Last month Elle Décor featured Elle DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s quite fabulous horse ranch in Hidden Valley, California.  Not surprising – the ranch is for sale – and has been for a few years.  I’m sure this spread was a way to advertise it on a grand scale, but who cares?  It’s beyond wonderful and judging by how many people blogged about it – everyone seemed to love it. 

That the ranch is now for sale should be no big surprise, NO ONE moves more than these two.  Their real estate dealings are fodder for teasing amongst their friends.  They just can’t stay still. 

But I must say, I was beyond SHOCKED when this week it was announced that  Ellen and Portia had bought the famous Villa di Lemma – John Saladino’s Santa Barbara estate.   Go get a tissue, I’ll wait.  There’s something about anyone else but Saladino living in his house that makes me want to sob.   I mean – no one but John (and his friend Betty) should be entitled to have the keys to this place.  Oh well.  It’s done.  Ellen and Portia will be moving in.    The truth is, though, Saladino had already sold the estate two years ago to another couple who are now selling it again.   The real estate photographs from the Saladino house show it filled with his décor, not the new owners – which is so unfair!  We don’t get to see it with the new owners furniture, which might be a blessing anyway, now that I think about it.   

It will be exciting to see how Ellen decorates Villa di Lemma.  I’m sure we’ll see it in a few years when they sell it.  What a shame.  This is the kind of house that should remain in one family, passed down for generations instead of being up for sale every two years. 

While I do love their horse ranch shown in Elle Decor, nothing will ever match my love for Villa di Lemma, EVER.  It is a beautiful property outside and inside.  And Saladino’s interiors are unparalleled.  How will Ellen and Portia ever decorate it to look half as good?   If she was smart, she would hire the Master, Saladino to decorate it for her.

So, in honor of their purchase – let’s first revisit their horse ranch.  I was very excited to finally find the larger real estate images of the horse ranch.   Included are many more photographs of the property than was shown in Elle Décor.   And afterwards, we’ll take a final look at Villa di Lemma as designed by the Saladino.   

So, a warning to you, grab some coffee, it’s going to be a long ride here.




The main gates to the horse ranch – this dark gray wood is found on all the buildings on the ranch – which unifies the design. 


From Elle Décor:  It didn't take Portia de Rossi long to discover Ellen DeGeneres's passion for decorating. "I got a very thorough education in mid-20th-century French furniture within the first weeks of our dating," she says with a grin. Indeed, there's nothing the television star and comedian loves more than designing a house. "Ellen has moved more times than any person I know," says Los Angeles designer Cliff Fong, her decorating accomplice. The goal, however, is not to flip her homes. "I can only change the furniture so much and I get bored," DeGeneres says. "Then I need a new structure to work on."


Case in point about their moving houses:  Ellen originally owned another horse ranch, 20 acres large, in Santa Ynez that she sold after living there only two years.  Next, she bought a larger ranch in Santa Ynez, this one was almost 120 acres.   She sold it just a year later.  Both sales were very profitable. 

Besides the ranches, Ellen and Portia lived in lavish estates.  First they lived in Montecito in a George Washington Smith estate which they flipped a year later for a profit of close to $4 million when they sold it to the chairman of Google. 



Ellen & Portia’s Montecito estate – with views that terrace down to the Pacific.  This might be my favorite of all their houses up to now.  By buying back the neighboring Saladino estate, it means they must miss Montecito.


The house located in Montecito, California is an escape for Schmidt's prime residence in Atherton

The Spanish styled house designed by George Washington Smith.  You might recognize this house as the place where Kim Kardashian was married – for a few short months.



The real estate pictures from Ellen’s time shows they still have the same furniture, some of which is at the horse ranch.



For instance, these kooboo wicker chairs are all over the horse ranch.


After leaving Montecito,  the couple acquired a compound of houses in Beverly Hills – which was placed on the market for $60,000,000.  Wow.   Eventually, a portion of the estate was sold to Ryan Seacrest for $37,500,000 – at a surprising and staggering loss in the millions.   The Beverly Hills estate was the one property where the couple really lost a money on it.  Most of the either transactions have been very profitable. 


The compound in Beverly Hills was created by buying three houses next door to each other, turning the lots into one big property.  After finishing all the reconstruction on the estate, it was featured in Architectural Digest – and then promptly put up for sale. 



The pond was added to the landscape.  The main house was built for actor Laurence Harvey and actress Joan Collins lived here for awhile.   At this point in time, this was the 7th house that the couple had bought together – after being together for 7 years.   They bought it furnished but Ellen says the living room had been redone 5 or 6 times since.  Portia corrects her and says – 15 or 16, seriously.  OMG.  I want to be friends with Ellen SOOOOOOOOOOOO badly!!!!!  




This house is much more contemporary than their other ones have been.



The entry hall shows Ellen’s love of texture.  Her furniture tends to be old, rustic, heavy and usually important.  Mixed in is a sleek ping pong table.



The living room is a mix of styles with contemporary sculpture.




I recognize some of the furniture from the ranch – like this rug and sofa.   The painting is a Warhol/Basquiat. 




I really love the breakfast room with its wicker chairs and old table.   That lamp is now at the farm as is the console.




The cabinet is antique Gustavian.  Love the textile on the bed and the end tables.




The bathroom is incredible.  Look how pretty that tree’s bark is – like a piece of sculpture.  Love all the chairs – everything Ellen does is always so layered.



  This room in the house reminds me of the Romantic Barn at the ranch.  Some of this furniture is in the barn now.

Architectural Digest has additional pictures from this house if you want to see even more.


After the property was sold to Ryan Seacrest, the couple then moved to another contemporary house in the Trousdale Estates area of Beverly House.   They keep a nearby condo for staff and guests.   Must be nice.

Real estate photographs from the house show how contemporary it is.  But design aficionados might recognize this place.


Can you guess whose house this once was?


Here are the pictures of how the house once looked – when Kelly Wearstler owned it.  She photographed every nook and cranny for her 2006 coffee table book Domicilium Decoratus.   The new owners changed most of it, as you can see.  



I am dying to know if the famous black kitchen remains – or if Ellen had it removed?



And, then, there are the properties in Malibu, naturally.   In 2011 Ellen and Portia bought Brad Pitt’s contemporary house that he had painstakingly restored, but of course less than a year later, they sold it for a profit of just $1 million.  Just a million!

The Pitt estate sits on a bluff over Malibu.  He bought this house when he had no children, but had to sell it because it wasn’t children friendly and he had quickly become father of the year. 


And views of the ocean and a state park

Hmmm.  Not my favorite, by a long shot.  I don’t think the couple are really beach people. 


Which brings us to the Horse Ranch.   The ranch is located in the heart of Hidden Valley near the Santa Monica mountains of Thousand Oaks, California.  It’s just a stone’s throw away from the beautiful house (also a horse ranch) where It’s Complicated was filmed HERE.   Bought in 2009, Portia thought that this ranch would keep Ellen busy redecorating for many, many years – it has eight cabins on the property.  But it only took one year for Ellen to completely renovate and furnish the 26 acre ranch – which truly shocked Portia.  Two years later, it was put on the market for sale – and then later, it was taken off the market.    The ranch was once owned by actor William Powell, it then became a monastery and later – a rehab center.    When the couple bought it – it was a professional horse facility.   Many movies and TV shows have been filmed on the property over the years.

Portia rides horses and boards two there – but tells of the time that she found antique furniture in one of the stalls in the barn, which Ellen had set up as sitting room.  Portia ended up writing her book there.    Besides the 8 cabins, there was a main house, that the couple had to tear down because it was uninhabitable.   Each cabin has its own design vibe – Belgian, contemporary, etc.  They have lived in each of the cabins but finally moved for good to cabin Five – a rather small and cozy one. 

There are two large barns:  The Art Barn and the Romantic Barn – which are used for living, dining and play rooms – and for entertaining when they have sleep over guests.  The magazine  hints that the couple wants to stay here forever, but with Ellen’s penchant for moving – who knows?  Well, we know!  The property was recently listed again.  Ellen says it will be hard to convince Portia to leave because she loves the place and she loves to ride.  Portia has said the riding horses helped her overcome anxiety and anorexia.   You can’t ride on the Saladino estate, so now I'm worried about poor Portia!!!   It seems a tad unfair.

While the photographs in Elle Décor are luscious, so are the real estate ones.  And if you liked the property and wanted to see more – here is your chance.  There are so many pictures of the ranch and the cabins that weren’t in the magazines. 

Designers:  Jay Holman and Cliff Fong

Photographers:  Elle Décor:   William Abranowicz



The 26 acre horse ranch is located in Hidden Valley, Thousand Oaks, California – on Hidden Valley Rd.   While the ranch has everything – the one thing it doesn’t have is a swimming pool!!



Hidden Valley Road – to the ranch, with views of the Santa Monica Mountains.



There is a tennis court with stands, a windmill, a treehouse, a yoga cabin, and stables with trails on the property.  Everything was updated – including the landscaping.




Every building on the ranch is painted a dark gray.




Cute kooboo wicker chairs under an old oak tree.  The windmill is in the background.  These look like the same chairs that were at the Montecito house.



And the same scene – styled for Elle Décor.  There is an 100 year old oak tree grove on the property.  This tree is incredible.




The terrain consists of old oak trees and boulders – some of which are huge.




Like these.



And the 100 year old oak tree grove.



And a pergola – styled by Elle Décor.  The French antique day bed really belongs on the balcony of Cabin #6.  Elle Décor moved a lot of the furniture around on the shoot – from one cabin to another.




The painted gray Art Barn – which serves as a living room/dining room when entertaining. 



The dining area of the Art Barn.  You can tell that Ellen and her designers love Restoration Hardware – the aesthetics are very similar, except Ellen uses original antiques – not reproductions.   The furnishings in the dining area were changed since the real estate pictures were taken.  I do love the new décor much better. 




The kitchen area of the Art Barn – with its large bakers rack and old blackboard.  Blackboards are a recurrent design element on the   ranch.  They are everywhere!   And so are concrete floors.  Many of the cabins have these same unfinished floors.  Also, the same white paint is found in each interior, along with ivory colored linen curtains.



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A view from the Real Estate pictures – you can the structure of the barn better here – with the dining room on the right side and the living area on the left.   You can see here the dining room furniture was changed since these pictures were taken.  New chairs, new consoles, new accessories.



And from the kitchen, a look into the area where art is painted – the easels are set up. 




The living area  with old antique rugs and concrete floors.  Tufted sofa and deconstructed wing chair along with feedbag upholstery on the ottomans.   The furniture in the living area has been changed.




The Art Barn – styled by Elle Décor – Ellen has filled it with antiques and Americana.   Here, from Elle Décor, is the living area of the Art Barn.   Remember that the real estate pictures were taken two years earlier – so some rooms are furnished differently.    For instance, these two white club chairs are found in a small cabin – but they are now in the Art Barn.   And while I do like the wood circle, I miss the portrait that was hanging there.    Love the new light fixture and the Danish leather chairs.  Judging by the furnishing in the Art Barn alone, it’s obvious Ellen is still redecorating.




