Friday, October 2, 2009

Meg Ryan's Bel Air Home Back on the Market: Is it too Cold?

Thanks to two of our favorite sources, Luxist and the L.A. Times, we know that movie actress Meg Ryan has placed her Bel Air back on the market.  According to the Times, she purchased the Spanish-style 6BR/7BA home in 2000 for a little under $9M.  The home was built in 1931 and has been beautifully restored.  It also has four fireplaces, a guest house, and a swimming pool, and comes with city and ocean views. 

Meg put it on the market last October for $19.5M and withdrew it in February, after apparently getting no takers.  Now she's asking $14.2M.  Who knows if the home is priced right this time? 

We're more interested in the debate on Luxist as to whether this home lacks warmth.  At least one realtor said she'd been inside the home and found it cold. 

In our opinion, her home and the furnishings inside are gorgeous, as shown above and below--even if its hard to figure out the functionality of these rooms.

Though we're not sure if the room below is a bedroom with a floating bed next to the fireplace or two sofas facing each other, we love this room! 

And we think this kitchen is absolutely PERFECT:

Granted, aside from the photos in the kitchen, the home looks like it isn't currently being lived in.  No flowers, no anything to suggest activity or personality.  But don't realtors advise their clients to strip away their personal items so prospective buyers can envision themselves there? 

We think the room that everyone thinks needs improvement is this one:

If it's the main living room, it does look a bit awkward.  Our guess is that it's nothing an interior designer couldn't rework.

Moreover, we think the rest of the interior along with outdoor spaces (below) overcome our minor quibble with the living room:

We love this house!   It's our Celebrity Home of the Week!

Good luck with the sale Meg!

Top Chef Host Padma Lakshmi is Expecting! A Bohemian Pad Awaits Her Baby--Swing Included!

CNN is reporting that Padma Lakshmi, host of Bravo's Top Chef, is expecting her first child at age 39.  Padme struggled for years with endometriosis, a condition that can cause infertility.  Her physician is referring to it as a "medical miracle."  The currently single Padma, who was previously married to Salman Rushdie, has not named the father.  Doesn't matter, we know this baby will be absolutely gorgeous, just like her mom.

So what kind of home can Baby Lakshmi expect?  A pretty cool bohemian NYC condo with little hints of Indian influences (a nod to Padma's paternal heritage).   Padma even has a swing in the middle of her living room(!): 

Not sure what all she does with that swing these days--after all she IS a Single Girl in the City--but we're sure she'll put it to good use when the baby comes.  And that's one less item to go on her baby registry.

As a former fashion model, Padma certainly has an enviable closet.  Guess she'll have to push that aqua Badgley Mischka dress and all those other designer frocks aside.  Time to make room for diapers, dolls, and dainty little baby things.

And there'll be no more tantalizing recipes from her Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet cookbook made in her kitchen below.  It's all bland baby food from here on out, sister!  And speaking of food. . . why is her closet more stylish than her kitchen given her current vocation?

Okay, maybe the tiny kitchen is pretty fabulous too, by NYC standards.  It's at least worthy of that Roberto Cavalli gown she's wearing!  

Anyway, congrats to Padma.  Here's to eating for two!

All condo photos by Douglas Friedman.  For more photos and information on Padma's condo and clothes, check out the recent article and slideshow on Harper's Bazaar online.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

King of the Hill: Bill Gates Tops Forbes' Rich List

Forbes just came out with its list of the Richest People in America and we can't believe that WE didn't make the final cut!

As more proof that the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor, Microsoft founder Bill Gates tops the list for the 16th year in a row.  Current worth:  $50 Billion, give or take a few.  Does anyone remember the days when $50 Million was a lot of money?  Guess that's chump change now.

So, how's he livin'?  VERY LARGE!

Yes, his home consists of ALL that you see in the above photo.  You're looking at a 50,000 square foot home with an additional 16,000 square feet of outbuildings and garage space. 

This earth-sheltered mansion sits on the side of a hill in Medina, Washington, with a lakefront view.  It's a technological state-of-the-art fortress residence designed to look like a Pacific Northwest Lodge.  Visitors are given a microchip when they enter the home that records their preferences and alters the home's climate (temperature, sound, and other conditions) to match their preferences as they move through the home.

That's all fine and dandy.  We still don't care for the lodge-like SIZE and SPRAWL of this house -- it's too big to feel homey.  But we do like certain elements of the pacific northwest lodge STYLE as shown in the top photo and this one below:

The emphasis is clearly on the views of the lake, which must be spectacular!

The interior is consistent with the outside.  No surprises here.  It has a Frank Lloyd Wright feel, with lots of wood plank, stone, and other natural materials:

There's also an indoor pool, with an architectural ceiling and an underwater sound system (sorry we couldn't find a clearer photo):

All in all, we suppose we like Gates' home and respect it for what it is:  a geek's version of a nature lover's paradise.  Still don't know if we'd want to live there.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Fixer Upper for Mad Men's January Jones?

