YOUR MAMAS NOTES: The other day, whilst waiting out the seemingly endless and torrential rains that have plagued California this last week, Your Mama combed through all the newest property listings in Los Angeles and several caught our easily distracted attentions. One of the properties that stopped us dead in our tracks is an art filled A. Quincy Jones designed house in the Holmby Hills recently listed with an asking price of $18,900,000. A quick peep and poke through public property records reveals the mid-century modern manse is owned by a gentleman named David C. Bohnett.
Now listen puppies, Your Mama realizes that Mister Bohnett isn’t what most people might consider a household name. However, the entrepreneurial tech titan turned may-jer philanthropist co-founded GeoCities, an internet enterprise considered to have been a precurser to social networking sites like Facebook. In 1999 Mister Bohnett and his bizness partner sold GeoCities to Yahoo! for an astounding $3,570,000,000 making them both wildly and frighteningly rich. Mister Bohnett went on to get involved in other interweb ventures including NetZero, LowerMyBills, Xdrive, PlanetOut Inc. and OVGuide, a vast directory and search engine for online video including television programs, films, and video games.
Mister Bohnett is a well known and big, big, BIG giver. Through his eponymous foundation he supports a myriad of arts, education, and civic programs including the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, The Wildlife Alliance, the ACLU, and Equality California. Additionally he sits on the boards of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and the California Community Foundation and serves as a trustee for high-profile organizations such as The Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
Mister Bohnett and his longtime man friend–sharp, sassy and shiny suit wearing showbiz and socio-political pop culture commentator Tom Gregory–both collect heaps and hordes of artwork, from Winsor McCay drawings to contemporary pieces by folks like Keith Haring to archival Hollywood photographs that include a 1955 photo of Marilyn Monroe she signed for James Dean and a very rare portrait of the reclusive Greta Garbo.
Anyhoo, records show the Mister Bohnett picked up the first of the three-parcels that comprise his sprawling park-like estate–which Your Mama has been told he calls Baroda Park–back in April of 1998 when he shelled out $4,275,000 for the portion of the property that now contains little more besides meticulously maintained landscaping and the electronically controlled drive gates. He bought the property, which at the time included an 11-room residence, from activist/bigwig music manager Ken Kragen who, butter beans, is the man largely responsible for corralling an army of famous folks including Michael Jackson, Cindy Lauper, Lionel Richie, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, Tina Turner, Diana Ross and Kim Karnes, for the 1985 fund-raising song We Are the World. Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie are spearheading a new all-star version of the song to benefit earthquake vicitims in Haiti, but at this point Your Mama is unsure if Mister Kragen has any input into that. But we digress…
A year later, in March of 1999, records show Mister Bohnett paid $5,700,000 to purchase the property next door from a couple of gays–a dermatologist and an entertainment executive, if anyone cares–who bought the property five years earlier and spent a couple years and a lot of money on renovations and restorations.
Now, try to follow along children because it gets a wee bit perplexing here. As mentioned above, there is actually a third, adjacent and vacant piece of property on N. Carolwood Drive that is the final piece to Mister Bohnett’s real estate puzzle in the Holmby Hills. The property was, it may entertain the troops to know, once owned by ol’ Babs Streisand back in the 1980s and records show Mister Bohnett picked up the 2.1 acre property in February of 2000 for $6,750,000. It appears that at the time of purchase, the parcel contained a very large home that has since been razed and replaced with park-like grounds. Although it is most certainly contiguous and currently conjoined with the other two parcels, it does not appear that this section of the estate is included in the sale of Baroda Park. We could be totally wrong about that chickens, but the tax man records show that all together the three parcels span approximately 4.5 acres while listing information for Baroda Park indicates what is for sale encompasses only 2.46, which happens to be the exact sum of the size of the first two parcels. Are y’all still with Your Mama here?
After securing all three properties, Mister Bohnett tore down the house on the first and third properties, kept the mid-century modern, married the landscaping between them and installed a swooping, celebrity style drive way that gently curves and descends to a mammoth motor court with a checkerboard pattern and a front facing three car garage. It’s a long damn walk from the motor court to the front door, which is approached along a canopied walkway simply constructed with a few steel I-beams and a corrugated metal roof and anchored on one side by stacked flagstone walls and columns and, on the other, the I-beams are planted in a very shallow pool of water.
