John Saladino’s Romantic Stone Villa in Montecito

by hookedonhouses on November 10, 2010

John Saladino's villa in Montecito

As you know, I love searching through real estate listings. I spend hours each week on my hobby, and it’s one of the reasons I started this blog. If I share my findings with you, then it justifies all the time I spend on them, right?

So I was clicking around in the California real estate listings and stumbled across this gorgeous property in Montecito for $24.5 million. Turns out it’s the amazing stone villa owned by designer John Saladino.

Designer John Saladino

It was built in 1928 by architect Wallace Frost, but by the time Saladino bought it in 2001, it was, as Veranda described it, “a romantic ruin.” He says, “Part of the immediate appeal of the house was its mix of grandeur and modesty.” He spent four years restoring it and making it beautiful again.

Saladino Villa book cover

He even wrote a book called Villa about his love affair with the house. Veranda magazine proclaimed it “a master class in interior, architectural and garden design,” and “One of the best design books of 2009–or any year.”

Villa Saladino-living room

Now he’s selling his villa and moving on. The listing notes that the house has 14,000 Italian tiles that date to the 18th century. I wonder whose job it was to count them all?

Villa Saladino-dining room

The kitchen looks surprisingly modern:

Villa Saladino-kitchen

A secret door leads to this two-story office suite (some days I wish the door to my office was hidden!):

Villa Saladino-office

The house has 6 bedrooms, 6 baths, and 2 half baths.

Villa Saladino-bedroom

Despite the grand price tag, I think the house looks warm and comfortable, like you could really live here (and boy, I’d like to try!).

Villa Saladino-sitting room

The villa has 10,000 square feet.

Villa Saladino-outside hallway

The grounds are amazing. The house sits on 13 acres, all beautifully landscaped with things like “vine-covered pergolas” and “a 2,000-year old Roman column.” Oh, and did I mention there’s a view of the Pacific Ocean from here?

Villa Saladino-patio

For more information and photos, go to Village Properties (it’s the house on Hidden Valley Lane). For more information about John Saladino and his book, visit his website. You can see the article Veranda wrote about the villa, which includes more photos, here.

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Luciane at November 10, 2010 at 8:01 am


You’re my cyber soul-mate! LOL I am just like that! I spend hours looking on Real Estate listing all over the world. I love it and I get so inspired by all the interesting houses you can find. It’s fun, isn’t? Maybe we should become realtors?? lol

I love John Saladino’s house. It’s a dream! An expensive one, but it’s is a dream! Wow… but again, what else to expect from him? He’s totally my style… I love to find designers that are truly gifted, not just because the media says they’re good, but they really are in fact.

Talking about celebrity houses… I post today about JESSICA ALBA’S HOUSE! She’s trying to rent it, furnished! You gotta go take a look at my blog. I am so curious what you’ll think about her house.


Luciane at

Carmen @ Life with Sprinkles on Top November 10, 2010 at 8:15 am

This home is breathtaking. I could definitely live here (even though normally this isn’t my style). I don’t like the kitchen that much though. I don’t think it “goes” with the house. Otherwise, everything else is beautiful.
.-= Carmen @ Life with Sprinkles on Top´s last blog ..Preparations =-.

Tara Dillard November 10, 2010 at 8:15 am

John Saladino is a master at interiors, architecture, AND, landscapes.

A trinity not often encountered.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Miz Booshay November 10, 2010 at 8:19 am

I swear I am going to tear out all of the top cabinets in my kitchen some day.
I love that look.
.-= Miz Booshay´s last blog .. =-.

Nichole November 10, 2010 at 8:53 am

I’ve never wanted to live in Cali. But every time I see a house like this, I swoon. I think this style of house would be my dream house, if price were no object.
.-= Nichole´s last blog ..Winterize =-.

Marie November 10, 2010 at 9:09 am

Julia – Thank you for the photo of the bedroom. I love the green upholstered headboard. It looks like a piece of plywood that was covered in fabric and then propped up against the wall. How easy is that? I am definitely going to do something similar in my Master Bedroom and one of my children’s bedrooms.

Cole November 10, 2010 at 9:15 am

Nice, but the interior seems somewhat dark.
.-= Cole´s last blog ..5-600-000 – Riverside- CT =-.

Pat November 10, 2010 at 9:16 am

I think I like the exterior more then the interior! Both are lovely, but that view…oh my! I often wonder why people like this sell the “home of their dreams”. Is it the opportunity to make more money? Can they no longer afford what they’ve created, which I doubt. Just wondering….
.-= Pat´s last blog ..The meaning in words =-.

Karena November 10, 2010 at 9:17 am

Julia, John Saladino is the best of the best. It is all superb….in love with the entire property!
Art by Karena
.-= Karena´s last blog ..Empress of the Eye Giveaway! =-.

Audrey November 10, 2010 at 9:41 am

Maybe I’m crazy, but to me it feels cold……

Dean November 10, 2010 at 9:52 am

Beautiful inside and out. And I love the kitchen.

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints November 10, 2010 at 9:56 am

Absolutely gorgeous. I always wonder why in the world anyone would leave something like that.
.-= Becky @ Farmgirl Paints´s last blog ..The peeps project =-.

Deb November 10, 2010 at 10:00 am

(Apparently I have Harry Potter on the brain because that villa, with all it’s stone and warm furnishings, reminds me of Hogwarts Castle). How could anyone leave that gorgeous place?
.-= Deb´s last blog ..Fiesta =-.

Lizzy November 10, 2010 at 10:24 am

Not my usual style choice, and I’m not sure I’d want to BUY it… but i would LOVE to vacation in it.

