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Del Mar’s dream house: a Spanish Colonial Revival accented by renowned artist Laird Plumleigh

Nice accommodations for the modern rich person while still retaining a bit of its old-time charm

You know you’ve arrived when you’ve got Plumleigh in your driveway.
You know you’ve arrived when you’ve got Plumleigh in your driveway.

Let’s take a trip to La Casa De Los Sueños, a 1923 Spanish Colonial Revival styled mansion occupying a hilltop plot about a half-mile from the beaches of Del Mar. Is this 6100-square-foot estate, nearly a century old, really the house of our dreams?

“Perched on the highest crest of Olde Del Mar,” the Zillow listing opens, “this singular home is as rich in its extraordinary details, artisanal appointments, construction and finishes as in its heritage... Often referred to as the Jewel of Del Mar, this admired property combines the finest old-world aesthetic with the highest level of modern amenities.”

Wow, that’s quite a lot to take in. But the home does show promise, from the moment “hewn timber gates welcome visitors into the... expansive driveway and car plaza,” where “reclaimed bricks are accented with inlaid ceramics by renowned artist Laird Plumleigh.” A quick side trip to Plumleigh’s website notes his work on public projects, including fountains at the University of San Diego and Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama, along with residential installations for celebrities including Mel Gibson and Barbara Streisand — though it’s unclear whether photos of the latter are readily available online.

Slip ‘n Slide, the extremely upscale version.

On to the house: a “façade of covered balconies and wrought-iron accents” gives way to a foyer leading to a “vaulted forma reception room with coffered ceiling, stone fireplace, and Fortuny chandeliers.” Back to the Google: it looks like these lamps sell for at least $3000 each, and I count two of them in the living, err, reception room alone. The orange ceiling really works to highlight their presence, and also adds a pop of color to the otherwise very neutral-toned space.

Sponsored
Sponsored

From there, we pass into the formal dining room, which “takes full advantage of the elevated ocean view with wall-to-wall restored vintage windows.” It seems like we’re just getting a peek of blue through the Torrey pines and other trees that line the back of the half-acre lot, but this is still a pleasant space.

Next up is a sitting area, with some built-in China cabinets and a hutch that appear to be original. A lot of the wood trim has been painted a muted grayish color. The trim might have lent the home a stronger feel of age and dignity had it been left in its natural state, but there’s nothing we can do about this now.

“Every detail of the kitchen is a feast of the highest-quality appointments, seamlessly blended with authentic sensibility,” the listing promises. There’s an entire laundry list of high-end appliance manufacturers used, and we’re told there are “leathered soapstone and honed Caesarstone countertops” along with a “built-in Spekva walnut cutting board.” But it’s the hammered copper sink, massive hood over the double range, and soccer ball light fixtures that are probably the most visually interesting touches here.

Leaving the kitchen, we’re confronted with a photo of what looks like a very narrow hallway stuffed with wine bottles and leading to a sink at one end with a pair of beer taps dropping into it. This, we’re told, is one of two climate-controlled wine rooms, holding a total of 3000 bottles. Impressive, but I’m more worried about how I’m going to angle a glass into the sink to pull a draft beer.

Never mind, let’s detour outside to the patio and pool, surrounded by “native-inspired landscaping by architect Theresa Clark.” It certainly seems well cultivated, and in addition to some cozy lounge chairs resting on top of the pavers, there’s another pair of stone lounges built into the pool’s beach entry, allowing for not-quite-wet-or-dry sunbathing. Off to the side, there’s what looks like an uncomfortable and short slide into a smaller body of water that might be a spa, but one without any underwater seating. I don’t understand this.

Moving past the pool, there’s another sunken entertainment area, complete with dining set and outdoor kitchen, itself complete with a wood-fired pizza oven and separate fireplace.

Back inside, the main bedroom suite on the second floor has an exposed-wood vaulted ceiling, a fireplace, and huge slider to a deck that offers an even nicer ocean view than the level below. The “hammam-inspired” bath leaves questions – the “authentic Tabarka tilework” is nice, but the shower and freestanding tub are confusing. It looks like there’s a glass wall with a door to get into the shower, but also the tub is in there? It feels like if the tub is freestanding, it shouldn’t be in the shower, meaning there is too much glass here, and also that the door opens awkwardly, and the part of the glass that goes between the tub and vanity looks like it would be hard to clean.

Once we’re out of the bath, a passage “leads to the dual dressing rooms designed with a separate exit for quiet egress.”

There are another five bedrooms, five full baths (one surprisingly including a commercial urinal in the middle of the room, closer to the vanity sink than it is the toilet), and two more half-baths. Plus that second wine room, which looks like it also has an adjacent tasting area. There are a few photos of these in the listing, along with an extra living room with pool table, but we’ve seen enough to conclude this is a fine house that offers nice accommodations to the modern rich person while still retaining a bit of its old-time charm.

Public records indicate La Casa De Los Sueños last sold in 2007 for just over $4 million to Keith and Lynne Valentine – Mr. Valentine amassed his fortune as a CEO in the medical implants field. After nearly a decade and a half off-market, the estate was first offered in late September for $15,950,000, a price that’s already been reduced by $2 million as of this writing.

