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Inside Ellen DeGeneres' Montecito Villa

Konstantin Sheiko
March 20, 2018

Having grown into a nationwide celebrity in the United States, Ellen Degeneres's earnings have sky rocketed along with her audience. Now pulling $77 million per year, the tv show host has cut the price on her Montecito mansion down to $39.5 million.

Ellen DeGeneres is also known as “high-end house-flipper extraordinaire. The TV star/host buys and sells multi-million dollar homes on the regular, seven in the last ten years by one count, or 15 in the last 25 by another.  According to Ellen, “The first thing I did when I made money was buy a house”. And she has not slowed down since - buying, decorating and selling properties that have been featured in design magazines and a book of her own, the 2015 release Home.   

As of late, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi are marking down the price of their stunning Montecito estate. Listed in March 2017 for a hefty $45 million, the enormous property has not yet found a buyer, and that price has dropped down to $39.5 million. Located in the more than just well to do area of Montecito - as well as former talk show titan Oprah, their neighbours include Al Gore and Rob Lowe - the property is an exquisite example of rustic yet refined living.  

The 10,500-square-foot home sits on nearly 17 acres with dense vegetation and views of the ocean, featuring classical, Old World details reminiscent of 17th century Italian villas like a barrel-tiled roof, terracotta surfaces, and wide-plank hardwood floors. The home is surrounded by trees, and features excellent views of the ocean and nearby mountains. It is accessed via a one-quarter-mile drive. Prominently featured in Ellen’s book Home, the Villa, as it is known, was constructed in 1934 by architect Wallace Frost as his personal residence. 

Many years later, acclaimed interior designer John Saladino undertook an extensive five-year restoration of the property for his personal use. This house was idyllic enough that DeGeneres at one point considered hanging onto it, writing as much in her 2015 book, and describing the property as their 'forever' home.  

DeGeneres and de Rossi purchased it in 2013 for $26.5 million and began updating it to resell. Later on they acquired two adjacent properties to expand the estate to 16.88 acres. They made modernising renovations and built a range of luxurious amenities, including an indoor-outdoor entertaining pavilion known as Jordan Hall.

Features an infinity swimming pool, a sunken tennis court, and Japanese soaking tub, among other incredible amenities. With grounds landscaped with mature olive and eucalyptus trees, aromatic plantings, and colourful gardens, and additionally decorated with fountains, statuary, and sculptures, the Montecito retreat is one-of-a-kind.  

Inside, the house has six bedrooms and six bathrooms, along with a formal dining room, a media room, multiple libraries, a total of nine fireplaces and a guest annex. Features include stone walls, beamed ceilings, and Italian tile floors.  

Even with the price drop, the house would be one of the priciest sales that the prolific home-flippers have made. In 2012, DeGeneres and de Rossi sold a Coldwater Canyon property to Ryan Seacrest for $37.5 million. In 2014, they topped that transaction, selling an A. Quincy Jones-designed home to Napster founder Sean Parker for $55 million. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Santa Barbara County, the couple last month dropped $18.6 million on a beachfront mansion in Carpinteria.

Now 60 years old, Ellen DeGeneres was born in 1958 in Louisiana. Starting her stand up comedy career in the 1980s, she rapidly began to tour nationally. In turn, this spun off other opportunities for Ellen, such as starring in a film alongside Bill Nye shown in Walt Disney's Epcot centre.

Starring in the hit sitcom Ellen, originally known as These Friends of Mine in the 1990s, she returned to stand up comedy for several years in the early 2000s. In 2003, Ellen started her now famous talk show, which earned her 25 Emmy Awards during its 3 first seasons alone. 

Still racking in the bulk of her $400 million net worth, her TV show has become one of the most viewed on television. The show has since expanded to licensing with shoes, accessories and home items as well as iPhone apps sold under the Ellen brand. The talk show host also famously lent her voice to Dory in Finding Nemo and its sequel, Finding Dory.

The 16th highest earning celebrity in 2017 according to Forbes, the American magazine also put Ellen on the list of the most powerful women in the world. A powerhouse of the American television era competing with the likes of Oprah for legacy, Ellen has built up a following in the millions with her lucrative show.