SELLER: Larry Ellison
LOCATION: Woodside, CA
SIZE: 5,850 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Listen kittens, Your Mama may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but we are neither a dumb bell with our fat head stuck in the sand. Like all of the rest of y’all, Your Mama is well aware of the heavy, wet blanket of weltschmerz that’s settled over many and angrily gripped others of the world’s citizenry.
At the risk of appearing far more flip than we actually are, we all have a cross to bear through both the best and ugliest of times. Our beast of burden, for better or worse, is the reportage–as it were–of the admittedly unimportant milieu of celebrity real estate. We confess our rather frivolous and superficially focused obsessions sometimes cause us a rash from extreme envy, soaring moments of financial aspiration, a bit of schadenfreude now and then and, yes, sometimes even a brutally paralyzing futility of purpose. Even so, and keeping in mind that one need not dwell 24-7 in the darkness and deficiencies of modern life to maintain a strong engagement with their moral compass, forward we march, our gold sneaker-shod feet following in our well-worn if shallow groove…ing
Last week from the always jaw-dropping world of billionaire real estate came the news–or the “news” iffin you’re so inclined to see it that way– that high-tech über-tycoon and residential real estate baller extraordinaire Larry Ellison has over the last few years dropped upwards of $100,000,000 on a trio of non-contiguous multi-parcel properties that ring the sensationally high-priced shoreline of Lake Tahoe. More on that here and later.
Mister Ellison, as real estate watchers the globe over well-know, appears frequently in all the real estate gossip columns for his prolific property purchasing ways and obvious penchant for insanely expensive and extraordinarily high-maintenance properties.
For many years Mister Ellison–now in his later sixties, deeply suntanned, gym-toned and worth an estimated 33 billion dollars–has made his home base in San Francisco and the Silicon Valley near the mother offices of his hyper successful hard/software company. (That would be data base management juggernaut Oracle in case any of y’all are completely ignorant of who Mister Ellison is.)
Down on the peninsula south of San Francisco Mister Ellison owns a couple of super-posh and very pricey estates in Woodside (CA) including a maniacally clipped and manicured 23-ish acre Japanese-style country estate where modern conveniences are all but invisible behind and below the multiple, completely authentic, and painstakingly constructed structures hand-built by artisans and architects well-schooled in 16th century Japanese architecture and building techniques.
Por ejemplo, niños, the main house is built entirely without nails but is none-the-less seismically sound to endure a 7.3 earthquake and a Disneyland-like flip of a switch causes a misty fog to develop–Japan-like, it seems–over the 2.3 acre man-made lake around which the compound is built. The house, a serious work of art, really, is rumored and much reported to have cost Mister Ellison an astonishing and tummy twisting $200,000,000-plus to acquire, design, and build. ‘Course that’s small potatoes compared to the (alleged) billion dollar-plus construction costs of Mukesh Ambani’s 570-foot tower mansion in Mumbai. But we digress.
In classic multi-billionaire real estate baller style, back in November 2005 Mister Ellison shelled out a not inconsequential $23,000,000 to purchase a pair of adjacent equine-friendly properties located just a bit more than one mile from his giant Japanese compound in Woodside. The two properties encompass 6.88 acres and include a stately, four-columned Colonial style mansion with detached 3-car garage, poolside cabana, detached guest house, two barns and–as can be expected of Mister High Maintenance Real Estate–extensive gardens and various equestrian facilities all of which are protected–we should all assume–a state-of-the-art security system capable of closed-circuit surveillance and grave injury.
Unbeknownst to Your Mama until a few days ago, Mister Ellison hoisted his horse farm in Woodside (shown above) on the open market more than three months ago with an asking price of $19,000,000. It does not, children, take a mathematics savant to see that even with a (probably unlikely) full-price sale Mister Ellison faces a financial loss of $4,000,000 not counting carrying costs, renovation and maintenance expenses and real estate fees.
Your Mama does not know a trivet from a cheese doodle but we can’t help but ponder if a man of Mister Ellison’s almost unimaginably vast wealth sweats much or at all when faced with the prospect of losing four or five million bucks on a real estate deal. One imagines he would but then again four million dollars is probably not so different for Mister Ellison that four dollars is for Your Mama. This is, after all, a man who until recently owned an five-deck and 82-room boat called the Rising Sun–a god damn ship, really–that according to the Aristocratique cost the high hogger around $13,000,000 per year to staff and maintain. The behemoth boat is now owned by music and media mogul David Geffen, whose estimated $5.5 billion fortune is staggering by any standard but none-the-less a fraction of Mister Ellison’s major mound of money. But we digress again.
Current listing information for the Woodside, CA horse farm Mister Ellison has on the market shows the two-story southern Colonial style main mansion, approached via a -shaped gated crushed stone driveway, was built in 1968, measures around 5,850 square feet, and has 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.
esque staircase with carved wood newel post and intricate iron railing. The formal living room has wood floors with parquetry border and fireplace with cast stone mantelpiece while the banquet hall-sized formal dining room has a coffered ceiling, custom-laid wood floors.
Other downstairs spaces, as per marketing materials, include an intimately-scaled library with basket weave patterned marble floor, wood-burning fireplace, paneled walls and built-in cabinetry. French doors open to the flag stone poolside terrace. A fully-equipped butler’s pantry joins the dining room with the center island eat-in kitchen, all perfectly maintained and top-quality but a little dated seeming. The breakfast area opens into a family room with limestone tile floor, unusually coved ceiling, bulky stone fireplace with raised hearth, built-in booze bar with sink and fridge, and French doors that open the broad backyard terrace.