  • 1420 Crest Road | Del Mar, 92014
  • current owner: Keith and Lynne Valentine | listing price: $13,950,000 | beds: 6 | baths: 8 | house size: 6100
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You know you’ve arrived when you’ve got Plumleigh in your driveway.
You know you’ve arrived when you’ve got Plumleigh in your driveway.

Let’s take a trip to La Casa De Los Sueños, a 1923 Spanish Colonial Revival styled mansion occupying a hilltop plot about a half-mile from the beaches of Del Mar. Is this 6100-square-foot estate, nearly a century old, really the house of our dreams?

“Perched on the highest crest of Olde Del Mar,” the Zillow listing opens, “this singular home is as rich in its extraordinary details, artisanal appointments, construction and finishes as in its heritage... Often referred to as the Jewel of Del Mar, this admired property combines the finest old-world aesthetic with the highest level of modern amenities.”

Wow, that’s quite a lot to take in. But the home does show promise, from the moment “hewn timber gates welcome visitors into the... expansive driveway and car plaza,” where “reclaimed bricks are accented with inlaid ceramics by renowned artist Laird Plumleigh.” A quick side trip to Plumleigh’s website notes his work on public projects, including fountains at the University of San Diego and Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama, along with residential installations for celebrities including Mel Gibson and Barbara Streisand — though it’s unclear whether photos of the latter are readily available online.

Slip ‘n Slide, the extremely upscale version.

On to the house: a “façade of covered balconies and wrought-iron accents” gives way to a foyer leading to a “vaulted forma reception room with coffered ceiling, stone fireplace, and Fortuny chandeliers.” Back to the Google: it looks like these lamps sell for at least $3000 each, and I count two of them in the living, err, reception room alone. The orange ceiling really works to highlight their presence, and also adds a pop of color to the otherwise very neutral-toned space.

Sponsored
Sponsored

From there, we pass into the formal dining room, which “takes full advantage of the elevated ocean view with wall-to-wall restored vintage windows.” It seems like we’re just getting a peek of blue through the Torrey pines and other trees that line the back of the half-acre lot, but this is still a pleasant space.

Next up is a sitting area, with some built-in China cabinets and a hutch that appear to be original. A lot of the wood trim has been painted a muted grayish color. The trim might have lent the home a stronger feel of age and dignity had it been left in its natural state, but there’s nothing we can do about this now.

“Every detail of the kitchen is a feast of the highest-quality appointments, seamlessly blended with authentic sensibility,” the listing promises. There’s an entire laundry list of high-end appliance manufacturers used, and we’re told there are “leathered soapstone and honed Caesarstone countertops” along with a “built-in Spekva walnut cutting board.” But it’s the hammered copper sink, massive hood over the double range, and soccer ball light fixtures that are probably the most visually interesting touches here.

Leaving the kitchen, we’re confronted with a photo of what looks like a very narrow hallway stuffed with wine bottles and leading to a sink at one end with a pair of beer taps dropping into it. This, we’re told, is one of two climate-controlled wine rooms, holding a total of 3000 bottles. Impressive, but I’m more worried about how I’m going to angle a glass into the sink to pull a draft beer.

Never mind, let’s detour outside to the patio and pool, surrounded by “native-inspired landscaping by architect Theresa Clark.” It certainly seems well cultivated, and in addition to some cozy lounge chairs resting on top of the pavers, there’s another pair of stone lounges built into the pool’s beach entry, allowing for not-quite-wet-or-dry sunbathing. Off to the side, there’s what looks like an uncomfortable and short slide into a smaller body of water that might be a spa, but one without any underwater seating. I don’t understand this.

Moving past the pool, there’s another sunken entertainment area, complete with dining set and outdoor kitchen, itself complete with a wood-fired pizza oven and separate fireplace.

Back inside, the main bedroom suite on the second floor has an exposed-wood vaulted ceiling, a fireplace, and huge slider to a deck that offers an even nicer ocean view than the level below. The “hammam-inspired” bath leaves questions – the “authentic Tabarka tilework” is nice, but the shower and freestanding tub are confusing. It looks like there’s a glass wall with a door to get into the shower, but also the tub is in there? It feels like if the tub is freestanding, it shouldn’t be in the shower, meaning there is too much glass here, and also that the door opens awkwardly, and the part of the glass that goes between the tub and vanity looks like it would be hard to clean.

Once we’re out of the bath, a passage “leads to the dual dressing rooms designed with a separate exit for quiet egress.”

There are another five bedrooms, five full baths (one surprisingly including a commercial urinal in the middle of the room, closer to the vanity sink than it is the toilet), and two more half-baths. Plus that second wine room, which looks like it also has an adjacent tasting area. There are a few photos of these in the listing, along with an extra living room with pool table, but we’ve seen enough to conclude this is a fine house that offers nice accommodations to the modern rich person while still retaining a bit of its old-time charm.

Public records indicate La Casa De Los Sueños last sold in 2007 for just over $4 million to Keith and Lynne Valentine – Mr. Valentine amassed his fortune as a CEO in the medical implants field. After nearly a decade and a half off-market, the estate was first offered in late September for $15,950,000, a price that’s already been reduced by $2 million as of this writing.

  • 1420 Crest Road | Del Mar, 92014
  • current owner: Keith and Lynne Valentine | listing price: $13,950,000 | beds: 6 | baths: 8 | house size: 6100
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