Posts by Jennifer Karmon
Talk about heart-stopping.
No, not the cliff-top perch of this Hawaii mansion. We mean its vertiginous price history.
When we wrote about the so-called Waterfalling estate last year (named for, and -- very -- loosely based on, Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, with a generous dollop of Magnum P.I.), it was on its way to auction. Its $26.5 million list price had failed to attract any buyers.
The owners — no strangers to taking gambles, considering that they'd built Waterfalling on spec — decided to set no reserve price. That meant the Ninole property would go to the highest bidder no matter what the price was.
A couple from Kansas City snagged it for $5,750,000 plus auction fees — nearly 80 percent less than the original asking price.
And not even six months later, the new owners changed their minds about the property. They put it back on the market ... where it still sits after almost a year.
The listing agent is, again, Kelly Moran.
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The Concierge Auctions video promoting Waterfalling last year:
Oh, those textured walls — that stone fireplace surround — the wet bar with scalloped wood overhang. The wood paneling, the speckled (pocked? lumpy?) bathroom tile, the wallpapered built-in cabinets (the wallpapered EV erything), the wall-mounted barrels with taps.
We hardly know where to look. We can hardly stop looking! (Click here or on a photo for a slideshow.)
Bridget Fonda and her husband, Danny Elfman, bought this 4,500-square-foot time capsule in Los Angeles' Fremont Place neighborhood next door to their longtime home, Variety magazine reports. The area is part of a historic preservation zone, so thankfully (to our mind) this apparently won't be a teardown like so many in Los Angeles. (RIP, Ray Bradbury and your dandelion-yellow house.) The house, built a century ago, clearly has been updated ... though possibly not in the last couple of decades.
The upright piano tucked into one corner must appeal to Elfman, one of Hollywood's go-to composers.
Speaking of throwbacks, whatever happened to Bridget Fonda?
Kobe Bryant sells 'United States of Generica' mansion after fourth price cut -- for record price (19 photos)
It took four price cuts and almost two years, but basketball star Kobe Bryant has managed to sell his remarkably beige mansion in Newport Beach, California.
The sale price of $6,116,500 was less than even the most recently discounted ask.
And yet, believe it or not, the mansion still broke a price record in his tony Newport Coast neighborhood, the Los Angeles Times reports, by a large margin — which would suggest, of course, that the original asking price of $8,599,000 was quite ambitious indeed. The previous record was less than $5 million, set in 2013.
Maybe he thought that amenities like the office/library shark tank and the in-house beauty salon justified the markup. The gym alone is as big as some people's homes: 850 square feet.
Local wags didn't think highly of the home when it hit the market, dubbing it his "'United States of Generica' McMansion."
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For admirers of American kitsch, this has been a week of mourning: Morris Wilkins, the creator of the world's first heart-shaped hot tub in the 1960s, died of heart failure at age 89.
In 1958, Wilkins and a friend bought a hotel in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains. Their Cove Haven helped transform the whole region into a honeymoon mecca, particularly when Wilkins hit on the tub idea. (Literally hit on it, according to one tale in the New York Times that says a regular whirlpool was accidentally squeezed into heart shape as it was maneuvered around a corner. He introduced the so-called Sweetheart Tub to the resort in 1963, according to the official history, and we found it mentioned in the media as early as a 1967 Toledo Blade article.)
The caption says: "A brand-new bride records her honeymoon bubble bath on film at Cove Haven, a Pennsylvania resort exclusively for newlyweds." The camera trigger is visible in her hand.
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Loosely related (but fun!) videos:
Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch just hit the market, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Details so far are fairly scant, but one certainly jumps out: The asking price is $100 million -- "very optimistic," the Los Angeles Times is told by one Randall Bell, a "specialist in evaluating stigmatized properties."
"It's hard to get by the fact that Neverland is closely associated with child molestation," Bell tells the Times. (Indeed, a fascinating Times story during Jackson's 2005 trial was headlined "Neverland: Paradise or Trap?" and characterized the ranch as "a shrine to innocence or a shortcut to depravity.")
The county assesses it at about $30 million.
