SELLER: Halle Berry
LOCATION: Benedict Canyon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA
SIZE: 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: One-of-a-kind rustic & private Old-World Mediterranean graced by magnificent gardens, al fresco dining and seating area, fire pit and sumptuous stone spa in a verdant canon setting. The vibe is majestic but casual, with vaulted heavy wood-beamed ceilings, wide-planked wood floors, fireplaces, a dramatic staircase, banks of French doors/windows & a master suite tub carved out of stone. Gourmet cook’s kitchen. State of the art Crestron system.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Former Miss USA contestant turned Academy Award winning actress Halle Berry has been on a bit of a real estate whirlwind the last few years. In October of 2008 the dee–lishus diva and her equally dee–lishus male model baby daddy Gabriel Aubry reportedly purchased a country getaway in St. Hippolyte, a teeny-tiny town in the Canadian boonies about an hour or so north of Montreal. A couple years earlier, in early 2006, the possibly preggers silver screen queen sold a Doheny Place property she shared with her professional bat swinging ex-huzband David Justice for $4,150,000.
Six months earlier, in July of 2005 she gave child actor turned race car driver Frankie Muniz $5,995,000 for his N. Doheny Drive domicile which she proceeded to gut and remodel. In October of 2004, the very well paid actress spent a reported $8,000,000 on a 5 bedroom and 4 pooper ocean front contemporary on Malibu Cove Colony Drive that records show she still owns.
But even before that, in October of 2001, shortly after she married that moe–ron Eric Benét who philandered his way to dee–vorce and virtual obscurity, property records reveal that Miss Berry bought a casa on lower Benedict Canyon Drive in the Bev Hills for $2,275,000. It’s that house, my butter beans, Your Mama is gonna discuss this morning because thanks to Big Dave at Celebrity Address Aerial, it has come to our attention that Miss Berry has listed the secluded and serene property with an asking price of $5,000,000.
Listing information and property records show the pleasantly private property spans 1.33 hillside acres that climb up the canyon and includes a main house built in 1948 that measures 2,274 square feet. We happen to know–don’t bother to ask why because Your Mama’s lips are sealed–that it was not Miss Berry or her team of nice, gay decorators, ladee deeziners and smart architects who transformed this 2 bedroom and 2 pooper property into a rustic, elegant and ancient-looking Mediterranean with sand colored stone walls, wide plank wood floors, wood-beamed vaulted ceilings, antique wooden doors, and intricately scrolled wrought iron banisters. That was done some time before she snatched up the place. It’s our understanding that Miss Berry now lives in the above mentioned estate she bought from Frankie Muniz so Your Mama is going to assume that the lovely ladee and her real estate people had this property staged because it’s almost beyond our admittedly limited capacity to imagine that when Miss Berry vacated the premises that she left a lap blanket not so casually laid across a deep, upholstered chair on the terrace, stacks of books on the tables in the living room, jars of lotions and potions in the master bathroom or a bottle of wine sitting on the kitchen counter top.
A long, gated celebrity style stone driveway gently climbs the hillside and makes a hairpin turn before terminating in a large motor court and two-car garage. A pathway lined with lush landscaping leads to the antique wood front door and a gracefully curving and prom dress worthy staircase with wrought iron banisters. The modestly sized house contains a living room with a fireplace flanked by French doors that open to a terrace, heavy wood-beamed and wonderfully vaulted ceiling and a lot of comfortable looking beige upholstered furniture and knick-knacks that look like they might have come out of some remote and rusty Italian villa. It’s all a bit fussy looking and reminiscent of what a decorator might think a modern day castle ought to look like, but it’s also a well conceived with lots of beige and muted shades of red. See children, there really is a way to do all-beige or mostly beige day-core in a manner that does not scream suburban mcmansion in an over-priced and homogeneous gated community. Anyhoo, the slightly too narrow dining room, done up in a Gothic, Knights of the Round Table sort of thing, has towering stone walls, a row of windows that open to the property’s gardens and a dee–voonly over sized chandelier.
The galley kitchen may be narrow and without proper windows for ventilation, but it’s fitted with a granite counter tops, expensive commercial grade appliances and honey colored wood cabinetry that looks like it’s been stripped and pickled. Besides that mac-daddy range, this isn’t what Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter would ever choose to do with a kitchen, but at least it’s not one of those cookie cutter numbers being oppressed with copious amounts of carved detailing, unnecessarily complicated corbels, and black granite or, jeezis help us all, one of those horrid tile murals of “Tuscany” installed on the wall behind the range. A cozy, nearby breakfast nook is lit by skylights.
There are more wood-beamed and vaulted ceilings in the master bedroom which has been did up all romantic-like with a fireplace, gold mirror, chandelier, and big bed, a real Utopian vision that’s only missing rose petals and 100 candles. The amorous mood moves into the master pooper which mixes a monumental, free standing stone bathtub for two with a crystal chandelier and a view of into the tree tops.
The grounds and gardens of Miss Berry’s Bev Hills hideaway climb up the hillside and are lavishly but comfortably done with stone pathways, potted plants, inviting terraces, an “L” shaped fire pit surrounded by a stone bench with comfy cushions and a half moon spa set up against the hillside and surrounded by verdant vegetation.
Although it’s not clear to Your Mama when Miss Berry last occupied the residence–maybe this is where she shacked up while doing over her N. Doheny Drive digs?–some of the areas newest residents include Oscar nominated actress Amy Adams (Julie & Julia, Doubt, Sunshine Cleaning, Junebug) and her not nearly as accomplished but just as fetching fiancé, actor Darren Le Gallo, who recently scooped up a renovated ranch home on Benedict Canyon Drive for $1,825,000.
What’s also unclear is if Miss Berry and her baby daddy have a New York City residence. The last Your Mama heard on that matter was way back in 2007 when our dearly departed friend Braden Keil wrote in his Gimme Shelter column in the New York Post that the comely couple checked out an $8,500,000 condo at at the Jean Nouvel designed 40 Mercer Residences in SoHo. It does not appear they picked up that condo but we would not be surprised to learn from Max Abelson at the NY Observer or one of the other New York City celebrity real estate watchers that Miss Berry bought something else.