Yesterday, we saw the home of Jon Hamm, the man behind Don Draper.  Today, we look at the home of the woman behind the woman behind the man Don Draper.  Did you follow that?  Let's try it again:  Today, we look at the home of January Jones, who plays Don Draper's wife Betty Draper on AMC's Mad Men.  This time, we have photos of the inside!

January plays the part of a young and beautiful yet truly "desperate" housewife so effortlessly that it's hard to believe she's even acting.  In our view, that makes her a great actress.

Anyway, she just paid $1.02M for a 2200 sq. ft. mediterranean villa (below) with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths.  We guess she wanted to stay close to her TV husband because she just purchased a home near his, as it is also in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles. 

As you can see, her home is nothing like the one she occupies on the show.  More proof that she's not Betty in real life!

Real Estalker and everyone else is referring to this house as a fixer up and at first we agreed.  The only thing we liked was the front door.  Notice the gorgeous fretwork that only needs stripping or a high gloss paint job to bring out its beauty:

Upon closer inspection of some of the other rooms like the living and dining rooms below, we think all that may be needed for them is a good paint job and a new chandelier.  If you ignore the decor of the previous owner, you'll see that it's pretty much a blank slate for January to do whatever she wants:

Granted we haven't seen the bathrooms.  And maybe this kitchen does need serious renovation:

But it's an otherwise light and airy home that doesn't appear to need much except a good interior designer.  Whenever she get's done lobbying Congress to save the sharks (thought we didn't know about that, huh?), let's hope she hires a designer and shows off the end results!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

We're Mad for Mad Men's Jon Hamm! Oh Yeah, His House is Nice Too!

We're completely addicted to AMC's Emmy Award-winning show Mad Men.  And Jon Hamm is our drug of choice.  Okay, was that way too Hamm-y?  All we're saying is, Jon is super sexy and seems to be as mysterious as Don Draper, the character he plays on the show. 

Jon lives with his longtime girlfriend actress Jennifer Westfeldt in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles.  Thanks to a lead from one of our favorite new sources Aerial Dave (and a little bit of digging on our own) we know that they own this gorgeous Spanish Mediterranean:

Their home lies on a street lined with equally gorgeous homes.  According to property records, theirs was built in 1923.  Even though it sits on a tiny lot, the home clocks in at a little over 3100 sq. ft. with 5 bedrooms and 3 baths. 

Unfortunately for us, Jon and Jen are intensely private.  As far as we know, they have never allowed the press into their lovely home.  So dear readers if you know where we can get our hands on some shots of the interior, please let us know!

Gosh, we haven't even seen the inside and we already love it!

But who are we kidding, we love him! And he knows why! Get a load of this hilarious SNL video, which has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with houses:

Monday, September 28, 2009

Matt Lauer Buys Waterfront Cottage in Southampton

We've never been so jealous of a 1,500 sq. ft house in all our lives!  This tiny little cape cod style cottage was so appealing to the NBC Today Show co-host Matt Lauer that he paid the full asking price of $2.15 million for it.

This little charmer has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a country kitchen.  It also has a delightful sunroom with a waterfront view:

The real attraction is this wraparound deck with access to the boat dock and 85 feet of frontage on a pond connected to Little Peconic Bay:

What a perfect little getaway spot!  It shows that it doesn't take much to make you happy . . . if you happen to have $2.15 million!

Photos: Sotheby's International Realty/Story source: WSJ

Washington Redskin Fred Smoot Quietly Marries & Puts House Up for Sale

The Washington Redskins may have lost to Detroit yesterday, but cornerback Fred Smoot has reason to feel like a winner:  he got married on the QT the week before last.  Incidentally, he also recently placed his 8,429 sq. ft. home in Great Falls, Virginia, on the market for $1.695 million.

For those of you who don't recall, Smoot was the alleged ringleader in the 2005 Minnesota Vikings "Love Boat" cruise scandal.  While he was still playing for the Vikings, Smoot along with several teammates rented a boat and hired a bunch of prostitutes for an all-out sex party.  YUCK!!!

Smoot later pled guilty to disorderly conduct and public nuisance charges, and the NFL subsequently fined him for about $82,000.

In 2007, he launched his own energy bar called SMACK.  We certainly hope that's not in reference to his cruise antics!

Anyway, we dug up the video tour of his house (below).  Watch it and you'll see that this is the typically hideous generic oversized home with oversized furniture and ugly decorative elements.  Oh, and let's not forget the requisite fancy kitchen with granite countertops. 

From here on out, we're going to just start referring to houses like this as "baller chic" to keep from repeating ourselves so much.

Unfortunately, there's simply not much to recommend the house or its interior design.  Though we do think the virtual tour provided in the realtor's listing shows the house in a much better light.

So who's the new wifey?  Summer Joy Hughes (above), a Georgia lawyer, who probably wants a classier looking crib.  Smoot apparently likes to keep his hookers close and his lawyers closer!  (Just kidding.)

Congrats to the lovely couple!  We'll  assume they didn't take a cruise for their honeymoon. 

For more details on the house, including the realtor's virtual tour, check out the listing here.
For more details on the wedding, check out the story by The Washington Post's Reliable Source. 
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