I started my career in media in 1992 as an account executive at BAM magazine. BAM was a free bi-weekly music magazine founded in 1976 by Dennis Erokan in San Francisco and covered musicians, the music scene and its culture. As a musician myself, this was an exciting time for me as I was able to work on something that I was truly passionate about.
The media landscape was much different back then, as the internet was in its infancy and marketers still relied on and leveraged traditional media channels like (print, TV, radio.)
BAM was a case study in the niche publishing model and was able to capture the attention of an audience around a topic that they were passionate about, (music) and thus created a lot of value for both consumers and advertisers along the way.
My time at BAM was invaluable – I was immersed into the world of guerilla marketing and I learned how to create ad campaigns from scratch for local music retailers that ultimately would have to deliver results. And best of all, I was part of a community who had shared interests, passions, and dreams.
In 1995 my media career took a 180˙ turn when I joined a commercial printing company, (where DIGS magazine prints today!) With aspirations to become a Publisher at some point in my future, this was a logical progression as I became an expert in the printing process, which is typically the highest cost center for a magazine business.
The best part, my clients were publishers of prestigious magazines and newspapers – I was in good company, to say the least.
FUN FACT: The Daily Breeze, Beach Reporter & Easy Reader were all personal clients of mine back in the day and I helped the Breeze outsource the printing of the daily paper to our company to print alongside the National edition of the
New York Times.
I spent the next 14 years in commercial printing, working my way up from sales to eventually becoming the President & CEO of a $250 million company. It was during this period of time that I was fortunate to be immersed in the media world, having a “front row seat” to the transformative and disruptive change that the internet would bring. I got to see firsthand, how the largest media companies of the day were doing to adapt (or not) with the changing landscape – it was a crazy time, to say the least, and highly educational.
In 2008, I decided to leave the printing industry, do some soul searching and explore the possibilities of “reinventing myself.”
With a keen understanding of the perilous future of print in the new digital age, I decided to go against the grain and do something that made little sense to any rational person at the time – start a magazine! My friends, peers, and family all thought I had lost my mind, but my ignorance was truly bliss.
It was 2010, the economy was bad, and the real estate industry was worse. I started to imagine what it would be like to be a local real estate agent during this time – how the old rules were changing and how hard it was going to be sustain and grow their business.
It didn’t take long before I was convicted to the mission – I wanted to try and solve this problem, or at least add some value along the way.
But not from some high-minded “top-down” media owner or publishers’ perspective, rather from a “bottoms up” guerilla marketing perspective. It was about challenging the status quo – align with the disruption in the market and harness it to elevate across the board.
With a marketing approach and mindset, it was all about helping agents and local real estate consumers “find your place” in the community. And with that tag line, DIGS was started in the summer of 2010.
Going to market with a marketing company mindset meant I could break all the rules in publishing. Everything about DIGS, from the size of the magazine to the frequency, was engineered to maximize marketing results for our agent partners.
In the summer of 2010, I began to reach out to as many top agents and brokers as I could and tried to set up a meeting. The local real estate community was still reeling from the effects of the great recession, which was fortuitous for both
of us as it allowed for an open dialog and open-mindedness.
As I look back and reflect on these first meetings, I’m reminded how grateful I am to those first few agents that took a leap
into the void and decided to take a chance on a total unknown. We would have never existed without them!
Fast forward a few months – the first DIGS magazine was published on October 8, 2010 – 28 pages of hope, sweat, and inspiration.
In my very first Publisher’s Muse, I wrote:
‘Our mission is to build the market-leading communications platform for the South Bay community “real estate experience” – a 360˙ real estate marketplace that connects the local real estate consumer to real estate professionals who live and work in the community.’
With no investors and a substantial personal investment to get this going, the money clock was ticking fast.
I’ll never forget this moment – it was a cold and cloudy mid-December day, DIGS had just released its 5th publication and I went to the bank to get a current account balance.
It was $354.00.
Okay, maybe this is going to be harder than I thought.
It might have been a happy coincidence, but it was at this time I first heard the phrase, “fake it till you make it,” and the timing was poetic.
The rest, as they say, is history.
