Villa del Barbagianni

By Camilla McLaughlin

Always one of a kind, always remarkable, the residences we showcase on our cover occupy a very special niche among luxury properties and this issue’s superstar, a timeless California estate, is equally unparalleled. “This particular property stands in its own category of home architecture. It is so well designed,” says Mariann Cordova with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, underscoring the unique combination of qualities that make this residence not only spectacular but also spectacularly livable. “It was built in 2002, so it is a new generation home. The ceilings are high and the quality of the finishes is exceptional.” 

A private, gated courtyard, fountain and huge wrought-iron and glass doors create a remarkable entry. Inside, the genius of architect Stan Schrofer is immediately apparent. The structure is built around a second courtyard that is enclosed on one side, making the home an oasis of privacy while still opening expansive windows and balconies to views of the Saddleback Mountains. At 8,500 square feet, the residence is substantial but doesn’t overwhelm. Instead, there is a sense of comfort and ease, whether it’s the dramatic living room, the subterranean wine cellar or the very spacious kitchen. From the beautiful library, French doors open to a courtyard and fountain. “It’s made to be a place to live and enjoy yourself,” says Cordova. 

Double entry doors open to a master suite with an exercise room, indulgent dual bath and an additional room that could be another walk-in closet or adjoining bedroom. The home has seven bedrooms, seven baths and a powder room. Visitors always remark about the size of the secondary bedrooms, which, like the master, have balconies and views.

Extensive amenities including a home theater, poker room, billiards room, pool, waterfalls, a seven-car garage, gardens and well-appointed outdoor spaces, only enhance the livability. Like fashion, a home can be a passing fad but this one is designed to endure. “It is one of those you can buy today for $4.5 million and down the road it could be worth $6 million,” says Cordova.