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Five million clams for Maureen O'Connor home on Owen Street in Point Loma

Two 100-gallon-water heaters in the basement

“Every home, even if only in a modest way, is a kind of museum,” muses Professor Witold Rybczynski in July’s issue of ever-relevant House Beautiful magazine. And nowhere is this truism truer than on the 2900 block of Owen Street in Point Loma, where our mayor’s former multimillion-dollar “trophy home” is, once again, up for grabs.

Purchased in 1979 by O’ Connor’s extremely spry husband, R.O. Peterson, the 5800-square-foot, four-bedroom Spanish-style house was remodeled with that distinctive Peterson-O’ Connor flair by local architect Bruce Damann. And although the home was subsequently resold in 1987 for $2.1 million – after a discreet but rigorously thorough background check – to Mexican zillionaire Constantino Canelo to serve as a kind of part-time bayside cabana, many traces, even artifacts, of the home’s former owners still remain.

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The very best awaits the visitor in the inside of this veritable Faberge egg of a home. The understated eight-foot-high, electronically monitored stucco wall that surrounds the estate does not so much as hint at the suavely modest luxury that runs rampant throughout the home’s interior. The rustic red-brick drive that leads to the home, and the four-car garage beside it, is guarded by a terra-cotta pair of ferocious-looking Chinese temple dragons — a wonderfully playful architectural reference to the mayor’s longtime mentors and champions, Joan Kroc and Helen Copley.

The personalized nature of the interior’s appointments and redesign make the home a textbook of our mayor’s passions and distractions: O’ Connor’s love of things Russian is a theme Damann carried from room to room in subtle virtuoso fashion. Recalling the kremlins and dachas of Tsarinas of yore, the Owen Street estate boasts no fewer than eight fireplaces, three in the master bedroom alone. The frigid climate of the mayor’s adopted homeland is also echoed in the snow-white marble used on the landing of the stairs leading to the second floor and in the choice of icy, dusky marble in the living room, master bath, and kitchen. The tragic slaughter of the Russian imperial family at the hands of the vodka-sodden Bolsheviks is quietly evoked by the blood-red fabric used on the walls of the downstairs study/den.

On a less somber note, the home’s eclectic amenities are a joyous testament to the lengths conscientious hosts can and will go when planning a redesign around the accommodation of old friends and important guests to their home. The living room offers, on either side of the fireplace, two miniature stages cunningly disguised as alcoves from which, no doubt, on festive eves mayoral pal and veteran actress Mercedes McCambridge regaled the likes of Pete Wilson with monologues culled from her famous roles as Elizabeth Taylor’s jealous sister-in-law in Giant and as the foul-mouthed demon Pazuzu in The Exorcist. The mammoth kitchen with its various stoves, grills ample counter space, expansive pantry, and walk-in fridge is a supremely snack-friendly environment clearly designed with the hale and hearty newspaper heir David Copley in mind. And the basement-sequestered wine cellar, with its 900-bottle capacity, made entertaining thirsty wags like San Diego’s own Neil Morgan a far from imposing task. The solarium, located just off the dining room and kitchen, is where the blue-tiled 60-foot lap pool begins its jaunty trot toward the bay, and its soothing tones, coupled with the friendly burble of the nearby Jacuzzi, make this area yet another haven for the cocktail hour.

After a vigorous nighttime gabfest, our mayor could trundle too-weary guests to the downstairs cedar-lined sauna, then to any one of the three ample upstairs bedrooms, each with its own fully equipped unpretentious bath. And while dear ol’ R.O. dozed contentedly before the master bedroom’s prudent television security monitor (there’s another in the kitchen, and both are connected to four outdoor hidden cameras), and while the servants comfortably snoozed in their two-bedroom, 1100-square-foot quarters above the garage, O’ Connor could repair to the marble tub in the sumptuous master bath. Two 100-gallon-water heaters in the basement guarantee hours of tension-free soaking for even the most highly strung mayor. After lighting a fire in the tub-room’s dainty fireplace to ward off the chill of frosty Point Loma evenings, the mayor, thanks to the room’s spectacular window treatment, could jiggle the mayoral love handles in full view of diners at the Kona Kai, motorists on the Coronado Bridge, yachtsmen at the Yacht Club, and lusty seamen surfacing after a lengthy tour at the nearby submarine base.

Current owner Constantino Canelo is grudgingly bidding a very fond adios to his glamorous getaway home. His children are now older, have left home, and the estate is simply too big for him and his wife – even for breezy San Diego vacations. While casually looking for something smaller in Coronado, the Canelo family is offering the former mayoral mansion at the very scaled-down ‘90s price of $4.95 million. Two full-time caretakers keep an eye on the place, and on a recent weekday afternoon, the husband-and-wife duo greeted a visitor in the David Copley Memorial Kitchen. “This house has so much history,” the husband said. The wife, boiling three small ears of corn on the stove, added, “Yes, the mayor of San Diego used to live here. It’s a wonderful house.” “But,” continued the husband, “we don’t actually live in it. We live in the home above the garage. We’ve got a kitchen and bathroom and a living room. We live just like rich people.”

