Eric Schmidt Makes Montecito’s Historic Solana Estate His New Home

Having cycled through more agents than one can count, the Solana estate finally meets its match.

Sep 17, 2020 | By Julia Roxan

Host to the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions from 1958 to 1978, Montecito’s historic Solana estate graces and then exits the market, just as quickly as it appeared. Purchased with an extranomical price tag of $30.8M – who else could afford such palatial beauty amidst a pandemic, other than, Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive of Google, and his wife Wendy Schmidt.

Eric Schmidt Makes Montecito’s Historic Solana Estate His New Home

Having periodically listed and retreated from the market since 2012, the Solana estate has cycled through more agents than one can count, and is referred to as one of Montecito’s most original “hilltop Barons”, spanning across over 11 acres of private land. Initially listed for an estimated $57.5M, the residence which overlooks Santa Barbara, was built around 1915 for Frederick Forrest Peabody, the chairman of the manufacturer of the Arrow shirt.

Boasting 360 degree views of the Pacific ocean, the glow of Santa Barbara city lights and the Santa Ynez Mountains, the Solana estate accommodates five bedrooms, nine full and six half-bathrooms, alongside a private hair salon, and custom-designed Pilates room. Equipped with sub-zero appliances and decorated with Carrera marble countertops, the estate’s vast kitchen is lined with antique tile panels imported from Portugal, and vintage Moroccan lanterns. Made from blue pine salvaged from a pre-WWI Canadian airplane hangar, the kitchen is topped with beamed ceilings, a variety of other intricate details.

Designed by architect Francis T. Underhill, this 22,000-square-foot estate on 256 Eucalyptus Hill Drive, showcases 17th -century French oak paneling originally designed for a British castle, in the guest reception area, the Solana estate is littered with breath-taking architectural elements, including a Gladding McBean terra cotta glaze and original white Alabama marble. Bordered by nature, the estate’s grounds are highly fertile, giving bloom to a multitude of palm trees, lemons, limes, bananas, figs, and pomegranate plants.

With oversized French doors and grand loggias, the Solana estate is worth every dime it demands – and after a prolonged eight years on the market, the residence has finally met its match. Since serving as the chief executive of Google from 2001 to 2011, and later the executive chairman of the brand’s parent company, Alphabet, Eric Schmidt eventually stepped down in 2019. Currently chair of the US Department of Defence’s Defence Innovation Advisory Board, and co-founder of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, a nonprofit foundation established to advance oceanographic research, Mr. Schmidt is now worth an estimated $17.6 billion – and is precisely the sort of owner the Solana estate deserves.

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