YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Since the early 1980s entertainment and media industry pooh-bah Terry Semel and his wife Jane have hunkered down in a big house on a prime street in the East Gate section of Bel Air where some of their nearest neighbors include residuals rich Will & Grace alum Debra Messing, music industry mogul Jerry Moss, former Disney head honcho Michael Eisner, and Rick and Kathy Hilton–those would be Paris’ parents. Directly across the street from the Semel’s spread is the recently overhauled 1.5-acre estate that retail fashion tycoon Mossimo Giannulli and his actress wife Lori Loughlin sold their in May 2011 for $16,600,000.
Mister Semel toiled successfully at Warner Brothers for 20-some years before he took the reins at Yahoo! in 2001. Mister Semel’s tenure at the internet juggernaut was rocky and relatively brief–he resigned in 2007–but exceedingly lucrative; He reportedly earned somewhere in the neighborhood of half a billion bucks during his six years at Yahoo! and continues to own at least another half a billion dollars worth of unexercised stock options.
Despite (or in spite of) Mister Semel’s corporate accomplishments, gossip glossy and tabloid readers may best recognize Mister Semel’s surname as the same as a young gal named Courtenay Semel, a self-proclaimed “Don Juan of the lesbian world” who was once b.f.f. with washed up actress Lindsay Lohan and lady-lovers with both deceased socialite Casey Johnson and Miss Johnson’s très trashy ex-fiancée Tila Tequila. But we digress…
Mommy and Daddy Semel purchased the center piece of their their 3-parcel Bel Air estate for $1,775,000 in July 1982 from movie producer turned nightclub impressario Victor Drai. They snapped up the property next door in May 1988 for $3,800,000 and the third and final piece of their real estate puzzle was acquired in October 2003 for an undisclosed amount of money.
Not long after they snapped up the third and final piece of their real estate puzzle in Bel Air Mister and Missus Semel embarked on a full-scale renovation of the 2.7 acre estate and, in need of a house to call home during the long construction process, acquired a mansion in the flats of Beverly Hills that property records show was purchased for $8,300,000.
Mister Semel and the Missus procured the posh property from showbiz mover and shaker Roger Birnbaum who, the children may recall, has been much in the real estate news lately due to the lawsuit he filed against talent manager extraordinaire turned high-end house flipper Sandy Gallin. But we digress yet again…
Last night, just before Your Mama settled in to our “condo” in the garage of Sister Woman’s house to watch a an episode or two from the third season of Breaking Bad on the Netflix, we received an unexpected covert communique from Our Fairy Godmother in Beverly Hills who pointed our real estate attentions to a modern mansion on a particularly plush block in the flats of Beverly Hills, CA owned by Mister and Missus Semel and listed on the open market this week with an asking price of $12,275,000.
Listing information for the .7 acre mini-estate shows the contemporary, designed by architect Robert Offenhouser and built in 1987, measures 8,804 square feet and includes 4 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms.
A double-gated circular drive at the front of property arches up to the front door set into a wee porch defined by inverted ziggurat architectural detailing. Inside guests are greeted (and suitably impressed) in a voluminous double-height entrance hall with marble (or maybe it’s travertine) floor and second floor gallery with glass railing. A massive sky light set into stepped ceiling that echoes the ziggurat detailing that surrounds the front entry floods the foyer with natural light.
Generously-scaled public rooms include a formal living room with honey-colored hardwood floors laid at a 45-degree angle to the room and a matching pair of bone-colored leather sofas that square off in front of an over-sized wood-burning fireplace, one of at least three in the house. There’s also a library/office and sizable formal dining room finished with wood floors also laid at at 45-degree angle and inset into a marble (or maybe it’s travertine) border. Floor to ceiling glass and iron doors in the dining room swing open to a covered terrace that runs along the back of the house and promotes that ever-so-wonderful (if somewhat cliché) year-round indoor-outdoor lifestyle for which which California is known.
The less formal family and service areas include a commodious center-island kitchen infused with up-to-date and very expensive commercial-style appliances that include side-by-side glass fronted refrigerator/freezers but wrapped white flat-fronted cabinets and grey and white flecked granite that scream 1987, the year the house was built. The sizable adjoining family room has another fireplace flanked by floor to ceiling windows, a built in entertainment center with wide-screen tee-vee, and a bank of glass panels that slide back and disappear into the walls to merge the interior spaces with the outdoor area
The expansive second floor suite encompasses a vast bedroom and sitting area with wood-burning fireplace, private covered patio with tree-top view over the backyard, and dual dressing rooms and two somewhat dated but super-luxe bathrooms, one all done up in green marble and etched glass and the other did over in acres of mirrors and brown marble.
Besides the covered terraces and balconies that extend from the rear of the residence (and include horrendous expanses of glass brick detailing), the backyard, ringed by high hedged and mature shade trees, offers a long swathe of green grass, heated swimming pool and spa surrounded by a stone terrace, and a significant detached structure that contains a two-car garage, state-of-the-art screening room, and kitchen and bathroom facilities complete with shower, sauna and steam room.
Just as their newly reconstructed residence in Bel Air is surrounded by fancy mansions owned by a long list of high profile people, Mister and Missus Semel’s temporary digs in Beverly Hills also claims scads of famous folk who include Teleflora tycoon Stewart Resnick and his Pom Wonderful wife Lynda, Her Middle-Aged Pop Music Highness Madonna, music and reality tee-vee industry powerhouse Simon Cowell, retired chat show host Larry King, and–oddly enough–Mossimo Giannulli and Lori Loughlin who bought the 7 bedroom and 11 bathroom Mediterranean mansion directly across the street in October 2010 for $7,500,000.
In addition to their “in-town” residence(s) Mister and Missus Semel also maintain a Michael Graves-designed compound in Malibu that sits on the same stretch of swanky sand as bigwigs and billionaires such as Larry Ellison, Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffin, Haim Saban, dueling divorcées Frank and Jamie McCourt, and real estate financier Bill Chadwick who, most of the children surely know by now, has been having a real devil of a time selling his huge house on Carbon Beach.
listing photos: Hilton & Hyland