LOCATION: Encino, CA
SIZE: 8,134 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: One of Your Mama’s unofficial celebrity real estate rules states that when a rich and/or famous person marries they frequently also buy a new home. In short, a new spouse means a new house. It makes little matter if the newly betrothed previously shacked up in unmarried sin. They typically still feel the urge to wrap there wedded bliss in the comforts of a new house.
Thanks to the Bizzy Boys at Celebrity Address Aerial we’ve learned that such was the case with former boy bander/reality tee-vee star turned singing contest host/sometime actor Nick Lachey (The Sing Off) and his new bride Vanessa Minnillo, a one-time beauty pageant participator who now earns a living as the hostess of various showbiz events and low-brow reality tee-vee programs (Wipeout, True Beauty, Total Request Live).
Mister Lachey and Miss Minnillo, coupled on and off since sometime in 2006 or 2007, have lived together on and off for the last several years in both Los Angeles and New York City. In The Big Apple they were oft rumored and reported to have purchased or possibly leased a 2 bedroom pied a terre at the Atelier building on the far western end of 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan; In The City of Angels they made their unwed nest in a very contemporary ridge top residence Mister Lachey purchased in 2006 shortly after his marriage to wife number one Jessica Simpson swirled down the Tinseltown Terlit of Love.
After years of dating and living together Miss Minnillo finally made an honest man of Mister Lachey in mid-July (2011) when they hitched their semi-celebrity wagons in a quiet ceremony on Richard Branson’s private Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands. The main house on Necker Island was badly damaged last week during a fire started by a lightening strike. At the time of the 4:00 a.m. conflagration Oscar-winning British actress Kate Winslet was a guest of Mister Branson and asleep in the house. Not only did Miz Winslet get herself and her two children out of the house unharmed but also managed to scoop up and carry Mister Branson’s 90 year old mother out of the house to safety. Brava beotch! But we digress…
Property records and previous reports reveal that in February 2006 Mister Lachey ponied up 5,000,000 clams for a 5,214 square foot house near the tail end of a long gated driveway shared by a few other homes that snakes dramatically along a narrow ridge high in the mountains directly above the hoity–toity Bel Air section of Los Angeles.
The then bachelor purchased the modern mini-mansion from German supermodel/media mogul Heidi Klum and Grammy-winning British R&B singer-songwriter Seal who, as it turns out, have been much in the celebrity real estate headlines lately. The sexy salt and pepper pair paid $14,200,000 in late 2010 for a 12,300 square foot mansion on more than eight hillside acres in the same exclusive gated enclave in Los Angeles’ Brentwood area where other residents and home owners include philandering former California governator Arnold Schwarzenegger, supermodel Giselle Bündchen and her pigskinner hubby Tom Brady, Libet Johnson (heiress to the Band-Aid fortune), and at least one Middle Eastern political potentate. They subsequently listed their former house, a secluded hillside estate tucked into one of the lesser traveled canyons that cut through the mountains in the Beverly Hills Post Office area, in May 2011 with an asking price of $6,900,000. Records reveal they sold the 6 bedroom and 9 full and 2 half pooper property just a month later for $7,000,000. It doesn’t take a genius or a bejeweled abacus to see that’s a hundred grand over the asking price but it does take a peep into the property records to reveal it’s also $600,000 less then they paid for the property 5.5 years earlier. And there we go digressing again…
Your Mama discussed the Bel Air residence Mister Lachey shared with Miss Minnillo back in June 2010 when he quietly pushed the property on to the market with and asking price of $6,800,000. Listing information indicates house was last listed with a $5,995,000 price tag and property records now show Mister Lachey sold the property on the 10th of August, 2011 for $5,500,000 to an unknown buyer.
The day after Mister Lachey closed on his house in Bel Air he and his new Missus closed on a gated mock-Med mansion nestled into a thickly treed cul–de-sac in the semi-rustic rolling hills above suburban Encino. Although Encino is and has always been a leafy haven for Hollywood types of all stripes, the community none-the-less carries with it the stigma of being a suburban wasteland of vapid and tasteless consumerism. This unflattering image of Encino, at one time only a figment in the snobbish real estate minds of Angelenos who believed they lived in better zip codes, went viral in the early 1980s when L.A.-based music legend Frank Zappa released the song Valley Girl. Anyone over forty certainly knows the song–sung/talked by Mister Zappa’s then 14-year old daughter Moon Unit–that openly mocked Valley Girl culture. (O.M.G., children, check out Marilyn MaCoo with her braided headband! Get. It. Gurrl!).
