Dan Cortese Files for Divorce and (Re-)Lists Malibu Mansion

SELLER: Dan and DeeDee Cortese
PRICE: $2,949,000
SIZE: 6,322 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: There are a number of reasons regular people and rich and famous folks in particular sell there homes. Besides the all too frequent and often incurable cases of The Real Estate Fickle there are what's known in real estate industry lingo as The Three Ds: death, diapers and divorce. In the case of television presenter and actor Dan Cortese–that's pronounced core-tez and not core-teez, thank you very much–and his real estate agent wife DeeDee, married since 1994, it's divorce. Perhaps (and probably) having something to do with the impending dissolution of their near 20-year marriage Mister and Missus Cortese have (re-)listed their Malibu, CA mansion with an asking price of $2,949,000.

The chisel-chinned, wisp slim, and fiddle fit Mister Cortese, a fratty sort of fella who might call friends and strangers alike "bro," started up his ladder of fame in the early 1990s and through mid-1990s as the jocky host of MTV Sports. That success led to recurring roles on a number of sitcoms and evening (melo)dramas that include Melrose Place, The Single Guy, Veronica's Closet, What I Like About You, and Surviving Suburbia. Along the way Mister Cortese hosted a couple of (very) short-lived game shows (My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad, Crash Course) and appeared in a number of made for the boob-toob movies (Ball & Chain, Brain Trust) and on the silver screen in silly movies we've never heard of and hope never to be subjected (Everybody Wants to Be Italian, Soccer Mom). In addition to purveying property in Malibu, soon to be ex-Missus Cortese paints portraits of children.

The erstwhile Corteses acquired their then brand spanking new gated mini-estate in Malibu, nestled into a short cul-de-sac of like-minded mansion due north of Point Dume, in April 1998 for an undisclosed price, or at least a price we couldn't tease up out of the internet with a few minutes' effort.

As it turns out Mister and soon to be ex-Missus Cortese first hoisted their mock-Mediterranean manse on the market in May (2011) with a slightly higher price tag of $3,250,000. Information readily available on StreetEasy shows the property was put in escrow in early October but the deal, alas, quickly came to naught and by Halloween the house was back on the market.

Listing information shows the C-shaped two-story pile, which sits on .82 acres and curls around a parking lot-sized gated motor court with attached 3-bay garage, measures 6,322 square feet and includes, in the main and attached guest houses, a total of 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, and 3 fireplaces.

The double-height foyer has a sweeping staircase with scrolled wrought iron banister and several wide archways that lead to the various rooms of the house that include a formal living room with fireplace and French doors with backyard access and a formal dining room with tiled floor, French doors and, framed in a faux stone archway, a wall mural that depicts some Italian seaside scene, probably someplace in Sicily where Mister Cortese's people come from. We are certain there are those children who will find the wall mural charming or quaint or Old World or whatever but, generally speaking, we find wall murals decoratively despicable. We're sure there's a hard and fast rule about such thing in Your Mama's Big Book Of Decoratin' Dos and Don'ts but we just cain't be bothered to look it up right now.

Anyhoo, another archway connects the formal dining room to the family quarters that include a generous breakfast room with backyard access and, through yet another stone encrusted archway, a sizable center-island kitchen with vaulted ceiling criss-crossed by wood beams (that look to our untrained eye like they were painted to look rustic and old but really are neither of those things), brown and beige flecked granite counter tops, a plethora of high-grade stainless steel appliances including separate full-sized fridge and freezer that flank the six burner range, and miles of raised panel cabinetry done up with articulated pediments, fluted columns and a mottled faux finish. 

The nearby family room has another fireplace, wood floors, French doors that swing open to a large entertainment terrace that overlooks the resort-style backyard and, for the hooch hounds, a built-in wet bar with granite counter tops and a couple of cushioned wrought iron stools. Listing information shows the house also includes a den, attached guest/staff quarters, and office, and interior laundry room.

