SELLER: Becki Newton and Chris Diamantopoulos
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 1,222 square feet, 1 bedroom, 2 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Celebrities come in all types, stripes and degrees of fame and notoriety.
There are international superstars like Angelina Jolie who can’t set on a damn public terlit without the paps pounding on the door and there are others like the oppressively ubiquitous Kim Kardashian who happily courts the gossip glossies and scuttlebutting blogs in order to hawk her many sundries and wares but is quickly subjected to the ugly flip side of the Fame coin at a difficult moment when she might–in theory–like a little bit of privacy. That is if y’all believe that Miss Kim’s divorce tears ain’t those of a crocodile. But that’s a silly matter for another time and place.
The luckiest Tinseltowners, as far as Your Mama is concerned, are the ones who work consistently, sometimes on very successful movies and/or tee-vee programs, but aren’t easily recognized by the masses or burdened with a house hold name. These sorts of (quasi-)famous folks can, for the most part, go on about their lives out of the sometimes burning glare of the celebrity tabloid media.
Two of those folks who fit into the latter category would be married actors (and relatively new parents) Becki Newton and Chris Diamantopoulos. Although Your Mama wouldn’t recognize either of these people if they were to walk right up and tell us their names they’ve none-the-less both toiled in the Big Business of Show for quite some time and have achieved a level of professional and financial success that affords them a relatively anonymous, bi-coastal lifestyle with modest (if not exactly inexpensive) apartments in both Los Angeles and New York City.
He started out in commercials as a child and later hoofed it and sang like a bird on Broadway. Eventually he landed on the tee-vee with roles on scads of programs that include The Starter Wife, American Dad! and, most recently, 24. She also pursued the theater in her youth but her big Showbiz break came in 2006 when she landed a plum role on Ugly Betty. She currently co-stars in an ensemble-oriented program called Love Bites.
In July 2010, on the heels of various reports that the comely couple had a baby on board, at least one New York City-based real estate gossip revealed the Newton-Diamantopouloses had listed (and have subsequently sold) a 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom apartment at The Westwind, a fine but undistinguished full service building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan designed in the 1920s by noted New York architect Rosario Candela. New York Magazine revealed the ninth floor apartment was listed for just eight weeks at $599,000 before it was snatched up, as per property records, for $587,000. Listing information we dug up out of StreetEasy shows the updated and upgraded apartment retained some original architectural detailing, parquet floors, an itty-bitty foyer, sound-proof windows in the bedroom, adequate but not particularly notable closet space, and an L-shaped, open-plan living/dining/kitchen area with a built-in banquette in the dining area opposite the kitchen.
On the west coast, property records show Miz Newton and Mister Diamantopoulos dropped $755,000 in April of 2007 to acquire a south- and east-facing city view apartment at the Hollywood Versailles building, a boxy, mid-rise, mid-century modern residential tower walking distance to the high-end hipster/celebrity scene at Teddy’s at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel as well as the tourist hordes that clump up around Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
It was to her rented apartment in this very building in April 2010 that tabloid train wreck (and soon to be nekkid model) Lindsay Lohan invited bold and brassy actress/comedienne Niecy Nash over with television cameras to reveal that she had a (possibly manufactured) tendency towards hoarding. Miss Lohan has since moved on to a rented house in Venice where she’s recently spent some time on house arrest. But we dip and digress again…
Listing information shows the Newton-Diamantopoulos digs, currently listed for sale at $535,000 and also for lease at $4,000 per month, measures 1,222 square feet with 1 bedroom and 2 bathrooms. A few quick flicks of the well-worn beads of Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus shows that even with a (probably unlikely) full price sale these two are looking at a substantial loss of $225,000 not counting carrying costs, upgrade and renovation expenses they may have incurred, and real estate fees. Making real estate matters worse for them, perhaps, is that according to our admittedly very unscientific research the most recent sales in the building have ranged from just $290,000 to just over $325,000. Granted, all of those sold apartments are located on lower floors and appeared in listings as having far less sophisticated finishes and day-core but, still…
The L-shaped main living space has crisp white walls, caramel-colored wood floors, and long banks for floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors that connect to a small east-facing terrace furnished with an egg-shaped wicker hanging basket-chair thingy-ma-bob. The windows and terrace all provide long views over the glittering carpet of lights of Los Angeles, and directly down into the historic and commercial heart of Hollywood.
