Happy May! I hope everyone is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with regards to this pandemic. It feels as though things are starting to get a little brighter and optimistic that life can soon inch toward returning to our version of normal. It seems like the vaccines have been easier to acquire (side note: my mother-in-law called to let me know that KNX news radio announced that Cheviot Hills was mentioned as one of the top three most vaccinated communities in Los Angeles County, so, well done neighbors!).If you are a regular reader of this publication, you’ll know that I snuck out of town last month with our eldest for a father/son get- away. We went to Hawaii for a week and, by the look of things, a large swath of vacationers trying to escape Los Angeles for a bit was there, too. But I’m pleased to report: the trip was extremely safe with regards to Covid protocols. We couldn’t even board the flight without proof of a negative test specifically sanctioned by Hawaii and we were tested again while there. Masks were required and just about every meal and activity was held outside while socially distant. We had such a phenomenal time there that as soon as we got home we started thinking about the next time we could go. Which, as it turns out, might be sooner than expected! While Mason and I were in Hawaii, we had the unexpected pleasure of spending the day with a colleague of mine. He used to be the top agent at Coldwell Banker, specializing in Malibu properties, until he left our company for another brokerage firm a little while ago. Our paths have crossed a handful of times over the years, starting in the early 1980’s when his family happened to live a few blocks away from mine in Malibu’s Point Dume neighborhood and our parents were friendly with one another. Who would’ve predicted way back then that decades later we would both enjoy successful careers in the same field at the same company? For years after becoming a real estate agent, I had looked up to him, admiring his professionalism, his drive and his impressive ascension to the top of business. And while we knew of each other and had a few email interactions, we never had the chance to hang out as friends until a few weeks ago when I knocked on the door of his home in Hawaii to say aloha. Chris Cortazzo has a second home there and he was generous enough to let Mason and me in to take a tour and get a feel for what it’s like to be on vacation in your own house. Needless to say, it was exquisite. Situated right on the beach with a host of luxurious amenities, he is for all intents and purposes, living the dream. It was nice to see the other side of someone who, given his level of success, I would have assumed would be a bit high strung or be in work mode all the time. Maybe it was the Hawaiian air or aloha spirit but the opposite was true: he was laid back, relaxed and nothing but a generous and congenial host for a leisurely, lazy afternoon. It was as if we had been buddies for years. Talked shop a bit, of course, but for the most part shared stories about fatherhood, the sheer bliss of travel after a year of lock down and agreed that the career accomplishments we’ve enjoyed doesn’t hold a candle to what gives us the greatest pleasure in life: taking a nice vacation with our kids.
It occurred to me while I was visiting that we are so lucky to live this close to actual paradise and a part of me wondered why go anywhere else? I was able to surf every day, eat delicious food, totally unplug from the digital landscape and soak up the natural beauty and tranquil, tropical surroundings that are sorely missing from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. This past year has taught me a lot about seizing the moment and not putting anything important off. You never know when the world can shift and uproot everything we once took for granted and I don’t want to regret missing out on a chance to do what I love. So, while my wife and two of our sons sat this last trip out, the next time we’re going everyone is coming along. I hope we’ll be able to take advantage of everything Hawaii has to offer including possibly looking up an old acquaintance turned work colleague turned friend. So, if you need me this summer, call a little later than you normally would because it’s three hours earlier on the island and I may be asleep. Or surfing. Or just kicking back on the lanai with a mai tai in one hand and residential listing agreement in the other. If the smart phone allows us to work from anywhere, then I pick Hawaii! And if you happen to find yourself there this summer, too, please pop by to say hello. Shave ice for everyone!
Michael Rapaport has sold his Hancock Park home for $3.57 million. Rapaport purchased the home in 2016 for $2.97 million. Hancock Park is full of homes that are 100 years old and very traditional looking, so to see a modern home like this in that area is very rare.
Rapaport’s home is made up of five-beds and six-baths. It is setup for entertaining with a beautiful inside and outside space. The kitchen features a quartz waterfall island.
No detail was spared in the design and construction of this home.
The home is very private as it has large security gates, walls and trees/hedges surrounding the property.
Madonna has purchased a Hidden Hills home that had belonged to The Weeknd. New York Post reported that she paid $19.3 million for the estate. The Weeknd purchased the 3-acre estate in 2017 for $18.2 million and had put it on the market for $25 million last June. He had continued to cut the price and it was last listed for $22 million in December before it was sold to Madonna.
The home is located inside an ultra-exclusive gated community west of LA. The home was definitely built for entertaining.
The property has a seven-bedroom main house and a two-bedroom guesthouse. It boasts beautiful outdoor grounds that include a pool, spa and cabana.
Take a look at the beautiful pictures of the property attached.
