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A Fairbanks Ranch Villa with a glass-tile swimming pool inspired by the Hearst Castle

Remarkably, “masterpiece” shows up just twice.

Never mind curb appeal; what really matters is shore appeal.
Never mind curb appeal; what really matters is shore appeal.

The spectrum of writing quality in the real estate world, in terms of both quality and density, is, to put it gently, broad. Some agents let the photos in their listings speak mostly for themselves; others will craft a narrative around a handful of selling points and unique features; a few go as far as attempting to shoehorn a sort of novella into the comments section accompanying the bed/bath count and list of amenities.

Today we’re going to look at one of the latter creations. Join us as we “embark on an unparalleled living experience at 17176 Calle Serena — a sophisticated Villa seamlessly blending modern luxury with international allure.” That’s the opening salvo of the Zillow pitch. We’re going to encounter that descriptor, “unparalleled luxury,” a total of three times. We’ll also get three uses of “sophisticated,” and three more references to “seamless” living. Remarkably, “masterpiece” shows up just twice.

To be fair, this does seem like a house worthy of these terms of endearment. Constructed in 2021 and sitting on the shore of one of two manmade lakes in the Fairbanks Ranch community adjacent to Rancho Santa Fe, the home features five bedrooms and seven baths sprawling across more than 11,000 square feet of living area.

“This newer construction masterpiece offers a lock-and-go lifestyle,” the listing continues. This is a new term for me, but Google suggests that it refers to low-maintenance landscaping and other features that would allow an owner to simply lock up and leave for weeks or months of leisure travel without much worrying about the house and grounds falling into disrepair.

The seller wants you to see this cellar.

Our tour begins with an aerial shot of the backyard, featuring “a BBQ island, pool deck inspired by Versailles’ inner courtyard, and glass-tile swimming pool inspired by the Hearst Castle outdoor pool, all adorned with hand-carved marble features,” along with a small private dock for mooring a rowboat or simply enjoying “serene moments by the water.” From there we move to the front entry, passing through “wrought iron entry gates inspired by Elms in Newport, Rhode Island” to a cobblestone driveway flanked by a fountain featuring a cherub stabbing a fish in the head with a trident.

We next stop off at the small dock for a view across the lake, pause and take a peek at the outdoor kitchen, and peer at a detailed shot of the pool tile before heading inside to the living room. I like the raw wood on the French doors and the exposed ceiling beams (apparently reclaimed from a 19th century barn in Virginia). But I’m confused by the set of chairs facing one another with a giant fake plant on the table between them: who is going to sit down for a chat with that thing in the way? Staging is a strange business sometimes.

Before moving on, let’s take a moment to hear about some of the features included in the listing in order to make this house sound special. “Throughout the home, high ceilings, Siberian larch windows, hand-distressed solid wood floors, and hand-carved marble arches create an atmosphere of timeless luxury. Italian marble countertops, hand-cut crystal chandeliers, and solid mahogany doors further enhance the opulence.” Siberian larch!

Now we’re headed down to the lower level. I believe you enter the home on the second of three stories, and can head up or down from there. Down takes us to the pool level, where we’ve got another living area with one of those retractable walls opening to a patio and an unstocked bar in the background. The photo tour seems to jump around a bit, so I’m trying to piece things together as we go.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Our next stop is the “European-style chef’s kitchen” that “features a lake view, a 5-burner La Cornue stovetop, Miele appliances, and Bosch dishwashers.” It’s sufficiently fancy for a house like this, and I appreciate the way the blue center island and range bring a little color to the otherwise all-white affair.

After a stop in the dining room — which is “adorned with unique floor design” and “seamlessly connects to the gourmet chef’s kitchen” — we see another shot of the empty bar before entering the wine cellar, “a masterpiece in itself” that “holds approximately 2000 bottles and features reclaimed brick 1920s, hand-distressed Jerusalem stone, and custom mahogany racks.” The brick is nice, but I’m not sure how one would go about hand-distressing stone.

Moving on: “Entertainment options abound, with a nine-seat theater strategically located near the game room, bar, and wine cellar, all designed for easy access to the swimming pool and BBQ area,” the listing continues, and we quickly peek at a room with a pool table and another bare bar before glancing at the strategically located theater. Then it’s on to the office, which “exudes elegance with a 19th-century French antique mantel, intricate built-ins, a coffered ceiling, and water jet-cut walnut and maple floors.” It’s fun to think of what excellent work I would accomplish in such a space.

