SELLER: Harry Morton
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Los Angeles-based wannabe restaurant mogul Harry Morton is not only opening an humongous Pink Taco restaurant on Tinseltown’s famed Sunset Strip he’s also, we’ve learned from a gal we’ll call P.R. Puffnstuff, moving house. The last couple of years young, fortunately-born, and well-connected Mister Morton bedded down high above the Sunset Strip in the glammy residential neighborhood known as The Birds* in a gut-renovated bachelor pad he heaved on to the (open) market last week with an asking price of $4,995,000.
*The Birds: A pricy, celebrity-packed neighborhood that cleaves to the steep mountains that rise above the Sunset Strip where all the streets are named after—you got it—birds.
Young Mister Morton, for those of y’all who may not know, is the entrepreneurial scion of restaurateur and Hard Rock Café co-founder Peter Morton and he clearly wants to put his own, permanent mark on the Los Angeles drinking and dining scene. He currently owns the venerable Sunset Strip music venue The Viper Room (where poor River Phoenix met his early on the sidewalk out front in 1989), the fairly new Fukuburger Hollywood in the heart of Hollywood, and the naughty-naughty-named Pink Taco, a boozy, Mexican food eatery and pick-up bar in the Westfield Century City Mall. Once upon a time there were several Pink Taco establishments, including in Nevada and Arizona, but only the Century City location remains operational.
Mister Morton and the Pink Taco people took a lot of heat last year (2011) when, as part of their Cinco de Mayo promotions and celebrations, they dyed a donkey pink, wrote “Pink Taco” on both its sides, paraded it around Century City and then tied the damn thing a post outside the restaurant. Handlers say the donkey was not harmed, Mister Morton apologized to PETA and promised not to use animals in future promotions just as he promised PETA in 2007 or ’08 when they cried foul after he made use of a pink donkey at the restaurant’s opening.
Despite the controversial pink donkey business last year and an ugly legal brouhaha brought about by allegations of financial malfeasance on the part of a consultant, Mister Morton forges ahead with the construction of his newest Pink Taco on the Sunset Strip, the former site of Miyagi’s and, long before that according a recent article to The Hollywood Reporter, The Players Club, a legendary supper club frequented by Hollywood heavyweights like Humphrey Bogart, Orson Wells and Howard Hughes. Anyhoo, getting back to the matter at hand…
Young Harry, former man-friend of starlets like Lindsay Lohan and Hayden Panetierre, purchased the property in July 2009 for $1,750,000. At that time the existing residence was but a fatigued, single story mid-century modern originally built in 1963 and in desperate need of an an major face lift. Mister Morton had the modestly-sized single story structure worked over, according to current listing information, by Jeff Allsbrook at Standard who took the house down to its studs and added a second floor master suite complete with paralyzing views that sweep over the whole of Los Angeles’ south and western quadrants. Listing information does not offer square footage but does indicate the re-worked, residence—L-shaped with art gallery-style interiors—now contains 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.
As an aside, Standard happens to be the same L.A.-based architecture firm responsible for many (if not all) of the very spare, art gallery-like retail outlets of t-shirt tycoon James Perse as well as an L-shaped and art gallery-like 1 bedroom and 1.75 bathroom residence in The Birds owned by Mister Perse and currently on the market with a $3,750,000 price tag.
Mister Morton fenced in and electronically gated a majority of the original driveway to fashion a squeezy, concrete-paved motor court just about large enough to turn around a Smart Car with a three point turn. Next to the front-facing, two-car garage a shallow inset porch was laid with a luxurious limestone (or some other sort of fancy stone) that continues right on under the monumental front door—an over-sized pivoting wood panel—to a small entry vestibule. The circular motif iron fretwork laid over a giant frosted glass panel to the left of the doorway is repeated throughout the home and makes an obvious (and perhaps extraneous) reference to the home’s original swinging sixties architecture.
The wee foyer is furnished with nothing but a low, floating shelf that displays a tableau of framed artworks, including one that depicts a large revolver, an ironically unfriendly image that may (or may not) be a reflection of Mister Morton’s decorative sense of humor.
The limestone (or whatever) floors in the foyer and entry porch extend into the rectangular living/dining room anchored at at the living area end by a fireplace and stack of floating bookshelves. A full wall of green tinted glass panels slide open to expose the room to the compact but flat backyard and gigantic city view and the dining area end adjoins a sky-lit, galley-style kitchen outfitted with sleek, white cabinets with barely-there hardware and shimmering stainless steel counter tops and back splashes. The full complement of Euro-style appliances include stacked double ovens and an integrated double-drawer fridge/freezer.
A full-height opening to the left of the fireplace in the living area connects to a shag-carpeted den—another decorative nod to the 1960s origins of the house—with green tinted, floor-to-ceiling glass panels that peel back to the pool deck and an unadorned blond wood entertainment center with closed storage top and bottom and open shelving on either side of an inset, flat-screen tee-vee.
The newly added second floor contains, as far as we can tell, the master suite with almost white hardwood floors, mostly white walls with a dark mushroom-colored accent wall behind the bed, even more green tinted, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass panels and a private terrace with bird’s eye view over Tinseltown and, on a clear day, all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The adjoining walk-in closet has sufficient hanging bays, built-in shelves and dresser drawers for undershorts and other private things. The attached, nearly all-white en suite has a giant soaking tub and a rare-in-America bidet, a clever little device designed to splash water up on a one’s most personal nether regions as such time such an cleansing event might be warranted.
Back downstairs the den, living/dining room and at least one of the two guest/family bedrooms all open through the ubiquitous green tinted, floor-to-ceiling glass sliders to the fairly small but flat backyard entertainment areas with open views, a combination sunbathing and lounging terrace, plunge-sized swimming pool, party-sized spa, and a circular, built-in fire pit.
Mister Morton’s soon-to-be ex-bachelor pad is perched near the tippy-top of The Birds where a number of other homes on the same street are owned by a hand full of high profile Showbizzers who include singer/songwriter Robin Thicke and actress wife Paula Patton, multi-Grammy winning singer Michael Bublé, famously peripatetic sit-com and rom-com queen Jennifer Aniston, and Atlanta-based filmmaker Tyler Perry.
Your Mama heard through the Tinseltown real estate gossip grapevine—but can not verify—that Mister Morton has already moved on the purchase of a new house. That’s means he’s in need of a real estate leprechaun especially since he had terrible luck selling his previous residence, a 1 bedroom condo sold in January of this year (2012) at a million dollar plus loss not counting carrying costs, any improvements or renovations or real estate fees.
In July 2009 Your Mama discussed Mister Morton’s previous residence, a low-floor condo at the star-packed Sierra Towers building at the western edge of the Sunset Strip where West Hollywood turns to Beverly Hills. At that time Mister Morton had the 1,845 square foot bachelor pad, once owned by kooky artist/movie star/raw milk drinker Vincent Gallo, listed at $2,895,000, far less than the $3,500,000 he paid for the place in January 2007.
By January 2010 Mister Morton’s 1 bedroom and 2 bathroom condo crib was taken off the open market but at some point became available off-market and finally sold for—are you ready for this?—$2,400,000 to some rich folks in Detroit.
listing photos: Hilton & Hyland