E.L. James slams down $7 million shades of green in the Hollywood Hills

Think back for a moment. Random question, but can any of y’all guess who the world’s top-earning author of 2013 was? Could it have been Danielle Steel? Perhaps James Patterson? J.K. Rowling?

Nope. According to Forbes, it was a British housewife named Erika Mitchell, aka Erika Leonard, aka E.L. James.

But not only did Ms. James out-earn each and every other author on the planet that year, she absolutely annihilated nearly all of her competition by raking in a retina-shredding $95 million in pre-tax income that year alone.  Although her “masterpiece” Fifty Shades of Grey might not be today the phenomenon it was a couple years ago, she still managed to bank another $12 million last year. Her critically-panned but outrageously successful work of literary erotica has sold more than 125 million copies around the globe.

Clearly, Ms. James is a very rich woman.

Perhaps even more interesting than her mega-riches is that Ms. James initially had no agent, no publicist, no marketing campaign to attract attention to her written porno.  Her future bestseller began humbly as a Twilight fan-fiction called “Master of the Universe” that was posted in an online messageboard read by other folks with an interest in such things. The BDSM-influenced work became so popular via word-of-mouth that she eventually signed with a small publishing house. From there, Fifty Shades quickly rocketed to the top of every bestseller list around the globe. And the rest is history, to borrow a cliché.

Speaking of clichés, Ms. James’s work has been repeatedly thrashed by the critics for being riddled with them. Her books also contain — per the reviewers — an annoying amount of purple prose. Were Miss Marple here today — God rest her soul — we’d imagine she’d call these books “right proper pieces of trash”. But times they are a-changin’ and Ms. James has capitalized on that better than anyone else in the literary world. Though Yolanda has never read any of Ms. James’s books (and likely never will) we can’t fault the lady for her hustle.

“Haters be hatin’ because they know I could buy and sell their lowly lives 100 times over.”

Just a couple weeks ago, a mysterious and rather unimaginatively-named blind trust with a London, UK address shelled out $7,325,000 for a brand-new spec house way, way up at the top of the hills overlooking West Hollywood. And yes, kiddies. Yolanda just happens to know that our gurl has finally went and gone Hollywood at the tender age of 53.

It should be noted that we find no evidence of a mortgage on this property. That is not absolute proof there was not a bank loan, just that it would appear there is not one. But would anyone be surprised in the least if Ms. James paid cold, hard cash for the house? Yolanda certainly would not. Homegurl is a real, real rich bitch.

Now then. We’re going to play a little game. For each set of pictures of Ms. James’s new house, we’re going to include a prime example of purple prose (or just a funny line) from either the real estate listing or Ms. James’s book. Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to guess whether the flowery language came from Fifty Shades or the listing for this home. Real estate agents are masters of purple prose, after all. Happily, the fellow that sold this home did not let Yolanda down.

If you guess all them correctly, you’ll get a prize! What sort of prize, you ask? Shut up. Shut up! Stop asking questions. Maybe you’ll be blessed enough to have Ms. Yolanda Yakketyyak come sit on your lap. Just play along, dammit.

Oh, and no cheatin’ or you’ll get a big spanking. And we’ll make damn sure you don’t enjoy this one.

“…[the house] feels like it has belonged to the heavens all along…

While we’re not sure if this 5,616-square-foot uber-modern medley is actually heaven-sent, it is very Grey. The nearly windowless (but for a few small dungeon-like openings) presents a rather ominous two-story facade to the street, then drops down mullet-style to three stories out back.

Sorta like Christian Grey. Professional and personable in public but with a kinky side behind closed doors. We’re just saying.

“..dream of dark places, bleak white cold floors, and gray eyes.”

Upon entering the front door, you are greeted with a living room sporting  panty-droppin’ and booty-slappin’ jetliner views that stretch all the way to Century City, the Pacific, and on a clear day — Catalina. Even Yolanda, a jaded ol’ beotch if ever there was one, has to admit that view is straight up badass.

A state-of-the-art kitchen boasts shockingly-expensive Miele appliances and lacquered wood cabinetry probably chopped in some forest in Tibet or some such nonsense. A massive center island with a marble eat-in countertop rounds out the space. The cozy dining room is currently equipped with funky modern art and another knock-’em-dead view.

