SELLER: Julia Roberts and Danny Moder
LOCATION: Hanalei, Kauai, HI
SIZE: 1,807 square feet, 4bedrooms, 3 bathrooms (total)
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: It recently came to Your Mama’s attention by way of The Bizzy Boys at Celebrity Address Aerial that semi-reclusive Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts and her budding cinematographer husband, Danny Moder, own not just one but two multi-million dollar ocean front hideaways superbly located near heavenly Hanalei Bay on the North Shore of the achingly scenic and relatively unspoiled Hawaiian island of Kauai.
As it turns out, butter beans, one of the two ocean front estates that Your Mama understands to be owned by Miz Roberts and Mister Moder, happens on the market with an asking price of $17,000,000.*
And, children, it’s gorgeous. In fact, it’s pretty much exactly what Your Mama and The Dr. Cooter would buy iffin we had seventeen million extra dollars to spend on a relatively remote Hawaiian hideaway where, according to someone with whom Your Mama is acquainted who is intimately acquainted with the very strip of beach to which the Roberts-Moder property rubs up against, the swimming situation along the beach behind the house is far from idea due to the excessively rocky shoreline. “Attempting a swim in front of Ms. Robert’s beach shack on the North Shore of Kauai ain’t for sissies,” We were informed. “If you want to swim along that part of the coastline you make a left at Pierce Brosnan’s place and don’t stop until you get to Ben Stiller scowling on a chaise outside his breathtaking beach front contemporary.” There you have if from a wealthy Hollywood haole who frequents this particular corner of paradise. Anyhoo…
Property records for the estate are a mite convoluted but, as best as Your Mama can tell, in June 2009 Miz Roberts and Mister Moder coughed up somewhere in the neighborhood of ten million clams for the undeniably luxurious but low-key spread that spans three contiguous parcels that total 8.92 secluded acres and claims more than 400 feet of ocean frontage with, according to current listing details, “Seasonal swimming, surfing, windsurfing, and snorkeling.” The recently re-habbed main residence has three bedrooms and two bathrooms in, according to property records, just over 1,800 square feet. A separate cottage near the head of the long driveway has another bedroom and bathroom for guests or caretakers.
At the heart of the low-slung Hawaiian-style ranch house is a roomy, open-concept great room with wide plank wood floors, a vaulted ceiling lined with heavy-duty wood beams, and clerestory windows. One the ocean side of the house a ribbon of windows provide a sweeping view of the beach and pounding surf. The children may or may not have noticed the well-conceived and executed wooden louvers below the windows that, Your Mama imagines, are used to increase or decrease the air flow as needed to keep the house cool on hot days.
On the opposite wall from the ocean view windows are a long row of wood-framed glass doors that fold back and expose the great room to a spacious screened porch that overlooks vast and verdant lawns that give way to dense tropical thickets and inspiring views of Mt. Makana and the unspoiled Limahuli Valley. Listing photos show there’s some sort of portable, half-trashy blow-up plunge pool situation out on the back lawn where there’s also, rather charmingly, a swing hung from the branch of a mature shade tree. We know it’s not fair and we’ll probably get called all kinds of snobby for saying so but even though we’d most certainly roll our eyes and scoff with superiority and disdain at a blow up pool on the back lawn of a suburban tract house in Peoria somehow it’s charming and pleasantly humble when the same blow up pool sits on the back lawn of a stunningly redone residence in Kauai that only the financially elite can even afford to imagine owning.
As those who do it know, families and other groups of people who vacation in private homes, either rented or owned, often spend a great deal of time preparing and eating food. Trust Your Mama when we tell you, that’s just what happens. Three days in to the vacay and everyone is like, “Can we pleeze go to a damn restaurant? I’m so tired of cooking and washing dishes I could spit urine.” So, addressing that issue the designer(s) who handled the recent overhaul of the home—that would be Greg Warner of Walker-Warner Architects in San Francisco according to marketing materials—smartly installed a commodious, expensively equipped, and centrally located country-style kitchen with white porcelain apron sink, open shelves for daily dishes, a thick slab of butcher block on the super-sized work island that doubles as a snack bar, and top-quality appliances tucked discreetly behind the bead board cabinetry that someone had the chutzpah to paint a particularly fetching shade of tomato. Behind the kitchen, our own house girl Svetlana noticed with an angry kind of envy, there’s a well-designed mud porch/laundry room with more tomato red cabinetry and a double-wide sliding louvered door that, when open, allows the laundress of the house to have a $17 million view of the ocean while folding up bathing suits and underthings.