Now we’re finally headed up to the top level, stopping to admire the staircase and upstairs landing before heading into the primary suite. “The main bedroom and spa-like bath provide expansive lake views and luxurious features, including a glass-walled shower/sauna, Italian marble shower with rain showerhead and body sprays, solid brass Italian Rohl hardware, and a true Scandinavian sauna crafted from Nordic Spruce with Finleo heater.” It’s not mentioned, but there’s also a walk-in closet that, by itself, is larger than most en-suite bedrooms.

Here at the end of our tour, we at last arrive at the foyer. “Upon entering through the beautiful solid mahogany front door, an impressive 24-foot-high groin ceiling welcomes you, complemented by custom-designed water-jet white and gray marble floors featuring blue lapis accents.” I have to admit, water jets or no, this is a good floor.

We leave the house with a shot of a red Ferrarri in the driveway (I don’t think it’s included with the sale), and then take a quick look at some of the luxuries your $890 monthly HOA dues buy, including “a range of amenities such as a clubhouse, world-class equestrian center, walking trails, tennis courts, twin lakes, parks, fitness courses, and security.”

The listing concludes, “This exclusive sanctuary beckons those with a discerning taste for the extraordinary. Elevate your lifestyle by seizing the rare opportunity to make 17176 Calle Serena your haven. Every detail reflects refined living at its pinnacle. Discover the epitome of sophistication and year-round activities in this captivating residence . . . Your dream home beckons – answer the call to a life of unparalleled luxury.”

Public records list a Sacramento-based LLC as the Calle Serena mansion’s current owner, ithe property last sold on the open market for a reported $2.45 million, back when the lot hosted a 1991-built home badly in need of updating (or, in this case, demolition). Originally listed in late 2022 for $12,495,000, the price has been reduced to $11,295,000, but even at that price, it’s still looking for a buyer after eight months.

17176 Calle Serena | Rancho Santa Fe, 92067

Current owner: Fairbanks 442 LLC | Listing price: $11,295,000 | Beds: 5 | Baths: 7 | House size: 11,000+ sq ft

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Never mind curb appeal; what really matters is shore appeal.
Never mind curb appeal; what really matters is shore appeal.

The spectrum of writing quality in the real estate world, in terms of both quality and density, is, to put it gently, broad. Some agents let the photos in their listings speak mostly for themselves; others will craft a narrative around a handful of selling points and unique features; a few go as far as attempting to shoehorn a sort of novella into the comments section accompanying the bed/bath count and list of amenities.

Today we’re going to look at one of the latter creations. Join us as we “embark on an unparalleled living experience at 17176 Calle Serena — a sophisticated Villa seamlessly blending modern luxury with international allure.” That’s the opening salvo of the Zillow pitch. We’re going to encounter that descriptor, “unparalleled luxury,” a total of three times. We’ll also get three uses of “sophisticated,” and three more references to “seamless” living. Remarkably, “masterpiece” shows up just twice.

To be fair, this does seem like a house worthy of these terms of endearment. Constructed in 2021 and sitting on the shore of one of two manmade lakes in the Fairbanks Ranch community adjacent to Rancho Santa Fe, the home features five bedrooms and seven baths sprawling across more than 11,000 square feet of living area.

“This newer construction masterpiece offers a lock-and-go lifestyle,” the listing continues. This is a new term for me, but Google suggests that it refers to low-maintenance landscaping and other features that would allow an owner to simply lock up and leave for weeks or months of leisure travel without much worrying about the house and grounds falling into disrepair.

The seller wants you to see this cellar.

Our tour begins with an aerial shot of the backyard, featuring “a BBQ island, pool deck inspired by Versailles’ inner courtyard, and glass-tile swimming pool inspired by the Hearst Castle outdoor pool, all adorned with hand-carved marble features,” along with a small private dock for mooring a rowboat or simply enjoying “serene moments by the water.” From there we move to the front entry, passing through “wrought iron entry gates inspired by Elms in Newport, Rhode Island” to a cobblestone driveway flanked by a fountain featuring a cherub stabbing a fish in the head with a trident.

