SELLER: Iris Cantor
LOCATION: St. Cloud Road, Bel Air, CA
SIZE: 35,000 square feet (approx.), 9 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: …One of the world’s most important residential properties located in prime, lower Bel Air. Flawless detail & quality. Approx. 35,000 sq. ft. of perfectly scaled, palatial interiors. 8 bedrooms, 21 baths, media room, library, family room/office, 3 kitchens, staff wing, pool, spa & pool pavilion. Tennis court, billiard room wine cellar, gym, beauty salon, 12 fireplaces…
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Okay, we know that really rich widow and really big philanthropist Iris Cantor does not exactly qualify as a celebrity in the Hollywood sense of the word. However, this lavish living ladee just put her 18th-century style palatial pile in lower Bel Air, CA on the market with a blistering asking price of $53,000,000. So we’re making an exception for her and her big house.
Now, the first thing we’d like the children to keep in mind is that, as far as we know, Miz Cantor spends a great deal of time on the east coast which means this gigantic house on swank St. Cloud Road probably sits empty much of the time. That is except for the considerable number of household staff it surely requires to keep a hotel sized house like this spotlessly clean just in case Miz Cantor pops into town and wants to host a last minute fundraiser for 50 or 500 lacquer haired L.A. ladees who have been sliced, diced, pulled and stretched into an Chanel-clad army of facial freak shows.
One would be forgiven for wondering where a single and child-free ladee like Miz Cantor gets all her dough. As gauche as it is to talk about money, we’re going to anyway because, well, we’re vulgar that way. After divorcing her first two husbands, the former model started working as a stock broker where she found her third huzband in Bernie Cantor who became the source of much of Miz Cantors millions. Mister Cantor, who went to meet the great stockbroker in the sky back in 1996, founded the bond trading firm Cantor Fitzgerald. Some of the children will recall that Cantor Fitzgerald’s offices were unfortunately located on the top floors of the World Trade Center and that the company lost more than 650 of its employees when the towers were taken down in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Although Your Mama did not know any folks at Cantor Fitzgerald, we were just a few blocks north of the World Trade Center when the airplanes hit the towers and we watched in horror and disbelief as untold numbers of people leaped from high floors and the towers collapsed. Our cold, dark and snarky heart still aches for every person whose life was forever altered by that bizarre and tragic event.
Anyoo, we digress. Let’s get back to the much lighter matter of hideously expensive real estate. Property records indicate that Mister and Missus Cantor picked up the small-ish but well-located parcel in Bel Air way back in November of 1991. It’s unclear to Your Mama how much the couple coughed up for the property, but given that there was a bit of a housing slump in the early nineties, we’d bet our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly that it was a fraction of the the current asking price. The couple proceeded to build a massive monument to private wealth which they called La Belle Vie.
Listing information reveals that the colossal Cantor crib measures in at around 35,000 square and includes 8 bedrooms–or nine depending on where in the listing you’re looking–and 21 terlits. Let Your Mama say that again…that’s twenty-one damn terlits. No wonder there is a drought in California, all the water is swirling down the 21 terlits in Iris Cantor’s palace of poopers. A couple other staggering statistics about La Belle Vie are the three kitchens (three!), 12 wood burning fireplaces and underground parking for up to 10 luxury automobiles.
It is our understanding from our always dee-lishusly informative pal The Social Butterfly–who happens to be acquainted with Miz Cantor–that the quirkily named New York based decorator Bebe Winkler was hired to do up the day-core and spent years working it over to within an inch of its life. Although the undeniably dignified rooms appear to our untrained eyeballs to be correctly done, properly proportioned and all did up with only the most labor intensive finishes and filled with only the most expensive couches and commodes, it’s all rather fussy and Hôtel de Crillion for Your Mama’s admittedly more modern taste in residential day-core. Do not any of the children misunderstand Your Mama. We would gladly give our mean ol‘ pussy Sugar to the devil in order to spend a week in one of the historical suites at the hoity–toity Hôtel de Crillion in gay Paree, but we definitely do not want to live up in a house where it feels like we would need to get dressed up just to pick our damn nose.
The heavily fortified front gates are controlled by a guard who sits in his or her own octagonal hut and open to a large motor court surrounded by very tall and precisely trimmed hedges. The spectacular and uber-grand entrance hall features a gigantic and sweeping staircase, a Volvo-sized chandelier and is topped buy a rotunda worthy of a government building in Washington D.C.. The mirror-like marble floors look shiny enough that Your Mama recommends any woman or man in a skirt who walks across this floor keep their knees tightly together lest their naughty bits be exposed to the man who answers the door.
Miz Cantor is known to possess one of, if not the largest collection of works by Rodin and several of the artist’s pieces that have not been donated to museums–have the children ever heard of the B. Gerald and Iris Cantor Roof Garden at The Met in Manhattan?–can be seen peppered throughout the public and private rooms. Listing information reveals those rooms include leviathan living and dining rooms, a library/study, a family room, den, office, media room, billiard room, gym, wine cellar, and a beauty parlor, because hunnies, if you are as rich as Miz Cantor, you do not go the hair dresser, the beautification queens come to you. Daily.
We don’t know if all 8 (or nine) of the bedrooms are as large and lavish as the gold and rose colored bedrooms shown in the listing photographs. But let’s be honest…who needs to fly all the way to Paris to stay at the Hôtel de Crillon, when ol‘ Widda Cantor can put you up for the weekend in a behemoth bedroom fit for the Sultan of Brunei? We are going to force ourselves to look past all those vigorously swagged draperies in the bedrooms because although we puke a little in our mouth when we see such over-processed window treatments, they are exactly what we would expect in a house of this style and magnitude.
The grounds, which are far more modest in size than one might expect on a property with an asking price of $53,000,000, include a sorta small patch of grass, some formal Frenchy gardens, a sunken and properly positioned north/south tennis court and a swimming pool complex that includes a dark bottomed pool, spa and and adjacent pavilion.
Should any of the children in the position to spare several tens of millions of dollars to purchase, another a couple hundred grand every year for taxes and gawd only knows how much for monthly maintenance want to tour the property, we’re told by Our Fairy Godmother in Bel Air that a 48-hour notice is required. 48 hours? That’s two damn days! But then again, it probably takes two days for the terlit gurl(s) to scrub all 21 of the properties poopers.
It is our understanding that in addition to La Belle Vie, Miz Cantor also owns an apartment on Central Park South in Manhattan as well as a water front spread in Westhampton, NY which she picked up in November of 2000 for $2,650,000. It also appears that she maintains a posh place in Palm Beach, FL where prop records show her name attached to a property with Intracoastal Waterway access that was bought in May of 2002 for $8,635,000.
Miz Cantor tried to unload her big ol‘ house in Bel Air back in the year 2000 when she listed the stately estate with an asking price of $45,000,000. No doubt all manner of potentates and magnates looked at the place, but after almost 2.5 years on the market, the humongous house remained unsold and was taken off the market. Perhaps she will have better luck this time around.