Hollywood Hills Home Once Owned by Madonna Lists for $21 Million

Hollywood Hills Home Once Owned by Madonna Lists for $21 Million

  • WSJ
  • 02/16/23

A Hollywood Hills estate once owned by Madonna is coming on the market for $21 million. 

Known as Castillo del Lago, the circa-1920s house is perched on a ridge below the famed Hollywood sign, according to a listing description from agents Linda May and Brett Lawyer of Carolwood Estates. Madonna bought the property for around $5 million in 1993 and sold it in 1996, according to a memoir written by her brother, Christopher Ciccone.

The house is currently owned by fashion designer Leon Max of Max Studio, records show. In a statement, the Russian-born Mr. Max said he is looking to sell because he plans to move to England for his child’s education. 

The Spanish-style home, designed by noted architect John DeLario, was among the first homes built in Hollywoodland, a neighborhood that started as a 1920s real-estate development, according to the 2007 book “Houses of Los Angeles.” The house became a local landmark, where gangster Bugsy Siegel reportedly operated a gambling den in the 1930s, the book said. Decades later, scenes from the 1984 movie “Beverly Hills Cop” were filmed there, according to movie database IMDb. 

Madonna didn’t respond to a request for comment. Mr. Ciccone, an interior designer, wrote that the pop star poured some $3 million into renovations and décor for the home, painting the turrets and retaining walls with red stripes to look like a church in Portofino. With his sister’s blessing, Mr. Ciccone said he flew to London and spent a “fortune” on fabrics and furniture, including 16 William and Mary-style chairs. A painting first commissioned for the Palace of Versailles was installed in the living room.

Madonna sold the house to commercial director Joe Pytka, who flipped it to Mr. Max for $7 million in 2010, records show. After purchasing the home, Mr. Max said he restored the turrets and retaining walls to their original weathered-white color. He also opened a breezeway to “gain back something resembling a minstrel’s gallery overhanging the main inner courtyard.” He replanted hanging gardens with climbing plants like fig ivy, wisteria and jasmine, he said.

Measuring about 10,500 square feet, the nine-bedroom house has views of downtown Los Angeles and Lake Hollywood, according to the listing. It has two towers, including an entry tower with a dramatic spiral staircase and a vintage wood-paneled elevator. A second tower with lounge seating is in the primary suite. Throughout the house, there is rich architectural detail including terracotta floors, coffered ceilings, colorful tilework and Moorish arched doorways. The central courtyard has a fountain and outdoor fireplace, and the two-story living room has ornate wood beams. The home also has a media room, a wine room, multiple terraces and an outdoor lap pool.

Mr. Max opened his first Max Studio women’s sportswear store in 1979. In 2005, he paid nearly £15 million for a 550-acre estate in the English countryside. 

In Los Angeles, the number of luxury single-family home sales dropped 51.9% in the fourth quarter from the same period in 2021, due in part to lack of inventory, according to real-estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel. The average sale price during the quarter rose 18.8% year-over-year. 


View Listing | Offered at $21,000,000 | Represented by Linda May and Brett Lawyer

Story courtesy of WSJ

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