Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Miles Copeland III Lists Quirky Crib

SELLER: Miles Copeland III
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
SIZE: 7,486 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Before there was The Selby–if y'all don't know it, you should–there was Nest. From 1997 until 2004 the remarkable and sadly shuttered quarterly shelter publication Nest lovingly presented extraordinary public and private spaces that flouted any and all traditional notions and confines of good decorative taste.

The high-concept publication, conceived and orchestrated by the wildly creative Joseph Holtzman, promoted and celebrated idiosyncratic, eccentric and often perplexing environments rather than the picture perfect rooms typically presented in design and day-core publications. Unlike the pretty and "correct" but too-often sterile spaces seen in most high-end shelter publications, the homes and spaces presented in vividly lush layouts in Nest were not always easy to look at but they were provocative and provided a deep, fascinating and raw look into the inner lives of the home's occupants.

Nest was definitely not for the strict classicist or decoratively feint of heart; This was not the sort of magazine that breezily offered suggestions about how readers could cheaply emulate the expensive and quote-unquote good design depicted on the glossy house-porn-filled pages of most design rags. Rather, Mister Holtzman and his band of merry interns sanctioned the somehow little encouraged notion that folks ought to follow their personal vision of decorative bliss even if it means covering the walls, ceiling and floor of a guest bedroom entirely in electrical tape or hanging a Christmas light festooned ficus trees upside down over the dining room as an organic make-shift chandelier.

If Todd Selby hasn't yet photographed the Los Angeles, CA residence of legendary music mogul and artist manager Miles Copeland III for The Selby then Your Mama thinks he ought to get on his broomstick and hightail out from N.Y.C. to document the quirky (and janky) Hollywood Hills crib that Mister Copeland just put on the market with an asking price of $4,950,000.

Mister Copeland–the son of two intelligence officers and the brother of both noted music promoter Ian Copeland and The Police's Stewart Copeland–nursed and promoted the careers of various New Wave and rock bands including The Go-Go's, Wall of Voodoo, Squeeze, Camper Van Beetoven, Oingo Boingo, Gary Numan, John Cale, The English Beat, Concrete Blonde, General Public and Fine Young Cannibals. He is not, in all honesty, nearly as relevant today as he was in the 1980s but, as far as Your Mama is concerned, he's more than earned his place in the pantheon of music industry bigwigs.

Property records show Mister Copeland, now in his sixties, paid $750,000 for his slightly less than 2.5 acre wonderland in March of 1983. He bought the funky and somewhat fetid-looking estate from Emmy-winning actor, noted orchid cultivator and closet homosexual Raymond Burr (Perry Mason, Ironside) who occupied the estate for an unknown number of years with his long-time man-friend Robert Benevides.

Listing information shows the pale pink and white Andalusian-style main house measures 7,486 square feet. Floor plans included with marketing materials show the three story residence encompasses 15-rooms with 4 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms, 5 fireplaces, 2 kitchens, scads of staircases and more damned stained glass than Chartres Cathedral.

The mansion, originally built in 1923, has a rather haphazard arrangement of rooms done up in a vibrant and chaotic stew of jaw-dropping bad but satisfyingly personal day-core that liberally, fearlessly (and probably, thoughtlessly) commingles velvet Art Deco furniture, Arts and Crafts-style stained glass, vintage pottery, Egyptian artifacts, wall murals and children's artwork. Sprinkled throughout are teddy bears, heaps of house plants, hulking Gothic pieces with intricate and delicate carved details, religious doo-dads, King Arthur-ish bric-a-brac, oil paintings that depict bright Medieval scenes and various vases and urns that over flow with knick-knacks and more house plants. It's just awful, an honest-to-goodness hot mess if you look at it with Elle Decor eyes. But, looked at another way, as a manifestation of Mister and Missus Copelands' complex inner most decorative desires, it's rather magnificent. We could never live here and would probably need a nerve pill just to walk through the front door but we none-the-less applaud and fete the Copelands' complete and utter disregard for the rules and strictures of good taste and proper interior day-core as practiced by past and present masters like Sister Parish, Thierry Despont and Peter Marino.

