Archive for July 2011

Author Michael Gross Releases Promo Video for Unreal Estate

In 2005, upper-crust chronicler and shit-stirrer Michael Gross wrote a juicy tell-all book about the inhabitants and history of 740 Park Avenue, one of New York City's most expensive, exclusive, and reclusive co-operative apartment houses. With the dour limestone-faced Rosario Candela-designed building and its cavernous apartments as the back drop, Mister Gross carefully parsed the personal, professional and social lives of many of the building's wildly wealthy residents who have over the years included any number of low-profile but sick-rich industrialists and robber barons, a cavalcade of heirs and heiresses, and a bunch of hedge hogs and tech tycoons.

Four years later Mister Gross came out with Rogues' Gallery, a dense, exhaustively researched and not always flattering exposé that unweaves the complex, sometimes secret and often controversial history of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Mister Gross leaves no high society stone un-turned when it comes to revealing the actions and ambitions of a small but enormously influential army of filthy rich folks who, through sheer force of will, money, power, and subterfuge, founded and nurtured The Met into one of the brawniest and best art institutions in the world.

There were those, natch, who were nine kinds of livid and atwitter about Mister Gross' deep and unauthorized examination into the ugly underbelly of The Met. Socialite and philanthropist Annette de la Renta actually threatened legal action because she felt she was portrayed in an unflattering and even defamatory manner. According to a little birdie we'll call Betty Booklover, in the hostile aftermath of the publication of Rogues' Gallery Mister Gross told a group of book-minded types at a Beverly Hills Literary Society luncheon that he'd decided to write his next book about Los Angeles because he thought "it would be a good idea to get out of Dodge for a while."

He spent the next two years researching the histories of several handfuls of palatial properties in the part of Los Angeles known in real estate circles as The Platinum Triangle, a glitzy euphemism for the trio of swank communities that form the meticulously manicured zenith of wealth and power in Los Angeles: Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Holmby Hills.

Using the great and grand estates of The Platinum Triangle as the hyper-luxurious fuel, Mister Gross' latest and soon to be published book Unreal Estate will–as Your Mama understands from publisher information–tell the untold and sometimes sordid stories about how oilmen and movie stars, charlatans and chatelaines, ruthless entrepreneurs and a handful of pornographers transformed hell-hot southern California orange groves into a glittering, forbidding and secretive enclave of make believe and mega-mansions.

Unreal Estate, with its wonderfully alliterative subtitle "Money, Ambition, and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles," won't be available in bookstores until November 1–the children can pre-order the book at a discounted rate on Amazon and Barnes and Noble–but the publicity push for the hotly anticipated tome has none-the-less begun in earnest.

According to a recently released three and some minute promotion video, a flying tour over The Platinum Triangle narrated by Mister Gross himself, Unreal Estate will cross reference the histories of some of the ritzy enclaves' greatest estates with the colorful cast of characters who have owned and occupied them. Legendary estates under the microscope include (but are far from limited to): Greenacres, currently owned by supermarket billionaire and Bill Clinton's former b.f.f. Ron Burkle; The Knoll, once owned by rotund oilman turned billionaire movie man Marvin Davis and now owned by tool and die magnate Eric Smidt; And Owlwood, the regal Robert Farquhar-designed Holmby Hills estate formerly owned by showbiz types like Cher and Engelbert Humperdinck and now owned by Dawn Arnell, the widow of Roland Arnell, a sub-prime lending billionaire who was installed by President George W. Bush as the ambassador to the Netherlands.

As with Mister Gross' previous books there will undoubtedly be a squawking squadron of rich and powerful people who won't be happy about their lives or living rooms being exposed in the pages of Unreal Estate. We'd also bet our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly there will not be even one real estate gossip, property professional nor any adult resident of The Platinum Triangle who will not devour this book the moment they can get their bejeweled hands on it.

We know we will.

cover image: Crown Publishing

Pamela Reed Wants Out of Windsor Square

SELLER: Pamela Reed and Sandy Smolan
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $2,995,000
SIZE: 5,381 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 5 full and 2 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: For every actor/celebrity like Halle Berry and Jennifer Aniston who make the tabs every time they pass a stinky wind or dump a thousand dollars on a pair of sparkly red carpet-worthy shoes, there are scores of less well known but always working actors who manage to live, mostly, outside the hot lights of the paps and gossip glossies. One such under-the-radar-lady/actress is Pamela Reed who has had her house in the historic Windsor Square 'hood in Los Angeles, CA on and off the market three times since early June 2011.

