For the cover photo of her 2015 book, Home, comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres sat in the master sitting room of the Villa. The Montecito estate—which listed this spring for $45 million, up from the $26.5 million DeGeneres reportedly bought it for in 2012—is one of nearly a dozen homes the comedian has renovated over the past 25 years. Like works of art, when DeGeneres deems them complete, she passes them on.
The estate’s private drive winds through 18th-century Spanish gates and twisting eucalyptus and olive trees to the main six-bedroom home, a 10,500-square-foot, two-story abode built in the 1930s by master architect Wallace Frost. Frost built it from local stone with a barrel-tiled roof—a true 17th-century Italian villa in Santa Barbara—after living in Tuscany. After purchasing adjacent properties and increasing the plot to nearly 17 acres, DeGeneres constructed an entertainment pavilion called Jordan Hall, which was inspired by the main house. The open-concept pavilion includes a cream-colored pool table, cantilevered stone bar, and fireplace. The adjacent sunroom overlooks a lap pool and sweeping Pacific views, and a tennis court is tucked out of view down the hill. Indoor and outdoor kitchens and an alfresco Japanese soaking bathtub for two are located off the back and sides of the pavilion.
In the introduction of Home, DeGeneres wrote that the themes running throughout her houses are a “love of nature and a seamless feeling of indoor and outdoor spaces.” From arched picture windows framing the trees to the ocean views peeking beyond generous loggias, it’s easy to see what DeGeneres saw in the Villa—and why her work there is done. (sothebyshomes.com)