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Celebrity Realtor Reveals What Stars Are Looking for in a Home

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This Ultra-Modern Beverly Hills Mansion Can Be Yours for 1,000 Bitcoins—or $65 Million

Today’s bitcoin valuation in US dollars topped $62,000, up $3,000 from just a few weeks ago. If you’ve been deep into the crypto craze and amassing bitcoin, all you need is about 1,000 of them to buy this stunning Beverly Hills estate. Or you could just use regular old coin—$65 million worth. The property is part of a recent uptick seen in real estate owners willing to take either dollars or cryptocurrency for the purchase of a home. This particular slice of Southern California heaven is over-the-top—but still tasteful—in nearly every thoughtful detail, from the architecture to the sleek Italian millwork and cabinetry. The entrance features a floating slab of marble, which is a hint to some of the other highlights built into the home, such as a 20-foot stone wall of water and a cantilevered primary suite that feels like it’s floating over the pool. The marble-and-stone theme continues throughout the seven-bedroom mansion. A massive custom island for the bar is book-matched to look like a single block of stone. The island and the beautiful rack behind it both have integrated LED lighting to put the spot on singular bottles and set the mood. In the primary suite’s bathrooms, a Pibamarmi tub is made with Nero Marquina marble and the shower is lined with book-matched Calacatta marble. You’ll find more of it gracing the fireplace in the great room, as well as the floor of the stunning wine cellar, which holds 2,000 bottles. The main kitchen—yep, there’s more than one—features a 14-foot leathered-stone island imported from Italy and floor-to-ceiling cabinets from Dada. All appliances are by Gaggenau. The table—included—has a custom top from Poliform and a hanging cube light fixture by Baxter. The space also connects to a casual hangout room with a fireplace and modular sofa by B&B Italia. Sliding glass pocket doors retract and open on to the terrace. The second butler’s kitchen can be accessed by staff through the garage and is made for major entertaining with its dual Viking stoves that have a total of 16 burners. Concrete finishes give it a more commercial feel, but the fittings are still all ultra-luxe, with cabinets again by Dada and Gaggenau appliances.

A ‘Natural’ Beverly Hills Mansion Seeks $65 Million

A Beverly Hills megamansion with a 15-foot-tall waterfall wall and a monochromatic wine cellar is coming on the market for $65 million. Other features of the pricey mansion: a bridge at the entryway hovers over a man-made stream that runs underneath the entire house and bronze-colored louvers that reflect light. The property also includes a movie theater, a dining room positioned on a skybridge that overlooks a courtyard, an office and a large pool. The property was developed by Luxford Investment Group, a real-estate development company headed by investor Michael Chen. Mr. Chen’s group purchased the site of the property in 2014 for $15 million, records show. He said he spent about six years designing and building the property, which is about 18,200 square feet and has seven bedrooms. He said most of the finishes were flown in from Italy, and an 150-year-old olive tree was flown in from Tuscany as a centerpiece for an interior courtyard.

Barry’s, Greenleaf CEOs Relist 1920s Los Angeles Chateau for $11.99 Million

Barry’s CEO Joey Gonzalez and his husband, Jon Rollo, CEO and chef of Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails, have put their historic 1920s chateau back on the market for $11.99 million. Located in the tony Hancock Park section of Los Angeles, the six-bedroom, six-bathroom home, which they bought in 2016 for $6.95 million, according to property records, has been restored with a mix of original period details and modern updates. “Real estate has always been both our passions. In addition to growing our respective companies,” Mr. Gonzalez, who heads the fitness company formerly known as Barry's Bootcamp, said in a statement. “We’ve found joy in discovering architectural homes that we could restore and reimagine into modernity.” The ground level includes a grand foyer with a wraparound staircase; a wood-paneled library with built-in cabinets and detailing; a spacious, modern chef’s kitchen; and a garden bar with glass doors that open out into the backyard dining and entertaining areas, according to listing photos. The property stands on 32,000 square feet, and the outdoor space has been renovated to include multiple dining and entertaining areas, an outdoor fireplace, a large pool, and well-manicured citrus, vegetable and cutting gardens.