The property does not today appear on the open market but, thanks to a kindly snitch we'll call Hansel Andgretel, we've come to understand that the stately Windsor Square residence of Miz Reed and her mister–producer/director Sandy Smolan–remains listed with an asking price of $2,995,000.

Windsor Square, for those not schooled in the nuances of neighborhood borders in Lala Land, was developed in the early 1900s as an exclusive and, according to our informant Lady Windsorsquare, restricted upscale enclave of private streets lined with stately homes on medium-sized lots. The historic 'hood is often mistaken for the more hoity-toity Hancock Park but, in fact, they are two separate if not entirely distinct neighborhoods. Windsor Square, which encompasses the charming Larchmont shopping district, sits immediately east of Hancock Park where the homes are typically more substantial and on larger lots.

Former famous residents of Windsor Square include Norman Chandler (of the L.A. Times Chandler clan), Richard Blackwell (a.k.a. the sassy fashion critic Mr. Blackwell), and oilman John Paul Getty who owned a sprawling estate on South Irving Boulevard just above Wilshire that now functions as the official residence for the mayor of Los Angeles.

Miz Reed, now a gal of a certain age, has been tootling around Tinseltown since the late 1970s. It wasn't until the late 1980s that a starring role in the brills Garry Trudeau written and Robert Altman directed political mockumentary/series Tanner '88 that her career hit its stride. Since Tanner '88 she's appeared in an impressively long list of movies (Kindergarten Cop, Bean, Proof of Life) and mostly supporting but juicy roles on a variety of television programs (Parks and Recreation, United States of Tara, Jericho, Pepper Dennis, The Simpsons).

Miz Reed's man-huzband Steven "Sandy" Smolan, an occasional documentary film producer (Rachel River), toils primarily as a director for hire with scads of big and little boob-toob credits that include First Day, In Gayle We Trust, Brothers & Sisters, Everwood, The O.C., The District, Dawson's Creek, Chicago Hope, Doogie Hower, M.D., and L.A. Law.

Property records show the Smolan-Reeds acquired their Windsor Square abode in December 1996 when they coughed up $925,000 for the half-timbered English Tudor that was erected, as per the L.A. County Tax Man, on an approximately 1/3 acre corner parcel in 1923.

Listing information shows the (main) manse measures 5,381 square feet and includes 6 bedrooms and 9 poopers. However, a thorough perusal of the floor plans included with marketing materials (below) show the main house has a total of 4 bedrooms and 5 full and 2 half bathrooms. A detached structure contains a garage, pool cabana and guest apartment that increases the "bedroom" count to 6 and the terlit count to nine.

A curved brick-lined drive encircles the mature and well-maintained but fairly ordinary front yard landscaping. A set of wide brick steps marks the entrance where the front door opens into a small tile-floored vestibule that leads into a generously scaled center-hall foyer with hardwood floors, beamed ceiling, taupe colored walls and a lot of other taupe colored things.

The mundane taupe tones continue into the spacious 30-plus foot long step-down formal living room outfitted with vast multi-paned windows and French doors on three sides and built-in book shelves filled with actual books. We're not down with the traditional and banal day-core but we knew a lady like Miz Reed would have actual books in her house. Across the foyer from the living room there's an over-sized formal dining room furnished with a stunning Heywood Wakefield dining room table and chairs. That room is an all-around decorative hot mess but, children, we think the table and chairs are dee-voon.

The dominant beige-taupe turns to dark gray-taupe in the den where book shelves built into the walls flank French doors that open the room to the entertaining and dining terrace that extends off the back of the house. The leafy quasi-Polynesian print curtains in the den are, in our humble and utterly meaningless opinion, beyond words, and not in a good way. The curtain situation in the den is only made worse by the appearance of another flower-patterned quasi-Polynesian drapery treatment in the master bedroom.

The cooking and service wing wraps around inter-locking front and back stair cases and includes a good-sized butler's pantry that joins the dining room to the clean but outdated eat-in kitchen. The kitchen floors–linoleum laid in a diamond-y pattern–are predominantly green and yellow, the counter tops are white tile and there's a wee tee-vee built in to the upper cabinet near the sink where it facilitates easy-peasy soap story watching by the dish washing domestic. One end of the kitchen opens to a breakfast room lined with an old-timey bead board chair rail and the other end leads into a warren of rooms that include a pantry area with second fridge, laundry room, and home office with built-in cabinetry, multiple desk surfaces and a bathroom.

