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This $35 Million Montecito Mansion Is a Dead Ringer for Spain’s Alhambra Palace

Combining Spanish and Italian influences, the residence also has its own Japanese pavilion and koi pond.

Exterior. Photo: Courtesy of The Agency

It’s not often that you find Italian, Spanish and Moroccan architecture under the same roof as a Japanese pavilion. But that’s exactly Kinka Usher’s vision. A celebrated TV commercial director who has worked with brands from Burger King to Adidas, Usher has just listed his distinct Montecito digs—for $35 million.

Inspired by his youth and subsequent travels—Usher was born in France and spent time in Italy before eventually settling down in California—the residence features deep-coffered ceilings, Corinthian columns, reliefs and other touches from across the European art and design world. But the biggest point of reference here is the Alhambra palace and fortress in Granada, Spain. The home’s magnificent arched entryway pays not-so-subtle homage to the landmark, as Usher was evidentially quite taken by it upon his first visit to Spain many years ago.

The spectacular entryway.

The spectacular entryway.  Photo: Courtesy of The Agency

Billy Rose, real estate agent and long-time friend of Usher’s, dubs the property’s many architectural mashups “Kinka-lomerations.”

“It’s more a chorus that does harmonize,” Rose tells Robb Report. “You know, you have the bass and the soprano—here, the Japanese, Spanish, Italian influences. It’s all very emblematic of Usher’s creative, visionary way.”

In addition to its one-of-a-kind style, the approximately 12,000-square-foot mansion also boasts two master suites, one with a Turkish bath-inspired lavatory and floor-to-ceiling glass windows on three sides. An attached guest house sits adjacent to the main pavilion, with its own living room, kitchen and bedroom.

The main living area, which overlooks the pool.

The main living area, which overlooks the pool.  Photo: Courtesy of The Agency

And the future owner will be inheriting an enviable slice of Montecito land. The 2.5 acre lot has a 90,000-gallon swimming pond in addition to a heated pool and bocce and pickleball courts. There’s even a covered pergola for outdoor events, as well as the aforementioned Japanese pavilion, which serves as an excellent venue for hosting guests. The main dining room overlooks the pavilion’s pagoda-like structure, which sits on—you guessed it—a koi pond.

The kitchen.

The kitchen.  Photo: Courtesy of The Agency

But what’s perhaps most impressive about the palatial home is that Usher designed it all himself, from first sketch to final furnishing. The ground-up construction took approximately five years to complete, a process that Usher relished because of its synchronicity with his old directing days.

“You start with a script,” says Rose. “Or plans in this case, then you go get your financing and go into production—or construction. It’s a lot of moving parts [in both scenarios], a lot of people who all come together to contribute and shape what the finished product is.”

In simpler terms: Lights, camera, action! (Er—sold!)

Check out more images of Usher’s former residence, below:

The Japanese garden and koi pond.

The Japanese garden and koi pond.  Photo: Courtesy of The Agency

One of the bathrooms.

One of the bathrooms.  Photo: Courtesy of The Agency

A hallway area.

A hallway area.  Photo: Courtesy of The Agency

Another living area.

Another living area.  Photo: Courtesy of The Agency

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