Except the kitchen. I feel like that just doesn’t go with the rest at all… but there is an interesting “tension” between the old and the modern.

Dawn November 10, 2010 at 10:54 am

The kitchen feels too cold and modern to me.

I usually store my dishes and glasses in the upper cabinets. I wonder where he puts his. It’s a huge kitchen so I’m sure he has room for them somewhere.

I like the other rooms even though they are dark, and I prefer bright, sunny spaces.

Other than the kitchen, the rooms are beautiful and feel cozy and warm, which is often lost in mansions that look like a museum. This one looks more like a home inside than a museum – albeit a large and expensive one.

Kristen November 10, 2010 at 10:56 am

If I could afford this house I would buy it in a heartbeat! Everything is just wonderful…..stunning! I need to go buy a lottery ticket! LOL
.-= Kristen´s last blog .. =-.

Susan S November 10, 2010 at 11:14 am

It’s stunning. I noticed he added skylights to lighten things up. I love the dining room! The outdoor patio and terrace are breathtaking.

Lisa Borowski November 10, 2010 at 11:21 am


Amanda @ Serenity Now November 10, 2010 at 11:59 am

That first photo looks like something straight out of a movie. Breath taking. Sounds like this home has it all…oh, for an ocean view! :)
.-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..The Soup Nazi =-.

Jennifer November 10, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I have the book and its absolutely amazing!! I love his homes he decorates..Interior and style!

Gina W. November 10, 2010 at 3:06 pm


jeannine520 November 10, 2010 at 3:22 pm

It’s gorgeous and I’d love to live there except for that one little problem of it being about 20 times my budget. Darn.

Cindy November 10, 2010 at 3:41 pm

I would live there. But then, I would live in any of the beautiful gorgeous places you show us Julia, no matter what the style. That’s what I want to do with my life. Go around living in beautiful gorgeous homes.

Kim November 10, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Nice house! Not my style though.

Holley November 10, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Gorgeous! Let’s take up a collection and we could all live there right?
.-= Holley´s last blog ..Everything is new =-.

Jackie W. November 10, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Do you think if I start calling my house a villa it will grow into one ?

Heather November 10, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Pardon my drool! That first picture looks like something out of a dream. It’s almost too beautiful to be real.
.-= Heather´s last blog ..Etsy Shop Now Open =-.

Ban Clothing November 10, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I expected this house to look ‘cold’ because of all the stone. The design has captures the warmth and coziness in a way I didn’t think was possible.
.-= Ban Clothing´s last blog ..Lululemon Jacket Pattern =-.

Juju at Tales of November 10, 2010 at 7:47 pm

What a magical place!
.-= Juju at Tales of´s last blog ..Christian Fiction Sunday- Free Read =-.

Janet November 10, 2010 at 8:49 pm

OMG! Love!
.-= Janet´s last blog ..I Need Some Decor Inspiration! =-.

Elisha November 10, 2010 at 8:55 pm

It’s truly stunning. The beamed ceilings are amazing! What must it be like to create your dream house like that? Especially a dream THAT STUNNING. My first thought would be, “how could you walk away from a house like that?”, but I know that my house dreams (and there are many) are varied and it would be great to be able to do more than one dream house.

I’m with you on the real estate listings. I’m obsessed, can’t be stopped. And now that everything is online I spend hours looking at listing all over the world. It’s awesome!!

E. George November 10, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Hi Julia my daughter brought back from the States 2 property mags. and this house was in one of them but only that first picture so thanks to you I got to see the rest. I think its beautiful outside and in. Regards Esther from Sydney…

Tricia Rose November 10, 2010 at 10:31 pm

I love this house – not at all pretentious but grand! I could adjust!

John Saladino is a master.

Bre November 10, 2010 at 10:33 pm

This house, excuse me, villa is simply stunning. It really looks homey and welcoming in spite of its grandeur. Gorgeous, what a fantastic find.
.-= Bre´s last blog ..Q &amp A with BB- Lady in Red =-.

Nita November 11, 2010 at 12:46 am

It’s okay. Just okay. I like the skylight over the bed, but it needs to be bigger and multi-paned.

T. November 11, 2010 at 9:40 am

I don’t know. With all those stone walls and the exposed beams in the ceilings, I think I’d feel like I was living in an unfinished basement.

Ashley November 11, 2010 at 11:51 am

Julia, that is quite the real estate find! If I knew better where to search for great real estate listings… I think I’d never leave the computer. I understand how you spend hours looking for these beauties.

I love this house (mansion)! I also love how you mentioned the view of the ocean as if you were telling someone there’s a powder room right around the corner. “No big deal… but you can see the ocean from our yard”.

:) do you ever find any really great houses for low prices… that would be fun to see.
.-= Ashley´s last blog ..One Year =-.

Farmeress November 30, 2010 at 9:42 am

Love the house! Decor suggests real people come and are welcome here for talk, drinks & munchies, whatever. The numbers of pull-up chairs tells me this, Some big, but they are comfy and “positionable” the kind that encourage more people chat, flow & opinions. We have lots of company and know the room with the pull up chairs & movable ottomans (there is a stationery sofa & we easily add a wicker settee from the foyer when needed) always attracts the most people, best conversations and the most comfy stay-late friends. People friendly environment in your featured house is abundant. Not JUST picture perfect, though to my eye it is….maybe not the kitchen I would have chosen, but it looks like a great one to work in!

Maaike Quinn December 1, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I love the bedroom, the garden (that little alley is great!) and the two-story office suite. The kitchen seems out of character though.
.-= Maaike Quinn´s last blog ..Day 8 – Get a 3 ring binder and put paper in it =-.

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