The four second floor bedrooms, accessible by the main stair in the foyer or the back stair in the kitchen, include three family bedrooms, each with private bathroom, plus an approximately 600 square foot master suite. The short hall from the landing to the master bedroom has a second laundry room, a feature we're certain Lucinda the Laundress appreciates with all her weak and minimum wage heart.

Although there are wood floors in the ample sized master bedroom features a sitting area and fireplace, beige wall-to-wall carpeting was installed in the windowed walk-in closet/dressing room. Much to our horror, the beige carpeting extends right on in to the bathroom where it covers every inch of the floor under the vanity table and sink counters, next to the soaking tub and outside the separate shower stall. Oh, hunnies, no. Just no. No. As we said earlier this week about the also beige wall-to-wall carpeting in Tony Danza's Malibu beach house, "Rule Number 16 in Your Mama's Big Book of Decorating Dos and Dont's emphatically states, 'No bathing or terliting facility of any kind should ever, under any circumstances, have wall-to-wall carpeting installed.'"

Additional living space can be found in the full-sized and fully finished basement that, not surprisingly, has an acre or two of dingy beige wall-to-wall carpeting. Your Mama is not sure what's up with all the awful choices of carpet and drapery at Miz Reed and Mister Smolan's spread but we strongly recommend they cough up a few pennies for a nice, gay decorator to assist them as they work out these decorative demons in their next home. Your Mama well knows and accepts that not everyone needs or wants to live in a house worthy of an appearance in a glossy shelter publication but there is not, as far as our cold, dark and snarky heart is concerned, any earthly reason for a couple of hardworking and successful showbiz types to perpetrate these sorts of egregious carpeting and curtain crimes on the home's inhabitants, domestic staff and guests.

The broad, brick-lined concrete dining and entertaining terrace steps down to a many-sided plunge pool with raised spa and a couple small patches of tree-shaded grass. At the rear of the property, opposite the back of the main house, a long structure runs along the property line and contains a 4-car garage, attached pool cabana with bathroom and, upstairs, a self-contained studio-style guest unit with kitchenette, bathroom, walk-in closet and heinous tan carpeting that not only stretches from wall to wall but–lo-werd jeezis help us all–into the goddam kitchenette.

Around the side of the garage/cabana/guest house a chain-link fence surrounds a concrete pad with kiddie-sized built-in basketball hoop and free-standing trampoline. With all due respect to Miz Reed–whose wry comedic timing we j'adore–but that space looks like a damn prison yard designed to both contain and maim children. Imagine what would happen should a small child or inebriated adult fly off that bouncy-bouncer trampoline, slam into the jagged chain link fence and crumple to the concrete? Not pretty, people.

Anyhoo, prior to moving to Windsor Square, property records reveal that Mister and Missus Smolan owned a ridge-top house above the Hollywood Reservoir they bought in June 1990 for $565,000 and sold at a loss in March 1997 for $530,000. Our brief and unscientific research indicates that Miz Reed and Mister Smolan do not currently own any other property in Los Angeles and Your Mama has no knowledge of where the quietly successful couple plan to decamp.

floor plan and listing photos: PostRAIN Productions for Loveland Carr Properties

Real Estate Tale: William J. Chadwick

There are a lucky handful of folks, mainly hedge hogs and financial industry fat cats, who have come out of the recent (and ongoing) economic woes smelling like stinking rich roses with seemingly unlimited mountains of money to burn on trophy real estate in Los Angeles, CA.

Just look at Goldman Sachs honcho Gene Sykes who recently plunked down $40,000,000–in cash–for a palatial pile in Bel Air and Mutual Fund Manager Bill Gross who shelled out around $35,000,000 this summer for Jennifer Aniston's Ohana in Beverly Hills.

Then, of course, there's 22-year old Formula One racing heiress and residential real estate size queen Petra Ecclestone who sees herself as "privileged" not "spoilt," a self-characterization illustrated, perhaps, by her reportedly borrowing $82,400,000 from her mother in order to cough up $85,000,000 in cold hard cash for The Manor, showbiz widda Candy Spelling's (in)famously huge Holmby Hills mega-mansion. The slender but curvy British blond bombshell plans to relocate to Tinseltown after her August (2011) wedding to a 26-year old businessman named Jamie Stunt. Miss Ecclestone, about to pull a Nicky Hilton with the upcoming launch of a handbag line, also owns a massive mansion in London she bought last year for around $90,000,000. Privileged and not spoilt? You decide.

Not every mogul and multi-millionaire, of course, has weathered the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and ensuing global economic malaise with as much aplomb and money as Misters Gross and Sykes, particularly those who dabbled and gambled in the real estate game. One of those not so fortunate, it seems, is William J. Chadwick, a managing director of the L.A.-based real estate investment banking and capital management firm Chadwick Saylor & Co.