A ‘Natural’ Beverly Hills Mansion Seeks $65 Million

A Beverly Hills megamansion with a 15-foot-tall waterfall wall and a monochromatic wine cellar is coming on the market for $65 million. Other features of the pricey mansion: a bridge at the entryway hovers over a man-made stream that runs underneath the entire house and bronze-colored louvers that reflect light. The property also includes a movie theater, a dining room positioned on a skybridge that overlooks a courtyard, an office and a large pool. The property was developed by Luxford Investment Group, a real-estate development company headed by investor Michael Chen. Mr. Chen’s group purchased the site of the property in 2014 for $15 million, records show. He said he spent about six years designing and building the property, which is about 18,200 square feet and has seven bedrooms. He said most of the finishes were flown in from Italy, and an 150-year-old olive tree was flown in from Tuscany as a centerpiece for an interior courtyard. Mr. Chen said he was partially inspired by a trip he took to Big Sur, which led him to want to incorporate nature into the home’s design.

Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Selling Hollywood Hills Home

A modern Los Angeles residence with local political cachet was listed Monday for just under $2.6 million. Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Ramón Villaraigosa is selling his four-bedroom, four-bathroom Hollywood Hills house, according to Aaron Kirman of the Aaron Kirman Group at Compass, who has the listing. The home boasts far-reaching views of the city, including a glimpse of the Hollywood sign. “If you want a house with a view, this is it,” said Mr. Kirman. “There are very few houses where you can see this far.” That’s what attracted Mr. Villaraigosa, 68. "The moment I first walked up the stairs in this home and took in the views, I fell in love with it,” he said in an email. “Everything is in sight across the city, from my youth in East L.A. to my days in Mount Washington, Venice and Century City, and iconic landmarks like Griffith Park Observatory, City Hall, Union Station Gateway, [plus the] LAX flight paths and the Pacific Ocean.” Mr. Villaraigosa served as the mayor of Los Angeles. from 2005 to 2013, and was also the speaker of the California State Assembly and its Democratic majority leader. He ran for governor of California in 2018, coming in third in the state’s primary. The politician bought the home in 2015 for $2.5 million, according to public records. He purchased it from film and music video designer Vance Lorenzini, who had given the property a complete makeover.

Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa lists Hollywood Hills perch

L.A.’s 41st mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, is electing to sell in Hollywood Hills, offering up his scenic home for $2.595 million. The L.A. native served as mayor from 2005 to 2013 and bought the property two years later for $2.5 million, records show. During his stay, he preserved and updated the hillside house, which was originally redesigned by Vance Lorenzini — the production designer behind music videos for Madonna, Aerosmith, Kanye West and others. “This home is a true love story for me,” Villaraigosa said. “The moment I first walked up the stairs in this home and took in the views, I fell in love with it.”

Justin Bieber sells Beverly Hills home at a loss

Justin Bieber ended up half-a-million short in Beverly Hills, where he just sold his 1930s Colonial-style home for $7.955 million, The Times has confirmed. The pop star paid $8.5 million for the property just two years ago. The Grammy-winner probably isn’t sweating the loss. Last summer, he shelled out $25.8 million for a much larger estate on 2.5 acres in Beverly Park, The Times previously reported. This place is a bit smaller, centering on a 6,132-square-foot home entered by a courtyard dotted with olive trees. Recently reimagined by Hollywood production designer Charles Infante, the two-story house features a whitewashed weeping brick exterior and formal living spaces marked by white oak accents and steel-framed windows and doors.