Misters Bohnett and Gregory’s A. Quincy Jones designed digs, built in 1954-5, were originally owned by two-time Oscar winning actor Gary Cooper who lived in the house until his death in 1961. According to the fine folks at Movieland Directory, troubled actor and sex addict Tom Sizemore lived in the house sometime in the 1990s but it does not appear to Your Mama that he ever owned it.
According to listing information, the portion of Misters Bohnett and Gregory’s estate being sold encompasses 2.46 acres and the single story contemporary residence measures 5,721 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms including a master suite with a couple of vast walk-through closets, a home gym set up, of course, and two poopers, one of which, we’re sorry to say, looks severely dated with all that brown veined marble.
The wide open interior spaces have high ceilings, terrazzo floors, and long linear lines with expansive white walls that give way to towering walls of floor to ceiling glass. To the right of the entrance, A raised and stacked stone fireplace warms one end of the main living space decorated with a couple of beige sofas that look to Your Mama like modified Florence Knoll numbers, a series of 27 perfectly hung black and white photographs, a trio of Eames walnut stools (that retail for $829.00 apiece at Design Within Reach), a glossy black baby grand, and an unusually placed Barcelona chair (that retails for around five grand at Design Within Reach). Sitting on the floor next to the fireplace, a multi-colored John Chamberlain sculpture that Your Mama would go to great lengths to have sitting next to the fireplace in our living room including allowing our neighbor-who is not a dentist–to pull all of our teeth out with a screwdriver and his dirty bare hands. The other end of the main living space has been furnished with more beige sofas, a couple of cozy looking olive green velvet chairs, a cornflower blue and white checkerboard wall–which we just can’t help but hate–and a couple of built in cabinets where we like to imagine Misters Bohnett and Gregory keep their Scrabble games and Cribbage boards.
On the other side of the foyer an open plan kitchen and dining area spills out onto the terrace and swimming pool. The kitchen is well equipped with a pair of side by side Sub-Zeros, double ovens, two butler pantries, a large cook top on the back wall, and a work island where we can only hope the sink is flanked by a couple of high-end dishwashers because for eighteen and some million clams our imperious house gurl Svetlana would insist on two dishwashers, one for the glassware and one for everything else.
The sculpture strewn grounds includes lush rolling lawns, meandering pathways, low rock walls, several private terraces, a number of water features, a huge terrace that surrounds the swimming pool, and a modern, wisteria covered pergola has a couple of porch swings and hangs out over the small canyon at the back of the property.
Nearby neighbors include steak restaurant scion and Hard Rock Cafe co-founder Peter Morton who shacks up in a 13,243 square foot beast on Carolwood Drive, the fa-boo Connie Stevens over on Delfern Drive, Airline bigwig Gary Wilson, also on Delfern, Entertainment executive Bill Mechanic who lives in Burt Reynold’s old house on Carolwood, and Emmy winning boob-toob star Kelsey Grammer and his high maintenance blondie Camille who bought their 7 bedroom and 9 pooper property in September of 2007 for $13,700,000 and flipped it back on the market where it remains listed at $18,900,000. Just around the corner is the opulent mansion where Michael Jackson met his mysterious and, apparently,mo Propofol induced end.
In addition to his Holmby Hills estate, Mister Bohnett’s porcine property portfolio of private residences includes a behemoth spread on ritzy Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills that records show he scooped up in August of 2004. The big, flat double lot estate stretches almost 2 acres and includes, according to property records, a 9,068 square foot mansion originally built in 1942 with 5 bedrooms and 10 poopers. Records Your Mama accessed don’t show a purchase price but a pal of Your Mama’s who runs in the same upper echelons of Los Angeles’ hoity toity homosociety told us that Mister Bohnett forked over “around $19,000,000” for the triple lot estate and then, “put another ten into it. At least.”
Our tattle tale also whispered that Misters Bohnett and Gregory refer to the Roxbury residence as their “city” house and their Baroda Drive digs as their “country” house. Isn’t life sweet–or something–when you can have have two estates, each worth tens of millions of dollars, that are, the children will note, less than one mile apart. That would be walking distance if anyone actually bothered to walk in L.A.
Anyhoo, in addition to their “city” and “country” houses in Los Angeles, records show that Misters Bohnett and Gregory also maintain a condo on chi-chi Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, a New York City pied-a-terre at the Sherry Netherland building on Fifth Avenue–a building you have to be rich to even look at–and, natch, a gigantic house in the Hamptons located on the Lake Agawam side of 1st Neck Lane which records show they snatched up in September of 2005 for $12,000,000.
photos: Nick Springett