The second floor includes various family and guest bedrooms and bathrooms that include the Cortese bambinos' theme decorated bedrooms, his like a surf shack/tiki hut and hers all pink and princess-like. A small, semi-circular sitting room adjacent to the master has narrow arched windows and a wee balcony that allow for a panoramic over the tree tops view that includes a sliver of the Pacific Ocean. The spacious (but far from huge) master suite offers a high ceiling, a curvaceous fireplace, French doors that open to a private covered balcony with mountain view, and a classic (and cliché) mock-Med mcmansion-style bathroom with elaborate custom cabinetry, twin sinks and vanities, a vaulted ceiling, and a separate shower and soaking tub for two.

Kitty Hazclaus, a phrase-turning real estate insider with whom we're acquainted in The Bu summed it up best perhaps when she briefly but cattily described the over all decorative scheme of the Cortese crib to Your Mama as, ""Like Costco and Victoria Gotti designed a signature line of furnishings." Did any of y'all gasp out loud the first time you read that like Your Mama did? Have mercy and pass the nerve pills, please. We remain in breathless awe of the bare naked and wicked wicked wicked sharpness of Miz Hasclaus' assessment of the situation but we can't really argue with her tough judgement since she's sort of pinned the tail on the donkey, you know? Then again we would never, ever, in a million years disagree publicly with out Miz Hazclaus because, well, as y'all can see, the old bird has a rather withering tongue.

Moving along into the outdoor areas at that encompass numerous and various patios, balconies and terraces that extend off both the upper and lower levels of the rear of the house. Steps from the main terrace off the kitchen descend into a thicket of pencil-thin palm trees that surround the elevated party-sized spa and lagoon-shaped swimming pool. Some of the stone paved terraces around the spa and pool have built-in bench seating and others are better suited for pool-side dining and sun basking. Well-watered lawns swoop, swirl and undulate around the swimming pool and spa and provide plenty of room for an assorted number of outdoor activities that could (but do not, as far as we can tell, currently include) a shuffleboard court, horse shoe pit, and super-sized sand box. Some things for the next owner to think about as they consider what they might do to customize the property.

listing photos: Coldwell Banker / Malibu West

New Year's Mish Match Catch Up: The Rybolovlev Girl

Just before the winter holidays property gossips around the globe went plum berserk with the undeniably astonishing news that Russian multi-billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev dropped a stomach-knotting and record-busting $88,000,000 to purchase a posh penthouse pad atop the lordly, limestone-clad 15 Central Park West building in New York City. The nearly 7,000 square foot park view penthouse and its gigantic wrap around terrace, designed by Robert A.M. Stern and decorated in high style by Mica Ertegun, was reportedly purchased for his flaxen-haired and equestrian-minded 22-year old daughter Ekaterina to use as a "crash pad" when she visits The Big Apple.

Imagine children, being an otherwise low-profile 22-year old beau monde heiress who reportedly studies an unnamed subject in an unnamed part of the United States and owns an eighty-eight million dollar pied-a-terre where the monthly maintenance alone is probably more than a minimum wage domestic worker earns in an entire year? It boggles the mind really, don't it?

Anyways, soon came rumor and report that the fertilizer oligarch and mining magnate, who is in the midst of an acrimonious (and expensive) dee-vorce and just acquired a majority stake in the AS Monaco professional soccer team, snatched up a second apartment in the building to house young Miss Rybolovleva's traveling security detail. Of course, children, these lavish livers don't buy staff apartments like ordinary rich people. No way José. Instead they purchase, according to various New York City real estate chroniclers, a low-floor, two bedroom and two-point-five bathroom apartment with a hefty even for most multi-millionaires $8,395,000 price tag.

Listing information for the apartment in question shows the third floor unit features chevron pattern hardwood floors, over-sized windows, marble sheathed bathrooms, 10 closets, walnut cabinetry in the well-equipped galley-style eat-in kitchen, and a laundry closet in the foyer. Believe it or not, sugar bombs, a laundry closet in the foyer is better than not having one at all in a New York City apartment, even in an eight million dollar New York City apartment. Common charges and taxes run $3,782 per month, a lot of money by most standards but not so much for a billionaire or an eight and some million dollar apartment.

