Monday, January 26, 2015

Celeb R.E.: Los Angeles Dodger Yasiel Puig Calls Sherman Oaks Home

Images courtesy Wish Sotheby's International Realty
The always hilarious Your Mama at the Realestalker Variety revealed on January 16, 2015 that Los Angeles Dodger centerfield, Yasiel Puig, has purchased a Sherman Oaks home for $1.8 million on September 26, 2014. 

The home measures 6 Beds/6 Baths on 4,663 sqft on a total lot size of 7,770 sqft built in 2003. The listing description states:  
Grand Contemporary Mediterranean! Impressive Entry w/ soaring ceilings, stone flooring, and dome skylight. Open floor plan perfect for entertaining. Kitchen w/ granite counters, center island & stainless steel appliances. Kitchen opens to family room with built in entertainment center, fireplace, and gorgeous aquarium. Huge dining and living room with many large windows and doors that fill this house with natural light, maids room downstairs which c/b office, magnificently detailed wrought iron staircase that leads to the 2nd floor with 5 more large bedrooms plus a den. Multiple bedrooms have balconies, Huge master suite with sitting area, dual closets, & fireplace. The backyard offers privacy, built in bbq w/ wine refrigerator, sink, warming drawer, & stone counters. Pool & Spa with water feature. 
Coincidentally or not, two of Puig's pitching teammates recently purchased homes in the SFV. They include Clayton Kershaw who purchased in Studio City in November 2014 and Zack Greinke also in Studio City in March 2013. I wonder if they will all start carpooling.

You can view more SFV Celeb R.E. here.
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Celeb R.E.: LA Lakers Owner Johnny Buss Moving from Northridge to Chatsworth's Monteria Estates

Images courtesy Ewing & Associates Sotheby's International Realty
The always informative folks at LA Times Hot Property revealed on January 8, 2015 that Johnny Buss who is a Los Angeles Lakers executive, owner, and son of the original owner Jerry Buss has purchased a Chatsworth home in the exclusive Monteria estates for $2,625,000 on December 3, 2014. 

The home measures 5 Beds/5 Baths on 5,566 sqft on a total lot size of 2.63 acres built in 1980. The listing description states: 
Stately Colonial Manor on over 2.6 acres of breathtaking grounds. 1 of only 8 homes w/ lake frontage in the exclusive guard gated community of Monteria Estates. Be transported to another time & place as you enter the gates & up the sweeping driveway. The grounds contain a koi pond, N/S lighted tennis court, pool, spa, private boat dock & an approx. 750 sq ft 1 bed/1 bath guest house w/ fireplace. Rose covered paths, wisteria laden pergolas & mature trees invite you to wander. The foyer opens into the elegant living room w/ soaring ceilings, walls of windows & French Doors which frame the tranquil lake views. The main house spans over 5,500 sq ft. The dining room features refined details & beautiful hardwood floors which carry through the entry & halls. The large kitchen is highlighted by a brick fireplace & French doors opening to a vine covered patio. The main level also includes an office, pub/game room, enchanting sunroom & Family Room. The Master Suite is located upstairs & has a fireplace, luxurious bath & walk in closet. Enjoy incomparable views of the lake from its balconies. Entertaining on a grand scale can be accommodated w/ parking for more than 30 cars. A truly timeless & unique estate like this comes along rarely, seize the opportunity.
Images courtesy Re/Max Olson
Prior to the Chatsworth home, Buss was living in a Northridge mansion (shown above) measuring 7 Beds/5.5 Baths on 7,329 sqft on a total lot size of 0.73 acres built in 1965 that was purchased for $1,190,000 on September 20, 2011 from Harold Leon Bostick with the listing description below. Bostick made headlines for being awarded $18.6 million in November 2008 from Gold's Gym, Flex Equipment Company, and Atlantic Mutual stemming from a weighlifting accident on January 4, 2001 that left the former bodybuilder a quadriplegic. Going back to Buss, he still owns the Northridge home so I imagine he plans to sell it in the near future as there is probably no need for two mansions next to each other unless he wants to turn it into an investment property. On a related note, its surprising to hear that an  LA Lakers exec is living in the West SFV vs. Marina Del Rey, Manhattan Beach, or nearby cities which have typically become the LA Lakers favorite location so major props to Buss for calling the SFV home. 
Private gated custom Spanish Hacienda framed by 12 bending olive trees, Spanish-tiled entry courtyard fountain, 2 Koi ponds. Skylights, floor-to-ceiling dual pane windows, wood-beamed & vaulted ceilings & distressed wood flooring, Upgraded kitchen, sub-zero fridge, stainless steel appliances , granite counter tops & center island. Family room, bonus room, large wine cellar, views from almost all the rooms. 2 downstairs bdrm & an office. Master suite with walk-in closets , sitting room & large spa tub. Balconies in almost every room , glass ceiling sun room with wrap-around balcony, 6 sliding glass doors. 4 fireplaces, surround sound system indoors & outdoors, custom 20 camera security system. Large pool w/ underwater speakers, shooters, waterfall, hot tub with overhead projector, outdoor 10-person dry sauna, green house, 20x20 bird aviary, trellis-covered tranquility walk, lighted N/S tennis court, rose gardens, 15 fruit trees including loquat, cumquat, apricot, apple, pear, lime, berries, televisions throughout backyard, around pool & in every bathroom, 3-car carport, 3-car garage, gated RV access, outdoor LED lighting, commercial 13.8 Kilowatt solar system, Maids room set up, dumbwaiter, 5 zone A/C & each bdrm has it's own A/C. ADA wheel chair accessible 1st flr.
You can view more SFV Celeb R.E. here.
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Celeb R.E.: Missi Pyle Settles Down in Sherman Oaks

