Yolanda sincerely and profusely apologizes for her two-day absence from the internet. Entirely scheduled. Things got unexpectedly hot and hectic. You see, we were stuck in a stall in the ladies’ room of a Woodland Hills pizzeria located in a dowdy strip mall. How embarrassing! But their black-olive-with-aged-oregano deep dish was just too addictive, so we aren’t sorry. Ah, well. Thank you to our boys at the Valley Fire Department for the rescue.
Anyway, we’ve got lots of fun stories coming up but for today we wanted to take a quick detour and branch out to previously uncharted territory down within the thick folds of the dreaded Orange Curtain: Newport Coast, CA. On our way back from the OC beach, Yolanda will also make a quick pit stop in another strangely-named wilderness known as Diamond Bar, CA. Let us explain.
Back in late December (2016), a bodacious beast of a Newport Coast mansion sold for $28,000,000. That’s a lot of money! As far as Yolanda can tell, this house holds the award for biggest sale in the seaside community for the entire year of 2016. This was also — so far as we know — the second-biggest sale in all of Orange County last year, behind only multi-billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong’s record-busting $45 million splurge for a one-of-a-kind property in Laguna Beach. It’s also — per the OCRegister — the biggest sale ever for a non-oceanfront Newport house.
Now, the house happens to be located in the guard-gated Crystal Cove enclave in Newport Coast, which is the same swanky gated community where Real Housewives of Orange County star Heather Dubrow and her plastic surgeon hubby Dr. Terry Dubrow recently completed construction on a big-ass 17,000-square-foot mansion just a quick jog away from this house.
We mention Ms. Dubrow because the seller of this turgid Tuscan behemoth was a lady named Cindy McMackin and her hubby Ron McMackin. As luck or chance would have it, Mr. & Mrs. McMackin also have a RHOOC connection. (Lawd have mercy!) You see, Mr. McMackin is the brother (we think) of a guy named Reed McMackin. Our Mr. Reed McMackin is the husband of a lady named Nicole McMackin, whose affair with RHOOC cast member Shannon Beador‘s husband was a major storyline on a recent season of the show. So the story goes, Ms. Nicole McMackin was not mentioned by name on TV, but someone leaked her identity to the Daily Mail. This caused Mr. & Mrs. McMackin to release a statement publicly confirming the affair but begging for no further publicity.
Um. Yeah. That’ll work!
Apparently both families — the Beadors and the McMackins — recently attended a USC football game where Ms. Beador and Nicole McMackin got into some sort of verbal altercation. Now tell us, kiddies, is there anything more trashy — and all-American — than getting into a boozy smack-talkin’ scuffle at a football game? We can’t think of anything but we’re open to enlightenment. But we digress yet again. Back to the house we go.
Now here’s where you might be surprised. Property records reveal the epicly-rich buyer is not some A-list celebrity, not a famous entrepreneur, not a billionaire financier. Rather, the new owners are an ultra-low-profile local married couple named William Chiu and Tracy Hou.
So where do Mr. Chiu & Ms. Hou get all their cash?
Well, it’s rather embarrassing for a prideful lass like Yolanda to admit, but we really haven’t the faintest idea. ‘Tis true. Matter of fact, we know next to nothing about Mr. Chiu & Ms. Hou. Except that they are very, very rich. Duh! We all know that now.
Take a look at what all that money hath bought.
The estate sits on a .79-acre hillside double lot near the tail end of a short cul-de-sac. Custom-built in 2009 by Mr. & Mrs. McMackin, the Italianate sprawler weighs in at a portly 18,650-square-feet. That’s a huge house. It’s not quite a mega-mansion — Yolanda usually considers those as anything above 20,000-square-feet — but it’s still massive. There are 8 bedrooms and a total of 10.5 bathrooms, per the listing. The front driveway is exuberantly hedged and is also double-gated.
Best of all, there’s a subterranean 10-car garage so Mr. Chiu & Ms. Hou will never have to worry about their Rolls Royce or Ferrari bakin’ outside in the sun.
Inside, rooms are grandly proportioned and come equipped with coffered ceilings, faux-exposed ceiling beams, and industrial-grade fireplaces. We purposely only included a faraway photo of the kitchen here — naturally it sports a center island and top-grade appliances — because it comes equipped with a nasty pot rack that really bothers us. We’re like Our Mama in that we believe pot racks always look tacky, dirty, and are a safety hazard to boot. So kill it with fire, we say. But to each their own.