You know the saying: When the cat’s away, the mice will play? Well we are experiencing a bit of that in our house this week but by ‘cat,’ I mean Ben and ‘play’ really translates to me handling the April newsletter while he’s in Hawaii with our eldest son, Mason. So, I hope you enjoy this month’s batch of articles… just think of it as those Vogues that get guest edited by someone cool and famous. But instead of Kate Hudson or Michelle Obama, you are stuck with me: Lilli Lee- wife of Westside real estate superstar Ben Lee. I’m reporting for duty from Cheviot Hills, selflessly caring for two of our three sons while Ben’s sipping mai-tais with Mason, having adventures tailor made for two crazy guys on the town. I hope this isn’t already coming off as bitter. Or at least not VERY bitter. To be perfectly honest, I’m actually happy holding down the fort. Happy may be too strong a word- it’s more that I’m OK sitting this trip out and truth be told, it’s Ben’s turn and here’s why. We have a tradition in our family that started when Mason was about to turn 10 and I was antsy to go to New York City. Spencer was 7 and Vinnie not quite 5 and I needed a break from the rigors of being a stay-at-home mom of three young sons. So, I had the idea to take Mason to New York for the weekend, just the two of us. He has always been super easy and a go-with-the-flow kind of fellow and I was excited to spend some alone time with him after being so distracted by the wants and needs of the other boys. We jetted away, leaving Ben to care for the younger brothers for a few days. We enjoyed all the best tourist attractions New York had to offer: Broadway shows, views from the tops of tall buildings, steak dinners, rock climbing in Central Park, the giant Lego store and so much more. The highlight of the weekend was being able to give the gift of autonomy to a sweet 10 year old boy who had spent the last decade having to compromise and share his mom with the siblings who followed him. In New York he was afforded the rare gift of getting to do what he wanted, not what was an agreed upon activity between brothers. This was a novel concept for him and he was thrilled!
You might wonder how I was able to squire Mason away without suffering the guilt and protests of the three men we left behind. That part was surprisingly easy! I told the other two brothers they’d get their turn with me when they each turned 10. And to a despondent Ben who was not only jealous that Mason and I were off on an adventure, but slightly terrified at having to take over duties for the other two, I promised: “If I can do this with them when they’re 10—you can have ‘em at 15! Take them wherever you want!” and WHOOSH! With that we were out the door and on our way to a fun filled weekend away.
Fast forward five years and the other boys indeed got their NYC weekend with me and each trip could not have been better or more meaningful. But somewhere in there Mason turned 15 and that promised solo trip with dad didn’t materialize. It wasn’t for lack of trying but between camp commitments and family trips taken all together, the summer of 2019 came and went without time for them to do anything alone. Then 2020 hit and the pandemic/lockdown/quarantine that came with it made travel an impossibility. Mason’s 16th birthday coincided with a summer in which everything became too stressful and tense and scary to break away for a guys’ adventure trip. But as we were rounding the bend of January 2021, Ben was more than ready to get out of dodge (Cheviot Hills) for a bit. He had been surfing every couple of days here in town and was anxious to hit the shores of Hawaii for a challenge and much needed change of scenery. With airline miles about to expire and the assurance that Covid precautions were plentiful, he booked all five of us on a trip to coincide with Mason’s spring break from school, thinking we would all be excited to get away. I am not ashamed to admit that I panicked. Thanks to the threat of Covid, this past year has thoroughly terrified me. The thought of being on an airplane, in an airport, having to constantly worry that one of the boys would touch something or forget their masks or someone might cough in our vicinity sent me into a tailspin of dread. This trip looming on the calendar not only filled me with anxiety but it also magnified how differently our ideas of relaxation have changed since the onset of the pandemic. In order for Ben to fully decompress, he needs to be out of town (although something tells me he’s already ran into somebody he knows on some remote Hawaiian beach!). When he’s in his office, which for all intents and purposes has become home, or out walking around the neighborhood, he is unable to fully escape the world of residential real estate. I, on the other hand, am able to take a break from the toils of my day-to-day life by ordering take out and ignoring school surveys and zoom sessions for a while. Under normal circumstances I love getting out of town as much as anyone—I truly do! But for me, the thought of staying home- safely ensconced in our boring, Covid-free bubble was infinitely more relaxing than traveling. Beyond that, the other boys who were not on Spring Break would’ve had to log-on to school at 5am Hawaiian time every morning. That small detail sounded pretty miserable for everyone.
And, as much as it kills me to miss an adventure, a deal is a deal and it was Ben’s turn. I wanted him to experience with Mason at 16 what I was lucky enough to enjoy with each of our boys at 10. Spending one on one time together is a gift that is only ours for such a short amount of time. They missed the chance at 15 and he won’t be 16 for much longer. Then it’s really just a blink-of-an-eye before he’s off to college and wanting to spend vacations with friends over his parents (I hope not but who are we kidding?!). There’s also the other important lesson this past year has taught us: don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today. You just never know when a whole year will be gone without the chance to do what you once took for granted.
So while those two are off snorkeling, sipping smoothies and sunning themselves silly- I’m fairly happy to be home. The other brothers are zooming into school at a decent hour and we are trying to make our staycation fun in its own way. And if they get too jealous of what they’re missing, I can promise them that they’ll each get their turn with dad when they’re around 15 or 16, too.
And here’s a little surprise they don’t know yet— primarily because I just thought of it: when they each turn 21, no more solo trips. It’ll be Vegas, we’re all going and you are invited. It will be the biggest, craziest adventure of all. Because what would a kid on his 21st birthday want more than to party in Las Vegas with his parents, brothers and all of you? See you there and gear up because the first few rounds are on Ben Lee! (See what I did there? This is what happens when he goes to Hawaii and leaves me behind with two kids and free reign over the newsletter. It’s really the least he can do!)
Avengers: Endgame director Anthony Russo has listed his Pasadena home for $6 million. His beautiful home was built in 1911 and is the last Greene and Greene residential commission that Charles and Henry Greene worked on together.
The home has a blend of Asian and Italian architectural inspiration. It’s made up of six bedrooms and seven bathrooms and is 8,559 square feet.
The home has been featured in many books, articles, videos and more.
Take a look at the beautiful pics of Anthony Russo’s home!