YOUR MAMAS NOTES: For every actor/celebrity like Halle Berry and Jennifer Aniston who make the tabs every time they pass a stinky wind or dump a thousand dollars on a pair of sparkly red carpet-worthy shoes, there are scores of less well known but always working actors who manage to live, mostly, outside the hot lights of the paps and gossip glossies. One such under-the-radar-lady/actress is Pamela Reed who has had her house in the historic Windsor Square ‘hood in Los Angeles, CA on and off the market three times since early June 2011.
The property does not today appear on the open market but, thanks to a kindly snitch we’ll call Hansel Andgretel, we’ve come to understand that the stately Windsor Square residence of Miz Reed and her mister–producer/director Sandy Smolan–remains listed with an asking price of $2,995,000.
Windsor Square, for those not schooled in the nuances of neighborhood borders in Lala Land, was developed in the early 1900s as an exclusive and, according to our informant Lady Windsorsquare, restricted upscale enclave of private streets lined with stately homes on medium-sized lots. The historic ‘hood is often mistaken for the more hoity–toity Hancock Park but, in fact, they are two separate if not entirely distinct neighborhoods. Windsor Square, which encompasses the charming Larchmont shopping district, sits immediately east of Hancock Park where the homes are typically more substantial and on larger lots.
Former famous residents of Windsor Square include Norman Chandler (of the L.A. Times Chandler clan), Richard Blackwell (a.k.a. the sassy fashion critic Mr. Blackwell), and oilman John Paul Getty who owned a sprawling estate on South Irving Boulevard just above Wilshire that now functions as the official residence for the mayor of Los Angeles.
Miz Reed, now a gal of a certain age, has been tootling around Tinseltown since the late 1970s. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that a starring role in the brills Garry Trudeau written and Robert Altman directed political mockumentary/series Tanner ’88 that her career hit its stride. Since Tanner ’88 she’s appeared in an impressively long list of movies (Kindergarten Cop, Bean, Proof of Life) and mostly supporting but juicy roles on a variety of television programs (Parks and Recreation, United States of Tara, Jericho, Pepper Dennis, The Simpsons).
Miz Reed’s man-huzband Steven “Sandy” Smolan, an occasional documentary film producer (Rachel River), toils primarily as a director for hire with scads of big and little boob-toob credits that include First Day, In Gayle We Trust, Brothers & Sisters, Everwood, The O.C., The District, Dawson’s Creek, Chicago Hope, Doogie Hower, M.D., and L.A. Law.
Property records show the Smolan-Reeds acquired their Windsor Square abode in December 1996 when they coughed up $925,000 for the half-timbered English Tudor that was erected, as per the L.A. County Tax Man, on an approximately 1/3 acre corner parcel in 1923.
Listing information shows the (main) manse measures 5,381 square feet and includes 6 bedrooms and 9 poopers. However, a thorough perusal of the floor plans included with marketing materials (below) show the main house has a total of 4 bedrooms and 5 full and 2 half bathrooms. A detached structure contains a garage, pool cabana and guest apartment that increases the “bedroom” count to 6 and the terlit count to nine.
A curved brick-lined drive encircles the mature and well-maintained but fairly ordinary front yard landscaping. A set of wide brick steps marks the entrance where the front door opens into a small tile-floored vestibule that leads into a generously scaled center-hall foyer with hardwood floors, beamed ceiling, taupe colored walls and a lot of other taupe colored things.
The mundane taupe tones continue into the spacious 30-plus foot long step-down formal living room outfitted with vast multi-paned windows and French doors on three sides and built-in book shelves filled with actual books. We’re not down with the traditional and banal day-core but we knew a lady like Miz Reed would have actual books in her house. Across the foyer from the living room there’s an over-sized formal dining room furnished with a stunning Heywood Wakefield dining room table and chairs. That room is an all-around decorative hot mess but, children, we think the table and chairs are dee–voon.
