Despite horrific wild fires that tore through the area in late 2017 and the catastrophic mudslides that took the lives of more than twenty people in early 2018, the laid-back yet emphatically aristocratic seaside community of Montecito, Calif., remains conspicuously expensive. Case in point: Rob Lowe’s spectacular estate that’s come available with an unquestionably kingly $47 million price tag.
Lowe, a six-time Golden Globe nominee, most recently in 2016 for the critically approved but none-the-less little watched and, thus, short-lived comedy series “The Grinder,” and his jewelry designer wife Sheryl Berkoff, married since 1991, acquired the locationally über-prime 3.4-acre, ocean-view property in 2005 for an undisclosed amount. They soon engaged the in-demand services of architect Don Nulty to custom design the main house and it’s satellite structures and they hired David Phoenix to do up the décor in a relaxed but refined fashion. Mark Rios transformed the grounds into what amounts to a private five-star resort and, finally, feng shui master David Cho was brought in to, as quoted in a 2010 Architectural Digest article that featured the photogenic spread, jiggle around the furniture and accessories to manifest the “most propitious ‘energy patterns to optimize wealth, wellness and charisma’ in the couple’s lives.” It seems to have worked.
The 20-room main house, an undeniably large and stately yet still approachable and understated white brick Georgian topped by a copper cupola and carefully positioned amid impeccably groomed grounds dotted with ancient oaks, measures in at more than 10,000 square feet with six bedrooms and eight full and three half bathrooms over three floors. A detached guesthouse with living room and kitchenette adds another two bedrooms and two bathrooms and an approximately 800-square-foot Greek Revival-style poolside pavilion contains another bedroom and bathroom plus a roomy lounge with fireplace and a spacious dining area open to an expensively outfitted kitchen.
Lowe described the residence in Architectural Digest as a “house perfect for mud boots or high heels” and certainly there are myriad casual and formal living and entertaining options. Regally proportioned and elegantly detailed living and dining rooms are both hung with crystal chandeliers and anchored by fireplaces trimmed in honed black anthracite; A piano lounge warmed by a third fireplace is serviced by a fully stocked walk-in wet bar; And, arranged around a massive marble-topped center island with four-stool snack counter, the capacious, premium-grade eat-in family kitchen is separated from a sea-view morning room by a motorized pocket door and connected to an all stainless steel catering kitchen in the basement by a dumb-waiter.
There’s also: an intimately scaled family room with an over-sized fireplace; several office/studies, one that opens to shady veranda overlooking a waterfall-fed koi pond; a library with built-in entertainment center and bookshelves on three walls; a mirror walled fitness room with integrated A/V system and beverage bar; a cedar lined and climate controlled 1,800 bottle wine cellar; and a professional screening room equipped with a candy bar, plush stadium seating and a 60-inch television plus a 12-foot wide drop down movie screen. Upstairs guest bedrooms, some with private sitting rooms, each have a private marble bathroom and built-in media equipment while the master suite offers two lavishly finished marble bathrooms, a designer boutique worthy dressing room lined with glass fronted wardrobes and French door access to a deep veranda decked out as an al fresco games room complete with outdoor billiards and ping-pong tables.
More than 3,000-square-feet of slate-paved verandas, porches, patios and terraces include a shaded lounging and dining loggia outside the kitchen with white brick fireplace and outdoor kitchen. A tremendous oak tree shades an ocean-view veranda that runs almost the full width of the rear of the residence and gives way to verdant gardens that include clipped boxwood hedges and colorful rose gardens alongside a vast, generously watered lawn and an austere reflecting pond that stand in decadent contrast to the rugged, fire-scarred surrounding mountains. Set into a terrace of Pennsylvania bluestone, the 55-foot swimming pool is overlooked by the pool house that opens on its backside to pergola-shaded terrace from which there’s a panoramic ocean view over the sunken, hedge-lined tennis court.
Lowe, known for roles on “The West Wing” and “Parks and Recreation,” and Berkoff, whose baubles are sold at swanky retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus and worn by famous women including Cameron Diaz, Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah Winfrey, previously owned an 18-foot wide beachfront cottage just 6.5 miles away in nearby Carpinteria, Calif., they scooped up in 2004 for $5.05 million and, after an extensive renovation and a small expansion, sold to title insurance tycoon William P. “Bill” Foley II in 2012 for $5.9 million.
Listing photos: Sotheby’s International Realty