When Apple commander Steve Jobs died in late 2011, he left a fortune that was estimated at more than $8 billion. Keep in mind, however, that back then the world was still emerging from a global recession — in the seven years since, his estate has more than doubled in value, according to Forbes.
If the countless profiles and biographies of him are to be believed, Mr. Jobs was a prickly individual — demanding and often difficult to love. Among his very few close friends were Larry Ellison and John Lasseter. And besides his kids and his longtime wife Laurene Powell, the only family member he really felt close to was his sister Mona Simpson.
The details of Mr. Jobs’ will were kept private, of course, but it appears that he was generous to his loved ones. Very generous. Either that, or Ms. Powell made certain that his beloved sister was well provided for following his death.
A large house on one of Santa Monica’s best streets sold for a fat $11,100,000 earlier this month in what appears to have been an all-cash deal. The buyer, y’all may be interested to know, is indeed Mr. Jobs’ sister Ms. Simpson. And what Yolanda found particularly interesting about the transaction is that Ms. Simpson lists the address of her financial manager on the deed — and it happens to be the very same boutique Palo Alto firm that has managed all of Ms. Powell’s many recent real estate acquisitions.
That is certainly an indicator that both Ms. Simpson and Ms. Powell’s fortunes come from the same source. And they do, of course.
Stories of Mr. Jobs and Ms. Simpson’s unusual relationship are repeated so often they have become the stuff of legend, but Yolanda will rehash it once more for y’all. Believe it or not, these two siblings were unaware the other existed until they were well into adulthood. Born to a Syrian father and a Wisconsin-based American mother, Mr. Jobs was given up for adoption as a baby before his parents were married. After the couple wed, Ms. Simpson was born and raised primarily by her mother in Los Angeles. And her mama — the sly old crow — never told her daughter that she had a long-lost older brother.
It was not until 1986 — when Ms. Simpson was in her late 20s and Mr. Jobs in his early 30s — that they became aware of each other’s existence. Our Mr. Jobs tracked down his birth mother, who told him that he had a secret sister and finally arranged for the two to meet. From there, the two quickly became lifetime friends (and family, too). Years later, Mr. Jobs would tell his official biographer “I don’t know what I’d do without [Mona]. I can’t imagine a better sister.” And Ms. Simpson, for her part, would eventually deliver a passionate eulogy at his memorial service.
Ms. Simpson has been successful in her own right — she is a well-respected author and a longtime UCLA professor. Her first novel, Anywhere but Here, was a popular success and was eventually adapted into a 1999 film starring Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman. Since then, she has written five more novels and four short stories — the most recent having been released in 2014.
Married for nearly 20 years to Richard Appel — a former attorney and current comedy writer — Ms. Simpson has two children and her own claim to fame. Her ex-hubby, who once wrote for The Simpsons, named the Mona Simpson character after her.
And while Ms. Simpson certainly does not need to work — the late Mr. Jobs and/or Ms. Powell have seen to that — she is still teaching. In fact, she just wrapped up four different UCLA classes over this past winter session.
Now let’s take a quick peek at her $11 million mansion. Did we mention it is right next door to her longtime main residence?
The Craftsman compound is 111 years old — originally built in 1907, back when Teddy “Bull Moose” Roosevelt was in office — but the grand dame has certainly aged gracefully. There’s a convenient two-car garage and off-street parking for an additional three vehicles, at least. A short flight of stairs leads to the mahogany front door, which leads into a gorgeous mahogany-paneled entryway. Lustrous hardwood floors run throughout most of the structure’s rooms.
To the right of the front door is an formal living room with a windowed alcove, a stone fireplace, and lovely ocean views.
The formal dining room has paneled walls painted a fetching shade of milky gray. It connects directly to the kitchen, which has ho-hum appliances, tile floors and a tile backsplash. This room could probably stand to be updated, though the little island with its butcher block countertop is certainly handy.
A total of 5,501-square-feet of living space are spread between the main house and a wee guest cottage, with 6 beds and 9 bathrooms in all. The main house has five of those bedrooms including the master suite, which includes a walk-in closet, fireplace, private office and an outdoor terrace with scenic views of the sea.
The landscaping is lovely and colorful without being overtly fussy, and there are plenty of outdoor seating options to soak in the ocean breezes. One of the home’s best features is the outdoor brick kitchen — Ms. Simpson has herself a BBQ, fridge, and a sink.
Also on the .46-acre property are organic vegetable planters, a large rectangular pool w/ inset spa, a poolside cabana w/ convenient bathroom, a grassy lawn, and — at the rear of the estate — a “country cottage” with a living room, kitchen, one guest bedroom and two full bathrooms.
As Yolanda already mentioned, Ms. Simpson has long lived next door to her new house — in a historic 4,118-square-foot structure that she formerly shared with her ex-husband. The 1912-built single-story Craftsman is all but hidden from the road out front by tall foliage. Aerial views indicate that the .45-acre lot includes a very long rectangular pool — great for swimming laps — and a two-car garage tucked away discreetly in a rear alleyway.
The Henry Weaver House — as Ms. Simpson’s longtime residence is known — was built by the Milwaukee Building Co., is listed on the register of Historic Places, and is an official Santa Monica landmark. Records indicate that Ms. Simpson picked up the property in 1997 for about $2.9 million and has restored it since then. And although she certainly does not need it, records also show that she has a Mills Act tax break on the property, which means she pays significantly less in property taxes than the last sale price would normally warrant.
All told, we would wager that Ms. Simpson’s two-house Craftsman compound is likely worth about $20 million. And while we have no idea what she plans to do with the house next door, we highly doubt she is interested in demolishing it. This is a lady who understands the value of history, y’all.
By the way, we have no idea if Ms. Simpson and Ms. Powell are close (or if they even speak, for that matter) but Ms. Powell’s unfinished Malibu compound is just a quick jaunt up the coast from her sister-in-law’s Santa Monica spread.
Ms. Powell purchased the first piece of her compound in 2014 for $44 million and the house next door in 2017 for another $16.5 million. The $60.5 million compound is still unfinished and currently under major construction. When complete, it will be one of the largest spreads overlooking Paradise Cove, arguably Malibu’s most scenic beach.
Listing and selling agent: Kate Bransfield, Coldwell Banker