Eric Schmidt, the veteran tech executive primarily known as Google’s longest-serving CEO, is the previously unidentified buyer who paid a whopping $30.8 million for the so-called Villa Solana, a palatial historic estate in the foothills of Santa Barbara.
Perched on an 11-acre promontory overlooking the sea, the sprawling complex ranks as one of Santa Barbara’s oldest and grandest grand dames. The main house was originally built in 1915 for prominent apparel businessman Frederick Forrest Peabody, before it passed to a series of non-famous owners. From the late 1950s until the late ’70s, the estate served as the headquarters for well-known think tank Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, entertaining guests such as John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 1999, the then-bedraggled property was sold for $5.25 million to Amway executive Bill Nicholson and his wife Sandi. The couple subsequently spent an enormous amount of money — as much as $20 million, they’ve previously claimed — restoring the faded lady to her former residential glory. Today, the property looks more akin to a bonafide palace on the French Riviera than the slightly more plebeian mansions typically associated with California.
Privately situated at the very end of a discreet cul-de-sac, Solana offers two separate gated driveways, one a glamorous formal entrance for guests and the homeowners, the other a more modest hidden drive for staff and vendors.
At-home amenities are essentially limitless and include such necessities as a beauty parlor, 20 bathrooms, a fitness center, antique chandeliers, formal library, and a wine room. Outside, the manicured grounds include numerous loggias, formal gardens, a turtle pond, swimming pool, and more than 500 rose bushes. …Variety, 9/2020
Sold for $30,800,000 September 2020
22,729 square feet, 7 bedrooms, 20 bathrooms