From Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Ariana Grande: Inside Montecito’s most stunning estates
It seems like everyone either lives in Montecito, California, or wants to move there. From royalty to Hollywood’s most elite, the exclusive (and expensive) Santa Barbara enclave is home to the likes of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Oprah Winfrey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ellen DeGeneres and more. Although we don’t have photos of all of the exquisite mansions in the area, we rounded up pictures of some of its most famous residential homes to illustrate what it’s really like to live behind the community’s private gates. Click through to see them all…
PRINCE HARRY AND MEGHAN MARKLE: This California estate was snapped up by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, making them neighbors with celebrities like Oprah Winfrey. Santa Barbara property documents show the sprawling nine-bedroom, 16-bathroom mansion in upscale Montecito was bought on June 18, 2020, for an eye-watering $14,650,000. The 14,563-square-foot home sits on 5.4 acres of land, and immaculately clipped hedges border the estate’s stone-pillared entry gates.
Property records show Harry and Meghan’s new mansion was built in 2003. The estate has sweeping lawns, tiered rose gardens, tall Italian cypress trees, blooming lavender, century old olive trees, a tennis court, tea house, children’s cottage and a pool. It also boasts a two-bed, two-bath guest house.
Royal fans were given insight into the upmarket home in Prince Harry’s explosive Apple TV series. The Duke of Sussex, 37, was filmed in areas of the sprawling mansion as he made several startling revelations on camera to his co-host Oprah Winfrey. In some of the scenes, Harry is seen speaking to the chat show host in front of a large window with dark timber frames and Georgian bars, offering a view of a courtyard garden area. It shows a brick paved area with a large rock formation – possibly a water feature – that leads onto a well-manicured lawn bordered with large stones and filled with shrubs and bushes. To the right of the patio is a gravel area featuring a large established tree.
In another scene, Harry discusses his therapy journey and is seen taking part in an EDMR session via Zoom from a pale grey sofa – a brave choice given the couple’s two dogs and two young children. A lamp with a cream shade on a side table beside the sofa provides a dash of color with its moss green ceramic base. Behind Harry is a dark wood display cabinet with glass doors showing a few piled books and a decorative vase.
ROBERT GIPSON: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s previous billionaire neighbor, Peter Sperling, sold his $19 million mansion to a trust whose trustee is financial analyst and LA lawyer Robert Gipson, managing partner of Gipson Hoffman & Pancione. Gipson could now be the Sussexes’ newest neighbor – or could be a trustee for one of his clients who wished to purchase the home more anonymously.
The stunning property boasts seven bedrooms and 13-bathrooms.
The home also has a dual-gated cobblestone circular drive, multiple entertaining rooms, 5-star professional chef’s kitchen, library and solarium (pictured). It even has a movie theater, reception rooms and the master bedroom boasts its own accessories boutique.
A gorgeous kitchen is pictured in the home. There is also a ‘new secondary culinary arts kitchen the envy of any 5 star restaurant’, according to the property’s listing. While the inside of the home oozes elegance, it also sits near creeks, bridges and pathways, making it a perfect home for families.
The expansive estate also has not one but two pools, as well as a cabana and two separate one-bedroom guesthouses.
PORTIA AND ELLEN: Another famous resident is Ellen DeGeneres, who made a killing when she flipped a historic estate in Montecito in 2018. However, she then paid top dollar to buy it back. Ellen and her wife, Portia de Rossi, purchased the property in 2017 for $7.2 million before selling it to Tinder Founder Sean Rad for $11 million. Rad listed it for sale again a year later, but he didn’t have a buyer until DeGeneres paid $14.3 million to buy back the Rancho San Leandro in May 2021.
Rancho San Leandro dates back to around 1850, when the original one-bedroom, one-bathroom home was built. The original hacienda-style house was built on the land around 1850, and, in 2006, a larger 3,600-square-foot residence was added.
The newer residence offers 3,600 square feet of living space and features a step-down living room with a fireplace as well as a colorful tiled staircase. There are also plenty of traditional touches to marry the modern home with the historic estate.
Upstairs, both bedrooms boast views of the expansive gardens. The rooms have wood floors and beamed ceilings. One bedroom has an adobe fireplace for cooler nights while the other is home to a small balcony.
The secluded estate is situated on six acres dotted with oak and eucalyptus trees and boasts stunning views of the mountains. There are also equestrian facilities, including a large barn and a dressage ring.
ARIANA GRANDE: Pop star Ariana Grande opted for a venue close to her heart for her surprise wedding to Dalton Gomez in May – her own English Tudor-style residence in Montecito. The 28-year-old singer purchased the house from none other than Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi last June for a cool $6.75 million.
