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"Granite countertops, a chef's kitchen, and a mirrored ceiling in the bedroom..."

October 13, 2009 |  9:34 am

The LAT's Jerry Crowe has a fun piece up today about Wilt Chamberlain's former home in Bel-Air, and the people who have owned it since his death in October of 1999. Given the unique qualities of Chamberlain's decorating tastes and the legacy of his, ahem, legend, it's not surprising a few renovations have been undertaken. (Those are potent ghosts.) Among the decorating casualties are Wilt's "mirrored ceiling in the master bedroom that retracted to reveal open sky and a Cleopatra-inspired sunken bathtub that sat at the foot of the bed," along with a "playroom" featuring a wall-to-wall waterbed.

The original pool table and "a high-relief photo series of an attractive nude woman papered floor to ceiling in a guest bathroom" remain.

What really struck me, though, were Crowe's details on the purchase and construction price back in '71: $150,000 for 2.5 acres in Bel-Air, plus $1 million to build. The latter seems high- in most places you can still build an abundance of home for a cool mil, and this was nearly 40 years ago (perhaps the indoor moat swimming pool created extra costs), but while it was apparently very expensive then, the notion of buying 2.5 acres in that part of town for 150K seems amazing to me. Despite the crash in real estate prices. 

A guide to California real estate and a time machine might just be the single greatest moneymaking combination around.