Unusual and intriguing living spaces add to the fun of the luxury housing beat and can provide a window into the private world of a celebrity. While many mansions are staged with stock furnishings, some still retain their famous owners' accessories, which may be included in the sale price. This week we let our eyes do the walking through some properties of note.
Rooms with purpose
Recording studios are often part of the homes of Hollywood elite who aren't even part of the music business. This macho music room belongs to veteran actor Jeff Bridges, who just put his 19.5-acre Montecito estate up for sale at $29.5 million. That red crushed velvet guitar holder pops out against the muted and gray tones of the tricked out space.
This jewel of a secret retreat is in a Beverly Hills home once owned by martial artist and film actor Jackie Chan. The French-style villa recently sold for $10.875 million. We'll forgive the purple carpet against the night-sky blue – the space is just too imaginative.
Our personal favorite is this super-cool "detached office." OK, it's actually a vintage Airstream trailer remade into work space. The office of our dreams sits behind a French Quarter-vibe home in Newport Beach listed at $3.25 million. An added bonus: It was once home to early radio pioneer Ken Niles.
An elite task force sent back in time
There's no place like newspaper archives for uncovering hidden gems. Thirty years ago, on July 7, 1985, Hot Property featured Lionel Richie buying a onetime bookstore on Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills for $3.5 million. The soulful singer, who was pursuing a solo career after his success with the Motown group the Commodores, had also bought a house and an office building in the general vicinity in the year leading up to this purchase.
Flash forward to today and it's his daughter, fashion designer and reality star Nicole Richie, who is making real estate headlines. "The Simple Life" star and her husband, Good Charlotte vocalist Joel Madden, listed their compound on a half-acre in Hollywood Hills for $3.495 million in late May and, after an initial offer fell through, have dropped the price by $200,000. They've already bought a move-up home, spending $6.7 million on a contemporary in the Beverly Crest area.
Twenty years ago, Samuel L. Jackson was enjoying recognition as Bruce Willis' sidekick in "Die Hard With a Vengeance" and as John Travolta's co-star in "Pulp Fiction." The actor and his wife, actress LaTanya Richardson, went from renters in Encino to homeowners by buying a place there for $1.1 million.
They sold the English Tudor-style house in 2002 for $1.95 million, but the star's staying power continues to draw interest in the one-acre property. The home recently listed for sale at $3.2 million, selling last week for $2,812,500.
In addition to the 4,491-square-foot main residence with a turret entry, there's a two-bedroom guesthouse, a tennis court, a five-car garage and a 66-foot pool and spa. We're talking estate here. Jackson and his wife own a mansion in gated Beverly Park these days.
'Home of the Day' update
How have some of our featured homes fared in recent weeks? In La Cañada Flintridge, a 1950s post-and-beam designed by architect David A. Lopez didn't last long on the market. Listed for sale in late April for $1.299 million, the Midcentury Modern residence with floor-to-ceiling glass and a cantilevered master suite sold in under a month for $51,000 over the asking price -- $1.35 million.
The market was quick to take a shine to a reimagined live-work space in Venice Beach, which sold in about a month for $3.425 million, $326,000 over the asking price. Designed by minimalist architect David Hertz, the 3,284-square-foot home features such details as a floating glass staircase and a rooftop deck complete with fire pit and outdoor kitchen.
Still up for grabs is the Moroccan-inspired estate in Newport Coast's Crystal Cove that we featured back in April. Billed a car lover's dream for its racing-themed lounge and climate-controlled garage, the luxury digs now lists for about $100,00 less -- $19.999 million.
What we're reading
Similar to what we've seen in Silicon Valley and L.A.'s own Silicon Beach, tech companies setting up shop in and around Seattle are fueling demand for luxury homes in the area. The Wall Street Journal reports that the average price per square foot for homes above $1.5 million was $494 in May, a healthy 10% uptick from May 2014.
What's the most "American" state in the United States? Iowa, according to a recent study by Estately, which compared such patriotic indicators as "Bald eagles per square mile," "Fast food restaurants, per capita" and "Total Major League Baseball players born in each state."
And finally, an example of mysterious ways the Universe works: Tom Selleck, famous for his role as Thomas Sullivan Magnum in "Magnum, P.I.," has been caught up in a water controversy in Ventura County. The Times' Amanda Covarrubias, Matt Hamilton and Sarah Parvini detail how the Calleguas Municipal Water District put a real P.I. on the case, who appears to have linked a water theft to Selleck's 60-acre property in Hidden Valley.