Off the Art barn is an alfresco dining area – under umbrellas.




At the back of the barn is this concrete enclosed living/dining terrace.  I love all the spots around the property where you can just sit – or have lunch or dinner outside.




The second barn is called the Romantic Barn – because the couple celebrated their first wedding anniversary here.   The mood is completely different from the Art Barn.  Both barns resembles art galleries or studios – and the new owners may use them as such.    Ellen gifted Portia with the three 20th century factory lights that she had seen in a gallery.  This is used for game playing – ping pong and poker and entertaining. 



The Romantic Barn for Elle Décor.  Love that console table and the blackboard and large portrait and bust.  Just love the style here!!  Again, this room has been updated since the real estate pictures were taken.  Or did Elle Décor make the changes????



Romantic Barn:  an original Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair with a Gustavian cabinet.  Ellen made that sign for Portia’s 1st anniversary Paper gift.


Which barn is your favorite?  The Art Barn or the more rustic Romantic Barn??? I have to say the Romantic Barn…maybe.  Hard to choose!!




On the ranch there is a horse facility with six stalls, both a dressage and a jumping arena, a judges stand, 3 grass horse turnouts and 2 dirt turnouts, there is also a hay barn, tack room, an office and a public bathroom that Ellen and Portia restored as a sort of folly – with its own original blackboard, of course. 




The barn, now painted a trendy gray – as are all the 8 cabins.




The main horse barn – which Ellen tries to decorate.




Six oversized stalls – can be changed into twelve.




The entrance to the horse stables?? – I love this!   Original burlap lining on the antique sofa – with antique German feed bags.  Dying to know where they are from?  Did they get the bags from blogger favorite “A Beautiful Mess” HERE?   I’m sure this is the only horse barn in America that looks like this.  LOVE!!!




The Real Estate pictures – Ellen decorated one of the stalls and Portia ended up writing her book here.    Since this picture was taken, this stall was spruced up.




And in Elle Décor – Portia’s writing room, now restyled.  In the center is the antique sofa with burlap bags.  Portia’s gorgeous horse – an Oldenburg gelding.   The stables are paved with rubber tires.   The French iron chair in the office actually came from another cabin.   Elle really does have the decorating disease BAD – to do this to a horse stables.  Too funny!  Ellen call me – let’s talk.



One of the smaller cabins is screened in.



And is set up for yoga.  This cabin and one other are the only ones painted gray.




Oak trees outside Cabin #5  - the fog over the mountains is just beautiful – fabulous photograph from Elle Décor.  Portia and Ellen have moved back into Cabin #5 with its screened porch and the view of a boulder the size of an apartment, laughs Ellen.  Love the way this area is landscaped.  



The front of Cabin #5 has a large screen in porch.



And in between Cabin #5 and #6 – stands a dining table with more Kooboo chairs and a fountain to the left made out of a large vessel.



The screened in porch which attracted the couple to this cabin – vintage chairs and an antique table.  Is there a new chair anywhere on the entire property?




Cabin #5 is relatively small compared to #6 and #8 – but its location must appeal to the couple.  In the sitting room, a large number of wonderful paintings hang.  Love the human and dog portraits.



I really like #5’s kitchen with the planked cabinets and the marble countertops with the subway tile backsplash.  Great cabinet and island mixed with another blackboard.  I love how the blackboards become an art piece.   Rare wood floors are in here.  Love the burlap chair in the dining area which I think is now in the Romantic Barn.



Past the kitchen counter is a sitting area with a brick fireplace and another wonderful antique burlap chair.  Love the birds on the mantel.  The windows in this cabin are charming.  This burlap chair is also now in the Romantic Barn – not sure if Elle Décor moved it or Ellen.




Antique bench, table and Windsor chairs make up the breakfast room – with its linen curtains.  Again, the same decorative elements, like the curtains, are found throughout which helps create a cohesive look to the ranch.  Another element is the same white paint, which is Farrow and Ball’s All White.   This door leads to the outdoors table set up between Cabins #5 and #6.



The bedroom – love the striped rug and the blanket.  The headboard looks too contemporary – but hey, they didn’t ask me!





Cabin #6 with wrap around porches.



And how the cabin is laid out.  This also has been redecorated.  Again white walls, beamed ceiling and concrete floors with rugs.



Cabin #6  The kitchen.  Elle Décor.  The picture makes it look really pretty – a mix of antiques from all different eras, including vintage contemporary chairs.



How it looked two years ago – all the styling on the mantel and the shelves was changed, as was the furniture.  



Cabin #6 – the living room.   Elle Décor.  This side of the living room was completely redecorated.   The feel went from Americana Shabby to Belgium Vintage.




Here you can see what the room used to look like.  They must have a lot of dogs because in each cabin there are dog beds – love these!   Which décor do you prefer – this or how it is now?




The bedroom in Cabin #6 is quite nice and has the same thick linen curtains found in other cabins.  The tufted headboard is a bit of a surprise – seems so traditional! 





The balcony off the bedroom in Cabin #6 – has an antique French day bed that Elle Décor used under the wood pergola photograph.




Cabin #8 – the largest on the property.



A trough outside Cabin #8 is repurposed as a fountain.  Love the lantern!




The large deck at Cabin #8  - with Kooboo wicker furniture.  Notice the golf cart – they use those to get around the large property.  Must be nice!  




Off the living room of Cabin #8 is this outside area – hidden behind gray painted concrete walls.




As is the rest of the ranch, this area is very Restoration Hardware looking.




Inside Cabin #8 – a long living/dining/kitchen room runs from one side to another.  Ellen collects antique fencing masks – seen here.  Another large blackboard hangs on the wall. 




Elle Décor’s view of the living room in Cabin #8.  Belgian bricks make up the mantel – while two large log stores flank it. 



In the real estate photos – a larger view of the living area – with a wood console behind the sofa. 



At the other end of the large room is the kitchen with its planked cabinetry and what looks like matte granite countertops.  Each cabin has its own kitchen – which would make this a great guest ranch for the new owners to operate.



In the sitting area of the bedroom in Cabin #8 – a true deconstructed chaise from the 19th century.  Axel Vervoordt’s table is in the window.   Again, this has been updated recently.   Elle Décor.




In the real estate photos,  less substantial looking desk was in here before.  And if there ever was proof of a photographer’s skill, this photograph compared to the one above it – is proof.  Look how much prettier the room looks in the other Elle Décor photo than this one!




And the bedroom in Cabin #8 – love the décor, so quiet and restful.   Love this photograph – notice how the photographer pulled out that table just a bit to give a hint of it in the room and to balance the photo. 




And showing the sitting room and the bedroom which looks over the deck.  You can see that the fabulous coverlet is a new piece, as are the throw rugs.    Makes all the difference.  We will never now if some of these changes were done for the magazine or it they are true redecorating.





Cabin #8’s bathroom – shows its Zen/Asian influence that is found in certain areas of the ranch. 





This tiny cabin is not numbered – so it’s a guess if it is #1, 2, 3, 4, or 7?   Wall to wall seagrass covers the floors – the only cabin with carpeting.  Even though it’s tiny, there is luxury here in the wonderfully rustic furniture.




This cabin appears to be just one room- with a small breakfast bar and refrigerator.  Even the rafters are missing here. 




In still yet another unnumbered cabin, this one has more contemporary furniture mixed with rustic tables.    Notice those chairs?  These are now in the living area of the Art Barn – where they really look so much better there.



The ceiling was raised to make it appear larger – as was done in many of the cabins – and the beams and rafters are exposed.   Love the almost threadbare rug.  And, there it is off the bedroom – another blackboard!




This cabin is painted gray – and is paneled with the high exposed roof.   This is only one of two cabins that is painted gray – not white!



This cabin looks out over one of the horse arenas.  The antique French chair was seen in the Stables in the Elle Décor spread.  I love the way it looks with the large feedbag pillow.



And finally, I have a feeling this is the office on the property – no kitchen and no A/C except for an ancient window unit.  Great sink!   There is also a bathroom that was once the public one on the horse ranch that Ellen kept.  And there is a laundry building too, along with a hay barn and several storage buildings.




So now, we will leave the Horse Ranch – though it isn’t sold, and maybe Ellen and Porita will end up keeping it so poor Portia can continue riding her horses!  Their next house is Villa di Lemma – restored by the great John Saladino as his personal estate in Montecito.  Located near their former house, Villa di Lemma was designed by Wallace Frost in the 1920s.  In 2001, Saladino started his complete renovation of the house that had not been kept up with very well.   It was done at an enormous cost – nothing was left untouched.   The estate was brought back to life using artisans, not construction workers.   This is my second time writing about the house, but I don’t mind!  I would gladly do it once a year!!



Located in the mountains of Montecito – the Pacific can be seen from the property.




Aerial view of the house.  The house is built around a courtyard – and overlooks a terrace with view of the Pacific in the distance.  I put names of the rooms here so you can figure out where it all connects inside.  The building to the upper right – is the office and staff quarters. 


After spending years restoring the stone house, Saladino wrote a book about it , one of my favorite design books.  It even comes with an atmospheric DVD.    He sold the estate two years ago – and the new owners have now put it back on the market.  Ellen and Portia grabbed it up,  signaling a move back to the Montecito area.


The restoration of the house included a new roof made up of 14,000 18th century Italian tiles (the expense!!), all new steel windows and doors, and all new electrical, plumbing and heating.   Inside the house, there are 9 fireplaces!  Besides the main house, there is a guest apartment.    Outside, there is a restored pool and ancient olive trees.   The estate is set on 13 acres and includes an agave garden, an olive allee, a pergola, and an atrium.    The driveway is a 1/4 mile long which winds through a park of over 2,000 trees.    There are six bedrooms and the house is 10,000 sq. ft. 



The Stone Gates lead to the 1/4 mile long driveway into the estate.


The drive to Villa di Lemma is bordered by over 2,000 trees.



When you reach the estate – the motor court is stone paved when you drive through the arch.  Notice that large agave and beautiful eucalyptus trees. 





The motor court and the entrance to the house.  You enter through the open door which is a loggia – open to the elements on the right side. 



The front entrance loggia is flanked by two tall cypress trees.  The window on the left is the kitchen and the window on the right is the media room.  What a grand entrance. 



Close up of the front entry loggia off the motor court.  The right side of this loggia is open to the atrium.   At the end is a fountain.  Gorgeous gas fixtures. 





The entrance.  Up stone steps, the main door to the house is on the left.   To the right is the atrium and lawn.  At the end of the entry is a fountain.  Notice the niche with a beautiful antique urn.  Now THIS is a niche!   Scroll up to the see the beams and how they connect to the stone.    



Looking back at the front entry off the motor court.  Saladino has hung his famous textiles instead of a door. 



The entry hall is to the left.  It looks over this atrium that is set between the media room and the master bedrooms wing.    The French door with balcony on the left is the stairs.   Just gorgeous!



And looking from the entry hall loggia to the atrium.  At the back wall is a fountain. 




Close up of the fountain on the back wall of the atrium.



Looking at the loggia from the atrium.  The media room is at the left.  The windows upstairs are the guest rooms on the second floor.