…a colossal glass-and-stone edifice…

Indeed, and an edifice with at least a couple different Shades of Grey. There’s also a swimming pool that cleaves dangerously to the edge of the cliff. Though the lot is a generous .44-acre, the extra-steep slope ensures yard space is practically non-existent.

“[Your] inner goddess is doing a triple axel dismount off the uneven bars…

Um, okay.

Now kiddies, Yolanda’s got to get something off her bounteous chest (there we go with our own purple prose again). Yolanda loves luxury vehicles, and we’ve noticed that many of these new mansions include these expensive cars in them. For reference, we’re guessing. Trust us, we ain’t opposed to that.

However! Why does this brand-new $7.3 million house feature only a lowly Maserati Ghibli (starting price $67k or so) and last season’s Bentley Continental GT?! Come on now, Mr. Poser! (But we do like the color scheme on the Maserati — an A+ application of gunmetal Grey.)

…every room surveys staggering views, while comforting its guests with amenities…

Staggering views of what?! It does not appear that every room has views, though Yolanda may be mistaken. But let your gurl reassure y’all — there are indeed amenities galore. These include a chilled “Wine Room”, a wet bar, some sorta mirrored massage/exercise room, and an elevator that services all three floors.

Don’t you like the butt drawer?

We probably would, but there don’t appear to be any photos of it here. Still, the master bedroom is light-flooded and includes a remarkably spacious outdoor terrace accessed through the disappearing all-glass wall. Despite the critical lack of butt drawers, we approve of this space.

We can’t imagine Ms. James and her screenwriter hubby Niall Leonard re-enacting many of the raunchy scenes from the blockbuster Fifty Shades movie in such an open space. Then again, we don’t really want to imagine that. Do we?

Why hasn’t he given me back my panties? I steal into the bathroom, bewildered by my lack of underwear.

Okay, maybe this line is too obvious, but we just couldn’t resist. And really, were anyone ever to be bewildered by their lack of underwear, what better bathroom to “steal into”? It’s got a lovely view to distract from the chafing between thighs.

There’s also a sweet and chic office with a desk for Ms. James to write more old lady porn stuff.

Mornings … are a celestial awakening – above it all!

Calm it down, gurl. You may be on top of the world when you wake up in the morning, but how about when you must go fetch a watered-down Starbucks coffee or when the Whole Foods / Gelson’s craving comes a-knowkin’? You’re gonna have to spend 15 minutes navigating those steep street curves just to get down to Sunset. That sucks! Stick that in your celestial awakening piehole. (Of course, you could always hire assistants to handle those menial tasks, but still. You’ve got to leave the house sometime!)

Ms. James’s Cornwall property… before the demolition

Ms. James and her hubby also have at least a couple luxury properties over in their UK home base. There’s a vacation property on the sands of the Cornish Riviera — that’s on the rugged southwestern tip of England for all you yanks — that she bought back in 2013 for about 1.13 million British pounds ($1.5 million in today’s dollars equivalent). It is at this piece of land where she plans to replace the current structure with a 7,500-square-foot modern confection. The Daily Mail has some renderings of Ms. James’s proposed new build and they look, frankly, uninspiring. But maybe the real deal will be different. Who knows?


The couple’s main residence, also per the Daily Mail, is a walled and gated house in West London that was purchased in late 2012 for 2.65 million British pounds (just over $3,500,000 in today’s USD).

Alright, everyone, Yolanda is about to skedaddle. We’ve had enough of this story already. Enough! But since we were yappin’ about purple prose, how about some purple rain to close us out? We haven’t played this one in far too long…

(Yolanda’s challenge answers, in order: Listing, book, book, book, listing, book, book, listing.)

Please note:

Photographs: Anthony Barcelo, Barcelo Photography, www.mrbarcelo.com
Interior Design: Matthew Finlason & Emily Altoon, Cura Collective by Matthew Finlason, www.curacollective.com
Art Curation: Renee Warren, Ren Gallery https://www.rengallery.com
  1. Todd206 says:

    You almost made me snort my morning tea out my nose, but more Fifty Shades of Yolanda please! This was beyond entertaining.

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