Lorna Jane Clarkson buys Sam Simon’s slice of real estate porn

When most folks think of Pacific Palisades, they probably imagine big, stately East-Coast clapboard style homes mixed in with more modest ranch and Spanish style cribs. Big green lawns and sunny skies. Low-key wealth and a laid-back, family-friendly vibe. Loads of baby-stroller-wielding celebs. At least that’s how Yolanda typically characterizes it.

What’s lesser-known to most outsiders is that Pacific Palisades contains a great deal of truly stunning mid-century architectural showpieces. Though the “Riviera” section of Pac Pal may get the most publicity (after all, it’s the celebrities’ neighborhood of choice — Steven Spielberg, Kate Hudson, Larry David, Blake Griffin, and Molly Sims are among the many residents), it’s the “Huntington” neighborhood to the west that sports the lion’s share of notable architecture. Here you’ve got world-famous gems such as the Entenza House, the West House, and the exceptional Charles and Ray Eames House.

Directly next door to the Eames House is another spread that includes the delicious Bailey house, the sole project in the Case Study program built by Richard Neutra. It is this gem Yolanda is going to discuss today.

The Bailey house (not to be confused with Pierre Koenig’s Bailey House), originally constructed in 1948, was purchased by the late Simpsons co-creator, boxing manager, and pro poker player Sam Simon in 2004. Mr. Simon, who already owned the property next door, subsequently engaged renowned LA-based architects Marmol Radziner to painstakingly restore the residence, which was subsequently integrated into his estate and used by Mr. Simon as a guest house.

In March 2015, Mr. Simon passed away following a long, courageous battle with cancer. Within six months, his Pac Pal compound bounced onto the market amid a whole lot of (expected) hullabaloo and publicity.

The low-slung Bailey House (above) was designed to link two glassy pavilions by a central breezeway. Yolanda absolutely loves this place, and all the fabulous mid-century details — those cherry red kitchen cabinets and the oval dining table, just for starters. There are just 2 bedrooms (and probably 2 bathrooms in less than 2,000 square feet.

Listing details claim the compound’s 1.5 acres of land included in the sale are “park-like”, and yes, Yolanda would agree with that assessment. Heck, there’s even a free-form spa nestled up into a corner of the palm-frond-shrouded backyard. Perfect for some skinny-dipping.

But we digress. We think this place is serious real estate porn. But like almost all porn stars, well, homegurl ain’t perfect. Nobody is, after all. Some folks are just better at hiding their blemishes than others. You know how there’s always just something — a feisty armpit mole, a slightly uneven boob job, a 5’4″ height in a 5’7″ world? Such is the case here — but here the mole is a basketball-sized tumor. We’re talking about the main house, kids.

Perhaps unfortunately, whatever structure had originally been Mr. Simon’s main residence was heavily damaged by a 2007 fire, torn down, and replaced with the big white 2010 contemporary you see in photos below. Now you know this is only Yolanda’s worthless opinion — but this thing is downright ugly.

Although the main structure is a LEED Gold-certified and was admirably built to comprehensive eco-friendly standards with all kinds of recyclable this-and-that materials, it doesn’t quite make up for the acres of uninspired interior decor and odd proportions that would take more than a total gut job to fix, in Yolanda’s opinion. The only thing we are crazy about in this whole place is the show-stopping Chihuly chandelier that quite definitely out-prices an average new Corolla. Seriously, it’s  stunner.

Despite the estate’s history, the original $18,000,000 pricetag was clearly far too optimistic. It took nearly 8 months and several big pricechops before the compound finally transferred this month (May 2016) for $12,500,000. That’s a big 30% discount off the original ask, but that’s still $12.5 million bucks, kids. And all that money is reportedly going to charity.

The buyer’s identity is obscured behind an opaque shell company, but Yolanda just happens to know that the new owner is a lady named Lorna Jane Clarkson, the founder/owner of an rapidly-growing eponymous activewear line (“Lorna Jane”). Let Yolanda tell you that one can make a literally sick amount of money in the apparel industry (if you know what you’re doing), and Mrs. Clarkson is proof of that. Think of her company as sorta the Aussie take on Lululemon.

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Mr. & Mrs. Clarkson

After conquering the retail market in her native Australia over the past 25 years, Mrs. Clarkson (and her business partner husband Bill) set their sights on claiming a scoop of America’s highly-lucrative activewear market. They’ve since opened more than 50 stores in the western part of the US of A, including about a dozen scattered throughout the LA area alone.

Despite their exceedingly-lucrative success (a couple years ago, the couple were rumored to be selling their company for a mind-bending $500 million, though the deal(s) ultimately fell through), the Clarksons are not without their detractors. One of the most outspoken is a former model (and former friend) of Mrs. Clarkson’s named Vanessa Kroll. There’s also been much chatter about (alleged) fat-shaming and a culture of bullying running rampant at the firm, which led to both Mr. & Mrs. Clarkson appearing on 60 Minutes to vigorously (and in Mrs. Clarkson’s case, tearfully) deny.

Yolanda has no idea what plans Mr. & Mrs. Clarkson have for their $12.5 million new Pacific Palisades home. And as far as we are aware, this is the couple’s first residence stateside, so we don’t have any prior residential history on which to base assumptions. But if the Clarksons happen to be looking for advice, your gurl would tell them to demo that whole main house and move on into the Bailey house.

Any estate staff can just bunk up in a tent outside. And who needs space for guests or extended family? Come on., that’s what hotels are for.

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