Off the loggia, the front door to the house opens to an entrance hall.  On the left is another one of Saladino’s famous tapestries that he hangs from walls to create backdrops and doors.




The door opens to the entrance hall – which has a view of the back property through these French doors.  There is a small fireplace in the entry which I love!  I would have it burning night and day.  To the left is the dining room and kitchen and to the right is the living room and master bedrooms.




Turning right off the entry hall to the living room – are the stone stairs that lead up to the 3 guest rooms.  All the banisters thoughout the property are the same.  It took years to sandblast paint off the stone walls in the house – at a great expense. 




The living room overlooks the back garden.  All the windows in the estate are steel framed.  Just gorgeous.  The living room is pure Saladino – a mix of antiques with Saladino designed upholstered sofas.  Behind the sofa is a beautiful vignette with yet another hanging textile acting as a backdrop for a chest.  A mirror hangs before the tapestry.  I love the way he mixes fine antiques and contemporary art such as the fabulous Twombly.  Notice the beamed ceiling.  The curtains are lilac which blends in with the raspberry colors.     Through the door is the small fireplace found in the entry hall.




Looking the other direction – the back window looks over the pool area.  The door in the corner leads to the two master bedrooms.   Now, how do you think Ellen and Portia will decorate this room?  Will their rustic, textural antiques with chunky tables and consoles look good here?  Will Ellen need to refine her taste and use more elegant pieces?   I hope so.  I am nervous thinking this will end up looking like a Restoration Hardware showroom!!   They should hire Saladino to do the design work.  I would!





Close up – notice how pretty the fireplace is.    This window between the shelves overlooks the swimming pool and the lawn that surrounds it.



And looking straight at the fireplace – love the two urns at the right.    The deep colors mixed with the light sofas look pretty in this room.  Not sure the more neutral monotones that Ellen likes to decorate with will look as good here as they do at the horse ranch!



The swimming pool.   The window overlooking the pool is in the living room – between the shelves.   The garden above the swimming pool is off the entrance hall and the dining and living room.  The guest bedrooms are above this wing where the balcony is.




Looking from the living room, past the entrance hall fireplace, into the dining room.  Love those sconces that frame the French door.



And, looking the other way, from the dining room, up the stairs to the entry hall and into the living room.  I love all the small sets of steps that lead to and from the rooms. 





The gorgeous dining room – filled with creamware and antiques.  The slipped covered chairs are designed by Saladino.  Notice that creamware vase in the window.  The paneling to the right of the fireplace opens to the kitchen.  Notice the curtains – how Saladino treats the fabric like tapestry.  Amazing!  And notice the tables, trays, and candlelights that flank the curtains.



A close up view of the chairs with the blue trim, which is also on the back pillows. 



Looking the opposite way toward the living room.  Love the chandelier – and the plates that hang from the wall. 




Long galley kitchen which opens off the dining room.  The breakfast room is to the right at the back.  The refrigerator and freezer stand side by side, but the section on the left actually is a door and leads to the office and staff suites.  When the door between the dining room and the kitchen is open – the large plate leaning against the wall is the focal point – the eyes lands right here from the entry hall.




Next to the kitchen when you walk in is the sitting area.  The door seen here opens to the front loggia.



Around the back of the kitchen is the breakfast room.  Notice the gorgeous steel doors – that lead to the back garden.  Beautiful chandelier and corner glass cabinet.



Outside the breakfast room and kitchen is the back garden – with this fountain in the ground.


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Charming fireplace placed under stairs in the back building.  Even this small space required an engineering feat to accomplish.  Nothing was easily renovated.  Problems with redoing the stone building added huge amounts to the renovation costs.




Past the kitchen door is the two story office – fabulous desk which is actually a drop leaf table.  The lamp is Saladino’s.   Charming door up at the balcony!!!



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In the office – the painted stairs!!



John’s bedroom.   Antique Empire bed floats in the room.  Notice the double columns behind the bed.   The doors open to the swimming pool lawn and the garden behind the bedroom.



Zuber screen behind the desk in the bedroom.  Gorgeous!!!!!!!!  Love this desk and chairs.  Every antique he owns is just amazingly beautiful.




Behind the bed, the bathroom hides behind yet another tapestry.  A mirror hangs on the tapestry and console is in front.



Between the two master bedrooms is this area, with a Robert Courtright painting, which I love.  Another Saladino lamp.  Betty’s room can be seen through the door.   Lucky Betty.  Love all the stairs the leads into the different rooms. 




The steel door that leads to the atrium next to the entry loggia and atrium.  Notice how thick the stone walls are – and how the steel windows fit into the stone. 



The second master suite, designed for Betty – has its own secret garden.  Love the pillows and the lamp!  Her bathroom is amazing too.  Its picture is in the book.




The gorgeous powder room.  Not sure if I’ve ever seen a prettier one.   Notice how asymmetrically symmetrical the design in.  That faucet!  The mirror!  That lamps!  That sink!    In the book – all the bathrooms are shown and each is amazing.  If you’ve never read the book VILLA – you should.  It’s a collection of beautiful photographs from every room in the house.   And the story of the renovation is so interesting to read.  Great book!





Upstairs, there are three guest rooms – each decorated completely different.  This one has an antique metal day bed that overlooks the back garden.



This guest bedroom suite is called the Primavera.



And, off the entry loggia, overlooking the atrium, is the media room.  Notice the charming corner fireplace.  I love this room with the furniture designed by Saladino mixed with antiques, like the tower of red Oriental trunks on the right.   As usual, a tall antique accent chair is mixed into the design – a trademark of Saladino’s.




Throughout the property there are charming design elements found in the garden, such as this shell vessel that becomes a fountain. 





The garden behind the master bedrooms – that overlooks the swimming pool.




The 2000 year old column adds a sense of proportion to the view of the Pacific. 




View of the swimming pool garden.  I love the gray plants that are everywhere – including the supersized agaves. 



In the allee of olive trees is a table set up for night time entertaining.




And another dining area outside.




The master, himself.


So….. there it is.   The Horse Ranch versus Villa di Lemma.   As you can see there is no place for horses in the Villa – so what will happen to Portia’s riding?   She has said that her love of horses helped her overcome her anxieties and her anorexia.   I suppose until the Horse Ranch is sold they will still visit, but when you own Villa di Lemma – how can you stay away?    Which property do you prefer? 





The Horse Ranch with the oak tree groves and gray cabins and views of the Santa Monica Mountains?



Or would you prefer Villa di Lemma in Montecito – high in the mountains with Pacific Ocean views and breezes?





Do you prefer the Horse Ranch with its white walls and concrete floors and the large Romantic and Art Barns?



Or would you prefer the stone Villa, with its exquisite architecture and wonderful steel windows? 



Lucky for now, Ellen and Portia don’t have to choose – they can have both.  I would choose the Villa myself.  And hire John Saladino to furnish it.   I hope they do too.  It would be shame to turn this into Restoration Hardware – that look is fine for the ranch, but not the villa.    We won’t see how they furnish it until they move in and then decide to put it up for sale a year later!!!



To order Villa -  just click on the book:


  1. Joni, you have once again posted an exhaustive study of the best of the best. I vote The Villa hands down to be the absolute ultimate place to perhaps "finally" settle down. What a privilege to own this place. Only the genetically stupid would not have Saladino revisit the interiors and make the owners' taste. Obviously, the owners will never come close to the sophistication as John Saladino, but he can surely mentor the ignorant. Ellen and Portia could care less about design, they are only interested in turning dollars. What a shame that The Villa fell into their grubby, greedy hands. I know it breaks your heart because you love the Villa so much. New money and ignorance is a bitch!

    1. Correction: I meant to say, only the stupid would not have Saladino revisit the interiors and make The Villa reflect the owners' taste. If I were to purchase a home with this history, the first person I would want to contact would either be the architect or the interior designer who lived there. Don't expect much from Hollywood. What a shame!!!

    2. Ellen and Portia have impeccable taste. Your post was very mean spirited.

    3. Boo, hoo, hoo!!! Get a backbone!

    4. Hands down the Horse Ranch with the oak tree groves and gray cabins and views of the Santa Monica Mountains!!! It's executed to perfection. Thank you Joni for an incredible post.

    5. There are many especially in the design community who are in loving homosexual relationships such as myself. Your "Genetically Stupid" comment and excessive criticism of Ellen and Portia were obvious homophobic jabs. Ignorance truly is a bitch.

    6. I think Ellen has fabulous taste. Even if she had a designer - she signs off on it. And please, let's not get into the homosexual issue, ok? I do think we can criticize their taste OR applaud their taste w/o mentioning their sexual orientation, ok? Let's just not go there. And yes, their are many in the design world who are gay, so if you love great design, not sure how you can be anti gay at the same time? Dont' want to open a can of worms, but let's just respect their status. thanks y'all.

    7. Until Anon. 11:13 mentioned "loving homosexual relationships" no one had mentioned sexual orientation. The phrase "genetically stupid" obviously hit a nerve and was taken out of context insofar as I can determine from reading the comment from which it came. Obviously, it's the homosexual (Anon 11:13) that brought attention to the issue. I hope that is the person you were addressing. If you carry a big chip, you can always find someone to knock it off.

    8. I agree with you Joni "if you love great design, not sure how you can be anti gay at the same time" The homosexual from (Anon 11:13) is too sensitive and needs to get over being the victim. After all it was a choice.

    9. TO; AnonymousMay 30, 2013 at 10:10 AM
      i am not gay but i can spot a bully when i see one. Teashartlicans see the world as silly black and white 1 sentence "facts" that can fit onto the front of their Teasharts. 10:10AM clearly you need to calm down and stop being so sensitive.

    10. Thou protests too much, Anon 12:13. I suspect you are both gay and a bully and you might try an even newer word just coined for you - Teashitlicans. No definition needed here, only a pile of it that you just stepped in. Take your silly definitions and post them on Rachel Maddow's website - not here. Got it? Hope so!!!

    11. oh 12:53 you so angry. and why would you bring up Rachel Maddow?? hmmm. you sound like you are having a tenmper tantrum. you sound like you feel victimized that some one would point out you are being a bully --and now a homophobe.
      wah wah wah

      as 10:10 AM wrote and i quote " too sensitive and needs to get over being the victim.
      After all it was a choice".

      clearly those are words you should live by.

    12. Clean off your shoes. They are beginning to smell, anon 1:36

      LOL, the Homo card - just too funny. When logic no longer works, pull out the "victimhood" talking points.

    13. Anon 1:36pm, you clearly missed some important words when you quoted Anon 10:10 am. "The ' homosexual' is too sensitive and needs to get over being the victim" - After all it was a choice".

      This seems to sum you up pretty well indeed.

    14. @ 7:00AM you had already firmly established that you are a homophobe and proud of it.
      and with your post here you have proven to everyone that you are in dire need of adjusting the dosages of your medications. seek help and call your doctors.

    15. Mary, you are wearing out your welcome. Come back when you have something intelligent to say.

    16. no angry homophobe, you are wearing out your welcome homophobe.
      no normal person writes what you have done repeatedly
      AnonymousMay 31, 2013 at 7:00 AM
      Anon 1:36pm, you clearly missed some important words when you quoted Anon 10:10 am.