The property can be accessed by way of two gated entrances on two different streets, which is perfect for those who need to elude the paparazzi. The top level entrance hall, lit naturally by a large stained glass sky light and cluttered with an orderly cacophony of columns, objet and and house plants, funnels guests into a vast 1,000-ish square foot "formal" living room that features a built-in window seat, Juliet balcony and massive fireplace with carved wood, stone and gilded details. Oh, and stained glass, there's lots of stained glass in the living room. If the over-stuffed entry didn't clue a person in to the incongruous and often competing decorative motifs in store for them at Chez Copeland, then the chic Paris flea market meets a decidedly frumpy West Covina yard sale style seen in the living room should hammer it home like a sexually frustrated drill sargeant in a foul mood.

Art Deco once again meets Nebraska grandma in the "formal" dining room where the children will note the pink orchid set prominently on the dining room table. Anyone whose been hanging around here very long knows that Your Mama is not a huge fan of the orchid. In fact, we hate them. They have become, quite frankly, a ubiquitous and annoying decorative cliché. In this case, however, the orchid is not only acceptable it's goddam perfect given former owner Mister Burr's noted cultivation of said flower.

A tiny kitchen, a kitchenette really, just off the dining room is fine for making tea and pouring cereal but is hardly the sort of thing one expects to find in a multi-million dollar mansion in Tinseltown. There is another, slightly larger (and ass-ugly) kitchen impractically located two floors down. There does not appear, according to floor plans we peeped, to be a dumbwaiter which surely means Mister and Missus Copeland probably have a house gurl and/or valet with extremely muscular haunches toned by hauling meals and dinnerware up and down two flights of stairs every time someone wants a damn meal.

The 800-plus square foot main floor master suite can be accessed either awkwardly through the kitchenette or less awkwardly by way of a long stained glass-lined hallway off the foyer that features a (dust-collecting) tented ceiling. The master bedroom bulges with Gothic furniture and includes a fireplace and a hulking built in platform bed with thick columns and velvet privacy curtains. Two walk in closets flank the room, a private balcony (accessible through a towering bank of stained glass windows) offers city views and the attached elaborate bathroom looks like the sort of place someone Old World and fussy like the pope might feel comfortable doing his dirty business.

At least two separate staircases connect the main level to the lower level that consists of a garage, office, an additional entry hall, three guest/family bedrooms (two with private cans plus a third one in the hall), and a large den with pegged wood floors and heavy mis-matched drapery that look like champagne-colored ballgowns someone tacked up over the windows in an effort at financial modesty. Arched French doors that lead to a Gaudi goes to Morocco souk-like solarium stuffed with candles, more house plants and a flotilla of vintage pottery.

Two more separate staircases descend one more level to more intimate family quarters where the walls and even the curving breast of the corner fireplace in the family/entertainment room are completely covered with children's artwork. To one side of the family room is a home theater with another fireplace and on the other a game room (also with fireplace) acts as passage to the mansion's inconveniently located service areas that include a laundry room, full bath and aforementioned ass-ugly and hideously outdated kitchen with paneled dining area.

Various terraces lined with potted plants and shaded by thick foliage connect and lead to the various entertainment areas around the property that include a broad flat lawn with fountain, free-form swimming pool and a covered patio perfect for shaded tea on a hot summer day. The hillside grounds are criss-crossed by shaded paths and terraces that connect and lead to various outbuildings that include a 3-room, 1,211 square foot recording studio/office with fireplace and 1.5 bathrooms, a pair of greenhouses where Misters Burr and Benevides grew orchids, and a handful of storage and warehousing facilities that add up to another 1,412 square feet.

The downtrodden estate, tucked into an overgrown section of the Hollywood Hills between the famous Wattles Gardens and the dog-friendly Runyon Canyon were celebs (and Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter) take their pooches to commune with nature sans leash. Mister Copeland's nearby celeb neighbors include rock 'n roll female Cheryl Crowe who owns a multi-residence gated compound just around the corner and fast-tracked actress Amanda Seyfried (Big Love, Mamma Mia, Mean Girls) who recently splashed out $1,850,000 to buy a traditional residence from actor Adam Brody (Gilmore Girls, The O.C., Scream 4), also just around the corner.

listing photos: Michael McCreary Photography for Sotheby's International Realty