COTE DE TEXAS: She’s Selling It–Her Forever House

She’s Selling It–Her Forever House

 

So, earlier this week, I was getting ready for a quiet evening at home.   We had ordered Chinese Food because my parents had ordered it on Sunday and I was really, really craving some old fashioned won-ton soup.  It was a good news day:  the FBI hearing in Congress proved to be much more exciting than I thought it would be and I was looking forward to see what all the talking heads on TV were going to say about it.

In short:  Chinese food and politics.   It doesn’t get much better for me these day.

And then….

There it was.

A one sentence headline seen on the internet, that changed my plans. You would think I had just read “Joni Webb is selling her house!”

(Well, that’s a dream!!)

But, no, it wasn’t me of course, but Ellen and Portia.   And they weren’t selling their L.A. abode, they had just done that a while a short while ago.

But.  

They were selling Villa DeLimma, the Saladino renovated stone castle in Montecito. 

There went my quiet evening watching TV.  Instead my head was back in Santa Barbara, hurriedly writing a new blog story. 

 

You know their house.   The one that Ellen & Portia had claimed was going to be their “Forever” house.  Knowing Ellen, “forever” means about five years – on the long end. 

Ellen bought the villa in 2013.  2013.  For $26.5 million.  That’s four long “forever” years.  It’s on the market now for $45 million.

These excessive figures must give Saladino a bad case of angina just thinking about all the money he left on the table, selling too quickly, for too little.  Saladino had sold the villa to Tom Sturgess and his wife, who a year later sold it to Ellen & Portia for 26.5 million.  And now, three years later, the price has almost doubled.

Saladino spent years taking a ruined rubble and turning it into a masterpiece.  He almost went broke doing it.  He claimed he was selling it due to all the steps around the house and he wanted to downsize.  From this once in a lifetime project, he received satisfaction and critical acclaim and he produced one of the most gorgeous design books written.

What does Ellen get when she sells it?    

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard about a more restless person.  With all the money in the world, having lived in some of the most gorgeous houses ever built – can’t she just settle down and be “at home.”  Honestly, it’s the weirdest thing.

I know creative people get bored after they finish a project and look around and say – what’s next?  But she didn’t really create this.  She paid for it and then went shopping.

 

  

After researching Mar A Lago last month, I learned that Marjorie Merriweather Post actually helped to create the fantastic houses and country estates she lived in.  And, she seemed to hold onto her property for decades; her children and grandchildren have written about their happy family memories of growing up at Mar A Lago and Camp Topridge. 

  What did Marjorie M. Post have that Portia and Ellen lack?  Why can’t these two put down stakes and feel content? 

It must be children, I suppose,  children and their friends fill up a house with laughter and love, creating memories.  It’s not about just buying the hottest vintage piece of furniture that your decorator can charge you for.  It’s about permanence.

Sigh. 

Ellen wrote a design book about this house.  It was shown in many photoshoots, where she talked about how much they loved their forever house.  It’s no one’s fault if they believed what they said.

                                                                                         

Earlier in 2012, the couple owned a nearby Malibu beach house once owned by Brad Pitt.  They sold it after a year because it just wasn’t “right” even though it was so close to L.A.

They also owned a fabulous ranch outside of LA in Hidden Valley which they could get to quickly and Portia could ride her beloved houses.  She had stables for them, which was stuffed to the rafters by Ellen and her decorator.

 

They published the ranch in a moody Elle Decor spread.  But the writing was on the wall.  It was over by then – the story was really a Real Estate advertisement.  They were on the move.  When I heard their landing spot was Saladino’s old spot – I thought that they will be there for a few years, they will spend a fortune changing a perfectly perfect villa, they will then get it published, probably write a design book about it, and then they will move on.

  “Forever house.” 

I wonder why they even feel obligated to say that.  A three year Forever House.  And, when Ellen’s design book came out – she never once mentioned John Saladino’s involvement.  Not once. She only discussed the original 1920s architect Wallace Frost.  She repeats this in the new real estate brochure.  I’m sure Saladino loves that.  It’s as if he didn’t have anything to do with the Villa at all.  

 

And so…it’s for sale.  They were selling it because “they don’t spend as much time in Santa Barbara as they would like.”  OMG.  Seriously?

I could have told them that years ago and saved them all the hassle, expense, and humiliation. 

Ellen says:  "If you think of your home as a canvas – regardless of its style or architecture – you can put anything on it. I tend to keep painting the painting until it's so done, there's nothing left to do. That's when I sell the canvas and buy a new one." 

Except a house is not a painting.   

The last time I wrote about the house where I showed the new photos of it from Ellen’s book, I swore it would be the last time.  But I knew it probably wouldn’t be.  There have been whispers and rumblings.   Gossip Cop claimed a story which OK Magazine printed was a lie:  it said Portia was “livid” with Ellen because she put their Hollywood Hills up for sale because she “craves stability” and “doesn’t want to pack up and move every six months.” Gossip Cop claimed that although they did sell their house last August, they “aren’t moving yet again.”  Huh?  OK.  The house sold but they aren’t moving? 

