When Ellen and her Portia first saw this elegant stone villa in the hills of Santa Barbara, they were immediately enchanted by the pure pastoral ambience of the Tuscan countryside that pervades it — the gentle sunlight, the rugged stone, and the reverence for the natural surroundings.
“The house is always surprising. It reveals itself to you in new ways every day. It’s not overly manicured or tidy. It’s not overly precious or perfect. And it’s a home that manages to be both spacious and cozy at once.”
– Ellen DeGeneresThe property, known as ‘The Villa,’ is prominently featured in Ellen’s 2015 book Home and was purchased by the couple in 2012; the estate was expanded through the acquisition of two adjacent properties and now totals 16.88 acres. Ellen and Portia spared no expense in modernizing the historic property for a relaxed California lifestyle and impeccable attention was paid to every detail of the renovation, with a classic barrel-tiled roof, wide wood flooring planks, rustic exposed ceiling beams, 18th-century Italian tiles, and sturdy walls of locally quarried stone creating an air of romance and refinement.
Photo credit: Jim Bartsch
“The surrounding gardens and olive trees are almost as wonderful as the interior. The house truly feels like it was built out of the landscape, rather than plopped on a plot. It feels ancient, like it’s been there forever. Like that hill was never without the house. This is a home that honors nature, and I love that.”
– Ellen DeGeneresA dramatic indoor-outdoor entertaining pavilion known as Jordan Hall was built from stone excavated on-site and features hand-made iron windows. The couple also added a lap pool, sunken championship tennis court and installed state-of-the-art irrigation, mechanical, electronic and security systems. The Villa dates to the 1930s when celebrated architect Wallace Frost, having recently returned from living in Italy, built the two-story, 10,500-square-foot residence for himself, emulating the classical style of 17th-century Italian villas with great accuracy.
Photo credit: Jim BartschDecades later, acclaimed architectural designer John Saladino fell in love with its “mix of grandeur and modesty” and commenced a five-year meticulous restoration of the property for his personal use. The secluded estate, secured by 18th-century Spanish gates off a private road, is perched on a crest and offers expansive views of the ocean, harbor, and mountains from nearly every vantage point.
“If you think of your home as a canvas – regardless of its style of architecture – you can put anything on it. I tend to keep painting the painting until it’s so done, there’s nothing left to do. That’s when I sell the canvas and buy a new one.”
– Ellen DeGeneres
$45,000,000 USD | Santa Barbara, California