Celebrities buy and sell outrageous homes all the time. While it’s a real estate niche that has a following from people obsessed with celebrity culture, and real estate professionals interested in the nuances of how the rich and famous buy, sell, and collect properties, it’s usually not news news.
Vomit-inducing opulence suddenly being pushed in front of us plebes courtesy of the Internet became commonplace with the Streisand Effect, and there are sections of newspapers dedicated to real estate trends. But unless you regularly peruse the Kardashians’ Instagrams for more proof why we need to restore the estate tax to pre-Reagan levels, celebrity MLS activity just isn’t going to come up in everyday conversation. Come on, almost half a billion animals just died in Australia! Who cares if some 10,000 square foot estate that was probably used for one or two galas before the wealthy occupant moved on to another place that could dwarf a small southern city’s convention center is available for sale? With so many Americans not even sure if buying a home still makes financial sense, IF they can even afford to do so, we’re sure as hell not the target market who has a genuine need for this information.
Then this monstrosity went on the market and the Internet collectively lost its shit.
Pop psychologist Dr. Phil listed a home in Beverly Hills for sale that not even the most masochistic but overworked video game environment artist working in shitty 1990s 3D technology could have come up with. It’s been causing quite a stir in even papers of record, not just real estate sites and social media.
Does Home Stratosphere and your girl the toad lady got hot takes on this cacophonous clusterfuck that’s like the design equivalent what state police found in Ed Gein’s house? You bet!
Unfortunately, we can’t include pictures of this hilariously awful home due to copyright issues. But follow along with this feature on Realtor.com, you’ll know which rooms we’re talking about!
We can, however, embed the popular tweet showcasing several rooms. Here it is just to give you an idea of what we’re talking about.
— Daniel Miller (@DanielNMiller) January 2, 2020
Let’s start with the actual attributes of the home, shall we?
First, let’s clear up a common misconception in all the furor that erupted on Twitter: Dr. Phil owns this home, his name is on the deed, but he wasn’t the one who lived in it or picked the design scheme. That blame and shame fall squarely on his son, Jordan McGraw, who lived in it with his bandmates and the vibe they were going for were “Tim Burton movies threw up everywhere” per this Daily Mail walkthrough that was done in 2016.
As an alternative sort, you’d think I’d go for that. What goths and punks of a certain age didn’t adore Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands before this huge cult of consumption grew around the former upon being spawned in a Hot Topic boardroom? And I can see SOME beauty in that home bar aesthetic, admittedly. But when you put it all together? It’s more like a Bob’s Discount Furniture got into a fistfight with the prop department for an Uwe Boll abomination, despite notably Burton-esque pieces like the snake fountain out front.
What’s even more batshit crazy is that an actual design firm worked on the house. It wasn’t simply a case of a young person who’s never known the horrors of being unable to sell your standard suburban home or city condo or co-op apartment because of just ONE interior design transgression, like a Barbie pink countertop or that shit-colored melange of 1970s wallpaper put up with Elmer’s glue in that New Jersey dump that still gives me nightmares to this day. I curl up in fetal position every time I see a seahorse and think of their cries for help. *shudder*
After all, wouldn’t you hit up Restoration Hardware with absolutely no abandon if you had millions of dollars, thousands of square feet to play with, and a professional design firm handling all the hard work and logistics for you instead of constraints like a day job and kids whose lives can’t be disrupted by a major home improvement project?
But while most of us think of this property as a mansion, it’s technically just a really big house. With five bedrooms and topping out at just over 6,000 square feet that sits on a half-acre estate, that’s a hell whole lot of house but many Southern California realtors don’t consider it a mansion unless it’s at least 8,000 square feet. California builds out, New York builds up, so anything over 1,200 square feet is gargantuan to my ilk. But is it a McMansion that falls in the “abominable patchwork” category rather than the cookie-cutter one?
With an asking price of $5.75 million, it probably could go for more if it had more lock-and-stock Beverly Hills elite decor. Given the type of buyer who’d opt for this property though, chances are affording a complete redesign isn’t out of the question the way us plebes end up having to procrastinate a necessary repair because it costs money every time you leave the damn house.
Onto the rooms!
Enter if You Dare
We enter this living piece of grimdark through this front hallway (I think).
Of all the rooms we’re about to tour, this one seems the most innocuous though that’s not saying much. Those walls look less like they belong in a home and more like a boutique accounting firm, while the French doors offer any horrified onlookers a peek inside.
I’m getting some vaporwave vibes from that random plant in the corner and that trunk that looks like something you’d find between greasy bottles of TIGI factory seconds and luggage locks for your dog at Marshall’s. But I am digging the wall-size string art of some critter saying “Fuck”, while this creepy but worried-looking bear stares at us from the ceiling in the den to the right.
And who could overlook the oddly-placed ceiling-mounted egg seat that looks like the kind of thing you’d find in that place you thought was a Python developers’ meetup but wound up being some Silicon Valley sex party. (I *can’t* be the only one this happened to.)
A Rabbit Hole You Might Not Want to Fall Down
Apparently, this home bar was designed with Alice in Wonderland in mind. To be fair, I haven’t seen Tim Burton’s version of this so I can’t say if it lines up with the source material or not. Regardless, that’s not the vibe I’m getting at all. I’m taking one look at that chandelier and banister, and all I can think is that Chtulu fucked it and didn’t bother to leave his number.
Between the sweeping curved staircase, wide doorway leading to the dining room, and high ceiling with an oculus above it, these are definitely characteristics more in line with a McMansion than a mansion. Not these design features themselves, but the way they’re jammed together.
The blue lighting kind of takes away from the “Alice lost in the woods” theme, even if the custom-made barstools resembling tree stumps make it more cohesive. That lighting and the silver touches make it look more like one of those Atlantic City resort bars where you can smell the roofies all the way from the foyer.
