SELLER: Jesse Alexander
LOCATION: Sherman Oaks, CA
SIZE: 4,399 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Sorry Charlies, but pickins are a bit slim in the celebrity real estate world today so rather than a household name, big time billionaire or tawdry tabloid princess let’s discuss a decidedly but pleasantly peculiar Sherman Oaks, CA residence owned by television writer/producer Jesse Alexander and listed on the open market this week with a $2,100,000 price tag.
For most of the first decade of the Noughts, Mister Alexander successfully toiled as a staff writer and/or executive producer on a number of hit shows (Lost, Alias and Heroes) that each spawned a rabid cult-like following of fans and, let’s be honest chickens, more than a few fanatics. Lost, Alias and Heroes have all been canceled.
Mister Alexander’s resume on the Internet Movie Data Base indicates he’s won one Emmy–for Lost–but there are actually two Emmy statuettes that on the shelf behind the desk in his self-contained home office that contains a kitchenette, bathroom, and an entire wall lined with video game consoles and pinball machines. Speaking of quasi-nerdy pursuits such as video game console collecting, in addition to his television activities Mister Alexander has participated in the development of various video games as well as written a number of graphic novels.
Property records show Mister Alexander, who is (or was) married–we don’t know–and produced a couple of young boy children, acquired the gated and privately situated Sherman Oaks residence in late August 2002 for $1,125,000. We’re not sure what exactly the house looked like back in 2002 but listing photographs show the exterior is now a somewhat wacky, wee bit whacked, and not entirely recommended but not altogether displeasing architectural mash-up between a cedar-shingled east coast-ian Cape Cod and a classic SoCal post-and-beam mid-century modern.
The wide gated driveway extends from the street deep in to the property where there’s a two-car attached garage, a cramped flag stone entry terrace and and off-center pitched overhang that signifies the front entry. The children will note that Mister Alexander, his wife and/or their nice, gay decorator used a proper crystal chandelier for a porch light, a brazenly glitzy choice that hints of the idiosyncratic, colorful, multi-patterned and very personal day-core splashed about over all the interior spaces.
Double doors open into a hub-like foyer with shallow vaulted ceiling, a stairwell to the lower level, and milk chocolate colored hardwood floors. A wide door way on the right reveals the mostly black and white banquet hall-sized dining room and directly opposite the front door another wide doorway, this one flanked with pony-wall pedestals, festooned with a paper garland, and bracketed by high-contrast red and white curtain panels, steps down into what was probably originally intended for use as a “formal” living room.
Rather than a formal living room that no one besides an occasional guest ever even looks at or goes in to, the Alexander clan re-purposed the “formal” living room in to a casual, put your bare feet on the coffee table-type of library/media room with chunky stone fireplace, walls lined with book-filled book shelves, and a floor-to-ceiling windows and sliders that open to a tree house-like covered veranda. When it’s movie watching time, black out curtains pull closed over the windows and an over-sized, ceiling-mounted projection screen scrolls down from the ceiling. Kudos to the papier-mâché wart hog head mounted on the chimney breast and a hip-hip-hoo-ray for the identical wheel-mounted navy blue sofas that thankfully anchor and smooth out the colorfully rough edges of the otherwise cacophonous and chaotic but ultimately cozy space.
The dining room, formal only in size and perhaps palette, has a decoratively daring semi-glossy black band painted below the belly high chair rail, a behemoth butcher block-topped farmhouse table that easily seats 12, and a DIY-ish light fixture fashioned from ordinary plumbing pipes and five polka-dotted lamp shades. Mis-matched frames line two walls and feature a rather extensive collection of cheesy but charming dog portraits.
The lustrous milk chocolate hardwood floors continue from the dining room in to the the all-white and stainless steel kitchen finished with lightly veined white marble counter tops and gleaming white subway tile back splashes that extend–as they should–from the counter top clear to the base of the upper cabinets.
The kitchen opens to a casual dining area and family room with wood-beamed vaulted ceiling. At one end a built-in breakfast banquette has a cheeky, white tufted leather bench seat. At the other end a Union Jack patterned rug–with the traditionally red stripes replaced with a mossy taupe color–defines the family room area where a wonderfully well-worn club chair-style brown leather sofa manages to make a happy decorative marriage between a flashy white laminate and stainless steel coffee table, even flashier zebra-striped chaise lounger, and black and white honeycomb-patterned curtains that can be pulled closed over the wide banks of floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors that line two walls.
The master suite, adequate in size for Your Mama and the Dr. Cooters needs but downright eensy-weensy by modern-day suburban mcmansion standards, offers a petite sitting area with huge sliding glass doors that open to a deep covered patio and a pair closets where the doors have been replaced with piped valances and white fabric panels. The attached (all-white) bathroom isn’t particularly large but is well laid out and certainly luxurious with double sinks, marble counter tops, vintage-style honeycomb tile floors, a separate terlit
The pervasively eclectic and, yes, whimsical, day-core blooms completely in the bedrooms and play room spaces of the Alexander children. In one room, red and black Tartan-print wall-to-wall carpeting clashes perfectly with a camouflage bean bag, rainbow-colored Takashi Murakami flower cushion, wall-mounted cardboard-constructed animal heads, and an entire wall covered in a green and blue toned topological map of the world. It’s a visual riot to be sure, children, but it also looks to Your Mama like a highly stimulating room perfect for the educational activities and play time explorations of young children.
In addition to a play room space for the kiddies, the lower level of the house includes a small vestibule with treadmill and a sizable self-contained space with kitchenette, bathroom and direct backyard access. Listing photos show the white-walled room used as an office space with an Eames desk, a Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair, and the aforementioned wall of video game consoles and pinball machines.
The back yard has four or five distinct areas that include a terraced section (where we’d plant a couple rows of citrus trees) and a bed of bark (or something) with a complicated- and expensive-looking jungle gym contraption, a long narrow swathe of green grass interrupted by a square, island-like deck. A concrete and flag stone-floored covered porch with white-brick chimney breast and raised fireplace/grill continues around the house and extends towards the rear corner of the property where a multi-level terrace surrounds a raised circular spa with rock waterfall that tumbles down to a dark-bottomed, lagoon-style free-form swimming pool. A free-standing, fabric-lined, and semi-permanent cabana established a swell spot to escape the skin-scorching San Fernando Valley summertime sunshine.
listing photos: Coldwell Banker