Inside the $160 Million 'Manor,' the Largest House in Los Angeles
Located in the Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles is a megamansion that is both stunning and outrageous, a property so lavish that it inspires either envy or disdain (or both) from those who aren’t in the stratospheric tax bracket one must be in to own the place. It has been known as Spelling Manor and Candyland, but now it’s just known as the Manor.
Once listed for $160 million, it was one of the most expensive homes in the entire country and later sold for an astronomical amount. It has more rooms than most people would know what to do with, an intriguing history, and is absolutely worth a look.
It’s Bigger Than the White House
This place isn’t just presidential. It’s kingly. Let’s put this in perspective.
The White House is about 55,000 square feet, with 132 rooms, including 35 bathrooms and 16 family-guest rooms. The Manor is 56,500 square feet and has 123 rooms, with 27 bathrooms and 14 bedrooms.
So while you get fewer rooms, the Manor has an extra 1,500 square feet.
Who Owns The Manor?
The Manor belongs to an anonymous owner. It used to belong to Petra Ecclestone (pictured), who bought the quizzically large, W-shaped French Chateau mansion for $85 million in 2011 when she was 23.
Ecclestone is the heiress to Formula One magnate Bernie Ecclestone and once was the wife of billionaire British businessman James Stunt (the two tied the knot at a $6 million wedding in 2011 and divorced in 2017). She's now married to Sam Palmer, an ex-electrician.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Ecclestone bought the property just one week after she toured its imported limestone walls and many halls and moved in after conducting a 12-week renovation.
Ecclestone originally put the mansion up for sale at $200 million in late 2016, but later dropped it to $175 million, and then to $160 million.
A Huge Sale
Sam Palmer (pictured) moved in with Ecclestone in 2017.
While The Manor went on sale for $160 million, it sold to an anonymous buyer for $119.7 million in July of 2019. That made it the most expensive home sale on record in the state of California.
But it didn't hold the title for long, thanks to Jeff Bezos. He bought the Warner Estate for $165 million in February 2020.
The Manor used to be the location of a 1932 home owned by Bing Crosby, but famed TV producer Aaron Spelling ("Beverly Hills 90210," "Charlie’s Angels," "Dynasty") razed it.
Spelling spent $10.25 million for the six acres of land and the Crosby home and then another $12 million constructing the Manor, which was tailor-made for Spelling and his wife, Candy (hence the Candyland nickname).
That was in 1988. When accounting for inflation, Spelling spent at least $48 million in today’s money.
Wars of the Rich
When it was being built, the Manor caused quite a stir with the neighbors, who bemoaned that the mansion was too large and ostentatious. One neighbor filed an injunction against Spelling, which limited the number of trucks allowed on the construction site.
The neighbor cited beer cans being left behind (on Spelling’s acres) and an increase in weeds on their own property as reasons for the house ruining the neighborhood.
'We Don't Deal with Intermediaries'
The neighbor, Audrey Irmas, said the Spellings would send her and her husband flowers to try and smooth things over. In response, the Irmases would toss them in the garbage.
"They would send (someone) to talk about the problems, but we said we don't deal with intermediaries," Irmas told the Los Angeles Times in 1988.
Exactly. Intermediaries are for peasants and the unwashed.
The Neighborhood Hates it
Another neighbor, J.P. Gurein, told the Los Angeles Times the mega mansion had attracted "strange people, sightseers in the neighborhood" and that their "once peaceful neighborhood has been shattered."
Irmas said the house blocked her view of the sunrise and called it "Look-at-me-I'm-rich architecture" and said, "I hope I never lay eyes on them."
Apparently, Hugh Hefner’s parties weren’t that noisy, as the Playboy Mansion is right next door, as is the Gregory Peck estate. And while the property is properly huge, Holmby Hills is not known for its humble houses. Home prices can stretch near $100 million, and some of the more expensive ones have over 30,000 square feet of living space.
Predictably, the neighborhood is made up of executives and celebrities. Past residents include Jeremy Renner, Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra, Jayne Mansfield, Lloyd Bridges, Walt Disney, Humphrey Bogart and Barbra Streisand. Residents Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson had a secret underground tunnel connecting their properties to the Playboy Mansion.
Spelling Wanted to Make It Bigger
While discussing the mansion during an Instagram interview interview, Palmer mentioned that Aaron Spelling actually wanted to make the house even bigger.
"I remember hearing he wanted to put another wing on the house to make it bigger," Palmer said. "And put a zoo in the house! Which he never did."
We're pretty sure the neighbors would have assembled into a torch-wielding mob if Spelling had actualized his dream.
In this 1983 photo, Aaron (center) is seen speaking with former ABC president Tony Thomopoulos. Candy is rocking some serious diamonds, and future "Beverly Hills 90210" star Tori Spelling is just 10 years old here.
Ecclestone did away with some of the Manor’s very custom features, which included rooms built precisely for Candy’s hobbies — like two rooms designated as "gift rooms" for wrapping and storing presents. There, she would wrap presents for all the stars and cast of her husband’s many TV shows.