A small sitting room furnished with a generous sectional seating lounge provides a buffer zone between the hustle-bustle of the main living space and the serenity and coziness of the master suite. A central walk-in closet that can be passed on either side separates the compact but adequate bedroom from the bathroom where there’s a custom wood vanity, a free-standing soaking tub set in front of over-sized windows with moist, green mountain and garden views, and, for reasons we can’t fathom, a pair of pea green Moroccan poufs. Maybe that’s where the $200/hour house-calling manicurist sits when she comes to do an in-tub mani-pedi for the lady of the house?
Anyways, according to celebrity real estate scuttlebutt on the island and circumstantial evidence in various property record data bases and other online resources it appears that in November 2011 Miz Roberts and Mister Moder very well might have spent $13,375,000 to acquire a well-known and Hawaii historic, 3-ish acre beach front property on postcard perfect Hanalei Bay where the the shore is sandy rather than rocky and hence perfect for bare-footed shore strolling and surf frolicking.
The vintage estate has a sizable main house with an open plan main living area that opens on the beach side to a covered porch, six bedrooms and three bathrooms plus and outdoor shower. A separate detached but fully self-contained cottage has another beach view covered porch, an open plan living area, one bedroom, and one bathroom. The property was—and, oddly enough, still appears to be—available as a un-fussy but hardly inexpensive rental, $1,500 per night for the main house and either $350 per night for the cottage.
Kauai quietly attracts a slew of celebrities and other well-heeled Tinseltowners, often over and around the winter holidays. Most rent but a few of the high profile people who own luxury island getaways on the North Shore of Kauai include the aforementioned Ben Stiller and Pierce Brosnan as well as Honolulu-born Bette Midler, music industry mogul Irving Azoff, producer John Wells, and María del Roasario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza, a hip-poppin’ and coochi-cooing ball of fire otherwise known as Charo.
Your Mama’s brief and entirely unscientific research on the internets reveals that in addition to their substantial residential real estate holdings in Hawaii Miz Roberts and Mister Moder maintain a number of other private residences. There’s the custom-built bluff-top estate in Malibu, a ranch about 10 miles north of Taos, NM, and several apartments in a dignified boutique building in the Gramercy Park area of New York City plus a penthouse pad in a full-service post-war building in the heart of Greenwich Village that she picked up in mid-2010 for $3,895,000. In 2010, presumably for use by staff or family, Miz Roberts and Mister Moder paid $1,332,300 for a fully updated and upgraded 1920s Spanish bungalow with two bedrooms and two bathrooms just a couple short blocks from the center of downtown Pacific Palisades and, until August 2010 when she sold it for $3,000,000, the couple maintained a gated micro-compound just off Abbott Kinney in in the city’s increasingly pricey yet proudly gritty hipster-swarmed beach community of Venice.
*In the interest of full disclosure Your Mama would like the children (and etc.) to note that we have not been able to directly link Julia Roberts or Danny Moder to the property in question. What we have is a whole lotta circumstantial evidence. Several sources have told Your Mama that the Roberts-Moder family maintains not one but two residence on Kauai and one doesn’t have to scour the internet for long before picking up snippets of gossip and rumor that say so. Also notable is that, technically, the property in question is owned by a vaguely named trust that links back to the same Beverly Hills office of an accountant long known by celebrity property gossips like Your Mama to be associated with Miz Roberts as the rest of her many residential properties. Make of the circumstantial evidence what you will. Let’s be honest, though. Even if it’s not Roberts’ house, it’s worth a gander anyways, don’t you think?
listing photos: Hawaii Life