Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Frasier's David Hyde Pierce Puts Los Feliz Estate on the Block
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 8,184 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES:Yesterday the ever-industrious kids over at Curbed took some time out of their no-doubt flower- and chocolate-filled Valentines Day to gush over and discuss an historic Spanish Colonial Revival-style mansion in Los Angeles' celebrity-friendly Los Feliz area that popped up on the (open) market this week with an asking price of $7,500,000.
What the Curbed kids did not reveal is, according to multiple of Your Mama's most reliable sources including the freakishly well-informed Lucy Spillerguts, the painstakingly restored and fully renovated three story residence—built in the days before the stock market crashed in 1929 for auto and transportation industry executive O.R. Fuller—has been owned since March 2003 by 4-time Emmy-winning actor David Hyde Pierce and his sitcom writer/producer husband of 25-plus years Brian Hargrove (Caroline in the City, Titus).
Misters Hyde Pierce and Hargrove, married in California during the brief window in 2008 when the state government permitted The Gays to legally tie their romantic knots, paid, as per property records, $3,625,000 for the properly gated, wonderfully private, and prominently positioned near-one acre hillside property blessed with sweeping views over the the tree tops, strip malls and twinkling lights of Tinseltown.
Mister Hyde Pierce trained as a thespian at Yale, barked around the theater in New York City a bit and appeared in a number of small roles on both the tee-vee and silver screen (Bright Lights, Big City, Addams Family Values) before he rocketed to his professional pinnacle as the fastidious, fussy and surprisingly heterosexual effete Dr. Niles Crane on the now (very profitably) syndicated sit-com Frasier.
The children will note that as Dr. Niles Crane, Mister Hyde Pierce was nominated or won an Emmy Award every year from 1994 to 2004. He also earned five Golden Globe nominations (but no wins), and 19 Screen Actors Guild award nominations that resulted in two wins. During its long run and after the lights went down on Frasier, Mister Hyde Pierce lent his voice to several animated films including A Bug's Life and Treasure Planet and several times trod the well-worn boards of Broadway in musical extravaganzas such as La Bête, Spamalot, and Curtain for which he won a Tony Award in 2007. In 2010 he was given the Isabelle Stevenson Award at the Tonys for his contribution to humanitarian, social service and charitable organizations, specifically his extensive work in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.
Listing information shows the 8,184 square foot mansion was "meticulously restored" after Misters Hyde Pierce and Hargove acquired it and includes a total of 7 bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms, a count Your Mama is pretty sure (but not certain) includes the 1 bedroom and 2 bathrooms in the detached guest house situated well and privately above the main house on a grassy, pie-shaped terrace at the rear of the up-sloping .92 acre property.
Original architectural details abound in the decidedly grand but somehow not egregiously ostentatious, double-height rotunda entrance with gleaming Mexican paver tile floors underfoot and a stunner of a rustic wood ceiling with stained glass details overhead. The chandelier, while probably an antique of significant expense, does not appear to be original to the residence when current listing images are compared to the cache of spine tingling photographs of the house taken in 1930 and dug up by the peeps at Paradise Leased.
The primary public rooms on the main floor include a baronial-scaled step down living room with coffee-colored hardwood floors, French doors that lead to an awning-shaded balcony with city and swimming pool views, and a massive fireplace with carved stone mantelpiece. A banquet hall-sized formal dining room with hand-stenciled wood ceiling and tile floor opens through French doors to a pie-shaped lounging veranda with really very lovely city views.
At the front of the house, just off the cross-shaped vestibule that connects the rotunda entry to the elegantly rectilinear formal living room, a window-wrapped den/library has a corner fireplace, wet bar and what has to be one of the yummiest honeycomb coffered wood ceilings Your Mama has seen in a very long time.
The main floor service and family quarters appear to be mostly unaltered and as shown on the floor plan originally included a kitchen-sized butler's pantry, elongated octagonal breakfast room with wood beamed ceiling, a curving corridor that hugs the rotunda entry and connects to the attached 4-car garage, a large laundry facility (also with direct access to the garage), and a gigantic kitchen.
