Best of Both Worlds: Villa Activista is a trophy property located at 612 Paseo del Mar - the intersection of Bluff and Malaga Coves in Palos Verdes Estates, California. This absolutely authentic French-Italian villa was built sedulously upon nearly an acre on the prime block of the most prestigious street in the city. 612 Paseo del Mar distinguishes itself from Manhattan/Hermosa Beach alternatives by providing its owners with the best of both worlds: L.A.'s premier surfing and hiking cove across the street but privately situated on a massive piece of elevated land. This hilltop positioning delivers an "Acropolis effect" - Villa Activista's fortunate owners look out unobstructed upon spectacular natural scenery but remain inconspicuous to the outside world. Despite its country feel and frills, 612 Paseo del Mar is a mere 1/2 hour drive to LAX given its close proximity to Palos Verdes Estates's northern gateway.
Unrivaled Ocean View: The merely six oceanfront homes sitting upon "Horcada Hill" are blessed with elevated, curvature-of-the-Earth Pacific Ocean and Queen's Necklace city views. In the case of Villa Activista, this ocean view mirroring Italy's Amalfi Coast is the focal point from nearly every room in the house. Unlike higher altitude Peninsula homes constrained by substantial distance to the ocean's edge, Horcada Hill homeowners catch clear sight of schools of dolphins by day and then are lulled to sleep by waves crashing upon the bluff at night. Moreover, unlike the static "blue views" up higher on the Peninsula, Horcada Hill homes' have a front-row seat to an everchanging show of sea life, boats and paddleboarders. Distinct solely to 612 Paseo del Mar is the property's neighbor-free, Malibu-to-Santa Monica diagonal pitch to the ocean's cliffside surface. Without any homes visible between the home and the ocean, this slant creates an astounding optical illusion - fishing, sailing, motor and dive boats appear to be floating on a rippled lake right in front of the home (see photo taken from bedroom). This truly is the only property in all of Los Angeles that offers this stunning perspective. While benefitting from this seaside proximity, Horcada Hill homes are not subject to the risks that attend homes along the 110' high cliffside. This includes pounding tides that slowly then suddenly erode the land underlying estates directly on the bluff.
Privacy and Peace Perfectly Protected: 612 Paseo del Mar's massive land size of nearly one acre, combined with its landscaping and dwelling's positioning on a sloping lot, gives its residents the ultimate in peace and privacy on top of privileged vicinity to Bluff Cove. For Villa Activista's original, constructing owner, safety, peace and privacy were requisites for his home. He selected this particular parcel due to various locational advantages. As a street-to-street parcel capped by one of only two cul-de-sacs in Malaga Cove, virtually no traffic flows past the front gate. In addition, due to Paseo del Mar dead-ending at the 800 block, there is minimal nighttime traffic on that side of the home that all but one of the bedrooms face. To advance the property's privacy, structural, architectural and landscaping designs were laser focused on creating a private, peaceful oasis insulated from external affairs. Further satisfying the desire for privacy was architect George Sweeney's plan that minimized lines of sight into the property from the outside. Rather than build the home at street level, the foundation was positioned far lower following massive excavation. This allowed the home's main level and courtyard to rest nearly 30' below the street entry gate. That entry gate itself is flanked by a double rowed, 10-20' ficus hedge that envelops the upper portion of the parcel. Augmenting privacy are mature pine and Leyland cypress trees down the west side, and olive, lemonade berry, myoporum and plumbago along the Paseo del Mar property line. So, whether you are throwing a party or playing with the kids in the courtyard or poolside, your privacy remains protected. The Palos Verdes Estates Police Department headquartered a mere two minute drive down Palos Verdes Drive West deepens one's foundation for peace of mind. Unlike other neighborhoods further away from PVEPD HQ, squad cars patrol this neighborhood with frequency akin to a private security force.
