Pickfair, Estate of the Day
We've been covering Pickfair practically since we started this blog and yet never given it full estate of the day treatment. I recently came across the sales website for the estate which features a bumper crop of photos that show how Pickfair is now. The current estate which occupies a prime spot on Summit Drive in Beverly Hills, California and has a $60 million price tag. Unfortunately the home that exists currently bears little if any resemblance to the original.
In the 1920s, this was the most fabled home in America, a stately manor owned by two of the world's most popular stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. This pair, the girl with the curls and the winsome smile, the original "America's Sweetheart" and the man with energetic physicality and devil-may-care smile, the original movie action hero captured the minds of a nation even though their romance was born in scandal. Their home, Pickfair was the stuff of dreams and legends, a place where they entertained anyone of consequence. The couple spent a fortune expanding their home, turning a small hunting cabin into a huge mansion.
And this is where the story of Pickfair truly ends because the couple tore down most, if not all of the home, saying that it had termites. What went up in its place bears little resemblance to the original home. It is a pastiche of architectural styles and ideas all tangled up in a Las-Vegas-like fantasy of luxury. It is said that the gates are all that remain of the original home. The couple split up and the home was on the market in 2004 for $27 million which was when we first started writing about it. She sold the home in 2005 to businessman Corry Hong for $17.65 million. Flash forward to now and the home is on the market for $60 million.
For your money you essentially get a small hotel, 17 bedrooms, 30 bathrooms and public rooms that are huge, ornate and impersonal. It has a library, home gym, home theater, an indoor spa, a wine cellar and its own nightclub complete with dance floor. The grounds include a swimming pool with a cabana, gardens, fountains and outdoor sculptures which the owner is willing to sell. The fact that the listing doesn't show many of the private rooms may indicate that major renovation is needed. The listing says that it "awaits your updating." It also seems that Mr. Hong is willing to accommodate a variety of arrangements, the property website says that the owner will consider an exchange for "commercial property, business or other." Even with that offer, I think this one will eventually end up on the list of the biggest real estate price cuts. I'd be amazed if it sold for more than $35 million.