Upstairs there are two bedrooms that open to a shared balcony and share one bathroom, a separate guest suite with built-in desk and shelves plus private facility and an expansive master suite that sprawls across one entire wing of the upper floor. A vestibule provides a privacy buffer from the upper hallway to the bowling alley-like bedroom with fireplace, sitting area, and two sets of French doors that open to one of the balconies set into the double-height portico at the front of the mansion. The master suite comes complete with ample closet space that includes a bedroom-sized dressing room and a Carrara marble-clad bathroom.
Out back a flag stone terrace meanders around and partially surrounds a pond-like swimming pool set into a hillside with stacked stone walls and water falls. A path leads up the hillside above the pool to a privately situated spa and an adjacent pool cabana with entertainment/media room is convenient for boozy drink mixing, snack grabbing, suit changing, and terlit sitting.
Not surprisingly given his thing for lavishly landscaped estates, well-conceived, executed and maintained gardens surround the house with various ponds with stepping stones and an arched bridge or two, rock waterfalls, specimen trees, and crushed stone pathways shaded by beautifully gnarled shade trees.
The second parcel, located across a narrow but not private lane from the main house, offers a fully-equipped ranch-style guest house with living/dining room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. A substantial tile-roofed barn behind an electronic gate offers five stalls each with turnout and lush gardens border a riding ring and sandy beach volleyball court.
Of course, Your Mama make no claims whatsoever to comprehension of the capricious and unreservedly capacious real estate ways of men (and women) like Mister Ellison. However, it’s not so difficult to imagine that this horse farm, the one he wants to sell, might be somewhat unnecessary given that his sprawling Japanese-themed compound just around the corner about a mile away also contains significant equestrian facilities.
In addition to his impressive residential real estate holdings in Woodside, CA, property records reveal Mister Ellison owns many additional properties around the Bay Area including at least six non-contiguous suburban residences in Redwood City–presumably these are for investment or business purposes–plus a 10,742 square foot bay view contemporary mansion atop Pacific Heights in San Francisco. Mister Ellison was much in the real estate news earlier in the year when it was revealed in the media he had been engaged in a lengthy legal wrangle and tangle with his down slope neighbors who accused him of illegally chopping off the tops of a pair of titanic redwood trees on their property in order to open up the view from his house. The suit was settled “to everyone’s satisfaction” in late May or early June (2011).
At about the same time Mister Ellison was wrangling with his neighbors in San Francisco he paid a mouth drying $42,900,000 for Porcupine Creek, a vast Rancho Mirage, CA estate with 18,430 square foot main mansion, 4 guest casitas plus 4 more guest houses, a resort-styled and sized swimming pool complex with palapa, spa facility with massage rooms and hair salon, a private 19-hole golf course, and a club house with locker room, bar, lounge and private pro shop.
The previous year, Mister Ellison spent $10,500,000 to acquire Beechwood, an opulent, 39-room Italianate mansion in natty and nabobish Newport, RI built in 1851 for wealthy dry goods pooh bah Daniel Parish and later owned by Caroline and William Backhouse Astor Jr.
Beginning in the early Noughts Mister Ellison began to acquire significant amounts of property in Malibu, CA. His holdings in the star-studded and hideously expensive ocean side enclave include a secluded multi-residence equestrian compound inside the guard-gated Serra Retreat that features a funicular that connects the main house to the athletic and entertainment complex below complex tennis court and swimming pool.
Mister Ellison famously paid around $65,000,000 for five contiguous property on Malibu’s colossally costly Carbon Beach–one of which was rented for quite some time by sitcom and romcom queen Jennifer Aniston after her marriage with Brad Pitt famously and very publicly swirled down The Tinseltown Terlit of Love way back in late 2005–where other billionaires and near billionaires with houses on the sand include the likes Jerry Perenchio, Haim Saban, David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Terry Semel and the dueling divorcées Frank and Jamie McCourt.
Back in Lake Tahoe, where we began today’s lengthy real estate tale, our research into the public property records indicates Mister Ellison spent $14,000,000 in March 2006 for a 2.02 acre lakeside spread on Lake Tahoe’s north shore in Incline Village. Property records also reveal that in December 2007 Mister Ellison dropped another $28,000,000 on two adjacent parcels that together come to 7.38. A few quick flicks of the hard-working beads on our bejeweled abacus calculates based on property records that Mister Ellison’s Incline Village estate spans nearly 9.5 acres is said to have than 400 feet of very desirable lake frontage. The compound loving billionaire is reported to be near completion on the construction of an 8-structure private residence with a total of about 18,000 square feet of interior space. The stone and log-sided structures–tucked discreetly behind a well-secured wall and gate, natch–include a main house, beach house, tennis pavilion, guest quarters, guard house, caretaker’s cottage and writer’s cabin.
Mister Ellison’s daughter Megan has clearly caught The Compound Bug from her property mad father. Over the last several years the budding and increasingly busy 20-something year old movie producer (Catch .44, True Grit, Passion Play) has spent a truly bone-chilling $32,850,000 on three contiguous properties high above Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip, each with a sizable cutting edge contemporary residence and each with unobstructed multi-million dollar views over the twinkling lights of Tinseltown from downtown to, on a clear day, the Pacific Ocean.
listing photos (Woodside): Alain Pinel Realtors