Images courtesy Coldwell Banker
From the always informative folks at LA Times Hot Property published on November 17, 2014, actress Missi Pyle who currently stars in the TV comedy, Jennifer Falls, has purchased a modest Sherman Oaks home on November 7, 2014 for $729,000. 

The home measures 2 Beds/2 Baths on 1,277 sqft on a total lot size of 4,073 sqft built in 1949. The listing description states: 
Beautiful 2+2 Traditional located in prime Sherman Oaks Hills. Westside friendly and in close proximity to Whole Foods, the Galleria, Arclight theatres and a variety of restaurants. The home has an abundance of natural light and is an open and airy floor plan with a clean contemporary feel. Light hardwood floors, plantation shutters and custom fireplaces in the den/office and living room add to the wonderful ambience of the interior. The den/office opens to the charming backyard and inviting spa. The views from inside the house and the wrap around patio are amazing with gorgeous sunsets, city and tree top views as well.
You can view more SFV Celeb R.E. here.
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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Celeb R.E.: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian Purchase Former Lisa Marie Presley Home

Images courtesy Hilton & Hyland
The dynamic duo of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian made real estate headlines when they acquired the former Lisa Marie Presley mansion in Hidden Hills that was demolished by a UCLA doctor and rebuilt into a massive 15,667 sqft home on 3 acres of land for $20 million in August 2014 which was discussed on this site on August 7, 2014. This home was originally discussed on April 4, 2013 when the home first hit the market. 

But what few people knew is that Lisa Marie Presley also owned the house next door for her ex-husband to be close to the kids which was also purchased by the UCLA doctor but not demolished and rebuilt as shown in the pictures above . At the time when West/Kardashian purchased the home, the second smaller home was also available. When the news hit of the purchase I made the following comment on August 7, 2014: 
Speaking of privacy, Presley's former next door home (shown above) is also on the market which she purchased for her ex-husband to use for visiting the kids. Presley sold this home on February 24, 2011 for $1.2 million to an LLC that links back to the same doctor that purchased the Presley home. The good doctor almost started to renovate this home but I guess gave up on the idea although it appears that he is also offering up his conceptual drawings which are shown in the listing pictures. The current home measures 4 Beds/3 Baths on 2,842 sqft on a total lot size of 1.49 acres built in 1954 which means its one of the original Hidden Hills ranch homes which are quickly being demolished for updating. This home hit the market on July 1, 2014 for $2,950,000 which gives the good doctor a profit $1.75 million before any expenses without doing much to this property. If I were Kim and Kanye, I would buy this property for the sake of maintaining privacy they so desperately need or desire, otherwise, welcome new neighbors especially with this news breaking out.
West and Kardashian must have been following my blog because they quietly purchased the house for $2,925,000 on December 15, 2014 according to Trulia Luxe Living with speculation that they will indeed demolish and build some sort of complementary house in the form of a recording studio, mancave, or whatever to support their existing main home. 

