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Cher shows her flip side

Times Staff Writer

Cher is re-inventing herself again -- this time as the flipper of a Palm Springs house she renovated and has listed at nearly $2.5 million.

“I’ve been coming to Palm Springs since I was a kid,” said Cher, 60. Her mother has lived in the area for 15 years.

“I’ve always loved the indoor-outdoor lifestyle you find there,” she said. “We designed this home to capture that feeling, and I’m very happy with the way it came out.”

The house, in the historic Las Palmas area of Palm Springs, was acquired in 2004 for $650,000, according to public records.

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Steve DeChristopher Jr., a local architect, completed the redesign. The 1938 Spanish-style home got a sprinkling of Cher-style pizazz when the original 2,000-square-foot floor plan was doubled by adding a master-bedroom wing with his-and-hers wardrobe rooms, a fireplace and a wet bar.

Its old-world charm was maintained although the house was updated. The one-story home was walled and gated to give the four-bedroom, 4 1/2 -bathroom estate a greater sense of security and privacy. The yard was then re-landscaped to feature a pool, spa and custom grill for outdoor dining.

The longtime pop diva has been an active participant in the design and construction of her own homes, such as her 16,000-square-foot villa in Malibu. She is about to demonstrate her talents as an interior designer for the second time on that house, which she emptied in the fall by auctioning off its furnishings.

The singer-actress, who expects to release a new album this year and debut a Las Vegas stage show in 2008, also purchased a condo early last year in the trendy 32-story Sierra Towers in West Hollywood. That unit was to be renovated for her in-town use.

Debbie Toohey & Associates of Coldwell Banker Previews, Palm Springs and Beverly Hills, has the listing.

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Already found a new one (house)

Britney Spears, who filed for divorce in November, has purchased a new home in a gated Beverly Hills community for $7.2 million.

The pop princess, 25, had been living in Malibu but wanted to move back to town, nearer clubs and restaurants.

The house she bought has six bedrooms and seven bathrooms in 7,400 square feet. It has an office, a media room, a maid’s quarters, a balcony and a lush yard.

Spears is expected to put her Malibu home with eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms in 9,000 square feet on the market. She moved there from the Hollywood Hills after she married backup dancer-rapper Kevin Federline in 2004. The Malibu house, which Spears purchased for close to $6.9 million, has a tennis court, pool, spa, gym and outdoor kitchen.

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Star of his own realty show: Sold

Actor Chad Allen, also known as Chad Allen Lazzari, has sold his Sunset Strip-area home for $750,000.

The house, built in 1960, has two bedrooms and 1 1/2 bathrooms in 1,100 square feet. There is a sun porch and two observation decks in the two-story house, which has views of downtown L.A., the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign.

The actor, 32, appeared in the May TV movie “Cradle of Lies” and has been on the series “Criminal Minds” and “Cold Case.” He also was in the 2006 film “Shock to the System.”

Jory Burton of Sotheby’s International Realty, Beverly Hills, had the listing.

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Nest feathered by Father Goose

The Los Feliz home once owned by actor Cary Grant has been sold for $3.2 million.

Grant and actor Randolph Scott moved into the Spanish Colonial Revival estate soon after they met in 1932, but in 1934 Grant married actress Virginia Cherrill (who played the blind flower seller in Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights”) and carried her over the threshold.

The house was built in 1927 for David W. Pontius, president of the Pacific Electric Co., whose Red Cars traversed the L.A. Basin.

Grant and Cherrill divorced in 1935. Grant, who married five times, died in 1986.

Brett Lawyer and Jonah Wilson, both of Sotheby’s International Realty, Sunset, had the listing.

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Split ends and dividends in ’06

From Brad Pitt in early 2006 to Britney Spears late in the year -- with a list that included Jennifer Aniston, Tom Arnold, Denise Richards, Charlie Sheen, Heather Locklear, Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey and Reese Witherspoon, to name a few -- 2006 may be recalled as the year of celebrity divorce.

And almost every time a celeb filed for separation, a house went on the market. At the high end of the price range was the $22.5-million sale in the spring of the Pitt-Aniston home in Beverly Hills. Aniston later bought an unlisted Beverly Hills home for $12 million.

But it was the celebrity home sales not involving splits that were among the biggest of the year.

There was the $24-million sale of actor Kelsey Grammer’s Beverly Park home. Then Tom Gores, founder of Platinum Equity, purchased an 8-acre parcel in Beverly Hills for $33.6 million -- a lot for just a site.

Late in the year came the sale of 260 acres in Bel-Air to a businessman’s family. They plan to build several homes there for family members. Drew Mandile and Brooke Knapp, both of Sotheby’s, had the $35-million listing, according to the Multiple Listing Service.

Also in the stratosphere was the $34-million purchase of a Malibu mansion by Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangu, heir apparent to the president of Equatorial Guinea. The home has ocean views, a pool and a four-hole golf course -- quite a contrast with the housing of the general populace in his impoverished nation.

Cecelia Kennelly-Waeschle of Sotheby’s International Realty, Beverly Hills/Malibu, compiled the statistics relating to home sales on the Westside and in Malibu and found there were 57 sales of homes priced at more than $10 million in 2006, compared to 35 in 2005.

There were 617 sales in 2006 in the range of $3 million to $10 million compared to 624 in that category in 2005.

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ruth.ryon@latimes.com

To see previous columns on celebrity realty transactions, go to latimes.com/hotproperty.


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