The dominant beige-taupe turns to dark gray-taupe in the den where book shelves built into the walls flank French doors that open the room to the entertaining and dining terrace that extends off the back of the house. The leafy quasi-Polynesian print curtains in the den are, in our humble and utterly meaningless opinion, beyond words, and not in a good way. The curtain situation in the den is only made worse by the appearance of another flower-patterned quasi-Polynesian drapery treatment in the master bedroom.
The cooking and service wing wraps around inter-locking front and back stair cases and includes a good-sized butler’s pantry that joins the dining room to the clean but outdated eat-in kitchen. The kitchen floors–linoleum laid in a diamond-y pattern–are predominantly green and yellow, the counter tops are white tile and there’s a wee tee-vee built in to the upper cabinet near the sink where it facilitates easy-peasy soap story watching by the dish washing domestic. One end of the kitchen opens to a breakfast room lined with an old-timey bead board chair rail and the other end leads into a warren of rooms that include a pantry area with second fridge, laundry room, and home office with built-in cabinetry, multiple desk surfaces and a bathroom.
The four second floor bedrooms, accessible by the main stair in the foyer or the back stair in the kitchen, include three family bedrooms, each with private bathroom, plus an approximately 600 square foot master suite. The short hall from the landing to the master bedroom has a second laundry room, a feature we’re certain Lucinda the Laundress appreciates with all her weak and minimum wage heart.
Although there are wood floors in the ample sized master bedroom features a sitting area and fireplace, beige wall-to-wall carpeting was installed in the windowed walk-in closet/dressing room. Much to our horror, the beige carpeting extends right on in to the bathroom where it covers every inch of the floor under the vanity table and sink counters, next to the soaking tub and outside the separate shower stall. Oh, hunnies, no. Just no. No. As we said earlier this week about the also beige wall-to-wall carpeting in Tony Danza’s Malibu beach house, “Rule Number 16 in Your Mama’s Big Book of Decorating Dos and Dont’s emphatically states, ‘No bathing or terliting facility of any kind should ever, under any circumstances, have wall-to-wall carpeting installed.'”
Additional living space can be found in the full-sized and fully finished basement that, not surprisingly, has an acre or two of dingy beige wall-to-wall carpeting. Your Mama is not sure what’s up with all the awful choices of carpet and drapery at Miz Reed and Mister Smolan’s spread but we strongly recommend they cough up a few pennies for a nice, gay decorator to assist them as they work out these decorative demons in their next home. Your Mama well knows and accepts that not everyone needs or wants to live in a house worthy of an appearance in a glossy shelter publication but there is not, as far as our cold, dark and snarky heart is concerned, any earthly reason for a couple of hardworking and successful showbiz types to perpetrate these sorts of egregious carpeting and curtain crimes on the home’s inhabitants, domestic staff and guests.
The broad, brick-lined concrete dining and entertaining terrace steps down to a many-sided plunge pool with raised spa and a couple small patches of tree-shaded grass. At the rear of the property, opposite the back of the main house, a long structure runs along the property line and contains a 4-car garage, attached pool cabana with bathroom and, upstairs, a self-contained studio-style guest unit with kitchenette, bathroom, walk-in closet and heinous tan carpeting that not only stretches from wall to wall but–lo-werd jeezis help us all–into the goddam kitchenette.
Around the side of the garage/cabana/guest house a chain-link fence surrounds a concrete pad with kiddie-sized built-in basketball hoop and free-standing trampoline. With all due respect to Miz Reed–whose wry comedic timing we j’adore–but that space looks like a damn prison yard designed to both contain and maim children. Imagine what would happen should a small child or inebriated adult fly off that bouncy-bouncer trampoline, slam into the jagged chain link fence and crumple to the concrete? Not pretty, people.
Anyhoo, prior to moving to Windsor Square, property records reveal that Mister and Missus Smolan owned a ridge-top house above the Hollywood Reservoir they bought in June 1990 for $565,000 and sold at a loss in March 1997 for $530,000. Our brief and unscientific research indicates that Miz Reed and Mister Smolan do not currently own any other property in Los Angeles and Your Mama has no knowledge of where the quietly successful couple plan to decamp.