Hot Property: Bond lairs and pool parties

Celebrities take center stage when it comes to real estate around these parts, but sometimes it's the home itself that is the real star of the show. From starchitects to prime views, it's safe to say Southern California offers one of the most vibrant and diverse collections of homes in the world.

This week we’ll dip into architectural treasures, designer digs and the latest and greatest from the celebritysphere.

Neal J. Leitereg

A diamond in Palm Springs

The Elrod House, a Palm Springs landmark designed by modernist architect John Lautner, took a star turn in 1971 when it was featured in the James Bond film “Diamonds Are Forever.”

A radiating canopy, retractable walls of glass and an indoor-outdoor swimming pool give the home a futuristic vibe. However, the design is actually a reflection of the architect’s desire to blend home and nature.

A retractable glass curtain divides the living room and pool terrace. (Melaina Mace and Marco Recuay)

When scenery trumps pedigree

Former owners of this Montecito home include Monty Python star John Cleese, but it’s the views that are the real attraction of the $8.25-million offering.

The beachfront house on Fernald Point has walls of windows that take in ocean views from nearly every room. Multilevel decks and a private balcony set off the master suite also make it easy to indulge in the scenery.

A former home of John Cleese is for sale in Montecito at $8.25 million. (Jim Bartsch | Inset: Associated Press)

Designer doubles down

Lauren Conrad put her personal stamp on her penthouse, and it paid off in a big way. The TV personality and fashion designer sold her renovated unit in Beverly Hills for $2.8 million, more than twice what she paid for it four years ago.

The 3,200-square-foot residence features bright colors, vintage details and a gentleman’s lounge with a wet bar and black-lacquered ceiling. A boutique-inspired closet highlights the master suite.

Fashionista Lauren Conrad sold her penthouse in Beverly Hills for $2.8 million. (Redfin | Getty Images)

A pool party in the desert

If you fancy a dip at Marc Ware’s tennis court estate in Palm Springs, you’ll have plenty of options. On the market for $8.95 million, the modernist home of the entrepreneur and clothing designer is surrounded by seven negative-edge swimming pools, giving it the illusion of floating on water.

Other details include walls of glass and a lavish master suite, as well as a long gallery topped with floating fiberglass light fixtures that is referred to as the “spine” of the home.

Marc Ware has listed his estate in Palm Springs for sale at $8.95 million. (David Blank)

New house of rock

Dave Navarro has a flashy new home to go with his rock star persona. The Jane’s Addiction guitarist recently paid $2.9 million for a newly built contemporary in the historic Larchmont area of Los Angeles.

The two-story home features 20-foot ceilings, a floating staircase and a freestanding wine wall that divides living spaces. Glass doors open to an inner courtyard with a stone fire pit. Did we mention there’s also a pool?

Dave Navarro bought the contemporary-style house in Larchmont for $2.9 million. (Shooting LA | Getty Images)

A final chapter in Beverly Hills

If walls could talk, the Beverly Hills home of Jackie Collins probably would have plenty to say. The late author, whose mastery of Hollywood glamour and detail sold mountains of books, had the nearly 22,000-square-foot mansion custom built in 1991.

Among features of note is a grand two-story foyer, a library and a lavish master suite with his-and-hers bathrooms, closets and offices. It’s now for sale at $30 million.

The home of late author Jackie Collins has listed for sale in Beverly Hills at $30 million. (Simon Berlyn | Los Angeles Times)

From the archives

Twenty years ago this week, Motown legend Diana Ross was singing a seller’s tune, listing her home in Malibu for sale at $3.1 million. More recently it's been her son, Evan Ross, who has been making property headlines. Last year the actor-producer sold his Midcentury Modern-style house in Hollywood Hills for $1.25 million.

A decade ago, “The Office” star Rainn Wilson settled down in a pastoral setting in Ventura County. The actor and his wife, fiction writer Holiday Reinhorn, paid about $1.2 million for a farmhouse in Agoura Hills while listing their 1920s bungalow in Van Nuys at the same time.

What we’re reading

— In other Lautner news, the Sheats-Goldstein house above Beverly Hills has been bequeathed by owner Jim Goldstein to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as the L.A. Times’ Christopher Hawthorne reports. The striking residence — with its angular design, walls of glass and coffered concrete roofline — gained pop-culture cachet in 1998 when it was used as a location in the film “The Big Lebowski.”

— Where will you find the most romantic homes for sale in the U.S.? The Southland, according to a study by Estately. Looking at features such as hot tubs, wine cellars and “cozy” listing descriptors, the survey ranked San Diego and Los Angeles as the top two destinations for romantic real estate.

— Here’s a new amenity for builders and homeowners: a $10,000 pizza oven. Designed by General Electric, the indoor electric wall oven is capable of cooking pies at 800 degrees Fahrenheit and can reach that temperature in about 30 minutes, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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