Posted in Features on May 28, 2008
A few weeks ago, we introduced you to what we considered the Top 10 Ridiculous, Obnoxious, and Just Plain Ugly Celebrity Houses. Now, we’re going to do an about-face and show you the homes we believe to be the top ten most beautiful, amazing and unique celebrity homes. While some homes on this list teeter on the border of obnoxious, even the most expensive or largest homes have been saved by tasteful touches. We were not surprised to discover that the most beautiful homes were those that were modest, that seemed to fit into their surroundings, and that supplied just enough panache for each celebrity to call that house a “home.”
The list below is in no particular order. While the home sites are numbered, the numbering does not indicate that we favor one home over another or that they are listed in order of value.
- Oprah Winfrey: This home, located in Santa Barbara, California, belongs to Oprah Winfrey. The property covers approximately forty-two acres and the house is 23,000 square feet. It has six bedrooms, fourteen bathrooms, ten fireplaces and a home theater. Oprah added a man-made lake stocked with rare fish and she had local Montecito sandstone bricks hand-laid into a quarter-mile long driveway. Although this house is nicknamed, “Oprah’s Hearst Castle,” we like it because of the landscaping, which is meticulous. To Oprah’s credit, this property contains the largest amount of green space in Santa Barbara. Its balanced elegance reminds us somewhat of the famous historic Biltmore estates located in Ashland, North Carolina.
- Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn: Actors Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell moved to Vancouver, Canada to support their son’s fledgling hockey career. This home, a Tudor-style creation located in the Shaughnessy area, is now on the market again and listed at $5.4 million Canadian. It contains five bedrooms and eleven fireplaces, a gym and a built-in theater room, and the house sports a grand oak paneled entrance hall with fireplace, two dens, new kitchen, private yard and a separate coach house. There is a formal living room and separate dining room, a conservatory, and the master suite contains a separate dressing area. The couple purchased the home in 2002 for $2,995,000, or $1,875,000 US dollars, and its charm and settings make the grade for this list.
- Madonna: This pop-singer icon made a bid on Ashcombe, the former home of late photographer Cecil Beaton, in 2001. Friends including Rex Whistler, Salvador Dali and Augustus John returned Beaton’s hospitality by painting murals in the house. Located in Wiltshire, England, this 1,200-acre carried a guide price of £9 million. This was the first time that Ashcombe had been for sale on the open market since the First World War. It is an exceptionally private house, hidden in its own valleys which contain one of the country’s best shoots. The pop star learned how to fish, hunt and ride horses, so this home seemed to fit Madonna to a “T” in 2001. The couple also owns a mansion in London, and the Wiltshire property is within easy reach and close to the Wiltshire estate of Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler. They are close friends of the singer and first introduced her to her husband, Guy Ritchie. It appears recently, however, that Madonna has put Aschombe on the market again, this time to the tune of £12 million.
- George Clooney: This sexy and talented actor purchased this 25-room Italian villa in 2001. Known as Villa Oleandra, it is said to contain an outdoor theater, a large swimming pool and a garage for Clooney’s motorcycles. Italian journalists and tourists swarmed to the small town of Laglio, where this villa is located, when they heard rumors that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie would wed at pal George Clooney’s lakeside estate. Clooney has some illustrious neighbors as well – designer Donatella Versace owns a home on Lake Como near the burial place of her late brother Gianni. Singer Avril Lavigne and husband Deryck Whimbey honeymooned in Lake Como a few years ago as well. Clooney really admires this home and says, “I go there whenever I can. It’s where I wrote Good Night And Good Luck and where I finished the script for Leatherheads. It’s a really peaceful place to go and write.” Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas are regular guests at the mansion, where Clooney also shot scenes for the film, Ocean’s Twelve.