      "The ' homosexual' is too sensitive and needs to get over being the victim"

      - After all it was a choice".


      homophobe. you are one, be brave and admit it out loud.
      don't lie and try to slither away when we call you on it like a spoiled insane brat. own it.

      and yes you have worn out your welcome here.

  2. I like both but prolly the Stone Villa best. Has more color! WONDERFUL POST!!!! Jill

  3. great post Joni! As much as I love horses I think I would have to go with the Villa. It will be interesting to see if Ellen decorates it herself.

  4. I would choose the horse ranch. I love those old oak trees. You definitely need to help Ellen...she has the house bug BAD! But hey if I had that kind of money I would be hell on wheels too! I must get John Saladino's book. I so love Bunny William's An Affair with a House so if Mr. Saladino's Villa is as good as you say it is, it is next on my list. Thanks for another post full of eye candy.

  5. WOW!!! You sleuth! I wonder what they will do with it? I am hoping they will ask the master to step in and guide them. Ellen and or Portia obviously have fabulous taste...I wonder....I bet it will have more of an edge...what do you think Joni?

  6. The ranch is hardly "Restoration Hardware". The furnishings used by Ellen's designer are the real deal. Nothing was mass produced in China. You've never referred to Brooke Gianetti's style as "Restoration Hardware" even though Patina Farm has a similiar aesthetic. I didn't see a white linen slipcover, ginger jar or jute rug anywhere in the photos, so perhaps your Pottery Barn design sensibility mistook it for Restoration Hardware.

    1. It's worse than Restoration Hardware - it worthy of a large ranch style bonfire. The only reason anyone would find this garbage in good taste is the fact that it's owned by celebrities. Had the owners been average people, the opinion would have been entirely different. As to Brooke's style, I would agree it's as bad as Restoration Hardware, but hey she gets street cred because she's a blogger. Again, it's not about taste. Patina Farm is an interesting attempt by Californians to buy European lineage. It's would be funny were it not so sad.

    2. ok, calm down. It DOES look very much like resotoration hardware - esp. because many of the pieces in RH are redesigns of the pieces that Ellen owns - and yes, she has the originals. I think the look is perfect for the ranch house. It's not my look but it's Ellen's and its perfect there. AND I did say that they had the originals, not the reproductions. I'm just surprised you don't see a correlation. As for Brooke's style, I love her look, I love her new house and I love her as a person. I think Steve is a great talent and I would hire him in a minute to design a house for me.

      And yes, look in house #8 - it has white slipcovered sofas btw. there was seagrass in one. Not that that matters.

      If I didn't love her style I wouldn't have spent a week writing the story. ok? obviously I loved it to spend so much time on it. AND I do understand that she has some wonderful original mid century design pieces.

    3. this is all too funny!! What a crack-up.:-)

  7. Where did John Saladino end up moving and any published photos of his new home ??

    oh, and obviously a troll is teasharting at Anonymous-May 29, 2013 at 7:23 PM
    ignore it.

    1. I'm so tired of people incorrectly using the word troll. An opinion is not a troll. Joni appreciates a myriad of comments. Just because you may not agree with a specific point of view does not make a commenter a troll. Here is the correct definition of troll so you understand what it means:

      "troll" (internet slang) is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

    2. clearly anon 10:54 you do not know what a troll is; note the word "inflammatory".

      the fact that you are actually pasting the definition shows you have a brain problem. calm down Mary.

    3. Mary, a word to the deficient - "inflammatory" is in the eyes of the reader. Anon 10:54 was simply suggesting that it has become too easy to throw out the word "troll" when someone posts a comment that others may not agree with. Anon is correct. The word "troll" has been used so excessively that it no longer carries weight. Perhaps, you are the one with the brain problem.

    4. my name is not Mary. but 12:24 you do have a brain problem if you can't spot an angry troll for what they are.

    5. Hey Mary, that's how you signed your post so I will just call you Barney Phife -

      I hereby appoint you, Barney, as the official troll buster, word police and opinions correction officer for Cote de Texas.

      Satisfied? Now go back and sit at your desk until someone tries to break into your jail.

    6. To 1:02 PM
      i did NOT *sign my post Mary
      you need to get out more if you still do not understand that reference.

      and yet again, YOU keep insisting that YOU decide who ca;n be called a troll.

      yes YOU have a brain problem.

    7. Now Barn, you need to cool your little ole jets.

      You were put in as the blogs official "troll patrol" - not me. I WILL decide what I believe to be a troll - YOU WILL NOT decide that for me. Do you understand or is that brick you carry on top of your shoulders too thick?

      BTW, why don't you buy your little Thelma Lou one of your clever little "teasharts" on the way tonight. She can worry to the next troll patrol convention.

    8. Hey, my name is NOT MARY, but I approve this message.

      Half of the discussion here is centered on the thought police that seem to have invaded the space and the other half on the subject of the post. If I could make a suggestion, let's comment on the subject and leave our politically cute jargon out of the comment section. Just because you don't like the tone or the words someone chooses to hash out a quick comment doesn't give one the right to start throwing accusations around like "homophobia", "troll", "angry", "teashart" (whatever the hell that is and who cares?), etc.

      Incredibly a self-proclaimed gay threw out the first salvo simply because he or she felt that the comments about the design point of view of Ellen and her partner were made out of some homophobic attitude. This is so utterly ridiculous on its face and the merit of the comment that it is laughable. If Ellen were married to a man with five kids, would the opinion not have been the same or would the victim mentality manage to rear it's ugly head once again with someone saying something equally ignorant about the fact that "Ellen has too many kids - doesn't she understand that this is putting stress on 'mother earth'". If one wants to take offense, it isn't hard to do.

      I suggest we stay on topic. Hope you all agree.

    9. oh 1:42
      you have a brain problem. live with it and accept it or decide to change and make a daily decision to act like a healthy adult.

      your tirades about You deciding who I -or any one else- can call a troll are humorous. and also a huge sign that you have a brain problem. little bit of OCD caused by catabolic fight/flight hormones. very bad for your brain cells.

      your posting the definition of "troll is so humorous and such a clue to your brain problem. yet you don't 'see' the irony.

      and this 1:42 post is amazing for the depth of the cluelessness you have now reached. you arer having an emotional meltdown becuz someone called the OP a troll (which they are).

      given the blustery bs you have posted repeatedly , i guess we should all assume now that You are the OP troll.

      your behavior makes sense now. Trolls get very angry whenever they are called on their bad behavior.

    10. Wow, now we have a practicing psychiatrist on board. It just gets better and better.

      Thank you, Dr. Phil. We have all learned something today - NOT!

    11. It sounds to me like Anon 1:42 has called it correctly, anon 2:13. Your diatribes would indicate that your switch is not totally engaged. I think we have heard enough from you today.


    12. This has really gotten boring. shall we move on before you make everyone fall asleep?

  8. Anything Saladino does wins my vote! There is just no comparison- his taste is impeccable.
    A wonderful,exhaustively researched post Joni, with no stone left unturned! I enjoyed it very much.

  9. I meant to leave the first comment.. Sorry this was late. It was a bear to write. LiveWriter kept freezing on my because there were too many large images. I had to start over a few times I almost just tossed it because of the technical issues. I hope y'all enjoy it - I tried to make it extensive so that people could really get a taste for the ranch and villa!!!

    1. Thanks for your hard work and perseverance. Since when have you ever left the "first comment"?

    2. I just wanted to apologize for being so late. and I could have left the first comment,which was my intent, but I got distracted!!

  10. I'll have to choose the Saladino home because of those great ocean view. Both estates are wonderful though, just like your post Joni. But looking at the grounds all I can think about is the nightmare of wild fires.

  11. I think Ellen's house looks like RH and Joni's house looks like Ballard Design. I think Brooke Gianetti has more talent than either.

    1. My goodness. Not called for. To each his own and let them have it without such remarks. Wonder why you are compelled to say this?

    2. Brooke is a great talent, don't think poster is being nasty just defending Brooke who was brought up. People are entitled to their opinions. We all post comments about designer likes/dislikes. Now we have the Cote de Texas comment Police? I love RH, Pottery Barn, Cost-Plus, Ballard Design. Joni has many posts on them. I see the similarities to Joni's house and don't think its a big deal. All design is borrowed. Ballard design copied Joni... ;)

      "Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal" - Picasso

    3. WOW, I agree with Toots. Why do you feel compelled to say that?

    4. I'm hurt. ballard? seriously? I think I'm more wisteria.

    5. Suzanne Kasler in Ballard is stunning. I see more Ballard than Wisteria in your home, but both are very nice. I just wanted to say that you're an inspiration for a lot of us gals that don't have big bucks but dream about slipcovers, seagrass, linen, zebra print, baskets and blue & white ceramics. I found you on The Peak of Tres Chic in December and as an older gal myself (we're both 58) I was intrigued that you got started in your 40's. I hope you fulfill your wish of starting over in a new house that reflects who you are today. I would love a tour of that home...

      P.S. Forgive me for sounding preachy, but I just quit smoking after a long love affair with nicotine. Someone mentioned on a blog somewhere you were a longtime smoker. My wake-up call came after a lung screening. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. All the best to you Joni Webb.

    6. How long was your nicotine love affair? Mine was 40 years and I didn't quit until I went to the hospital with pneumonia. I wish you success with your decision to quit. I will be nicotine free for 6 years in September and I know if I ever take one puff of a cigarette I will be right back where I started. God Bless you!

  12. You have the best blog out there - so comprehensive - what a treat to see so much, thanks!

  13. Ellen's ranch property was hard to like....too harsh, primitive and industrial. With the exception of Cabin #8, the entire decor looked uncomfortable and very RH. What's sad is that knowing her furnishings are the "real thing", it still looks like the worst of RH. I love so much of the furnishings RH sells, but an entire ranch-full is overkill. From the iron basket-weave chairs, to the distressed leather aviator chairs/sofas, industrial fixtures, and deconstructed was all too much. I did love some of Ellen's antique tables, especially some of the dining pieces. The Saladino house is simply beautiful, and like so many others here, I hope they hire him. What a comprehensive post, Joni...thanks for insight into their world. I never knew Ellen moved so often!

  14. And to think I was pleased with the, pre-existing, 3-stall barn I designed for a client.

    Stall 1: their requested heirloom chickens + exterior coop

    Stall 2: antiques, lamps, chandelier for 'her'

    Stall 3: bunk beds, bean bag chairs, desk, lamps for her 2 young boys.

    Quaint + boring..............amusements for the lower classes !!!!

    Go Joni, great post.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

    1. "amusement for the lower classes!!!" lol

      You hit the nail on the coffin.

      Maybe they should buy a trailer park next....

    2. Anon 10:16, we've come to expect no less than stupid comments from Tara. Get use to them.

      Who would even hire this freak show?

  15. Ellen's home has too many natural surface pieces. It would look better with some glided antique pieces mixed in to give contrast. Not many, just a few.