Current listing photos show the kitchen retains a wall of original (or re-incorporated vintage) ice boxes, a Subaru-sized center island, and a generous walk-in pantry. The walls and ceiling are entirely covered with glossy, pale yellow tiles with linear mint green accents. We don't know if the tile work is original (or a recreation of the original). Even though Your Mama feels the tile ceiling does give the room an uncomfortable pinch of surgical suite-ness, we're rather swooning for all that insane tile work. Who does that anymore? Who tiles the ceiling of their kitchen? Anyone?
Upstairs a knock-your-socks-off upper landing with a wide round hole in the floor that looks down into the entry leads to a cozy library/study plus a corridor lined with built-in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with actually books and the three guest/family bedroom suites with bathrooms renovated with original 1920 style. We're not sure if all, part or any of the almost entirely beigely decorated mansion has had the once-over by Staging Lady in Pink Toyota or if it's all the handiwork of Misters Hyde Pierce and Hargrove and their team on nice-gay and/or lady decorators but current listing photos show the star-sized, city view master suite, carpeted wall to wall with the most ordinary but probably punishingly expensive beige carpeting, inexplicably takes a surprisingly modern Art Deco turn with its furnishings. No doubt there is extensive closet space and the adjoining white marble bathroom has a luxe-retro-day spa sort thing happening with twin pedestal sinks, bathtub (that may or may not be jetted) set into an arched niche with stained glass window, and a separate marble-tile sheathed shower.
The lower level of the house, which opens to a charity event sized flagstone terrace that extends around the rectangular swimming pool and elevated circular spa, includes, as per listing information, a large wine vault, home theater warmed by an original brick fireplace, storage rooms, a home gym—natch—and a spa style bathroom equipped with changing room and steam/sauna facilities.
It may be a cliché but living in southern California comes with the benefit of easy-peasy indoor-outdoor living and where better to live outside than on the pie-shaped covered veranda that connects and softens the exterior articulation between the formal living formal living and dining rooms and features an outdoor fireplace for taking the edge of chilly evenings and nippy mornings, polished Mexican paver tile flooring, and a wood beamed ceiling supported by carved wood pillars that frame an enviably long vista over the the monotonous by day but glittery by night flat lands that stretch for miles and miles and miles towards the Pacific Ocean.
The lushly landscaped grounds include a stately, gated drive that curves up to a motor court with parking for at least four cars, a number of tree-ringed terraced lawns plenty large enough to have multiple Slip 'n Slides going at the same time, and all around the house extensively planted and expensively maintained gardens crossed and girdled by stepping stones and flagstone paths.
A free-standing second outdoor fireplace anchors one long side of the swimming pool and a pair of identical curving staircases wend gracefully up to a gate that opens to the motor court at the front of the house. This configuration, of course, allows Misters Hyde Pierce and Hargrove to host pool parties without being subjected to the scantily clad pool party goers traipsing through the house. And also of course, the lower level spa bathroom, gym and steam/sauna only sweeten the pool party pot, if you know what we're saying. Oh, please. We tease. Use yer noggins. Your Mama has no direct knowledge whatsoever that Misters Hyde Pierce and Hargrove have ever even swam in that cement pond let alone invited a cadre of well-formed friends and acquaintances to paddle in their pool.
We do not, y'all understand, know a sow from a sunflower seed so we can't say with any validity whatsoever why these two gentlemen might wish to unload their very elegant yet still manly (or "manly") and almost entirely beige mansion in Los Angeles. Perhaps they want to downsize, upsize, or supersize. Or maybe they plan to spend more time in New York City where they own a penthouse apartment near Lincoln Square that property records show they scooped up in May 2005 for $2,500,000. A bit over a year later in September 2006 they spent another $772,000 on a 3.5 room apartment one floor below that includes 1 bedrooms and 1 bathroom but we, it should come as no surprise, have no idea if they combined the penthouse with the 1 bedroom.
The couple also maintain an ocean front house in Amagansett—that's out in the hoity toity Hamptons—property records and previous reports reveal they picked up in spring 2010 for $6,300,000.
listing photos: Engel & Völkers
floor plan: Paradise Leased