Tongue-wagging rock legend Gene Simmons is kissing goodbye the Beverly Hills mansion he’s owned for 36 years. After paying $1.34 million for the property back in 1984, it’s now on the market for $22 million.
Why sell? It seems Simmons, 71, and his actress and model wife, Shannon Tweed Simmons, are relocating to tax-free Washington State to escape what Simmons calls California’s “unacceptable” taxes.
They’re giving up their stately 16,000-square-foot, three-story European-style home in the celebrity enclave of Benedict Canyon, to move to a 24-acre estate the couple owns close to Washington State’s Mount Rainer.
When they originally bought the 1.84-acre hilltop property in Los Angeles, it came with just a rustic ranch home. They proceeded to spend five years and a reported $12 million replacing it with this majestic, though decidedly un-rock-star-looking home completed in 2000.
Extensively featured on the long-running A&E reality series Gene Simmons Family Jewels, the home has seven bedrooms, seven baths, a pro-size tennis court, a pool with a 60-foot water slide and parking for 30-plus cars.
But prospective buyers might have to imagine what three of the bedrooms could look like. That’s because right now they’re being used to house the fire-breathing rocker’s mind-blowing collection of KISS memorabilia. They are jam-packed with everything from music awards and KISS-branded pinball machines to guitars and an endless array of KISS toys and figurines.
In a YouTube video on the collection, Simmons boasts: “We have more than 5,000 licensed products. Everything from KISS condoms to KISS caskets.” Sadly, for KISS fans, the collection is not included in the sale.
One of the best-selling rock bands of all time, the group was founded by Simmons and guitarist Paul Stanley in the early 1970s. Since then, the rockers, known for their outrageous makeup and pyrotechnic stage shows, have sold more than 75 million albums.
To reach the house, imposing security gates open from snaking Benedict Canyon Drive to a wide driveway and up to a huge circular motor court and a trio of garages.
With towering hedgerows on three sides and a densely wooded area directly behind the home, the compound is well-hidden from prying eyes—and what Simmons has described as “buses with well-meaning tourists from Sandusky, Ohio.”
Grand sweeping steps on either side of the garages lead up to the home’s imposing twin front doors. The foyer has a showpiece 40-foot-high window and a sweeping staircase topped by a gorgeous glass-domed ceiling
The huge open-concept living room features Simmons’ grand piano, a cozy fireplace and big, overstuffed sofas, one of which is an unusual back-to-back design.
Having raised two kids at the home—comic book creator Nick Simmons is now 31; sister Sophie, 28, is an actor and singer—the open-plan kitchen is truly family-sized. Simple in design, it features white country-cottage cabinets, wood floors and marble countertops.
Upstairs, the primary suite with its vaulted ceiling is unpretentious, with its simple furniture, wide-planked floor and arched doorways. A rock star’s retreat it’s not.
Outside, the surprisingly small pool area is shielded by towering trees and includes a rustic, stone patio and stone-edged spa.
Israeli-born Simmons, estimated by Money Inc. to be worth about $300 million, is showing his commitment to quitting California by recently listing yet another home he owns, this one in LA’s Laurel Canyon.
Listed in August for $2.2 million, the unassuming, split-level 2,345-square-foot house has breathtaking views of the Los Angeles skyline and the Santa Monica Mountains all the way to the Pacific. It is now priced at $1.99 million.
As for the Benedict Canyon compound, it’s on the market with Million Dollar Listing stars Matt and Josh Altman of The Altman Brothers and Douglas Elliman.