Anyhoo, property records show the newlyweds paid $2,850,000 for their new mansion in Encino. The house, which listing information called “Rustic Tuscan,” was purchased with the same trust through which Mister Lachey owned his previous home in Bel Air. Listing information for Chez Lachey shows the house was built in 1981, measures a substantial 8,134 square feet, and includes a family-sized number of bedrooms and bathrooms, 6 and 8 respectively.
Shrubbery shrouded arched wood gates swing open electronically to a stone motor court with two car front-facing garage and adjoining single car carport. A wide, tree-shaded stone stair way connects the driveway to the front door set deeply into an arched porch. The exterior of the house, as far as Your Mama is concerned, ain’t nuthin‘ but an architectural wart with odd proportions and botched massing. Things get a marginally better inside where some of the faux and stone finishes meant to give the house the illusion of being an agéd Mediterranean country house are mildly mitigated by a number of surprisingly voluminous spaces with distressed hardwood floors and vaulted ceilings with exposed wood beams.
A series of stone pillars and wide arched doorways in that airy sky-lit foyer direct traffic into the spacious window-wrapped formal living room with wide plank wood floors, fireplace and French doors that open to a pair of verandas, one covered and one not. The adjacent library/den also has wood floors, vaulted wood beam ceiling with sky lights, fireplace, and French doors that open to a veranda–in this case the covered one. Boozehounds like Your Mama who can not abide the stone veneer only installed to about halfway up one very tall wall in the library/den may feel more architecturally charitable to the space when they learn there’s a built-in wet bar with copper sink installed in the corner opposite the fireplace.
The formal dining room opens on one end through wood-framed French doors to a grassy area and on the side through a wider bank of wood-framed French doors to a romantic vine-covered patio with over-sized water fountain. The rather large center island kitchen has a barrel-vaulted ceiling, tile floors with Travertine inlay set at a 45-degree angle, a adjacent pantry/utility room, custom cabinetry that features a built-in buffet with plate rack and microwave oven cubby, two over-sized farmhouse sinks, side-by-side stainless steel fridge and freezer, snack counter, and a breakfast area also with a barrel vaulted ceiling.
A wide doorway with a pair of thin columns separates the breakfast room/kitchen from the family room where there’s distressed wide-plank wood floors under foot and a vaulted, wood-beamed, and sky lit ceiling over head. One entire wall was covered floor to ceiling in the same stone veneer as in the library/den. All we can say about that is at least this time the stone facing reaches all the way to the high ceiling. An arched inset in the stone-faced wall holds a wide-screen boob-toob and built-in cabinet for all the various cable boxes and wireless routers required for a modern upscale lifestyle. The home’s third fireplace was crammed awkwardly between the wide media archway and a much less wide archway that connects the room to the rest of the house.
A vestibule on the lower level has double doors that open into a home office with built-in cabinetry, desk top, wet bar and corner seating unit. A short hall connects the office space to the master bedroom and en suite bathroom, both of which have fireplaces set into full walls covered with stone veneer, both of which have access and/or views to the garden and swimming pool, and both of which have wall-t0-wall sand colored carpeting. That’s right, puppies, there’s wall to wall carpeting in the bathrooms that encircles the free standing tub and runs right up to the sinks and shower. Your Mama hopes that Mister and Missus Lachey heed Rule Number 12 in Your Mama’s Big Book of Decorating Dos and Don’ts that explicitly states that due to what should be obvious sanitary issues no bathing or terliting facility of any kind in any home of any size or value shall have wall-to-wall carpeting. Bath mats and area rugs are acceptable solutions to cold feet as are, for those with the budget, radiant heated floors.
The remainder of the mansion’s sleeping chambers, each of them en suite as per listing information, are sprinkled throughout the house and configured such as to allow for flexible use as guest suites, offices, game rooms, fitness chambers, children’s play rooms, massage facilities, scrap booking factories or what-have-you rooms.
In addition to the various covered patios, porches and verandas that surround the house the grounds include a flat patch of grass surrounded by mature trees and landscaping. Does anyone else besides Your Mama think Missus Lachey would like to see a celebrity-style jungle gym set up out there soon? Exterior stairs connect the long dining and lounging veranda on the second floor to the multi-level lower terrace where there’s dining and sunbathing areas, built-in fire pit with built-in stone bench, a swimming pool with lap lane and, tucked into a quiet corner of the yard, a foliage-surrounded spa where Mister and Missus Minnillo can film another of their outdoor sexcapades should they be so inclined.
Your Mama, who has never spoken to nor seen Mister Lachey or Miz Minnillo in the flesh, certainly hasn’t any idea or inside information about why these two sometimes volatile lovebirds would opt to trade in their sexy house in Bel Air with jet liner views over Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean for a significantly larger but far less exciting mansion in Encino. Perhaps they just wanted some thing less expensive–if not less costly to maintain and operate–where they’ll have plenty of room to bring up babies when the time comes.