Yolanda was out for a booty-shakin’ good time last night down on the Sunset Strip when one of our best beotches asked us if we knew anything about an unapologetically glamorous and ultra-modern residence way up in the Hills, up there in the famously expensive and frighteningly celebrity-packed neighborhood known as the Bird Streets (or just “The Birds” to LA locals or if you’re a big Hitchcock fan like Yolanda).
You see, y’all, that modern coke palace has a rather, ahem, “unique” backstory. About 10 years ago that property was the site of a much smaller and far more modest residence and was owned by singer/songwriter Dido. Apparently Dido didn’t love LA much, or something, because in 2008, after only a couple years living there, she sold the dowdy-but-supremely-located abode to a textile mogul named Sean Sassounian for $4,450,000. Mr. Sasssounian immediately razed the sad structure and began building his flashy dream estate.
Supposedly, Mr. Sassounian had planned to move into this house himself, but with babies popping out left and right and diapers galore, he rightfully decided this was not the right house to raise a young family. (But strangely enough, Mr. Sassounian still lives in the Birds, at least as far as Yolanda knows. He’s got a big crib over on Nightingale). Anyway, this mansion is located on Oriole, which is considered by many folks in the know about such issues to be the Bird street to own all Bird Streets. And indeed, some of the Hollywood Hills’ most extravagant (and expensive) properties are found on this little lane.
In March 2014, this particular property was first listed for sale at $38 million. At the time, when the spec-mansion market boom was at its apex, many observers (including your gurl) thought the house would move quickly. But alas. While other residences nearby traded hands rapidly for huge amounts, this property sat unsold. Weeks turned into months, and eventually rolled into years. Why? Turns out the main problem with the house was the (allegedly!) too-greedy owner, Mr. Sassounian.
That’s right, beotches. Within days of listing the property in March 2014, Mr. Sassounian received an all-cash $32 million offer from an unknown source, something both his former real estate agent and Mr. Sassounian himself confirmed. The offer was rejected because Mr. Sassounian wanted more money. More than a year later, when asked by Fortune if he regretted not taking that plum offer when he had the opportunity, Mr. Sassounian made some vague statement saying how he never regrets anything or today is the present, blah blah blah.
Anyway… wait, what?!?! Sorry, y’all. Yolanda just can’t move on from that crap without puttin’ in her gosh-darn two cents. Come on now, Mr. Sassounian. You can say whatever you like to Fortune but do not even think about spoutin’ any of that ol’ bullshit to your gurl Yolanda. You know damn well you done kicked your own ass from Ho-wood to Timbuktu a thousand times already for not takin’ that $32 million cash offer when you got the chance. Hunny, you may be rich, but you still lost 5 million smackaroonies (plus the associated hefty, hefty, hefty time and opportunity costs) and that’s a real ass-load of dough to anyone so don’t even try to front with that shit. You hear?!
Anyway, this hot mess we’re writing is gettin’ way long already so suffice to say that after a nearly-two-year struggle laced with tears, $40,000 “movie” advertisements, and the frequent gnashing of teeth, Mr. Sassounian finally dumped the porn-worthy palace in January (2016) for $27,000,000. That’s still a huge number, of course, but nowhere near the $38 mill he originally wanted. Still, as far as Yolanda knows, this is the only 2016 sale in LA County to break the $20 million barrier (so far).
So who could the mysterious buyer be? Well, property records reveal the owner is cloaked behind a strangely-named entity: “OK Wave, LLC”. Ownership of that shadowy company leads down a dead-end road, to a law office located – somewhat surprisingly – in Santa Barbara, CA. This intrigued Yolanda. Who in the Santa Barbara/Montecito area would want a house like this? Could Oprah be feelin’ like gettin’ her groove on?
Well, we’ve gotta hand this one to our gal pal Your Mama over at Variety. It was she who first whispered to us – and your gurl has since confirmed – that the buyers are a lady named Lynda Weinman and her husband, Bruce Heavin. You may have never heard of Ms. Weinman, but trust your gurl when she tells you the lady is sick-rich and can afford any house she wants. And apparently what she wants is an “I’m so damn rich I don’t even know how rich I am” style crib.
Like most homes in the Ho-wood Hills (yes, even in the Birds) the house sits very hard up on the street. The three-level property packs in a subterranean garage plus a rather inelegant front motorcourt covered with real grass (at least we think it’s real). Strange, that.
The underground garage is unexpectedly massive, with enough room to store 8 or more pimp-mobiles. Yolanda is feelin’ that lipstick-red ’80s Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet (at least we hope it’s a Turbo and not just a Turbo-look Cab. Either way… we’d take it!)
Up on the ground floor, the front door and frame appear to be solid oak. They’re dramatically set off by the surrounding glass walls and terrazzo flooring and a violet Kate Moss.