You can view more SFV Celeb R.E. here
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Celeb R.E.: Gary Sinise aka Forest Gump's "Lt. Dan" Lists Calabasas Mansion

Images courtesy Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
The fine folks at Trulia Luxe Living revealed that Gary Sinise best known for his role as "Lt. Dan" in Forest Gump has listed his Calabasas home for $3,895,000 on January 20, 2015 which was first purchased on January 14, 2008 for $3,550,000. 

The home measures 4 Beds/5 Baths on 5,199 sqft on a total lot size of 0.41 acres built in 2006. The listing description states:
East Coast Style with all the West Coast Amenities. Situated on a premium view lot, you are immediately captivated by the stunning attention to detail and tasteful upgrades. Sparkling walnut floors, spectacular woodworking details (wainscoting, bead board, crown molding throughout), living areas filled with light and a floor plan that optimizes true indoor/outdoor living. Sparkling pool and spa, outdoor living room with fireplace and barbeque bar area, covered exterior dining area, tranquil waterfall and koi pond with playhouse/storage room, detached office/studio & soundproof music room define this one of a kind residence. Huge master bedroom suite with 2 walk in closets and stunning bath area, add'l guest suite that opens to a private covered and shuttered living terrace, plus 2 other guest suites. Wonderful chef's kitchen & family room with fabulous built-ins and flat screen TV. community tennis courts, gym and pool. Truly a rare and remarkable property in The Oaks at Calabasas.
The reason for the sale might be related to the fact that Sinise just purchased a sprawling ranch just outside of Moorpark as reavealed at Variety Realestalker.

Prior to the Calabasas home, Sinise may have possibly lived at 18065 Boris Drive in Encino according to The Movieland Directory as well as 18426 Wells Drive in Tarzana according to another source but I cannot confirm those locations. 

You can view more SFV Celeb R.E. here.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Celeb R.E.: Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester Selling Encino Home Purchased in 2011

Images courtesy Sotheby's International Realty
Fresh on the MLS is Leighton Meester's Encino home which hit the market on January 16, 2015 for $2,350,000. Meester is an actress best known for her role as "Blair Waldorf" on Gossip Girl. I first blogged about this property back on October 19, 2011 when Meester purchased for $1,457,500 on June 8, 2011. 

The home measures 4 Beds/4.5 Baths on 2,847 sqft on a total lot size of 0.59 acres built in 1948. The listing description states: 
Rare Royal Oaks gated contemporary extensively remodeled for the most discerning client. Take advantage of this private, seclude, entertainers paradise which offers the ultimate indoor/outdoor California lifestyle. Enjoy the lush, colorful grounds including a private tiered backyard with salt water pool with tree top views and separate pool house with changing room, built in BBQ, speakers, bar and refrigerator. Features include a high level security system that include 8 security cameras and a gated and fenced property line, hidden ceiling speakers, marble counter tops, smart home technologies, refinished floors, high end finishes and custom fixtures. Enjoy the peace and serenity of the neighborhood all while in walking distance to shoppes on Ventura. Don't let this opportunity pass you by to acquire a turn key home, on one of the most premier streets in Encino. Great value.
Meester's next move is not known but maybe its related to her marriage with actor Adam Brody in February 2014 as they seek bigger accommodations. Based on the current asking price, Meester stands to gain $892,500 not including expenses. 

