Yolanda is very grateful that people from outside the silly little bubble of La La Land are beginning to follow our equally silly little blog. A handful of them even dare to write in to and ask questions or chat about this or that! One of those is a handsome, scholarly fellow from Santa Barbara whom we shall call Barbara Bane in honor of our all-time favorite actress.
Along with several other decidedly juicy neighborhood tidbits and trivia, Mr. Bane called our attention to a very upright compound smack-dab in the middle of the uber-posh Montecito neighborhood. This compound, you see, sold earlier this month for $6,850,000 and the buyer — per Mr. Bane — is a prominent investor/entrepreneur/television personality named Marcus Lemonis.
Sure enough, property records the house was purchased by an LLC that is quite easily proved to be a front for Mr. Lemonis. Records also tell us that the seller was a British financier and car collector named Andrew Pisker, who was — a few years ago — judged to be one of the top 10 sexiest male bankers in the world by our gurl Xenia Tchoumitcheva. Ooh la la!
As for Mr. Lemonis, he’s got more than a million followers on Twitter, primarily due to his semi-celebrity status as star of The Profit, we think. The TV show (it airs on CNBC) has run since 2013 and features Mr. Lemonis using his own millions to make substantial investments in struggling small businesses. Think of Mr. Lemonis’s show as a warmer, friendlier Shark Tank.
Not that Mr. Lemonis is just some reality star. He’s also a full-time businessman: As Chairman and CEO of Camping World, which specializes in recreational vehicles, he manages a $3 billion empire and his own personal (reported) net worth of $167 million. Oh, and although he is or was married to an equestrian lady named Ila Lemonis he was recently rumored to be having a fling with Skeletor from The Real Housewives of New York City. AKA Bethenny Frankel. But apparently he awoke from that nightmare and is blessedly single once more. Whew!
We should also note that Mr. Lemonis had a somewhat atypical and difficult childhood. Born in Lebanon, he was placed in an orphanage as a tot and adopted by a Miami-based Greek-American couple. He reportedly struggled with an eating disorder and depression and was even sexually abused by an extended family member.
Sometime around college age, Mr. Lemonis migrated up to the Chicago area, where he’s still based today and where he began assembling his billion-dollar empire. But it would seem that in spite of all his work commitments, he’s found time to spend the big bucks on an interesting place in idyllic California.
The house in question is located in a gated community and backs up to the southwest corner of the prestigious Valley Club of Montecito. And it’s just a quarter-mile or so (as the crow flies) from the mega-mansion estate christened The Promised Land, which has been home to billionaire media baroness Oprah Winfrey since 2001.
Sprawled on a commodious 2-acre lot, the contemporary rambles around a center courtyard area with a stone walkway that leads to the perfectly rectangular pool. We’d call the 8,100-square-foot house a contemporary luxe take on a farmhouse-style rambler. What say y’all?
Narrow gauge hardwood floors lead to a fully-updated kitchen with all the typical top-end stainless appliances, a Subaru-sized center island, and some rather unattractive chairs.
The formal dining room flaunts a deliciously tacky all-glass dining table/chair set. Both the formal living and family room have fireplaces. A long (end to end of the house) hallway is fabulous for the budding art collector, we suppose.
The master suite feels a bit too ’80s mod to us or something, but there’s an enormous (communal?) glass shower for sexy time and an array of windows and doors that allow plenty of sunlight to flood what could otherwise feel like a somewhat sterile environment. Elsewhere there are a total of 4 guest/family bedrooms and 7 bathrooms.
In keeping with the pared-down and somewhat minimalist theme, 90% of the landscaping is just grass. Nary a mature tree in sight. At least the lot has bounteous parking space.
Besides Lady Winfrey, other famous residents up in low-key but high-brow Montecito ‘hood include Eric Schmidt, Carol Burnett, Dennis Miller, Rob Lowe, Al Gore, Ellen DeGeneres, and Lynda Weinman.
A quick stroll through property records reveals that Mr. Lemonis is quite the real estate baller. In addition to his new $7 million Montecito pad, Yolanda counts no fewer than five other multi-million dollar homes/condominiums that he owns in at least three other states.
Back in tony city of Lake Forest (IL), Mr. Lemonis owns a 7,405-square-foot mansion with 6 bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms.
Although the stately structure looks as though it was constructed in the 1920s or some such olden days, it was actually built in 2006 and sold in 2007 for $6,150,000. The buyers then were a not-famous but wealthy couple who clearly did not turn a profit when they sold the Lake Michigan-adjacent estate to The Profit in July 2013 for just $4,950,000. As many rich folks are wont to do, Mr. Lemonis also acquired the smaller house next door in a separate transaction.
That’s not all, however. Mr. Lemonis also apparently still has love for the Sunshine State.
Also in 2013, Mr. Lemonis paid $1,500,000 for the 4,696-square-foot house in equestrian-oriented Wellington (FL) that was advertised as having a “Chicago brick” driveway. Unclear if that swayed Mr. Lemonis’s decision in favor of a purchase.
Mr. Lemonis appears to own yet more residences, including a $3 million luxury apartment in a prime part of Chicago and possibly another place in Florida, but there’s a sale on Chinese antiques down at Best of Times so suck on those lemons and we’ll be back with y’all shortly.
Listing and selling agents: Calcagno & Hamilton, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices