It’s not often that we get to discuss real, bonafide royalty on this blog (apart from all those random Saudi princes). And it’s even less often that we write about a house on the Palos Verdes peninsula. So this is a double-whammy event that we don’t see happening again anytime soon. Savor it while it’s still fresh!
Her Highness Tatiana von Furstenburg has quite the interesting lineage. The only daughter of renowned fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg (herself the only child of a Jewish concentration camp survivor) and Prince Egon von Furstenberg (his father blue-blooded German nobility, his mother a member of the bazillionaire Agnelli family of Italy), she was raised in the quintessential lap of European luxury. Ms. von Furstenberg was educated in boarding schools in three different countries, speaks four languages, still frequents the family castles in Germany and Italy.
Nowadays, however, Her Worshipfulness (and the rest of her immediate family) calls Los Angeles her primary residence. Since 2002, the same year as her long-lasting marriage to an American composer named Russell Steinberg, Ph.D, Ms. von Furstenberg has owned a lovely yet relatively unassuming 3,278-square-foot residence on a particularly celeb-popular Los Feliz street.
Property records show that Ms. von Furstenburg originally paid $1,200,000 for the 4-bed, 3-bath property, which includes a detached two-car garage with guest/staff quarters above on its quarter-acre of hillside land.
A couple of the other famous folks who own homes on the same street include comedians John Mulaney and George Lopez. And directly above Her Highness’s house is a much-larger mansion belonging to No Doubt drummer Tony Kanal.
But we digress. We must chat a bit more about our Lady’s family before we get to the meat of this real estate delicacy.
Diane von Furstenburg long ago divorced Tatiana’s father, Prince Egon (may he RIP). In 2001, she wed longtime BFF and media tycoon Barry Diller, a guy widely believed by just about everyone to be a homosexual. Not that it’s really any of our business, but it’s relevant to the real estate matter at hand, as you shall see.
Mr. Diller — now in his 70s — has a net worth of 2.5 billion bucks (or so). And no children of his own. So what’s he gonna do with all that cash when he kicks the golden bucket? Give it all away? Nope. While we’re sure he’ll leave something for his favorite charities, it’s widely believed Mr. Diller has made arrangements to leave the bulk of his estate to Tatiana von Furstenburg and her brother, Alexander von Furstenburg. Mr. Diller and DVF’s marriage was part of that legacy arrangement, you see. Mr. Diller apparently loves his BFF’s kids as if they were his own. Which is kinda touching, we suppose.
So you see what the deal is. Once Mr. Diller is gone, Ms. von Furstenburg and her brother have plush seats on the Forbes billionaire list waiting just for them. Kinda make you a bit salty, don’t it? No?
Yolanda has long expected Ms. von Furstenberg to upgrade her residential circumstances. Unlike her more flamboyant brother, however, Our Lady apparently does not covet a giant house in tacky Beverly Park or even desire to fly planes with anti-adultery signs over Malibu. Smart gurl. Ms. von Furstenberg has taste, y’all.
Anyway, Ms. von Furstenberg — now in her mid-40s, FYI — recently spent the big bucks at the beach. Unlike most other sick-rich LA-based heirs and heiresses, however, she eschewed the typical rich-kid playgrounds of Malibu and Newport Beach for the less-lauded but still punishingly pricey Palos Verdes area.
Palos Verdes Estates is the one wealthy area of LA that Yolanda does not really pay much attention to. That sounds harsh, but it’s just due to the fact that we are mostly unfamiliar with the neighborhood, marooned as it is way down south between Torrance and Long Beach. It’s a very rich community, no doubt about that. But it’s not really the sexiest locale in LA. Trust us, it’s a long drive up that 405 or any one of a number of other freeways to get to… well, anywhere you wanna go, essentially.
But this house is definitely very cool. We congratulate Ms. von Furstenberg on her choice. Originally built for a renowned landscaper, the house known as “Casa Felicia” first came to market in May (2016), asking $12,500,000. The house sold in a month for $11,950,000. Mind you, the structure is only 3,620 square feet, which mans Ms. von Furstenberg paid more than $3k per square foot. Worth ever penny? We think yes.
Built in 1925 by acclaimed architect Myron Hunt, the smallish (in size) yet somehow imposing residence was owned by the same family for more than 50 years. This is one of those rare cases where that too-oft-repeated “Once in a lifetime opportunity!” line of real estate agent mumbo-jumbo actually seems appropriate, no?
The house is located on a relatively secluded cul-de-sac shared with just three other homes. The 1.51 acre property has 270 feet of blufftop ocean “frontage”. As for the house itself, it’s tucked all the way back near the edge of the cliff for maximum views and privacy. A long gated driveway leads through a dense forest of eucalyptus trees to the brick courtyard.
A set of brick walkways lead through the truly charming courtyard. Check out that original detailing! And Yolanda is not sure if she’s ever seen a hanging mirror in an outdoor setting before, but somehow it works.
Grounds are tidy and well-maintained but not obsessively so. Just the way we like it. But Yolanda does hope those lawn chairs are in the dumpster by now. Egads.
Indoors, thedecor is original, perfectly suited to the architecture, and far too — ahem — exuberant for your gurl’s taste. But it’s just perfect for an old-fashioned Princess. Clean up the few too-grandmotherly pieces, and Ms. von Furstenberg should be good to go.
The kitchen, with its burnt-orange tile floors, dirty blonde cabinetry and forest green tile splash, is so decadently original that we couldn’t bear to repaint or replace anything. Just get rid of that microwave and dishwasher. Oh, and the faintly moorish (?) domed ceiling with the brass chandelier is anther awesome touch.
And perhaps the best room in the house is the dining room. Need we say more?
Casa Felicia features floor-to-ceiling windows for taking in the views of the sea.
Unfortunately, there are no pics of any of the bathrooms and only a single photo of hardwood-floored bedroom, which we don’t believe is the master suite.
An interesting feature is the stone firepit with built-in blue-tiled seating. It’s cleverly crafted to buffet the flames (and people) from those occasionally sharp and chilly nighttime ocean breezes.
Sorry, there’s no pool or spa on the property. Not an inch of infinity edge anywhere. Will anyone miss them? If they do, they should have their heads examined! Come on now.
More angles of the spectacular views.
Yolanda confesses she really has no idea whether Ms. VF, her husband, and their preteen daughter will relocate to Palos Verdes full-time or stay in the Los Feliz house and use this place as a weekend retreat. Your Highness, if you’re reading this, be a dear and deign to let our nosy selves know.
Before we go, let’s take a quick look at the other von Furstenberg family homes in LA.
In February 2011, Prince Alex von Furstenberg (Tatiana’s brother) paid $13,000,000 for a Mediterranean-style Beverly Park mansion. The house was sold by Michael Solomon (former Warner Bros prez) and his aged Italian bombshell wife Luciana Paluzzi (former Bond girl). It appears that His Highness has made significant alterations to the property, including the installation of a new swimming pool and new landscaping.
Duty Free heiress Alexandra von Furstenberg (Alex’s ex-wife and the mother of his two older kids) recently completed construction on a symmetrically multi-winged “Modern Traditional” style mega-mansion on what is perhaps LA’s most expensive street: Mapleton Drive.
As for Mr. Diller (and Diane von Furstenberg), they spend a great deal of time in New York City (in two separate apartments), but in LA they reside in a relatively modest 2.5-acre, two-structure compound in the Coldwater Canyon area of Beverly Hills.