You can view more SFV Celeb R.E. here.  
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CicLAvia Map for SFV Revealed

I first talked about the infamous cycling event back on October 6, 2013 and May 29, 2014 and now the 5.5 miles long map has been revealed which most people knew was going to revolve around the Red Line Subway station. The organizers except this to be an annual event so if you miss it, I guess there is always next year. 
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

BTTF# 26: The Chatsworth Ranch That Broke Hollywood's Femme Fatale Veronica Lake

Photograph caption dated April 7, 1951 reads, "The lavish home of Veronica Lake and her director-husband, Andre De Toth, at 11000 Winnetka Road, Chatsworth, above, was seized by Collector of Internal Revenue Robert A. Riddell, for unpaid income taxes. Riddell said the pair owed $62,000 in taxes and interest on their incomes for 1946, 1947, and 1948." Image courtesy Los Angeles Public Library
Welcome aboard the Delorean! 

Marty McFly here to take you on a special journey to explore the former Chatsworth ranch of Veronica Lake and Andre de Toth located at 11000 Winnetka Avenue (in today's Monteria Estates).  The Delorean has the required plutonium plus some random garbage in the Mr. Fusion reactor ready for this trip. The time circuits are set to May 1946 and the flux capacitor is......fluxxing. The engine is running (not stalled this time) so we need to hurry. Hang on, as the ride can be a little bumpy as we travel back in time.

Veronica Lake was a film, stage, and television actress who was both popular and critically acclaimed. Lake was the quintessential blonde bombshell who captivated audiences and inspired songs, numerous books, and even armies fighting overseas for peace. Her likeness is still being imitated some 50 years later today with "Jessica Rabbit" in the animated film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? released in 1988, in 1990's neo-noir film, L.A. Confidential and in today's star actresses who sport Lake's signature peek-a-boo hairstyle embodied by Taylor Swift, Eva Mendes, and Jennifer Anniston to name a few. 