"There were times where I would wrap, at Christmas alone, 900, 1,100 gifts," she said in an interview. It’s not known if the room designated for cutting flowers and a humidity-controlled silver storage room are still around. We know the wrapping room and doll room are gone.
When Candy sold the house to Ecclestone in 2011, she made a two-part reality show about her moving out called "Selling Spelling Manor." The trailer can be found, but the actual show has vanished.
A twin butterfly staircase, marble flooring, crystal floating castle chandelier, Renaissance-style paintings and striking touches of black and white color make up the grandiose foyer.
Candy wanted a butterfly staircase because she loved the grand staircase from the house in "Gone With the Wind."
It's All Limestone
The entire exterior of the home is made out of limestone.
According to one rumor, the Spellings purchased a limestone quarry to make sure all the stone had a consistent look.
Palmer now runs a company called Staffing Properties, which provides ultra-wealthy owners of massive properties with all the staff required to wait on them hand and foot. Unsurprisingly, Palmer came up with the idea when he was living at the Manor.
Palmer used to be a director at the Maddox art gallery. He's reportedly a humble guy. He and Petra now do charity work for children with autism. They live in London.
There are more than enough places to sit in this enormous bedroom, which features two huge entrances.
"The bedroom was insane," Palmer recalled.
Yes, yes, it is.
Past the Bedroom's Double Doors...
We believe this is the master bathroom, accessible from the master bedroom and through a pair of double doors.
The Master Bathroom
This bathroom features a triple vanity with wall-length mirrors (one which appears to have some kind of LED screen or television) and shiny, hexagon tile flooring.
There's a large freestanding soaking tub in the middle of the room and even a day bed.
The Beauty Salon
A huge room that used to house Candy’s expansive doll collection has been transformed into a hair salon and spa area for relaxing.
There’s even a mounted flat-screen television and magazine rack.
Full of Style
Another angle of the beauty room reveals that this really is a full-blown salon.
There's space for at least three people to get their hair cut, while the nail grooming area below the Marilyn Monroe portrait has room for two stylists.
Does your closet have a staircase? This one has two, because money.
It's Like a Tiny Clothing Store
When does a closet stop becoming a closet? Is it when it looks like a small shop you might find in a cramped Manhattan storefront?
Candy once said you could "cook for two or 800" in her kitchen. Sounds about right.
The Dining Room
Sit down for a meal or a board meeting at the elongated dining table, situated in the middle of a rectangular-shaped room and below a low-hanging crystal chandelier.
Dinner for Four or 40
The dining room features heart-shaped artwork on the walls and glossy floors.
'We Only Used a Few Rooms'
"We only used a few rooms," Palmer recalled. To keep himself down to earth, he would remind himself, "We can only sit on one part of the sofa and watch one TV. That kept me grounded."
Decorative Touches Everywhere
We wonder how many of these rooms were even decorated? Outfitting a 123-room mansion would be extraordinarily expensive, even if you were shopping at the thrift store.
This room has oodles of decorative molding, recessed lighting and five French doors that open up to the outside.
This photo was taken before Eccelstone's decorations, but after the renovations.
The fireplace is all marble. There's a mirror mounted above the mantle — although we don't think this room needs the illusion of looking any bigger.
The Bowling Alley
If you feel like working on your frame game, there’s no need to mingle with the beer-swilling unwashed masses at the bowling alley.
The Manor has its very own two-lane bowling alley and its own shoe closet, with enough shoe sizes for everyone.
Candy told People she had size 14s made for Tom Selleck, whose feet are almost as big as his mustache.
A Living Room
The home was redesigned by Gavin Brodin of Bordin Design Build. It was redecorated in just 12 weeks.
Brodin split the house up into seven different sections, which is essentially seven 8,000-square-foot houses.
Each section had specific contractors working on the home at the same time.
The Bowling Alley Has a Lounge
But what if you're not bowling? Then just mosey on over to the lounge, which has carpeted flooring and an extremely long couch.
Somewhere within the vicinity of the bowling alley is this game room. It includes a poker table, card table, billiards table and several pieces of sleek black furniture.
"The house needed to be updated for a younger generation," Palmer said on Instagram.
'A Shame on the House'
"The house was built for entertaining," Palmer said during the Instagram interview. "I understand Candy and Aaron were the king and queen of entertaining. But Petra and I, we're kind of private. It was probably a shame on the house."
Forget creaking movie seats and sticky floors. The Manor’s theater has two tiers of comfy lounge seating, carpeted flooring, coffered ceiling and a movie screen that rises from the floor.
Lots of Seating
The theater appears to feature soundproof walls, so you can crank the volume up all the way while the kids are sleeping.
Polar Bear Art
This picture comes from Palmer's Instagram. It's a table situated by the bedroom, with a large black-and-white picture of a polar bear.
Black Hearts and Art
A shot of a painting in one of the Manor's many, many rooms. Notice the black, heart-shaped lamps mounted to the wall.
Certain rooms of the house are flush with French doors, allowing the room to almost fully open up to the outdoors.
A Sitting Area
At 56,000 square feet — roughly the size of an American football field — this mansion's guests will be doing a lot of walking.
So there need to be ample places to sit, like this sitting area on the first floor.
