…comedienne cum daytime chat show queen Ellen DeGeneres and actress wife Portia (de Rossi) DeGeneres are downsizing in Beverly Hills, CA.
Well, sort of.
All us celebrity and property gossips spun like dervishes on crack yesterday over the sensational scuttlebutt about the legally married Tinseltown ladies selling their multi-residence Beverly Hills, CA compound to American Idol host and reality tee-vee tycoon Ryan Seacrest for a skin-peeling (and still alleged) 37 or so million dollars.
At the very tail of Your Mama’s discussion on the matter we dropped a quick nugget about the Beverly Hills, CA house that word on the real estate street is the famously peripatetic scissor sisters—now in need of a new home—have acquired or are in the process of acquiring.
Your Mama has now been told by three separate and well-connected sources from deep inside the Platinum Triangle real estate game that the Ellen DeGeneres and her Missus coughed up between 17 and 18 million dollars for an approximately 8,500 square foot, single-story mid-century modern mansion in the exceedingly trendy and uncommonly expensive lower Trousdale Estates area of Beverly Hills.
The house in question was originally designed for in 1958 for Diane and Charles Skouras Jr. by renowned architect Hal Levitt. Mister Levitt, many of the children may already know, is the man responsible for a number of architectural tour de forces in and around Beverly Hills including a residence reworked by architect Larry Totah sold by recently deceased hair honcho Vidal Sassoon in September 2010 to an unknown buyer for $10,000,000. The original design for the Bev Hills house Jennifer Aniston sold last year to mutual fund mogul Bill Gross for $35,000,000 was by Hal Levitt and Jenny Aniston and man-friend Justin Theroux are said to be shacked up in a $40,000 per month rental originally designed by Mister Levitt.
Mister and Missus Skouras—or their heirs, we’re not sure—sold the nearly one acre mini-estate in August 2002 to prolific property developer/hotelier Brad Korzen and decorator wife Kelly Wearstler for, according to property records we peeped, $4,025,000.
Miz Wearstler, a lightening rod in the cut-throat decorating world, did what decorators with dough do, she gave the low-slung sprawler a do-over in her freaky-deaky signature style that takes more than a few cues from the playbook of soo-blime maximalist decorator Tony Duquette. Miz Wearstler had every square inch of the over-the-top house photographed for and featured in her 2006 coffee table book Domicilium Decoratus.
The Korzen-Wearstlers listed the gated estate (shown above in listing photos from the time) in May 2005 for $13,395,000 and sold it, according to the documents we perused, in April 2006 for $9,900,000. The buyer, according to a well-connected source and some two-headed sleuthing with aide de camp Heidi Hightower was former CIA analyst turned Emmy winning film and television producer Bob Cort (Jumanji, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Runaway Bride) and his top-tier literary talent agent turned media executive wife Rosalie Swedlin.
Online information we dug up out of the interweb shows the Swedlin-Corts engaged a top-flight Beverly Hills broker to shop the property off-market with an inexplicably vague asking price of “From $20,000,000,” whatever that means
Our chit-chatty sources say the Missus DeGeneres paid somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 or 18 million dollars for the glassy house that listing information we teased out of the interweb shows has 4 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, spacious “formal” living and dining areas with loads of white marble, a colossal “commercial kitchen” with two center work islands, and a sun-drenched family room with built-in entertainment cabinet. Walls of sliding glass doors glide open to various terraces and patios—one with outdoor fireplace—transition the interior spaces to the thickly planted private gardens and rectilinear swimming pool with marble surround.
While it might appear that the Missus Degeneres are downsizing—the Bev Hills compound they just sold to Ryan Seacrest for $37,000,000 has a main house, guest house, pool pavilion, additional staff quaters/gym and two more residences—by Your Mama’s rudimentary (and not necessarily accurate) calculations the property-mad Sapphic sisters have paid out (around) forty million dollars for their three high-priced and high-maintenance properties SoCal properties. That’s 17 or eighteen million for the new one in Bev Hills, somewhere around $10,000,000 for a 26-care horsey compound in Hidden Valley near Thousand Oaks, CA bought in June 2009 and briefly on the market last year for $16,500,000, and $12,000,000 for a sleek and sexy bluff-top contemporary in Malibu, CA they bought last year from fellow property-addict Brad Pitt.