Perhaps the biggest professional challenge for “career” YouTubers is staying relevant in an era of breakneck change. While most of their fellow vloggers have since fallen by the wayside, a handful of veteran influencers — Shane Dawson, Ryan Higa, Jenna Marbles and Trisha Paytas among them — have managed to maintain to parlay their initial viral fame into a decade-strong following of core subscribers, steadily building upon their initial fanbase through a variety of methods.
Another OG YouTuber who’s achieved entrepreneurial success is Philip DeFranco. Now in his mid-30s, the New York City native first burst onto the platform in the mid-aughts with his sxephil channel, through which he broadcast the Philip DeFranco Show, a news commentary program centered around current events. Since then, he’s built upon a cult following and turned his YouTube show into a bonafide media empire that includes a family vlog channel, his Google-funded SourceFed news channel, and a gaming channel. He’s also built Rogue Rocket, an umbrella organization that serves as his personal production company and comprises podcasts, a website and a substantial presence on multiple social media platforms. Along the way, DeFranco has racked up billions of lifetime views, been called “this generation’s Jon Stewart, if not Rupert Murdoch,” and raked in vest sums of money.
DeFranco and his wife Lindsay Doty recently closed on a substantial residential compound in a prime part of L.A.’s Encino neighborhood, paying $4.1 million. Despite the prohibitively expensive pricetag, however, the couple appear to have faced some cutthroat competition from the home — records show the sale price was actually $205,000 more than the initial asking price.
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Described in marketing materials as “La Quinta meets Montecito,” the Spanish-style complex sits on a true flag lot — meaning the 1.1-acre estate is completely invisible from the street, save for a glimpse of its long driveway. Built in 1938 and admirably well-maintained since then, the property features a two-car attached garage and substantial additional off-street parking.
An elegant brick walkway meanders past a grassy lawn, towering hedges and palm trees to a peaceful courtyard entrance, where there’s a colorfully tiled fountain surrounded by a grassy lawn. Inside the single-story sprawler, there are architectural details reminiscent of California missions, hardwood and tile floors, spacious public rooms and an eat-in kitchen with stainless appliances. Multiple sets of glassy French doors open to peaceful verandas, which overlook various parts of the gardens.
Though most of the estate remains in remarkably original condition, parts of the property have clearly been renovated since the ’30s. Most obvious is the relatively new movie theater/screeening room, which offers recliner chairs upholstered in a particularly lurid red velvet and a fiberoptic ceiling treatment meant to mimic a starry night sky, something unheard of in Los Angeles.
The master bedroom sports an original fireplace and the gigantic master bath verges on ecclesiastical, with soaring ceilings, clerestory windows and an ornate chandelier. Elsewhere there’s a guest bedroom that’s been partially converted into an at-home gym, and a one-bedroom detached guesthouse with a kitchen.
Out back, the perfectly rectangular pool has an old-school diving board and sits conveniently adjacent to a poolside cabana with a bathroom, changing facilities and private offices. There’s also a full-size tennis court that’s lighted and faces the proper north/south position, plus sprawling lawns set amongst dozens of manicured palms.
For whatever reason, the increasingly posh Encino neighborhood has become residential nirvana for a multitude of successful YouTubers. Some of the area’s other residents include Colleen Ballinger, Joey Graceffa, the Dolan twins, James Charles, Logan Paul, Eva Gutowski and many more.
And DeFranco won’t have far to move — his starter San Fernando Valley home is located just a few miles east of his new digs. Back in fall 2013, he paid about $1.65 million for a Cape Cod-style Sherman Oaks house with five bedrooms, top-notch tech amenities and a backyard plunge pool. Presumably he will soon opt to sell that property, though it is not currently listed on the open market.