On top of the enormous price tag, this home will cost you about $1.1 million a year in taxes.
Square-footage wise, the $119.7 million price tag means each square foot of living space amounts to $2,138.
The pool is enclosed in a wall expertly decorated with vegetation. There's a hot tub at one end and numerous places to sunbathe on the patio.
The Koi Pond
Located on the 4.6 acres of gated Holmby Hills land are a citrus orchard, vegetable garden, koi pond, rose gardens and formal gardens.
Those 4.6 acres are covered with snaking stone footpaths.
Also located here is a full tennis court, fountains and statues. Other notable features include a granite motor court for 100 cars, solarium, wine cellar, gym and tanning rooms.
"For me, the best thing [about living in the Manor] was the drive up the driveway," said Palmer. "It was all so beautifully kept."
A Lily Pond
Outside, on one of the many, many outdoor patios, there is a rectangular lily pond with several water features.
In 1994, Princess Diana and Prince Charles stayed at the mansion for a little while.
We're not sure exactly how long they sojourned here for, but it was long enough for the Spellings to commission a commemorative plate installed near the front door.
A Statue Close-Up
Candy originally decided to sell Spelling Manor in 2009 because of a falling out with her daughter.
Tori cut her mother out of her life after Aaron died, and for a while, Candy had no relationship with her grandchildren.
Today, Tori said she is on "really good" terms with Candy after years of estrangement.
A Lion Waits
The house is guarded by a lion statue near the front door. At least, we think it's the front door. This house has so many doors and steps, it's difficult to tell.
It also looks like this statue used to be part of a fountain.
This aerial picture reveals some of the formal garden, which has been artfully designed into geometric shapes.
Full of Roses
A closer look at the gardens shows they are rose gardens. Which makes perfect sense, since an entire room in the house used to be used for cutting flowers.
Roses are difficult flowers to care for. The Manor would require at least one full-time gardener.
The W-shaped house opens up to a backyard of rolling green lawns.
There's more than enough room here to entertain several hundred people.
The motorcourt is large enough to hold 100 cars.
This photo is from 1993, when the home was still a new construction, and all of the Spellings lived there.
Before Photos: When It Was Candyland
Let's take a look at what the Manor used to look like, back when the Spellings lived there, when it was Candyland.
This throwback photo posted by Candy on her Instagram shows the socialite posing next to a large oil painting.
We don't know how much that necklace she's wearing is worth, but we're sure it's very expensive. The Spellings auctioned off a few jewels in 2000, with prices ranging from $80,000 to $120,000.
Before: The Gift Wrapping Room
A photo of Candy from the 1990s in the Manor's gift-wrapping room side-by-side with Candy in 2017.
After leaving the Manor, Candy bought a $35 million penthouse in Los Angeles' Century City neighborhood. It has a gift-wrapping room.
Spelling Manor Christmas
The Spellings went absolutely all-out when it came to Christmas.
And when you have that much money — Aaron Spelling was worth around $500 million-$600 million when he died in 2006 — going all-out is something else.
Rows of Bears
Spelling would line the foyer's butterfly staircases with stuffed bears for Christmas.
"I loved collecting Christmas Bears [sic] for a display on the staircase during the holidays when we lived at The Manor," Candy wrote on Instagram.
But there's more than just stair bears. How about some people dressed up like nutcrackers and a high-rent Santa Claus to greet the kids on Christmas morning?
That wouldn't give them a warped view of reality.
While the Spellings could have afforded to pay some of those actors to stand watch all day, they opted instead to buy these life-sized nutcracker statues. They're guarding the fire alarm.
What, your house doesn't have a fire alarm?
An Army of Nutcrackers
Come Christmas time at Candyland, an army of nutcrackers lined up at the front steps of Spelling Manor. There are well over 50 of them.
And notice that snow? Was it snowing in California that year? Probably not.
There Was a Snow Machine
The Spellings would use a snow machine to create snow during Christmas. We're pretty sure it's still on the property, as Palmer noted that he and Eccelstone used one while they lived there.
"There was a ramp of snow up the doorstep at Christmas," he said.
Before: The Office
This was Aaron's old office. Ecclestone swapped out half the built-in bookcases for two aquariums and a full bar.
Before: The Foyer
What the foyer looked like before Eccelstone's remodel. The wallpaper was removed, while the marble floors were recolored.
The tiered chandelier was swapped out for a more modern, and more dramatic, one.
Before: The Sun Room
Originally, this room had tile flooring and wicker furniture. Eccelstone made it more of a "livable" space, adding carpet indoor furniture.
She also got rid of the pink-colored walls.
Before: The Dining Room
The dining room before Brodin and Eccelstone updated it into the modern era.
The room still houses a very long table, but the fireplace has been fully remodeled.
The molding around the chandelier has been colored black, and the chandelier has been swapped out.
Before: Living Room
One of the main living rooms used to have light pink walls and was full of that Victorian era-inspired furniture that was popular in the 1990s.
From the Road
A look at the Manor from the street. The driveway snakes up to the house, making it longer than it needs to be. However, the house isn't that close to the street — it's just so large that it looks closer.
We can't wait until the new owners sell the Manor so we can get another peak inside.