Though we could swear it happened just yesterday, records say it’s already been over a month since billionaire Oaktree Capital Management co-founder Bruce Karsh paid nearly $69 million — $68,822,450, to be exact — for The Grey Estate on Holmby Hills‘ outrageously expensive North Carolwood Drive. And just as we speculated would happen, Mr. Karsh has put one of his two other major-league Los Angeles estates on the market. His Brentwood home is now publicly available and carries a very serious $42 million asking price. (Thanks to our friend Mama at Variety for giving us a heads-up about the listing).
While that list price may seem astronomical to y’all, Yolanda is actually of the opinion that it is a reasonable starting point. This is a major, major spread and it was all done up very correctly on an unlimited budget. Plus, the listing says the house is “located on the most prestigious street in Brentwood,” and that ain’t no idle boast. Yolanda can confirm that Oakmont Drive has long been the most desirable block of all in this swanky Westside LA neighborhood.
Anyway, Mr. Karsh and his longtime wife Martha have only owned this house for 3.5 years, since December 2014. Records show they plunked down $33,721,500 for the 1.9-acre spread in an off-market deal. However, we imagine the Karshes have been very familiar with this property for many years, since long before their purchase. After all, they bought the house from Mr. Karsh’s business partner (and fellow billionaire) Howard Marks, who owned it for nearly two decades before finally letting go.
It was Mr. Marks and his wife Nancy who spent the untold millions to renovate and expand this trophy estate into the highfalutin’ compound y’all see here today.
Originally built in 1940, the Georgian Regency Revival-style was designed by James Dolena, the architect responsible for several of LA’s grandest mansions, including Casa Encantada in Bel Air. The house itself is completely invisible from the road out front — the plebes are only allowed to see tall hedges and big security gates. A winding drive leads uphill to a very large motorcourt. On the other side of the estate is a discreet service entrance with a two-car garage and a secondary (smaller) motorcourt for staff and such.
From the main motorcourt, a short flight of steps leads past original columns to a proper entry vestibule with a movie-star-worthy curved staircase. Beyond that is the “gallery” — oh my, so posh! — with a grand piano and floor-to-ceiling windows. All the interiors you see here were done up (surely at fantastic expense) by acclaimed designer Michael S. Smith, who is perhaps best-known as Obama’s White House decorator.
There is also a separate formal living room with divine herringbone floors, a formal dining room with antique fixtures, and a family room with a soaring ceiling and skylight. All of those areas sport fireplaces.
Listing information indicates there is 8,617-square-feet of living space here, but Yolanda is unsure whether that encompasses just the main house or if it includes the multiple accessory structures on the estate. In any case, this place is plenty big and has six bedrooms in the main house, including three on the upper level. The master has a fireplace, sitting area, private outdoor balcony and his/hers baths and closets. Her bathroom is decked out in a frilly (but not overwrought manner), his has a decidedly clubby, old-world vibe to it. Looks like the sort of place where CEOs get together to talk business and smoke cigars.
Naturally the kitchen has top-of-the-line everything and opens directly to the family room. A glassy “greenhouse-like vestibule” (per the listing) leads outside to the formal lawns and rose bushes. A classy oval swimming pool lies just outside the Regency-style pavilion, which is “perfect for entertaining” and currently sports a pool table and comfy-lookin’ couches.
There are multiple small accessory structures on the estate: staff quarters, a gym w/ racquetball court, a detached art studio, and a “security building“, presumably for housing bodyguards. $42 million buys y’all all of that, plus a location on a swanky street where your neighbors are LA’s richest folks.
Almost seems like a deal, don’t it?
For those curious, some of Mr. Karsh’s nearest Oakmont Drive neighbors include multi-billionaire art patron Eli Broad, Disney CEO Bob Iger, screenwriter Dan Gilroy and his actress wife Rene Russo, and private equity guru Barry Porter.
Should the house sell for its full asking price, it will officially rank as the most expensive transaction ever in Brentwood. But even if it goes for somewhere in the $35 to $38 million range — as Yolanda suspects it will — that’s still top 3 in the biggest transactions ever on the Westside. Or west of the 405, at least.
And yes, we know the house and decorating may be a little too “mature” and “not contemporary enough” for some of y’all young’uns who go crazy for those glassy spec-mansions in the hills. But even if this is not your personal style, let Yolanda assure you that it is all quite exquisite in its own way, and most assuredly worthy of a spread in Architectural Digest. We fully expect this place to sell swiftly.
Listing agent: Linda May, Hilton & Hyland