I could probably write a novel on my personal journey on how DIGS came to be and the process of building a brand from the ground up.
The reward and success is in the journey – the ups and downs and the twists and turns along the way.
The one thing that has stuck with me since the early days is how welcoming and encouraging the brokers and agents were to me day one, inviting me to the office meetings and introducing me to other agents.
The South Bay real estate community is special and unique.
I’m still in awe and humbled that this community has allowed us to exist for what will be nine years this October, and the fact that this edition marks the 200th publication is truly remarkable. (Did you know…our Westside DIGS magazine celebrates our 4-year anniversary this month? No wonder my hair has turned grey!)
Today, DIGS distributes over 100,000 magazines per month in the most affluent communities in the South Bay and Westside of Los Angeles. Each combined edition has $1 billion worth of properties that are advertised for sale – an indispensable resource and marketplace for agents and consumers to connect.
A sincere thank you.
To the local community, for embracing us and allowing us to lead the real estate conversation.
To our marketing partners, who continue to support and grow with us.
To our readers, who keep us relevant and accountable to our mission.
In your service,
Founder & CEO
No expense was spared in the design of this warm contemporary home nestled in the tree-lined streets of Santa Monica. Think a true piece of art bathed in comfort and luxury, complete with high-end details including floor-to-ceiling Movi doors; Italian-made bathroom cabinetry by Rexa Design and Novello Bagno; a chef-caliber kitchen boasting the highest-tier of Blum hardware, as well as and Miele and Zephyr appliances; and engineered European white oak flooring throughout. Not to mention a swoon-worthy yard showcasing a sparkling pool and spa.
“In town, there are so many similar builds that are all interchangeable, but there isn’t anything like this on the market,” says Cindy Ambuehl of The Agency, who is listing the property for $8.25 million. “It is current to the demands and desires of today’s buyers, designed to appeal to both family and entertaining, and the location…oh, the location!”
Found at 526 23rd St.—North of Montana Avenue, just minutes from the Brentwood Country Mart, and a bevy of shops and restaurants—the six-bedroom abode was custom built this year by GAIA Construction, along with Desai Architects and Italian interior designer DI Group.
Expect almost 7,000 square feet of open living space on three levels featuring sophisticated design elements such as soaring ceilings, plentiful natural light, an elevator, and a showpiece of a striking floating wood-and-glass staircase.
Among the highlights: the previously mentioned kitchen boasting a center island with waterfall edges, Binova cabinetry from Italy and a porcelain backsplash stretching from the countertops to the ceiling, along with a spacious master retreat showcasing an expansive closet and luxe bath.
Adding to the home’s glam factor is a lower-level entertainment area featuring a theater, wine cellar, wet bar and game room, as well as delightful grounds sporting an outdoor dining area with barbecue, and a pool house with bar, bath and outdoor shower. Finally is a Control4 smart home automation, top-of-the-line security and camera system, and solar energy setup.
Cindy Ambuehl of The Agency
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF ANTHONY BARCELO
This Santa Barbara-style home custom built for professional soccer player Landon Donovan in 2007 got an extra boost in acreage when the athlete purchased the lot next door to create a spot where he could enhance his training and recovery.
Today, the one-of-a-kind setup includes a remodeled masterpiece consisting of a main house connected via a lushly landscaped tropical oasis with a saltwater lagoon pool and cascading waterfall to an additional dwelling replete with a sauna, 20-seat theater, bar, guest room with bath, and even a gym with roll-up garage doors.
“It’s rare to find a home that offers a complete oasis of mind, body, and spirit while maintaining the convenience of city living,” says Giovanni Altamura of Altamura Real Estate, the listing agent for this exclusive compound. “3305 Pine Avenue is that—offering not one, but two dwellings that work together in harmony with amenities you’d find at a world-class resort.”
Found in the Tree Section of Manhattan Beach—on a 9,282-square-foot double lot just minutes from white sandy beaches, shopping, award-winning schools and LAX—the main house (at 3305 Pine Ave.) offers 3,300 square feet of living space on two levels with high-end details throughout including reclaimed barn wood flooring, coffered and groin vaulted ceilings, French terra-cotta tile, custom wrought iron and handmade reclaimed wood doors.
