Tennis nut DUSTIN HOFFMAN put love first when he built his new house in Brentwood: His walled north-south tennis court was completed months before the home.
"The moment the court was done, he'd show up there and play tennis. Then he would frequently walk the construction site in his tennis outfit," a source said.
An avid player who often participates in celebrity tennis tournaments, the Oscar-winning actor has just moved with his family into the new seven-bedroom 12,000-square-foot home.
Hoffman co-stars with Robert De Niro and Brad Pitt in the current film "Sleepers" and is in Los Angeles filming "Mad City" with John Travolta.
The two-time best actor Oscar winner ("Kramer vs. Kramer," 1979; "Rain Man," 1988) had been living in his New York City co-op with his wife, Lisa, and their four children. Hoffman, 59, also has two grown children from his first marriage.
He was born and raised in Los Angeles and in recent years has owned homes in Malibu and the Hollywood Hills.
Hoffman's Brentwood home, which took two years to build, is on several lots. His house was built on the two-lot site of a 6,000-square-foot house built in the 1940s. That house was gutted to make way for the current home.
Before his new house was built, Hoffman also bought an adjacent house that was torn down to make room for his tennis court. He bought part of a neighboring lot for a path as court access from his house.
Hoffman's house, which is sheathed in redwood, has been described as "contemporary but country in style, with soaring spaces."
The two-story home was designed by a New York architect with interiors by an L.A. designer. Hoffman is estimated to have spent $5 million in construction.
* CRYSTAL BERNARD, who plays Helen--the airport concessions-diner owner-cook-waitress--in the NBC comedy series "Wings," has sold her home in a gated community in the Beverly Hills area for $1.6 million, sources say.
She is said to have purchased a $3.5-million home in the same development after the Northridge earthquake damaged the house she just sold.
Bernard completely refurbished the five-bedroom 7,200-square-foot house, bought by a married couple who are TV writers, sources say.
Bernard, 35, has been on "Wings" since 1990. Before that, she co-starred in the series "It's a Living." She made her series debut in 1982 on "Happy Days." The Houston native is also a songwriter.
Barbara Darnell of Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills, represented the buyers, and Gary Velis of Stan Herman / Stephen Shapiro & Associates, Beverly Hills, had the listing.
* MICHAEL BRAVERMAN, executive producer of the CBS series "Chicago Hope," has listed his oceanfront Newport Beach retreat at just under $1.1 million.
Braverman, in his early 50s, also produced and created the Grammy Award-winning show "Life Goes On," and he wrote and produced the Grammy Award-winning '70s series "Quincy M.E.," starring Jack Klugman.
Braverman has owned the three-bedroom 2,200-square-foot house since 1990. He decided to sell because he doesn't use it much now that his schedule is so busy, sources say. His main residence is in Encino.
Chris Brigandi of Cannery Village Realty, Newport Beach, has the listing.
* BILL BARLOW, senior producer of "America's Funniest Home Videos," and Cheri Brownlee, co-executive producer of the syndicated show "Real TV," have bought a three-bedroom home in the Laughlin Park area of Los Feliz.
Such early-film greats as the late director Cecil B. DeMille and actor W.C. Fields lived in Laughlin Park, and comic Lily Tomlin has a home there now, sources say.
Barlow and Brownlee, both in their 30s, bought the 2,000-square-foot house with city views for about $500,000, sources say. They moved from another part of the Hollywood Hills.
Dorothy Carter of the Prudential-Jon Douglas Co., Sunset Strip, represented both sides of the transaction.
* MEL HARRIS, former head of TV at Paramount and Sony, has purchased the Malibu home of Donald Tait, who wrote such Disney movies as "The Apple Dumpling Gang" (1974) and "Herbie Goes Bananas" (1980).
Harris paid $1.7 million in cash for the house, sources say. He also has listed his four-bedroom Tarzana home, which has a tennis court, at about $1.2 million.
Mitchell Bravo of Fred Sands' Encino office represented both parties in the Malibu sale and has Harris' listing.