Nestled alongside rocky cypress-lined bluffs draped over the Pacific, clifftop homes in California’s affluent Carmel Highlands enclave have long drawn well-known characters ranging from “Vertigo” star Kim Novak to millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett. One particularly craggy thoroughfare, just off Highway 1, also holds the oceanfront beach house where Sharon Stone’s character Catherine Tramell resided in the film “Basic Instinct.” And nearby is the landmark D.L. James estate, which was purchased last summer by Brad Pitt for a whopping $40 million.
Now the Central Coast neighborhood has added another notable resident. Records show Jason Fried — co-founder and CEO of Basecamp, a multibillion-dollar project management tech firm, was the buyer who last year dropped $26 million on an especially scenic Carmel Highlands estate. First listed for $29 million, the house ranks among the priciest ever sold for the area, behind Pitt’s recent purchase.
Built way back in the early 1920s as a year-round retreat for L.A.-based Broadway playwright Martin Flavin and his family, the English manor-style house is tucked away behind a gated and granite-walled entrance, on 7-plus acres of cypress-laced land near Yankee Point Beach, and features six bedrooms and six baths in 4,335 square feet of dated yet charming living space offering up pristine ocean views.
Originally designed by Charles Gottschalk, Flavin later commissioned Charles Greene, of Pasadena-based Greene and Greene, to complete the project. Finishing touches that remain today include a breakfast room/porch, and an elegant iron stairway and balcony for the living room. A redwood-clad library boasting a stained-glass triptych window also is said to be the “most virtuoso artistic work of the post-James-house phase of Charles Greene’s career.”
The latter architect’s significant work on the home reportedly continued until the early 1940s. In fact, Flavin wrote in a letter to noted Greene scholar Randell Makinson, “Charles Greene was not the architect, but over the long period of years he contributed to it almost everything of value and distinction, both inside and out. … I regard Charles Greene as its creator.”
Per the listing, other highlights include a wine cellar, workshop, outdoor hot tub and four-car garage. Private hiking trails on two bluffs empty out at tide pools and a secluded cove.
Fried’s plans for the Carmel Highlands estate are not yet known, but he also owns a $10 million midcentury home in Malibu that is currently undergoing a custom rebuild.