Among the highlights: a striking two-story foyer; four bedrooms (including a spacious master retreat with a fireplace, private balcony and spa-like bath with dual vanities and a soaking tub); formal dining room; and family room that adjoins a gourmet kitchen outfitted with coastal-chic cabinetry, an expansive center island ideal for dining and entertaining, Viking and Sub-Zero appliances, and a butler’s pantry with wet bar.
Accessed via a charming walkway, the adjacent two-story companion home (at 3301 Pine Ave.) features sliding Fleetwood pocket doors that open to reveal a billiards room and fully equipped gym. Yet other touches here include a sauna, revamped movie theater, custom walk-in bar and guest suite with bath.
“The ‘wow’ factor would be the double lot and orientation of the property that is unquestionably hard, to almost impossible, to find these days,” says Altamura.
“A main house with an open floor plan, leading to private outdoor space, and a walk to the guest house with pool, sauna, cold plunge, gym, bar, theater, and a guest room just does not exist. Most would have to acquire two lots and custom build. This would take years to complete, where this house has it all and is in ready-to-move-in condition!”
When Baron Steinbrecher attained his real estate license in 2012, his first order of business was to find and purchase a property that he could re-develop and sell. His prayers were answered when he walked into a broker’s open for an architectural home set in Beverly Hills, at the coveted Trousdale Estates neighborhood.
Feeling special energy about the house, he quickly pulled together some investors, purchased it, and two years later sold the fully renovated residence for a record price on the street of $12.9 million. Today, the reimagined abode is once again on the market, complete with distinguished details including high-end finishes, a seamless indoor-outdoor flow, and jaw-dropping vistas.
“The most amazing thing about the property is that possesses the complete package,” says Steinbrecher, who is co-listing the home with Mauricio Umansky, both of The Agency, for $15.8 million.
“It’s private, set back from the street with a large driveway, and although it’s modern, the Mid-century architectural integrity remained intact. The floor plan is open but also flexible with all the pocket doors, and the rooms all have great volume and space that overlook the incredible city and ocean views.”
Found at 521 Chalette Drive—behind gates on one of Trousdale’s most coveted thoroughfares—the four-bedroom, five-bath dwelling was completed (using some existing foundation) by architect Christ Light of C.J. Light Associates and Gordon Gibson Construction.
Expect 5,638 square feet of sexy, Josh Brown-designed living space on a single level highlighted by a soaring, open great room with a Portoro marble fireplace, and a dining area lined with Fleetwood walls of glass that open to attractive grounds spotlighting grassy lawns, a zero-edge infinity pool with floating spa and cabana with a fire feature.
Yet other standout attributes a professional chef’s kitchen with Calacatta gold counters and backsplash; plush screening room; and a spacious master suite and spa-like bath offering direct access to a private patio and pool terrace.
“This property perfectly blends the authentic, Mid-century Trousdale Estates vibe with a modern but timeless design,” says Steinbrecher. “There is a special energy people feel when they walk through the door that is only magnified by the incredible views.”
Baron Steinbrecher and Mauricio Umansky of The Agency
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF THE AGENCY
Nestled far beyond towering hedges and a gated entrance at 530 S. Westgate Ave. in Brentwood, this glamorous Cape Cod-style residence is geared toward intimate gatherings and extravagant soirées alike. “Westgate is best described as luxurious, charming, warm and welcoming,” says Cindy Ambuehl of The Agency, who is listing the property for $6.6 million.
“The open floor plan living is perfect for entertaining or family gatherings.” Originally built in 1959, the home was remodeled in 2015 and features almost 5,000 square feet of designer living space on two levels. In addition to hardwood flooring, crown moldings, high-end appliances and top-quality finishes throughout, there are five bedrooms (including a master suite boasting vaulted ceilings, dual closets and a large master bath), an elegant living room with fireplace that opens to the family room and a gourmet kitchen with large center island. Outside, the spacious yard is showcased by a pool, fire pit, outdoor kitchen and lounge area.
530 SOUTH WESTGATE
4,751 SQ. FT.