Inside Ariana’s stunning estate is a grand abode comprised of two separate barns – Porter Barn and Black Barn – originally built in Surrey, England, during the 1700s. The house was dismantled and flown over to California to be reconstructed in the 80s, with the separate buildings connected by an orangery spanning 5,500 square feet of living space and sitting on more than an acre of land.
Boasting two bedrooms and three bathrooms, the home – now dubbed Porter House – displays many period features in keeping with its historical English roots, such as cathedral-style ceilings, antique windows and exposed beams, as well as exposed brick fireplaces.
The centuries-old estate was given a modern update, however, with a state-of-the-art kitchen (pictured), gym space, full basement, workshop, and three-car garage.
GWYNETH AND BRAD: Goop goddess Gwyneth Paltrow and her second husband, Brad Falchuk, are nearing completion of their 14,000-square-foot mansion in Montecito. When they purchased the home for $5 million in 2016, it was reported the site needed extensive work, despite featuring four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a large pool and more than two acres of land.
According to photos taken in July, the 49-year-old Oscar winning actress and 50-year-old television writer will be ready to move into their massive estate in no time. The aerial images show that construction is nearly done as new trees have been planted along with 60 solar panels.
The couple is creating an oasis with an in-ground, Olympic-sized swimming pool, which appears to be surrounded by trees and near a gorgeous pool house. Two stairways leading to the body of water have been finished along with a retaining wall around the main home.
The aerial footage shows paving stones were recently installed and appear to lead to a huge garage. It’s unclear how much longer the couple will be working on their massive property, but, judging by the massive solar panels, it will certainly be an eco-friendly delight when it’s completed.
There are some downsides to living in the private area, however. Back in January 2018, mudslides wrecked the grounds of Gwyneth’s home. They left 17 people dead, eight missing and hundreds trapped inside their homes. In 2018, the property had boasted ‘Monet-like gardens’ and stunning water features (pictured) before the couple broke ground.
ADAM LEVINE AND BEHATI PRINSLOO: Adam Levine is also the proud owner of a sprawling Montecito compound. The 42-year-old Maroon 5 crooner and his model wife, Behati Prinsloo, 33, bought the historic estate for $22.7 million in March 2021.
The estate was built in 1923 by famed architect George Washington Smith who originally designed the property for an attorney named John A. Jameson, a man who reportedly had early ties to the town. The compound boasts four different structures in total: the 12,000-square-foot main home, a two bedroom guesthouse, a detached five-car garage with staff quarters and a ‘garden cottage’ with additional sleeping space.
The main house’s design is a Mediterranean-inspired villa with rustic charm. It includes wood-paneled ceilings and a farm-style chef’s kitchen (pictured) with stainless steel appliances.
The master bedroom (pictured) has views of the expansive grounds, and the master bath even has its own private terrace. From the ceilings hang a varying array of chandeliers that add warmth to the space, and many of the rooms have fireplaces.
The estate also features a man-made pond, adding a whimsical touch to the natural beauty of the property. In addition to grand oaks, the property has lemon trees, a picturesque place for daughters Dusty Rose, five, and Gio Grace, three, to play.
PATRICK NESBITT: Hotelier and chief executive of the Windsor Capital Group Patrick Nesbitt’s 20-acre estate – once valued at $65 million – was sold to the highest bidder with no reserve through Concierge Auctions on November 16 to 19 last year. The oceanside property is ‘an elegant, European-style polo estate’, complete with a 10-acre regulation polo field, custom equestrian sculpture, 17-horse barn, clubhouse and terraces.
At the time of the auction, Concierge Auctions said of the property: ‘Conceived to fulfill your every desire, this property delights at every turn. Entertaining is a must, and you’ll want to show off. Whatever tone you are trying to set, your private dance club, wine cellar, sports bar, and spa provide diversions for every mood.’
In total, the property has 11 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms spread over 43,000 square feet of buildings on the estate. The Mediterranean main house is decorated with luxurious chandeliers, intricate ceilings and oversized drapes.
The sprawling estate also comes with a spa, complete with a sauna and massage room, movie theatre, ballroom, sports bar and lounge. Outside, the house boasts a 128-foot infinity-edge pool with a surrounding sun deck. A secret door from the mahogany office near the pool leads to a rooftop deck.
The home also has a rooftop hot tub, butterfly habitat surrounded by horse trails, duck ponds and English and Japanese-style gardens, and a driving range with sand traps. Not to mention, famous and royal neighbors alike.
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