The floors switch to white oak through much of the rest of the house, including in the humongous open-air kitchen (which has one of the largest marble-topped center islands we’ve ever seen) and adjoining dining area. Massive walls of glass and folding doors let the sunlight and warmth bathe the room.
The living room and office areas both have more walls of glass and generously sweeping views of the LA skyline.
“Stairway to Heavin.” “Wine for Weinman.”
Upstairs, there’s a gigantic 2,000 square foot master suite. We’re guessing that number includes both the master bath and humongous closet because the actual bedroom is large but not oppressively so. We’ve gotta give props to Mr. Sassounian or his architect/decorator here – we absolutely love it.
The bathroom and closet both look like somethin’ outta the Bottega Veneta showroom on Rodeo.
We’re not too keen on some of the furniture in the living room, but it does feel homey and much more cozy than most of these other showpiece houses we’ve seen lately in this area. And gun control? Shun control!
There’s a state-of-the-art gym upstairs plus an adjacent and increasingly-trendy massage room.
The booze hound-friendly bar in the theater is a nice touch.
The backyard is small compared to most $20 million mansions in LA but it’s absolutely huge for this particular ‘hood. That ridge you see across the way is home to Beverly Hills’ Trousdale Estates.
In addition to the huge swathe of grass, there’s a gala-sized outdoor patio with a sizable outdoor bar and enough space for a dance floor.
Some reports stated that this home had trouble selling because it was “on the wrong side of the street”. Yolanda respectfully disagrees. While some may prefer the view of Downtown LA that you get on the other side of Oriole, we think the Century City and peek-a-boo Pacific/Catalina westward views here are better than those eastward ones.
One might be forgiven for wondering where Ms. Weinman and Mr. Heavin get the moolah to afford a place like this. Turns out the couple are internet bazillionaires, though not hailing from the Silicon Valley (or Silicon Beach, for that matter). Ms. Weinman, originally from Culver City and a teacher by trade, sold her Ojai- and Carpinteria-based company, Lynda.com, for $1.5 billion to LinkedIn last year. Holy mackerel. We think this is the perfect “look how far we’ve come” spread for the couple to announce their (part-time) return to LA after many years up there in the Santa Barbara area.
In case the couple care to party with some of their new neighbors, they can rest assured they’ll be hanging with the who’s who of the Los Angeles baller glitterati: finally-Oscar-winner Leo DiCaprio, Wal-Mart heiress Sybil Robson Orr and her British financier hubby Matthew Orr, hedge fund mogul David Kabiller, private equity guru Alex Soltani, comic book icon Stan Lee, legendary songwriter Mike Stoller and his jazz musician wife Corky Hale, and legally-embattled Malaysian party boy Jho Low.
A stroll through property records reveals that this is not the only obscenely-expensive property Mr. Heavin and Ms. Weinman own. Oh no. In fact, the couple maintain a real damn baller-style residential property portfolio worth (at least) a staggering $70 million. In addition to their new $27 million pad in the Birds, they also own a large Nantucket-style oceanfront home in Carpinteria (CA) that they acquired in March 2015 from comedian Dennis Miller for the very A-list sum of $19,000,000. (above)
There’s also a rather spectacular 4+ acre vacant property in Montecito. The couple purchased this viewgasmic mega-mansion-ready spread in June 2015 for just under $13,400,000.
The couple also own a mini-mansion in Montecito they scooped up way back in January 2009 for $4,700,000 and have extensively renovated over the years. They’ve added an infinity pool, a fancy gate and security system, and probably all the other gee-whiz gizmos that money can buy.
In October 2015, just a couple months before they bought their Birds estate, the couple plunked down $2,230,000 on a cute but unassuming ranch-style Montecito home. We’d guess this might be housing for a less-financially-fortunate family member.
A few years ago, back in March 2012, the internet entrepreneurs paid $1,300,000 for a modest Spanish-style abode on a private street in Santa Barbara that property records show they continue to own. Again, we would guess this residence is used to house either family member(s) or guests.
Though they’ve been on a buying spree over the past year with their LinkedIn cash, the couple also found time to dump a massive and essentially vacant 16+ acre development site in the Montecito hills with showstopping and virtually unspoiled views of the Pacific. Based on the information Yolanda pieced together, we think the couple originally paid a total of $10,300,000 for the property about 2-3 years ago, which they acquired from two different sellers in two different transactions.
We don’t know what the couple’s plans were for the site, but they must have had a change of heart because they flipped the massive property onto the market in September 2015 with an asking price of $17,150,000. The property sold in late January (2016), for $13,250,000 to a mysterious buyer called the “JSC Pacific Trust”. We think this buyer is probably someone famous, but we’ll have to wait for his or her identity to be revealed before we can verify that. We shall see… yes, we shall see.