Winding from Wilshire Boulevard through Brentwood and out to Ocean Avenue, San Vicente is one of the most bucolic thoroughfares in the city. With its long lines of mature coral trees and lushly planted central divider, it doubles as the Westside’s unofficial exercise track, with joggers and bikers sharing space with glistening SUVs and late-model sports cars.
This road’s beauty is matched by its prestige; many of the most coveted meeting places in this part of town are located on this stretch, from the award-winning restaurants and shops along its eastern point to The Brentwood and Riviera Country Clubs, to the exclusive shops and cafes of the Brentwood Country Mart and the restaurants that border the ocean.
More importantly, perhaps, is that it serves as the touchstone for the most desirable properties in the area, the owners of which have the ability to park the car and simply stroll: to brunch or the beach, maybe down to the grocery store or window shop with friends. It’s no wonder that the homes near San Vicente are considered among the most covetable in Santa Monica, especially those tucked along the surprisingly quiet western end of the Boulevard, where the street makes the slight curve south to reach the Pacific. This is where one finds the home at 808 San Vicente.
Rising from a quiet corner, the home plays peekaboo with lush landscaping and a fence of thick gray stone. Shielded from the eyes and noise of its neighbors, the home’s tranquil setting is enhanced by the perfumed air that rises from lilac and lavender bushes. It casts a spell that stepping through the front door and into the two-story front entryway underscores. This generous welcome confirms the home’s graceful street appearance, authenticating the initial perception of expansive luxury.
Distinctive black and white tiles set it apart and offer a playful contrast to the dark American walnut wood flooring that spans the rest of the home, grounding its light, airy rooms. Learning that, unlike their counterparts in other homes, those found here were finished on-site for quality assurance, substantiating one’s initial impression: that this is a home where attention to detail—a hallmark of builder GAIA Construction—is of paramount importance.
That feeling is further reinforced when one takes stock of the surroundings: In the dining room, a coffered honeycomb ceiling layers the room with elegance; the main-floor guest room’s French doors open to a private garden; and the home office, perfectly situated across from the front door, is set off by dark wood paneling, built-in shelving, and an intricate parquet floor pattern. The formal living room, meanwhile, sports its own detailed ceiling treatment and a fireplace punctuated by a dark marble surround. Everywhere one looks, Old World details abound, from chair railings and paneled walls to crown molding and ceiling beams.
These elements do not stop with the formal rooms that pivot around the front door. They’re in the butler’s pantry, with its grill-front cabinetry, marble countertops, and custom cabinetry. They’re in the powder room, with its textured wallpaper and sleek black marble sink basin. And, they’re a substantial component of the great room’s appeal. This area, which includes the open-plan eat-in kitchen, sprawls across the entire back of the house.
The kitchen’s Calcutta gold marble countertops, capacious island and gleaming stainless steel appliances confer a sublime elegance that elevates this most casual of the home’s spaces while a fireplace and elegant built-ins confirm its elegance. Paned LaCatina doors, opening the great room to the grassy backyard and celebrating that most coveted hallmark of SoCal living: the indoor-outdoor lifestyle. Mirroring the room’s sophistication is the backyard’s outdoor kitchen (existing architectural plans easily place a pool within this area), cementing this place as the center of family life.
Grace and beauty continue their reign with both the ascent to the home’s bedrooms on the second floor and descent to the expansive entertaining area on the lower levels, which one accesses via an elegant staircase and by an elevator that services all of its generous three floors. Upstairs, four light and airy en-suite bedrooms continue to tender the home’s attributes of affluence and quality with finished ceilings, large custom closets, marble tiling and private outdoor balconies (including one that juts off the master bedroom). Tucked into a substantial space on this floor is one of the home’s two laundry rooms.
Downstairs is a testament to true success: a temperature-controlled walnut wine room, which is sure to satisfy the most indulgent oenophile, with plenty of space for over two dozen cases of wine. A fully-appointed Miele kitchen supports entertaining in the family and guest room and offers guests the option of independence from the family upstairs (a boon when hosting long-term visitors or live-in assistance).
Whether one’s pleasures are football intense weekends, a weekly poker night, video gaming tournaments, an in-home music studio, gym, art or yoga studio, here is the spacious backdrop against which to orchestrate one’s dreams. For, if there was ever a home in which dreams might come true, you’ve found it. Some people dream of castles in the air. You’ve gone one better. You’ve found a slice of heaven on Earth.
Cindy Ambuehl of the Agency | 424.321.4947
List Price: $7,695,000
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL JONASON
If you’re not yet familiar with architect Mario Romano’s work, it’s time to get acquainted. Among the architectural icons of Venice, his sculptural Wave House stood out for its unique shape and sensual beauty. But the home was not just alluring for its unusualness and graceful exterior, but its light and livable interior too. His latest home, located at 1016 San Vicente Blvd., takes that home’s best qualities and translates them to the more architecturally restrained environs of Santa Monica.