Supreme L.A. County Views & Natural Light: 612 Paseo del Mar's unique parcel of land further distinguishes itself from the other five Horcada Hill parcels through its orientation. Its northwestern vantage point captures panoramic views County-wide, from summer solstice sunsets capping Malibu's Point Dume to the iconic Hollywood sign atop downtown's skyscrapers. Every 4th of July comes with easy viewing of over 30 fireworks shows as far away as Dodger stadium. Closer to home, whitewater Malaga Cove waves break in clear, close view outside all east-facing bedroom windows while the surf visibly pounds the shores of Redondo Beach further north. Furthermore, the property's unique northwestern orientation welcomes the east-to-west shifting sun to alight naturally the home while not flooding it with glare (as with southwestern facing parcels). This also is highly preferable to the "cave darkness" experienced by Malaga Cove homes aiming northeast or residing in Horcada Hill's shadow.
Immediate Walking Access to PVE's Best Amenities and Activities: With real estate being all about "location, location, location," from Villa Activista one goes from gazing at to splashing in the ocean after merely a skip across the street. Imagine not having to load the car to hit one of L.A.'s "raddest" surf spots: Bluff Cove. Also known as Little Waikiki, the Cove is famous for its long rides both left and right as swells pushing east break upon the rock reef just offshore. If the surf is flat or blown out, peel off your wetsuit and lace up your hiking boots or grab a fishing rod, as Bluff Cove hiking and fishing - with ocean breeze and views - are hard to beat. Just a few blocks walk down the hill you'll find the exclusive Palos Verdes Beach and Athletic Club offering a fitness center overlooking its NCAA 25 yard, 6-lane pool. Malaga Cove Plaza, with marble Neptune fountain as its proud centerpiece, is a mere 15 minute stroll down the street. Lastly, unlike many PVE properties located up the hill or south in Lunada Bay, getting to the beach cities from Villa Activista requires just a five minute drive through PVE's 9/11 memorial flags and down Palos Verdes Blvd.
No Expense Spared Construction: Villa Activista was designed, curated and constructed using only the finest materials from all over the world. The original owner descends from a highly successful Italian family. He traveled to and from France and Italy countless times procuring everything from Roman pan clay roof tiles from 1850's farm houses in Florence to courtyard terra cotta stones from the south of France with fingerprints of the masons who shaped them some 300 years ago. The antique marble bust of Flora that crowns the Great Room was imported furtively from Italy via France and dates back nearly two centuries. One would be challenged to find a home built of higher quality anywhere in Los Angeles. No expense was spared. Everything was custom designed for the home. Encasing each room are walls so thick one struggles to hear anything coming from the room next door. Every exterior door and window was cut from genuine Honduran mahogany - even the garage doors are of the same ultra hard-wood. Distressed walnut floors and doors adorn nearly every room in the home. Vaulted, intricately carved ceilings adjoin Venetian plaster walls with up to nine layers of crown molding. From kitchen to bathrooms, the entire home is custom equipped with Rutt handcrafted luxury cabinetry, considered by many to be the world's finest. Even the Library door takes the home to the next level, inspired by that on the office of James Bond's boss ("M") with its tufted Italian leather interior.
Palatial Floors and Ceilings: The home's floors and ceilings are simply stunning. One walks upon luxurious polished distressed walnut in the upstairs bedrooms and halls. Nail imprints and other remarkable impressions are spread throughout. Carrara, Jerusalem Honey (Sahara Gold) or mosaic marble floors avail all nine bathrooms. The Great Room's walnut parquet flooring is a perfect match with those in the Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles, where the feet of Louis XIV through XVI treaded in late 1700's Paris. The remarkable trio of 20'-tall, solid bronze French doors connecting the Great Room to the Pacific terrace were constructed by world famous Architectural Iron Works at a current-day cost estimated at nearly a quarter million dollars/apiece. While that grand room with its 28' ceiling evokes 18th Century France, the floors in the kitchen and Family Room are pure, authentic Italy. Bands of distressed walnut encase antiqued clay throughout, making those rooms perhaps the most genuinely Sardinian in the house. The home's immaculate ceilings range from carved and coffered to vaulted or beamed Venetian plaster. The kitchen and family room's top layers are supported by gorgeous wood beams reclaimed from a property in Canada. The Great Room's intricately carved ceilings contain recessed speakers and a massive wood-carved chandelier, all evoking memories from your tour of the Palace of Versailles.
