TMZ is reporting that all-star real estate collectors Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi have added yet another eight-figure purchase to their portfolio, purportedly dropping $26.5M on a farmhouse-cum-villa in Montecito, Calif., recently revamped by famed designer John Saladino. As the story—or brokerbabble, as it were—goes, in 2001, Saladino fell so hard for the "mix of grandeur and modesty" of the house, originally built in the '20s from "local stone quarried onsite," that he bought it up immediately, embarking on a years-long reconstruction and restoration passion project—an undertaking that included, among many luxurious, time-consuming schemes, installing some 14,000 18th-century Italian tiles. Considering Elle Decor revealed in a recent issue that DeGeneres is something of a design obsessive—"I can only change the furniture so much and I get bored, then I need a new structure to work on"—it's not a total shocker that the couple would be drawn to the well-loved and well-pedigreed Saladino Villa.
While the windows, doors, and mechanical systems are all new, the home still boasts old-school touches, with 18th-century Spanish entry gates, a stone motor court, and an antique Venetian statue—in all an aesthetic that seems warmer and more sumptuous than DeGeneres' and de Rossi's antique-filled horse estate, if not quite as sleek as the pad they sold a year ago to Ryan Seacrest for $37M.
Included in the supposed sell? Six bedrooms across 10,000 square feet of living space, plus—deep breath—a guest apartment, nine fireplaces, a stone-walled dining room, a terraced atrium garden, a bathroom with "pale jade marbled walls and a neoclassical antique marble tub," and all manner of Palladian milieu. Plus, let's not forget that "a secret door reveals a two-level office suite with a 21st-century communication center" and that the carpet lawn is bordered by ancient olive trees and "highlighted with a 2,000-year-old Roman column." Oh, and there's ocean views, too.
· Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi drop $26.5M on Astounding Cali Mansion [TMZ]
· Saladino Villa in Montecito, Calif. [Susan Burns]
· John Saladino's restoration work [official site]
· All Ellen DeGeneres coverage [Curbed National]