Then an Australian real estate probable-huckster claimed that the couple were interested in a house Down Under.  Portia is from the country and when the couple make their next trip there, they have an appointment to see this “fabulous” property with a custom built house:

 

So, let me understand this.  Montecito is just too far from L.A., so they are now going to buy this estate in Australia????????

 

And no offense, but has the Australian real estate agent seen the Villa they are selling???????   I mean, come on!  No way this story is true.  I  mean, I wouldn’t doubt it that the wacky couple would buy a new house in Australia for a quick get away, but it’s not this house.

And there is the decor style line, ED, that Ellen developed with Thomasville and she sells it HERE at BBB.   I have to say her line is fabulous.  It all makes sense too.  The launch for her goods was March 7.  Just in time that photos of the house filled with the original inspirations for her line.  My head swims.  

When I last wrote about the Villa, of course I missed the John Saladino interiors.  The master of antiques and textures, known for deep colors contrasted with lilacs, the genius had created a perfect house – with not a missed detail.

Of course I couldn’t stand what Ellen did to the house. But, with time, and a new series of stunning photographs, with new styling and editing, I have to say this:  wow.  It really looks good.  Within reason.   Maybe it’s because it’s so new.

Ellen built a new guest house/pool house on the property  - it’s contemporary but it’s a perfect ying to the yang of the original stone villa.

I’m anxious to see if you will soften to Ellen decor like I have.  It’s also amazing to see how much has changed in the house in just three years.  Some rooms look so different than it did when they first moved in.  I don’t know the current designer.      

But it looks good, the only thing it lacks is the pitter patter of tiny feet!!! 

 

Enjoy:

 

  The front gates.  A winding road of 1/4 of a mile takes you to the villa.

 

  I’m noticing things in this new collection of photos I’ve never seen before – like, the red tiled roof through the gateposts.  Was that house always there or is it new?

 

John’s incredible agaves. The eucalyptus trees are original.  

 

 

The front court.  The interior of the area to the left of the arch is finally seen, later.

 

BEFORE:    When Ellen first moved in, she filled the loggia with an accumulation of wood and bronze pieces.  And she added these gates to keep her dogs safe, I suppose. These gates were one of the biggest changes she made.

 

TODAY:  the space has been edited and looks much better.  It’s Japanese in feel.  The hanging plant is wonderful.  It looks good.

 

At dusk, it’s even more  romantic with the dining room window open.  

 

 

BEFORE:  Originally Ellen styled the courtyard with bright colors that were garish looking.

 

Today:  All the styling is now gone and what remains is an interesting collection of outdoor furniture.   Up the stairs is the terrace off the master & “Betty’s” bedroom.

 

Today.  Not my first choice, of course, but I have to say the furniture is great looking.  That stone chair!  The table!  The umbrella!

   

  TODAY:  The entrance.  The dining room and kitchen is to the left while the living room and master bedrooms are to the right.    A fountain is on the site line from the front door to the back side of house and the breakfast room.

 

  BEFORE:

 

  BEFORE:   The Saladino Living Room which is one of my all-time favorite living rooms.   I’m not sure there is more perfection in design than this.

 

BEFORE:   Earlier for Ellen’s book, she designed the room with her paintings and her collection of furniture.

 

  TODAY:  More editing.  The coloring of these photos is really beautiful.  I like the rug, a lot.  It’s like a soft wool neutral version of a seagrass.  It’s a good alternative to one.  I love the table piled high with books – it warms up the space.  I still hate the art work, but the room does look better and it fits the house.

 

And looking the other direction – with its more colorful view.  

 

BEFORE:    The foyer between the living room and the master bedrooms.   This is how the space looked under Saladino.

 

Before:   Originally Ellen used French antiques in this foyer. 

 

 

  Today:  Styled by Ellen for her book, this room looks completely different.  Very sophisticated with a Moroccan rug and a contemporary light fixture.

 

And there is this:  Strangely, a few photos of the house showed up on the internet, with furniture that obviously wasn’t Ellen’s.  It’s possible she rented out her house to be photographed for a furniture collection.

 

 

  BEFORE:   The master bedroom under Saladino with its double wood doors that open to the front courtyard and the back yard. 

 

  TODAY:   Here, the bedroom is a sea of taupe and gray, very soothing and very pretty.  I’ve never seen this angle of the room showing its fireplace, before.  That was interesting to me.  

 

  TODAY:   And here you can see the view of the ocean from this room.  So beautiful.  Additionally are the two doors to closets – those weren’t there before. 

 

  BEFORE:  Under Saladino, the master bedroom was furnished with a combination of antiques.  Those candlesticks! 

