Yolanda loves LA as much as the next gal, but the most frequent question we get asked is why we don’t focus on other areas of this beautiful sphere we call Earth. And so we thought we’d take a break from LA-related real estate tales in favor of a quick weekend getaway. We turn our property-hungry eyes turn to the north, to the fantastically scenic and exceptionally wealthy coastal community of Montecito, CA.
As we write this, Santa Barbara County is currently under siege by the raging Thomas Fire, and mandatory evacuations are in place for certain parts of Montecito. But Yolanda — relentless optimist that we are — refuses to dwell on the destruction. Onward we march.
Y’all may recall that Yolanda was the first to snitch about Ellen DeGeneres — Hollywood’s most ardent property lover/collector/flipper — paying $18,600,000 for a new beach house out in Carpinteria (CA), on celeb-friendly Padaro Lane, just a bit south of Montecito. Around that same time, she also listed her Santa Barbara compound for a fat $45 million (the asking price has since been cut to $39.5 mill).
What we didn’t know back then was that Ms. DeGeneres had already acquired yet another Santa Barbara County property, this one a 5.83-acre ranch located in prime Montecito. Our handsome and scholarly Santa Barbara-based friend Barbara Bane was the first to alert us to the quiet acquisition, which went down back in September (2017) with the aid of a blind trust.
At first reflection, it might seem strange that Ms. Degeneres would purchase two multi-million dollar properties in the same general area within a month of each other. But it’s not so odd. Really! After all, it is known that Portia de Rossi is fond of horses and the Carpinteria house is definitely not an equestrian-friendly property. And why would Ellen purchase just one gorgeous house when she can have two?
And yes, this place is gorgeous. Ms DeGeneres has an admirable fondness for architecture and historically significant homes, so it’s not such a big surprise that the ranch she has opted to purchase is the historic Rancho San Leandro compound, which (mostly) dates to the mid-1800s.
Yolanda is not sure if this is coincidence or not, but the ranch Ms. DeGeneres purchased a few months back happens to be directly next door to — and share a fence with — Oprah’s recently expanded 60+ acre Promised Land mega-compound. When Oprah and Ellen discussed being next-door neighbors a couple months back, they weren’t just whistlin’ Dixie.
Now, before you lookie-loos even think about cruisin’ by Ellen’s new pad, note that the property sits securely within the demure (and historic) Ennisbrook gated community.
You won’t be able to see anything from the public road. Once inside the community, however, a rustic stone wall and wooden gate allow access to the ranch within. Groves of olive trees line the long driveway, which travels past horse-friendly pastures on its way to the main compound.
The unconventional estate is made up of a 3,129-square-foot, single-story adobe house, built way back in 1845 and carefully preserved over the past 172 years. Then there is a 3,635-square-foot, 2006-built “Monterey house” that stands just across the shared courtyard. As far as Yolanda can tell, the historic adobe is intended to be the main living quarters — that’s where the master suite is located — and the Monterey house is the secondary quarters, with two small bedroom suited in the upper level for a total of 3 bedrooms and 4 baths on the property.
In addition to the two houses, there is a 798-square-foot barn with stalls and equestrian necessities (feed & storage area, etc).
The adobe structure has covered patios around the entire perimeter and includes a massive living/dining room combo with two fireplaces, one on either side of the room. The great room connects to a small kitchen and dining nook, and a separate corridor from the great room leads to the master suite, which has a fireplace and vaulted ceiling with exposed wooden beams.
The Monterey house also includes a kitchen with stainless appliances, a living room, and a lovely tile staircase that leads to the two cozy bedrooms upstairs, each of which is equipped with its own fireplace, bathroom, and walk-in closet. Outdoors, the property boasts views of both the mountains and the sea.
In an odd twist of fate — or maybe it wasn’t — the ranch that Ms. DeGeneres just acquired was purchased from American-born and New Zealand-based big businessman Tom Sturgess and his wife Heather, who happen to be the very same wealthy couple who sold Ms. DeGeneres her other Montecito compound, the one she bought in 2013 for $28.8 million and currently has for sale with a $39.5 million ask.
Although Mr. & Mrs. Sturgess made several million bucks in profit off Ms. DeGeneres in their first deal, they weren’t so lucky this time around. Records show they bought this property in 2016 for $7,370,000 and sold to Ms. Degeneres for the complicated price of $7,195,377. That’s a $174,623 loss for all you penny pinchers up in here.
We digress. In addition to her two Montecito ranches and her Carpinteria beach house, Ms. DeGeneres still owns a Wilshire Corridor condo and her main residence, a $16 million mid-century modern house in prime Beverly Hills. Altogether, she has spent more than $70 million on the homes in her current property portfolio. That is a lot of money, no question, but less it’s actually less than the stroke-inducing $77 million in pay she hauled in over the past year alone.