Subsequent to reports on the (alleged) purchase of a second apartment at 15 Central Park West Mister Rybolovlev's official spokesperson released a statement to the New York Observer that reads:

"Neither Dmitry Rybolovlev, nor his daughter Ekaterina Rybolovleva, nor any companies connected to them have purchased apartment 3F at 15 Central Park West, New York City. The reports suggesting that they have are completely inaccurate. There have never been any plans or even any discussions about purchasing this apartment."

Interestingly, and perhaps or maybe not coincidentally, apartment 3F no longer appears listed as "in contract" on the real estate helper site StreetEasy. Make of that what you will dollies.

listing photos and floor plan: Brown Harris Stevens

New Year's Mish Mash Catch Up: Brangelina

Before any of you people get your under panties in a wad about Your Mama using the tie-erd term Brangelina to refer to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie know deep in your snarky souls that we use it very reluctantly and only in the service of keeping the headline to just one line, okaaay? Moving along...

Over the weekend came the surprising celebrity real estate news that Oscar-winning actress/director and global do-gooder Angelina Jolie bought her man-mate Brad Pitt a piece of land with a waterfall outside of Los Angeles, CA where he can realize his real estate and architectural dream of designing and erecting a cantilevered Falling Water-like residence. Miz Jolie, ever the thoughtful (and deep pocketed) Life Partner and co-parent, allegedly purchased the waterfall and surrounding acreage as a combination holiday and 48th birthday present for Mister Pitt.

An unidentified source, "a friend" of the generally pretty private pair told the the UK's dishy tab The Daily Mail that Mister Pitt, a surprisingly knowledgeable architecture and design fanatic, "has dreamed of a home with the sound of a waterfall cascading under the house." The source went on to explain Mister Pitt "wants to pull all aspects of nature, light, glass and varying levels into the concept. No further details were given as to the topography or whereabouts of the waterfall endowed spread other than it being "near LA."

Hmm. Unfortunately Your Mama has no specific knowledge or inside intel on this one but does anyone else smell an unsubstantiated celebrity real estate rat?

The Jolie-Pitts, as far as Your Mama knows, already own and maintain a fair (but shrinking number) of homes around the globe that include a just about self-contained 1,000-ish acre spread in the South of France, a remote Cambodian retreat, a townhouse mansion in New Orleans, LA, a (spectacular) ocean front compound near Santa Barbara, CA, and a multi-parcel compound in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, CA. Mister Pitt sold his bluff-top Malibu modern last month (December 2011) to the voracious and seemingly insatiable property collector Ellen Degeneres and her lady-wife Portia De Rossi who themselves have their superstar-style compound in Beverly Hills, CA on the market with a blistering $49,000,000 price tag.

New Year's Mish Mash Catch Up: Lady Gaga

All the celebrity real estate gossips were abuzz and atwitter last week over the rather bizarre rumor that international superstar Lady Gaga was house shopping in the sleepy, suburban and very unlikely locale of Lititz, PA.

So the rumor went, Miss Gaga went on a house hunt in the same neck of the Amish Country from where her new(ish) man friend Taylor Kinney hails. Mister Kinny is, of course, the beau hunky actor who works his six-pack abs on the Vampire Diaries program. Gee-awd, aren't the teens and tweens d.o.n.e. with vampire stories yet? We sure are.

Anyhoodles poodles, the house all the gossips reported Miss Gaga toured is a very traditional 6,138 square foot stone-built mansion in the upscale Bent Creek Country Club listed at $1,699,000. Listing information for the faux English Manor-style manse shows the two-story home was built in 2007 with4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, 3 fireplaces and a 3 car attached garage.

Thing is, puppies, not only did Miss Gaga not buy the house Lititz, PA, she never even stepped a 47-inch high hoof-heeled shoe in the house. Yes, she had previously been spotted in the area–Mister Kinney's family lives nearby it seems–but turns out listing agent Anne Lusk, who like Miss Gaga has long blond hair, is a bit of a sartorial daredevil–not unlike Miss Gaga–and was spotted at the house wearing a leopard coat and funky shoes and someone, for some reason, jumped the gun and reported to someone else that Miss Gaga was house hunting.