  16. I personally prefer Betsy Speert's design style.
    OH, WAIT!!! I AM Betsy Speert!
    I love the fact that people get so worked up over something I have been passionate about for the past 40 years.
    Joni, what a great post.
    I love both looks.
    My favorite was the fireplace under the stairs.

  17. Such an interesting and informative post. Worthy of praise and study. Thanks, Joni, for all your work. Ignore the personal attacks on you and others......and I'm not referring to legitimate opinions that may differ from others. I don't understand some people. Looking for a fight, it seems. But whatever. I don't let it take away the pleasure of your posts. I hope you don't. I guess by now nothing surprises you.

    1. I agree with Toots. I am a grateful reader of your blog, and whether I like the style or not, I appreciate your time and effort that you put in to each post. Very grateful, so thank you.


    2. Thanks. Don't worry about me. I'm used to it and have developed think skin. !!!!M

  18. Beth New Orleans via SFMay 30, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    Wonderful post! Fabulous. Would love to see what the most recent owners of the Villa had in the way of décor - I am willing to bet it didn't look like Saladino's gorgeous work. But, we all have our own taste and every home evolves as the years go by. As an aside. I will never forget going to Harrah's Lake Tahoe back in the mid-80's to see some headliner show (long forgotten). The lights went down and the opening act wandered out. Short blonde hair, gray sweatshirt, jeans and black keds - dragging a tall stool. She sat down, and just began to talk - like sitting in a living room. She explained she was from a suburb of New Orleans and was trying to get used to what "elevation" felt like. Well, to this day, that was one of the funniest evenings any of us could have ever spent. Laughter filled the room during her entire monologue and no one wanted her to leave. It was mayhem. The poor "name act" couldn't compete. The buzz in the room that night was "that very young woman might go someplace". Ellen - you sure have come a long way. You go girl!

  19. Wow! What an extensive post. Thanks, Joni. Since first seeing it published, I've been in love with Saladino's villa. Who could possibly resist it? Everything is exquisite, and the architecture alone is fantastically romantic. I wonder if Ellen will follow his lead and bring in finer European antiques to mix with her heavy rustic-primitive/mid-century/vintage industrial chic? The villa certainly seems to demand it and embodies an Italian classicism. I love the horse ranch, too, especially those trees, boulders, and views of the mountains. It feels closer to nature, even though it has been meticulously landscaped. And I, too, wonder what Portia will do without her horses outside her door. The small cabins are intimate havens, and with the barns lend the place more a feeling of a camp or retreat, rather than a home. I can't help but wonder why someone would spend enormous amounts of energy, money, and time creating a perfect environment and then sell it. (That goes for both Saladino and Degeneres.) Are they never satisfied? Do they always have to be doing/creating and can't relax and simply enjoy? Or is a home simply a project that can be turned for profit? I love Ellen and think she has a very generous spirit, but I wonder why she can't find and settle on a home that will hold her. I would find that life very chaotic and unrestful, but then I'm a nester who wants that perfect forever house, and I don't begin to have her energy! It will be interesting to see how long she and Portia stay at the Villa.

  20. Ellen Degeneres has a net worth over $100 million. These properties are fun side projects for her. What's not to understand? She's not doing the actual work herself she has people! If I had that kind of money I'd do the same thing. Buy, revamp, sell. Why criticize people you don't know and wonder if they're satisfied?

  21. Though both homes are gorgeous, I prefer Ellen's. It's light and airy and very cozy. I'm sure her touch to their new home will lighten it up a lot!

    1. My thoughts exactly. I don't care for the dark heaviness of many European antiques along with the heavy draperies. It's depressing.

  22. No wonder there is not peace on earth if humans can not be kind and polite over a design blog post. That saddens me. We can't be humankind until we are kind humans.
    Thanks Joni for the luscious post! I love you long generous ones and thanks for the time you took and soldering onward despite the difficulty you encountered! I vote for the Santa Barbara location. I live in the west but a thousand miles from an ocean. I can just imagine the way the air smells there and the expansive view. How lovely and inspiring. I also live in a converted barn which I love and I am a layered and texture lover too. I would warm up the vastness of the stone in the Saladino house as it might feel a bit tomb like in winter, even a mild one. I'm not understanding Ms. Dillards comments at all but RH has beanbags….

  23. After reading some of the comments I have to add another. Yes, Ellen's house looks very RH. I like RH, somewhat. What I don't like about RH is that it's manufacturered rustic and worn. It cannot capture of authentic look of truly worn fabric, aged look of leather, etc. Saldino's house decor is manificent but it's not my cup of tea. I'm more Ellen's design. I don't want to worry about my Pitt Bull drooling on my leather sofa or antique velvet upholstery. I love Joni's blog and her design style! She's gotten me through two houses that I've revamped and decorated sold for a nice profit using ideas and what I've learned about design from her blog. One being "enfilade" which I had in my last home. It was driving me crazy. Then I remembered Joni had done a blog about it. I emailed her explaining what I had. (Couldn't remember the term.) She replied quickly, I studied it and bam!, I knew what to do with my space. Love you Joni!

    1. Hmm. I don't remember that. Sounds interesting though. Would love to see your pictures

  24. I loved the length of your post, I had two cups of joe! Glad you did not trash the post in frustration over technology issues. I DVR the Ellen show and watch them marathon style so I'm not clear on dates, but she showed a picture of the fires in California being extremely close to her property. She allowed the Fire and Rescue teams full use of the property as their base camp! I don't know if that was a factor in listing the ranch. I love it. We've had a ranch in the Texas Hill Country for years. Everyone in the area seems to use the expected "ranch dressings!" I'm not a designer and have only lived in 10 houses in my life, but tastes and style evolve and/or change. I've enjoyed traditional (I cried too when Southern Accents published the last magazine), patina style, formal and country, at this stage of my life, I'm attracted to cleaner, lighter aesthetics. I loved Ellen's ranch. I love Meg Ryan's Hampton's home. Sometimes we want to gather people at our second and third homes, and other times we want to have our space. Ellen's ranch allows for both. Most people have ONE house in which to express themselves or create a sanctuary (if we are blessed enough to have what we want). I think if we have more than one house, we can express the mood we hope to feel and the way we want to share space when we are there in the decor and the layout. It is refreshing to see that Ellen is like most and expresses her need for change, we read blogs, pin posts on pinterest, go to Houzz and this blog for that same core need. Ellen simply can afford to move, change, purchase and acquire what she loves. Isn't that the point? Saladino's house is beautiful too, not everyone's taste either, but I enjoyed seeing it. Thank you! e

  25. I would choose the villa. It could be lovely furnished many different ways! If I owned it, I would never give it up!

    Great post Joni. Thank you for the hard work you do to keep us entertained, amused, educated and informed.

  26. I appreciate John Saladino's work and his mastery of color light and scale. Saldino's style is a hybrid between fine art and applied art. He creates rooms like walk-in still lifes. His interiors are too heavy and "dusty" for my own personal taste. He has his own furniture and lighting line and believe it or not some of the pieces could be interpreted as Restoration Hardware. I would chose Saladino's property over the ranch, however I am not a purist and think great design should reflect the inhabitants of the home, so for Ellen and Portia I would freshen up the property and give it a lighter hand. Restoration Hardware did not invent slipcovers and worn woods. Those are classic styles used by all the greats. Many of Ellens furnishings from the ranch can and should be brought over to the villa and re-configured. She owns many beautiful pieces.

    1. Re Anon's May30th/10:51 am comment above. Couldn't have said it better myself! -Brenda-

  27. Joni what a fabulous post!!!

    I love the decor of the Hidden Valley ranch. It perfectly suits the area.

    While I love Montecito and an ocean view, the villa is not my cup of tea. The grounds are gorgeous!

    I can't wait to see how Ellen decorates it as it is so very different than the ranch.

    Thanks for a wonderful post!

  28. What's wrong with Restoraton Hardware??? I was turned onto it by Joni herself two years ago in her "Kooboo Crazy" post. I just searched for that post to make sure I wasn't losing my mind. Here's what Joni said 6/10/11

    "AND BTW, been to Restoration Hardware lately? The one in my neighborhood was recently remodeled – all dark walls and moody, low lighting. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Gorgeous! Go visit if you haven’t lately.."

    1. Hahahha. You got me. I have a hate love affair with rh. Extreme on both sides. I love them and love the ability to get what isn't available. Then I hate them like with the deconstructed pieces. Love hate. You don't hate without passion. Their stores are gorgeous and their product is quality. There is much to love and much not to like. But I do think the love outweighs the negative.

  29. If I could afford either of these two properties, I would probably choose the Kathryn Ireland version of the Ojai ranch. However, I really enjoyed spending the last 45 min reading your blog. No one does it better!

  30. Over a couple of hours later.....incredible post! I loved every picture & comment. Both are great homes. I love them both. Two completely different places. Two completely different aesthetics. Selfish me, I'd just like to have them both! Thank you Joni for another great adventure full of beauty.

  31. The John Saladino home will always always always be HIS house. No matter who owns it.
    Personally, I just do not understand why Ellen makes so much $$$. I see them photographed in St. Barts, all over Europe, holding hands, living the good life. I think she is way overpaid. But, hey, what do I know? Great post, Joni. The master is the master, and it is sad to see his beautiful estate change hands. But, at least, now we have great photos forever. xx's

  32. Why is everyone getting so mean spirited and personal here? If you don't like Joni's blog, don't read it. It's a design blog, not political, or about personal feelings about a person, but about the design choices, etc. This was a pretty exhaustive and well documented (all the pictures, thanks!) piece. It was fun switching back and forth between the different pictures; sets VS real life, etc. I think if we are going to be 'political', we should address the design angle, such as 'made in China', RH has some good designs, mostly derivative, and that's OK, it's not terribly expensive, (for some) but, it's also made in China, and that has it's problems. Reuse, recycling, and by buying used, and if we can afford to, old and antique pieces is the better choice, but we don't always buy with our convictions. (Hard to with all the outsourcing). We aren't all so wealthy we can spend buckets on our design choices, but this supposed to be fun; we can all get ideas, dream a little (ok, covet a little). Decorating one's home is personal (or it should be), reflecting one's own tastes and preferences. We have to live in it, and we use what we can - from our own backgrounds, culture, ethnicity, and traditions. Design blogs give us another perspective! Enjoy this and appreciate it. And stop sniping at Joni's design choices unless she asks, again, if you don't like this blog, don't read it. Stop sniping!

    1. Not sure if you've seen RH's prices lately, but the outdoor furniture I priced out for a client recently was more than LaneVenture. (Cushions are sold separately!).

    2. No one's sniping at Joni. Everyone adores her. It's the "Teashitlican and the Homosexual" (Great movie name!) You gotta admit it's funny. Have a chardonnay and lighten up.

  33. Dear Joni, this is so engrossing it will take another reading to take it all in. Those girls are certainly Real Estate Moguls!
    I wondered what you were up to and was looking forward to your next I know!!

    Please come and enter my giveaway from Segreto Finishes!
    Art by Karena

  34. wow, thank you, i love these long posts and really enjoy looking at these homes, i thought they were all beautiful and i had no idea Ellen moves so much!

