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A Montecito Home That Once Belonged to Lena Horne Just Hit the Market for $8.5 Million

The light-filled home, which started out an an olive mill, is in the heart of Montecito's tony Golden Quadrangle.

Olive mill house Photo: Blake Bronstad/Sotheby’s International Realty

Historic homes with a lot of character—and a story behind them—can be a rarity. If you’re someone who prefers to live in these storied walls over shiny new builds, we’d recommend a mansion in California that just listed for $8.5 million. Today it’s a residential property, yes, but when it was first built many years ago, it was an olive-crushing mill that produced olive-oil products.

The property was built well over a century ago, but its business operations shuttered in 1905; it was transformed into a residential property. At its peak, the mill produced not just olive oil for cooking but olive-oil soap and olive-oil candies—the latter were maybe not the best tasting treats, but they reportedly had medicinal uses. The home’s history is such a well-known story that the street it’s located on is even named after it: Olive Mill Road.

Olive mill house

The family room  Photo: Blake Bronstad/Sotheby’s International Realty

And the story doesn’t end there. In the 1980s, singer and civil-rights activist Lena Horne lived here. She is one of many celebrities that have called this area of Montecito home over the years. Dubbed the Golden Quadrangle, it’s a coveted spot that gets plenty of direct sunlight. Oprah, Ellen and Adam Levine have all lived here at one point.

Olive mill house

The entryway  Photo: Blake Bronstad/Sotheby’s International Realty

The house itself is about 5,600 square feet with six bedrooms, six full baths and three half-baths. It’s situated on one acre of land, with striking stonework playing a major role in both the interior and exterior architectures. Like all good California homes, this one has a family room with doors that open out onto the patio on either side, so you can take full advantage of the sunny weather. The kitchen, meanwhile, was recently remodeled and includes Viking appliances.

Olive mill house

The kitchen  Photo: Blake Bronstad/Sotheby’s International Realty

Upstairs the primary suite has a soaking tub and walk-in closet and above that, on the third level, an open space that you can transform into a fitness room, a home office or something else entirely. We’re not sure it will fit an olive-crushing mill, though.

Check out more photos of the listing below:

Olive mill house

The dining room  Photo: Blake Bronstad/Sotheby’s International Realty

Olive mill house

One of the bedrooms  Photo: Blake Bronstad/Sotheby’s International Realty

Olive mill house

The game room  Photo: Blake Bronstad/Sotheby’s International Realty

Olive mill house

The outdoor entertaining area  Photo: Blake Bronstad/Sotheby’s International Realty

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