Many old homes in the foothills above the world-famous Sunset Strip have a celebrity history. Of course that’s partly due to their Hollywood proximity, but also because droves of them are blessed with both privacy and stunning LA skyline views, assets famous folks usually can’t find down in the flats.
Take today’s property. Originally built way back in 1938, the Mediterranean mini-compound sits on a puny .16-acre lot just steps above hectic Sunset Boulevard. Yet it is all but invisible from the street out front, tucked away up a long (gated) driveway and behind another house. Westward views drink in the radiant sunsets, and tall hedges eliminate the neighbors and amplify the tranquil atmosphere.
We digress. In 2006, the petite property was acquired by actress Robin Ruzan during her divorce from longtime hubby Mike Myers. Our Ms. Ruzan bounced around in her single lady shack until 2013, when she famously sold it to pop star Nick Jonas.
Very soon, apparently, young Mr. Jonas tired of his bachelor pad. He flipped it for $3,400,000 barely a year after his purchase — just a wee bit more than the $3.2 million he paid Ms. Ruzan.
The next owner was a non-famous gentleman from WeHo. Our Mr. Gentleman quickly embarked on a cosmetic overhaul of the hovel’s rather ho-hum interiors. He also totally redid the minuscule backyard, replacing the old lagoon-style pool with a far more contemporary (and sexy) infinity-edged number.
In July (2018), Mr. Gentleman successfully flipped the micro-compound for $5,175,000 in an all-cash deal. Remodel or not, that’s a huge price jump for just three years of ownership, and Yolanda was intrigued because the big-bucks buyer is listed as a mysterious and deliberately opaque entity with a Silicon Valley address. After several weeks of sleepless nights, your gurl did what any normal person would do: we dialed up our omnipotent friend U.N. Owen and begged him to tell us who bought the place.
Thankfully, Mr. Owen took pity on us and came through in the clutch. The proud new owner, he whispered, is a young woman named Sophie Schmidt.
31-year-old Miss Schmidt is the only living child of multi-billionaire Eric Schmidt, the businessman famous for serving as CEO of Google for a full decade, from 2001 until 2011. He was also Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Inc (Google’s parent company) for nearly 17 years, up until he stepped down less than one year ago.
As y’all might expect, Mr. Schmidt has been one of the richest men in Silicon Valley (and on the globe) for many years. Forbes claims he’s got a mind-bogglin’ $13.7 billion and is the 106th richest human on the planet, while the Bloomberg Billionaires Index lists his net worth at $13.1 billion. Whatever the case, homeboy is loaded.
(And for the record, we say Miss Schmidt is her father’s only “living” child because she had a sister, Alison, who sadly passed away last year “after a long illness,” according to her parents.)
As for Sophie, she’s led an enviably adventurous life for her young years. Miss Schmidt holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton and an MBA from Stanford GSB, arguably the world’s most prestigious business school. She’s enjoyed various internships/jobs all over the globe — Myanmar, China, South Africa, New York, London and Dubai are just some of the places she’s lived — including as a consultant for Myanmar’s Richardson Center and as a Random House book editor in Manhattan.
But Miss Schmidt’s most notable career milestone (thus far) is unquestionably the 2.5 years she spent as Uber’s official spokeswoman. During this period — beginning in 2015 and ending earlier this year — the media frequently called upon her to issue statements about this, that, and everything else. And given Uber’s extremely high-profile, volatile nature — is that firm ever not in some sort of turmoil? — Miss Schmidt was a very busy lass dealing with all the shenanigans up in that bitch.
We ain’t sure what Miss Schmidt has been up to since her Uber departure, but her LinkedIn profile now lists her occupation as “Writer”. Perhaps she’s out selling screenplays to Hollywood, or maybe she’s elbow-deep into her first Nora Roberts-style romance novel. Who knows? Not Yolanda.
Oh, speaking of writing, Miss Schmidt first attracted extensive media attention way back in 2013 after she published an impressively detailed blog recapping her recent visit to North Korea. The blog post — which is still live, btw — contains dozens of photographs and richly descriptive stories. It’s really quite impressive and offers a rare window into the notoriously cloistered country. And it’s more in-depth than even Yolanda’s endless ramblings! Naturally, the blog went viral and that was that.
FYI, Miss Schmidt is quite the funny lady — her famous post is titled “It might not get weirder than this” and includes pithy takeaways such as “[North Korea is] like the Truman show, on a country level,” “[Kim Jong Un] has a degree from the bullshit Kensington University,” and “Only with connectivity [does North Korea have] a snowball’s chance in hell of keeping up with the 21st century.” She also described her luxury lodgings as a “bizarre mix of marble grandeur and what passed for chic … in the 1970s,” filled with “tacky fake floral arrangements” and “gaudy light fixtures“.
