After 34 years in Beverly Hills, Gene Simmons is ready for a change of scenery. This October, the KISS frontman set his custom-built mansion out for sale for the heart-stopping price of $22 million. It’s not the first Californian property he’s listed this year (over the summer, he offloaded his Laurel Canyon property for $2.3 million) but with 16,000-square-feet, enough parking for 35 cars, and a 60-foot water slide to its name, it’s by far the most impressive. If you’ve ever wanted to live like a rockstar, now’s your chance. Obviously, you’ll need to find $22 million from somewhere first, but assuming you do, here’s what to expect.
No rockstar worth their salt wants people to know what they get up to in the privacy of their own home. Fortunately for Simmons, he’s never had to worry (apart from when he lets the cameras in, of course, but that’s another story). As Variety writes, the 1.84-acre lot perched in the exclusive neighborhood of Benedict Canyon above Beverly Hills is secluded enough to be completely invisible from the street. And even if it wasn’t, the monumental brick walls and wooden gates that surround it would do a fine job of blocking the view. Leading up from the gates is a long, sweeping driveway that ends in an Olympic sized motor court and enough garages to house up to 35 cars. If the cavernous garages weren’t enough to impress you, wait till you check out the rest of the amenities, which stretch to include a lagoon-shaped swimming pool with a 60-foot slide and attached hot tub, a regulation tennis court, and plenty of lush greenery.
The exterior might be nice enough, but it’s the interior of Simmons’ mansion that earns that $22 million price tag. According to dirt.com, anyone lucky enough to walk through the glassed fronted entrance will be immediately dazzled by the rotunda-like grand foyer, a dramatic entrance that sets the tone for the rest of the interior with its buttercup-yellow damask wall coverings, elegantly sweeping staircase and a wooden floor featuring a highly original inlaid compass. Leading off from the foyer is a mammoth formal living room with soaring 30-foot-tall ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a very elegant looking fireplace. Make your way through a series of arched doorways and you’ll find yourself in an equally dramatic dining room that boasts an 8-seater table, a glowing crystal chandelier, and a set of French doors that lead out onto pretty gardens.
By comparison, the kitchen is an understated affair featuring simple white cabinetry and a bright, spacious feel. Scattered around the house are seven bedrooms, most of which come complete with wrought-iron terraces that offer gorgeous views over the landscaped grounds. “You can open the doors and walk out on your balcony like Mussolini waving out at his fascist crowd,” Simmons has joked to the Wall Street Journal.
Memorabilia Not Included
If you thought $22 million would be enough to get you at least a few pieces of KISS memorabilia, think again. Although the house is currently decked out in original concert posters and gold disks (one room has even been dedicated entirely to mementos from KISS’ collaboration with Hello Kitty), Simmons has made it clear that the trinkets hold too much sentimental value to be left behind when he moves.
Considering that Simmons has spent the best part of four decades living at the Beverly Hills mansion, his decision to move on has come as a bit of a surprise to some people. But the explanation is simple enough – money. “I am moving our family to a state that is much more welcoming. Washington state. Where there is no income tax, no local and state taxes. Federal taxes are enough,” he explained to the Wall Street Journal. Nonetheless, the final move is probably going to come as something of a wrench to the tongue-waggling rockstar. Simmons, who co-founded KISS in the early 1970s and who still serves as its bassist and vocalist, bought the Benedict Canyon mansion with his wife Shannon Tweed in 1984, just one year after they met at a party at the Playboy Mansion.
Strangely enough, Simmons wasn’t the first music icon to live at the property. “I bought it from a previous couple who had lived there for many years,” he explained to the WSJ. “Then I found out the previous owner was a gentleman named Irving Azoff, one of the most prominent music managers. He continues to manage the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and others. I’m told the Eagles were put together on the property.” Over the next five years, they spent countless hours and a total of $12 million transforming the property (which at the time was a comparatively humble 3,500-square-foot wooden farmhouse valued at just $1.35 million) into a house befitting of a rock legend. As forbes.com outlines, the renovations extended to flattening the hillside, beautifying the garden with transplanted trees from Northern California, and extending its original size from 3,500-square-foot to 16,000-square-feet.
Meet and Greet Gene Simmons
Gene and Shannon’s children, Sophie and Nick, were born and raised in the house. It even served as the setting for the A&E reality TV show “Gene Simmons Family Jewels”, which ran from 2006 to 2012. Understandably then, this isn’t just a house to Simmons. It’s a home… a home he’s not prepared to sell to just anyone. Determined that the next owner will value the property as much as he and his family have, Simmons has attached an unusual condition to the sale – anyone who decides to buy the property has to meet him first. And if they don’t pass the test – well, they can kiss goodbye to the house. “This is the place [where] our kids Nick and Sophie were born and grew up,” he says. “This is where we filmed our reality show, Gene Simmons Family Jewels. It’s difficult to think of it any other way—home. Which is why, I am insisting on meeting the family who wants to buy it. We need to be okay emotionally, with passing our home to someone else. It will always be our home.” If you fancy your chances, the property is currently listed with Josh and Matt Altman of Douglas Elliman.