SELLER: Xorin Balbes
LOCATION: 9248 Swallow Drive, Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 5,200 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Modern oasis in coveted “Bird” streets w/ white terrazzo floors, soaring ceilings, free-flowing spaces and walls of glass. Situated on nearly half-acre (per assessor) mostly-flat, luxuriously-landscaped lot. Dual-island, pro kitchen spills into family room; fully-equipped outdoor kitchen/dining area; swimmer’s pool & spa; large yard w/firepit; 3 fireplaces; off-street parking for 8; wired for today’s technologies.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: If you do not live in Los Angeles, we’re not sure if design diva Xorin Balbes ranks as a celebrity. But if you do live in Los Angeles or give a whit about house flipping at the high end, you should prolly know who this man is. Because he is the queen of the high end house flip in L.A.
Miss Balbes takes houses with some sort of architectural merit, buys them at a good price, and injects them with a dramatic, new-fangled sort of modern. He himself lives up in Los Feliz in an extraordinary house designed by luminescent architect Lloyd Wright, son of Frank. The intricate and complicated stone work on the exterior gives the house a distinct look of a Mayan temple and the interior has been kitted out with all the modern amenities a rich gay decorator could ever want including a sleek kitchen and a heated swimming pool.
Miss Balbes has blazed an incredible, enviable, and highly profitable path through need-to-be-rehabilitated Los Angeles real estate including the recently completed re-do of the famed El Cabrillo bungalows in Hollywood which the high priestess of real estate gossips Ruth Ryon discussed in her Hot Properties column some weeks back.
But that was not the only project Miss Balbes has lately been bizzy making fag magic and trying to sell for a considerable profit. Balbes purchased this house, located up in the bird streets above Sunset Boulevard on the unfortunately and nearly vulgar named Swallow Drive, in October of 2005.
Of course, Your Mama has no idea what condition this house was before Balbes got his hands on the place, but we do know it was a pretty ordinary hip-roofed ranch house before he gave the place an extensive overhaul inside and out. Although they do indicate he took a $2,000,000 mortgage on the fixer upper, property records do not show what Balbes paid for the property. But let’s do the math babies. Let’s say Balbes paid $3,000,000 for the fixer upper and put another million into it. At it’s current price Balbes would pocket an impressive couple million even after the real estate fees and carrying costs.
Hunnies, you know we can’t confirm those numbers so don’t go shouting them from the rooftops like it’s gospel. Okay? But if Miss Balbes would care to fill us in on the actual figures we’ll be sure to pass them along.
Now, on to the house itself. Located just off N. Doheny Drive and spitting distance from Byron Allen‘s flip on Nightingale, the house does not have the explosive views often associated with houses up in the birds. The photos show nice views out the front of the property, but nothing to shriek and blather on about.
The house is approached by crossing over a wooden bridge that spans a shallow water feature with soothing black stones resting on the bottom. Now, this is all very dramatic and interesting, but Your Mama worries about the drunk guests having to navigate that thin little strip of wood when they arrive for even more cocktails and party favors.
We like the wood ceilings for keeping the house grounded, the terrazzo floors are exquisite, the floor to ceiling glass pivot doors have us swooning, and the large master suite wrapped in windows is a nice feature. The kitchen is large, functional and modern. We’re always concerned about shockingly expensive and uber modern kitchens looking dated in a few short years. Balbes has smartly used neutrals in here which helps us breathe easier and should help it stand the test of time.
But the room that has Your Mama peeing in our pants is that delicious persimmon extravaganza. Gor-gee-us. We’re not sure what Margeret Russell from Top Design on the Bravo would have to say about this room, but we don’t care because we love it and are bowing down to Balbes. The designer has wisely toned down the radical orange color by balancing the room with identical pieces of furniture covered in muted colors. The avocado sofa against the orange walls a smart choice and made even more intelligent by the small yellow pillows. Brazilliant. And the little stools with the tiger stripe fabric? We’d steal them if we could fit them in our tote.
We like the off street parking for eight cars, but we’re always a little disconcerted by houses that have half a dozen bedrooms. Are there really that many Brady Bunch sized broods that require all those bedrooms? Not to mention the half dozen terlits that need scrubbing a couple times a week which the maid will not have time for keeping all that glass finger print free.
Overall, Your Mama is loving this house. It’s a classic mo-derne Los Angeles house that is sited privately enough for a celebrity to live in comfortably and without the paps being able to snap their pics through the windows.