One of Santa Monica's most historic homes - secluded behind antique iron gates with hand-painted ceilings and a secret onyx-walled speakeasy - Villa Ruchello is for sale at $50 million. Built in 1932, Villa Ruchello’s owner, Shane Smith, executive chairman of Vice Media, has poured millions into the mansion to preserve and enhance its Old World craftsmanship while updating the home to today’s standards.
Reminiscent of the best mansions on the French Riviera or Amalfi Coast, Villa Ruchello is nestled behind a three-acre jungle of palm and fruit trees, ferns and lush gardens. It has been the background setting for the film Beverly Hills Cop and Entourage and was once the home for several members of Fleetwood Mac. Mr. Smith's restoration definitely succeeded in capturing a feeling of Hollywood's golden days and immense wealth as he told Mansion Global: “We had a vision of a Chateau Marmont–style escape with the dual ability to throw lavish parties and feel homey and secluded at the same time. A sort of mini-resort with the best poolside living in L.A. and a vista from every window.”
Structures on the estate include the Mediterranean-style mansion with eight bedrooms and two guest houses, a 74-foot pool and pool house with its wood-fired pizza oven surrounded by thick plantings and vines, a cedar soaking tub in its own secret spot, and a bocce ball court. The gardens include an orchard of lemon, lime, orange and avocado trees, herb and vegetables as well as a vineyard. The two guest houses each have two bedrooms. One has meeting rooms and a catering kitchen. Between both guest houses and the main mansion, there are 12 bedrooms and 13 baths – all together measuring a total of 14,000 square feet of living space.
Built during the time of the U.S. ban on alcohol, the main house displays its Spanish/Moroccan design history starting in the open two-story entrance with stairs of Moroccan ceramic tile and white oak. There are formal living and dining rooms with hand-painted beamed ceilings, hand-blown glass chandeliers from Venice, a chef’s kitchen, music room and a master suite with dressing rooms, custom mosaic floors in the bathrooms, a hammam and private patios. Throughout the house are carved mantels, arched doors and large windows. The spacious library holds the house’s secret: behind the books is the onyx-walled speakeasy. There is also a secret staircase that descends to the mansion's wine cellar. More features on the estate include automated sound and lighting, private water wells and carved mantels.
Located in one of L.A.'s most sought-after locations, Santa Monica is well known for its three-mile coastline and ocean views, Muscle Beach, and the historic Santa Monica Pier that is routinely featured in movies and television. Santa Monica is a hot spot for celebrities getting them away from the noise and work-a-day world of Los Angeles, but close enough to the studios for convenience.
Currently the most expensive home in the area, Villa Ruchello is listed by Santiago Arana of The Agency, Beverly Hills.