Emmy-nominated powerhouse television producer turned Nickelodeon president Brian Robbins and his wife Tracy James are on the move once again, this time packing their designer bags and migrating from historic Hancock Park to the glitzy awesomeness of Beverly Hills. The couple have forked out a very A-list $16.8 million — the most paid for a house in the city thus far this year — for a ravishingly louche showpiece of a modern mansion in the Trousdale Estates enclave of town.
Designed by Paul McClean, the Irish-born architect who arguably kickstarted L.A.’s contemporary mansion boom, the glassy spec-house was built over a four-year period by Lindsay Chambers, an acclaimed interior designer who has developed dozens of luxury houses around L.A. and up in Northern California’s Silicon Valley, and features an exterior clad in exotic stonework hand-finished by artisans in Italy.
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Sited on a quiet cul-de-sac and partially obscured behind a dense hedgerow, the house visually presents as a single-story structure but sports a decadent subterranean level outfitted with a wet bar/lounge, wine cellar, home theater, giant marble fireplace, glass-walled “auto gallery,” a wellness center, and a lap pool set beneath a soaring central atrium.
Up above at street level, a hand-crafted door pivots open into a brief courtyard, and an adjacent catwalk leads directly over the lap pool below and through a glass door into the foyer. Inside, there’s a restrained, almost Germanic minimalist aesthetic with subdued, ice-grey color hues throughout. The open floorplan includes a marble-slathered kitchen with high-end stainless appliances, a wine refrigerator, and an eat-in breakfast bar. There’s also a library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, fireplace-equipped living and dining rooms and floor-to-ceiling walls of glass..
The compact backyard includes a patch of faux grass and one of the more unconventional aspects of the property: its arrowhead-shaped infinity pool, a portion of which partially encircles the home’s glass-walled master suite. The westward views drink in the Century City skyline, and large pine trees and other dense foliage serve to block out most of the neighbors, creating a quiet respite in the middle of the bustling Platinum Triangle.
Robbins and James are longtime staples in the property news columns, seeming to move houses every couple years. Once upon a time they owned a large Encino mansion that was sold for $5.5 million to a married pair of high-powered L.A. businesspeople. In 2013, the pair paid English television producer Andrew O’Connor $13.2 million for a very stately house in Brentwood that they subsequently flipped for $15.4 million to Coldplay manager Phil Harvey.
And in 2017, the James-Robbinses paid prolific producer John Wells $12.4 million for a Hancock Park manor on one of the area’s best streets. They have since extensively renovated the entire property, and the house is rumored to be quietly available off-market with a potentially neighborhood record-busting pricetag.
The couple also maintain a vacation getaway in California’s Santa Barbara County; last year, they paid Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi about $7 million for an achingly beautiful ranch set in the foothills above the quaint seaside town of Carpinteria, about two hours by vehicle due northwest of their new 90210 digs.