In the turbulent wake of more than a dozen allegations of sexual misconduct and assault that date back decades, all of which he vehemently denied in a statement released earlier this year, Russell Simmons hung an $8.25 million dollar price tag on his art and Buddha-filled Spanish-style residence just above L.A.’s Sunset Boulevard, near where the chic east end of West Hollywood butts up against the posh eastern edge of Beverly Hills. The transcendental meditating hip-hop pooh bah, social activist and serial entrepreneur, the powerhouse co-founder of hugely influential Def Jam Recordings along with several street wear fashion brands including Phat Farm, purchased the property just over five years ago for $5,877,500.
Secured behind gates and completely hidden by a verdant double row of exceptionally tall and visually impenetrable hedges on a one-third of an acre street to street lot, the 1930s residence is described in marketing materials as an “Emotional Spanish hideaway” that offers “True resort style living with Balinese influences throughout.” There are three en suite bedrooms, one of them located on the main floor and, hence, well positioned for use as a home office, yoga studio or staff quarters, plus a master suite replete with fireplace, terrace, walk-in closet and what listing details call a “spa bath.”
Finished with glossy, ebony-stained hardwood floors and chalky white walls, the 6,085-square-foot residence opens to a slender entrance gallery flanked by a step-down living room with a carved stone fireplace and a formal dining room enhanced by a massive, floor-to-ceiling arched window. The entrance gallery extends back to a double-height rotunda with wrought iron railed staircase that makes a sensuous curve up to family quarters on the second floor and the up-to-date kitchen opens to a spacious family room anchored by a stone fireplace under a high, wood beamed ceiling. French doors line opposite walls and open one side of the airy room to a swimming pool surrounded by lush, tropically inspired plantings and the other to a courtyard terrace.
A secret entrance provides access to a hidden lower level that houses a 1,500-bottle rock cave wine cellar plus a cigar room and walk-in humidor while outdoor amenities include: a built-in grilling station and dining terrace; a trellis-covered lounge with a massive, tile accented stone fireplace; an outdoor movie theater with a drop down screen opposite a viewing area on the other side of the swimming pool; and a poolside pavilion that incorporates an en suite guest bedroom with exterior entrance and a loggia-like lounge that opens to the pool with a huge fish tank.
Simmons, who stepped down from all of his positions with his various businesses last year to, according to his aforementioned statement to the press, “re-dedicate” himself to “spiritual learning,” has long maintained a spacious duplex penthouse in downtown New York City’s Financial District that came up for sale earlier this year at $9.75 million and remains available with a slightly increased price of $9.925 million. The 7,150-square foot aerie, with four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms plus a staff suite, offers both capacious and intimately scaled living and entertaining spaces that include a library with fireplace, a pint-sized media lounge with 10-foot screen and a 38-foot-long living room that all by itself encompasses almost 1,100-square-feet. The master bedroom and a roomy den with full kitchen on the upper floor open to a landscaped pair of terraces, one of them with a corkscrew staircase that winds up to a third roof terrace with wrap around skyline views.
Listing photos: The Agency