SELLERS: Constance Zimmer and Russ Lamoureux
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 1,379 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 1.75 bathroom
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Every now and then a property pops up on the open market that proudly bills itself as celebrity owned as does a well-groomed, mid-century modern cottage in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles listed with an asking price of $1,175,000. A quick comb through property records shows the compact abode, just down the street from Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s multi-residence compound and around the corner from Zac Efron’s post-rehab residence, is owned by Constance Zimmer and Russ Lamoureux.
Mister Lamoureux isn’t a household name but he is, children, an award winning commercial director, photographer, and short film maker. Miz Zimmer isn’t exactly a household name either but she’s a smoky voiced veteran actor with a long Tinseltown resume that dates back to the mid-1990s. We think she’s under rated, but what does this property gossip know about that? Miz Zimmer is perhaps best known for her early- to mid-Aughts role on the critically well-regarded (but long ago canceled) television dramedy Boston Legal and/or for her long-running gig as movie exec Dana Gordon on Entourage. More recently she nabbed a lead role the ensemble-oriented but very short-lived boob-toob turkey Love Bites as well as a recurring role on Grey’s Anatomy and an ongoing featured part on The Newsroom. She currently co-stars on the big budget, David Fincher-directed Netflix original series House of Cards as a tightly wound political journalist.
Property records show that Mister Lamoureux purchased the modestly sized, late 1940s era contemporary on his own in July 2006 for $1,149,000. (We’re not sure they were even a couple back then, actually. But anyways…) Listing details show the 1,349 square foot dwelling, set hard up on the street atop a street level two car garage, has just two bedrooms and 1.75 bathrooms and has been “enhanced by celeb owners with newer systems, lower level deck and hot tub bamboo retreat.” There are, also as per listing details, original oak floors, (non-original) designer wallpaper accents, and “heaps of natural light.”
Listing details suggest the humble but high-mindedly conceived and hardly inexpensive residence may be the work of somewhat a lesser known and too-little lauded modular-minded mid-century modernist architect, Harwell Hamilton Harris. Early on Mister Harris apprenticed with modernist mandarin Richard Neutra. He worked repeatedly with eminent Southern California modernist architect Gregory Ain, and very much a part of the early modernist architecture movement in southern California. Indeed, in 1937 Mister Harris was commissioned to design the itty bitty, 850 square foot Santa Monica (CA) home of John Entenza, the influential editor and publisher of Arts and Architecture magazine, the publication, of course, that sponsored the ground breaking and legendary Case Study Houses program.
A locked entry gate on the street opens into a supermodel slender exterior courtyard that leads to the elevated front entry. An also painfully thin entry hall pops blessedly open, as per the floor plan included with digital marketing materials, into a compact but rather glorious, zig-zagging open plan main living area with long expanses of floor-to-ceiling windows, unexpectedly high ceilings, and transom-topped French doors.
A hulking and asymmetrical but beautifully balanced fireplace fashioned from stacked stone, tile, and concrete anchors the airy, clerestory-lit central living room. Mister Lamoureux and Miz Zimmer did up the room in a spare yet intimate manner with little more than a cluster of small artworks hung salon style on the back wall, a patinated metal sculpture on the chimney breast, and, floating in the center of the room, a sleek pair of low-slung chrome armchairs with leather cushions and a stout hunk of tree stump doing its thing as a cocktail table in between them.
The adjoining family room feels to Your Mama more family friendly—or at least television watching accommodating—with a upholstered, navy-blue low-profile sectional sofa and wall-mounted book shelves. Now listen, children. Those of y’all that have perused and understood the (tiny) floor plan can plainly see there’s a closet-sized three-quarter bathroom directly off the family room area. While we recognize that a second bathroom is a welcomed convenience that borders on luxury in a house of this size and era we are none-the-less unquestionably and probably melodramatically concerned that a plus-sized person such as Your Mama could never get out of that ultra-bantam bathroom and thats if we could even wedge ourself into the damn thing. Your Mama thinks that bathroom ought to have a posted warning for guests. Maybe something like, “For the safety and sanity of all concerned, no fat asses allowed. Plus sizers please make your way to the more amply proportioned hall bathroom back by the bedrooms. Thank you.” Anyways…
The dining area, furnished by Mister Lamoureux and Miz Zimmer with a quartet of era-appropriate molded plywood dining chairs by Charles Eames, has a wall-wide row of floor-to-ceiling windows and direct access to the rear deck. The adjoining kitchen, as per listing description, “has been custom designed around vintage detailing” and links through to a convenient mud room and back entrance.
As is expected in a small house from the 1940s, both of the bedrooms are on the wee side, have—at least by today’s standards—less than adequate closet space, and share an updated hall bathroom. The wrap around deck and fair if not exactly jaw-dropping over-the-tree-top views and steps down at the back of the house to a second, bamboo-enshrouded deck with built-in sunken hot tub.
We’re not sure exactly what Miz Zimmer and Mister Lamoureux’s future real estate plans but but we found clear evidence in property records that they’re much in the mood to shake up their property portfolio.
Property records show that in the last days of 2008 the couple paid $1,170,000 for a New York City condo, a 927 square foot fifth floor walk-up in a pre-war tenement on on a charming, tree-lined street just off Cooper Square in New York City’s decidedly gentrified but still rakish and rough-around-the-edges East Village. In August of this year (2013) the apparently bi-coastal couple sold the apartment for $1.3 million. Listing details show the vaguely L-shaped apartment has two bedrooms and two (windowed) bathrooms; a light-flooded, open concept living/dining/kitchen area; a small, deeded roof deck; and—as far as we can tell—just one comically puny closet. That’s right, puppies, $1.3 million for a fifth floor walk up with one closet.