By 1946, Lake was a recognized actress in Hollywood's golden era and had just completed The Blue Dahlia with Alan Ladd which generated $10 million in revenue (the equivalent of $120 million in 2014 dollars). Lake wanted the privacy of the Chatsworth-Northridge area where other great celebrities were maintaining ranches like Lucille Ball, Andy Devine, James Cagney, and Josef Von Sternberg  to name a few. The Lake biography, Peekaboo: The Story of Veronica Lake, by Jeff Lenburg published in 2001 through the assistance of Lake's mom best describes the move and life at the Chatsworth ranch (note: the book has several bad reviews at Amazon). 
Following this screen triumph (The Blue Dahlia), Veronica and Andre decided to put their Hollywood Hills home up for sale and buy a twenty-three acre ranch in Chatsworth, which was thirty-five miles east of the San Fernando Valley area. In May 1946, the DeToths plunked down three hundred thousand dollars for the property. It featured rolling hills, stables for horses, and plenty of acreage for growing crops. Andre also bought a vacation house in the mountain resort area of Bishop, California. 
Helene Nielsen, who moved in with the DeToths when they relocated to the Chatsworth ranch, recalls that it was beautiful piece of property, but costly to maintain. "It took a lot of money for the upkeep. I think thats why they were both working to pay off the debt that had gotten into. Veronica liked the outdoors and wasn't the type who wanted a big house, the big parties, and didn't want to appear like a big show-off."
Nielsen remembers that the Chatsworth ranch was "a rambling sort of house" with three bedrooms, a large living room, a modern kitchen, and three bathrooms. The dining room was separate from the kitchen, and Veronica hired a maid and one servant to help maintain the household.
According to Nielsen, Veronica and Andre once tried raising wheat to make money, but they were never home to properly supervise harvesting the crop. "They kept working so much that they were hardly home. When they did come home, they were tired and went to bed. I was usually with the nurse and Elaine when they weren't home, doing errands." 
The Chatsworth ranch was everything Veronica had hoped for. As she once said: "We want a place with a pool and room for a couple of horses and lots of dogs..But what we won't have is an 'estate.' THe place will be no bigger than what one good cook-maid, a nurse, and I can keep up."
When Andre and Veronica purchased the property, there weren't any floors in the place, or trees on the premises. The rest of the landscape was underdeveloped with the exception of the foundation for the stables. But Veronica kept her promise to fill the ranch to capacity with livestock. She owned four Doberman pinschers, chickens, rabbits, ducks, and two horses. The Chatsworth ranch became her peaceful hideaway from the daily anxieties of Hollywood.  
But like all great celebrities especially actresses who have it harder than men in show business as they get older, reach a peak in their careers and begin the slow descend. While most continue to make a modest living and are still respected and active like today's  Betty White (age 92), who recently won a Grammy award in 2011. Lake's story is tragic and sad as she quickly lost her fortune, fame, and completely fell out of the limelight almost over night.
Veronica Lake and Andre de Toth on the Chatsworth Ranch. Image courtesy Pinterest.
Lake's decline was the result of her heavy drinking, being difficult to work with, and her failed marriage to the violent Andre de Toth. After her busy and prosperous career, she had only completed one film in 1951, Stronghold, which also happened to be the year she and Andre claimed bankruptcy including the Chatsworth ranch. Lenburg's Peekaboo book describes the hostile environment when Lake's career crashed:
By 1947, life at the Chatsworth ranch was no longer Shangri-la. Serious financial problems began to surface with increasing frequency and Andre's free-spending ways cut off any chances of saving. Despite their rather substantial combined incomes, Andre was financially irresponsible, spending their money freely and consistently.......Back home, Andre continued to buy new goods for his own enjoyment, from Palomino horses to yachts to new automobiles. And Veronica always capitualted. He also started taking long and frequenty trips to Europe and Mexico, supposedly in search of new film properties for his wife. 
 All during their seven-year marriage, Andre's promises were about as good as the paper on which they were written. Her marital woes heightened, however, when he accused her of fooling around with one of the Mexican film stars (from filming Stronghold). That was the last straw, and as far as Veronica was concerned, the distance between them had opened for the last time.
In April 1951, Veronica and Andre filed voluntary petitions of bankruptcy in U.S. Court, listing debts of $156,573.91 and assets of $168,050. The principal assets listed were their ranch home in Chatsworth, which they valued at $120,000, and $45,000 that Veronica claimed was owed to her from the performance in Stronghold. The petition also itemized almost one hundred creditors with claims varying from a few dollars to several hundred dollars.
The Chatsworth ranch, which the bankruptcy petition stated had two encumbrances totaling $36,900 against it, was seized by a collector of internal renvue for unpaid income taxes of approximately $63,000. The ranch was to be put up for sale at public auction to satisfy the tax bill. In addition to unpaid income taxes, the petition in bankruptcy noted that the state of California had a tax lien of $13,000 against the Chatsworth ranch and that unpaid Los Angeles county and municipal taxes tallied another $5,000, the equivalent of Veronica's former weekly salary at Paramount.
Veronica and Andre moved to a smaller, secluded, home on 6630 Jamen Avenue (I believe the correct spelling is Jamieson) in Reseda.  Helene Nielsen was asked to move out. Recalling the incident, Nielsen said recently: "Andre told her to make me leave. She came to me and said, 'Helene, I love you and want you here. She never talked directly, she was very soft-spoken, with her eyes down. She felt badly to have to tell me. But she said, 'Andre wants you to leave.' I didn't know where the hell I was going, but I left." 
The auction of the Chatsworth ranch was scheduled for May 8, 1951, at which time fifty potential buyers viewed the property. Minimum bid was $65,000. But there were no takers. In fact, no bids were made at all. 
Image courtesy Google News/Toledo Blade
In the summer of 1951,  Lake decided for a complete makeover and quit Hollywood, de Toth, and even her kids flying to New York alone to start a new career in TV and theatre. Eventually she would try to raise the kids but this became difficult as working became a huge time commitment. By the 1960's, she quietly and unnoticeable to the patrons worked as a waitress at a hotel bar in Manhattan which allowed her to continue in her drinking ways. One day she was discovered by a reporter which led to a mini-revival of her career which included a well-received autobiography, Veronica, but her films were unsuccessful. By 1973, her body had taken a toll from the alcohol addiction, suffering from paranoia, and her mental decline. She passed away alone on July 7 with speculation that it took several days for someone to identify her.

