There was a fight in LA recently. It was brutal. A teeth-gnashing, heel-breaking, vitriol-filled battle. Beotches were literally cutting each other. There was plenty of weave-pulling and fake boobie-whacking. And it all happened in the middle of the street! It was downright indecent and frankly, all too shocking.
Neighbors hid their children. Charlie Sheen offered tactical advice to the combatants. The neighborhood cat, Jack, raised a solitary eyebrow in disgust. And what’s more, Clinton and Trump were nowhere near the scene. We can’t even blame this one on those two old gasbags!
Okay, so you might wonder what all these fools were fighting over. Their man? Their woman? The latest iPhone? A half-off sale on used panties?
No! They were fighting over a house! What?! Yes. A house.
Admittedly, this is not just any old house. This is Allyn E. Morris’s groovy “Bubeck residence”. It’s probably the coolest house in Glassell Park, a historic and unpretentious neighborhood located near the heart of the once-gritty but quickly-gentrifying Eastside of Los Angeles.
Anyway, after the smoke cleared, the dust settled, and discarded wigs were tossed into the garbage bin, one frizzy redhead emerged from the smackdown – bruised and bloodied yet victorious. So who is she?
Well, we’ve gotta give a hat tip to our gurl Your Mama at Variety on this one. It was she who first whispered to Yolanda (and property records confirm) that the new owner is a lady named Sydney Picasso. And yes, kiddies, if you’re wondering — that’s Picasso as in that Picasso. Bam!
Property records show the residence last sold back in 2010 for just $750,000 and came to market again this February (2016) asking $1,395,000. The house sold in under a month for $1,750,000 – or a jaw-dropping $355,000 over asking. For you math nerds out there, Yolanda’s second-grader assistant tells us that’s over 25% more than the sellers – two young guys named Mark Jones and Brad Maury – originally wanted. And though we can’t prove it, Yolanda would bet bucks to bagels that Ms. Picasso paid all-cash for the property.
Now, peeps, you know your gurl Yolanda throws around crazy numbers on this blog all the time ($50 million teardown, etc). But let’s not get too jaded. $1.7 million is still a lot of moolah to many folks out there, and it’s a ton of dough for this area of town. Yolanda isn’t sure if this is the biggest sale ever in Glassell Park – we’re not an expert on this particular neighborhood – but if it ain’t, we’d bet again that it’s in the top three all-time.
We saw this place when it came to market in February. While the house is fantastic, we thought the location might deter most deep-pocketed buyers, and we definitely didn’t expect it to go for over asking – much less the final sale amount. But mid-century modern architecture is beyond in right now, and apparently Ms. Picasso decided she couldn’t live without this thang. (However, Yolanda heard that Ms. Picasso may not move into this house. More on that a little later.)
This is vintage Morris – the first residential structure he ever built, actually (circa 1956). In the early 1940s, his longtime buddy – motorcyclist Max Bubeck – acquired two vacant lots in Glassell Park. Nealy 15 long years later, he commissioned Morris to build him a dream home on the property. The generous (for the neighborhood) 10,000 square foot lot and high hedges out front means the structure is all but completely invisible from the street out front
Though just 1,950 square feet, the skillfully-designed residence never feels cramped, despite the 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, and enough vintage details to fill a warehouse (or two). Once up the long driveway, a lovely hodgepodge of steel, glass, pink stucco and concrete blocks greets visitors.
The centerpiece of the house is, naturally, that magnificent brick-and-concrete fireplace. Ceiling heights run the gamut, and the brilliant red detail splashes offset the pale concrete blocks and bricks.
Once upon a time, the entire residence’s floors were covered with a vibrant (some might say gauche) red carpet. Perhaps thankfully, the carpeting disappeared with a prior owner, who also installed bamboo floors where the original concrete had been. It was the most recent owners – the two gents previously mentioned – who removed the bamboo and replaced it with concrete mimicking the original (minus the red carpeting).
The house has low but broad views out over LA. The extensive use of glass doors, windows, and detailing keeps the petite abode from feeling claustrophobic.
We don’t love the kitchen. It’s really the only part of the house that doesn’t thrill Yolanda. No surprise that it’s also one of the only components not original to the structure – it was completely overhauled by a previous owner back in 2003. Still, it’s got decent countertop space, wood cabinetry, and fairly expensive-looking appliances. Not so awful.
The master “suite”, like the rest of the home, effortlessly blends out and inside. Those concrete blocks and itsy-bitsy windows above the bed give give the place a bit of a prison vibe, however. Just a tad? But we’ve gotta say we love it, ’cause we do.
Across the hall is another compact but light-flooded bedroom. There’s also a bathroom with appliances wrapped in a lovely shade of turquoise. The exensive wood cabinetry you see in both bedrooms are another feature not original to the structure.
The large backyard has a groovy pool and spa surrounded by generous concrete terraces and some clearly fake grass. Check out those invisible walls and that chimney! Yummy. “Take my money,” Ms. Picasso screamed. And we really can’t blame our gurl.
If you’ve got some spare time and would like to read an unbelievably thorough and endlessly interesting in-depth history of this property, go here.
Meanwhile, here’s some a tidbits about Ms. Picasso: you may be surprised to learn that she is not French or even Spanish. Ms. Picasso is originally from America. Reports from around the time of her 1979 wedding to Claude Picasso (Picasso’s only living son and estate administrator) describe her as an archaeologist.
Our gurl has more recently become a museum curator and sought-after critic of contemporary and modern art. She’s also an accomplished author and historian. Although nobody asked her opinion, Yolanda is of the mind that LA needs more folks like the Picasso family. Less Kardashian wannabes, please. This city is already cheeseball enough as it is, fer Christ’s sake!
By the way, we’re not sure how long Ms. Picasso and her husband Claude were married (we believe it was 20+ years), but she is most definitely single today. They must have kept the divorce quiet or something, because we can’t find a sole mention of it on the internet. Regardless, the Picassos had at least two children – a son (Jasmin Blasco Ruiz Picasso, a Los Angeles resident) and a daughter (name unknown) – before going their separate ways.
Speaking of their children, Yolanda heard through the grapevine that Ms. Picasso bought this house not as a residence for herself but rather for one of her kids. Our gurl Your Mama also whispered to us that the house was purchased for “Picasso’s granddaughter”. Yolanda will have to reserve judgment on the lass until she moves in. Or at least until we get a name for this chick, you know?
But if anyone can pay proper homage to the Bubeck residence, this is the clan we’d pick. And so, Ms. Picasso, you conquered your foes. You’re a winner. Now let’s see where you (or your daughter) takes it from here. It’s a new chapter, a new beginning, a new… new. Salud.