Haute Properties: The Celebs of Hidden Hills

When you think of the glorious celebrity-filled neighborhoods of Los Angeles, the names Beverly Hills, Malibu, and Bel-Air rush to mind. Nowhere on anyone’s short list is Hidden Hills, a gated equestrian community in—of all places—the hot and smoggy San Fernando Valley.

Yet, Hidden Hills is home to a fair number of celebs, especially those who either have horses, pretend to have horses, figure no lazy paparazzo will sit on the congested 101 to stalk them, or they simply can’t afford all those other places. In Hidden Hills, you get more bang for your real estate dollar—bigger homes, sitting on bigger lots. Yes, you are a ways out of the action, but that’s what limos and drivers are for.

Of the more notable celebs who have taken refuge in Hidden Hills, Grammy-winning musician John Mayer is the most recent. Mayer, who appears shirtless on the latest cover of Rolling Stone, is renting a 10,000-square-foot home Hidden Hills where he supposedly hopes to record his next album in peace and privacy with the occasional visit from former romantic interest Jennifer Aniston for muse-like inspiration. What he likely didn’t bank on is having reality TV star and Charlie Sheen’s ex, Denise Richards, as a neighbor. A heat-seeking publicity missile, former Bond girl Richards first listed her home at $4.25 million in 2008 after neighbors failed to show her the love; something about too many pets and too many camera crews. Public records do not indicate that the home sold although she did transfer part ownership to her Dad.

Actually, Richards is just one of many celebrities who have put their Hidden Hills homes on the market since the recession began.  She is joined by the Kardashian-Jenner clan, who film their reality TV show in their Hidden Hills home. While it’s hard to keep up with the Kardshians despite E!’s fervent hope that we will,  last we checked their 3,966-square-foot home was listed at $2,995,000—down from $3,395,000. Mom-anager of the clan, Kris Kardashian, and Olympic decathlon winner Bruce Jenner each had four kids when they wed plus they added two more. And as the “Krazy Kardashian” girls got older—married, pregnant, temper-tantruming their way into our lives—well, let’s just say there may not be a roof big enough for the egos involved here.

The latest celebrity to put a Hidden Hills listing on the market came in last week from stand-up comic Sinbad, who put his 5,064-square-foot, five-bedroom, five-bathroom home up for sale at $3 million. The home sits on 2.5 acres and has a recording studio, waterfalls in the pool and a barn—which may or may not be filled with horses. He picked up the property in 2007 for about half of what he’s asking now, so we’ll be generous here and assume he’s improved it. A lot.

And singer Lisa Marie Presley placed her compound on the market for $8,995,000 last November. 

Eventually, many celebs find the Hidden Hills location too far out of town and seek to move in closer. Melissa Ethridge and Tammy Lynn Michaels sold their 6,837-square-foot home for  $4,995,000 in 2007. Howie Mandell bid the neighborhood farewell in 2001 after more than a decade. There’s also been Brad Garrett of Everyone Loves Raymond who sold his super-sized mansion with 10,223 square feet for $7.5 million in 2008.

At about the same time, Friends star Matt LeBlanc sold an 11,158-square-foot home there that he listed at $10,295,000. This one was drop-dead gorgeous villa on a double lot at the end of a private road. You won’t duplicate that in Beverly Hills for anything close to the price.

Maybe the fine people of Hidden Hills are tired of celebrities living in their midst, or maybe the celebrities really did think the paparazzi would try harder to find them. In either case, the Welcome Wagon better hurry up before Mayer decides to join the exodus.

Haute Living Online Real Estate Editor Ann Brenoff writes for AOL on WalletPop.com and Luxist.com. She also writes the Chief Dwellings column for the Los Angeles Business Journal and manages her own public relations and marketing firm out of Los Angeles. She formerly wrote the Hot Property column for the Los Angeles Times.