After a reading a story like this, the inevitable questions always surface; what if Lake didnt develop a drinking habit? Or marry de Toth? Or turn her back on Hollywood? But the answers will never be known as there is no real life Delorean to alter the course of history. What is known is that Lake has become a significant part of Hollywood's glamour days that we can proudly say has a connection to the SFV.

Now its time to hop in the Delorean and check out the years 1947, 1952, 1972, and 1980 courtesy of
The ranch is located within the Monteria Estates with an address of 11000 Winnetka Ave. The home was accessed via a long driveway. 
The red outline shows roughly  the 23 acres of the property. The year shown is 1952 which shows mostly undeveloped land and was already in the hands of a new owner. 
By 1959, surrounding area was still undeveloped but it appears that the new owner added trees or hedges to the driveway as well as a pool. 
By 1972, the home was demolished for an unknown reason possibly damage from the 1971 Sylmar quake or was abandoned and occupied by squatters but that is speculation as I have not been able to find any info. However, the pool remains. 
By 1980, the pool was demolished and Monteria estates was still mostly undeveloped but now for long as the 80's brought the mansions. 
Now its time to go back to the future in the Delorean to present day 2015. Ironically the former Veronica Lake site contains a lot of trash and ruble. I dont believe it is from the original home and it looks like some dumping took place or possibly the construction of a new home that didnt happen. Today the property is owned by the Porter Ranch Development Company with offices in Beverly Hills, CA with an unknown purchase date and price. The same company developed most of Porter Ranch north of the 118.
Image courtesy Bing Maps

And as a bonus as mentioned in Lenburg's Peekaboo book, Lake moved to Reseda after losing her Chatsworth home renting 6630 Jamieson Ave (shown below) which has been confirmed by the always reliable Movielanddirectory and a 1985 LA Times article which mentions Jamieson. The home measures 3 Beds/1 Baths on 1,017 sqft on a total lot size of 6,496 sqft built in 1949. The home is currently owned by Linda Barker of Provo, UT which was previously transferred from Evelyn and William Bergelin. The purchase price and date is unknown but appears to maybe have last changed hands sometime in the 60's or 70's as property taxes paid in 2014 were a ridiculous $877 on an assessed value of $60,555. Gotta love prop 13. Its hard to believe Lake lived in this property as there is nothing glamorous about it but does reveal the impact of the bankruptcy. 

Image courtesy Google Maps
You can view more SFV BTTF and history here


Veronica Lake - Wikipedia

Andre de Toth - Wikipedia

Bankruptcy Filed by Veronica Lake and Husband, Toledo Blade April 17, 1951

Giving New Life to Old Hollywood, Northridge-Chatsworth Patch by Partick Willliams on August 8, 2012.

Hollywood Heroine Film

Veronica Lake Biography - Turner Classic Movies

Stories, Glories of Stars Are Reflected in Former Valley Homes by Stephen G. Bloom on October 6, 1985, LA Times.

Unconfirmed info:
A news article from the May 13, 1973 edition of The Van Nuys News shows an ad for Veronica Lake's mansion in Toluca Lake being offered for $36,950. I have not found any info for Lake owning a property in Toluca Lake if I am reading the ad correctly. Nor can it be the Chatsworth Ranch because it was demolished by 1973 according to the historical satellite photos from above. 

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Harry's Roller Rink in Glendale Postcard

You can view more Glendale Postcards here.

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Rancho San Antonio School for Boys in Chatsworth Postcard

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