Johns Hopkins is one of the nation’s most selective universities, accepting just 10% of all undergraduate applicants. But this 1.1-acre property in prime Montecito aced the entrance exam, breezing into the fold with high honors. University president Ronald J. Daniels and his wife, faculty member Joanne Rosen, were so enamored with the house that they paid $5.2 million — very nearly the full asking price — for the place last year.
Set behind walls and gates on a quiet cul-de-sac, the neoclassical Spanish Revival-style structure was built in 2000 but recently given a contemporary remodel to appeal to today’s buyers. Inside, the red tile-roofed structure is a sea of neutral colors wrapped around snazzy upgrades — recessed lights, wide-plank hardwood floors, and a kitchen packed with top-of-the-line Wolf and Viking stainless appliances.
Highlights of the 4,200-square-foot abode include spacious living and family rooms, both of them outfitted with fireplaces, a breakfast room, plus a ground-floor master suite with another fireplace and French doors opening directly to the gardens. Upstairs are two more bedroom suites, including one that appears to be done up as a homeschool classroom, perfect for quarantining with the kids.
Out back, ancient trees watch over grassy lawns that spill on down a gentle knoll, surrounding an elegant lap-lane swimming pool and adjoining spa. There’s also a sun-kissed patio with plenty of space for al fresco dining and an outdoor fireplace for nippy nights. At the rear of the property is a spacious cabana with a fireplace-equipped living area and separate high-ceilinged office, and elsewhere lies a roomy motorcourt that fronts a three-car garage.
Daniels, 61, has been president of Johns Hopkins since 2009, continuing the institution’s 38-year streak of receiving more competitively allocated research funding than any other university in the country. During his 11 years at the helm, the Canadian-born law and economics scholar has received accolades for strengthening the school’s graduate programs, as well as his annual boosting of the school’s financial aid fund. For those accomplishments and others, records show Daniels has been richly rewarded — in July, he ranked as the 7th highest-paid private college president in the entire U.S., with a base salary that topped $2.7 million.
Records reveal this is not Daniels’ first Montecito home. Back in 2016, he and Rosen paid $3.6 million for a ranch-style Montecito estate just a quick jog from their new house. Unfortunately, that property was impacted by the 2018 Montecito debris floods, and Santa Barbara County subsequently paid $4 million to buy out the couple’s interest in the property, as part of an initiative for a new neighborhood debris basin.
Nancy Kogevinas at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices held the listing; Harry Kolb with Sotheby’s International Realty repped Daniels.