No one loves a little high end real estate scuttlebutt more than this property gossip, so we were all ears when Platinum Triangle real estate insider Peter Propertyseller told us there is at least one high-profile agent who can show veteran actress Sela Ward and venture capitalist Howard Sherman’s eight-ish acre estate in Bel Air with off-market availability and a $40-ish million price tag. (An off-market or whisper listed property does not appear in the MLS but, if you know who to call, can be shown to qualified buyers.) A rep for Miz Ward vehemently denied the property was for sale at any price, but Peter Propertyseller stands by what he said.
Whatever the case, the Ward-Sherman’s estate is a stunner and was recently fawned over in Traditional Home magazine. The article revealed the couple had the original 1940s house extensively reworked into a multi-level, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Arts and Crafts residence with airy, interconnected spaces that meld European elegance — there are at least half a dozen carved wood and stone fireplaces that would look at home in an honest-to-goodness chateau — with California ranchhouse staples such as vaulted wood ceilings and seamless interaction with outdoors spaces. One hundred-year-old heart pine floors and French limestone countertops in the kitchen add a rustic patina, and black, steel-framed windows, as well as a sexy, negative-edged swimming pool, offer a soupcon of modernity.
Stone terraces and verandas with canyon views give way to several acres of thoughtfully landscaped grounds that provide the Ward-Shermans with a secluded and essentially self-contained idyll just 4.5 miles from Rodeo Drive. In addition to a guest cottage and an art studio that overlooks the pool, the property has a koi pond-fed brook crossed by a covered footbridge, a shady lounge area with outdoor fireplace, a vine-draped gazebo and an amphitheater. Near the rear of the property, a small, manmade lake is bordered by a tiki torch-lit beach, a stone cabana and, somewhat incongruously, putting greens. Prior to their Bel Air spread, the Ward-Shermans owned a Sunset Boulevard estate they sold in 2003 for $12 million to Madonna who, in turn, sold it last year for $19.5 million to a private equity pasha.