Mister Chadwick became juicy fodder for all the real estate gossip columns back in June 2008 when he heaved his 10,480 square foot nearly new ocean front mansion in Malibu, CA on the market with a tummy-twisting $65,000,000 price tag.

The 6 bedroom and 9.5 pile, a hulking quasi-Cape Cod beast of a house, sits on more than half an acre of prime beachfront property on Malibu's premier stretch of sand, Carbon Beach. It also sits hard up on about 150 feet of frontage on frequently traffic chocked Pacific Coast Highway.

Carbon Beach often gets called "Billionaire's Beach" due to the thick crush of big-living billionaires (and near billionaires) who own posh cottages and cushy compounds along that particular section of the beach in the Bu. Some of Mister Chadwick's Carbon Beach neighbors include entertainment industry gazillionaire David Geffen, former Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, software magnate Larry Ellison, restauteur and hotelier Peter Morton, real estate developer Eli Broad, media mogul Haim Saban, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Mister Chadwick's Lester Tobias-designed beach house, built in 2005, no doubt at great expense, features a 90-foot long "Great Room," 40-foot long kitchen/family room, a 4,500 square foot ocean side entertainment terrace with outdoor kitchen and 75-foot long lap-lane swimming pool cantilevered over the sand, about 150-feet of beach frontage, an 8-seat movie theater, and, as per the architect's website, a tequila tasting room with shark tank.

In October 2009, after more than a year on the market with no deep-pocketed buyers willing to sign the deed's dotted line, Mister Chadwick took his colossal Carbon Beach house off the market. The ocean front white elephant was re-listed almost a year later with a significantly and shockingly lower asking price of $35,000,000. The price tag held steady at thirty-five million until earlier this week when the listing was withdrawn only to reappear the very next day with a dramatically slashed asking price of $22,000,000. Even more stunning to Your Mama than the $11,000,000 price chop was the gigantic yellow word "*auction*" emblazoned across the opening image on the listing.

A quick perusal of public property records and other easily available online information does not turn up any recorded Notices of Default on the property, meaning Mister Chadwick has thus far been making the elephantine mortgage payments on the property. It's impossible for Your Mama to say if the planned auction indicates Mister Chadwick is having money troubles and just wants a quick sale to get out from underneath the pocketbook punishing mortgage(s) or, if after nearly three years of unsuccessfully trying to unload his behemoth beach house his real estate patience and worn paper thin and he simply wants to sell the property as soon as possible to anyone willing to come up with more than $22,000,000.

Twenty two million bucks more than qualifies, by any standard, as a vast sum of money for a single family house but it's certainly not an unheard of amount for a monumentally-scaled ocean front house on Carbon Beach even in today's still mostly lackluster market in Malibu. Last fall, por ejemplo, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen paid clothing manufacturing mogul Charles Perez just over $25,000,000 for a glassy Carbon Beach contemporary with an ocean side swimming pool.

The auction of Mister Chadwick's Carbon Beach albatross is set, as per a source deep inside the Platinum Triangle real estate game, for September 18 with a minimum opening bid set at $22,000,000. Obviously, Mister Chadwick hopes multiple bids will run that number up by several if not many millions more.
Although Mister Chadwick seems to be making the mortgage on his Carbon Beach crib a deeper drill down into property records reveals that was not the case with another Malibu property he owned until early in 2011 when it fell into the gaping maw of foreclosure.

Records show that in June 2004 Mister Chadwick acquired an oddly-shaped nearly three acre spread (above) equipped with equestrian facilities in Malibu's rustic but deluxe and guard-gated Serra Retreat enclave for an undisclosed amount of money. As best as we can suss out, Mister Chadwick first listed the horsey spread in April 2008 with an optimistic asking price of $7,250,000. By March 2009 the price had plummeted to $5,950,000 and by the following March the price had been reduced five more times to its last asking price of $3,100,000.

Listing information from when the property was listed for just under five million clams shows the fully landscaped property includes a dated but well-maintained two story house with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a 7-stall stable with tack room, riding arena, corrals, and a rock-lined stream bed. Listing information indicates that Mister Chadwick had architect Lester Tobias–the same man who designed his Carbon Beach mansion–draw up designs for an expansion of the house.

