SELLER: Arnold Klein
LOCATION: Laguna Beach, CA
SIZE: 3,572 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: We apologize for not conversing with the kiddies on Friday but Your Mama was stymied by a series of obstinate technical troubles that left us nearly hysterical with frustration and all but dead in the blogging water. Our harrowing computer issues were finally solved by the deft skill of a paid expert but the two day delay means we’re well behind the 8-ball on a number of celebrity real estate tidbits and morsels.
We begin our long slog back to currency with an elaborately engineered ocean-front residence in Laguna Beach, CA recently listed with an asking price of $12,000,000 and owned as per property records and previous reports, by well-known and much-beleaguered Beverly Hills cosmetic dermatologist Arnold Klein.
Over the course of his near forty year career in the skin biz Mister Klein has nipped, tucked and injected various youth preserving substances into scads and scores of Tinseltown luminaries such as Dolly Parton, Cher, and Elizabeth Taylor. Despite his illustrious career–he bills himself on his website as the “father of modern cosmetic dermatology”–it is his long-standing professional relationship and personal friendship with deceased international superstar Michael Jackson that made Mister Klein a household name, at least amongst tabloid television watcher and gossip glossy readers.
Over the last few years Mister Klein has become as if not more (in)famous for his frequent scuttlebutt shit stirring as it relates to Mister Jackson than he ever was as a medical professional. He vociferously rejects any rumors he bears any responsibility for Mister Jackson’s alleged (but rather obvious) drug problems and he’s repeatedly stated he is not to the best of his knowledge the father of two of Mister Jackson’s three children; In 2010 Mister Klein confirmed (and later recanted his confirmation of) an alleged homosexual relationship between Mister Jackson and Jason Pfeiffer, a heavyset dude who once worked for Mister Klein. Mister Klein and Mister Pfeiffer and are currently suing each other amid salacious allegations that include wrongful termination and male prostie procurement.
Anyhoo, property records indicate the skin doctor scooped up his Laguna Beach house in January 1993 for $1,300,000. Current listing information shows the architecturally sui generis residence, which juts dramatically out from the cliff to which it cleaves and hovers awkwardly over the sugary sand, was built in 1971, measures 3,572 square feet over three floors and includes a total of 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.
A pair of single car garages with shimmering stainless steel doors face front in the gated motor court. where a multi-colored contemporary sculpture signifies the main entrance to the house accessible down a long open corridor and over a short bridge.
Inside the main living/dining area has the lightest of beige wall-to-wall carpeting (it may, in fact, be white but we can’t tell), a fireplace with stainless steel chimney breast, over-stuffed white sofas and chairs, and three walls of floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors that open to a three-sided cantilevered terrace with an undeniably spectacular 270-degree view up and down the rugged, southern California coastline. The room converts to a media room complete with projection equipment and a screen that scrolls down from the ceiling.
The kitchen, open to both the living and dining areas has a distinct but well-maintained 1980s vibe with lustrous white tile flooring, gleaming white flat-fronted cabinetry, black marble counter tops, pantry, and a full suite of high-grade but not particularly new appliances that include a trash compactor and a 160-bottle wine cellar.
The pale beige (or possibly white) wall-to-wall carpeting continues into the massive, full-floor master suite, divided into a sizable bedroom and living room areas by a free-standing double-sided wood and stainless steel fireplace. Like in the main living/dining area, glass walls provide unobstructed ocean and coastline views and give out to another cantilevered terrace with glass railing. In addition to the glass-block and white-tile bathroom, the master suite also includes a a walk-in closet, dining area, a second ocean-view terrace and a glass-roofed office/gym with retractable sun shade awning.
A narrow room affixed to and suspended from the underbelly of the upper two floors contains, as per listing information, a game room and a whole bunch of exercise equipment that from the looks of the zaftig Mister Klein don’t see much use.
It’s highly unlikely the very powerful California Coast Commission would allow a house such as this to be sited and built today but current listing information indicates that architectural plans drawn up by maverick-gone-mainstream architect Frank Gehry are available upon request.
