Don’t call us jet setters — the truth is far, far from that — but we’ve done a small patch of traveling in our time. Despite the allure of more exotic locales, one of our favorite earthly destinations remains the quaint seaside town of Montecito (CA). For any geographically-challenged readers, Montecito is located immediately next door to the equally charming town of Santa Barbara and is about two hours (by car) due northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
With its near-perfect Mediterranean climate and lovely old-world architecture, Montecito makes an ideal vacay getaway. Pop into the many cute shops on Coast Village Road before lunching on steak at Lucky’s or savorin’ sushi at Sakana. Afterwards, grab a drink (or two) at the Honor Bar before embarking on any neighborhood sightseeing. Make sure to hire a designated driver, of course.
Though it’s every bit as expensive as oceanfront cities down south — Malibu and Newport Beach, for example — the vibe in Montecito is significantly different. The homes are more private and set on bigger lots, and the locals significantly less flashy with their wealth. Montecito has also developed a rep as a haven for rich retirees, a population significantly older than folks who crowd those other rich beachy locales.
Yet that old-money Montecito demographic is changing, and younger peeps are now learning to appreciate the area’s hidden charms. Tinder co-founder Sean Rad — he’s in his early 30s — recently paid Ellen DeGeneres $11 million for a rather amazing old ranch. And cosmetics queen Jamie Kern Lima threw down a shocking $35 million just after her 40th birthday. Gwyneth Paltrow is building a big new Montecito house, Ashton Kutcher & Mila Kunis reside just south of town, and we’ve now heard from two different Montecito locals that betrothed actors Eva Mendes & Ryan Gosling have also been house-hunting in the neighborhood.
And as yet another signal of Montecito’s newfound allure for the wealthy young, a glamorous estate up yonder recently sold for $15,850,000. The buyers, we discovered, are a married couple named Mitchell and Lisa Green, both of whom are still in their 30s.
Our venture capitalist Mr. Green is a graduate of Wharton — one of the world’s most prestigious b-schools — and is the founder of Lead Edge Capital. Lead Edge, which is headquartered in NYC and has approximately $1.5 billion in assets under management, made its mark investing in startups and growth-stage companies, particularly those in the tech sector. Uber, Alibaba, and Spotify have all benefited from Lead Edge backing, and investors in Mr. Green’s fund have all reaped mega-bucks as the valuations of those firms have soared.
In less than a decade, Mr. Green’s firm has attracted investments from sharks such as Anne Mulcahy, the former chairman and CEO of Xerox; Alison Rosenthal, the former head of mobile at Facebook; Nigel Morris, the cofounder of Capital One; GitHub CEO Nat Friedman; and David Pottruck, the former CEO of Charles Schwab. Helping Mr. Green make those vital connections stemmed — at least partly — from his finance background: he started as an analyst for UBS directly after college, later migrating to Bessemer Venture Partners before earning his MBA while simultaneously working at a Julian Robertson-helmed hedge fund.
And Mr. Green, apparently, was not just twiddlin’ his thumbs while toilin’ away in some dark office — he was out networking and forging connections with industry heavy hitters. But of course, we digress.
The done-done-done Montecito estate home chosen by Mr. and Mrs. Green was originally built in 1996 and last sold in early 2015 for exactly $15 million to Edward & Shari Glazer. Oddly enough, Mr. and Mrs. Glazer — he’s the heir to a billion-dollar conglomerate — almost immediately proceeded to pay another $21,500,000 for the even larger and more lavish estate next door.
We’re not really sure why Mr. and Mrs. Glazer wanted two massive tennis court compounds in Montecito, but the smaller spread was back on the market by summer 2016. Even after an extensive renovation, however, it would be two full years before the home was picked up by the Greens. Given that the property went for less than $16 million and the Glazers spent loads of money upgrading and maintaining the premises — not to mention the cost of taxes and realtor fees — it seems likely they lost some change on this transaction.
Anyway, the 3.6-acre spread is set well back from the main road, down a private road that ends at towering metal gates. From there, the home’s driveway swoops awestruck guests past the tennis court and vast lawns, culminating in a circular motorcourt (ringed by mature date palms) outside the Mediterranean-themed mansion.
The front door opens to a double-height foyer with sightlines through the Palladian-ish windows to the Pacific Ocean by the horizons. Interiors here are done up in a chic and comfortable (if slightly generic) manner with a neutral color scheme. Most of the formal rooms have fireplaces, and all sport oversized windows and glassy doors designed to draw in the SoCal sunlight.
The kitchen is outfitted with a blazingly expensive SubZero fridge (seriously, that thing can cost more than a new Camry), and all the other appliances are equally swanky, too. We’re sure the housekeeper and/or chef will appreciate that. But more importantly (at least to the homeowners) is a delightful outdoor dining area with ocean and backyard views.
The 10,112-square-foot main house includes 5 spacious bedrooms and 8 baths. As y’all should expect, there’s a sitting area and a fireplace in the master suite. French doors and a private balcony accentuate the head-on ocean views. Somewhere also inside there’s an attic that’s been converted into a media/games room.
Out back, hidden from the pool/tennis court areas behind tall hedges and trees, is a discreet guest house that’s perfect for a live-in groundskeeper (which an estate of this magnitude probably requires).
Though the home’s interiors are perfectly nice and luxurious, the real star of this show is the backyard. We counted at least three formal fountains, exquisite formal rose gardens, and numerous sculpted hedges that ring the entire estate. Plus there’s a pool area with an adjacent cabana and 360-degree views of the ocean, surrounding treetops, and the fire-ravaged mountains.
Mr. & Mrs. Green are still (relatively) young, but this ain’t their first time on the Montecito real estate rodeo. Back in 2015, they paid just over $8.1 million for a “starter” estate that’s only a quick skip away from the new house. Since August (2018), their starter home has been listed for sale with a $10,250,000 asking price.
As y’all can see, the Greens clearly go in for a specific type of house. Their old place is basically a smaller version of the new $16 million estate — it’s got a similar Mediterranean-style main structure with clean-lined, contemporary interiors. There’s a long driveway that leads past formal lawns and the pool area before ending at a motorcourt, and there’s also a guesthouse. Heck, the place even has nearly-identical walkway stairs lined by formal rose gardens.
The Greens have established themselves as noted philanthropists in the Santa Barbara area and will be hosting their annual Halloween charity gala next week. For any Montecito locals, tickets are still available for the spooky bash, which Yolanda assumes will be hosted at their new estate. And if y’all like the look of their old house and have the necessary funds, do let Mr. and Mrs. Green know. We’re sure they’d be happy to give you a private tour of the premises.