And what’s up with the disembodied magenta lips? Trixie from Rocky Horror or a more sexed-up version of Chairy that got American Psycho treatment? You decide!
You’re Not Dining Alone
If you asked me whose dining room this was, Dr. Phil would not be my first guess pic.twitter.com/dX4EaxERbE
— Kyle Gilboy (@KyleGilboy) January 3, 2020
But it’s okay. The rest of the room provides more than enough fodder for commentary.
Those creepy-ass bears give off some serious Five Nights at Freddy’s vibe, which I guess makes sense given that this area is intended for eating and it’s not the only room with a creepy bear motif. They clash oddly with the otherwise elegant and simply geometric black molding with inset lighting and black velvet wallpaper.
Experimenting with different textures can be fun, but this is overkill. When decorating in black, you don’t have to keep it simple but keeping the texture consistent and knowing your shades of black can help make the room really come together. It’s got the lighting right but those chairs scream “Crate and Barrel clearance” while the rug seems like it should have a pop of color over it like a light blue couch or kelly green table in a setting with less overall darkness.
I guess if you want to feel at complete unease the entire time you’re having pizza with your bandmates at 2AM, this is how you do it.
Conversely, the outdoor dining area is like design magazine porn.
Those ultramodern lights are perfect for nighttime lawn parties while I could totally envision starting the day getting some California sun under those slats while eating at the big marble table. Because it’s not some big sprawling estate like many proper California mansions, no further pictures of the grounds were shown. But I can totally see how this modernized longhouse could easily make you feel like you went from paradise to Midsommar set in Orange County. (Which coincidentally, has ANOTHER bear body horror moment!)
The Living Room You Don’t Want to Live In
Tim Burton inspiration or not, I definitely see where the “regurgitation” part comes from. The panel windows and French glass doors offer a breathtaking view of the yard although the blood-colored drapes are an odd contrast to that otherwise delightfully tacky blue velvet Chesterfield sofa, although I’d say they go marvelously with that candelabra resembling a crucified Mickey Mouse.
That latticework around the fireplace and black molding does make my 90s goth tween heart sing, though. If the entire room was done up this way, it could be salvaged! But those high-backed chairs and diamond carpet resembling a middle-aged HR lady’s blouse were haphazardly thrown in a dog marking its territory.
Interestingly, the living room looks like a completely different room at another angle in the second photo in that feature, when the camera is facing the fireplace compared to facing the glass doors. It looks more welcoming and put-together with just a splash of dark and dramatic, but not without plenty of unsettling art pieces that continue the Five Nights At Freddy’s aesthetic.
The Foul Game’s Afoot
If you turn left and make sure to douse yourself in plenty of alcohol before going upstairs, your first stop is the game room. Where of course you’re greeted by more creepy-ass bears. What, did the designer have this traumatizing incident where they had a damaged teddy bear as a child, their parents said “we’ll fix it”, and Teddy never returned?
That wine fridge is pretty enviable but why this house has two fireplaces, I don’t know. Why the hell do you even need ONE fireplace in Beverly Hills?! This is my agitated ass suffering under a radiator in a pre-war apartment in NYC talking, but let’s get real. This is a bigger climate disaster than ever getting on an airplane.
Anyway, that floor that’s the same color as my hair is so shiny, you could practically do makeup tutorials for Instagram using it. Then there’s this custom-made pool table continuing that outline accent theme but with the ice palette seen here. What’s up with the paint splatters around the lions’ feet though? Come on, my kitchen was full of paint splatters like this because I was a broke-ass new homeowner who didn’t have millions to sink into custom flooring and someone else to clean it.
The absolute best feature of this room though is that twisted metal chandelier. THAT I’d buy in a hot second from Goth QVC if it existed.
At first glance, this bedroom seems like the most normal room in this strange home that I’m now beginning to wonder if it was a design student’s rushed capstone project. After all, blue is a common color for bedrooms because it’s a calming color associated with improving sleep. The carpet is by and far the prettiest of all the aneurysm-inducing carpeting seen so far, and actually goes with the paint job and furnishings. Even the bedding and pillows go with the gold accessories in the room. That panel window and terrace offer an incredible view as well, I’d love to be woken up by the California sun peeking through tropical ferns and this was my plan until the passage of AB5 torpedoed it.
But when you look more closely, you notice the oddities.
I thought that was a ceiling vent at first but there are just random tiles patched on the ceiling in no particular pattern. Just those decals you can buy on Amazon and randomly stick on the wall.
Then what’s up with that…SHRINE in the corner that looks like an oddly crafted piece of stone that would be more at home on the set of a fantasy epic? I’m thinking less Tim Burton, more Never-Ending Story with that one. And oh…there’s another Mickey Mouse carefully staged on that chair, in contrast to his practical vivisection in chrome downstairs. Definitely a soothing image to fall asleep to.
Well, no matter who or what you worship, this house of pain can be all yours if you’ve got a little under $6 million to spare with enough wiggle room for remodeling! Unless you too also love the “Chtulu fucked my banister” aesthetic, hey, there’s no accounting for taste.
Rachel Presser is a crazy toad lady from the Bronx who was exiled to New Jersey, spending a significant chunk of her youth where all the hideous 1970s couch covers and avocado shag carpeting went to die. Upon escaping the sea of brown and founding Sonic Toad Media, she decided to devote her time to writing from the fantastically-preserved Googie artifacts in LA and former speakeasies in Chicago, to forging new game worlds in the tea lounges of Taipei and Tokyo. She can be found at game jams, hardcore shows, vaporwave dance parties, and petting amphibians on a sensible corner loveseat.