The listing of this property may or may not have something to do with the fact that Mister Klein filed for personal bankruptcy early in 2011 claiming $3,500,000 in debts and less than $50,000 in assets. A subsequent filing indicates his assets are more considerable than the first filing would suggest and include a total of three luxury residences in California, an extensive collection high-octane artwork that includes works by Warhol, Baldessari, Hockney, Picasso and Gaugin, and a fleet of automobiles that include a Ferrari, Bentley, late model Cadillac Escalade and a Chrysler Gem, the latter an low-speed electric vehicle.
Mister Klein’s long-time primary residence, a hulking Tudor-style mansion property records indicate he bought in March 1985 for just $255,000, occupies a somewhat busy corner on the edge of Los Angeles’ hoity-toity Hancock Park ‘hood. Deeds and documents Your Mama peeped show the mansion (above) was built in 1914, encompasses 11,341 square feet and contains 8 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and at least 3 fireplaces. There’s additional living space above the detached 5-car garage.
The gated, tree-shrouded and laboriously landscaped mini-estate encompasses .65 acres and includes a swimming pool with elevated circular spa area and numerous parterre gardens lined with petite box woods, laced with brick walkways and sprinkled with fountains and statuary.
In November 2010 Radar Online reported that 48 firefighters spent 38 minutes putting out an early-morning fire that broke out in Mister Klein’s kitchen. In addition to Mister Klein three others were evacuated from the house. The fire did more than $1,500,000 in damages to the real estate and other items, which was reportedly covered by insurance.
Property records indicate that a naughty Notice of Default was filed on the property on behalf of a Los Vegas-based company who in December 2009 lent Mister Klein $1,600,000 secured against the value of his Hancock Park property. Iffin we’re being honest, and we always are, we’re not sure of the current status of this Notice of Default but the online deeds and docs we perused don’t yet show a Notice of Rescission. Make of that what you will.
The current value of the residence is listed on bankruptcy papers as $9,000,000, a figure that seems, quite frankly, rather optimistic when one takes into account that the highest recorded price paid for a house in Mister Klein’s Hancock Park zip code in the last two years (as per Redfin) is $6,075,00 for a better located 8,160 square foot Tudor mansion sold in May 2011 by thriller novelist Philip Hawley to nursing home tycoon Lawrence Feigen.
Although he appears besieged with financial issues now, in June 2008 Mister Klein must have been feeling pretty flush since he splurged on a house in Palm Springs, CA for which property records show he paid $1,462,500. The .32 acre property, located in the upscale Vista Las Palmas neighborhood, includes a 3,511 square foot single-level residence originally built in 1980. The fully updated and upgraded property has 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, a circular drive with porte cochere, an attached two-car garage, a terrace that converts to an outdoor movie theater with roll-down screen, and a walled yard with swimming pool and spa and up close mountain views.
Although it does not currently appear to be on the open market, there is online evidence that Mister Klein attempted to rent or sell his rather campilyp-decorated and art-filled desert digs sometime in the summer of 2010 for an undisclosed price. We took a quick look through the online marketing materials for the property and noticed a Warhol soup can in the kitchen, a Baldasarri (or Baldessari-like) photo in the entry hall, something that looks like it might have been done by Matisse hanging near the built-in wet bar, a group of 8 Warhol Marilyns in the living room, and–natch–a framed photograph of Michael Jackson in the master bathroom. We have no idea if any or all of these artworks are authentic or licensed reproductions. Much to our chagrin, Mister Klein has set a considerable number of large busts of Buddha around the interior and exterior areas of the house. Holy Mary, mother of Jeezis, we are so over the Buddha statues that far too may people in Southern California use as day-core. Listen, chickens, Rule Number 57 of Your Mama’s Big Book of Decorating Dos and Don’ts explicitly states, “Unless yer a damn Buddhist, cool it on the Buddha statuary.” Got it?
Bankruptcy filings put the value of Mister Klein’s Palm Springs nest at $1,900,000. We’ll let the desert dwelling real estate experts decide whether that’s an accurate assessment of value.