The bonfire sale of a monster of a mansion that has had a $15 million price reduction
A property was first built at 10425 West Sunset Boulevard in Lower Bel Air, Los Angeles in 1936. Here, in this most exclusive of districts, the homes of the prosperous residents are hidden from view and this address, this day, is no exception.
One of the original owners of a house on this site, which has a main access from the cul-de-sac Revuelta Way, was William R. Wilkerson (1890 – 1962), a nightclub owner and founder of The Hollywood Reporter. A compulsive gambler, he is also credited with contributing to Hollywood’s “Golden Era” through the venues he opened. These included Vendome, Café Tocadero, Sunset House, Ciro’s, LaRue, L’Aiglon and most famously The Flamingo Hotel. An involvement here with the ruthless gangster Ben “Bugsy” Siegel (1906 – 1947) turned sour in 1946 and resulted in him having to flee to Paris in fear of his life. Siegel’s death allowed him to return to Los Angeles in 1947 and having “quit gambling cold turkey” following the birth of a son in 1951, he led a much quieter life. He is remembered as being a man who preferred his “beloved French poodles to any wife or friend.”
Wilkerson is first recorded as living at 10425 West Sunset Boulevard in the 1940 California Census with his fourth wife, Estelle Jackson Brown. He subsequently remained there with his fifth wife, Vivian DuBois, and sixth wife Beatrice “Tichi” Noble. After his death, Tichi Wilkerson (1926 – 2004) sold first 10425 West Sunset Boulevard and then, in 1988, The Hollywood Reporter for $26,700,000.
Another famous owner of 10425 West Sunset Boulevard was a “celebrity attorney” named Greg Bautzer (1911 – 1987). Bautzer is best known for having represented not only William R. Wilkerson but also Ginger Rogers, Ingrid Bergman, Joan Crawford, Kirk Kerkorian and Howard Hughes. He is described as having been “as dashing and popular as any successful Hollywood movie star” and was engaged to but did not marry the actresses Barbara Payton, Lana Turner and Dorothy Lamour. He did, however, make the actress Dana Wynter his second wife in 1956, then Buffy Cobb Chapman and finally Nicola Dantine. This “man-about-Beverly Hills,” it seems, was indeed plainly a magnet for anything dramatic.
The current owner of the house, which is now somewhat ludicrously named Chateau d’Or or The House of Gold, is a man named Yousuf Tar. The president of the “faux-Italian mall fixture Bernini men’s clothing [company],” bought 10425 West Sunset Boulevard in 1992 for $6,000,000 and set about creating what his realtor, Sally Forster Jones, calls a “cross between The White House and Versailles.” The resulting remodeled residence isn’t quite either but frankly combines a mixture of one of the palaces of the deceased tyrant Colonel Gadaffi and the set of Dynasty.
Decorated throughout in a white and gold, the aim of the redesign was to create the look of an 18th century palace complete with acres of marble, columns, cupolas, gold leaft and mouldings. Instead, the interpretation looks more Chigwell-esque than Parisian and has simply attracted criticism and mockery. An example, such as this from Curbed.com, gives a guide to the opinion of the majority about this ugly monstrosity:
“[The mansion] houses some of the cheapest-looking French-inspired interiors ever made, highlighted (or, rather, lowlighted) by a towering, clunky fireplace and a cartoon-worthy master suite, with gilded everything. Even San Simeon’s William Randolph Hearst would object to this level of pointless expenditure.”
Chateau d’Or, according to the listing on Forster Jones’s website, features 25,953 square foot of living space with 15 bedrooms and 16.5 bathrooms. There is a vast dining hall capable of seating upto 80 for a formal dinner which currently features a $300,000 dining table and a 1,600 square foot “oversized gourmet kitchen” complete with 800 square foot of cupboards, an “indoor sunlit gazebo” and a double Viking oven. A double height media room styled as an opera house has also been created and there’s also a cigar and wine tasting room. The Chateau d’Or is nothing other than a “home” on a lavish and ludicrous scale.
In addition to a swimming pool, spa and gym, Chateau d’Or also has a championship tennis court, guest accommodation and 1.7 acres of grounds. Accessed by a 600ft driveway and surrounded by privacy walls plainly designed to keep prying eyes out, the house featured in Lady Gaga’s 2009 video for her song Paparazzi. Mr Tar plainly isn’t that private at all.
Not shy of renting the house out for other purposes, it has also been used for a photoshoot for Versace, a television advert for Foot Locker and Addidas starring Ken Jeong and as a venue for a Dubai themed party for Donald Trump where Christina Aguilera performed.
Yousuf Tar put Chateau d’Or on the market in 2009 for just shy of $40,000,000 and though Michael Jackson supposedly wanted to buy it to create a “new Neverland,” his sad demise meant that this fell through. Relisted repeatedly since and despite the best efforts of Sally Forster Jones, Chateau d’Or’s gaudiness plainly hasn’t appealed to the market.
Reduced by nearly $15,000,000 to $25,000,000 this month, Chateau d’Or still doesn’t look like much of a bargain. Somehow, we suspect, it’ll have to be marked down a fair bit more before anyone’s even vaguely tempted.
For more information Chateau d’Or, 10425 West Sunset Boulevard, Bel Air, Los Angeles, California, CA 90077, USA contact Sally Forster Jones of the SFJ Group at +1 (310) 281 3999 or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the official website for the house at: http://www.lechateaudor.com
Watch a tour of Chateau d’Or by Sally Forster Jones at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjOAf_cfm0Q
Watch Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2smz_1L2_0
For more information about William R. Wilkerson, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wilkerson
Read The Hollywood Reporter at: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com
For more details about Bernini, go to: http://www.bernini.com