  35. Hi Joni, this was a wonderful post and I am a bit surprised the tone that some have taken but as usual your work and research is much appreciated!

  36. I, too, wonder where in the world is John Saladino? Villa is one of my favorite books ever. Love his style. I know it's too old world+contemporary for some, but I do love the mystery his homes convey. As for Ellen, I say go girl. Do your thing. Have some fun. Spend your money using artists and artisans. Buy things you love that you think this house will love. What could possibly be wrong with that? Be happy—joyous even. Make us smile.

  37. Joni,
    I was trying to find your email address but could not. What a beautiful post today... as usual. I just finished pleated slip covers.... and a picture from your blog was my inspiration! You can check it out if you have time...I put a link to your blog on my tiny (aka very few readers) blog just so you know! Thank you for all your wonderful post, I know they take a tremendous amount of time.


    1. Jamie, your slipcovers are beautiful. Everyone on this site loves Ballard Designs so your inspiration bench slips are perfect. (They are 100 times better than BD's)

    2. Jamie, your slipcovers are beautiful and so are you and your family. Loved the garden to the table post. What an incredible veg. garden design. Congratulations to the Georgia grad as well.

  38. Joni, thanks for another incredible post!

    My feeling (and it is just that, my feeling) after reading about Ellen and Portia's frequent moves - is that I'm happy with my home. It is just big enough for us, plus one more room to get away from each other when needed. Rooms in my home have to fill more than one need - and I love that they are so versatile. I love to decorate and patter about my home, but I'm not always hungry for the next one - I'm just content.

    I understand that decorating is a passion for Ellen and that she can't get enough - I just hope that she's able to relax and enjoy the fruits of her labors.


    1. Libby, home decorating/refurbishing is enjoyable when you're wealthy and very profitable. Why doesn't anyone on this blog understand that? John Saladino sold the property after spending 4 years working on it. I'm sure Ellen is relaxing right now on her yacht in Cannes very much enjoying the fruits of her labors. She earns $50million + a year from just her show.

  39. Villa, hands down, Villa. How can you even compare? Saladino is a design god. Villa may be all stone, but it seems so much more cozy and warm than that horse ranch. The 'barns' on Ellen's ranch don't do anything for me and they seem awkward and uninviting. The cabins seem like something you'd find at any B&B, no real thought or effort. I love Ellen as much as anyone else, but come on, lets lets give credit where credit is due. Now...a moment of silence for the great John Saladino, so wonderful!

  40. Other than the tedious "anon" back-and-forth childish and mean-spirited nonsense, this post was an interesting read. I must admit I got bored with Portia and Ellen's ranch after awhile because, while it is lovely, it is just not my style. On the other hand, I adore John Saladino, his style and his home. It is my favorite home and my favorite design book and he is my very favorite designer. Have you seen his showroom in NYC? The man can do no wrong in my opinion. I am sad to think Villa De Lemma will no longer look the way it did before he sold it. I would have lived there happily without changing a thing. Thank you, Joni, for all the research you put into this and every post you publish.
    XO, Victoria

    1. You did read it didn't you?

  41. Wow! The comments are more exciting than Real Housewives! I'm loving it!!! Much more entertaining than usual. And whats wrong with a little smack talking - we're Texans its what we do.

    1. I agree. Mary/Barnie/Teashart seems to take the patrol very seriously. What a hoot!

  42. While rabbits are eating away at most gardens these days, teasharts are eating away at Mary's.

    Mary, Mary, quite contrary. How does your garden grown?

    With trolls galore, teasharts plus more.

    That's how my garden grows.

    1. Omg. Stop!!!!!!!! Mary. Cracks me up. That wasn't her name but Mary is going to haunt this blog for a long time. Too much. Y'all are really funny.

    2. Mary is how a responding comment was initially signed so one would assume the name is Mary. Frankly, I prefer "Barn". This person clearly has a screw loose and is likely out on his street corner as I write doing gas guzzler patrol. Deciding to be the word police on your blog was a bit of an over reach in my opinion.

    3. Joni has asked you to stop multiple times and you just won't or you can't. go sell your brand of crazy on some other blog and leave Joni's alone.

    4. Anon 10:23, another control freak I presume?

    5. @ AnonymousMay 31, 2013 at 1:13 PM
      heyo you are a Teasharter
      and Everyone knows you teasharters gotta Shart!
      Shart! Teasharter Shart. do not go quietly into that good night!

  43. Thank you so much for your wonderful post. I look forward to reading your posts and the visual collections are fabulous. Being a country girl I would love an opportunity to spend the day at Ellen's ranch.

  44. The sad, sad, sad thing about this story is that when Saladino sold the house to this uber wealthy man and his redneck wife, they hired a decorator from Miami, which made them believe she could recreate the Saladino style, for less money, and all the pieces she bought to dress the house, and it's a bloody BIG house (I've visited it many times) were from Restoration Hardware. jajajaja! It looked cheap and all the charm and elegance Saladino pour into it disappeared in a jiffy. I was told by a friend of the new owner's, one day "you just wait, she (the bipolar new Mrs.) is going to wake up one day and say she doesn't like living in that house anymore, and that's exactly what happened, then it was just a matter of making a profit out of it, which they did, Saladino sold it for 16 million (some say the final sale was 18) and Portia and Ellen bought from the new owner's for almost 26! So, the wife got her way, the husband made a profit, and Villa Saladino has hope again.

    1. 2840 Hidden Valley Lane is 8,029 square feet 6bed/6 baths, plus two half baths. The two-story guest quarters have an additional bedroom and bathroom for a total of 10,000 square feet. The lot is 2 parcels (13+acres). Your story is false. There were no prior buyers before Ellen and Portia. Its been on and off the market since July 2010 due to declining market conditions.

    2. Anon 2:50 AM must represent the bi-polar "wife" part of his story. Boy did he/she get skunked. Sounds like a design groupie with a vivid imagination.

      Thanks for posting accurate information. Maybe Anon 2:50 is sleeping off his medicinal cocktail.

    3. Good God! Do you think I would ever loose my precious time in this uber bitchy post, if I did not know my story right?. The Saladino Villa was sold in March of 2012 to Mr. Sturgess an american billionaire with HQ in New Zealand and his wife. They hired interior designer Lorraine Letrand (the woman responsible for the Restoration Hardware million dollar spree) to do a cheep and tacky knock off of Saladino's exquisite taste, and she decorate the house in the most God awful taste. John Saladino was sick to his stomach, when he found out, what they had done to his masterpiece, I know for a fact, that he couldn't be any happier that his house is now owned by the Ellen and Portia.

    4. Oh boy, this response at 3:13pm sounds like Mary, you know the freak show that has shown up here determined to paint every comment as homophobic. Now she has invented a Mr. Sturgess, an American billionaire with HQ in NZ and his bi-polar wife. If this isn't a groupie I don't know what is. If Mary is indeed correct, she might be able to actually show us the "chain of title" to this property which is a matter of public record. Perhaps she is confused after all the ranting and raving going on for the past day. She may also have this property confused with a lesser known property which might have been also owned by Saladino. In any event, Mary sounds a bit PMS right now so the rest of us should just let this faux pas pass and take the information under advisement.

    5. Ok, this is for the IDIOT above. Read this and eat a Christofle spoonFULL of merde:

      Ellen DeGeneres + Portia de Rossi Reportedly Acquire This $26.5 Million Montecito Estate

      Images: TMZ

      Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, actress Portia de Rossi, have reportedly acquired a $26.5 million estate in Montecito. The stone 1929 villa features six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and 13 acres of land.

      Listed on the market for $24.5 million, TMZ reports that DeGeneres and Rossi, who married in 2008, purchased the 10,5222-square-foot property for $26.5 million. The main house includes nine fireplaces, Tuscan character, modern bathrooms, kitchen and laundry facilities, numerous loggias and terraces, a swimming pool, ocean views, and more.

      Previous owners of the estate include decorator John Saladino, who sold it to businessman Tom Sturgess and his wife Heather in 2012.

      DeGeneres and Rossi have previously owned (and sold) other Montecito properties and own several other homes in the Los Angeles area, including homes in Beverly Hills and Hidden Valley.


    7. Christolfe and merde - now that's a juxtaposition alright. The only problem is that the latter reminds me so much of you, Anon 8:39. TMZ is your authority of choice - lol.

    8. "The sad, sad, sad thing . . .

      Can we ship you a box of tissues, anon or is your wrist too limp to hold it?

    9. My wrist is just fine, darling, it's your mental health I am worried about. You probably live in redneck republican infested tumble weed town in the middle of nowhere and you suddenly feel a pang of grandeur living by the mere fact of just being a ANONYMOUS subscriber of this blog. I feel infinite and compassionate pity for you and those women like you. How think the OWN the truth, if you PAY ATTENTION you twat, you'll see the source is NOT TMZ you imbecile, it's and in a matter of a couple of weeks, the County Records will show the sale tax records, Strugess/Degeneres, which I would love to send you, so you can make it your wall screen.
      Pathetic women like you is why, we hate americans in Europe. You are so classless in every count.
      Au revoir, mon petit salope.

    10. To Funk dictionary "troll" definer:

      you do not understand , you are so clueless it is now frightening.
      YOU are Mary.
      as in
      calm down Mary.

      take your head out of your ass so you can understand that you are now pissing off multiple unrelated people.

      and yes you are a homophobe.
      no normal person posts what you have written repeatedly
      including what you wrote here:

      AnonymousMay 31, 2013 at 7:00 AM

      Anon 1:36pm, you clearly missed some important words when you quoted Anon 10:10 am.

      "The ' homosexual' is too sensitive and needs to get over being the victim"
      - After all it was a choice".


      yes homophobe, we know who you are now
      so calm down and take your meds.

      call an old friend of family member (if you even have one- its difficult to imagine anyone wanting to put up with your toxic behavior)

      and tell them you need your meds adjusted.

    11. Roaring LOL!
      God Bless you Anonymus above, GOD BLESS you, for you are so worthy of His pity, not mine, I think you are truly bat merde crazy.
      Tah, tah!

      p.s.: I notice I shut your trap with mercurial, irrefutablebly accurate information! I am kind of dancing the I shut your trap to the rhythm of The Heavy, "How do you like me now".
      So no "I am sorry I don't have a flying F%%K as to what I am talking about? ...did you just say something?...o no, that's your memaw in the back hauling for her next Budweiser six pack,
      be a darling, put some shoes on and run to your nearest Liquor shop and treat yourself with your staple confederate drink of choice, and leave us the sophisticated, the polished, the well traveled, plow ahead in what we do best, live life with grace and class.

      p.s.i: I know you CRAVE for me to be Mary, but I am so not, so put on your glass before you take your next medication, darling salope.

    12. To: (encore) AnonymousMay 31, 2013 at 11:06 PM.

      Again, for the record, Not Mary here, just someone, that knows what she knows is right, not like la loquita May 31 at 11:06 from Memawville in the middle of Tumbleweed town left of Redneck City.