Zing! Teach Yolanda your snarky ways, Miss Schmidt. But first, the house.
For y’all Kool-aid drinkers who still don’t believe our real estate is a wee bit overpriced, check this out. Not only does $5.2 million not buy you a mansion, this place has no garage at all. Miss Schmidt must wedge her Range Rover (or whatever luxury vehicle she drives) into a carport that looks barely wide enough to accommodate a Prius.
Oh well, at least the carport is secured behind tall security gates and protected by a high-end security system with cameras & etc. Naturally.
The carport sits directly beneath a microscopic guesthouse with a kitchenette and full bathroom. From the guesthouse, a wooden staircase leads down to a stone pathway that gradually slopes up to the main residence. For those rare rainy LA days, let’s pray Miss Schmidt remembers to pack an umbrella in her car — otherwise she’ll have to make a mad dash from her vehicle all the way to the front door.
Then again, Miss Schmidt braved North Korea in winter. What’s a little SoCal drizzle?
The home’s front door has an eye-catching tile surround, which Yolanda thinks might be original to the property. However, there are few other old-school relics within the 3,300-square-foot structure — the whole place was massaged into a clean-lined contemporary. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
To the left of the entryway is a fireplace-equipped living room with French doors leading to the backyard. To the right is a step-down family room, and straight ahead is the sunny formal dining room with clear sightlines over the LA basin below.
As for the kitchen, it lies just off the family room and flaunts high-end appliances, including a beautifully boozy wine cooler. The entire house is outfitted with new hardwood floors, and we appreciate how the staged artworks in each room provide them with much-needed pops of color.
All three of the main house’s bedrooms are upstairs. That includes the massive master suite — it takes up about half the second floor — with its fireplace, sitting area, walk-in closet and thoroughly modernized bath. Across the hall, two guest bedrooms share a single full bathroom.
One of the guest bedrooms is outfitted as a study, so this casa is only a 2-bed situation at the moment.
Yolanda is not trying to offend, but we must say this is perhaps the dinkiest backyard we’ve ever seen at this price point. Still, if you don’t need a giant amount of outdoor space with your $5.2 million house, this might be just the ticket. There’s a lovely infinity-edged pool and a view to make up for it, though that cement pond is likely too small for serious swimming.
Anyway, the seller did a good job at maximizing the precious little land available. Around the home’s north side is an outdoor BBQ station and over by the front door is an outdoor table suitable for al fresco dining.
Yolanda believes this is Miss Schmidt’s first-ever home purchase — congrats, missy. Prior to this, when she wasn’t living overseas, the lass bunked up in her father’s Atherton (CA) residence.
Like most folks at his near-limitless wealth level, Papa Schmidt maintains an extensive portfolio of lavish residences — both on land, at sea, and in the air. In addition to his Atherton home, he’s got a Gulfstream V jet, a superyacht christened Gladiator, a $15 million New York City penthouse, a waterfront villa in Miami, and a Nantucket mansion primarily occupied by his estranged wife Wendy Schmidt.
Reality TV junkies may recognize Mr. Schmidt’s Montecito home as the location for celebrity supernova Kim Kardashian’s 2011 nuptials to some unfortunate bloke whose name Yolanda has utterly forgotten. Before the ink on the marriage certificate was even dry, Kimmy was off to get the big D — divorce, that is.
Poor Mr. Schmidt had a very difficult time renting out his mansion following the Kardashian katastrophe, reportedly because rich folks believed the estate was now “cursed“. Oh, brother.
EDIT: Turns out Ms. Kardashian didn’t get married at Mr. Schmidt’s Montecito estate after all. It was a different house entirely. So, uh, just ignore the above two paragraphs. Our apologies.
But we digress. Mr. Schmidt also has a large estate in the Holmby Hills neighborhood of LA. Records show he paid the estate of Veronique Passani — she’s the late widow of legendary actor Gregory Peck — $22,000,000 for the spread in 2014. The house has been extensively remodeled in the four years since.
Mr. Schmidt’s LA pad is located on what is arguably the most exclusive street in the city. Some of his nearest neighbors include major ballers like Diddy, Facebook’s Sean Parker, Petra Ecclestone, Daren Metropolous, Sir Ridley Scott and Mr. Chow.
Listing agent: Richard Klug, Sotheby’s International Realty