Listed by Cindy Ambuehl of The Agency
A brand-new modern architectural estate designed and developed by Phillip Braunstein of L.A.-based Colossal Properties Inc. is now on the market for $12.5 million, complete with awe-inspiring city, mountain and ocean views from atop a private knoll in the hills of Brentwood. Expect a six-bedroom dwelling offering 10,000 square feet of sophisticated and open living space highlighted by a gym with sauna, theater, wine-tasting area, yoga room, lounge and library.
A professional chef’s kitchen opens to a 32,000-square-foot lot showcasing a striking zero-edge pool and spa, lounge areas, a fire pit and 5,000-plus square feet of decking. “If you want a wow-factor house with a private compound feel, this is the most perfect home with all of its views,” says listing agent Marco Rufo of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “Not only do you get unobstructed, panoramic views of the ocean as far as the eye can see, you get the city lights at night that makes it absolutely magical.”
1225 CHICKORY LANE
10,000 SQ. FT.
Listed by Marco Rufo of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF THE AGENCY (TOP) AND MICHAEL MCNAMARA (BOTTOM)
WHO: LUXURY ITALIAN BRAND VISIONNAIRE
WHAT: OPENS FIRST SHOWROOM ON THE WEST COAST
WHERE: DESIGN DISTRICT AT 144 NORTH ROBERTSON BLVD.
Boosting the style quotient in L.A. is Visionnaire’s sleek new 3,500-square-foot flagship showroom, adding to its global presence in 55 countries. Expect the Italian luxury brand’s signature mix of contemporary bespoke furniture, lighting, and accessories crafted by some of the world’s foremost designers presented in the light-filled first floor of a mid-century modern building at 144 N. Robertson Blvd.
“As the second mono-brand outlet in the U.S., and the first on the West Coast, Visionnaire Los Angeles redoubles our commitment to the American marketplace and seeks to meet the explosion of demand spurred by the white-hot L.A. real estate market,” says Eleonore Cavalli, creative director of Visionnaire. “This new Los Angeles showroom is in the heart of West Hollywood’s throbbing Design District. From this location, home to the highest concentration of furniture stores on the West Coast, Visionnaire will be ideally situated to service the growing L.A. market.”
The recently opened showroom was conceived by Visionnaire’s in-house design team and presents a series of living and dining room, bedroom, bath and kitchen vignettes amid an elegant décor showcasing clean lines, neutral hues and hints of metallic. Outside, a large green space serves as a backdrop to highlight the brand’s wealth of outdoor offerings.
Among the highlights: an array of striking products in a wide range of prices, including favorites such as the hand-sewn Bastian and Babylon sofas by Mauro Lipparini and Alessandro La Spada, respectively; Thule dining room table showcasing natural stone by Steve Leung; and indoor-outdoor Galloway sofa by Manzoni & Tapinassi, alongside new products like the Backstage sofa by Fabio Bonfà; Kerwan dining table by Alessandro La Spada; and Marty console by Marco Piva.
And, keeping true to its “360-degree” design approach, the showroom also offers access to a team of expert interior designers ready to create bespoke environments from residences and restaurants to yachts and more.
“The new location will serve not just as a showroom, but a true design workshop—a place for clients to explore our limitless customization capabilities in everything from moldings and wall-coverings, to ceilings and floors, to entire kitchens and baths,” says Cavalli. “From this new outpost, designers and architects will discover the full range of Visionnaire’s vast design faculties—if one can dream it, Visionnaire can bring it to life.” visionnaire-home.com
PHOTOGRAPH: Patrick Macertoon
“The word I use to define the home is irreplaceable,” says Max Nelson of The Agency, who is listing this luxe, Montecito-style compound in West Hollywood for $23 million. “It’s a true one-of-a-kind; there’s nothing like it in the entire city.”
In addition to its oasis-like setting in the heart of one of L.A.’s most vibrant neighborhoods—just moments from the city’s best shops, restaurants, galleries and entertainment—the warm and welcoming property offers four separate structures providing just under 10,000 square feet of cohesive living space, along with a sprawling, lushly landscaped plot of terra firma that features a peek at the storied neon Hollywood sign in the distance.
