SELLER: Billie Joe Armstrong
LOCATION: Manchester Drive, Oakland, CA
SIZE: 6,122 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Custom Mark Becker French Normandy resides on original Julia Morgan “Red Gate” Steps. Fully gated. Level-in. Large open spaces. Exquisite.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Way back in mid-September of 2009 Your Mama received many missives regarding the Oakland, CA home of kohl-eyed pop-punk rocker Billie Joe Armstrong of the band Green Day who had listed his house in the hills with an asking price of $4,850,000. We intended to write about the Mark Becker designed domicile but by the time we got around to it, every Tom, Dick, Harry and Sally who writes about celebrity real estate had beaten Your Mama to the punch. We decided the surprisingly dignified manse had been well covered and moved on. However, nearly every day–seriously chickens, every damn day–we get “tips” and inquiries from curious children regarding the property and figured that if so many people cared enough to put listing information for the property in Your Mama’s inbox and in front of our boozy eyeballs, the least we could do is write about it. Besides, we don’t have much else exciting on our agenda this morning and we’ll keel over and die a long slow death if we write another damn word about Nic Cage, his financial brouhaha and his great property sell off.
Listing information indicates Billie Joe Armstrong’s abode, located in the Upper Rockridge neighborhood, was built on the former grounds of a lavish estate known as Red Gate which was designed by brilliant Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan in 1911 for a man named Charles B. Wells. Your Mama does not know–or really even care–who Mister Wells is or what happened to his big ol‘ house, so don’t pester Your Mama asking about it. Property records show the married and openly bisexual B.J. Armstrong purchased the property in July of 1997 for $600,000. Given that records show the 6,122 square foot French Normandy style residence was completed in 1999, we’re going to assume Mister and Missus Armstrong had the house custom built. Listing information indicates the house has “5+” bedrooms and “4++” poopers. However, after perusing the floor plan included with listing information Your Mama counts 5 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms on the floor plan so we haven’t a clue what this “+” and “++” nonsense is all about unless there are bedrooms and terlits not accounted for on the floor plan.
Since the house has been emptied of B.J. Armstrong’s personal belongings, painted in a neutral shade of beige and staged with a lot of white, brown and beige things it’s really unnecessary to discuss the day-core. Iffin any of the children want a glimpse of the manner in which Mister and Missus Armstrong decorated, have a look-see here. While the house had a wee bit more personality when it was furnished with the Armstrong’s this and thats, it was all very Pottery Barn-ish which is clearly a long, long way from being punk rock. But then again, as far as Your Mama is concerned, Green Day is a long way from real punk rock too, so what else can we expect in a pop-punkers pad?
The front door to the residence is, unfortunately, located on the opposite side of the house from the gated motor court which means that except for the hunky UPS man, the pimpled pizza gurl and those pesky, door knocking Jehovah’s Witnesses, the front door is unlikely to be used much by the owner. This is a real pity given that the wood floored entrance hall has this wonderful, swooping staircase and an amazing chandelier that looks like it might be from Morocco or Turkey or some other exotic place.
In addition to the entrance hall, the main floor includes a nearly 30 foot square living room with an imposing fireplace and windows on four sides, a generously sized dining room that opens through French doors to the front porch and has sunset views, and a window wrapped office/library with two sets of French doors that open to a small terrace that overlooks the swimming pool.
A short hall with a guest pooper leads from the foyer to the back door and the home’s more casual quarters. The kitchen, according to listing information, is equipped with a professional range, double ovens, dual dishwashers, a Sub-Zero brand fridge, pantry, office nook, and a large island with an eating counter, vegetable sink and wine fridge. The kitchen is open to the breakfast area which spills down a couple of steps into the wood floored family room which includes another large fireplace–there are four in the house, built in entertainment cabinetry, and a built in window seat with long and lovely views all the way to San Francisco.
The curving staircase leads to the meandering and rambling second floor which includes a laundry room, two family bedrooms that share a pooper, a third bedroom with a peaked ceiling and private pooper, and the master bedroom. Well located far from the family bedrooms, the master suite is comprised of a bedroom with a fireplace, a small balcony with views of San Francisco, a gigantic, multi-winged walk-in closet, and a large but very beige bathroom with double sinks, a terlit closet, separate shower and a spa tub.
The lower level features a bedroom with a private pooper perfect for in-laws or live in staff, a room described in listing information as a “red velvet lounge” with built in cabinetry for the boob-toob and a wet bar. The remainder of the lower lever consists of three windowless rooms that Mister Armstrong has kitted out as a private recording and sound studio. We’re sure it was really great for him to be able to record and fool around on the gee-tar at home, but these rooms will serve little purpose for a new owner unless they’re converted to some other use such as a wine cellar, home gym, or s/m dungeon.
The property also includes a three car attached garage, a multitude of terraces and patios that take advantage of the elevated siting, and a heated swimming pool with an automatic pool cover and an adjacent cabana with fireplace, bathroom, and outdoor shower.
Property records show that in addition to their Oakland digs, Mister and Missus Armstrong also own a house on ritzy Balboa Island in Newport Beach, CA which they scooped up in April of 2006 for $1,699,000 as well as a modest house on Roy Street in St. Paul, MN that they purchased in June of 2002. Saint Paul, MN seemed to Your Mama like an unlikely location for a California born and based rock star to own home, but a little research on the interweb reveals the Missus Armstrong, Adrienne, is from that neck of the mid-western woods as is Chow-Lee, one of Your Mama’s long time comrades whom we will be visiting come Halloween time. Listen chickens, Your Mama is already stockpiling the nerve pills for this trip because not only will we be holed up in a house with Chow-Lee’s three (smart and lovely but loud) children, but we’re winging to Minny-soh–tuh with our messy bestie Fiona Trambeau whom Your Mama fully expects will show up at the airport in some kind of unflattering and overly revealing Spandex get up that she’ll claim is a “traveling suit.” We just hope we don’t have a repeat of what happened the last time Your Mama and Fiona went to see Chow-Lee when ol‘ Fiona got so pie-eyed in the airport lounge that we had to coax her off the lap of a married man with a big bottle of voddie from the duty free, pour her into a wheelchair and lift her sloppy ass into her first class seat while she groped the trolly dollies and hollered about needing damn cigarette. But that’s a sordid story for another time and another place.
So far we’ve been unable to locate any new property purchases by the Armstrongs so it’s unclear if they’ll be relocating to Newport Beach or if they plan on staying in the Bay Area.