Either or both Miz Newton and Mister Diamantopoulos must be mid-century modern aficionados because they’ve furnished their west coast abode in a spare bur far from frigid decorative scheme that includes a fair number of iconic MCM pieces. A white marble-topped Tulip table and four matching molded plastic pedestal-style chairs by Eero Saarinen coalesce with a white lacquer buffet under the window and a probably authentic but unlikely to be vintage cow hide-upholstered LC4 Chaise Lounge by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand. A shaggy, moss-green rug anchors the living room/lounging space where a clean-lined but cozy looking seal gray sectional sofa wraps around a low white coffee table and offers direct view of the over-sized flat screen television set flush with the wall in a custom-built niche.
The galley kitchen isn’t very big but does appear nicely-equipped with sleek white laminate cabinetry and elongated aluminum pulls, gray and white flecked granite counter tops, medium-grade stainless steel appliances, and a stacked washer and dryer. Frankly, Your Mama loathes laundry facilities in the kitchen. However, a private washer and dryer in the kitchen is probably far more appealing to upscale buyers of half a million dollar plus one bedroom apartment than spending time in the basement laundry room with the flotilla of steely-eyed and hard-working minimum wage Bonitas, Juanitas and Svetlanas hired by the well-heeled residents of the building to launder and fold their under garments.
It appears that what was designed as a decent-sized breakfast room or compact den between the living room and kitchen has been done up and did over for Baby Newton-Diamantopoulos with vertically-striped wallpaper and a whimsical rug that cartoonishly depicts a couple of owls sitting up in a leafy tree. It’s cute…for a child’s room.
Sliding panels separate the living area from the master bedroom where what appears to be a Case Study Day Bed by Modernica sits somewhat awkwardly at the foot of the bed. The built-in headboard, side tables and floor-to-ceiling wardrobes all appear to be custom designed and fabricated with black walnut (or black walnut veneer). A wardrobe-lined dressing hall lined connects the bedroom to a private facility with even more custom-built black walnut cabinetry, a stack of floor-to-ceiling open linen and towel shelves, and a glass-enclosed shower stall lined with square white tiles.
The 14-story Hollywood Versailles building offers residents valet parking, 24-7 doormen, fairly rudimentary-looking fitness facility with sauna, residents-only game room, and swimming pool.
Of course, we don’t know a water bottle from an tea kettle but we presume that now that baby makes three Miz Newton and Mister Diamantopoulos plan to settle down into a larger apartment or single family house Los Angeles and/or New York City where they’ll have more room for a designer crib, rocking horse, more mid-century modern furniture and foreign-born live-in nanny.*
Natch, we don’t know what their housing budget might be but Mister Diamantopoulos and Miz Newton might be interested in the dramatic (if not exactly child-friendly) Pierre Koenig-designed Michael Gantert Residencein the Hollywood Hills that recently appeared on the market with an asking price of $2,300,000.
If that’s too much dough-re-mi there’s a newly listed, low-slung 1957 stunner above Laurel Canyon designed by architect Philip Kimmelman with 1,834 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and an asking price of $1,465,000.
A much more modest budget might lead the mid-century modern appreciators to to consider the far northern reaches of the San Fernando Valley where a far more family friendly and pristine 4 bedroom and 2 bathroom center courtyard ranch (in the design of architect Joseph Eichler) in Granada Hills is currently available with a $739,000 price tag.
*Use you’re noggins nuggets. Your Mama has no idea if Miz Newton and Mister Diamantopoulos even employ a nanny at all let alone a foreign born one. We are just being cheeky. Okaaay?
listing photos: Westside Estate Agency