There’s something magical about the ocean end of San Vicente. Perhaps it’s the road itself, thick with trees and a central meridian lush with landscaping. Maybe it’s the rows of beautiful homes, breathtaking and stately, or the smell and feel of the sea that cools the air even on the warmest days of a California summer. There are beautiful late-model cars, and joggers and bicyclists enjoying the outdoors, their dogs loping rhythmically behind.
There’s no need to ever leave this neighborhood with so much at your fingertips: Montana Avenue, with its award-winning shops and restaurants, is just a few streets away; the beach is but a short walk; Third Street Promenade offers movie theaters, and the Brentwood and Riviera Country Clubs beckon with their four-star amenities and carefully vetted clientele.
Not to mention that, with access to PCH and the 10, the rest of the city’s benefits are so easily accessible. This is Los Angeles as you always imagined it could be, with beauty in every moment.
That feeling is reinforced when you arrive at this magnificent home in Santa Monica. Nestled in a private cul-de-sac just north of San Vicente, the ideal location brings you to the first box on your list—check. Unlike the other side of the Boulevard, the streets are quiet, rarely traversed by foot traffic other than the people who live and work here. If safety, solitude and knowing your neighbors are priorities, 121 Esparta Way appears to be the answer.
The home extends its welcome even before you step inside. Manicured plantings and a balanced facade with a separate entryway for each car telegraph that this expertly crafted house has been constructed with a modern family in mind.
Reclaimed European white oak floors extend from just inside the entryway, one space on a long list of those with the refined finishes and impeccable details that characterize this home. High-coffered ceilings, wainscoting, chair railings, and black gold marble fireplaces emphasize the impression of quality. Here is a space made for gracious and magnanimous entertaining.
An imposing kitchen with natural black soapstone counters, two islands, a full pantry, two refrigerators and the best of Miele’s meticulously-made appliances arouse envy even before they’re put to work by a chef (and catering staff, hired for the evening to create and plate hors d’oeuvres for guests to sample), or a father, whipping up his legendary pancakes, piled high with whipped cream and berries, as children and friends wait at one of the counters or around the breakfast table.
But, while it’s said that everyone always ends up in the kitchen, when it comes to this home, other features are equally alluring. Certainly, given so much voluminous square footage—a lot of approximately 12,000 square feet, the home more than 8,400 square feet over three spacious levels—parents and children can play host simultaneously and separately.
Whether for informal or large-scale occasions, this home offers plenty of options for year-round entertaining. There’s the large open-plan family room, with folding doors that fully open it to the backyard and a generous limestone patio with room for a long dining table. Along with heaters, inset into the roof, and a barbecue, there’s the sunken marble fire pit that helps make this area a welcoming gathering spot on chilly evenings.
Warm up here after a dip in the pool and a long soak in the hot tub. Or, with a carefully curated Spotify playlist providing background music piped in via the residence’s entertainment system, it sets up the perfect finish to a long dinner shared with good friends.
The bar, game area, and den on the lower level are another draw. After a pool tournament and a few specialty cocktails, garnished with fresh fruit found at the nearby Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, invite colleagues to stay for a screening.
The tiered and insulated theater room is a comfortable spot for just such a moment. For more significant evenings, a formal dining room and living room provide the ultimate setting.
Of course, entertaining is but one of the pleasures of having a house that lives as beautifully as this one. The hospitality it extends to guests is only matched by the luxury that it brings to everyday activities.
This is a place that functions equally well for private times as it does for public occasions, with each of the six en-suite bedrooms, including one on the lower level, offering the ideal living quarters for a nanny or long-term visitor, guaranteeing the ultimate in rest and relaxation.
Certainly, the master bedroom is a complete retreat unto itself, with a cavernous closet, private office, and an exquisitely appointed bathroom with separate toilet rooms. It is tempting to spend entire weekends here, and with a lower-level home gym on the premises, that is entirely possible.
If you’re a lover of predawn circuit training, rest assured that with the gym’s Pavigym flooring, a specially designed rubber material that reduces noise and vibration, a vigorous workout session would not wake the family. A steam shower and cedar sauna would, however, make for a bracing start to a busy day.
Though it is hard to leave the house such as this one for the chaos of the outside world, remembering all you might have to come home to, helps. Pull out a bottle from the wine cellar, with its black smoke mirror backdrop and cedar shelving, and compose a toast to a life well-lived.
Drew Fenton, Bjorn Farrugia, and Alphonso Lascano, Hilton & Hyland and Charles Pence, Pence Hathorn Silver
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL JONASON