“One of the most unique elements to the property is the double-lot element and the expanse of the grounds,” adds Nelson. “The compound site is approximately twice the size of the next largest lot in the area…no other residential property in WeHo offers this experience.”
Situated at 948 N. Orlando Ave., on a highly desirable street with views of the Hollywood Hills, the gated residence was newly revitalized in 2018 by designer and current owner Morgan Brown, replete with a duo of single-family residences, guest house, and gym.
Among the highlights: eight bedrooms and 10 baths, as well as a “custom screening room that stands out based on the materials chosen and overall vibe,” says Nelson, “and a gym that has a real vintage feel to it that you don’t see every day.”
Yet other show-stopping details include extraordinary, custom handmade steel windows, designer lighting and soaring beamed ceilings throughout, along with an intriguing stone-encased den ideal for relaxing.
Outdoors, the magical park-like grounds are dotted with mature olive trees, multiple fountains and al fresco dining areas, fire pits, a lap pool, spa, outdoor kitchen, and last but definitely not least, a professional skate park.
Max Nelson of The Agency
List Price $23 million
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF THE AGENCY
Fancy taking a turn on a charming swing bed dangling from a towering tree adjacent to a sparkling infinity-edge pool and spa, or maybe showing off an elite car collection via a six-car auto gallery? How about enjoying the latest studio release in a plush, professional-grade movie theater or selecting a tasty vintage from the walk-in wine cellar?
This iconic Beverly Hills estate lends itself to all of these pleasures and plenty more courtesy of a dramatic redesign that transformed an iconic mid-century home built in 1950 by noted Case Study House-era architect William S. Beckett (who has completed projects for clients including Academy Award-winning actor Charlton Heston) into a modern sanctuary by its current owner, a local developer.
“I accomplished my vision of dramatic elegance with unique style while maintaining complete privacy in the best area of Beverly Hills,” says the developer/homeowner of the property. “Special features include a very expensive, large entry door; an 8-foot, double-sided fireplace; an outdoor kitchen; an Italian custom kitchen; 50-foot-wide front granite waterfall; three floating staircases; and a 1,500 square-foot movie theater with custom Italian sofas.”
Now on the market for $22.5 million, listed by Mauricio Umansky and Adi Perez of The Agency, this home set at the end of a long, private drive at 1024 Summit Drive was exquisitely reimagined in 2015 and showcases high-end touches and breathtaking city views.
Expect 12,000 square feet of warm yet sophisticated and light-filled living space replete with wood, stone, and white porcelain finishes, as well as designer lighting, side by side with original details such as show-stopping floor-to-ceiling windows, a curved partition wall sporting a wood mosaic, a historic wall safe signed by five individuals (including Beckett, silent film star Tom Mix and Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton) and a walkway bridge connecting the main home to a two-bedroom guest house.
Masterfully designed for entertaining, the grand rooms flow seamlessly from an expansive chef’s kitchen with eat-in marble island and breakfast area to a sweeping, solarium-like great room with a marble bar, along with a separate catering kitchen, billiards room, wine cellar and theater.
Two architectural staircases lead to an expansive second level boasting a spacious master suite with dual showroom closets, an elegant bath and sprawling, private terrace with a spa overlooking gorgeous views of Beverly Hills.
Among other highlights is a Crestron smart-home system. Meanwhile, the lot of almost an acre features a 20-car motor court, intriguing tiled patios, a tranquil meditation garden, and built-in poolside bar and grill that leads to a flat, grassy lawn and floating zero-edge infinity pool and spa surrounded by mature trees and towering palms.
BEVERLY HILLS ESTATE
BUILT IN 1950 BY CASE STUDY
HOUSE-ERA ARCHITECT WILLIAM S. BECKETT
12,000 SQ. FT
Mauricio Umansky and Adi Perez of The Agency
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF THE AGENCY
A Beverly Hills Mediterranean-style masterpiece crafted by noted architect Richard Robertson III and developer (and retired Grand Prix motorcycle road racer) John Kocinski is for sale in the Bird Streets for $30 million.