- Joel Horowitz: The co-founder for Tommy Hilfiger found his home – named Tranquility – in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. This home, conveniently located on the tax-free side of Lake Tahoe, contains a 20,000-square-foot main house that is modeled after a northern European mountain home. It also contains a 3,500-bottle wine cellar, an indoor swimming pool and an atrium as well as a 19-seat movie theater. It also boasts nine bedrooms, fourteen full and five half-baths, a private lake with docks and two par-three golf holes. While this home could be called “ostentatious,” it carries a glamor reminiscent of Europe. The living room features a double-height ceiling adorned with carved beams, large windows at one apse-like end and hand-carved antique fireplaces. The dining room’s floor dates back to the 17th century, and was salvaged from a French chateau. Its ceilings are hand-painted, not with Old World themes, but images of animals indigenous to Lake Tahoe. Want to purchase the home? It’s on the market again for a cool $100 million.
- Jerry Seinfeld: Comedian Jerry Seinfeld purchased this lavish and luscious East Hampton, New York estate from rocker Billy Joel for the then record-setting price of $32 million in 2000. According to the magazine, OK!, this home beat out properties own by Donald Trump, Sir Elton John, and even George Clooney’s Italian villa noted above for the number one celebrity palace in 2007. This home has been described as a “magnificent Tudor-style waterfront manor … sited on over 14 acres of rolling lawns and naturalized landscaping. There are three buildings total with a sum of twenty-four rooms, including eight full baths and five half-baths. There are thirteen fireplaces, a gym, indoor and outdoor pools, a gourmet kitchen, a tennis court, a bowling alley, a guest cottage, a music room, a smoking bar and a wine cellar. Annual taxes are $208,463.
- William Zysblat: William Zysblat recently purchased this modern beauty located in East Quogue, New York. Zysblat’s company, RZO Productions, has handled business and management affairs for rock icons U2, David Bowie, The Police and the Rolling Stones among others. The sale of the oceanfront post modern home on Dune Road closed in December for $6.2 million. The asking price for the 3,200 sq ft dwelling had been $6.7 million. The property includes 166 feet of ocean frontage on 2.5 acres. The home was designed by Quogue-based architect Jay Sears, and has a heated gunite pool, guest house, and tennis and bocce courts.
- Tony Hawk: Tony Hawk shoveled his profits from professional skateboarding and gaming into this modest 5,000 square-foot home with a 4,000 square-foot skate park in Carlsbad, California. He grew frustrated from begin hassled by fans at public parks, so he added this unique skateboarding feature to his home. It comes complete with a rail, a center pyramid and a ledge that serves as a bench. Other outdoor features include a basketball court and a pool. Inside you’d find about $150,000 worth of gaming electronics hooked to a 65-inch plasma HDTV. Sounds like Hawk lives his work – all skateboard and video games. And, although this home seems a bit on the stark side, Hawk has made it his home. That, in our book, is truly amazing for any celebrity.
- Brad Pitt: We chose Brad Pitt and his home(s) for several reasons. First, although this cliffside home isn’t shabby (worth about $4.5 million), it is just one piece of the Pitt puzzle. When you compare this home to their modest 1830s New Orleans dwelling, the cliffside home takes on a new perspective. This house is unusual, just like the house in the New Orleans that was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Not to say that the home in Louisiana was inexpensive – it’s located near the French Quarter, and Pitt paid $3.5 million in cash on January 2, 2007, for the right to live there. According to the news story, “A real estate listing for the property shows the house has a grand spiral staircase, elevator, gourmet kitchen, a large private courtyard and a separate two-story guest house. It also has private parking for two cars – a luxury in the French Quarter.” Of course, it was a matter of convenience as well, as Pitt was filming The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in Louisiana last year. And, in the process, he’s also overseer of the housing project in storm-ravaged lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. This effort, in our opinion, is a mighty one indeed. In contrast to his isolated home in California, Brad and his consort, Angelina Jolie, appear to be good southern neighbors in a busy and famous neighborhood.
- Sandra Bullock: This home is the quintessential Tybee Island, Georgia beauty. Actress Sandra Bullock spent more than one million dollars to purchase this modest three-story home on the north end of the island in 2001. She also purchased empty lots on either side of the home to protect her privacy. She reportedly owns homes in Southern California, Jackson Hole, Wyoming and in Austin, Texas as well. Bullock bought the home after filming Forces of Nature. The island faces the Savannah river inlet east of Savannah where portions of the movie where filmed.
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