Your Mama ain't privy to the details of Mister Chadwick's financials, of course, but a few minutes surfing around on the interweb turned up a nasty Notice of Default on the Serra Retreat estate recorded in September of 2010. In early January 2011 an even nastier Notice of Sale was filed with a Trustee's Sale scheduled on the 27th of January at 10:30 a.m. at the county courthouse in Pomona, CA. The minimum bid was set, as per the records we peeped, at $4,311,399. We're not sure if the property was sold out of foreclosure or if the auction was staved off but what is clear as per property records is that the property was sold in late May (2011) for $2,900,000, a fraction of the seven and a quarter million he first wanted and substantially less then the 4.3 million the minimum bid set for the Trustee's Sale suggests he owed on the place.

A cursory stroll the property records did not turn up any other Los Angeles area properties in Mister Chadwick's portfolio but it did reveal that way back in August of 1989 Mister Chadwick spent $300,000 to buy a modest house on affluent Country Club Drive in the quaint and quiet community of Cutchogue on the North Fork of Long Island. The 1.08 acre-spread was sold last November for $550,000, representing a quarter of a million dollar gain over 22 years of ownership.

listing photos (Carbon Beach): Westside Estate Agency
listing photos (Serra Retreat) Berlyn Photography for Coldwell Banker Malibu

Alexis Glick Looks to Dump Contemporary Crib in the Hamptons

SELLER: Alexis and Oren Glick
LOCATION: Water Mill, NY
PRICE: $8,995,000
SIZE: 3,000 square feet (approx.), 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Yesterday we dissed and discussed an ocean front home in the highly desirable and hideously expensive seaside enclave of Malibu (CA) owned by actor Tony Danza and listed with a robust asking price of $9,100,000. As expected, more than a few of the children had their real estate apple carts upset about the high price of the property particularly when they considered how it's wedged into a sliver of sand between two other houses and the too often traffic-clogged Pacific Coast Highway.

In order to satisfy the rugrats who need more elbow room Your Mama thought we'd schlep out to a similarly priced mini-compound in Water Mill (NY), one of the hoitier of the toity communities that comprise the Hamptons. The property, owned by former Fox Business News anchor lady Alexis Glick and her photo industry hubby Oren, is listed at $8,995,000, slightly less than Mister Danza's digs in the Bu. Although the Glick residence sits on a quiet lane lined with multi-million dollar bay front houses, anyone who has ever attempted to drive an automobile from Quogue to East Hampton at any time on any day during the extended summer season knows that–just as in Malibu–traffic in the Hamptons can be murderously frustrating.

New York City-raised Miz Glick was an equities trader on Wall Street before she caught the Showbiz Bug and starting filling in as an anchor/business news correspondent on various NBC, MSNBC and CNBC programs. In 2007 the brainy brunette became the anchor-hostess of the Money for Breakfast and Opening Bell programs on Fox Business Network (FBN), both of which have since been cancelled to make way for the much more popular and polarizing Imus in the Morning. Miz Glick left FBN in late 2009 and now heads up Gen YOUth Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to reversing childhood obesity, the very same cause that recently got first lady Michelle Obama crucified by conservatives who were outraged at the mere suggestion that a person might want to consider eating a goddam salad or rutabaga instead of a colossally caloric super-sized meal at a fast food joint.

Anyhoo, Missus Glick's mister owns and operates the Shootdigital photo studio in New York City's NoHo nabe. Together they have three boy children and as a family divide their time between their Water Mill mini-compound and a sleek apartment in the Flatiron District of Manhattan.

Property records reveal Mister and Missus Glick acquired their Hamptons hideaway in August 2007 for $7,300,000, just before real estate markets across the country took a titanic tumble due (in large part) to the implosion of the mortgage industry. Mister and Missus Glick have had their Hamptons house on the market since sometime before August 2010 when it was listed with a much higher price tag of $9,950,000.

Similar in size to Mister Danza's approximately 3,000 square foot main house in Malibu, the Glick mini-compound also has an approximately 3,000 square foot main house with three bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Also like Mister Danza's property in the Bu, which has 2 detached guest suites, the Glick compound includes additional living quarters in a detached guest house.

While Mister Danza's house sits directly on the sand, the Glick's mini-compound backs up to a wee inlet on stunning Mecox Bay. It is perhaps a bit far for the pampered to walk or even bike to the beach but it's not out of the question that a person might paddle a kayak or canoe from the private dock to the beach at the bottom of Flying Point Road, a stunning stretch of sand Your Mama, the Dr. Cooter our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly know quite well from our beach going years on the East End.

Listing information states the modern main house, built in 1971, was designed by "renowned architect Joe Bahri" while most other online discussions of the property name the architect as Y.S Bahri. Iffin Your Mama is being honest–and we always are–we'd freely confess that we've not ever heard of Joe nor Y.S. Bahri and we came up all but empty-handed when we Blackled them.

