Luxury real estate agent Nathaniel Pitchon-Getzels has attended a few garden-variety house parties — as in, the garden had a giraffe wandering through it.
These are the types of extravaganzas where the floaties in the pool are synchronized swimmers, sometimes dressed as mermaids, and Snoop Dogg himself is in the backyard dropping it like it's hot. At one party, a Malibu homeowner entered his gala via a rope attached to a helicopter.
"These are like the wildest kids' parties you've ever seen, but for adults," Pitchon-Getzels said. "You have freedom and comfort — whatever you want to do at your house, it's much easier to do than at an event space, where you have to worry about getting permission."
In Los Angeles, some of the most over-the-top charity fundraisers, celebrity birthdays, concerts and awards season after-parties take place in private residential homes. Not surprisingly, the ones that boast the most jaw-dropping views and party-ready amenities are in high demand.
"Planners are looking for unusual, exclusive spaces — places that have a lot of outdoor area and flexibility," said Beth Kormanik, executive editor of BizBash.com. "Views are important, or maybe they're looking for the pedigree of a house designed by a notable architect or once occupied by someone famous."
Searches for houses on BizBash, an online venue resource for event organizers, have surged 60% year over year, Kormanik said.
Private home event rentals in Los Angeles start at $5,000, said Martin Beaurivage, chief executive of Elite Luxury Homes. But he ballparks the average cost at $15,000 a day.
Homes that have hedges, gates and other privacy-protecting and sound-shielding features often command higher rates, he said.
The Hollywood company, which rents out private estates for short-term stays, offers one palatial villa in Malibu as an option. The villa — which boasts "secret garden nooks," a saltwater infinity pool, a screening room, a billiards room and multiple lawns, sitting areas and dining spaces for guests to mingle — can run $200,000 for a weekend wedding, Beaurivage said.
Often, the home's owner isn't the one throwing the party, so a cottage industry of rental brokers has emerged to connect houses to hosts. Or real estate agents will attempt to attract buyers by holding events at properties they've listed.
"The owners aren't usually in discussion with the actual tenants — they just get an update on who's coming into their house," Beaurivage said.
Beaurivage said he's extremely picky about which properties he lists, whom he approves to stay in them and which events he'll allow — usually high-end corporate or show-business gatherings, not all-night ragers.
That's because in Los Angeles, noise concerns are escalating. Complaints from neighbors about caravans of intoxicated partygoers loudly clogging local streets compelled the Los Angeles City Council last fall to draft rules that could clamp down on residential shindigs.
"It's challenging in L.A. to find the right property, and it's getting worse over time," Beaurivage said. "It's tricky — a party will flag the house, neighbors are getting less tolerant of the sound, and you could potentially not be able to rent your property anymore."
Developers won't cop to building houses specifically for party-hosting because zoning regulations require residential properties to be built as living spaces, not as commercial event sites.
That being said, some houses are built on spec to accommodate entertainment. A 38,000-square-foot Holmby Hills single-family home on Carolwood Drive, which sold for $100 million in October, is swathed in mood lighting and floor-to-ceiling mirrors like a nightclub. The property also features 20 bathrooms, a 10-car garage, enough parking for 50 other vehicles and a separate valet entrance for guests.
Party planners said large, distinct gathering spaces interspersed with intimate nooks are best — that way, guests can congregate or slip away for a tarot card reading or private tequila tasting.
Or, in the case of the notorious Weidlake Drive complex from developer Danny Fitzgerald, they can use the elevator to visit the 80-foot-long disco and bar, huddle around the pool table or check out the Instagram-worthy views from the rooftop deck. The sprawling property has survived parties hosted by Justin Bieber and a Saudi prince and features a floating staircase made of glass and hotel-grade flooring.
Another popular party pad: Minecraft creator Markus Persson's property.
Since paying $70 million for the Beverly Hills mansion, the video game billionaire has hosted guests such as Tony Hawk and
The home has seen so much carousing that Persson divulged on Facebook that he had discovered "a huge lost-and-found downstairs."
Its contents? "Swimming gear, clothes, glasses, jewelry, shoes and pride."
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