Every neighborhood has a reputation. Some flattering, some decidedly not. Oh dear.
Though the “Bird Streets” area of Los Angeles has long and unquestionably been the most affluent and sexiest location in the Hollywood Hills — several homes have sold for well north of $20 million in recent years — the neighborhood also gets a rather unfortunate rap from most other LA residents.
For starters, many of the homes in the neighborhood are disdainfully termed “coke palaces”. We don’t have to explain that one, right? But if you’re wondering, yes. There’s an inordinately high amount of snortin’ that goes on in the homes there.
Another “feature” the Birds possesses (and you won’t see this one called out in any real estate advertisements) is that the place is chock-full of hardcore douchebags. This stereotype is also somewhat true. Many of the residents are youngish folks with trust-fund bank accounts. Think Dan Bilzerian (yep, he’s a resident). Then there are those not-so-young folks who think and party like they are still 20-somethings. Dear God, you have not seen true sadness until you’ve been to one of those parties. But Yolanda can personally attest to it being rampant up here (forgive us our sinful ways, Rabbi Hedda!).
But we digress. Let’s put the claws away because today we’re going to discuss one of the nicer (and richer) local homeowners: interior designer Lindsay Chambers.
Miss Chambers — a former PhD student at Stanford and now a WeHo-based up-and-coming decorator — was recently named by California Home + Design magazine as their 2015 Emerging Designer winner. Congrats, gurl! She and her “signature transitional style” (per her website) have completed a handful of projects, mostly in the Silicon Valley area.
We scrolled through Miss Chambers’ portfolio and though our gurl has apparently never met a shade of white or grey she didn’t fall madly in love with and marry in international waters, the results are not unattractive and quite pleasant in most cases.
Still in her 30s and a Palo Alto (CA) native, young Miss Chambers first caught everyone’s attention back in December (2014) when she paid a decidedly A-list $10,985,000 (through an LLC) for the former Bird Streets view home of comedic actress Megan Mullally.
Ms. Mullally, who owned the home for more than a decade, had sold it the previous year for $9,970,000 to formerly-Idaho-based venture capitalist Kipp Nelson. It was Mr. Nelson who flipped the property to Miss Chambers for a million-dollar profit. (Miss Chambers herself unsuccessfully attempted to flip the property again in 2015 for $12.5 million, though she has since removed it from the market).
Perched on the so-called “front row” of the Bird Streets (a silly name imagined up to encapsulate the unobstructed jetliner views the neighboring properties enjoy — the 3,803 square foot single-story crib is perched onto the rather cramped-seeming .29-acre lot and sits cheek-to-jowl with its two much-larger neighbors on either side.
Well, babies, our gurl has gone and done it again. Just last month (June 2016), an ultra-dated structure just two doors away from the Mullally-Chambers pad sold for $10,250,000 to a mystery corporate entity calling itself “Gizmo’s Skyline LLC”.
Who is this mysterious Gizmo fella? He’s Miss Chambers’ pooch. Don’t ask Yolanda how she knows, but she knows. Yes, kiddies, Miss Chambers named her LLC after her doggy.
Anyway, the residence is 100% a teardown, to the point that listing photos do not show a single interior photo of the structure (and only one shot of the sad exterior). Hey, at least it looks like a home, unlike most of the sterile 5-star office buildings surrounding it, right?
The .41 acre lot, owned for over 50 years by the same family, was originally listed for a ludicrously-unrealistic $17,500,000 before undergoing multiple (and much-needed) price chops.
So Miss Chambers has now spent a big-time total of $21,235,000 on her two non-contiguous properties, one of which she is remodeling and the other of which is almost certainly a teardown.
By now you’re probably wondering how an interior designer can afford $21 million worth of property in one of LA’s most exclusive and priciest neighborhoods. Well, we’re gonna tell y’all. Miss Chambers’ father is a guy named John T. Chambers, the current Executive Chairman and former CEO of Palo Alto-based tech firm Cisco Systems, the largest networking company in the world. He’s a very, very big deal in the tech industry.
Mr. Chambers, a wildly successful businessman (and major Republican donor) who was one of the longest-serving CEOs in Silicon Valley history (he held the CEO position for a full 20 years), is also one of the highest-paid executives in history. In 2011, Forbes estimated his total five-year pay package (benefits and stock awards included) was worth in excess of a mind-numbing $170,000,000. And that’s just for five years, kiddies.