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“Every home, even if only in a modest way, is a kind of museum,” muses Professor Witold Rybczynski in July’s issue of ever-relevant House Beautiful magazine. And nowhere is this truism truer than on the 2900 block of Owen Street in Point Loma, where our mayor’s former multimillion-dollar “trophy home” is, once again, up for grabs.

Purchased in 1979 by O’ Connor’s extremely spry husband, R.O. Peterson, the 5800-square-foot, four-bedroom Spanish-style house was remodeled with that distinctive Peterson-O’ Connor flair by local architect Bruce Damann. And although the home was subsequently resold in 1987 for $2.1 million – after a discreet but rigorously thorough background check – to Mexican zillionaire Constantino Canelo to serve as a kind of part-time bayside cabana, many traces, even artifacts, of the home’s former owners still remain.

Sponsored
Sponsored

The very best awaits the visitor in the inside of this veritable Faberge egg of a home. The understated eight-foot-high, electronically monitored stucco wall that surrounds the estate does not so much as hint at the suavely modest luxury that runs rampant throughout the home’s interior. The rustic red-brick drive that leads to the home, and the four-car garage beside it, is guarded by a terra-cotta pair of ferocious-looking Chinese temple dragons — a wonderfully playful architectural reference to the mayor’s longtime mentors and champions, Joan Kroc and Helen Copley.

The personalized nature of the interior’s appointments and redesign make the home a textbook of our mayor’s passions and distractions: O’ Connor’s love of things Russian is a theme Damann carried from room to room in subtle virtuoso fashion. Recalling the kremlins and dachas of Tsarinas of yore, the Owen Street estate boasts no fewer than eight fireplaces, three in the master bedroom alone. The frigid climate of the mayor’s adopted homeland is also echoed in the snow-white marble used on the landing of the stairs leading to the second floor and in the choice of icy, dusky marble in the living room, master bath, and kitchen. The tragic slaughter of the Russian imperial family at the hands of the vodka-sodden Bolsheviks is quietly evoked by the blood-red fabric used on the walls of the downstairs study/den.

On a less somber note, the home’s eclectic amenities are a joyous testament to the lengths conscientious hosts can and will go when planning a redesign around the accommodation of old friends and important guests to their home. The living room offers, on either side of the fireplace, two miniature stages cunningly disguised as alcoves from which, no doubt, on festive eves mayoral pal and veteran actress Mercedes McCambridge regaled the likes of Pete Wilson with monologues culled from her famous roles as Elizabeth Taylor’s jealous sister-in-law in Giant and as the foul-mouthed demon Pazuzu in The Exorcist. The mammoth kitchen with its various stoves, grills ample counter space, expansive pantry, and walk-in fridge is a supremely snack-friendly environment clearly designed with the hale and hearty newspaper heir David Copley in mind. And the basement-sequestered wine cellar, with its 900-bottle capacity, made entertaining thirsty wags like San Diego’s own Neil Morgan a far from imposing task. The solarium, located just off the dining room and kitchen, is where the blue-tiled 60-foot lap pool begins its jaunty trot toward the bay, and its soothing tones, coupled with the friendly burble of the nearby Jacuzzi, make this area yet another haven for the cocktail hour.

After a vigorous nighttime gabfest, our mayor could trundle too-weary guests to the downstairs cedar-lined sauna, then to any one of the three ample upstairs bedrooms, each with its own fully equipped unpretentious bath. And while dear ol’ R.O. dozed contentedly before the master bedroom’s prudent television security monitor (there’s another in the kitchen, and both are connected to four outdoor hidden cameras), and while the servants comfortably snoozed in their two-bedroom, 1100-square-foot quarters above the garage, O’ Connor could repair to the marble tub in the sumptuous master bath. Two 100-gallon-water heaters in the basement guarantee hours of tension-free soaking for even the most highly strung mayor. After lighting a fire in the tub-room’s dainty fireplace to ward off the chill of frosty Point Loma evenings, the mayor, thanks to the room’s spectacular window treatment, could jiggle the mayoral love handles in full view of diners at the Kona Kai, motorists on the Coronado Bridge, yachtsmen at the Yacht Club, and lusty seamen surfacing after a lengthy tour at the nearby submarine base.

Current owner Constantino Canelo is grudgingly bidding a very fond adios to his glamorous getaway home. His children are now older, have left home, and the estate is simply too big for him and his wife – even for breezy San Diego vacations. While casually looking for something smaller in Coronado, the Canelo family is offering the former mayoral mansion at the very scaled-down ‘90s price of $4.95 million. Two full-time caretakers keep an eye on the place, and on a recent weekday afternoon, the husband-and-wife duo greeted a visitor in the David Copley Memorial Kitchen. “This house has so much history,” the husband said. The wife, boiling three small ears of corn on the stove, added, “Yes, the mayor of San Diego used to live here. It’s a wonderful house.” “But,” continued the husband, “we don’t actually live in it. We live in the home above the garage. We’ve got a kitchen and bathroom and a living room. We live just like rich people.”

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