YOUR MAMAS NOTES: It’s always a breath of fresh air to come across a celebrity who recognizes that the bottom done fell out of the Los Angeles real estate market in 2008 and understnads that while there are signs of life and glimmers of hope the economy still sucks for most people and the days of buying a posh property and then quickly flipping it for a multi-million dollar profit is, for the most part, long gone.
One of those celebrities with a sensible real estate mind would seem to be Emmy nominated actress Cheryl Hines who a little birdie told Your Mama recently listed her house in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles with an asking price of $4,249,000. That, puppies, is a modest gain over the $4,125,000 that property records show she and her man-mate Paul Young paid for the property in June of 2005. A few flicks of the well worn beads of Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus shows that’s a barely there 3% gain over five years, a picayune profit for a house in this price range and one that will be more than eaten up by the fat real estate that will be paid when the property sells.
Most of the children should recognize Miz Hines, who once upon a time was Oscar nominated actor Rob Reiner’s personal assistant, as the actress who portrays Larry David’s wife on the HBO’s semi-scripted and soo–blimely executed sit-com Curb Your Enthusiasm, a program on which she’s starred to critical acclaim for the last 10 years. In addition to her role on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Miz Hines also worked her sometimes improvisational stuff in a fair number of films and television programs such as the animated series Father of the Pride, Herbie Fully Loaded, Goodnight Vagina, The Grand, and In the Motherhood. She even made a brief, 3-episode spin through the excruciating but magnetic family melodrama Brothers & Sisters.
A few minutes research on the interweb and Your Mama learns that Miz Hines is quite the bizzy beaver. In addition to her duties on Curb Your Enthusiasm, she’ll be lending her voice to something called The Legend of Secret Pass, co-starring in a new one-camera sit-com called Wright vs. Wrong with Debra Messing (Will & Grace) and the a-may-zing Carrie Fisher, and she is the executive producer of an upcoming do good-feel good reality program call School Pride that follows the mawkish Extreme Makeover model. Instead of doing up houses that the financially less fortunate owners can no longer afford, Miz Hines’ reality program will be about community members going in and improving busted up and broken down schools. Listen butter beans, Your Mama is all for fixing up schools, giving kids a clean and well equipped place to learn, and paying teachers a proper wage and all, but we are not interested in a program that mixes good ol‘ fashioned charity/volunteer work with the shameless manipulating of the heart strings of viewers. We find that sort of mawkish and obvious format tawdry, tacky, and more than just a little unseemly.
Anyhoo, according to listing information, Miz Hines’ single story Cape Cod meets rambling California ranch meets a hay barn style residence located in the Mandeville Canyon area measures 4,908 square feet and includes a total of 6 bedrooms and 5.5 poopers. That breaks down, according to listing information, to 4 family bedrooms, a bedroom and pooper for Yorbalinda the live-in housekeeper, and a guest house above the garage with living room, bedroom, wee kitchen and private pooper.
A walled and electronically gated entrance shielded by tall trees and thick and mature foliage opens to a wide stone paved driveway and motor court that curls around a gnarled olive tree–that is an olive tree right?–and leads to a barn-like two car garage. A classic, farmhouse style front door with nine-glass panes opens into a generously sized entry with adjoining powder pooper. The formal living room–which really isn’t very formal at all in large part to the massive flat screen tee-vee mounted onto the stone fireplace where an actual piece of art ought to be–has distressed oak hardwood floors, built in cabinetry tucked into a niche, beamed ceilings, and a wall of nine-over-nine sash windows that reach deliciously almost all the way to the floor. The formal dining room has an oddly located and narrow niche with shelves for displaying the china or whatever, a low but lovely wood ceiling and, much to Your Mama’s delight, s Dutch door that opens into the backyard. Dutch doors are pefect for letting the breeze blow through but still keeping the kiddies and the pets from sneaking out and dumping themselves in the pool.
The wide, galley style kitchen has both granite and butcher block counter tops, Viking brand stainless steel appliances, and over-scaled, cream colored honey bee tile floors that Your Mama thinks need a’changing. The kitchen opens into a window wrapped breakfast room as well as a family room where someone left a horrid and oddly located 9-dollar Home Despot light fixture in the ceiling. Uhm, no. We just can’t get past that in a four million dollar house. That’s the same stoopid light fixture that Your Mama’s lame and lazy landlord installed in our old two-bedroom tenement on the Lower East Side of New York back in the early 1990s. Pleeze. People. No.
Anyhoo, the master suite includes a large and largely uninspired pooper with a giant step up soaking tub sunk into a marble surround and flanked by twin vanities. We’re not even going to comment or reference our Big Book of Decorative Dos and Don’ts as to the cliché fuchsia colored orchid sitting in the far corner of the room. There are also dual master closets, according to listing information, and a fireplace shoved uncomfortably into the corner of the room in such a way as to make us feel edgy, off-kilter, and in dire need of a nerve pill to readjust our decoratively sensitive equilibrium.
The guest house above the garage has a slightly rustic, Upstate New York sort of thing going on with a pitched wood beamed ceiling, hardwood floors, multi-paned sash windows, wide wainscot cabinetry, and that dead damn fish up on the wall.
A wide, brick terrace, part of which is covered and part of which has a silly portable fire pit that’s designed to look as if it’s not portable, extends off the back of the house until it reaches a gently curving quarter wall that separates the terrace from the lawn and swimming pool areas. A myriad of mature trees and foliage ring the perimeter of the yard and ensure the outdoor spaces remain quiet and private should Miz Hines and Mr. Young want to have a romantical evening in the spa attached to the heated free-form swimming pool that’s half-heartedly landscaped with river rock and ferns to look like a blue lagoon or something.
Although country casual is not in any manner, shape, or form Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter’s preferred decoratin‘ modality, it’s always nice to peek into a celebrity home that’s not been over-processed, over-blown, and over-styled into a sterile showplace that’s sole purpose seems to scream and yell, “Look how rich and successful I am. No, seriously, look at me. I’m rich and my house is huge and there’s not a hair out of place!” Miz Hines’ house, on the other hand, actually looks like that of regular people–albeit it very wealthy people–largely unbuckled and untarnished from the plasticine glamour that infects Los Angeles and far to often substitutes for actual substance. Can you hear Your Mama Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian? Okaaaay?
Miz Hines and Mister Young’s nearby neighbors include a number of other Hollywood types including Courtney Thorne Smith (Melrose Place), 3-time Oscar winning director Oliver Stone (Nixon, JFK, Born on the 4th of July, Platoon), actor Dennis Quaid, and twitchy comedian Gary Shandling.
listing photos: Architecture 8