As is a frequent occurrence, our real estate-giddy Romanian friend Vlad the Revealer at Celebrity Address Aerial recently contacted Yolanda and demanded to know the new owner of an expensive Los Angeles house. He was frothin’ at the mouth, we swear. The particular property he was all hot ‘n’ bothered over is located just off Sunset Boulevard in a very horse-stocked (and celeb-stocked) pocket of Brentwood known as Sullivan Canyon, which is squeezed in between also-horsey Mandeville Canyon and the much more high-nosed Riviera area of Pacific Palisades.
Records show the home — an upgraded and very polished yet rather unassuming ranch-style confection — was sold in June (2016) for hefty $6,945,000 to a secretive entity calling itself the “Thunder River Trust”.
With a little coaxing, a wee bit of poking, a dash of prodding and a significant amount of slappin’, Yolanda was able to to ferret out the truth: the house was acquired by a very rich producer guy named Lorenzo di Bonaventura and his wife Kimberly.
Mr. di Bonaventura is a bigshot Hollywood producer who has produced a bumper crop of blockbusters. These include Constantine, Salt, and the G.I. Joe film series. He was also once the president of worldwide production at Warner Bros, where he shepherded The Matrix trilogy to its eventual release and handled the purchase or rights to the unfathomably-lucrative Harry Potter film adaptations. Nowadays, he runs his Di Bonaventura Pictures, which operates from within the Paramount studio umbrella.
All the above most assuredly would make Mr. di Bonaventura set for life. But wait — that’s not all!
Our Mr. Lorenzo is probably best-known for producing the oft-critically-maligned yet stupendously successful Transformers film franchise. The Michael Bay-directed flicks have combined grossed more than $3.7 billion worldwide. And holy crap, there’s yet another one coming out next year! Guess we shouldn’t be surprised. Long as these tedious flicks keep grossing 10 figures worldwide, they’ll keep making ’em.
Anyway, all that means is that Mr. di Bonaventura is not just set for life — he’s ludicrously rich. Easily rich enough to afford a $7 million house. Probably several $7 million houses, if he so desired. Let’s take a look at his rather unpretentious choice.
Although it’s only a few hundred feet from Sunset Boulevard, the estate feels like something outta Kentucky or even a Thomas Kinkade painting (heavens above!). The property is completely shielded form the sidewalk-free street by a thick, towering hedge. A rustic wooden gate leads to a stone walkway and an immaculately-manicured front yard with an emerald green carpet of grass.
And check out those mature sycamore trees. Well, we think they’re sycamores. Yolanda’s not an arborist so don’t quote us on that.
The mini-estate clocks in at a generous 1.28 mostly-flat acres. Listing information does not call out the 1948 single-story rancher’ s square footage, but tax information puts it at 3,483. Yolanda is unsure, however, if that number is solely the main house or also includes the guest cottage. What we do know, however, is that quaint compound has a total of 5 bedrooms and 3.75 bathrooms.
The house has been meticulously updated with “European sensibilities”. Wide plank hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, French doors and skylights give the place a happy-pappy airy feel. The great room/family room/dining room combo has not one but two fireplaces and a corner full of bookshelves — with real books, no less!
And Yolanda covets the candy apple red, which matches her candy apple new Caddy.
The master suite is unexpectedly lavish with its own full living room (with more bookshelves and cute crannies) and a bonfire-sized fireplace. And there’s a four-post bed! Usually Yolanda recommends against bedposts because they can get campy just so easily, but this rather demure (mahogany?) one adds a touch of bygone era class. Dontcha think? Same thing with the chandelier-ed and grandfather-clocked master bathroom.
The other three main house bedroom suites — while smaller — are certainly no less detailed. Yolanda’s always been a sucker for a good window seat.
A perfectly lovely vine-shaded pergola out back leads to the dark-bottomed swimming pool with weeping willows and other lush vegetation artfully spilling into the water. It’s all very gorgeous-Disney-pixie-fairytale-land, but the seller’s pool man (and his gardeners, for that matter) must have loved him, right? Jeez.
Per the listing, the grounds also include a “wonderful” two-story guest house. The 1,300+ square foot structure sports a living room, bedroom with ensuite bathroom, and a subterranean level furnished in a rather bleak and very staged-looking manner.
Y’all know what they say about best things saved last or those who wait get good things, of course. So our favorite feature of the charming property is this one right here. Directly across the street from the house are two stabled with fenced-in trot lots for horses! Awww.
Other high-profile homeowners in the laid-back (but seriously expensive) Sullivan Canyon neighborhood include Ryan Murphy (he is still renovating that huge Spanish-style mansion he bought nearly four years ago), Diane Keaton, Steven Spielberg (he built an equestrian ranch and full-sized riding ring for his horse-lovin’ wife Kate), and powerhouse producers Frank Marshall & Kathleen Kennedy (they recently acquired the $15 million estate of late Golden Girl Bea Arthur).
As for our Mr. di Bonaventura, he won’t have far to schlep his belongings. Since June of 1998, when he bought it for $3,400,000, the big-bucks movie guy has owned a much-larger 6,209-square-foot Mediterranean-style sprawler on a tony Brentwood street just a couple miles to the east of his new house. For what it’s worth, Yolanda thinks his new place is much, much cooler than his current home and an excellent downsize.
Not that someone as rich as Mr. di Bonaventura would ever need to downsize, of course, but we like the spirit of it.
Listing agent: Hugh Evans, Partners Trust Brentwood
Lorenzo di Bonaventura’s agent: David Offer, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices