El Fureidis – one of Montecito’s most celebrated residences is now on sale by Christie’s International Real Estate. This historic and thoroughly renovated estate on 10 acres of lush grounds, which translated as ”Tropical Paradise”, designed by the renowned architect Bertram Goodhue has been offered for $35 million. The home was completed in 1906 for James Waldron Gillespie, a member of a prominent New York real estate family, who purchased the property in 1899 and began work on a botanic garden in 1903. Gillespie commissioned his friend Goodhue to build him this Neoclassical estate. Goodhue drew from other influences including the Romanesque and Middle Eastern to create a residence that has become the exemplar of the Mediterranean Revival style.
The 10,000-square-foot home forms a rectangle with a bright atrium terrace at its center, and is accessed through an entry hall and a “conversation room,” a Byzantine-style alcove crowned with an 18-foot-high central dome that is decorated with a floral gold-leaf design modeled after one at the church of St. John Lateran in Rome. It leads to a reception room and library, then to a living room and master bedroom, family room, fully modernized kitchen and a magnificent dining room with a barreled ceiling. Upstairs, three fully remodeled en-suite bedrooms look out on an immaculate roof deck with views of the beautiful lower terraces and gardens, Pacific Ocean, and Channel Islands. Notable bas-reliefs by sculptor Lee Lawrie decorate the exterior.
The property is also celebrated for its significant gardens and landscaping, originally Persian in design, and reflective of Gillespie’s fondness for palm trees. At one time, the gardens boasted more than 100 different varieties of palm and other trees, and today the expansive 10-acre grounds still harbor several century-old tree specimens.
The estate has played host to many familiar visitors and occupants, according to listing agent Emily McBride Kellenberger. “At one time Nobel Prize-winning author Thomas Mann lived here and entertained guests including fellow Nobelists Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill,” she said. “Charlie Chaplin and Oona O’Neill Chaplin reportedly were married at the estate, and John F. Kennedy is said to have visited during his honeymoon.” In 1983, the estate was used as a key location in the motion picture “Scarface.”
Offering numerous reflecting pools, lush gardens, and storied provenance, this magnificent estate is a true piece of art history.