The only newly built home currently on the market by Robertson—best known for his work on Bel-Air’s Fleur de Lys estate—the four-bedroom residence offers 9,000 square feet of lavish living space highlighted by French limestone flooring and five wood-burning fireplaces boasting massive hand-carved mantels.
Yet other special features include an entry door surrounded by sculpted French limestone, a library, theater, 800-bottle wine cellar, and 13,498-square-foot lot boasting a manicured garden and infinity-edge pool surrounded by European flagstone.
“This home evokes a luxurious feeling,” says listing agent Lupita Rangel of United Agency Beverly Hills. “The views from the French doors in the master bedroom make you feel like you are soaring over the skyline. It really is in a different atmosphere of design.”
9240 ROBIN DRIVE
MEDITERRANEAN OCEAN & SKYLINE
9,000 SQ. FT.
Listed by Lupita Rangel of United Agency Beverly Hills
What does the lucky new owner of this posh penthouse on the top floor of the full-service Le Faubourg building get for $9.995 million? More than 5,300 square feet of chic, open living space boasting views for days via walls of French doors throughout, plus first-class amenities (including a concierge, 24-hour security, valet, gym, pool and spa).
“This is the most prestigious building in Beverly Hills,” says listing agent Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury. “It is an immaculate jewel in a star-studded building.”
As for the interiors, expect a grand foyer with a dramatic pyramid-shaped skylight; six bedrooms (including a spacious master retreat sporting two fireplaces, a seating area, dressing room and opulent marble bath); a formal living room with fireplace and bar; chef’s kitchen with breakfast room; and spiral staircase leading to a private rooftop deck with a fireplace and built-in barbecue.
425 N. MAPLE DRIVE UNIT 602
BEVERLY HILLS PENTHOUSE
5,385 SQ. FT.
Listed by Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF RICHARD HORN (TOP) AND ADAM LATHAM (BOTTOM)
Smart-home systems offer myriad applications, from automatically controlling devices, such as lights and audio, to saving energy. Now, thanks to a first-of-its-kind home outfitted with the latest smart and sustainable technologies and materials, homeowners will be able to improve their physical and emotional health and well-being.
The result? A healthier kitchen, indoor eco-system and night’s sleep, all of which can be adapted to fit a homeowner’s specific needs.
“We’ve created a home that’s purpose-built (from the foundation up) to better connect residents with their health and wellness,” says Dan Bridleman, senior vice president of KB Home, which partnered with BUILDER magazine and numerous inventive companies such as Whirlpool and Delos to create the 3,200-square-foot KB Home ProjeKt in one of its master-planned communities in Henderson, Nev. “It breaks new ground in home building through innovative partnerships that combine architecture, cutting-edge technology, and science to help homeowners improve their physical and emotional health and well-being.”
It all starts with Google Home working alongside the Delos DARWIN Home Wellness Intelligence Network. Among some of the many applications: a Yummly app that works with Whirlpool appliances to help cook and serve healthy, homemade meals by examining the contents of the refrigerator, identifying possible recipes and preparing the oven to cook the selected recipes; a premier air-filtration system that removes harmful air pollutants, as well as antimicrobial paint and drywall, that absorb VOCs from the surrounding air; and noise-reducing walls and windows and circadian lighting that create an ideal sleeping environment, along with areas for activity or relaxation.
Customers can even adapt their systems to best meet their needs. Think moveable walls and furniture to transform rooms into a bedroom, office or entertaining area, along with a “shared hub” that offers community car sharing, community gardens, and a pet pavilion for both grooming and recreation to reduce an individual’s environmental footprint and increase daily interaction among neighbors.
“We chose to collaborate with KB Home to help make DARWIN even more accessible to the mass market,” says Delos CEO and Founder Paul Scialla. “Over 90 percent of our lives are spent indoors and our indoor environments can influence almost every aspect of our lives, from our moods and energy levels to how well we sleep and how productive we are throughout the day.
By enhancing the quality of our air, water, light and other elements of the home, we can transform our homes and other indoor environments into vehicles for health and well-being.”
Coming soon, look for KB Home to offer DARWIN in select communities in the California market, ahead of an envisioned national rollout. Base pricing, according to Delos, begins at about $3,500.