Home of the Week: This Stunning Oceanfront Santa Barbara Estate Was Designed by Legendary Architect Wallace Neff

These days, a “for sale” sign on any oceanfront compound overlooking the crashing Pacific in the celeb-rich enclave of Santa Barbara, Calif. will likely have buyers standing in line. But one designed by the legendary architect Wallace Neff, inventor of the so-called “California style,” is only going to have heightened appeal. To add to the attraction, the iconic Straus House, designed in 1970 by Neff as a weekend retreat for Macy’s department store heir Robert K. Straus, is part of the tony Hope Ranch community just north of the city. Which all adds-up to the likelihood of one stratospheric asking price. As to exactly what that is, the owners—believed to be high-profile LA real estate investor A. Stuart Rubin and wife Annette—are, for now, keeping it out of the public domain. It makes sense. Back in 2017, they tested the market for the 1.53-acre property with an ambitious $32.7 million asking. Six months later with no takers, the price came down to $24.9 million. In October 2018, it was re-listed at $21.5 million only to be taken off the market in April 2019. But with the pandemic seeing demand for high-dollar Santa Barbara homes soaring and supply essentially drying up, the owners are trying their luck once again. Listing agents Weston Littlefield and Dalton Gomez of Aaron Kirman Group at Compass say the new price is “available upon request” to qualified buyers. The home itself is a classic Neff hacienda design that makes the most of the jaw-dropping location high on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, with distant, hazy views of the Channel Islands. In 1970 the architect was at the height of his career, having already designed homes for Hollywood A-listers like Charlie Chaplin, Groucho and Harpo Marx, Daryl Zanuck and Louis B. Mayer. He’d also masterminded the high-profile redesign of Pickfair, a vast Tudor-style mansion, for screen stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks.

Santa Barbara Home Designed by Wallace Neff Being Sold Off-Market

The house, which epitomizes the architect's California Style, was once listed for north of $32 million The owners of a Santa Barbara mansion by Wallace Neff, the architect who perfected the so-called California-style home, are quietly looking for a buyer amid a surge in demand for houses in the affluent coastal area. The sprawling, single-story mansion known as the Straus House, with its white-washed brick facade, clay-tile roof and exposed beams, epitomize the kind of rich Spanish Colonial-inspired homes that made Neff popular among a raft of celebrity clientele during the mid-20th century. The home has undergone a more recent expansion that included carving out amenity-packed basement levels and opening up some of its internal floor plan, according to a website promoting the house. “We’ve noticed that a lot of the big sales in Montecito have sold off market, and this house is just one of those pieces,” said agent Weston Littlefield, who’s working with the sellers alongside Dalton Gomez, both of the Aaron Kirman Group at Compass. “They’re like art pieces.” The 1.53-acre property sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean from Hope Ranch, a tiny, affluent suburb north of Santa Barbara. The owners, a local developer and his wife, who once listed the home for north of $32 million in 2017, and their agents are not publicizing the asking price this time around. It was last taken off the market in 2018 with a $21.5 million price tag. At the moment, the only home publicly listed for sale along this stretch of coastline in Hope Ranch is a new build on four acres asking $39 million. Straus House is so named for its original owner, Robert K. Straus, a native New Yorker and an heir to the Macy’s fortune, who served in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration and later moved to Southern California, where he founded a printing company. Straus and his wife were fans of Neff’s designs, having owned one in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles for many years before commissioning the architect to construct the Hope Ranch estate in 1970, according to a 1971 profile of the property in Architectural Digest.

