YOUR MAMAS NOTES: In early February it was revealed in the tabs, blogs and gossip glossies that increasingly in-demand actress Olivia Wilde and her hubby Tao Ruspoli called off their marriage of nearly 10 years. By mid-March they’d listed their gated and recently renovated residence in nitty-gritty and arty-farty Venice, CA with an asking price of $3,095,000.
After just two days on the open market, the status of the listing on Redfin was changed from ‘active’ to ‘pending.’ That’s right, hunnies, this house had a deal within days.
Miss Wilde, who currently stars on the self-consciously quirky Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated hospital drama House M.D., was born a Cockburn. The well-educated siren hails from a family thick with impressively accomplished, globally-concerned and socio-politically minded journalists who include Leslie, Andrew, Patrick and Alexander Cockburn. Look them up, people, they’re every one the real damn stuff.
At the dewy age of 18, freshly graduated from the rigorous and exclusive Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, Miss Wilde ran off to rural Rappahonnock County, Virginia where she eloped with Tao Ruspoli, a documentary filmmaker, Flamenco gee-tarist and founder of The Los Angeles Filmmakers’ Cooperative with aristocratic familial roots; He is an Italian count or a prince or something noble-sounding like that whose drug-addicted playboy father Allesandro “Dado” Ruspoli–the 9th Prince of Cerveteri–lived a famously hedonistic life and palled around with the likes of Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso and Orson Welles.
The erstwhile couple, card-carrying members of both the blistering L.A. art scene and the bohemian demi–monde, called it quits, according to one inside source, “for the typical Hollywood reasons. Her career has exploded and she saw being married is not as much fun.” The snitchy source went on to tell the folks at Us magazine that young Miz Wilde’s career is on the upswing and being hitched “was weighing her down.”
Records show that Miss Wilde and Mister Ruspoli only purchased there Venice digs in January of 2010 for $2,325,000. Current listing information shows the 3,011 square foot contemporized crib, located on one of Venice’s super-charming walk streets and conveniently just walking distance to the funky Abbott Kinney shopping district, was originally built in 1920 with recent renovations by mcmansion-detesting Los Angeles architect Adam Wheeler.
The house itself has what Your Mama calls a “mullet thing” going on, all business up front and party at the back. Although partially shielded from view by thick foliage and a tall fence, from the front–the façade that faces the walk street–the house presents as a boxy and quotidian clapboard-sided Colonial. (Listing information called it Cape Cod but we’re pretty sure it’s a Colonial). However, around the back, the large for the area but unconventionally trapezoidal parcel required a significant chuck of the house be lopped off at an angle that in uninspired hands might have easily resulted in an architectural disaster.
A glassy extension off the side of the house, clad in what looks to Your Mama like reclaimed wood siding that’s been installed vertically, introduces a visual tension between the original, horizontally clapboarded portion of the house and the more modern addition. At first, each of the conjoined masses appear defiantly dismissive of each other. A closer inspection of the listing photos reveals that Mister Wheeler the architect acted as a real damn justice of the architectural peace and married the two opposite-seeming sections with identically-pitched roof lines.
The addition contains the living room that unfortunately does not have a fireplace–which would be delicious for taking the edge of damp and misty sea side mornings–but does have a vaulted ceiling with exposed trusses, a bleached-out wood floor and at least one large panel of glass that disappears into the wall and unites the room with the grassy outdoor area that’s completely fenced and tree-ringed for privacy.
The hexagonal Mexican paver tiles in the large sky lit dining room extend into a cozy library-nook lined with shelves chock-full of actual books and into the sleek but stylistically warm galley-style kitchen turned out with white oak cabinetry, mesquite counter tops, open shelving, discrete high-grade appliances–there’s even a built-in microwave–and a sweet built in breakfast banquette. We do so love a banquette. In fact, Your Mama is at this very moment, as our pudgy fingers fly across the keyboard of our trusty laptop computer, sitting in the built in breakfast banquette in our kitchen.
A wooden staircase in the central hall leads up to the second floor master bedroom, a long room with coffee-colored distressed wood floors, crisp white walls and a vaulted ceiling. The attached bathroom, an odd triangular shaped space that might have bedeviled any number of architects and designers, has a vaulted wood ceiling with exposed beams and trusses, a floating mesquite wood vanity topped by a pair of simple white vessel sinks that look like cereal bowls and a free standing soaking tub for two. At one end of the room, where the walls converge in a narrowing space that a more prosaic architect may have relegated to a linen closet, Mister Wheeler the architect created a sexy open shower cubby with two shower heads.
The house opens up to the yard through a series of French doors and the aforementioned sliding glass panel in the living room. According to listing information the lush grounds were worked over by renowned Los Angeles landscape designer Jay Griffith. A deck runs long the front of the house and steps down to a tree-shaded dining and entertainment terrace where Christmas lights are hung wonderfully willy-nilly in the trees and a hodge–podge of gigantic decorative medallions cling to the fence. We understand that these medallion things provide visual texture and movement to the intimate eating area spot but, in all truth, we hate them.
While we find the three different floor coverings (tile, smooth bleached wood and dark distressed wood) a real disappoint and we’re never thrilled with vessel sinks–or that silly orchid someone set next to them in the listing photos–overall Your Mama is rather covetous of this house and appreciative of Miss Wilde and Mister Ruspoli’s particular brand of down-to-earth boho-chic day-core that’s pretty specific to cultured and affluent hipsters with artistic bents.
We don’t have any idea where either Miss Wilde or Mister Ruspoli will set up there bachelor and bachelorette pads but should Mister Ruspoli want to go back to Italy to lick his relationship wounds he has access to at least a couple of historical and deluxe family properties, the Palazzo Ruspoli in Rome and the Castello Ruspoli north of Rome in rural Vignanello.
listing photos: Deasy Penner & Partners