SELLERS: Elton John and David Furnish
LOCATION: West Hollywood, CA
PRICE: $1,600,000 and $3,500,000
SIZE: 1,151 square feet (1 bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms); 1,831 square feet (1 bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms)
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Several weeks ago property gossips from the east coast to the west reported that famously bespectacled (and meticulously bewigged) music industry icon Elton John and his long-term man-mate David Furnish were preparing to vacate their pair of art- and light-filled condo-cribs at the star-studded Sierra Towers building in West Hollywood, CA. They were not, the reports stated, pulling up west coast real estate roots altogether. They planned, so the story went, to buy a big house in Tinseltown with plenty of room to bring up their bouncing baby boy Zachary.
Within hours of the first published rumors we received covert communiques from a couple of clued-in real estate insiders who we called Frick and Frack who both gleefully whispered to Your Mama that Misters John and Furnish were not looking for a house to call home but had, in fact, already snatched one up: a sleek, low-slung and re-worked mid-century modern residence in the terrifically trendy Beverly Hills ‘hood of Trousdale Estates. The sale price has yet to be disclosed—or tattled to Your Mama, hello!—but the 4 bedroom and 7 bathroom spread was last listed at $7,695,000.
Of course, Your Mama don’t know a soup spoon from a fly swatter but we presume the English gents have engaged the flamboyant and wonderfully theatrical, nice-gay decorator Martyn Lawrence Bullard to do over the interiors of their new Trousdale Estates digs just as they did with their two adjacent condominiums at the Sierra Towers that have finally and officially hit the (open) market this week at $1.6 and $3.5 million.
Property records show Mister Furnish as the owner of record on both condos, the first and larger of which was picked up in February 2007 for $2,497,000. The Los Angeles County Tax Man shows the mid-floor unit spans a fairly modest 1,831 square feet and was originally designed with 2 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. Current listing information describes the unit as an “oversized” 1 bedroom with 1.5 bathrooms so clearly it’s had some cosmetic reconfiguring just as many of the building’s famous residents have. Oh. Ouch! Did we say that out loud? It’s the early morning gin talking, poodles.
Anyhoo, taxes and common charge total $3,842 per month provide residents with 2 deeded and secured parking spaces, 24-7 security systems, attentive door men, fleet-footed valets and heavy-lifting porters, a thoughtful concierge, a fitness facility with his and her locker rooms and spas, and a 6th floor roof top swimming pool and city-view sunbathing terrace.
Walls of floor-to-ceiling glass wrap the southeast-facing corner condo and explode with a sweeping urban vista that stretches (on a clear day) from downtown over to Century City and clear to Catalina Island. Sliding glass panels open the main living space and the lone bedroom up to a covered and cantilevered terrace that runs almost the entire width of the apartment.
No interior photographs are included with current online listings but Mister Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s vibrant, 1970s-inspired day-core was photographed in all its bright and colorful glory for the glossy pages of the December 2009 issue of Architetural Digest. Although we expect the globe-trotting A-gays will take their enviable and extensive art collection with them—it includes works by Damian Hirst, Dale Chihuly, Marc Quinn, Wang Guangyi, Gary Hume, Tracy Emin, and Lee Friedlander—listing information indicates both apartments can be negotiated to be sold furnished.
The A.D. photographs show the main living/dining includes a couple of sitting areas with lime green walls and a lot of very expensive-looking furniture and furnishings that include a scene-stealing matched set of onyx-and-chrome coffee tables and half a dozen or so zebra-skin pillows placed perfectly on a massive white sectional sofa.
The main living/dining areas are open to the sleek and shiny kitchen with high-gloss white lacquer cabinetry, lustrous ebony counter tops (of unknown material), a rainbow assortment of Venini vases, and a built-in flat screen tee-vee that can be viewed from the six-stool island breakfast bar over which hangs a seriously decadent glass chandelier (circa 1969) originally from the Grand Hotel in Milan.
Somewhere in the apartment, as seen in A.D., Mister John keeps a compact office space about the size of a trophy wife’s walk-in shoe closet. The wee nook is outfitted like a glamorous ocean liner with delicious, high-gloss wood cabinetry, custom-commissioned green glass knobs, and a futuristic looking office chair upholstered in what appears to our boozy-woozy eyes as chartreuse-colored snake skin.
In the boo-dwar the bed frame is wrapped in snake skin—or some sort of material printed with a black and white snake skin pattern—and other furnishings include a lipstick red Pierre Paulin Ribbon chair and a mirrored Cityscape credenza by the too-fab-for-words Paul Evans that Your Mama can assure the children cost Misters John and Furnish more than most people cars. The walls look like to Your Mama like they’re draped in milk chocolate suede (or covered with a suede paint treatment), the ceiling has been completely covered with high-glam platinum leaf, and the floor-to-ceiling glass sliders that open to the terraces are covered with glimmering Mylar curtains (or some material similar to Mylar). We have not seen nor heard hide nor hair about the master bathroom and dressing area(s) but we imagine they are ample, luxuriously appointed, and a clothes horse’s custom-fitted wet dream.
The smaller of the the two apartments also has sweeping downtown to ocean views but measures, according to current listing information, 1,151 square feet with 1 bedroom and 1.5 bathrooms. Taxes and common charges rack up to $1,753 per month.
Property records show the smaller unit was acquired in September 2008 for $2,100,000. It doesn’t take a mathematics genius to see that even with a full price sale Misters John and Furnish are looking at a loss of half a million clams on this apartment. Any potential loss on the smaller unit may (or may not) be absorbed by the just-under-a-million dollar increase in asking price over sale price of the larger unit.
Listing information for the smaller unit does not specifically mention Mister Bullard’s handiwork. It instead states more generically that there are “designer finishes throughout.” Maybe Mister Bullard worked over this unit with the same flair as the larger unit and maybe he did not. At this point we don’t know. We also don’t know—thank you very much—what purpose this smaller unit served (Guests? Domestic staff? Security?) and we also don’t know—thank you very much—if the two units are actually joined or if a person much exit one to enter the other via the public hall.
Other owners/renters/residents of the modernist tower that rises above the western end of the Sunset Strip include Courtney Cox, Cher, Joan Collins, PJ Harvey, Lily Collins, and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, who also had Martyn Lawrence Bullard do up their pied-a-terre.
listing photos: Sotheby’s International Realty