A great home starts with a great location. This one, sited on San Vicente between 10th and 11th Streets in the heart of Santa Monica, has that and more. Malibu, Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Venice are all within easy driving distance. And, although a main thoroughfare, this part of San Vicente is surprisingly quiet. On weekends, the wide, tree-lined boulevard is a favorite of bicyclists and runners. The legendary Santa Monica steps are also nearby.
While uncommon, it wouldn’t be unheard of to leave your car parked in the garage to take advantage of the area’s walkability. Start your day with the 15-minute walk to Brentwood Country Mart to meet friends for coffee, breakfast, or a class at Bar Method. Or stroll down to Montana Avenue to browse its famed boutiques, unwind at Yogaworks or grab dinner.
All depends on if you leave the home at all; this is a home that, once you step inside, you may not want to leave. The exterior surface of many contemporary homes is a blank canvas. Not this one. An imposing, sculpted plywood door and a white exterior covered in Corian, a durable clean material that inhibits the growth of viruses, mold and bacteria, and subtly etched with a wave, are clues to the attention to detail that’s been lavished on this home. Here, form and function go hand in hand.
Romano has not just architected a building, but a home that supports a busy modern family. Take, for example, the spacious two-car garage. A door leads directly into the house facilitating the unloading of packages and ensuring that energetic young children exit directly into the safety of the house. And, Romano points out, “not only is there the ease of having the garage attached to the house but, unlike most houses in this neighborhood, having a garage in the front takes it out of the backyard, which allows for more space in the backyard for kids.”
There’s no need to turn on this home’s lights during the day. An expansive skylight floods the entire house with natural light. “Generally, the center of a house is very dark,” says Romano. “Here we’ve emptied it out so you get tons of light and you also get that visual connectedness to be able to see and hear what’s going on in the rest of the house.”
In fact, it’s this quality that’s one of the distinguishing features of Romano’s work. With three children of his own, he understands the needs of a growing family to balance that unique dichotomy of being simultaneously together and separate. Though the main floor’s living room, dining room and kitchen elide together, Romano’s version of an open plan allows parents to supervise their children while still offering them autonomy and privacy.
Even the four bedrooms on the top floor are drawn into this circle. “We really like the whole family to be as connected as possible so we created a central point that bridges the rooms so that, no matter where you are, you can create that connection.”
That distinction extends to the backyard. Sliding doors by Metal Window Corporation, a Los Angeles-based manufacturer, pocket entirely into the walls that separate the main living area from the exterior, providing a seamless transition from indoors to out. An outdoor entertaining patio, complete with a fireplace and a television, presents another space to relax while still being safe within the circle of family. While Romano has provided a number of options for a pool, sited here, perpendicular to the house, it would partner perfectly with the den inside.
The practical and the beautiful work in tandem here. There’s the kitchen’s long island, a corner of which has been fit with wireless charging capabilities to accommodate the ever-present need to charge devices. There’s an elevator, servicing all three floors, to carry packages and people swiftly through the house. The master bedroom’s spacious closet, with its custom cabinetry, not only accommodates two people’s clothing and accessories, but the complex dance of getting ready on busy mornings.
Fenix, a matt laminate surface, that has been employed for the kitchen’s cabinets is used for the cabinets and surfaces in some of the bathrooms too. Anti-fingerprint, soft to the touch, and extremely durable, it easily withstands the challenges of everyday life (scratches are healed with the heat from a hairdryer).
Instead of tile, the same Corian material that envelopes the home’s exterior covers the vertical surfaces in each of the bathrooms and Romano has infused them with playful textures and patterns unique to each room. Hexagons sprawl across the master bath, a starburst radiates out from a shower, and the sun’s rays envelop a powder room. Used in the theater room on the lower floor and backlit, the soft light washes the space with the ideal atmosphere in which to meditate or create.
A guest suite also on the lower floor offers guests, older children back from school, in-laws or live-in help the ability to come and go without disturbing the home’s other occupants. A game and media room, outfitted with space for a projector, is a spacious yet cozy space in which to host family movie nights or Monopoly tournaments. With the proliferation of remote work, a room to the right of the front door, complete with a separate entrance and sight lines over the front of the house, is an ideal home office.
True luxury stretches beyond superficial surface beauty, actually enhancing the quality of one’s life. It’s what’s at the heart of this home. Designed to support the ideals of California living, this is not just a house, but a place that nurtures a family and that they can cherish for years to come.
Written by Abigail Stone | Photographs by Paul Jonason
Ava Domanovski & Charles Pence, Pence Hathorn Silver
310.774.6611 | 1016sanvicente.com
List Price: $7,995,000