If you need a sign that Venice has changed, look no further.
In 2012, designer/developer Kim Gordon sold a home she developed on Nowita Place to Interscope Records executive Neil Jacobson for $3 million. Four years later, he sold it for $6.1 million to the husband and wife owners of Canadian wellness company Saje Natural Wellness, Jean-Pierre LeBlanc and Kate Ross LeBlanc. The couple wants to be close to retail space they will soon have in Santa Monica and Malibu.
Justin Alexander of Halton Pardee + Partners was the listing agent. Michelle Zoolalian of Coldwell Banker represented the buyers
The five-bedroom, five-bathroom home has Gordon’s signatures: a rooftop putting green, a focus on light at all angles and a plethora of green.
“[The buyers] are fans of her work and really wanted a Kim Gordon house,” says Alexandria Abramian, who works for Gordon. “They were obsessed with her Milwood homes and the second one went on the market a few weeks ago, it was so quick. They missed out.”
The Nowita house was not originally for sale, but when they buyers approached Gordon, Jacobson agreed to move, Abramian said. Gordon is now designing Jacobson a new home in Beverly Hills.
The Real Deal got on the phone with the home builder and designer to get the scoop.
So, I heard you convinced the Jacobson to move?
It was serendipitous. He’s [executive vice] president of A&R at Interscope Records, and newly remarried. I knew they did want to be closer to the office, so I texted her to see if she was interested in moving to be near that new job. Meanwhile, because the buyer didn’t get Milwood as they’d wanted, I had to sell them on the idea of Nowita. I had to do a video walking around the house and share why I love that house so much because they really wanted Milwood. It was a challenge because the Jacobsons had big, heavy furniture, a dusty New York and Paris feel, so a bit more cluttered and I had to help the buyer see how we could translate the space into something more open. They closed in 10 days. It was like a train of events that clicked into place. Everyone is getting the house of their dreams.
How did they learn about your work?
They read about what we were doing and then gave us a really good vibe. They wrote a really passionate, personal letter asking what we could do.
How much redesign will there be with the Nowita property?
Not much. Mostly just furniture stuff. I’ll create something more ethereal, their interpretation of what California is. It will be through the lens of a Canadian snowbird. It will be full sensory spa-like because their whole thing is health and wellness and aromatherapy, so the design will reflect that. Beautiful, tactile, sexy art. They’re this groovy French-Canadian couple.
What’s the Beverly Hills property like?
The light is so great.There are 12 foot ceilings. We have a better, wider lot with better frontage. We have all these opportunities we didn’t have before. In Venice everything is so skinny, so you’re stealing light where you can, begging for light so you can play with it where it pops in from all directions. In Beverly Hills, it will be easier to do within a bigger house, with a bigger lot.
Just how much bigger are we talking?
Nowita is 40 feet wide and 85 deep. Beverly Hills is 100 wide and 150 feet deep and now we have a pool and pool house too. There’s all this opportunity for quaintness and cuteness. The money they were able to get for Nowita really upped the game.
How much did they pay for the Beverly Hills property?
I think it was $6.5 million.
How will you do a Kim Gordon at a larger scale when what you do is make the most of these skinny spots?
I’ll create the little moments within the big space. Like a vestibule in the carport with all kinds of plants. It will have three little steps that lead to something quaint. I like the surprise of something to step into, the authenticity of the surprising pockets. In a bigger place you can put more of those creative things in — the vestibules and arches. You should say, ‘Oh! this is interesting! This is charming.’ I love to do the adorable laundry chute lined in leather. Those little things are precious and you feel like it’s something special when you encounter it. They want that same indoor outdoor feel of the design. California design but not mid-century.
How much is this going to cost the Jacobsons?
It’s going to be a milion-plus easy.
What’s next for you?
I love the idea of expanding into Beverly Hills. It’s daunting and exciting. I’d love to get into Brentwood. If I was a cool mom and I had extra money, I’d love to get up and move into Brentwood.