Jackson created Neverland from what was once known as Sycamore Valley Ranch — the name that it has resumed, according to the listing agents. He lost control of it amid financial problems not long before his 2009 death.
Add this to the list of signs that Nicole Richie and Joel Madden miiiiight be headed for a split. (Or not. A source told Entertainment Tonight that they're just moving closer to Madden's brother, Benji, and his wife, Cameron Diaz.)
The couple just listed their unusual estate in Los Angeles' boho Laurel Canyon area — which comes complete with a "massive skydome," according to the listing — for $3.5 million. They bought the home in May 2009 for $1.9 million. (Click here or on a photo for a slideshow.)
Moving vans were spotted at the house a couple of weeks ago.
Property records indicate that the home was built in 1914, but if that's the case, then it has surely seen quite a bit of remodeling in the past century. Architecturally it's almost indescribable, though Zillow gives it a game attempt, calling the home "midcentury modern meets California bohemian." That'll work, we suppose.
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Like a toadstool amid towering cypresses, Ishmael Bermudez's little wooden house is shadowed by a forest of steel and concrete and glass.
Most property owners in his downtown Miami neighborhood have already turned their eyes skyward, looking for profits. In the increasingly vertical city, Bermudez's 0.1-acre property alone is worth about $2 million and climbing.
But Bermudez's eyes are cast to that 5,000-square-foot patch of land under his feet. You can't really call it a yard anymore; he's long since removed the soil to expose the pitted undulations of limestone bedrock beneath.
The excavation project is his life's work. He's been digging away at it for half a century, since childhood — "first with a shovel, then a spoon, then a brush," says Terence Cantarella in a beautifully written Miami New Times article that seems, so far, to be the definitive piece written on Bermudez. (Click here or on a photo for a slideshow.)
Less than a year ago, supermodel Cindy Crawford and her husband, Rande Gerber, bought a dated rancher on an acre and a half in Malibu for $6 million.
Conventional wisdom declared the 1958 house a teardown. But they must have decided its bones were good enough, because they decided to go the remodel route instead.
Just 11 months later, the house is already back on the market, with mostly the same numbers that were reported last year: current listing still says the house was built in 1958, and it still notes the exact same square footage — 3,651 — as last year's listing. It still has 4 bedrooms and 4 (and a half) bathrooms.
One number, however, has changed a lot. The asking price is almost triple last year's, at $15,450,000.
Incidentally, this home is roughly across the street from Julia Roberts' Malibu mansion -- and just down the street from Sean Penn's "Fast Times"-meets-"Dead Man Walking" hacienda, for which he's asking $6,550,000. (It's not as close to the beach, though.)
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Now this is more like it! Don't you think?
Forget Jackie Siegel and her biggest-home-in-the-nation Florida "Versailles" with its piddling 30 bedrooms or so, which was once on the market for $75 million unfinished.
This Texas structure is being marketed as a 60,175-square-foot "shell" of a single-family home on about 15 acres, with 46 bedrooms and 26 bathrooms — "more than enough room for the entire family inside and outside!" the listing says — for $3.5 million. (Click here or on a photo for a slideshow.)
Those room counts are only estimates, by the way. "It's probably more like 70 bedrooms," listing agent Mona Miller tells the Houston Chronicle. "They're not completed, so it's difficult to tell."
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Basketball superstar Michael Jordan has been trying to sell this Chicago-area mansion off and on for three years.
It's on again.
Legend Point, as he dubbed the Highland Park estate, was listed in March 2012 at $29 million, then marked down less than a year later to $21 million. (Click here or on a photo for a slideshow.)
When that didn't take, he put it on the auction block in a highly publicized but ultimately fruitless sale. The November 2013 sale was delayed by a month, supposedly to accommodate interest that was "even stronger than we anticipated," according to Concierge Auctions. But no one placed even the minimum bid — which by then had fallen to a mere $13 million.
Jordan is giving it another shot with the same Chicago listing agent, Katherine Malkin of Baird & Warner, but he's also enlisted the help of Los Angeles power brokers Mauricio Umansky and Kofi Nartey of The Agency, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The new price tag: $14,855,000.
According to the 2013 auction listing, the estate also has: