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Playmates Shaping Up in Luxury Gym

July 24, 1988|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

Playboy Mansion West--that modern-day Shangri-La, Hugh Hefner's home in Holmby Hills--has a new gym.

And what a gym!

No, there aren't any Playmates working out there all day long, any more than they lounge around the pool or play tennis at all hours, but the gym is an eyeful anyway.

It has walls of mirrors, an aerobics/ballet floor, TV and VCR (in case there is no aerobics instructor), a 12-by-10-foot steam room that spews herbal fragrances, a sun room with two tanning machines, plentiful plants, a wall of arty photos (nudes, of course!), the latest in computerized exercise equipment and hand-crafted lockers. (There is a cabinet shop on the grounds.)

What's more, the gym was built almost entirely by hand!

"It's not like we would have run out of space here with 5 1/2 acres," Dick Rosenzweig, executive vice president of Playboy Enterprises, said, "but this gym was practically hand-built, because virtually all of the work was done under an existing building"--the Sauna Building, named (you guessed it) for its sauna.

The 3,600-square-foot gym took about two years to build, and much was done with pick and shovel by the Playboy staff, no hard-hatted Playmates included.

No exact cost was given, but it was estimated to be several hundred thousand dollars, and Rosenzweig said that Playboy Enterprises, which owns the property, saved two-thirds by having its staff do most of the work.

Now that the gym is done, it is used, said Rosenzweig, "by Hef, his girlfriend Kim (Kimberley Conrad, this year's "Miss January"), visitors and, yes, other Playmates," because it--like the video-game building, small redwood forest and exotic animal collection--is part of the Playboy philosophy, reflected in the 61-year-old mansion. The philosophy: "Life is a continuing adventure and should be lived to its fullest."

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Could this be a trend? That's what Rosenzweig says of the 1,600-square-foot art gallery he and his wife, Judy, are adding to their Beverly Hills home, which will be about 5,000 square feet when finished. Such large art galleries in single-family residences? Culture really is coming to L.A.!

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Actor Timothy Hutton and wife, actress Debra Winger, have just leased an in-town house in the Hollywood Hills. Their main residence has been in Malibu, which was--if you didn't know it--Hutton's birthplace.

Clotilde, a famous model for Ralph Lauren fashions, just purchased a condo from actress Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter of Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. The condo is in Colonial House, a landmark building in West Hollywood. It was an all-cash deal in the neighborhood of $500,000.

And actress Shelley Hack, who started out as a model at age 14, is selling her Hollywood Hills home, now in escrow. Denise Fraker of the Jon Douglas Co. had the $625,000 listing.

All three transactions had, I've learned, Timothy Enright in common. Formerly with Caverhill & May of Beverly Hills, Enright recently opened his own real estate office on Melrose Place, that West Hollywood street where singer Neil Diamond also has offices.

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Vanna White is at it again--wheeling and dealing, not on TV's "Wheel of Fortune" this time but in real estate. She just sold her house in the Outpost area of Hollywood to Bill Milham, co-owner with Brant Benum of the Chopstix Dim Sum Cafe in Hollywood. (A second Chopstix is due to open in Sherman Oaks, under executive chef Hugh Carpenter, in October.

White's house was listed with Jana Jones of Alvarez, Hyland & Young at $659,000, furnished, but it sold unfurnished. With the help of Jones, White bought a larger house several months ago in the Hollywood Hills. That house is about 5,000 square feet in size, while the smaller one is 2,600.

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Hollywood is calling at a Beverly Hills penthouse at 292 S. La Cienega Blvd., now that Dale C. Olson & Associates, a public relations agency formerly working out of several suites in another part of the building, has taken over the office space, full kitchen and rooftop garden patios vacated by one of Lorimar's divisions. A few of Olson's celebrity clients are Shirley MacLaine, Raquel Welch, Sally Kirkland, Robert Blake, David Wolper and Helen Reddy.

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Everyone knows Thailand is a hot place in the summer, but this summer, it's expected to get hot in another way, says London-based World Property magazine: The Japanese, who have been investing heavily in California real estate, may contribute to a boom in Bangkok property values as they join Taiwanese and South Korean firms considering moving their labor-intensive manufacturing operations there.

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Can you top this? My mouth hardly ceases to drop open every day at the high real estate prices I hear, but here's one of the highest: $75,000 a month for a home rental!

It's the asking price to rent the house singer Kenny Rogers leased at $32,000 a month after he sold his Beverly Hills mansion to tycoon Marvin Davis, but Rogers leased the place unfurnished. The new price includes furnishings.

"And the house has been completely remodeled," added Stephen Shapiro of Stan Herman & Associates, who is handling the gated, one-acre property with three family suites, tennis court and pool. The owner is Stan Herman himself.

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Antique French furnishings must be growing in popularity. The French Tradition, a 4-year-old furniture design firm specializing in reproductions and restorations, has leased larger quarters in Marina del Rey and moved from its Mar Vista location. The transaction was handled by Tower Properties Co. of Santa Monica.

And here's some good news for you furniture makers. . . . Frank Valles, owner of The French Tradition--a native of Cannes who studied art, architecture and furniture reproduction at the School of the Louvre Museum in Paris, plans to establish an academy of furniture construction in L.A. later this year.

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