YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: Property gossip column staples Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi are back on the real estate merry-go-round having hoisted their unquestionably sumptuous and sophisticated but still quite comfortable-looking, art-filled ocean-view estate near Santa Barbara, CA, on the open market with an asking price of $45 million. Property records suggest the real estate-mad couple purchased two of the estate’s three parcels in May 2013 for $26.5 million and concurrently splashed out another $2.3 million for an adjoining vacant parcel that brought their combined outlay to $28.8 million and the total size of the stately, gated estate to 16.88 acres.
The famously design-savvy pair subsequently made substantial renovations to the six-bedroom Tuscan-style main house, which has six full and two half bathrooms. They also made several no-doubt brutally costly additions to the estate, including the installation of a sunken tennis court and a second swimming pool as well as the construction of a luxuriously appointed pool-side entertainment pavilion identified in marketing materials as “Jordan Hall.”
The sprawling, multi-winged main house, a carefully calibrated and decidedly upscale take on an authentic 17th century Italian farmhouse, sits at the end of a quarter-mile long driveway that snakes through thick stands of olive and eucalyptus tress. The approximately 10,500-square-foot residence was originally designed and built in the mid-1930s by architect Wallace Frost as his personal residence and was later owned and extensively renovated by celebrated interior designer John Saladino who sold the estate in early 2012 for $16.5 million to New Zealand businessman Tom Sturgess who pocketed a fortune when he flipped it to DeGeneres and de Rossi just over a year later.
Constructed with locally quarried stone, the photogenic mansion features a barrel-shaped terra-cotta tile roof, elegantly filigreed wrought iron details, a rustic-luxe mix of stone and wide-plank hardwood floors, exposed wood beamed ceilings, 18th-century Italian tile accents, and vintage light fixtures. Public and family spaces include a baronially-proportioned living room, a formal dining room that easily seats a dozen, multiple libraries and reading nooks, and a family/media room. The sleekly appointed kitchen adjoins both a breakfast room with gigantic arched window and a cozy sitting room where one of the mansion’s nine fireplaces is cleverly tucked up under a stone staircase.
The expansive, hillside property, which surely requires a small army and huge amount of money to maintain, additionally includes a spacious guest apartment and the aforementioned entertainment pavilion, Jordan Hall. The cottage-like structure overlooks one of the estate’s two swimming pools and incorporates a tin-roofed screened porch and an open plan interior with vaulted exposed wood ceiling, several lounge areas, a fireplace and a sculptural wet bar. Jordan Hall also includes a huge, high-end kitchen with reclaimed wood cabinetry, a bathroom that opens to a walled courtyard with an outdoor bathtub, and a ramada-shaded al fresco dining terrace with built-in barbecue and pizza oven.
DeGeneres and De Rossi’s typically in-flux residential property portfolio currently includes a low-slung, mid-century era residence secreted down a long, gated driveway in a prime pocket of Beverly Hills scooped up in a November 2015 off-market deal for $15,995,000 as well as two adjacent but uncombined, house-sized condominiums at the fancy-pants Beverly West tower on Wilshire Boulevard, both of which were acquired in July 2014 for a combined cost of $16 million and both of which are currently for sale on the open market, one at $6,995,000 and the other at $7,995,000.
Listing photos: Sotheby’s International Realty