Few famous folk buy and sell high-end real estate as frequently and with such seemingly unchecked impetuousness as Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi who added to their fat and frequently in flux portfolio of SoCal trophy properties with the $18.6 million purchase of a laid-back but still seriously swank 1.13-acre ocean front estate about 10 miles due west of downtown Santa Barbara on prestigious and exuberantly pricey Padaro Lane in the teeny-tiny coastal community of Carpinteria, Calif.
The property had been owned since late 2005 by prominent Los Angeles commercial real estate developer Robert F. Maguire III who bought it for an unrecorded amount from late property developer/film and television producer Leonard Hill and his then wife, producer Ann Daniel. As was noted by our property gossip pal Yolanda Yakketyyak, who first turned up news of the transaction, despite his wealth, property records indicate Mr. Maguire surrendered the house to foreclosure during the summer of 2016 after he failed to pay back Bank of America an almost $28 million loan secured against the property.
A gated driveway winds past the tennis court and guesthouse under a canopy of fragrant eucalyptus to the front of the shingled-sided contemporary main house that measures in at 5,979-square-feet with four en suite bedrooms and a total of 4.5 bathrooms. The 883-square-foot split-level detached overlooks the tennis court with a living room with high-ceiling, wet bar and fireplace plus two spacious compartmentalized bathrooms and one dormitory-style bedroom with three sets of built-in bunk beds.
A full-height glass door trimmed in spirited cherry red paint pivots open to airy, open-plan living spaces positioned at a slight angle to the shoreline to take best advantage of sweeping ocean and coastline views through huge windows and long banks of floor-to-ceiling glass sliders. With a minimalist fireplace on its back wall, the step-up living room area has a room-wide picture window that cinematically frames a glimmering view of the ocean and a two-story wall of windows on the opposite wall opens the room to a wind-protected courtyard with outdoor fireplace. A huge, stainless steel-clad center island separates the sleek, galley style kitchen from a dining area and lounge where floor-to-ceiling glass sliders lead to a spacious west-facing deck with built-in spa and postcard-perfect sunset views.
All three main floor guest bedrooms are amply proportioned with en suite bathrooms. Two have glass sliders to the ocean-side deck and a third has a fireplace and a wall of windows that opens to the courtyard. The master suite sprawls privately across the entire second floor and incorporates a private study with built-in shelving and a spacious bedroom with double-sided fireplace shared with a spa-style master bathroom large enough to float a soaking tub in the middle of the room. No barrier divides the bathroom from a massive dressing room lined with custom fitted wardrobes along and there are two ocean-side balconies and two roof terraces, one with an outdoor fireplace and an ocean view.
Some of the other high-priced ocean-front spreads along Padaro Lane are owned by deep-pocketed Tinseltowners such as Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, who purchased their prime piece of coastal California pie earlier this year for $10.1 million, and “Star Wars” eminence George Lucas, who in 2010 paid $19.5 million for a stylishly low-slung, classic California contemporary he razed and, much to the chagrin of some, replaced with an architecturally “non-native” Cape Cod style pile. Kevin Costner owns a handful of properties on and just off Padaro Lane including a charming two-bedroom and one-bathroom cottage spectacularly sited on 10.25 pristine bluff-top acres that he now has up for sale at $55 million after first giving it an unsuccessful go with a $60 million asking price.
With 30 Emmys and 20 People’s Choice Awards, the superstar daytime chat show host’s current residential holdings include a 5,286-square-foot mid-century modern squirreled out of sight down a long, gated driveway that she and de Rossi purchased in a 2015 off-market deal for $15.995 million as well as a particularly photogenic mansion of more than 10,000-square-feet on more than 13 oak studded acres in the ruggedly posh hills above Santa Barbara that they acquired in 2013 for $28.8 million and currently have up for sale at $45 million.
In July 2014 the property-mad couple shelled out $13.2 million for two house-sized condos on the same floor at the Beverly West tower along L.A.’s Wilshire Corridor, one of which was sold in May (2017) for $6 million and they previously if ever so briefly owned Brody House, an A. Quincy Jones-designed architectural masterpiece in the Holmby Hills area of L.A. they bought in the latter days of 2013 for $39.888 million and lucratively flipped just six months later to Napster founder Sean Parker for $49.5 million.
In 2007 DeGeneres and de Rossi paid “Will & Grace” co-creator Max Mutchnick and his high-powered entertainment attorney husband Erik Hyman $29 million for a ultra-private Beverly Hills compound above Coldwater Canyon and subsequently forked over another $19 million for several adjacent properties, all of which they sold in 2012 for $39.5 million to Ryan Seacrest. In 2011, with a hankering for a beach house, the design savvy pair paid Brad Pitt $12 million for a daringly sited bluff-top contemporary in Malibu they sold less than a year later for $13 million to make-up mogul Victoria Jackson and in the mid-Aughts they owned a Marmol Radziner-designed, organic-modern ranch-style residence in the Hollywood Hills they sold in 2007 only to buy it back in 2014 for $10 million and then turn around and sell it again in 2016 for $9.9 million to Calvin Klein co-founder Barry Schwartz who — birds of a real estate feather — also maintains an oceanfront spread on Padaro Lane.
listing photos: Sotheby’s International Realty