In the current economic period, there hasn’t been much real estate news to gawk over, yet Tom Ford keeps turning heads. First it was with his record-breaking $100 million Palm Beach house swap late last year, and then with his $52 million purchase of the East Hampton estate that belonged to the grandfather of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
This is no surprise, since the American fashion designer is a veteran in the real estate game who has been buying and selling houses in the US and Europe for decades. Lauded for his glamorous and provocative style, the Texas-born tastemaker has been described by Vogue as “precise, methodical” and “among the shrewdest businessmen in the history of fashion,” and he has certainly proven these words true when it comes to real estate. An architecture major in college, Ford’s insider knowledge of design history shows up in his real-estate-buying patterns, as his homes tend to have some measure of historic or architectural significance. And despite only giving us small, occasional peeks into his homes over the decades, we’ve seen enough to know that the chic, sexy sophistication resonant in his clothing also informs his decorating sensibilities. “My houses are for me and for Richard [his late husband] and Angus [his fox terrier],” Ford told W magazine in 2004 (before their son came along). “All my houses look the same. I have a very specific set of tastes.”
“I’ll probably build and buy and sell houses for the rest of my life,” Ford also said, so don’t expect him to quit playing with pedigreed architecture anytime soon. A clandestine mover when it comes to real estate, many of Ford’s transactions go under the radar until someone does some deep digging into public records. Here’s a list of some of the properties we know he’s owned over the years.
In 1997, while Ford was at Gucci, the designer bought a white Victorian mansion in London’s Chelsea neighborhood. The four-story period home was located in the Boltons Conservation area, a quiet, posh section of the borough where celebs like Hugh Grant, David Bowie, and George Michael once had homes. The 3,602-square-foot mansion’s period façade was perfectly preserved, but the inside was as sleek and sexy as you’d think a Tom Ford interior would be. Several rooms were painted black; there was black furniture, a study paneled with Macassar ebony, and even a bedroom paneled in stainless steel. Ford’s design skills were so impressive that the subsequent owners chose to keep most of his decor intact, as evidenced by listing images from 2020. “He’s arguably the best designer in the world, and he brought that level of luxury to this house. No expense was spared…it’s a trophy property,” the home’s 2020 selling agent told Mansion Global. Ford first listed the house in 2009 but was unable to secure a buyer until 2012 when it was sold for an undisclosed sum.
Across the pond in Los Angeles around the same time, Ford bought the celebrated Richard Neutra–designed Brown-Sidney modernist gem for a little over $2 million. As Neutra was one of modernism’s most prominent architects, the 1955 build featured characteristics like clean lines, an open floor plan, and glass walls to facilitate indoor-outdoor living. The hilltop abode also boasted 180-degree views, a pool, and rugged landscaping, which were all a part of Neutra’s design ethos. When Ford bought the house, he enlisted architect John Bertram of the AD 100 firm Marmol Radziner & Associates (a partnership he’s since retained for several subsequent real estate projects) to complete the restoration. Not many images of the house exist publicly, but the few that are featured on Marmol Radziner’s website show dark colors and an aesthetic that stays true to midcentury (and Ford’s, quite frankly) design philosophy. Ford made a hefty sum when, in 2019, he sold the property for $20 million to a hedge fund trader, who later sold it to Ellen de Generes and Portia Di Rossi in 2022 for $29 million.