Montecito’s Historic Solana Estate Hits the Market for $40 Million

John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. both attended events at the estate.

A grand century-old mansion hit the market this week in Montecito, Calif., for $40 million. Built in 1914 by prominent Santa Barbara native Frederick Forrest Peabody and designed by architect Francis T. Underhill, the 22,000-square-foot estate at 256 Eucalyptus Hill Drive, which is known as Solana, was a precursor to other sprawling West Coast properties such as Hearst Castle and the Getty Villa. Located on an 11.2-acre knoll-top property, the castle-like compound offers 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains. From 1958 to 1978, the estate served as the site of a prominent American think tank, and revered guests ranging from John F. Kennedy to Martin Luther King Jr. visited to discuss pressing policy issues.

Following a three-year restoration, Solana has been modernized for a brand-new audience. A gated motor court and palm-tree-lined courtyard lead into the open-air house. Rich, historic details are present throughout: The kitchen includes a beamed ceiling from a pre-WWII hangar, and the master suite features an 18th-century French limestone fireplace and antique crystal chandelier. Residents can host guests in the wood-paneled reception room (made from a French oak boiserie that once belonged to William Randolph Hearst) or unwind in the formal library. Additional entertaining options include a movie theater, beauty salon, and wine room.

Oversized French doors open to grand loggias for the ultimate indoor/outdoor living experience. Pass the time by meandering through the lush botanical garden, swimming laps in the pool, or reading by the turtle pond. A 19th-century European limestone pergola provides shade on hot summer days, and 200 fruit trees and 500 rosebushes create a visually stunning spectacle. Solana also features a two-bedroom guesthouse and staff quarters.

The property was previously listed in 2016 for $39 million. Mauricio Umansky, Santiago Arana, and Stefan Pommepuy of the Agency hold the current listing.

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