As far as we know Miss Gaga lives in hotels–or perhaps has a high-priced rental in lower Manhattan–but has not actually bought any real estate anywhere with her new-found extreme wealthh. There are scads of rumors and (unsubstantiated) reports–including on this here blog–she's building a house on a secluded waterfront property on Martha's Vineyard but we can't prove it.

listing photo: Prudential Lancaster Real Estate

What To Do About Asbestos

Is Asbestos Dangerous?
Asbestos has been shown to cause cancer of the lung andstomach according to studies of workers and others exposed to asbestos. Thereis no level of exposure to asbestos fibers that experts can assure iscompletely safe. Some asbestos materials can break into small fibers which canfloat in the air and these fibers can be inhaled. The tiny fibers are so smallthey cannot be seen with the naked eye. They can pass through the filters ofnormal vacuum cleaners and get back into the air. Once inhaled, asbestos fiberscan become lodged in tissue for a long time. After many years cancer ormesothelioma can develop.

What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a mineral fiber found in rocks,of naturally occurring silicate minerals that can be separated into fibers.There are several kinds of asbestos fibers, all of which are fire resistant andnot easily destroyed or degraded by natural processes. The fibers are strong,durable, and resistant to heat and fire. They are also long, thin and flexible,so that they can even be woven into cloth, because of these qualities, asbestoshas been used in thousands of consumer, industrial, maritime, automotive,scientific and building products. The above photo shows a typical asbestosinsulated heating pipe found in older homes. During the twentieth century, some30 million tons of asbestos have been used in industrial sites, homes, schools,shipyards and commercial buildings in the United States. There are severaltypes of asbestos fibers, of which three have been used for commercialapplications: (1) Chrysotile, or white asbestos, comes mainly from Canada, and hasbeen very widely used in the US. It is white-gray in color and found inserpentine rock. (2) Amosite, or brown asbestos, comes from southern Africa.(3) Crocidolite, or blue asbestos, comes from southern Africa and Australia.

How To Tell If Asbestos Is In A Home
People who have frequently worked with asbestos (such asplumbers, building contractors or heating contractors) often are able to make areasonable judgment about whether or not a material contains asbestos on avisual inspection. Many professional home inspectors also can make a reasonablevisual judgment. To be absolutely certain, an industrial hygienist would have tomake the identification.

What To Do About Asbestos In The Home

In most cases, asbestos containing materialsare best left alone. When it is necessary to disturb asbestos, you shouldcontact a licensed asbestos contractor. You can also obtain a copy of Asbestosin the Home published by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (800-638-2772) which discusses the situation and makes recommendations. Remember, donot dust, sweep, or vacuum particles suspected of containing asbestos fibers.

Ipull out all the stops to sell your home.
Lonnie Snyder
Keller Williams Realty Southeast Sound
Phone: 206-406-2710           

Lonnie Snyder is a full time real estate agent and REALTOR® withKeller Williams Realty specializing in Residential Real Estate for buyers andsellers in Washington's Kent, Renton, Newcastle and South Bellevue.

Pierce Brosan Goes Mano-a-Mano with Eroding Beach in the Bu

There's trouble in paradise if one's idea of paradise is the freakishly expensive strip of sand known as Broad Beach in Malibu, CA. Broad Beach has for decades been lined with beach bungalows and ocean front mansions, many owned by rich and famous folks, showbiz executives, and a slew of west coast-based Wall Street types.

One of Broad Beach's newest mansions, now just about finished, was built for and is owned by smoldering Irish-born movie star Pierce Brosnan (Mamma Mia!, The Thomas Crown Affair and half a dozen money makers from the James Bond film franchise) and his second wife, former actress/tee-vee presenter/activist Keely Shaye Smith.

We're not sure why the gossips at X17 reported earlier in the week that Mister Brosnan and Missus Shaye Smith paid a bone shattering $45,000,000 for the two-parcel ocean front spread because the admittedly somewhat vague online records we peeped indicate they acquired the property in March 2000 for $5,100,000.

Whatever the case, the existing house was razed (or at least significantly dismantled) and replaced by a gigantic, just about completed U-shaped Balinese-inspired mansion with ocean side swimming pool and detached guest/pool house.