Hollywood’s Top 30 Real Estate Agents

“It’s not for the timid,” says Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties’ Elisabeth Halsted of L.A.’s supercharged market, where many agents are on track to have their best sales year ever and buyers “need to have a strong stomach,” she adds, given the premium prices that blue-chip houses are commanding. Malibu’s average sales price, for example, jumped to $5.5 million in the second quarter of 2021, up from $3.4 million in the same period a year earlier (per Douglas Elliman), while the greater L.A. region hit a new record high median sale price in July of $682,000. “It’s as active a year as we’ve ever had,” says Westside Estate Agency’s Kurt Rappaport. Adds Coldwell Banker’s Joyce Rey, “People have wanted to move up and have a house with a gym, a house with dual offices, have a garden where they can spend time out of doors.” For this list of the top 30 agents in L.A., THR looked at overall sales volume, MLS-listed sales to Hollywood clients and media visibility to make its selections. Josh and Matt Altman DOUGLAS ELLIMAN In the past 12 months, dynamic duo brothers Josh and Matt Altman of Douglas Elliman completed deals for Norman Lear, James Cameron, Kathy Griffin and Justin Bieber (who bought a $25.8 million house in Beverly Park). Their advice for marketing high-profile homes? “Get your own TV show! LOL. We are selling a lifestyle, and that lifestyle happens to appeal to Tinseltown,” says Josh, star of Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles. Adds Matt, “We are having our best year, forecasting to close over $1 billion in sales.” Cindy Ambuehl COMPASS “It’s a race,” says Compass’ Cindy Ambuehl of the market, which has seen her increase the size of her team as well as bring what might have been off-market sales in years past to the MLS. “The higher the exposure, the higher the price,” she says. Such was the strategy for David E. Kelley and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Pacific Palisades property, which she sold for $25 million in August. Santiago Arana THE AGENCY In his 17th year in real estate, Bolivia native Santiago Arana of The Agency (who came to America with only $120) has closed deals totaling $310 million for clients including Anthony and Stella Hopkins, Jennifer Grey, TMG Fresh and Vice Media’s Shane Smith, whose Santa Monica estate sold for a jaw-dropping $48.6 million. He says, “The market has been and will continue to be a seller’s market and very active.” Rochelle Atlas Maize NOURMAND & ASSOCIATES Nourmand & Associates’ forward-thinking agent Rochelle Atlas Maize started in real estate as a hobby. Fast-forward to 2021, and Atlas Maize is embracing technology while closing $121 million this year. “I began to dive further into video coverage and VR while exploring other avenues that had untapped potential,” she says. Her standout project: a listing in Santa Monica where she invited TikTok creators to film content. The gambit resulted in multiple offers within two weeks and a final sale of $5.1 million for a house that had sat on the market for eight months. She notes, “Publicity brings more eyes onto listings, which then translates to sales.” Ikem Chukumerije IKEM Over his career, Ikem Chukumerije has cultivated a coveted list of clients like Ava DuVernay, journalist-host Elaine Welteroth and NBA star Chris Paul, with a focus on athletes constantly on the move. “I obtained my California license in 2006 and quickly expanded my reach by earning licenses in Nevada, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Washington, New York and Utah,” he says. “Why work to obtain licenses in these other states? I wanted to build a lifelong connection with my clients, no matter where they reside.” Jordan Cohen RE/MAX Jordan Cohen is RE/MAX’s No. 1 seller out of the company’s more than 135,000 agents worldwide. Known for his sports clientele — “I’ve repped about 125 pro athletes,” he says — Cohen specializes in the Westlake Village/Calabasas area. “I work by myself with two assistants. Last year, I closed over $295 million,” says the agent. Among his recent deals: sales for Shark Tank‘s Robert Herjavec, Lakers star Anthony Davis and Poison’s Bret Michaels. In April, Disney CEO Bob Chapek, as previously reported, spent $12.5 million on a six-bedroom residence in Westlake Village listed by Cohen. He also has a strong social game with 527,000 Instagram followers. In 2019, Cohen sold a $6.4 million mansion to WWE star The Miz after the athlete reached out to him via DM. Chris Cortazzo COMPASS As the pandemic pushed more buyers to prioritize their space and surroundings, “There’s so many people wanting to live full-time now in Malibu, and it’s really nice to see,” says Compass’ Chris Cortazzo, who specializes in the luxury Malibu market. “They’re coming out for the security, the schools, the ocean, the mountains, everything.” Those high-end clients include Gal Gadot, Ted Sarandos and Paris Hilton. And Cortazzo does on occasion leave the shoreline for client Ryan Murphy, selling the show creator’s Beverly Hills property for $16.25 million and his Laguna Beach home for $10.65 million. Fredrik Eklund DOUGLAS ELLIMAN Long one of the kings of New York real estate, Million Dollar Listing star Fredrik Eklund of Douglas Elliman — co-founder of the Eklund|Gomes team — made what seemed like the natural move to La-La Land two years ago. “I moved to L.A., and the transition was much bigger and [more] difficult than I expected,” says Eklund. “But God am I grateful for the move. It was the best decision for me personally and professionally.” In 2021, the Eklund|Gomes team expanded into Orange County and Malibu, and Eklund repped the seller in Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil’s $13.8 million purchase of a home in Hancock Park.

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