Nestled into the side of Mt. Soledad about a half-mile from the coast in what listing materials describe as “the Hollywood Hills of La Jolla” sits the residence dubbed “Essencia.” With six bedrooms and seven bathrooms spread across 9200 square feet of indoor living space, the 2006-built estate home “captures the stunning grandeur of modern organic architecture.”
In addition to “280-degree unobstructed views of the coastline and the village of La Jolla,” the home features luxury amenities designed around the stylings of renowned British furniture designer Christopher Guy.
The “grand front entry” is appointed with “handcrafted, copper clad doors” leading to a “dramatic split-level family room with sculpted ceiling,” formal living room with a “handsome fireplace” (one of four throughout the estate), and a “gourmet center-island kitchen with commercial grade appliances.”
The master bedroom suite contains a 450-square-foot bedroom, private balcony, sitting area, and “spacious walk-in closets,” which are also advertised as a feature in each of the home’s other five en-suite bedrooms.
Other rooms include an ocean-view dining room with seating for eight or more, a “distinctive wine cellar with integrated tasting alcove,” and a “spectacular home theater with private balcony, game room, and wet bar.” Luxury appointments include “state of the art, one-touch Crestron smart home automation systems,” hand rails featuring custom lighting in stairwells, “low-profile, fully monitored security cameras throughout,” ceilings with “soaring volumes and soffitted exotic wood” to go with eight-foot interior doors made of mahogany with “custom, inlaid glass panels,” and a multi-zone climate control system with “hidden, in-wall sensors.”
Bringing the outside in, “retractable curvilinear glass walls” open to the pool deck from many of the common rooms. There, visitors encounter a “rare, saltwater, vanishing-edge pool and spa with customized Spectra lighting” along with an outdoor kitchen with built-in barbecue facilities and a poolside wet bar.
The listing plays up the involvement of Concepto Design Group International, billed as “an award-winning San Diego-based architecture, planning and development firm noted for its signature style of sweeping lines and flowing curves. The firm’s approach to space design has been called ‘evolutionary, organic architecture’ by some of the industry’s most prestigious critics, and has been featured in several regional and national publications.”
Prior to the housing crash and ensuing recession, this seems to have been the case, with Concepto receiving accolades from regional lifestyle magazines. In more recent years, the group has fallen on harder times — a home on Plum Street in Point Loma sat unfinished for years before falling into foreclosure, eventually netting a handful of misdemeanor charges for Concepto principal Francisco Mendiola.
La Jolla’s “Essencia” suffered a similar fate — the property appears to have bounced between a series of investor-owners since it was built, with ten documents related to foreclosure proceedings having been filed against the property between 2008 and 2014. Today the owner is listed only as “7455 Note LLC,” alluding to the property’s address at 7455 Hillside Drive.
A handful of attempts have been made to sell the property, none publicly successful. In 2007 a listing at $18-20 million failed to attract a buyer, same with a 2008 attempt that ranged from $19.5 down to $14.95 million. A six-month stint on the market for $17.9 million in late 2015 did not result in a sale, nor did 2016 attempts at $16,750,000 and $14,600,000. An attempt to rent the mansion for $20,000 per month also met no takers.
The property sat off-market for more than a year before it was re-listed in April, this time carrying an asking price of $14,500,000, the lowest reported to date.