Unfortunately for Mister Brosnan, Missus Shaye Smith and the many of the other well-heeled (but probably bare-footed) Broad Beach home owners, the shoreline has eroded and diminished significantly over the last 10 or so years. In order to protect their newly built residence, Mister Brosnan and Missus Shaye Smith, as well as numerous other residents along Broad Beach, erected a ghastly but necessary tall wall of sandbags to hold the advancing ocean at bay. More recently home owners along Broad Beach spent boo coo bucks to construct an an even more unsightly and permanent rock revetment between their homes and thundering surf.

Fortunately for him and his, Mister Brosnan's just about completed crib has a swimming pool but should he or any of his children and/or guests desire to stroll along the shoreline or bob around in the ocean, they must first make a grisly, knee scraping scramble over the revetment.

Some of the other property owners who share the same stretch of eroding shoreline as the Brosnans include Tinseltown types such as Steven Spielberg (who leased his contemporary Craftsman-style compound last summer to David and Victoria Beckham for $150,000 per month), Mike Ovitz, Dustin Hoffman, Danny DeVito and Rhea Pearlman, and a slew of high-flying financiers and real estate developers who include Mark Attanasio, George Novogroder, Edward Roski Jr., tool tycoon Eric Smidt, and former shipbuilding mogul turned investor Burton Borman whose 10,000-plus square foot Frank Gehry-designed digs on Broad Beach include, of all luxuries, a lighted and sunken ocean side tennis court.

This is not the first Broad Beach area home Mister Brosnan and Missus Shaye-Smith Brosnan have owned. In fact, the environmentally concerned couple have long resided in Malibu in a Mediterranean style hillside house that sits much closer to busy and loud Pacific Coast Highway than the beach. In June 2010 Mister Brosnan and Missus Shaye-Smith Brosnan listed their 3,412 square foot hillside house with an asking price of $3,900,000. Just a few days before Christmas, eighteen months after first being listed, several price chops that brought the final asking price to $2,790,000, and at least one failed escrow the two-story, 3 bedroom, 3.25 bathroom and 4 fireplace Brosnan/Shaye Smith abode has been sold to a non-celebrity for an undisclosed price We heard through the Malibu celebrity real estate gossip grapevine but can't confirm it went for $2,650,000.

Property records indicate Mister Brosnan and Missus Shaye Smith also own at least one home near the scenic Hanalei and Wainiha bays on the star-studded Hawaiian island of Kauai.

aerial photo: X17

Marina Abramović Lists Modern Minded Manhattan Loft

SELLER: Marina Abramović
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $3,495,000
SIZE: (approximately) 3,000 square feet, 1 bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: 'Tis the end of the year (and a travel day to boot) so much to the chagrin of some, we're sure, Your Mama's gonna to take the low road today and dredge up a wee piece of New York City art world celebrity real estate that we didn't stop to (dis or) discuss earlier in the year, namely the very spare SoHo loft performance art pioneer Marina Abramović first heaved and hoisted on to the market in January (2011) with an asking price of $3,750,000. By May the price had dropped to $3,375,000 and in mid-August it was taken off the market until late September when it reappeared with a mysteriously higher (and current) price tag of $3,495,000.

The raven-tressed and Serbian by birth Miz Abramović, who apparently once described herself as the "Grandmother of Performance Art," has been making decidedly intense, sometimes obtuse, often enigmatic and frequently controversial performance-based artwork for more than three decades. Art-minded types probably already know and recall that from mid-March to the tail end of May 2010 the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown Manhattan held a comprehensive retrospective of her work that included the punishing 736.5 hour extended performance of The Artist is Present during which Miz Abramović, weirdly regal in a floor-length blue or red wizard-like outfit and a sloppy side pony braid, sat silent, all but immobile at a small table set up in the airy atrium of the museum where spectators, one at a time, sat in an opposite chair for as long or short amount of time as they wished. The artist and the sitter(s) simply stared at each other, a quiet and painfully self-conscious yet terrifically dynamic exercise that produced a variety of (sometimes emotional) responses from participants, some who returned several and even many times. Your Mama did not sit with Miz Abramović during her epic performance but we do know a number who did. Most said they were mesmerized and unexpectedly moved and the others thought it was a silly waste of time.

