Covered seating and a pool house equipped with a fireplace and steam beach adjoin the glass-tile-inlaid pool at La Fenice.
6019 Avenida Cresta, La Jolla, 92037
Current Owner: Terravista Partners, Ltd.
Listing Price: $9,875,000 to $12,900,000
House Size: 10,000 square feet
“La Fenice,” named after a famed 18th-century Italian theater, is one of the oldest and most elaborately finished mansions in La Jolla. And for the right price, the six-bedroom, eight-bathroom, 10,000-square-foot home sitting just one block off the water in the “pristine and perfectly manicured” Lower Hermosa neighborhood of La Jolla can be yours.
According to the property’s listing materials, the home was designed and built in 1929 by Thomas Shepherd, “a brilliantly acclaimed architect whose masterpieces have continued to be coveted by true collectors of fine homes.”
The house, situated on an 18,000-square-foot lot, wraps around a central courtyard highlighting the pool with glass mosaic tile inlays and overlooked by covered sitting areas. An adjacent pool house features its own fireplace, changing rooms, steam shower, and kitchenette. Professionally landscaped formal gardens, “perfect for entertaining,” cover the rest of the property’s exterior.
The house’s extensive use of marble and wrought iron are evident in its staircase.
Inside, the home has been “completely renovated and expanded from top to bottom,” though many old-world touches remain, such as Venetian leaded glass windows, hand-crafted wrought iron accents and staircase balustrades, and an extensive use of marble and hardwood flooring. The “grand living room” has a 14-foot bay leaded glass window with coat of arms “flanked by glass display niches and an imported marble fireplace,” and many of the ceilings, including the central rotunda, breakfast room, and a sitting room off the master feature custom ornately carved ceilings.
The master suite takes up a significant portion of space, with two separate bathrooms and dressing areas, a living area within the bedroom, and the aforementioned separate sitting room. Four of the five additional bedrooms are also in the traditional style of a master, with en-suite bathrooms.
Updates include the chef’s kitchen and butler’s pantry “that invites a more causal Southern Californian lifestyle and includes Viking, Meile, and Subzero appliances,” as well as marble counters from Calcutta and French tile. There’s a wine cellar with storage for 600 bottles, and an eight-seat private theater. The house also has a Crestron “smart home” system that allows residents to control everything from lights to air conditioning via a smart phone app.
Despite the updates, the home “has been historically designated to allow for the next owner to benefit from the very low property tax!” Indeed, the property is assessed on tax rolls at a value of just under $1.5 million, even though its last recorded sale, to Terravista Partners, Ltd. in 2002, showed a sale price of $3.5 million. That $2 million difference could result in a savings of about $25,000 annually on a property tax bill.
La Fenice was listed for sale in May 2011, with an asking price of $19,900,000, which was later reduced to $14,950,000 by the time the second listing expired in September 2012. It was re-listed again in July, and the sellers currently say they will entertain offers between $9,875,000 and $12,900,000.