SELLERS: Suzanne Somers and Alan Hamel
LOCATION: Alta Vista Road, Palm Springs, CA
PRICE: $12,900,000 (reduced from $35,000,0000)
SIZE: 73 acres, 10 bedrooms, 9 full and 2 half bathrooms (spread across several buildings)
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama stayed up late last night in order to receive a ream of faxed missives from informant and aide-de-camp Lucy Looselips, and we dropped everything this morning to bring you photos and information of Les Baux de Palm Springs, the hillside compound overlooking Palm Springs that former Three’s Company dingbat turned self help guru goddess Suzanne Somers and her huzband Alan Hamel recently put on the market for a blistering $35,000,000.
Ooo-wee children, Your Mama loves us some Suzanne Somers. Like most of you probably do, we too think she’s a bit over the rainbow and she’s probably a little too into the white light crap for our particular constitution, but this still blond behatcha is far smarter than most people give her credit. See babies, Miz Somers played Chrissy Snow so flawlessly that many just assumed she was an air brained cow. She is, decidedly, not.
Not only did Miz Somers have the know how to parlay her 15 minutes of 1970s television fame into a lifetime of public eye, she has very successfully turned her wacky ideas into a massive money making empire. Yes, children, that is correct, a damn empire. This lady has earned more money toning booties with her ThighMasters, strutting her stuff in Las Vegas, teaching fat ladies how to “Somersize,” and pushing product on the Home Shopping Network than most people realize.
The seemingly charmed sixty-something year old artificial blondie has also been touched by the dark hand of Lady Luck. She was booted from Three’s Company because she asked for a raise (something women simply did not do back then), she was diagnosed and survived breast cancer with a combination of traditional treatments and mistletoe injections (whatever that is), and in January of 2007, her and the Mister’s ocean front home in Malibu went up in flames resulting in a total loss. Some time ago Your Mama discussed the house on swanky Sweetwater Mesa in Malee-boo that the couple leased in the aftermath.
But we digress. Let’s get back to Les Baux de Palm Springs where among her other endeavors such as gardening and inventing silly things people never knew they desperately wanted, the multi-talented dilettante decorates. Oh Jeezis, Mary, and Joseph does she ever decorate. This ladee’s got chandeliers hanging in the trees, a silver mine worth of picture frames, miles and oceans of fabric swinging in the breeze, dried roses coming out her well preserved wazoo, and a zebra skin rug in just about every damn room in the compound.
Located in a quiet pocket of Palm Springs at the base of the San Jacinto mountains, Miz Somers and Mister Hamel’s desert hideaway sprawls across 65 (or 73 deppending on where you look) acres of canyon scrub land that they’ve owned since March of 1977. According to a recent article in Palm Springs Life, the small main house was built in the 1920s by Wright Ludington, an artist and architectural dramatic who went on to steward Montecito’s quirky and venerable Val Verde estate. Ludington sold the property sometime in the 1950s to the Benoists, who owned the Almadén Vineyards. Presumably it was the Benoists who added the Albert Frey designed guest house up the slope from the main house.
The Somers/Hamels kept the place virtually untouched for 10 years after purchasing it, making due with minuscule square footage and a frightfully wee 4 foot wide kitchen. Then they got a bee in their rich bonnets and went all Winchester Mystery House expanding and building their faux-French-ish desert dreamhouse. The main house was enlarged, a newer, larger kitchen was built, several guest houses were dropped into the craggy landscape, the swimming pool was updated, a small amphitheater was wedged into the rocks, and over the years all services were updated to offer modern day conveniences and luxuries. The myriad of buildings that make up the hillside compound connect by way of stone pathways and curving staircase that are dotted with small terraces and provide big views over the valley.
We know some of you city sophisticates are going to scream and fuss about how Palm Springs is nothing but a deathly hot cemetery where even the young people are old and we know some of you will moan endlessly about all the wildly wealthy, leather skinned 70-something year old retirees piloting flawless, vintage 450SLs while sporting tennis togs, gigantic woman-with-a-past sunglasses and heavy turquoise bracelets. Still others of you will surely gripe about all the queens with pinky rings and jewel colored sweaters wrapped around their shoulders that parade up and down Palm Canyon Drive like it was a god-damn runway in the tents at Bryant Park. Fair enough. None-the-less, Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter happen to love the desert in general and specifically the Coachella Valley where we have spent many happy evenings staring contentedly at the craggy mountains as we toss back a few gin and tonics on the balcony of our favorite room at the Jonathan Adler designed Parker Palms Springs Hotel. So we get it when Miz Somers says that the area is magical. We happen to agree, sweater queens aside.
Naturally, we are beside ourselves with mortification about the monstrous and potentially lethal pot rack in the kitchen and we find those little skirt thingys on the dining room chairs to be both upsetting and unnecessary. But in the main, we freely confess to loving Miz Somer’s house and its over-stuffed and over blown interiors. No children, Your Mama is not drunk–yet–or on drugs. We just happen to dig all the odd tidbits and pieces scattered throughout the property like the matador costume and nutty green velvet sofas in the dining room. We love that Miz Somers has a passion for opulent and glittery chandeliers and hangs them everywhere, including in the trees. Although Your Mama hasn’t a single mirror in any of our houses that isn’t above a bathroom sink, we j’adore all the mirrors with intricate carved wood frames and we appreciate the way she injects a single color or texture or pattern into a space that somehow makes the whole thing leap out at you like a 3-d horror movie. And we can not stand–in a good way–that she has used zebra pattern as a motif throughout the house, in almost every room. This house SCREAMS Suzanne Somers and we love that because we love her.
No children, Your Mama could never and would never live among this sort of uber luxe romantical Architectural Digest worthy decor and, in truth, iffin Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter were to buy desert digs we’d look for something far more modern with interior spaces that become outdoor spaces by simply pushing open a massive glass slider, something with a day-core that managed to stop well short of being all did up like one of those horrid clichés of mid-century modern madness that litter the steaming streets of Palm Springs. None-the-less, we can’t help it. We’re smitten with the Somers/Hamel house and we would relish and pull our toenails out for any opportunity to lay around that wonderfully sited swimming pool with Miz Somers and talk about bioidentical hormones, thigh tightening, organic vegetables and what she really thinks of Larry King and Joyce Dewitt.
We know y’all are going to skewer us and prattle on for days about how awful this place is. And you just go right ahead with your bad selves. Meanwhile we’re going to dream about the high-larity of hanging out with Barry Manilow, Dinah Shore, and the memory of Mister Merv Griffin, may she rest in peace, while Miz Somers serenades us in her own private amphitheater.
According to Palm Springs Life, the Somers/Hamels will be packing up their zebra skin rugs and chandeliers and moving to a new Palm Springs compound currently under construction. They say they’re moving on, albeit with trepidation and pained hearts, because they love the process of building and all that entails. And we believe Miz Perpetually Young. We do. But Your Mama also knows that money talks, and if the this savvy couple can unload Les Baux de Palm Springs for anywhere near it’s current $35,000,000 asking price they’ll pocket many millions of dollars. And that my friends is another of the many examples of just how smart Miz Somers is when it comes to making the big bank.
Since the article in Palms Springs Life provided the link to the virtual tour, so will we. Enjoy. And be nice.