SELLER: Leona Lewis
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 3,946 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: It seems Your Mama woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning so brace yourselves with a cocktail, hunties, because we’re in a bit of a mood.
It was only in September of 2009, according to property records and previous reports, that British pop superstar Leona Lewis–three times a Grammy bridesmaid but never a bride–paid $1,850,000 for a gated mini-compound in the Nichols Canyon area of Los Angeles, CA.
Thanks to a little real estate industry birdie Your Mama learned that the singing sensation recently caught a case of The Real Estate Fickle and put her privately situated property back on the market this week with an asking price of $2,500,000. A few quick flicks of the well-worn beads of Your Mama’s bejeweled abacus shows the current price tag reflects a perceived 35% gain in value, a big number we’re certain will cause all the Real Estate Chicken Littles around here to squawk with eye-rolling flabbergast and indignation.
Miss Lewis, a vegetarian since age 12 and vocal supporter of animal rights, started up her ladder of fame and fortune in 2006 when she won The X Factor and its million pound recording contract prize with media and music tycoon Simon Cowell. She later signed on to an even more lucrative contract with the legendary Los Angeles-based music producer Clive Davis. By all accounts she’s sold a lot of records and earned a lot of accolades. Honestly, puppies, Your Mama wouldn’t know a Leona Lewis song if it scooched over and grabbed our fanny. None the less, we do know she isn’t one of these hyper-produced hottie–patotties who flounce around in fabric scraps and tinsel pretending to sing in a naked display of style over substance. No, babies, even Your Mama knows this beehawtcha can actually sang like a song bird and–for better or worse, depending on your point of view–often gets put in the same musical clown car as high-drama divatastic belters like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion.
Anyhoo, listing information shows Miss Lewis’s gated mini-compound nestled into the hills above Hollywood, an anemic wannabe Mediterranean village sort of thing built in 1999, sits at the tail end of a long gated drive on a private (and gated) street lined with all but identical quasi-mock-Meds. The main house measures 3,946 square feet and includes 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. A paver-stone motor court–the piazza, if you will–separates the main house from a wee guest house that sits above a detached one-car garage.
From the entry with its tile floor and wrought iron staircase it’s a short step down to the formal living room outfitted high-gloss hardwood floors, a massive carved stone fireplace, vaulted ceiling, somewhat oddly large-scale dentil molding, vertical walls of windows and a glimmering crystal chandelier. Listing photos show the voluminous room with only a scant amount of furniture and/or “décor,” little more than a dining set shoved up into one corner and a grand piano pushed up into the corner by the windows. It’s really not very pleasant as a “living” space but as a studio where Miss Lewis can write her songs, tinkle the ivories and exercise her laser-like vocal chords it’s probably perfectly lovely.
The formal dining and family rooms have been given a girlish and glammy white-washed Shabby Chic meets Old Hollywood style of day-core that includes faux-French-y tables, chairs and consoles that have been painted white, a luscious-looking champagne-colored velvet sectional sofa and a corner fireplace with a dainty carved stone surround that looks like it might have been pulled from the lady’s bathroom of some chateau in some scenic valley somewhere in France but in reality probably came from a discount fireplace emporium in the San Fernando Valley.
When Miss Lewis purchased the property, according to listing photos from the time, the kitchen had that fake and depressing veneer of “Old World” style we too often see in SoCal homes starved of architectural chutzpah and/or integrity. By far the old kitchen’s worst offense in Your Mama’s book was not the cabinetry treated to look like it had a patina of age but the massive and murderous pot rack that hung over the center work island. Miss Lewis, to her credit, had the common sense to remove the offensive and dangerous pot rack and work over the entire kitchen in a decidedly more sybaritic fashion. The all-white kitchen, well laid out and with desirable direct access to the outdoors, now includes white flooring, wonderfully reflective high-gloss white paint on the ceiling, shiny white raised panel cabinets topped by matching winter white counter tops, and medium- to high-grade stainless steel appliances. In the breakfast area a flat screen cleaves to the walls and a crystal chandelier hangs over a farmhouse table–painted white, natch–that’s surrounded by a sextet of translucent Philippe Starck Ghost chairs.
The bedrooms all appear have the same tan wall to wall carpeting that so many folks seem to love simply because it’s neutral as if neutrality is the most desirable quality a decorative thing should have. Miss Lewis appears to have lost interest in gussying up the guest bedrooms or perhaps she’s already moved on and this is a classically perplexing and temporary decorative tableau by Staging Lady in a Pink Toyota. The day-core–if it can be called that–in these rooms consists almost exclusively of pastel-colored fabric draped sloppily over what we can only imagine to be furniture so ugly it would cause even the most casual of aesthetes to clutch their pearls and gasp in wide-eyed disbelief. How atrocious, children, does a thing need to be that it should be covered with a damn bed sheet?
Speaking of atrocious, we feel it’s probably best to look past the free-standing bookshelf on the second floor landing that for some unfathomable reason, in this 4,000 square foot house, seems to be doing double duty as a knick-knack and framed photo display stand and a linen closet. Alas, children, we can not just mosey quietly by; We desperately want to scoot past this mess but we are helpless to its horrors. Our weary eyeballs keep returning to that maudlin and trite little sculpture-thing that reads “LIVE” and wondering, “Why? Oh, hunny, why?”
Anyhoo, the master suite features a fireplace, private balcony and a four-poster bed with white curtain panels that puddle drowsily on the carpet. Curtains over the windows, on the other hand, stop painfully short of the floor. A dressing table with three-panel mirror sits in one corner on an angle that mimics the corner fireplace on the other side of the room. An over-sized slip-covered chaise is also set on a bias that matches the fireplace and dressing table.
An attached bathroom, a good-sized contemporary-ish version of faux-Tuscan style, has a tile floor with inset medallion and double sinks, angled like everything else in the much-angled master suite. Actual bathing is accommodated in a soaking tub for two and a separate glass enclosed shower smartly designed with a built-in seat, a feature convenient and useful for oh so many shower-time activities.
A flat, grassy yard between the main and guest houses wraps around the back of the main house and continues on to the other side where thick foliage and a sizable stone terrace with dining, entertaining and sunbathing areas surround the swimming pool and spa.
Your Mama, who really knows so little about anything, has no idea why Miss Lewis wants to sell her house in the Hollywood Hills soon after buying. Does this mean she’s headed back to the U.K. or does this mean she’s moving on to even bigger and more celebrity-style digs in Tinseltown? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
listing photos: Keller Williams (Hollywood Hills) via Realtor.com