1478 East Mountain Drive, Montecito | offered at $13,950,000
1478 East Mountain Drive, Montecito | offered at $13,950,000
John Elgin Woolf’s “Hollywood Regency” homes are known for having a twist. His style comes together like a blended family of neo-classical French, Greek Revival, and Modernist architecture: a proclivity for glamour and a reverence for the evocative. To experience one of Woolf’s designs is to surround yourself in the physical arc of a compelling story. Perhaps that’s why for years Woolf was the darling of Hollywood’s elite, and built homes on the earth for those who played among the stars. Woolf was commissioned by Cary Grant, Errol Flynn, Judy Garland, Bob Hope, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, to name a few, to create one of his signature homes. While Hollywood was Woolf’s professional playground, Montecito was his beloved hometown. Here, some of the finest examples of Woof’s work adorn the hillside, and elevate the allure of an already impossibly beautiful seaside village.
The home’s front exterior is defined by Woolf’s signature oversized Pullman door, and its bold interruption of the mansard roof. Surrounded by curved glass sidelights, this powerful portal foreshadows the drama that unfolds within.
Enter the oval easterly foyer with its elevated volume, soft curves, and walls yearning for an art collection. Through the adjacent gallery, a mirroring westerly foyer creates a beautiful sense of symmetry and order in the home. Rich, Mayan oak floors, thoughtfully arranged in a chevron pattern, chaperone you through the foyer and into the central gallery. As the fulcrum of the estate, the gallery balances and connects the living and dining rooms. Its position blends both spaces as needed, yet allows them to retain their own sense of intimacy and identity. Whether lounging in the living room, lingering in the gallery, or lively entertaining in the dining room, the visual use of space undoubtedly captures the beauty of all three areas in one arresting arrangement.
The living room’s southerly orientation showcases expansive ocean views through a radius bank of floor-to-ceiling windows and doors. This wall of glass is flanked by additional east and west facing windows, which allows light from three directions to flood the room. Tracing the southerly sky and sea, this formation fosters an intricate dance of light and shadows throughout the day, and helps easily transform the space from sunny mornings into inky evenings.
To experience the sea views from an even closer perspective, step out of the living room to the southerly lawn. Extra lush grounds, courtesy of a private well, surround the home and look to the ocean. Framed by eucalyptus trees and their unmistakable scent of mint and honey, the southern exterior is a perfect vantage point for experiencing Montecito’s exquisite natural beauty.
On the gallery’s north side, an expansive dining room allows for views of both the ocean and the hillside. Nana-walls open to an outdoor dining area with a bold fireplace and babbling water feature. Artfully integrating the home and its environment, this configuration defines indoor/outdoor living. Both famously formal, yet readily relaxed, the dining room is perfect for hosting events of all sizes and all occasions.
Artfully integrating the home and its environment, this configuration defines indoor/outdoor living. Both famously formal, yet readily relaxed, the dining room is perfect for hosting events of all sizes and all occasions.
The kitchen, a chef’s dream, and designer’s delight, is located on the northeasterly wing of the residence. Here, professional appliances rub elbows with white counters and full-height slab marble walls. Two walk-in pantries compliment a pair of stainless steel prep sinks. A gorgeous center island anchors the room and offers ample seating and storage. Opening to the outdoor dining area, the kitchen continues to effortlessly foster an indoor/outdoor lifestyle.
Despite being on the northerly side of the residence, thanks to Woolf’s well-placed sightlines, the kitchen windows look out to the sea and offer an additional vantage point for enjoying ocean vistas. Off the kitchen, an expansive wine cellar with a barrel-vaulted ceiling is ready to host an impressive collection. Rounding out this wing of the home, the laundry facility includes two washers and dryers, as well as the first of two powder rooms. No details overlooked, the half bath features one of Woolf’s beautiful signature oval windows. Continuing outside, under the direct supervision of a row of ancient agaves, a built-in BBQ area allows for al fresco cooking experiences.
The southeasterly wing of the home is reserved for an impressive media room. Windows on three facades look out to the ocean, up the Montecito Valley, and back towards the Santa Ynez Mountains. Heather walls flatter dove colored window treatments. Should you want to focus on film, electronic shades shutter the windows to create ideal viewing conditions. At night, leave the curtains open to watch the stars on the screen under the watch of the stars in the sky. The adjacent southerly powder room pairs another of Woolf’s signature oval windows with elegant mosaic tile walls.
The southwesterly wing of the home is reserved entirely for the expansive master suite. Enter through double doors to a handsome ocean view library, which opens both to the south lawn, and poolside terrace. Perfect for working from home, rereading your favorite book, or simply as a place to relax and catch your thoughts, this space is a welcome respite in the estate.
The sightlines in the bedroom look out to the sea and create a calming environment.
Dual baths and dressing rooms offer complimentary yet utterly different experiences. The first bath, dressed in rugged gray stone looks to the ocean and has an ample walk-in closet.
The second bath is cloaked in creamy white Carrera marble and crowned with delicately curved groin-vaulted ceilings. Accessed on opposite sides by both baths, a large walk-in shower extends an invitation to be with your better half while still allowing for a sense of privacy. The second bath’s large dressing room is outfitted with custom, cedar-lined wardrobe storage and another Woolfian window.
An additional adjacent, ocean view office ensures harmony and space for both masters of the estate.
Rounding out the main residence, the northwesterly wing of the home features two complimentary bedroom suites. Here again, Woolf flexes his bias for balance as one suite opens southerly to the pool and the other, northerly to the terrace. In both baths, stoic tiled walls sooth dancing gray veins in marble counters.
Anchored by towering palm trees on all four corners of the pool, this zone transports you to a private, tropical oasis.
The cabana is perfect for afternoon lounging, as a fabulous fitness facility, or as a additional guest house. Nana-walls flex to fully open the space and ensure shade-seeking spectators are still part of poolside fun. A gas fireplace warms cool nights and provides an ambient backdrop for entertaining. A kitchenette is perfect for snacks and a second full-size laundry facility easily manages trunks and towels. Here you can indulge in spa treatments in the cabana’s massage room. Should guests prefer the views from the western side of the estate, the cabana’s bedroom and bath offer incredible ocean vistas.
To the west of the cabana, lush grounds are filled with a bouquet of sweet jasmine from the namesake flowers that cascade down the hillside. A private, ocean view hot tub begs for late night dips and sips under the moonlight.
Above the four-car garage, a detached guest house, with a duo of bedrooms, bathrooms, and balconies, offers wonderful, ocean-view accommodations. Whether for extended guests, an au pair, or your own creative studio, this space has endless possibilities and offers the same level of detail as the main residence.
The ingenious, single-level floor plan of Le Ciel, which appears as an X from above, features a central living space and four wings that extend in opposing directions. Woolf’s clever footprint widens the planes of the home, allowing for extended sightlines and creating multiple outdoor destinations. Balancing intimacy and seclusion, along with an interconnected experience, the reciprocal beauty between the residence and its surroundings is breathtaking.
To experience one of Woolf’s designs is to surround yourself in the physical arc of a compelling story. Perhaps that’s why for years Woolf was the darling of Hollywood’s elite, and built homes on the earth for those who played among the stars. Woolf was commissioned by Cary Grant, Errol Flynn, Judy Garland, Bob Hope, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, to name a few, to create one of his signature homes. While Hollywood was Woolf’s professional playground, Montecito was his beloved hometown.