Anyhoo, property records are a bit vague for Miz Abramović's SoHo spread, but previous reports about the apartment indicate she acquired the approximately 3,000 square foot full-floor loft sometime in 2001 for around $1,500,000. Current monthly maintenance charges run $2,269 per month).

The sixty-something year old avant garde art star later and somewhat recently had the apartment overhauled from top to bottom by New York-based architect Dennis Wedlick. A 2010 article in the New York Times states that Miz Abramović provided Mister Wedlick 4 months and three-quarters of a million clams to re-work the loft in to its present condition, a light-filled minimalist urban retreat with direct (manually operated) elevator access and gleaming gallery white walls juxtaposed with very purposeful and vibrant bursts of color. An interior structure compactly and cost-effectively encloses a variety of the apartment's plumbing and service areas into a single, permeable and semi-transparent 325-ish square foot interior volume that contains a fitted dressing room in the master bedroom, a half bathroom off the long, window-lined entrance gallery, a luxurious but utilitarian master bathroom, and a wee but well-equipped galley style kitchen. The outer wall of the translucent light box-like structure is lined with aluminum framed frosted glass panels that swing open or twist close to reveal or conceal the inner areas as desired or necessary.

About half the approximately 3,000 square foot spread encompasses a prairie-like living and dining area with 11-foot (or so) ceiling, 13 over-sized windows that run in perfect sequence around two walls, an acre of white-washed hardwood floors, and an extensive lighting system. Listing photos show the vast, sun-bleached space divided into three distinct areas: a lounge with low-slung Euro-style contemporary and mid-century modern furnishings; a dining area near the kitchen; and an open space outfitted with little more than a personal (and trendy) Pilates machine.

Certainly Miz Abramović has a studio space where she exercises her creative impulses but Your Mama imagines Miz Abramović might sometimes instruct her team of hipster assistants and minimum wage booty kissers to push all the low-slung Patricia Urquiola-designed Lowseat sofas up against the walls when she's feeling in the mood to interpretive dance or wants to rehearse one of her mind and body challenging performance pieces that have made her rich and famous, or at least famous in the Art World, caps intended.

The galley style kitchen, small as it may be, packs an ocular punch with top-of-the-line Euro-style appliances, custom fabricated polished concrete counter tops, and lacquered turquoise and apple green flat-fronted cabinetry. We're certain many if not most of the children will poo-poo the eye-popping color scheme in the kitchen but Your Mama, an out-and-out sucker for bright and/or shiny things, happens to think it's the bees knees in contemporary kitchen design.

A coat closet and larger storage closet flank a door that leads to the building's interior stair hall and helps to define a bookshelf-lined office nook nestled in next to a series of sliding panels that disappear completely into the wall when fully opened to reveal the apartment's lone bedroom, a sizable multi-windowed room with commodious walk-in closet, even larger custom-fitted dressing room, and master bathroom that offers top quality Thassos marble tile floors and walls, two cast concrete sinks on a cornflower blue pedestal, a separate cast concrete soaking tub and opaque glass panels that slide open to reveal the terlit and bee-day and large shower enclosure with pebble tile flooring.

Listing information indicates a second bedroom can be "easily added" without compromising the overall expansiveness of the loft by sectioning off a small portion of the main living space.

In addition to her sparely done loft in downtown Manhattan, Miz Abramović also owns a semi-rural retreat in out-of-the-way Malden Bridge, NY she acquired in March 2007, according to property records, for $1,350,00. The star-shaped residence's original architect Dennis Wedlick was quickly commissioned by Miz Abramović and given 8 weeks and a quarter million dollars to "strip the house bare," paint the ceilings white, refinish the wood floors, remove various columns that cluttered up the space and relocate the driveway to the rear of the residence because, according to Miz Abramović, "Americans like to park their cars in front of the house. This is unacceptable. A car should be parked out behind the barn." It was her positive experience with Mister Wedlick in Malden Bridge that prompted her to re-hire the smart architect to, as mentioned above, re-work her downtown digs.

listing photos and floor plan: Sotheby's International Realty