The guest house, an equally modern and glassy romboidal structure was designed by Francis Fleetwood, a well-known Hamptons architect who more typically specializes in gigantic shingled "cottages."

After purchasing their fancy-pants pad in the Hamptons, Mister and Missus Glick hired minimalist-minded architect West Chin to do over the interior spaces. This was not the first time Mister Chin was employed by the Glicks; He'd previously re-worked the family's Flatiron District apartment that appeared in 2008 in all its sleek and glossy glory in the lush pages of the now defunct Metropolitan Home magazine.

Your Mama would bet our long-bodied bitches Linda and Beverly that there will be a vociferous cavalcade of high-nosed classicists and architectural traditionalists who will sneer and snipe at the voluminous, very spare and nearly all-white interiors of the Glick crib in Water Mill for which Mister Chin is known. The architect is, as it turns out, quite popular amongst glammy New Yorkers such as catwalkers Amber Valetta and Shalom Harlow, Ari and Atoosa Rubenstein–he's a financier, she's the former editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine, celebrity fashion photographer Regan Cameron, and actor Ed Burns and 1990s supermodel Christy Turlington who have all at one time or another hired Mister Chin to work his clean-lined architectural hocus-pocus on their own homes.

The angular and not-particularly pretty gray-shingled exterior gives way to lofty and voluminous living areas with chocolaty hardwood floors, reflective white walls, soaring ceilings of various heights and vast expanses of glass that frame and exploit the glorious water and and sunset views.

The main living areas of the main house pinwheel around a chunky fireplace stack and include a sunken living room where the transcendentally towering ceiling is spanned by a floating bridge that connects the upper level hall to the master bedroom. A few steps up from the living room the dining area has hard-wearing eggshell-colored tile flooring and is simply furnished with little more than a white high-gloss picnic table and a firework-shaped potted tree.

A long-bank on floor-to-ceiling windows extends the dining area down into an airy but intimate window-lined and glass-roofed sitting area furnished with a pair of wing-back recliner-style chairs upholstered in a flat gray fabric. We're not convinced about the chairs but we are 100% positive that nooky-nook is a spectacular spot for whittling away weekend mornings with a whiskey-spiked cup of coffee while the sun sets the bay a-glitter in the diffuse morning light for which the Hamptons are famous.

The tile floors in the dining area extend into the adjoining kitchen, a water-loving sybarite's dream with a wide row of windows instead of overhead cabinetry. The lower cabinets, gleaming white and Shaker-style, have long, vertically installed stainless steel (or nickel-plated or whatever) pulls. The very spare kitchen may not be the picture of country house cozy but it is outfitted with high-grade stainless steel appliances that include twin dishwashers and opens to a waterside dining terrace.

A sky-lit family room lined with open shelves filled with an astonishing number of action figurines was softened with wall-to-wall gray carpeting and an almost identically colored sectional sofa/lounge that Your Mama loves as do, we imagine, all the at-home orgiasts who lurk around our little interweb endeavor.

The chocolate-colored hardwood floors reappear in second floor master bedroom that also features crisp white walls, vaulted ceiling, glass-doored firebox with flat-screen tee-vee mounted above it, a potted tree or two and a bank of sliding glass doors that lead to a tiny waterside terrace.

The glassy guest house his a pocket-sized kitchenette area, bathroom easily accessed by sunbathers and swimming pool users, living room with limestone tile (or whatever) floors, wall-mounted flat-screen tee-vee, comfy looking wicker furniture set and a steeply-pitched sky-lit ceiling that allows for a full-height sleeping loft that hangs over the living room.

In between the main and guest houses an octagonal heated swimming pool and spa are surrounded by one of those dreaded child-safety barriers. As grotesque as we find most of these kid-saving swimming pool tsafey fences, this one at least was custom-designed to complement the architecture of the house. We still hate it but it could really be so much worse. An earlier listing for the property stated that the "indigenous landscaping" was designed by by Hamptons-based landscape guru Chris LaGuardia.

