Point Dume, the very recognizable Malibu promontory that juts way out into the Pacific Ocean, has long been the most star-studded area of the city. Folks like Matthew McConaughey, Sean Penn, Chris Martin, Barbra Streisand, Owen Wilson, Bob Dylan, and Gerard Butler (and many more names we cannot remember) own in the neighborhood for the privacy its (relatively) large lots provide, the dazzling blufftop views, and the access it allows to Little Dume beach, which is about as close to a private beach as y’all will ever find in Southern California, where all beaches are public land, technically.
For all the money and fame crowded into the area, Point Dume remains remarkably unpretentious. The local shopping center is still anchored by a rather dowdy Pavilions, and there are lots of old trucks and other assorted clunker automobiles lining the streets. And although there are certainly grand mansions out there, many homes appear modest from out front. Sometimes deceptively so. Such is the case for a house that recently sold for a gruesome $21,000,000.
Located on the bluff side of uber-pricey Cliffside Drive — long considered one of the best streets in the neighborhood — the single-story sprawler features a front-facing two car garage. Little else is visible to the public. From the street, it appears to be a modest cottege shielded mostly behind a riotous hedge. In reality, however, the house contains a mansion-sized 6,107-square-feet of living space with 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms.
Way back in 2003, the successful and Emmy-winning TV show writer Bill Lawrence and his actress wife Christa Miller paid rocker Pat Benatar $4,500,000 for the house you see above. That’s right — in the span of 14 years, the $4.5 million house became a $21 million trophy property.
William “Bill” Lawrence, in case y’all didn’t know, is the co-creator of successful TV shows like co-creator of Cougar Town and co-creator of Spin City. He is best-known, however, as the sole creator of the medical comedy-drama series Scrubs, which aired in primetime from 2001 to 2010 and went into syndication. That show alone made Mr. Lawrence a bazillionaire. And yes, Yolanda personally checked his bank account to verify this.
We joke, of course.
Christa Miller — who has starred in several of her hubby’s productions — has been married to Mr. Lawrence for nearly 20 years and together the couple have three children who range in age from 11 to 17.
Yolanda is not allowed to post photographs of this Malibu house on our blog, unfortunately (don’t ask!) but y’all can view a bunch of them to your hearts’ content on Chris Cortazzo’s website. Hurry up and scoot your butts over there before they get taken down! And don’t say we didn’t warn y’all.
So who is the big-bucks buyer? Records reveal that it is someone Yolanda has never before heard of: an Omaha, Nebraska-based businessman named Steve Buchanan. According to our research, Mr. Buchanan is the owner and founder of Bucky’s, a convenience store and gas station chain with 79 locations across several Midwest states.
Records reveal that Mr. Buchanan currently resides — as y’all might expect — in one of Omaha’s wealthiest neighborhoods.
In June 2010, Mr. Buchanan paid $1,800,000 for his Omaha home. That seems like a lot of money to have spent in Nebraska, especially during the last economic recession, but Yolanda actually knows very little about Nebraska real estate. Maybe $1.8 million is peanuts in the fashionable areas of Omaha. We dunno!
And besides, the house is very nice. The 8,820-square-foot Tudor-style mansion is surrounded by lush landscaping that looks better suited to a Beverly Hills estate than to a pad out in the proverbial belly of the Middle America. The home was built in 1991 and has a generous 5 bedrooms and 6 baths, and the 1.76-acre property is located on a quiet cul-de-sac and neighbored by several other equally huge homes.
Anyway, let us examine the Malibu property. The house was never officially listed on the MLS, but it had been shopped around not-so-secretly by Mr. Cortazzo with a “price available on request”. The contemporary-ish ranch-style pad appears to have a new-ish wing added on that was integrated with the rest of the home in a not particularly cohesive manner.
Photographs show that the home’s front door opens into an open-concept combo living/family room with two rather ugly floral-print sofas. Directly adjacent is the dining area and the contemporary kitchen, which boasts expensive appliances. All main rooms have hardwood floors. Elsewhere there’s a wacky “movie room” with cobalt blue walls and a mini-fridge plus wine rack. Above the fridge is a neon sign with the word “scrubs” emblazened on it.
Hey, at least Mr. Lawrence doesn’t mind acknowledging what keeps his bread buttered.
The master suite has a private balcony, but it is the backyard itself that is the real star of the show with the huge infinity pool, a multi-level wood deck for entertaining, a sitting area centered around a firepit, a grassy lawn, and spectacular Pacific Ocean views that stretch down to the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Catalina Island.
And although we are not 100% certain, it also appears to Yolanda that this might just be the only house on Cliffside Drive that has a staircase leading down the bluff. Maybe that’s for a reason. Yolanda dug up evidence that indicates Mr. Lawrence was cited for the (allegedly) unpermitted staircase, but perhaps all that has been rectified now.
Bill Lawrence and Christa Miller mainly reside in the rustic Mandeville Canyon area in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, where way back in 2007 they paid $12,600,000 for a 9,552-square-foot Traditional set on a private lane just off the main road. Other homeowners on the same little Brentwood lane include financial heavyweights like plane-crashing actor Harrison Ford, media scion Lachlan Murdoch, and magazine heiress Liz Goldhirsh Yellin.
The Miller-Lawrences have tried several times over the last decade to unload their big Mandeville Canyon house — first in 2010 at a nearly $2 million loss, again in 2011, and once more in 2013 — but for some reason they have not been able to get the damn thing sold.
Listing agent: Chris Cortazzo, Coldwell Banker