clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The very best celebrity homes of 2016

From massive mansions to midcentury classics

Exterior of home with pool in foreground Photo by Brian Thomas Jones, courtesy Patrick Stewart Properties

Oh, celebrities. We really shouldn’t care where they live, but it’s just so hard not to pass up a glimpse into the lavish kind of existence that so often comes with fame. This year, plenty of homes with celebrity connections hit the market—or found long-awaited buyers. We’ve rounded up a few of the biggest, prettiest, and most extravagant examples.

The Playboy Mansion

The rare celebrity home that may be more famous than its owner, the Playboy Mansion sold in August for an astonishing $100 million—the second-most expensive sale in Los Angeles County history. Longtime owner Hugh Hefner won’t be moving out just yet though; as part of the sale agreement, buyer Daren Metropoulos agreed to let the 90-year-old publisher of dirty pictures remain in the home as a tenant.

The co-owner of Hostess Brands, Metropoulos owns another home next door to the Arthur R. Kelly-designed residence and plans to combine the properties to form an impressive 7.3-acre compound.

Johnny Depp’s Eastern Columbia penthouses

In the midst of a bitter divorce from Amber Heard—and a fierce battle over a new high-rise that would block views from the Eastern Columbia Building—Johnny Depp decided to part ways with the five penthouse units he owns in the glorious Art Deco structure. Adorned with brightly colored murals, patterned wallpaper, and an array of paintings and sculptures, the units are visually arresting and very much in-keeping with Depp’s eclectic persona.

It didn’t take long for the first penthouse to sell; the 2,500-square-foot unit fetched $2.54 million in October. It’s reportedly connected to several other units via secret passageway (of course).

JLo’s Bel Air compound

Jennifer Lopez put just about every other celebrity homebuyer to shame in 2016, dropping $28 million on a lavish eight-acre estate in Bel Air. In addition to the 13,000-square-foot main home, the property includes koi ponds, a miniature golf course, custom-built outdoor amphitheatre, and a manmade swimming lake. Many of those features were installed by the home’s former owner, television actress Sela Ward.

Frank Zappa’s (now Lady Gaga’s) home studio

The saga of Frank Zappa’s former home is certainly a strange one. In the Zappa family since 1968, it popped up for sale on eBay, of all places, in March with a $9 million asking price. The strange listing was orchestrated by Alex Winter (of Bill and Ted’s fame), who is producing a documentary on Zappa and hoped to preserve the home—particularly the built-in recording studio where the inventive musician recorded many of his most influential albums.

The online sale was unsuccessful, and the home hit the market in June—only to be snapped up by another iconic performer: Lady Gaga. Fortunately for Winter, and other diehard Zappa fans, Gaga is also interested in preserving, and perhaps using, the "Utility Muffin Research Kitchen.”

Adele’s private Beverly Hills home

British superstar Adele paid $9.5 million for this 6,500-square-foot home in the exclusive Hidden Valley neighborhood of Beverly Hills. The gated community is home to a number of other stars, including Jennifer Lawrence (who this year found a buyer for the humble Santa Monica condo she purchased in her pre-A-list days).

The four-bedroom, six-bath home is fairly conservative in its design, but it does feature a nice backyard treehouse and an outdoor train set—fun features for the singer’s four-year-old son Angelo.

Exterior of home with green lawn in foreground Photos by Brian Thomas Jones, courtesy Patrick Stewart Properties

Bob Hope’s Palm Springs Lautner

Is it a mushroom? A sun visor? A giant desert clam? Nope, it’s just Bob Hope’s desert home in Palm Springs. Designed by the inimitable John Lautner and constructed in 1979, the massive 23,366-square-foot residence was inspired by the shape of a volcano and is centered around a central courtyard with a large circular opening in the ceiling. After several years on the market, the striking home finally changed hands in 2016, selling for $13 million to an unnamed buyer.

View of home from pool Courtesy of The Agency

Elvis Presley’s West Coast abode

Nearly four decades after his death, it’s hard to imagine Elvis Presley at home anywhere but the palatial grounds of his Graceland estate. But from 1967 to 1973, The King used this three-bedroom residence in Beverly Hills as his Southern California base. Though the home has changed a great deal since Elvis and Priscilla lived there, the exterior retains its distinctive French Regency style. Most excitingly, it’s still standing, after a close shave with demolition in 2013.

Kitchen area with glass walls Courtesy of Tom O’Rourke/Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Rob Zombie’s dark midcentury

Cult musician and horror movie director Rob Zombie purchased this Laurel Canyon home earlier this year for just under $2.5 million. Built in 1953, the residence has a dark color scheme much befitting Zombie’s personality, but quite unusual in glassy modern residences like this one. It’s not a bad effect, particularly in combination with the home’s elegant stone floors and tranquil grounds designed by landscape architect Garrett Eckbo.

Living room with vaulted ceiling Courtesy of Hilton & Hyland

Kate Upton’s chic residence

Supermodel Kate Upton and baseball player fiancé Justin Verlander recently acquired this five-bedroom home in Benedict Canyon for $5.2 million. The elegant residence was formerly owned by tennis star Pete Sampras. It features an extensive yard with swimming pool and full-size tennis court (naturally).

Kirk Douglas’s Palm Springs midcentury

This beautiful five-bedroom home was designed in 1954 by modernist master Donald Wexler and belonged to legendary actor Kirk Douglas for four decades, before selling to new owners in 1999. This year, it popped up on the market again, and as an added celebrity-related bonus, Leonardo DiCaprio now owns the place next door.

Adam Levine’s rambling modern

This summer, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine listed this 7,100-square-foot, single-story home in Beverly Hills with an asking price of $17.5 million. That’s considerably higher than the $4.83 million that the singer paid for the home in 2012, but he’s reportedly updated the place considerably since then. Additions to the sprawling, modern residence include a new swimming pool, screening room, two-story garage with elevated car lift, and a hidden card room.

Ike and Tina Turner’s 1970s time capsule

Built in 1956, this four-bedroom residence in View Park housed Ike and Tina Turner before its present sellers purchased it in 1977. Incredibly, the house doesn’t appear to have changed much since then, with much of the couple’s furniture being kept in place for the past four decades. In fact, the home is so true to the era, it appeared in the 1993 film What’s Love Got to Do With It, which gave a fictionalized account of Tina Turner’s music career and tumultuous marriage to Ike.

Kat Von D’s Windsor Square mansion

Reality star Kat Von D was not high on our list of likely buyers for this immense 12,500-square-foot mansion in exclusive Windsor Square (not Hancock Park, as several commenters correctly pointed out), but the tattoo artist is exactly who ended up with the pedigreed home.

Built in the 1890s by local land baron Isaac Newton Van Nuys, the 11-bedroom residence was moved to its present location in 1915. The house later appeared as the onscreen home of Steve Martin and family in the 2003 film Cheaper by the Dozen. Von D reportedly paid $6.5 million for the home, well under the $8.195 million asking price.

View looking up at storybook house Courtesy Anita Rich

Rufus Wainwright’s storybook home

Singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright is mainly known for his sonorous, melancholy voice, so it came as something of a surprise when the musician purchased this quirky home in the Hollywood Hills for $1.45 million. Built in 1926, the three-bedroom residence looks like something out of a fairytale. It even comes with what the Los Angeles Times describes as a “pond with a lover’s bridge.” Very romantic.