Your Mama will let the children duke it out in the comments and decide which is better real estate for the money: Malibu or Water Mill. How-evah, hunnies, the reality of the matter is that most wealthy west coast folks don't have the inclination to fly to the Hamptons for summer weekends and most east coast folks aren't interested in crossing the country by plane in order to hang out by the ocean for a day or two. So, really, it's a little bit like comparing apples with oranges and, it should be noted, comparing what nine million clams buys in Malibu and/or the Hamptons with what half a million bucks buys in Wyoming or Alabama about as worthwhile as comparing a koala bear to a shoe. With that in your pipe, put on your real estate boxing gloves and have at it.

listing photos: Prudential Douglas Elliman

Malibu Digs of Tony Danza Goes on the Market

SELLER: Tony Danza
PRICE: $9,100,000
SIZE: 3,000 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Although they separated in 2006 after nearly 20 long years of marriage, actor Tony Danza and wife Tracy officially only filed for a dee-vorce earlier in the year (2011). The collapse of the erstwhile couple's connubiality may or may not have something to do with why they recently pushed their ocean front beach house in Malibu, CA on the market with an asking price of $9,100,000

In the late 1970s, after being star-spotted training in a New York City boxing gym, a young and muscled Mister Danza took on the role of a beau-hunky bonehead on the ground-breaking and dee-voon sitcom Taxi. From there he went on to Who's the Boss? on which he played a beau-hunky housekeeper. Mister's Danza's career has muddled along since Who's the Boss? came to a close in 1992; He starred on a number of short-lived sitcoms (Hudson Street, The Tony Danza Show), earned an Emmy nomination in 1998 for a guest-starring role on The Practice, briefly hosted an eponymous talk show (The Tony Danza Show), and hoofed it on Broadway (The Iceman Cometh, The Producers). Like many other Tinseltown types with a sluggish career deep in its sunset Mister Danza has most recently dipped his toe into the murky reality television waters. In 2009 he signed on to Teach: Tony Danza, in which he co-taught English classes in a large Philadelphia high school. The show lasted just seven episodes.

A peep and poke around the property records reveals that Mister and soon-to-be-ex-Missus Danza have owned their ocean front home in The Bu since July 1987 when they acquired it for $1,150,000. Lowerd people, it's enough to make a person spit like an angry camel to recall the ancient days when you could snatch up a big house on the sand in Malibu for anywhere near a million dollars.

Listing information shows the Danza dwelling was originally built in 1949, sits on 50-feet of sandy ocean frontage, measures around 3,000 square feet and includes 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms in the main house. Two detached guest suites, each with private pooper, offer flexible space for additional sleeping quarters, a home fitness center, media room, meditation retreat, S/M dungeon and/or home office.

A verdant courtyard separates the street from the house that, as per listing information, sits privately below street level. A wide living/dining room has hardwood floors, beamed ceiling, corner white-brick fireplace and up-close ocean views through a bank of windows and French doors. A wide corridor that connects the entry to the living/dining area does double-duty as a tee-vee watching nook with an entertainment center custom built in to the space below the stairs.

Just beyond the dining area in the main room, a center island kitchen has a combination of butcher block and granite counter tops, gleaming white cabinetry, a commercial grade range and and a head on view of the beach and craggy rocks that dramatically dot the coastline on that particular stretch of Malibu. Behind the sink, a stained glass window keeps the neighbors from peering but iffin we're being honest–and we always are–it's an ass-ugle decorative faux pas that causes Your Mama real sadness that can only be cured by a mid-morning gin & tonic.

The master bedroom encompasses the entire second floor of the main house and includes a large bedroom with sand colored wall-to-wall carpeting and wood-framed sliding glass doors that open to a private terrace. A sitting area with corner white-brick fireplace and built-in book shelves also has big ocean views and access to the sea side terrace.

The sand-colored wall-to-wall carpeting extends right on into the attached master bathroom outfitted with two sinks, a long make-up vanity, separate glassed-in shower and an over-sized soaking tub set at a cattywompus angle in the corner. Your Mama can tolerate–not like, but tolerate–the glass brick wall behind the bathtub installed, no doubt, to retain a modicum of privacy during evacuations and ablutions. However, we can not abide by wall-to-wall carpeting in this or any other bathroom. In fact, Rule Number 16 in Your Mama's Big Book of Decorating Dos and Dont's emphatically states, "No bathing or terliting facility of any kind should ever, under any circumstances have wall-to-wall carpeting installed." Imagine, hunties, the state of that carpet after the Dr. Cooter plugs up the crapper and our bull-in-a-China-shop house gurl Svetlana plunges so vigorously that–ahem–water splashes out and all over that nasty wall-to-wall carpet.

A slim deck cantilevered over the sand spans the entire width of the house and offers just barely enough room for a dining table with umbrella and a few lounge chairs for soaking up the sun. Your Mama notes that a second floor deck next door looks directly down on to Mister and soon-to-be ex-Missus Danza's ocean side deck, a situation that surely puts a damper on nude sunbathing for all but the most flagrant exhibitionists.