Resplendent Venetian Plaster, Marble, Walnut and Zuber Walls: Insistence on constructing Villa Activista with the world's finest materials was exhibited in each room's walls. Venetian plaster shines every hallway and bedroom, while Carrara marble cut in symmetrical slabs line the master and Pool Loggia bathroom. The Library's walls were cut, carved, molded and polished from first class walnut, embedded with traditional French-Italian rectangular carved inlays. The elegant dining room opening up to Santa Monica Bay is adorned with hand-painted Zuber wallpaper found exclusively in the world's finest homes. The Great Room's velvet wall cover was selected to blend into the Versailles-matching marble columns, rectangular red marble and highly carved wood side boards.
Commercial Quality Infrastructure: Hidden within the walls and in the commercial-level Mechanical Room is a lighting, electronics, security, and heating network inimitable in Palos Verdes Estates. The Lutron lighting system was designed with various entire-house and room-only scenes and settings. For your listening pleasure, 73 speakers are built into the home's ceilings and walls. The Master Bedroom, Play/Media Room and Theatre are all configured with 7.1 Dolby surround sound so vivid you will swear you are right there in the middle of the action. Every door and window is wired to the advanced, programmable ITI Home Security System, with both motion and "glass break" sound detectors strategically located on all three levels. On the rare occasion that Southern California weather needs internal acclimatization, nine separate HVAC zones may be adjusted individually via the home's Carrier HVAC network. Floors are equipped with radiant heating to warm your feet during rare cold Southern California nights. The Crestron home automation system integrates it all, allowing operation of even the pool/spa and fountains over a dozen wall-mounted touch panels. Recently, the home began transitioning to WiFi-connected Amazon Alexa modules, providing the modern convenience of remote, mobile control and voice activation for commands such as "Lights on" upon entry.
No Corners Cut on the Outside or Underneath: While many properties look to cut construction costs with cheaper exterior structures, Villa Activista's designer actually turned it up a notch. The oceanside terrace and courtyard entry balustrades, as well as all exterior columns, were not made of concrete but cut entirely from Bianco Avorio limestone imported from the Grassi quarry in Nanto, Northern Italy. The red brick steps leading down the west side of the property to the private pool and playground are authentic Bachini cut on location at Pontedera Montecalvoli in the Italian province of Pisa. Custom, heavy duty iron outdoor lamps, combined with the finest Bega staircase and step fixtures, allow you to frolic into the night. Securing it all is an incomparably stalwart foundation laid over a year-plus period at a current day cost estimated at nearly $3 million. The structural design for Villa Activista's floors also was extraordinary. The typical design floor load for residential construction is approximately 50 PSF. 612 Paseo del Mar's was built in excess of 100 PSF, allowing the home to maintain a solid, elegant feel. To quote the structural engineer who built the foundation. "You can park your SUV in the master bedroom." Steel frames and many double sided wood shear walls were used to resist lateral loads. Prestressed concrete planks were used as a ceiling over the semi-subterranean Mechanical Room/basement. Manufactured wood studs were used for tall walls to maintain straightness. The upper level floors include an extra layer of wood below hardwood flooring to maximize a solid feel and maintain quiet.
Landscaping Recently Transitioned: As the California drought persisted, it was determined to adapt Villa Activista's grounds to the environment. The property's extensive Horcada frontage, upper entry area, and grounds surrounding/above the oceanside pool have been covered with dymondia (aka Silver Carpet). Dymondia needs minimal, non-daily irrigation and better yet no mowing, but still provides a grass-like soft pad for play or barefoot strolls. Drought tolerant native lemonade berry trees, along with over a dozen mature olive trees, adorn both north and south sides of the home. Native Calliandra powder puffs and honeysuckle, from courtyard to playground, attract the buzz of countless, whizzing hummingbirds. Along the west side of the property, dozens of mature, 25-30' privacy protecting Leyland cypress trees need only occasional deep watering to retain their green, healthy foliage.
In February 2021, Villa Activista was purchased by and now is under the stewardship of that new owner.