Way back in April (2016), Yolanda received an unexpected email tip from our friend over at the CelebrityAddressAerial website. Vlad The Revealer, as he prefers to be called, pointed us to a glowering house in the Hollywood Hills that had just sold for $2,490,000 to an oblique corporate cloak calling itself “Angry White Swan LLC”.
Just who, our colleague wondered, was this Angry White Swan?
Well, kiddies, Yolanda prides herself on ferreting out the answer to these mysteries. But uncovering truth is not always an easy task. Nor is it always a quick one. Sometimes the solution presents itself almost immediately; some take months of coaxing. This was one of the latter.
No matter whom we asked or how hard we researched, we simply couldn’t figure it out. Months passed. Then just last week, when Yolanda had nearly forgotten about the place, we stumbled across the truth. Behind the boisterous swan were heavy metal musical legend Rob Zombie — director/writer/producer of the Halloween reboot, founding member of White Zombie — and his wife Sheri Moon Zombie. (Yes, those really are their legal names).
First of all, Yolanda would like to applaud Mr. & Mrs. Zombie for their choice of home. We’re a big believer in folks buying residences that suit their outward persona, and this weirdo place does that much better than their old, rather vanilla house down in Hancock Park, we think.
The “Thorgusen Residence“, as it has been christened, was built in 1953 by architect Robert Thorgusen and is tucked away deep in a fairly remote part of the celeb-filled Laurel Canyon area.
While most homes in this tightly-packed area sit hard up on the street — often without a driveway — this residence sits on an unusually large (for the neighborhood) lot spanning a third of an acre and is mostly invisible from the roadway above thanks to a forest of eucalyptus trees and other plantings by pioneering landscape architect Garrett Eckbo.
A long and narrow black-topped driveway descends from the street and curves around to the single-car covered parking area. There is no traditional garage and little room for additional off-street parking, as the driveway is shared with one other home further beyond.
Clearly, Mr. Thorgusen was an adventurous guy, as you can probably tell by his personal residence, and at least when it comes to architecture. And yep, he actually lived in his futuristic creation for years.
To be perfectly honest, Yolanda is not sure how the home looked in its original 1950s state. What we do know is that over the decades, the funky place has been owned and altered by a long line of non-celebrity folks. Below is how the house looked in 2006, when it sold for $1,550,000 to a not-famous gent.
Yolanda finds that cream-colored metal gate out front irrevocably hideous, but we do rather fancy the two-tone contrast provided by the white folded-plate roof and the blacked-out exterior rear wall. The big pools of water are nice, too. But it’s just too bad about the banal-with-a-capital-B interior.
Anyway, within two years Mr. Not-Famous Gent had lost the house the unforgiving Lady Foreclosure herself. The bank (AKA Ms. Foreclosure) put the house up for sale in 2009, and the poorly-maintained structure quickly sold for $1,189,000 to a lady named Stephanie Phillips, according to public records.
Our Ms. Phillips quickly gave the place a complete restoration and makeover. She slapped the entire exterior (including the roof) in a sinister jet-black paint, and she gutted and replaced the interior.
So just who is Ms. Phillips, and why did she want to live in a house like this?
Well, Yolanda can’t answer the second part of that question, but after a wee bit of asking around, we discovered that Ms. Phillips originally hails from New Jersey. Turns out she’s a daughter of Richie Phillips, the now-deceased longtime director of the Major League Umpires Association.
In addition to his prominent role in professional sports as the umpires union head honcho, Mr. Phillips was also a successful lawyer. But it appears that it wasn’t until he bought and expanded a freight forwarding company called Pilot Freight that he really started to make big money. Years after his death, Pilot remains a family-owned business and Ms. Phillips is currently its Chief Marketing Officer. The reason she owned a house in LA, so Yolanda was told, is because homegurl also dabbles as a producer or director of some sort.
But we digress.
A charcoal-colored gate leads to a black stone walkway and a half-dozen black stone steps. That dark, cave-like area in the photo on the left is how you access the front door. Ghoulish, right? Or is that just Yolanda’s overactive imagination?
That background image in the first pic — the raised wooden patio deck that you see behind the gate — is actually part of the neighbor’s house. Just in case any of y’all were confused.
The Halloween theme continues indoors with the over-stuffed pumpkin chairs in the double-height living room.
A renovated kitchen has ultra-chic Miele and Gagganau appliances and a center island with bar seating.
The dungeon-like master bedroom has 14-foot ceilings and windows too high for any normal-sized human to gaze out of without the benefit of a stepladder or jet pack. Thankfully, it’s no ordinary jail cell — there’s a television set and a fireplace. The master bath is somewhat brighter (but still rather frigid in appearance) and includes a soaking tub.
Other interesting rooms and knickknacks in the house include a cramped second bedroom with a florescent pink couch, a home office equipped with two florescent pink leather lounge chairs that look rather like overstuffed bean bags on metal legs, and a big ass pug who plainly ain’t no Lassie.
Ms. Phillips removed one of the home’s two pools to create a simple, rectangular shape. The wooden deck above remains. There’s also a rather unhealthy-looking water feature in the front filled with rather unhealthy-looking murky liquid. Or maybe it just appears that way from the photographers.
Beyond the deck and pool is a spacious flagstone terrace with plenty of outdoor furniture.
We’re not sure whether Mr. & Mrs. Zombie plan to reside here full or part-time, but we do know that the couple also own 5,000-square-foot large house in the smallish and historic New England town of Woodbury, Connecticut. And as we already mentioned, the couple also owned a large Tudor-style red brick mansion in Hancock Park that they purchased in 1999 for $1,799,000 and sold almost exactly two years ago (September 2014) for $3,555,000.
Super different, right? But take our advice as an expert “real estate consultant”, Mr. & Mrs. Swan. This new place is so much better. That macabre personality! Perfect for you. And perfect for any pissed-off peafowl (or whatever the heck a swan is), for that matter.