It’s no surprise that several sites estimate Mr. Chambers’ net worth at approximately one billion bucks — or more. And it should also be no surprise that Mr. Chambers is a bit of a real estate baller himself.
Back in 2008, Miss Chambers’ old man forked over a fat $20,000,000 for a Palo Alto “fixer-upper” mansion (above) with more than 15,000 square feet of living space. In 2012, after “fixing up” their new place and settling in, Mr. Chambers and his longtime wifey Elaine hauled their longtime Los Altos Hills estate, all 8,200+ square feet of it (below), onto the market with an asking price of $14,800,000. Just one month later, the property sold for the full damn asking price to Chinese entrepreneur Duan Yongping. Reportedly, it was the biggest sale in all of 2012 for swanky Los Altos Hills.
But the West Coast may not be the only coast where the Chamberses are real estate-active. Over the summer of 2010, a mysterious trust sporting a trustee closely linked to Mr. Chambers slammed down a painful $25,000,000 for a 12-room duplex at an exclusive seven-unit co-op building in New York City known only by its address, 950 Fifth Avenue.
But back to his only daughter. The two properties in the Bird Streets are hardly Miss Chambers’ first foray into Los Angeles real estate. Four years ago, in July 2012, she threw down $3,050,000 for a single-level uber-modern pad just above the Sunset Strip (and very close to the Chateau Marmont) that features panoramic views of the LA basin. As far as Yolanda knows, this house is currently her main residence.
After renovating the property, Miss Chambers unsuccessfully attempted to sell this house earlier this year, first with an ask of $5,495,000 and then at $5,250,000 before it was delisted.
Moving on. We also located direct, conclusive evidence that Miss Chambers recently owned not one but two separate, non-contiguous houses on Laurel Way in Beverly Hills. She flipped both homes to the very same developer in two separate transactions, one off-market and one on, raking in a whopping $4,150,000 profit on the two deals, minus real estate fees, taxes, and any renovation costs (we don’t think she did much work at all). Damn! Get that money, gurl.
But back to Miss Chambers’ new double-down in the Birds. Now that she has two houses just two doors apart, will she attempt to snap up the property in between? A contiguous triplex, if you will?
Records show the house in between Miss Chambers’ two properties was sold by actor Tobey Maguire (and his wife Jennifer Meyer) for $10,800,000 in 2007 to an anonymous shell company that everyone and their granny’s lint-roller knows is a front for recently-divorced Wal-Mart heiress Paige Laurie, the only child of Bill & Nancy Walton Laurie (the latter is the younger daughter of Bud Walton, the long-deceased younger brother and business partner of Sam Walton).
Remember, y’all, there are three big D’s that constitute the most common reasons for folks to buy and sell houses: Death, Divorce, and Diapers. Given that Miss Laurie is (we assume) currently putting the finishing touches on a long, drawn-out, and deeply acrimonious split from her moochin’ hubby Bo, could she be in the mood to unload her marriage crib? Let’s just say it wouldn’t surprise your gurl in the least. But given that we’re told she paid over $10 million and poured mega-bucks into renovations, she wouldn’t let it go for less than $15 million, we think.
One last little tidbit. There are so many celebrities and notable business folks in the Bird Streets we couldn’t possibly list them all in a single post. Well, we could, but that would be one long-ass story and ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat. So we’ll just tell you who’s within crawling distance of Miss Chambers’ properties. In addition to Miss Laurie, there’s the Facebook-suing Winklevoss twins, actors Keanu Reeves and Leo DiCaprio, songstress extraordinaire Diane Warren, apparel mogul Calvin Klein, high-paid DJ Avicii, big-haired socialite widow Joan Dangerfield, and TravelZoo CEO Holger Bartel.
So will Miss Laurie and Miss Chambers meet face-to-face to hash out a deal, gal-to-gal? Will they sit outside, overlooking the LA basin poors far below? Is Miss Chambers attempting to be the new Megan Ellison with her three-in-a-row houses? Would we like to be a fly on the wall if and when it happens? Are you seriously asking?! Hell yes, we would! Imagine that deliciousness. Two billionaire daughters haggling over how many millions one should pay the other for a house — and one of them who infamously cheated her way through USC. All the coke-snortin’ douches in the Bird Streets couldn’t keep us away.