      Example given yet again:

      So repeat after me, sweet slope:
      John Saladino sold his BEAUTIFUL Villa to American Billionaire Tom Sturgess in March of 2012, less than a year later Mr.Sturgess, based in New Zealand, sold the Villa to Ellen Degeneres, for 26 million american balls.

      Got it!!!

      "How do you like me now" "How do you like me now" "How do you like me now"


    13. You are still an A-hole in my opinion. A commenter down stream who also a designer and lives in the area said the new owners never lived in the house and sold it after a year so your made up story once again doesn't hold water. You posted a story about a Miami designer using RH to duplicate JS and it doesn't comport. I will take the word of a designer who lives in the same community as the Villa any day over someone who gets their information from any website having the word "stalker" in it.

    14. By golly, not only do you have a limp wrist, you've got a horrible lisp as well. bahahahaha!!! I suppose you got all that "Miami designer" information from your "contacts" in South Beach.

    15. Anon 1:08 AM, since you are so well traveled one must assume that you are generally recognized as one big ass pede.

      You are so predictable. Pot bellied fools like you always resort to the alcohol, meds, Bud, barbs because they are not intelligent enough to otherwise defend their points. You are very angry because you posted something here that got challenged on it veracity. Your primary source is a celebrity stalker website with pictures thrown in from TMZ rather than a bonafide snapshot from a public records source. When your sob story about the husband and bi-polar wife (interesting how you seem to gravitate to psychiatric references) decorating the Villa in Restoration Hardware appears to be falling apart, you start your flame throwing rather than accepting the fact that you could possibly be mistaken. I will take Penelope's word for it any day over a jerk like you.


    16. I'm not either of the previous posters in this dispute, but I do wish to raise a concern. One of you is using French words that you do not understand (I hope). It is evident that you are not a native French speaker since you confused the masculine/feminine (it's "ma petite salope", not "mon petit"). "Merde" (i.e. shit) is not an elegant word, but it's one of the tamer ones in French. "Salope" (meaning female slut/bitch) is not. It is considered very, very vulgar, way beyond the English equivalent of bitch (i.e. female with a nasty temperament). It is a very, very unclassy slang word that reflects poorly on the user (i.e. there's nothing sophisticated about dropping the French s-bomb). The other problem with the above discussion -- beyond the language issue -- is the difference between using an adjective and a noun. It might be passable to call someone out on their "b*tchy" comment (adjective: describing the comment, not the person); it's another thing to call someone a "b*tch" (noun). We all know it's possible to debate an issue without resorting to vulgar name-calling. Frenchy

    17. Well said Anon. 9:47 am. The commenter using the faux French made the following statement indicating that he lives in Europe which makes his incorrect usage all the more hilarious.

      "Pathetic women like you is why, we hate americans in Europe. You are so classless in every count.
      Au revoir, mon petit salope." This little gem was then followed up by:

      " and leave us the sophisticated, the polished, the well traveled, plow ahead in what we do best, live life with grace and class."

      I believe your comment is sufficient to show him how classless, unsophisticated and unpolished he really is. Thank you!

    18. "Living in Europe" - another tall tale of the sophisticate wannabe.

    19. AnonymousJune 1, 2013 at 9:47 AM,

      Ma chérie CONNASSE,
      Occupe-toi de tes affaires, s'il te plait!
      Mille merci.

    20. The vulgar, filthy creep continues to show his stripes. How utterly pathetic he is with his error riddled (lol) French.

    21. "Living in Europe" - yea right! Living in a trailer park in Arkansas is more like it. Dream on, dream on tick turd.

  45. p.s.: Portia and Ellen, if Saladino is still too hurt to decorate (yet one more time) his masterpiece, think of Alessandra Branca. Her work is one of the most beautiful in the world and so the style of the Villa.

    I am so happy to know this gem of property is now in the hands of owners that hopefully will cherish it, not like the previous owner's.

  46. Joni, may I suggest that the next time you have a "giveaway" you consider giving away a Teashart with the inscription
    DON'T MESS WITH MARY on it or perhaps better still, MY NAME IS NOT MARY - IT'S BARNEY.

  47. Drooling over the stone villa!

  48. Villa di Lemma - my all time favourite house/estate. A few years ago when I read about the fact that John Saladino was selling I was really sad for him - how could he ever leave such a place, one that he restored with heart and soul.

    Good luck to Ellen & Portia but I was bored with their decorating after a while (although I love most of their furniture) - I think Ellen's style is very bland, not a coloured wall or wow factor in sight (or maybe so many wow factors in every room that they became redundant?). None of her decorating choices are offensive to me but it is a good lesson in showing that all the money in the world will not give you a distinct personal style stamp. Ellen's homes are "layered" as you say Joni, but layered with everything she can lay her hands on to buy. John Saladino's layering is sumptuous, spare, thought-out, heart-felt and perfect.

    Whatever, I don't think Ellen & Portia will ruin the estate - they will fill it with lovely furniture but it will never never never be John Saladino's Villa di Lemma (same with the Ojai estate that Kathryn Ireland had to sell).

    As for hiring John Saladino - wouldn't it be too painful for him to go back now that it isn't his?

  49. And another thing - let's see how long Ellen & Portia keep Villa di Lemma. If they keep it and don't sell then all is forgiven. If they find it in their hears to sell that beautiful place after a few years then they have no soul.

  50. John Saladino's style is definitely sumptuous but hardly spare. People sell for many reasons and I am sure Saladino had his. One can not be blamed for perhaps needing a life style change or deciding that perhaps life on the East Coast may be to their liking. For whatever reason, you can bet that John's new digs are every bit as wonderful, albeit different, as the Villa. Remember, Saladino is an artist and every canvas is just as important as another. Some of the comments are putting way too much emphasis on emotional attachment to this house than what may in fact be the truth.

  51. Okay, I can't find a definition on the internet. What is "teasharting" or a "teashartlican"? Is this word becoming common usage or did someone just make it up for this blog?

    1. Made up by the Tea Party hater who first used it in a comment upstream. He/she/it later came back to give us a definition: apparently anyone who sees an issue as "black or white" and can reduce it to so few words that it can be put on the front of a T-shirt. It was a totally ignorant use of the word by the commenter. He/she/it is in essence a Teashit for having used it.

  52. Is the "Villa di Lemma" a play on words? As in villa "dilemma"?

  53. Nobody does a blog post like you do, Joni! Thanks for the eye candy!

  54. Love the john Saladino version--hope they hire him.
    xo, Lissy

  55. Oh, this is actually heartbreaking to me. I know John. I am a friend and a fan. I respect John beyond belief!

    He did an exquisite job of this house!

    The people who bought it, initially were buying everything in it! (in my opinion; as they should!) However; they did not!

    After selling " Villa di Lemma"; John bought the exquisite house which belonged to the brilliant Bruce Gregga; also here in Montecito!

    Unfortunately; the new owners did not buy any of the contents of Villa di Lemma! (it was total you showed!!!)

    (there is a very good story about the name!!)

    Ellen bought this exquisite house. I do not believe that the previous buyers moved into it; nor purchased anything for it. They bought it......and sold it in less than a year.
    I actually pray that Ellen and Portia hire John; and buy the things that were in the house!

    In my opinion......(I always have one)!! It is the most exquisite house I have ever seen!

    just read my review of the book on Amazon......I wrote it 8 years ago, or something!!

    FOR YEARS (25) I drove down this driveway and pretended I was looking for the "Smith's ever since I could drive!!''this is the best house in the world......(possible rival......Villa Fiorentina in Cap Ferrat) but I can't speak French!!

    Exquisite. I hope Portia and Ellen will land here! It is a "keeper"!!

    1. I'd be interested in hearing the story about the name of the house. Perhaps with fewer exclamation marks (!), if possible. I realize you feel passionately about the subject, but I read things the way people have written them, and that's a lot of shouting in my head.

    2. I think Penelope uses (as does Joni) a lot of exclamation marks for emphasis - not meant to be construed as shouting.

  56. Are Saladino's "textiles" really tapestries (or special fabrics) or are they just custom-made curtains done in a particular style? The one in the entrance hall (with two paintings in front of it) looks like it could be a tapestry (fan design). The rest, however, seem to be modern fabrics sewn together in a special way (large squares and borders) to look interesting. Yes or no? If the hangings are indeed just special curtain designs (i.e. not the showcase of an historic piece), did Saladino invent this style or is this type of curtain found in other places (Italy, for example)? Anybody know?

  57. Wow! What a wonderful post, Joni. i'm not a "blogger" or a decorator, just a fan of interior design and a BiG fan of your blog. ps. I also live in West U. I found Ellen and Portia's houses dull. I like that look but not for every single cabin. I'd think Ellen and Portia would have demanded a more varied approach. Seems lazy as a designer to decorate every cabin exactly the same way. I also think it's sad not to have at least one home you keep for years. It doesn't seem like Ellen has a feeling of HOME and the contentment that brings. I loved the John Saladino home and want to buy his book about it. Thanks so much for all your work, Joni!

  58. The Interior Designer in charge of decorating the Villa after Mr.John Saladino, sold it to Mr.Sturgess is a Fisher Island, Florida based designer Lorraine Letendre, how's previous clients include Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez and Roman Abramovich.

  59. This is the only blog I subscribe to where there are ridiculous debates and arguments over things that are insignificant.
    Isn't there a way to block or delete these posts? Even better yet, find out where they are coming from. I rarely post because of it. As Joni mentioned, it's boring, not to mention tiresome. It seems that people would have more productive things to do with their lives. I, for one, enjoy Joni's posts as well as the research and thought and effort she puts into them.

    I absolutely love both the ranch and the villa. I'd like both, please! However, I think the villa is asthetically more beautiful. I'm "in love" with the rustic stone walls and beams. And, who wouldn't love a view of the Pacific?

    1. You certainly do not have to read them. You have to click on "comments" for them to appear. What you may not comprehend is that well-known bloggers and other design professionals may post occasional anonymous comments. While the comments are salacious they are intelligent and passionate to say the least. Random people do not read and post on Cote de Texas. Followers love design and/or are involved in design. The only way to "patrol' the comments would be to unable them. The only comments that bother me are the ones made in ignorance toward sexual orientation. I actually very much appreciate the ladies and gentlemen who are blasting those comments because those remarks are actually not insignificant ridiculous debates and arguments.

  60. Holy cow! What a silly fight! I just had to skip over that mean stuff! (all too much misinformation and mean-spirited criticism! Even about "Patina Farm"! (I'm sure that person puts my decorating and my house in the same category!!)
    I know Mr. Sturgess. I know that he bought the house; I didn't know whom he hired; but apparently , he and his wife did furnish it with a decorator.
    I also know John Saladino; and I would bet he would not be sad even an ounce to be asked to consult by Ellen and Portia!

    He is a decorator!! He was ready to downsize; and I do not think he was sad to sell it. He bought a wonderful house from another uber-talented Montecito decorator, Bruce Gregga!

    Thank you for this wonderful , wonderful post! I will save it also! And I love that fireplace under the stairs, too!! (that is my favorite "home office" I have ever seen! When I walked into it; I almost fainted!!!

