Jun 10, 2023

Santa Monica Home Offers European Sensibility

Drenched in the fog and salty breezes that waft off the Pacific Ocean, a Santa Monica, Calif., home with a distinctly European sensibility was recently made available for $9.65 million.

When the property last sold, in 2010, for $3.23 million—$125,000 over the asking price!—what stood on the long and slender, not quite quarter-acre parcel was a bland, two-story tan stucco house that made a half-hearted attempt at being Mediterranean in style with a red tile roof. What the house lacked in panache, however, it more than made up for with its location; it's just one and a half blocks from Palisades Park, the slender strip of green space that runs along a high bluff above the beach. Indeed, one need only stand on the sidewalk to get a long view of the sun as it sets over the ocean.

The owners have since transformed the entire property into a one-of-a-kind home imbued with Old World materials and fine craftsmanship alongside high-tech creature comforts such as a comprehensive home automation system and an advanced security system equipped with cameras and motion-detecting lasers.

An olive tree with a thick, gnarled trunk, a pea-gravel driveway, a façade of French Bourgogne limestone, and a roof of tiles imported from Burgundy set the tone for the sumptuously appointed home. Through the bespoke wrought iron entry gate and beyond a terra-cotta tile-paved courtyard with an antique stone trough employed as a water feature, there are rough-hewn reclaimed ceiling beams, hand-finished plaster walls, and smoked French white oak floors.

Ideal for a couple or a small family, there are a total of three bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms in about 4,200 square feet of living space spread between the two-bedroom and two-and-a-half-bath main house and the self-contained one-bed, one-bath poolside guesthouse.

A custom wrought-iron railing with a fetching circular motif adorns the elegantly curved staircase in the main house; French doors open the living room to the backyard; in the fireside library, a glass panel in the floor looks down into a climate-controlled subterranean wine cellar outfitted in African walnut shelving and French limestone flooring; and the large and cozy stone-walled kitchen, configured around a huge island with a wooden countertop imported from Denmark, is decked out with a fancy French range and a built-in pizza oven.

Along with two amply proportioned en-suite bedrooms, the second floor includes a media room/home theater that is complete with light-minimizing pocket doors, a laser projector, and, for when work calls, a pull-out desk.

On the rear terrace, tucked into the curve of the exterior staircase that curls up to a balcony outside the primary bedroom's bathroom, hand-painted blue and white tiles inspired by Portuguese azulejos and sourced in San Diego surround the spa. Other notable backyard amenities include a radiant-heated al fresco dining terrace and a dramatic pool sheathed in dark blue glass tiles. Around the pool, the terra-cotta tiled patios and groomed gardens are fastidiously dressed with boxwood hedging, Moroccan lanterns, and dozens of earthen pots from the French town of Uzès, some planted with spheric topiary and others with dwarf citrus trees.

Tax records show that almost two years ago, the home's owners shelled out $6 million for the fixer-upper next door. Whatever plans might have been hatched to combine the two properties into one larger estate, they did not come to fruition. The fixer-upper is, however, also up for grabs for $6.75 million. Both properties are being sold through Tara Rodgers-Culbertson at Compass.

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