which allows the use of a private entrance to all-but-private Little Dume Beach.
As y’all can tell from the listing photos, this place is very modest. In fact, it’s so modest that Yolanda finds it impossible to believe that the high-falutin’ Ms. von Furstenberg will be bunking up here and cooling off in the air-conditioned casita. Maybe we’re wrong, but we just cannot picture her up in here.
No, Yolanda suspect Ms. von Furstenberg’s $16 million purchase was for land value only. In due time, you’ll see, the dump trucks will roll up to Point Dume and haul away the remnants of this 1966 shack. From the ashes will rise a much grander structure. Ms. von Furstenberg will build a palace that pays proper homage to her family’s multi-billion-dollar bank account.
And it wouldn’t be her first time.
A couple years ago, Ms. von Furstenberg — and her hubby Dax Miller — finished putting their finishing touches on her custom built, 18,000-square-foot mansion that is located on what is often considered to be most expensive street in all of Los Angeles: South Mapleton Drive in the heart of the Holmby Hills neighborhood.
Designed by Mr. Miller’s Dax Design firm, the all-white contemporary beast has a classic H-shaped symmetrical layout and walls of glass that disappear or swing open to the backyard, with its views over the tony Los Angeles Country Club. White oak floors run throughout the house, there’s a double-height great room, a massive library with gold leaf-backed bookshelves, an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven, a gourmet kitchen with Wolf, SubZero and Miele appliances, and a full-blown art gallery with name-brand pieces.
The house is located just two doors away from the Manor, the gigantic Holmby Hills estate that Candy Spelling sold to fellow billionaire heiress Petra Ecclestone for $85 million in 2011. A couple doors in the other direction is the Playboy Mansion, which was, of course, famously just sold for $100 million to billionaire heir Daren Metropoulos. Other homeowners on the same street include construction heiress Kristin Tutor Eberts, Obama’s White House decorator Michael S. Smith, Google gigolo Eric Schmidt, Facebook trillionaire Sean Parker, Beats baller Jimmy Iovine, iconic restaurateur Michael Chow (that’s Mr. Chow to us peons), acclaimed director Sir Ridley Scott, private equity pasha Justin Chang and his wife Amanda Brown (she wrote Legally Blonde), Jordanian billionaire Hasan Ismaik, vodka and music mogul P. Diddy, former Paramount Pictures CEO Frank Mancuso Sr., big businessman Marc Nathanson, and hedge fund honcho David Kaplan.
One more thing: the couple that sold Ms. von Furstenberg her $16 million Malibu cottage — Gary & Gilena Simons — are not downsizing. Instead, just two days after that deal closed, they ponied up a baller-style $20,000,000 for a 6,000-square-foot Mediterranean mansion located on what is often considered to be the best oceanfront section of coveted Malibu Road.
For what it’s worth, Ms. von Furstenberg’s ex-hubby and the father of her two teenage children — Prince Alexander von Furstenberg — currently resides in the celebrity-infested Beverly Park gated community above Beverly Hills, in a house that he bought from Bond girl Luciana Paluzzi and her husband Michael Solomon.
The Prince’s fortune reportedly does not derive mainly from his royal roots, however. You see, his mother — fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg — is married to multi-billionaire media magnate Barry Diller, who has no children of his own and reportedly plans to will his fortune over to Prince and Princess von Furstenberg upon his death.
See what we mean when we say these von Furstenberg people are really rich?
Listing & Selling Agent: Chris Cortazzo, Coldwell Banker