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$57 million palace hits O.C. market


Photos by Cindy Yamanaka

Villa del Lago, a hilltop estate under construction for the past three years, has officially hit the market as builder and luxury-home agent John McMonigle listed it for sale in the Multiple Listing Service.

The asking price is $57 million, the highest for any home currently for sale in Orange County.

McMonigle has previously publicized the property on his website for several years, listing asking prices as high as $87 million. His staff has said, however, that those prices were interim until the home officially went on the market.

Why $57 million? McMonigle said he determined that estates with acreage generally sell for $2,500 per square foot. Together with the gate house and pool house, the property has nearly 23,000 square feet of living space.

Highlights of the property include (click on photos for larger views):

Lot: 12.5 acres. The lot is a long strip stretching along Pelican Hill Road, across the street from the Pelican Crest gated community in Newport Coast.

House: Three-story, 17,500-square-foot house arrayed with two wings jutting out at angles. It has eight bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, an elevator, very large kitchen-family room (family room alone is over 1,000 square feet), a separate chef’s kitchen, a secretary’s office, an office suite (the office alone is 500 square feet), wine cellar with separate temperature controls for red and white wine, wine-tasting room, gym, home theater, three laundries, maid’s quarters with kitchenette, master suite with his and her bath-closet suites, plus four bedroom suites. The facade features four, three-story-tall marble columns with carved “capitals” at the top. The columns support three arches — each with two, 300-pound keystones at the top. Together with carved lintels, loggia and stone walls, the facade looks like a classical palace. The flooring throughout has inlaid marble and hard wood. Ceilings are made from wood, adorned with gold leaf and stencil.

Subterranean garage: Just under 7,000 square feet big (big enough for 1.5 basketball courts), with epoxy floor and parking spaces for 17 autos. No, a motor home won’t fit down here, but there’s plenty of space for the Winnebago on the grounds. Special feature: A 644-square-foot car salon, equipped with plasma-screen TV’s with room for displaying trophy autos. “It’s kind of a guy’s entertaining area,” McMonigle said. A separate two-car garage just off the kitchen on the first level is convenient for unloading groceries.

Lake: The Villa del Lago (Villa of the Lake) has a one-acre body of water. The upper lake is dammed by boulders, creating a fountain that cascades down the face of the rocks. Jets of water shoot into the air in two places. According to McMonigle, the lake is stocked with large koi, bass and some feeder fish. There’s a small boat dock to which McMonigle plans to tie a Venetian gondola.

Wine cave: A path off to the side of the lake leads to a subterranean wine cave, which McMonigle has stocked with wine barrels.

Vineyard: Covering an acre along the property’s rear slope. It takes about four years to get a vineyard established, McMonigle said, and this is Villa del Lago’s fourth year since the vineyard was planted. “We will actually harvest grapes,” he said. “This will be our first estate wine.”

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