    1. Penolope, the comment about the decor after Saladino sold the property indicated that the couple were rednecks and the wife was bi-polar and were taken by a decorator from Miami who filled the Villa with Restoration Hardware. The issue that you refer to as a "silly fight" is not silly at all if the pejoratives about the owners are incorrect. I think it is enough to indicate that the Villa was sold, redecorated and sold again. It is not necessary for someone to attribute their limited knowledge of the new owners as "redneck" and "bi-polar". This was done for the sole purpose of looking "in the know" rather than dealing with verifiable facts.

    2. so you're okay with someone calling you a homophobe mrs. bi-yatchi? Or maybe you need followers on your site? nice ducks. not.

    3. "bi-yatchi" - Is this really necessary as well as your comment about Penny's website and the new family of ducks?

      More evidence that one with a miserable life has entered our air space.

  61. I found out that Mr. and Mrs. Sturgess did indeed hire someone to furnish the house. They spend a lot of their time in New Zealand; and have another house here , so I don't know if they actually moved in or not!

    I wanted to set that part of the record straight!!

  62. Thank you Penelope! Do you know if the decorator is indeed Lorraine Letendre, I could find very little about her decorating style on the web, though it looks terribly modern to me.
    Are there in photos of the house decorated with the new furnishings anywhere?
    I love your decorating style by the way!

  63. There were a number of homes on the market on Fisher Island whose decor was attributed to Lorraine Letendre. From the pictures, her style seems very transition and modern - hardly Restoration Hardware as was indicated above. There appears to be no business website for her to view a portfolio.

  64. Joni, this was an incredible post, and hands down I love the Saladino property. The texture of the walls, the steel windows, the antiquity of the materials, and the whole Saladino design makes this the standout property of all the ones Ellen has owned. This is a grownup house. It is the big leagues. I think, however, that she is going to need a getaway where she can play. Ellen has the taste to appreciate this house, but she also enjoys playing house. This is the type of property that is forever and doesn't need to be constantly changed. That would not work here. My gut feeling is that she is going to need another place where she can play, but I think she could feel a sense of stability here. It's a one in a million property.

    I love Saladino's designs, and I love this home. The ranch is fun and comfortable, but this is a masterpiece. I hope that Ellen and Portia get to keep the furnishings. I wish they could buy a nearby property to this to keep their horses. Or maybe they can find a smaller ranch for getaways and that would allow Ellen the creative license to play. This, though, is the keeper of all houses.



  65. Dear Penelope,
    No need to reprimand us and please stop riding on Brooke Gianetti's coat tails. No one is putting Brooke down. No one is putting Joni Webb down. Longtime followers of Cote de Texas are simply defending against a psychopath who has infiltrated Joni's design blog and filled it with hateful rants. Joni may have created this site, but without followers it would be nothing. Heather and Tom are good people. A poster called Heather Sturgess a redneck, bi-polar and other cruel words.

    1. He would call Heather and Tom Sturgess worse only his French is so bad he can't keep his feminine and masculine straight. Then again, that was always his problem. It's hard work being a celebrity groupie trying to look important on a design website. The best he can do is pretend to have visited the Villa and quote some on line real estate gawker. Clearly, neither of the Sturgess would go near this fruitcake. The best he can do is make up lies about them and use foul language to those who don't believe it.

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  68. Wow. I went away for a while. This string of comments is .....what to call it.....something! Joni, you have much stir up all of this. It's a study in human nature. We all want to weigh in, give our take. Some seem to have an agenda though. I do appreciate the fact that people are willing to defend others when there are mean-spirited comments that, to me, are inappropriate. Free speech reveals things about people. Rock on, Joni.

  69. Joni, you have once again posted an exhaustive study of the best of the best. I vote The Villa hands down to be the absolute ultimate place to perhaps "finally" settle down. What a privilege to own this place. Only the genetically stupid would not have Saladino revisit the interiors and make the owners' taste. Obviously, the owners will never come close to the sophistication as John Saladino, but he can surely mentor the ignorant. Ellen and Portia could care less about design, they are only interested in turning dollars. What a shame that The Villa fell into their grubby, greedy hands. I know it breaks your heart because you love the Villa so much. New money and ignorance is a bitch!

  70. Wow. It must be the upcoming summer heat. About this time last year, the Anons started going nuts after the post about Reese's home in Ojai. Or,perhpas people are just jealous of the fabulous weather and spectacular geography to found in California.

    Since I personally don't care for Rustic or Mid-Century Modern, Ellen's esthetic does not appeal to me. However, I watch her show once ina while and think she looks great since she had her face redone.

    The Saladino villa and the Santa Barabara area to die for. And, yes, I will say, "sigh."

    For anyone who wants an "agave" like the ones at the Saladino villa, they are called "Century Plants". Beware! They grow rather quickly and are huge (10 feet across). They also have a trecherous spine at the end of each leaf. which makes them dangerous around children. I know. We had one when I was growing up and skewered my hand on it.

    1. I typically hate it when people point out spelling and grammar mistakes in blog posts, but I can't resist since you came across so superior over us jealous non-Californians. Additionally, was it necessary to mention Ellen's face out of the blue? I say good for her whether she has or hasn't had work. If you're over 35 and haven't tried injectables or had a little help perhaps you should give it a go to improve your aesthetics instead of using such a grainy photo dear.

    2. I hate it when people point out spelling and grammar errors as well because most of them are simple typos. I also hate it when people impugn someone's appearance based on repeating what is public knowledge of someone's face work. Perhaps you might post your photo and we can decide whether or not yours is "grainy" dear.

    3. Oh My God you're pathetic 9:18. It's obvious you're Charlotte posting anonymously defending yourself. Learn the correct usage of impugn. lol

    4. Hello Sheila, nice to see the schoolmarm is back in business. Impugn - to challenge as being false.

      You implied that Charlotte's photo was not a true representation or was "grainy" and perhaps she would be well advised to have her own face work done. I believe I used the word correctly based on your vapid accusation. Any more lessons today oh boring one?

  71. "Anonymous May 31, 2013 at 3:13 PM
    Good God! Do you think I would ever loose my precious time in this uber bitchy post, if I did not know my story right?. The Saladino Villa was sold in March of 2012 to Mr. Sturgess an american billionaire with HQ in New Zealand and his wife. They hired interior designer Lorraine Letrand (the woman responsible for the Restoration Hardware million dollar spree) to do a cheep and tacky knock off of Saladino's exquisite taste, and she decorate the house in the most God awful taste. John Saladino was sick to his stomach, when he found out, what they had done to his masterpiece, I know for a fact, that he couldn't be any happier that his house is now owned by the Ellen and Portia."

    And you would know this how??? We are to believe that John Saladino tells you when he is sick to his stomach. Does the name Larry Sinclair mean anything to you? You sound like his clone.

  72. I must be getting senile, or I'm just overwhelmed by the many posts, back and forth, with insults and arguments. Good grief. I can't even follow them or understand them. For me, they're just an annoyance because they clutter up the comment section. Such carping. They must serve a purpose for those who have written them but I don't quite understand what that is. To be right, in the know? Who cares about any of that? Differing points of view are interesting though. Thanks, Joni for posting such interesting properties. I enjoy seeing well designed houses, done in various styles. I can be very fickle about design styles, like more than one. In a perfect world, I'd be able to change my decor when I grow tired of it. Lucky those who can. Vicarious living is wonderful. I'm glad I got to see the ranch and the other beautiful house. All are eye candy to me. I Iook forward to your next post and thank you for this one.

  73. Villa di Lemma: the architecture, the house itself is beautiful. Saladino's decoration is professional, but it doesn't thrill me. It's dusty and fussy for me, personally. Some looks begin to look geriatric to is just my opinion, I know others love this...

    Ellen's horse camp: obviously the buildings themselves are in a different league than the villa. Ellen started with something less special architecturally. The furnishings and decor, while more homely, have more life for me than the things at the villa. It's a large place, a lot to decorate and some of the rooms aren't decorated down to the last square inch. The pictures need flowers, food, people, parties. It would be great outdoor living, like being at summer camp year round. Living there would keep you engaged with nature, healthy, young. That has great appeal to me, personally.

    I think Ellen's version of the villa might be great, younger, fresher, simpler. I think I might find her version more exciting, personally.

    1. A real possibility. Let's hope so. I agree that a fresh look would be very appealing, but a look unlike we have seen from Ellen so far.
      The Villa calls for far more sophistication than what we have seen from Ellen at the ranch. There is great potential there and I am certain that Joni will be all over it.

  74. I love Elle DeGeneres show and now I`m in love with her house too

  75. wow everything looks so beautifull very unique place everything there just draws ur attention
    text for free at

  76. Sorry Ladies and Gents, I have been traveling and thus have missed the pleasure of your company for the past few days. In addition, I have not posted "anon" since acquiring my own nom de plume last year.

    Regarding Ms. Degeneres, she is 55. I think we should ALL do our best to look good, especially those who are so much in the public eye. She obviously has had more done than fillers and Botox. If not, she would look like this:

    Cudos to an excellent surgeon. As I said, Ellen looks great!

    1. Ellen definitely has not aged well. Face work is indeed a positive. No one in the entertainment industry needs a face and neck like that one.

    2. Watch it, Charlotte. Sheila the grammar queen and Mr. French, who can neither speak nor write the language but uses on line translations, will be all over you for this comment.

  77. The ranch property is very cool. It's too bad Ellen is selling it instead of using it in a philanthropical capacity. I know she actively fundraises for donations, but I also read that of the 50 or so organizations she supports she donates $100,000 to each which is only .01% of her annual salary which doesn't include any other earnings. I think if you and I added up what we give between schools, church, family in need and various organizations and fundraisers it would be higher relative to our salaries. Not looking for criticism just think the ranch would make a nice get-away for those less unfortunate.

    1. Something's funny with your math. 50 organizations times $100,000 to each equals $5 million. If Ellen's $5 million donation is one-hundreth of a percent of her annual salary (.01%), you're saying that Ellen makes $50 billion dollars annually? Really??? Sounds a little off to me. Now if what you're really trying to say is that Ellen earns $50 million, and gives away $5 million, then she's actually donating 10% of her salary (not .01%). Giving 10% of one's paycheck sounds pretty good to me...

  78. Oh jeez... I'm such an idiot I did screw it up! Im so sorry. I was trying to prove a point and I was so nervous that I'd be ganged up on that I ended up messing up my math. Anyway, It'd just be cool if that ranch with all the cabins did become an actual camp maybe for Make-A-Wish or something. Thanks for not being too mean :)

  79. All of their houses are extremely huge for just 2 persons. They would be great for a few generations living together under one roof! I wonder how they can move every year or two, looking at how tremendous the workload is to shift from one place to another. There is the packing, self storage, and unloading alongside all the mess. However, I bet it is a different case for celebrities who can afford to pay people to do all the work for them. If that is the case, then I wouldn't mind moving every now and then! Anyways, thanks for sharing such a comprehensive insight on the beautiful sanctuary of Ellen and Portia. It is always pleasing to see such beautiful homes decor.

  80. These villas look really stunning and beautiful with some lovely environment..

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