It’s been a very long time coming, but thanks to the legend herself — Your Mama over at Variety — Yolanda can tell y’all that the celeb-pedigreed Harvey Mudd estate in Beverly Hills has found a new owner for the princely sum of $15,000,000. Before we discuss specifics of the estate or the sale, however, let’s take a quick drive and have a brief history lesson.
Head directly north from the hustle and bustle of Rodeo Drive and downtown Beverly Hills for about, oh, maybe 10 minutes or so by car. As you pass the Rolls Royce-filled Sunset Boulevard and begin the trek up the canyon, the road’s incline gradually grows steeper. Then, just before you reach the point where Beverly Hills turns into Beverly Hills Post Office (Los Angeles), brake hard and make a soft right into a barely-there, tree-shrouded, exceptionally long private driveway.
Carefully make your way up the quarter-mile roadway, just past Bruce Springsteen’s deceptively-modest compound. Finally, through the dense foliage, you’ll see the ol’ gurl herself.
This, y’all, is the Harvey Mudd estate.
Thanks to our friends over at the LA Times, we can tell you the Tudor pile was built in 1922 for multi-millionaire glass manufacturer Charles Boldt, the son of hotelier George C. Boldt, Sr. The structure was designed by Elmer Grey, the same accomplished architect who did up the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel. At that time, it measured roughly 7,200 square feet.
In 1925, the estate was sold to major philanthropists Harvey & Mildred Mudd. The couple held onto the property for 30+ years, until both their deaths in the 1950s. He, of course, is the namesake for the estate as well as the elite private college in Claremont (CA).
In the mid-1960s, the property was briefly owned by a young Rothschild fellow. Well, kudos to him because he sold the estate in 1968 to two of Yolanda’s absolute favorite Tinseltown icons: Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, aka Rollin and Cinnamon of Mission: Impossible. And yes, that’s the groundbreaking television series, not those absolutely hideous Tom Cruise films. If you have DVDs or whatever of that sacrilege, burn that mess immediately!
Anyway, Mr. Landau and Ms. Bain — he an Oscar-winner who also starred in films such as North by Northwest, she a four-time Emmy-winner — are such perfection in Mission: Impossible, well, you just must watch it. If you haven’t yet found a reason to sign up with Netflix, Yolanda just gave you the ultimate one, K?
But we majorly digress, don’t we? Anyway, the Hollywood couple owned the house for more than 20 years, so in your gurl’s useless opinion it should instead be christened the Cinnamon Rollin Estate. (Get it? Get it? Anyways…) In 1991, the sadly-soon-to-be-divorced pair sold the ol’ rambler for $2,425,000 to some producer fellow named Jack Rapke, a guy whom Yolanda knows very little about.
Fast forward to 2004. It was then that our mysterious Mr. Rapke himself sold the property for somewhere between five and six million bucks to a high-flying developer named John Bersci. His gal pal, Million Dollar Decorators star Mary McDonald, proceeded to give the grand but faded lady a major facelift complete with leopard print decor and all.
Unfortunately for Mr. Bersci (and Ms. McDonald), the house did not sell and he was served him with a big fat real estate reality check in July 2009, when he officially lost the estate to foreclosure. Rumor has it that Mr. Bersci was, for a time, forced to move into his own mama’s house while attempting to ride out the recession! Oh, the indignity of it all.
In February 2010, the foreclosing bank sold the property for $6,250,000 to a British developer named Brendan Deschamps. Our boy spent several years renovating and expanded the already recently-renovated property before tossing it onto the open market with a frightfully greedy $22,995,000 asking price.
To get an idea of the changes Mr. Deschamps made to Ms. McDonald’s decorating, have a detailed look-see at the before and after pics on the very thoroughly-researched Cote de Texas blog. Suffice to say that Mr. Deschamps’ version, while tastefully done and classy, is a bit too restrained and ho hum for Yolanda than Ms. McDonald’s more avant garde take on the place. Different strokes and all that.
Now we get to the good part. After removing the property from the open market in 2014, it finally happened. Records say the estate has sold for a significantly lower $14,574,000. Though that’s more than $8 million less that Mr. Deschamps originally wanted, we would bet big bucks he still walked with a significant profit.
According to real estate royal Your Mama, the new owner is a certain really nice man from the Toy Industry. Well, Yolanda snagged an exclusive interview with Mr. Really Nice Man From The Toy Industry — he’s a wee bit publicity-shy — and in his own words, he “is very proud to be able to uphold the house’s wonderful legacy.” He also told Yolanda that he plans to give the ol’ girl a wee cosmetic overhaul to restore back her original luster before all the recent renovations rather muddled things.
The entrance hall has gorgeous wood paneling and an impressively massive glass chandelier that looms over the foot of those loud-looking wooden stairs. The sort-of clerestory stained glass windows above the stairway are a decadent touch.
Moving on, the living room gives off a decidedly gothic vibe — wee think — with its intricately detailed ceiling, and carved wood paneling encapsulating the space. We enjoy the library, which breaks from the rest of the house’s more muted tones with its matte-red looking walls.
Just across from the entrance hall is the exceptionally-roomy dining room — it easily seats 12 — with its glossy patterned flooring. The house also has at least two roomy breakfast nooks overlooking the estate’s grounds.
While unarguably spacious and luxurious, the kitchen just does not quite do it for Yolanda (or Your Mama, she assures us). It’s just a bit too monochromatic or a bit too much “Yes, this house was most definitely a flip project” -looking, we’re not sure which. But that should be a fairly simple fix.
Under the ownership of Mr. Deschamps, the estate ballooned up to 10,993-square-feet with 7 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms, including the practically all-white master suite.
An oddball feature of the property is the stone-walled “game retreat” downstairs that features a pool table just across from a six-seat wooden dining set. Strange, that. The room also opens directly to the backyard via a knotty oak door. Could this be the room where you bring back the “game” after a day out shooting? (Do they allow sport shooting in Beverly Hills? Somehow Yolanda doubts it.)
The one-acre property isn’t particularly big for the neighborhood, but it is equipped with rolling lawns, stone terraces, a classy rectangular-shaped pool, and a rather beautiful motorcourt that’s anchored by what appears to an old (???) tree. Sorry, kids, Yolanda ain’t no dendrologist.