BUYER: Rufus Wainwright
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 2,119 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: We first heard it by way of digital missive from a gal who called herself Mustang Sally who probably first heard about it from the eagle-eyed celebrity property gossip at the L.A. Times and property records do indeed confirm that preternaturally talented singer-songwriter and opera composer Rufus Wainwright coughed up $1.45 million for a storybook-style cottage perched high on a steep hillside near the mouth of Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles. It’s a somewhat forbidding hike from the gated street-level parking pad up to the front door of the 2,119 square foot residence that, according to listing details, is a “romantic melding” of Spanish, French, Mediterranean and English architectural styles with three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.
Once inside it’s a few steps back down from the entrance gallery to an ample living room that features narrow-gauge wood floors that are probably original to the house, a high ceiling lined with slender wood beams, a built-in entertainment unit, a jewel-toned stained glass window next to what listing descriptions described as a “whimsical fireplace” with an oddly off-center display niche, and French doors that open to a small balcony with treetops view. The dining room, painted a sunshine-y yellow by the seller, has fanciful diamond pane casement windows and links through to a galley style kitchen updated with charcoal-colored flag stone flooring, slab marble counter tops, a complete suite of high-quality appliances, and a built-in breakfast banquette.
An en suite guest/family bedroom is located in a partially subterranean area beneath the dining room — it’s unclear if there’s access to the space from inside the main part of the house — while on the uppermost floor a den/office with built-in bookshelves shares a bathroom boldly sheathed fire engine red subway tiles with a second guest/family bedroom with fairytale-esque Juliet balcony. The master bedroom, also on the top floor, isn’t particularly large but nicely incorporates an exceptionally long cushioned window seat that, quite frankly, ought to be a bit deeper to make it more functionally cozy as a reading and napping nook. There’s also a separate dressing area that opens to a terrace and a fairly compact travertine-floored bathroom with soaking tub and separate shower space with built-in bench seat. Tree-shaded and sun-dappled outdoor living areas are dramatically lit per listing details and include a couple of terraces nestled into the hillside for dining and lounging. A rock-lined pond is traversed by what listing details call a “lover’s bridge” crafted with rough-hewn wood beams.
Mister Wainwright, who co-parents a child he had with his childhood friend Lorca Cohen, daughter of recently deceased music world icon Leonard Cohen, and was married in 2012 to German-born arts administrator Jörn Weisbrodt in a ceremony officiated by the always sublime gender-blurring cabaret singer and artist Justin Vivian Bond, maintains a solid real estate foothold on the East Coast where he’s owned an apartment in the Gramercy Park neighborhood since at least 2003. Property records and other online resources reveal he also maintains a modest 1960’s modernist cottage in the Hamptons community of Montauk, NY, acquired in the latter days of 2009 for $999,000 and, according to marketing materials from the time of the sale, designed in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian house principles.
Earlier this year the U.S.-born and Canadian-bred multi-instrumentalist musician, whose parents are folk singer Loudon Wainwright III and late folk singer Kate McGarrigle, released the dense but richly rewarding “Take All My Love: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets,” a tribute album that commemorates the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, and in 2018 his second full-length opera, “Hadrian,” will premiere at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto.
Listing photos: Keller Williams