Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi Put Their Stunning Montecito Villa on The Market for $45MAuthor:Philip Ferrato
For the past decade, television personality, author and social activist Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, actress Portia de Rossi have been buying and flipping homes in the Los Angeles area. Not just flipping, but undertaking complete reinventions and restorations of architecturally significant houses in a style that is unmistakably their own– casual, instinctive, and intuitive. And after living in them for a while, moving on.
The latest is an extraordinary Tuscan Style villa built in locally-quarried stone by architect Wallace Frost in the mid-1930s. Frost spent most of his career in and around Detroit, Michigan, with a very successful practice designing extravagantly picturesque homes for the prosperous citizens of suburban Birmingham. After a multi-year sojourn in Italy, he moved to Southern California and recaptured the elegant stone manor-farmhouses of Tuscany for himself here in Montecito, replete with terraced gardens, ancient olive trees, and memorable views of the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands.
Below, the main living room, the breakfast room and adjoining kitchen.
“If you think of your home as a canvas – regardless of its style of architecture – you can put anything on it. I tend to keep painting the painting until it’s so done, there’s nothing left to do. That’s when I sell the canvas and buy a new one.” Ellen DeGeneres
“The surrounding gardens and olive trees are almost as wonderful as the interior. The house truly feels like it was built out of the landscape, rather than plopped on a plot. It feels ancient, like it’s been there forever. Like that hill was never without the house. This is a home that honors nature, and I love that.” Ellen DeGeneres
By the time DeGeneres and Rossi had acquired the property in 2012, the house had been previously owned by acclaimed interior designer John Saladino, who had himself fallen in love with place while working on another project nearby. And so for Saladino as well, this was a project of love, infusing it with his unique blend of sleek modernism and a princely sense of Italian interior design– now reinvented by DeGeneres’ quirky Modernist sensibilities and collections. Like hanging Danish Modernist light fixtures by Poul Henningsen in almost every room. Whether intended as ironic or not, the ultra-modern dining chairs by French designer Jean Prouvé were created the same year as the house– 1934.
DeGeneres and Rossi acquired two adjoining properties as well, increasing it to almost 17 acres. Rather than add to the villa, they built a guest and entertainment complex dubbed Jordan Hall a short walk away. Made from the same local stone as the house, it’s like the ideal adult clubhouse, and where Ellen’s design chops shine in spaces that are both visually arresting and welcoming. We love the Australian-style screened porch (romantically roofed in corrugated metal sheeting) and the lap pool, below.
More: Sotheby’s Susan Perkins has the listing– worth a look for additional details and images (including a video) of this extraordinary property. Below, more contrast at Jordan Hall– the Neo-Classical pizza oven and more corruated metal roof.
“The one word that defines The Villa is perfection. Of all the extraordinary homes in Santa Barbara, Ellen and Portia have created a retreat like no other.” Suzanne Perkins, Listing Agent, Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc.