John Saladino’s Romantic Stone Villa in Montecito

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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  1. says


    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

  2. says

    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 =-.

  3. says

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

    A trinity not often encountered.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  4. says

    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 .. =-.

  5. says

    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 =-.

  6. Marie says

    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.

  7. says

    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 =-.

  8. says

    (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 =-.

  9. Lizzy says

    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.

  10. Dawn says

    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.

  11. says

    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 .. =-.

  12. Susan S says

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

  13. Jennifer says

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

  14. jeannine520 says

    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.

  15. Cindy says

    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.

  16. Jackie W. says

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

  17. Elisha says

    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!!

  18. E. George says

    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…

  19. Nita says

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

  20. T. says

    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.

  21. says

    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 =-.

  22. Farmeress says

    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!