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Olivia Plays Her Tune in Malibu

September 17, 1989|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

Singer/actress OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN, who has long owned a ranch in Malibu, is buying a second home there. It's a one-story house only about 1,500 square feet in size, but it's on 2.13 acres, with ocean and mountain views.

Built in 1958, the three-bedroom, two-bath house has been remodeled and has an outdoor spa, a large wooden deck, polished hardwood floors, beamed ceilings, ceramic counters and lots of river rock and French doors.

Newton-John is paying $740,000 for the house, which was valued at more than $800,000. Escrow was expected to close after our press time last week.

If she keeps the ranch and the house for herself, it won't be the first time Newton-John has had two homes in Malibu. She also once owned a house that she sold to singer Madonna, but Newton-John never lived there.

Some realty sources say Newton-John will live in the house she is buying, but others are sure she is acquiring it for her sister, who has been home shopping in Malibu.

D. K. LUDWIG, one of the richest men in America who is in his 90s now and living in New York, built a Beverly Hills estate two decades ago that came on the market last week at $29 million.

The estate, situated on a 6.7-acre mountain, is next to the landmark Beverly Hills-owned mansion known as Greystone.

Ludwig, who made his fortune in the shipping business, built the one-story, 6,200-square-foot villa for himself and his wife. It only has two bedrooms, but it also has what listing agent Bruce Nelson of Asher Dann & Associates describes as "the most devastating head-on view of the Los Angeles Basin, from downtown to Long Beach to the islands off Santa Barbara."

Ludwig, who loved Polynesia, flew in lava and tropical plants from the South Seas to landscape his property, where he also built streams and a lagoon-like swimming pool, which Nelson likened to the beach. "You can wade into it," he said.

The property also has a 5,000-square-foot family house--with 10 bedrooms and 10 baths, a tennis court and an indoor pool--and a 6,000-square-foot guest house, with two bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen, staff quarters, a tennis court and a pool. These houses were added by the current owner, international developer Robert Brunsen, who has owned the property for the last seven years.

CHER recently moved to Malibu from Wilshire Boulevard but also has a new apartment in the SoHo area of Manhattan that she has been furnishing with the help of her Los Angeles decorator, Ron Wilson.

The SoHo decor is lavishly appointed with what looks like leopard skins, but which are actually stenciled cowhide. Gina B of Los Angeles fashioned the skins into pillows to fit into large stone chairs Cher used in the Beverly Hills house she sold to EDDIE MURPHY.

ELTON JOHN opened escrow on an old Bel-Air house only to find that he would incur an enormous tax liability in England if he completed the purchase, so the deal fell through, said a source who would speak only on condition of anonymity.

The 8,000- to 9,000-square-foot, restored hacienda that the singer would have bought was built in the 1920s by architect Roland Coate on a quiet street with city views. Asking price was $7.5 million.

Actor RICK SCHRODER'S folks, Diane and Richard Schroder, have taken down the "For Sale by Owner" sign that was such an unusual sight on the fashionable Beverly Hills street where they posted it in July. The five-bedroom, seven-bath house is listed now at $6.75 million with Fatima Darwish in Fred Sands' Beverly Hills office.

Before singer MICHAEL JACKSON bought his Santa Ynez ranch in 1988, the spread was featured in a 12-by-14-inch color brochure, with floor plans and photographs, that has apparently become a collector's item:

A Montecito realtor was offered $1,200 for his copy, said an industry source, who noted, "Well, at $28 million, it was the highest home sale in California." The $28 million was for a large house, but it was also for the rest of the 2,700-acre ranch. "Banks would still consider that a single-family dwelling," he said.

NICK THOMAS, a talent agent whose firm handles such personalities as Cristina Ferrare and Wayne Rogers, and his wife Barbara, an exhibitor of American Saddlebred show horses, have paid what is believed to be the highest price yet for a house off the water in Malibu.

They purchased a 5-year-old, 8,000-square-foot house for $3,375,000 in cash, said a real estate source who did not participate in the deal. The Spanish-style home, with a courtyard and a fountain, is in the Serra Retreat area, where actors Charles Bronson, George C. Scott and Mel Gibson also live.

Paul Randall represented the buyers; Betty Graham and Mary Lu Tuthill shared the listing, and Readysystems Research Group supplied physical data. The realtors are with Jon Douglas Co., Malibu.

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