We next stop off at the small dock for a view across the lake, pause and take a peek at the outdoor kitchen, and peer at a detailed shot of the pool tile before heading inside to the living room. I like the raw wood on the French doors and the exposed ceiling beams (apparently reclaimed from a 19th century barn in Virginia). But I’m confused by the set of chairs facing one another with a giant fake plant on the table between them: who is going to sit down for a chat with that thing in the way? Staging is a strange business sometimes.

Before moving on, let’s take a moment to hear about some of the features included in the listing in order to make this house sound special. “Throughout the home, high ceilings, Siberian larch windows, hand-distressed solid wood floors, and hand-carved marble arches create an atmosphere of timeless luxury. Italian marble countertops, hand-cut crystal chandeliers, and solid mahogany doors further enhance the opulence.” Siberian larch!

Now we’re headed down to the lower level. I believe you enter the home on the second of three stories, and can head up or down from there. Down takes us to the pool level, where we’ve got another living area with one of those retractable walls opening to a patio and an unstocked bar in the background. The photo tour seems to jump around a bit, so I’m trying to piece things together as we go.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Our next stop is the “European-style chef’s kitchen” that “features a lake view, a 5-burner La Cornue stovetop, Miele appliances, and Bosch dishwashers.” It’s sufficiently fancy for a house like this, and I appreciate the way the blue center island and range bring a little color to the otherwise all-white affair.

After a stop in the dining room — which is “adorned with unique floor design” and “seamlessly connects to the gourmet chef’s kitchen” — we see another shot of the empty bar before entering the wine cellar, “a masterpiece in itself” that “holds approximately 2000 bottles and features reclaimed brick 1920s, hand-distressed Jerusalem stone, and custom mahogany racks.” The brick is nice, but I’m not sure how one would go about hand-distressing stone.

Moving on: “Entertainment options abound, with a nine-seat theater strategically located near the game room, bar, and wine cellar, all designed for easy access to the swimming pool and BBQ area,” the listing continues, and we quickly peek at a room with a pool table and another bare bar before glancing at the strategically located theater. Then it’s on to the office, which “exudes elegance with a 19th-century French antique mantel, intricate built-ins, a coffered ceiling, and water jet-cut walnut and maple floors.” It’s fun to think of what excellent work I would accomplish in such a space.

Now we’re finally headed up to the top level, stopping to admire the staircase and upstairs landing before heading into the primary suite. “The main bedroom and spa-like bath provide expansive lake views and luxurious features, including a glass-walled shower/sauna, Italian marble shower with rain showerhead and body sprays, solid brass Italian Rohl hardware, and a true Scandinavian sauna crafted from Nordic Spruce with Finleo heater.” It’s not mentioned, but there’s also a walk-in closet that, by itself, is larger than most en-suite bedrooms.

Here at the end of our tour, we at last arrive at the foyer. “Upon entering through the beautiful solid mahogany front door, an impressive 24-foot-high groin ceiling welcomes you, complemented by custom-designed water-jet white and gray marble floors featuring blue lapis accents.” I have to admit, water jets or no, this is a good floor.

We leave the house with a shot of a red Ferrarri in the driveway (I don’t think it’s included with the sale), and then take a quick look at some of the luxuries your $890 monthly HOA dues buy, including “a range of amenities such as a clubhouse, world-class equestrian center, walking trails, tennis courts, twin lakes, parks, fitness courses, and security.”

The listing concludes, “This exclusive sanctuary beckons those with a discerning taste for the extraordinary. Elevate your lifestyle by seizing the rare opportunity to make 17176 Calle Serena your haven. Every detail reflects refined living at its pinnacle. Discover the epitome of sophistication and year-round activities in this captivating residence . . . Your dream home beckons – answer the call to a life of unparalleled luxury.”

Public records list a Sacramento-based LLC as the Calle Serena mansion’s current owner, ithe property last sold on the open market for a reported $2.45 million, back when the lot hosted a 1991-built home badly in need of updating (or, in this case, demolition). Originally listed in late 2022 for $12,495,000, the price has been reduced to $11,295,000, but even at that price, it’s still looking for a buyer after eight months.

17176 Calle Serena | Rancho Santa Fe, 92067

Current owner: Fairbanks 442 LLC | Listing price: $11,295,000 | Beds: 5 | Baths: 7 | House size: 11,000+ sq ft

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