YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: Buckle your real estate safety belts, butter beans, and brace yourselves for the long haul. Your Mama suggests a fortification of candy snacks and a stiff gin & tonic or other mood enhancing substance of your choice as we veer away from our usual celebrity-related real estate fare to ponder a pair of mega-mansions — one on the East Coast the other on the Left Coast — that came up for sale this week with a tidal wave of publicity and price tags high enough to make bajillionaires at the lower end of the superrich spectrum need a heavy-duty nerve pill.
A brand spanking new if not yet quite completed ocean front mega-mansion of more than sixty thousand square feet near Fort Lauderdale, FL, has hit the market with a spine tingling $139 million asking price. That’s right, Fort Lauderdale. Hillsboro Beach to be exact. There are at least two estates in Los Angeles that Your Mama hears through the property gossip grapevine are being shopped around as whisper listings with higher asking prices but the sky-high asking price of the ludicrously palatial 11-bedroom and 17-bathroom Fort Laud mega-manse makes it the most expensive private residence currently available on the open market in the United States.
The Florida mansion’s creator and owner — presumably Massachusetts-based builder Robert Pereira and his painstakingly processed wife Sion — not-so-humbly dubbed the ocean front spread “Le Palais Royal.” The kids at Curbed labeled it a “spectacle” with “a whole mess of gold leafing” while digital marketing materials make the hyperbolic claim that when finished it will be “fit for royalty” and “will be a landmark that rivals Europe’s greatest palaces.” Well, lah-dih-dah. Your Mama would bet both our long-bodied bitches, Linda and Beverly, that most real-live Euro-royals would sooner live in a basement apartment in Queens than this showy beast of a palace near Fort Lauderdale.
NOTE: Before any of you people start screaming about how wonderful Fort Lauderdale is and what a snob and/or moron we are not to recognize it’s Floridian charms keep in mind that Your Mama has never been to Fort Lauderdale. Okay? We don’t know shit about Fort Lauderdale. None-the-less, the city just isn’t amongst the top ten or fifty locales we associate with homes priced well upwards of $125 million. Then again, there’s “Versailles.” No, puppies, not the one outside of Paris but that batshit crazy 90,000-square-foot colossus near Orlando being built time timeshare tycoon David Siegel and his pampered wife Jackie Siegel so, you know, what do we know, right? (You’ve seen the documentary on the Siegels’ “Versailles,” haven’t you?) But anyways, we digress…
Fortunately or un-, depending one’s point of view, Mister and Missus Pereira’s over-inflated dream house is simply too garish and architecturally grotesque for this property gossip to bear for a moment more so let’s instead move on and have a kiki and a look-see at “Rancho San Carlos,” a substantially smaller yet still humongous and — let’s be honest, children — infinitely more dignified mega-mansion in the exceedingly affluent seaside community of Montecito, CA that’s come up for sale with a slightly lower but still heart stopping $125,000,000 asking price.
The estate ranges over 237 acres along East Valley Road about three miles east of the substantially less substantial 40-ish acre spread Oprah Winfrey owns and calls “The Promised Land.” A sinuous gated driveway snakes it way deep in to the estate to a red brick paved automobile forecourt at the formally proportioned and relatively demure front entry. Unlike the aforementioned monster manse in Florida the front approach to the Montecito manse aims to engage and invite with its human if not exactly humble scale rather than hoot an holler like a man on fire and slap a person across the face with overindulgent grandeur.
The sprawling, Monterey Colonial, designed by Reginald Johnson and built in the 1920s for Ann and Charles Jackson Jr., encompasses 30 elegantly proportioned rooms in 29,483 square feet with another 4,189 square feet of garages and utility/storage areas. The public rooms and service areas are arranged around a huge central courtyard while the bedrooms are all located on the off-set second floor.
A short row of double columns and a slender, inset porch open to a small but architecturally and psychically important entry vestibule that links to a guest impressing, 50-plus foot gallery flanked by a couple of walk-in coat closets as well as his and her powder poopers with lounges. An undeniably grand yet understated stair hall anchors one end of the gallery and the other steps down through an octagonal vestibule to a 48-foot long paneled living room with not one but two fireplaces and several sets of French doors that open to a terrace. Another 50-plus foot gallery leads from the aforementioned octagonal vestibule, past a paneled library with built-in book cases to another octagonal vestibule off of which open a small card room and a 33-foot long dining room.
A utilitarian prep room/butler’s pantry lined with original, glass fronts cupboards and probably bigger than the kitchens in most suburban macmansion connects the dining room to the even larger kitchen. Clearly the kitchen was designed for hired staff utilitarianism and not cozy family meals. The cabinetry is unadorned but for its mint green color that matches exactly the mint green tiled walls. Counter tops steel and, opposite the commercial-grade range that’s as big as a small Hyundai, there’s a wall of white iceboxes, all original and, no doubt, in perfect working order.
We counted six principal bedrooms and seven full and four half bathrooms in the main living areas. The vast master suite at the top of the main staircase comprises a long entrance gallery, a 450-square-foot bedroom, an almost-as-large boudoir, and dual bathrooms and dressing areas. French doors open to a private balcony that overlooks the central courtyard and provides the only access via a winding set of exterior stairs to a tower office room. There appear to be two dedicated guest/family suites, both with walk-in closets and private poopers. In addition to a day room, play room and small kithchen, the children’s wing has three more bedrooms, two with fireplaces and all three with walk-in closets, private bathrooms and French door access to a children’s courtyard play area and garden.
An super-sized service and staff wing behind the kitchen has a service entrance room and an adjoining lounge where day workers and visiting domestics can rest and await the beck and call of their employer. There’s also a small housekeeper’s office with courtyard overlook, several spacious storages areas, and a 400-square-foot laundry room with an equally sized drying room next door. Two-story, live-in domestic quarters encompass a roomy, shared living room area, six decent-sized bedrooms and two bathrooms plus an attached studio-style apartment with separate exterior entrance from the rear motor court.
A hidden staircase leads down to a basement level game room/pub with full bar. It’s through the pub room one must pass to get to a subterranean badminton court. We’ve seen indoor pools and tennis courts but this very well may be the first indoor badminton court we’ve ever seen in a private residence.
There are a total fourteen fireplaces throughout the house, garaging for six cars — one of which has a private stairway that leads directly into the master suite and, spread across the vast estate, ten residential cottages for staff and/or guests. There’s also a ranch office, extensive equestrian facilities that include a circular stable building, a ranch office and about 100 acres of orchards.
Your Mama can’t fathom the prodigious annual upkeep costs for a property like this — if sold for anywhere close to the asking price the annual property tax will exceed $1.5 million — but we suppose, for better and worse, someone who can afford a $125 million estate in one of the most priciest enclaves in all of the world then the several million bucks a year required to pay taxes and maintain the property in top-notch fashion is but a financial afterthought, right? C’est la vie, buttercups, c’est la vie.