A column-filled formal dining room has seating for 10 and an ocean view. There’s that kitchen. Best of all (in our opinion) is the 1,200 bottle wine cellar.
Some of the other numerous amenities include a home theater, an at-home pub to discourage drunk driving (nice!), a mirror-walled gym, and a children’s home entertainment room slash library. Somewhere there’s also a “commerical-grade” elevator.
The master suite is too white and beige for Yolanda but it’s very fancy with a sitting area, fireplace, walk-in boutique-style closet, and a ballroom-sized bathroom with his-and-hers vanities and a soaking tub. There’s also a private covered balcony for year-round views of the water and Newport Harbor.
A rear courtyard area has an outdoor kitchen that is adjacent to a modern take on an open-air conservatory with French doors and walls of glass.
Naturally, the pool is infinity-edged for maximum wow factor. Brick terraces and a wide swath of jewel-toned lawn completes the backyard. And if y’all are too lazy to wade through these pictures, here’s a video tour.
Is it just us or is something rather cookie-cutter about this place? The sea view is wonderful, the house is certainly tremendously luxurious, and Newport Coast is a nice area. But having all those other big new houses around, all in neat little rows, sorta reminds us of Disneyland. A very posh Disneyland, mind you.
It’s the same sorta complaint we have with Beverly Park, except moreso here in Newport Coast because the houses are so close together and so stylistically similar. But then again, we can’t afford a $28 million house so what are we complainin’ about? Eh?
Onto the buyers: Mr. Chiu and Ms. Hou. Here’s everything we know about them. They are both in their late 40s or early 50s, they have lived in the eastern LA County area for at least the past 15 years, and we assume without any direct knowledge that they both originally hail from either Mainland China or Taiwan (as many folks in this area do). As we’ve said, we don’t know anything about their business or where they get $28 million from, but we assume they have different (non-Americanized) named back in their home country.
Interestingly enough, Yolanda stumbled over evidence that Ms. Hou had a Criminal Complaint filed against her several years ago. For those of y’all goody-two-shoes readers out there, a criminal complaint filed by a US state is often an early step in the criminal prosecution process. The complaint can be a for a wide range of crimes, and Yolanda does not know (or particularly care to know) anything further about the case and if it was resolved, so we shall quickly move on.
We also know know that since February 2010, the wealthy couple’s main residence has been a large and expensive but architecturally questionable mansion inside the guarded gates of the Country Estates community in Diamond Bar, CA. The house was originally built in the late 1980s and contains 8,409-square-feet in the rambling main house and another 2,300-square-feet in the guest house. Mr. Chiu & Ms. Hou paid $4,000,000 for the 1.9-acre estate near the height of the global economic recession.
The Country Estates — also rather snootily called “The Country” by residents — is the wealthiest section of Diamond Bar and consists of approximately 750 home sites behind two guarded gates. Some homes are small; some are large. Some are even grand mansions. But even the smallest residences tend to be over a million dollars.
Chances are, if you’re from outta the area, you’ve never heard of Diamond Bar. That’s because it’s not a particularly sexy place to live. Don’t hate, we’re just keeping it real. Located on the eastern edge of LA County, the city abuts San Bernardino County and is about 30 miles east of Downtown LA. It’s also about 40 miles north of Newport Coast.
Because of the geographically remote location, Diamond Bar is short on Hollywood celebrity residents. But never fret. There is at least one! Since 1998, our favorite rapper Snoop Dogg‘s main residence has been located inside the Country Estates. Matter of fact, the weed-lovin’ Mr. Dogg’s surprisingly modest house is located almost directly across the street from the much larger mansion owned by Mr. Chiu & Ms. Hou.
Urban legend says Mr. Dogg keeps a yellow Lamborghini parked outside his Diamond Bar house at all times. Maybe that’s true. Maybe it ain’t. Yolanda has never actually been inside the Country Estates enclave, nor do we know any of the residents. So we can’t vouch for that. But perhaps a Country Estates homeowner will write in and school our ignorant self. Pretty please?
In the meantime, listen to Mr. Dogg drop some animal knowledge on his unsuspecting audience.