We're certain some of the childrens' panties are all in a twist thinking it's real estate insanity for Mister Danza to ask $9,100,000 for a perfectly ordinary house in such close quarters that a person can hear the neighbors terlits flushing and the owners bickering. Like it or not, puppies, Malibu is frightfully pricey and although there have been a scant number of sales along this particular stretch of Malibu sand in the last year, the hefty asking price on the Mister Danza's house is not entirely unrealistic given that budding mobile marketing magnate Asher Delug just paid nine million clams for a slightly larger–and admittedly more updated–three-story house a few doors down the beach.

Since splitting with the Missus in 2006, Mister Danza has been on a bit of a real estate merry-go-round. In October 2007 he coughed up $2,600,000 for a 4,978 square foot house in the Fryman Canyon area in Studio City, CA. In all honesty, we have no idea if this house is occupied by Mister or soon-to-be-ex-Missus Danza.

About the same time Mister Danza was buying a new house in Studio City, he put the long-time Danza Family Homestead on Longridge Avenue in Sherman Oaks, CA on the market with an asking price of $6,150,000. He and soon-to-be-ex-Missus Danza purchased the property in the fall of 1986 from actor Robert Urich (Vega$, Spenser: For Hire) for $1,556,180 and had the house rebuilt in the mid-1990s after it was destroyed during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. The 6,778 square foot mansion–listing information rather speciously and optimistically called it a "Stately Cape Cod traditional"–in April 2008 for $5,000,000.

In addition to a ski-chalet in Park City, UT that Your Mama dissed and discussed back in late 2008 when it was up for lease, records and reports also show that Mister Danza continues to own a small apartment on the 27th floor of the star-packed Millennium Tower building in New York City, the same Upper West Side building where Emmy winning and Oscar nominated actor Alan Alda, big haired radio shock jock Howard Stern, Oscar-nominated Irish actor Liam Neeson and talk show host Regis Philbin also own apartments.

listing photos: Pritchett-Rapf

Critical Issues With Water Damage

Sometimes, particularly with first-time homebuyers, the more obvious cosmetic home concerns, such as landscaping, painting and flooring overshadow the more critical issues, such as water damage, which can have serious consequences and cost quite a bit to correct or repair.

Surveys found structural damage, plumbing systems and water seepage are three of the most commonly found defects in older homes for sale.

Some Examples Of Water Damage

Some of the water problems to keep an eye out for during the inspection include: · Water seepage and wet basements. If you have small cracks in the foundation and porous walls, heavy rains can potentially build up against the foundation and ultimately leak into your basement and could eventually cause serious and costly structural concerns. How do you alleviate the problem? Make sure those foundation cracks are sealed. Also, surface water run-off should drain away from the house. Direct gutter downspouts away from the foundation. · Roof leaks. The biggest problem area is the flashing, the areas where the roof plane changes, like at a chimney or plumbing vent. Regularly check your flashings. Check the interior of your roof at least once a season. If you have constant leaks in the attic, damage or mold growth in the insulation can occur.

· Poor water pressure. This can be a sign of water service supply deficiencies or costly piping upgrades. First you should determine if the problem might be caused by blocked faucet aerators, partially closed or defective faucets. If you have old galvanized piping in your house, the issue might be interior corrosion or deposit build-up. The best thing you can do is replace the blocked sections of pipe. And perhaps the biggest water issue these days is mold, which can cause panic in homeowners and is prompting the number of insurance claims and amount of jury awards that are on the rise. Mold has been around for years and is commonly found in homes. But while often harmless, too much of certain kinds of mold in a home can be dangerous. Mold always indicates excessive moisture and the source should be corrected immediately.

Mold Damage

The following steps should be taken to prevent mold growth: · Wash mold off hard surfaces and then dry them completely. Absorbent materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be replaced. · Keep drip pans in your air conditioner, refrigerator and dehumidifier clean and dry. · Use exhaust fans or open windows in kitchens and bathrooms when showering, cooking or using the dishwasher. · Place vents for clothes dryers and bathroom exhaust fans outside the home. · Remove and replace flooded carpets and drywall. · Maintain low indoor humidity, ideally between 30-50 percent relative humidity. Humidity levels can be measured by hygrometers, which can often be found at local hardware stores. · Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products. · When painting the home, add mold inhibitors to paint. · Do not carpet bathrooms. If the problem persists, or if anyone in the house is susceptible to mold and mildew, have the problem evaluated by an expert in mold/moisture intrusion.