PHOTOGRAPH: STEVE SPATAFORE
Inspired by the work of noted resort architect Addison Mizner, the former 1960’s-era Bel-Air estate of late songstress Peggy Lee was reimagined by its current owner during a three-and-a-half-year span in keeping with the original home’s footprint.
Expect materials sourced from around the globe, from an antique chandelier found in a London flea market gracing a soaring, two-story foyer to a large stone fireplace hand-crafted in Paris in the great room.
And that’s not all: In the kitchen is a brick ceiling hailing from an old home in Northern Italy and stone flooring from the South of France, while the master bath showcases walls and columns inlaid with hand-cut mother of pearl from the Indian Ocean. The crescendo? A 2,000-square-foot wraparound terrace offering jetliner city and ocean views from one of the only cul-de-sacs in Bel-Air.
“Set behind private gates, and surrounded by lush hedges and ivy-covered porticos, this spectacular villa soars above the city lights,” says Jon Grauman, director of The Agency’s estates division, who is co-listing the property with Billy Rose, president, and co-founder of The Agency, for $9.495 million. “This romantic, stately residence was stunningly reimagined with materials from around the world and installed by master craftsmen.”
Situated at 11404 Bellagio Road—in sought-after Lower Bel-Air—the five-bedroom abode features 6,000-plus square feet of living space.
Among the highlights is an elegant formal dining room with rich hardwood flooring and the home’s original fireplace that flows via a butler’s pantry to a chef’s kitchen complete with unfinished Venetian plaster walls; a barrel-vaulted ceiling of hand-laid tile imported from a storied Italian estate; antique flooring from a historic villa in the South of France; a free-standing Calacatta marble slab island; dining area; and Wolf and Miele appliances.
Yet other show-stopping details include a temperature-controlled wine room; large screening room; and sumptuous master retreat.
Massive French doors open to a lush backyard replete with a European-style pool and spa with water feature, along with the aforementioned view terrace that can accommodate a large number of guests for a seated dinner. And rounding out this home’s allure is a sports court, as well as numerous terraced entertaining spaces.
Jon Grauman and Billy Rose of The Agency
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF THE AGENCY
If walls could talk, this property built in 1914 by wealthy businessman and philanthropist Frederick Forrest Peabody would have fascinating tales to spin. Think famed guests such as John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. walking the halls during the private residence’s tenure as the former Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, an influential think tank for dignitaries and scholars from 1959 to 1977.
Add to that storied pedigree an extensive three-year renovation replete with modern technology and amenities nestled side by side with grand historic details, plus 11 acres of exquisite gardens and jaw-dropping views of the Pacific and Santa Ynez Mountains, and “Solana”—one of the area’s trio of original Hilltop Baron estates—is more than befitting as a secluded paradise for today’s most notable, especially with a price tag upwards of $36 million.
“To me, it’s the equivalent of the renowned Rothschild estate in the South of France,” says Santiago Arana, who is co-listing the property with Mauricio Umansky and Stefan Pommepuy, all of The Agency. “I can also see Gatsby living there!”
Situated at 256 Eucalyptus Hill Drive in the idyllic hillside enclave of Montecito, the seven-bedroom, 20-bath abode makes a great case. Originally designed by architect Francis T. Underhill, it has since undergone a massive three-year renovation.
Expect more than 22,000 square feet of opulent Joan Behnke-designed living space highlighted by conversation-worthy touches such as a beamed ceiling salvaged from a pre-WWII hangar adorning a chef-caliber kitchen and a wood-paneled reception room made from a French oak boiserie that once belonged to William Randolph Hearst.
Yet other standout features include an ornate master suite boasting an 18th-century French limestone fireplace, antique crystal chandelier, dual baths and closets by White House wardrobe designer Programme Martin, along with a lavish movie theater, beauty salon, fitness center, and wine room.
“It is one of those few old-world estates that, after the extensive remodel the current owners did, when you step foot onto the property you feel like you have traveled back in time to Florence,” says Arana. “Yet you have all the comforts and benefits of modern technology and a beautiful formal floor plan.”
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF THE AGENCY
Santiago Arana, Mauricio Umansky and Stefan Pommepuy of The Agency