 

Today:  Here, it looks rather good, still.  The windows and that tiny fireplace. 

 

Off the master bedroom is the gravel terrace that overlooks the pool and the Pacific.   Sigh.   I would live out here!

 

And the view towards the Pacific.  I love all the agaves that Saladino planted.  They are such a fabulous addition to the landscaping with their velvet gray color.   

 

The view from the master bedroom terrace down towards the swimming pool.

 

BEFORE:   Past the master bedroom foyer is the second master bedroom, this one was Betty’s suite- all in greens. 

 

Today:  A view of the bedroom with its tiny corner fireplace.   This bedroom is much larger than it seemed before.

 

BEFORE:  The Saladino dining room.  Oh, it was beautiful.  So pretty.

 

 

Before:  When Ellen first moved in, she used curtains like Saladino.  I never understood this.

 

 

I’m  sorry,  I just never liked the bug sculpture in the corner or the art or the lighting fixture.  The light is there because it’s a chic name, not because it adds anything, certainly not beauty.  It’s too small.  It’s too white. 

 

Today:  And then there is this weird photo that showed up, of her house with other furniture in it.  It’s pretty – I like it so much better than Ellen’s decor.  The chairs and table are chic.  I just wish I could find more of these photos and why were they taken? 

 

The kitchen.  Perfection.   Through the back faux refrigerator door is the upstairs office.

 

Today:  The  dining  room. 

 

BEFORE:  Ellen styled the area outside the breakfast room and leading off the foyer – with bright colors.

 

Today the area looks much starker and grayer.  Upstairs are the guest bedrooms.

 

 

The fountain off the foyer and breakfast room.    The trees are just incredible.

 

 

BEFORE:  The gravel terrace off the foyer and breakfast room – under Saladino.  Gorgeous.  Why does his trademark periwinkle look so great here???

 

 

Today:  The same gravel terrace off the entry with its open doors, and the guest rooms above.  I always liked Saladino’s table and chairs better.

 

The same view at dusk.

 

 

BEFORE:   Off the entrance loggia and kitchen is this sitting area, under Saladino.

 

  Today:  Here it is under Ellen.  I rather like this. A lot.  I like the rug.  This is just perfect.  I even like the art work!

 

   

  BEFORE:  Under Saladino, the office off the kitchen faux door.

 

Today:  Portia used this as an art studio.

 

BEFORE:   Above the dining room and kitchen area is the row of the guest rooms.  Saladino used the only carpet in the house in these rooms. 

 

Today:  Ellen uses this a sitting room for guests.  It looks like she keep the Saladino curtains.

   

The  guest rooms are all pretty.  I like the soothing colors and I like the bedding – which is similar to the ones sold in Ellen’s line.

 

BEFORE:  One of the rooms decorated by Saladino.

 

TODAY:   The same room by Ellen.  Most of the furniture seen in the house came from her other houses – you start to recognize the pieces, the art, and furniture.   This is my favorite of all the guest rooms.  I love this decor – it’s warm and inviting and cozy.  I love the antique portraits.

 

  Today:  this large room that has never been seen before.  

 

BEFORE:   The media room that is off the front courtyard as decorated by Saladino.

 

Today:  The media room by Ellen. I never had seen the floor before – it’s interesting.   Love that art work!! 

 

  Terribly bad Bing Earth map – but #1 shows the Villa.  #2 shows the new guest house Ellen built and #3 shows the tennis courts.  Before, the area where the guest house/pool were built – it was in a clearing which is probably why this spot was chosen.    Apparently, the estate is now almost 17 acres – two additional properties were acquired to add to the property.

  

  A view of the guest house in the clearing with the sunken tennis court in the forefront.

 

I knew they had built the guest house – they said it was the one of the things they wanted to do.  Not sure why they needed even more guest rooms when they never had enough time to use the house to begin with, but it was beautifully designed.  In front is a long lap pool encased with stone like the Villa.

 

And the view towards the Pacific.  Must be a gorgeous way to spend the day by this pool!!!

 

A stone terrace leads to the porch with its metal roof.   The house is called Jordan Hall.

 

Inside the covered porch. 

 

Past the porch the guest house reveals itself.  It’s very large space with a pool table in the center and seating on each side.   Like the Villa, the walls are stone and the ceiling is wood.   The stone was excavated from the property.

 

Looking the other direction at the bar, which is a piece of sculpture.  Notice the glass shelves behind the bar!  What a great party house!

 

The bar is a pure work of art.  It’s incredible.  I’m sure it’s a geometrical shape, but since math isn’t my thing, I”m not sure which it is. 

 

In the back section, the roof and wall change.  The back opens to a focal point terrace. 

 

  I’ve never seen so many flatscreens!!!!

Isn’t this beautiful?  I really love the guesthouse – it’s a good addition, especially if a family with 10 children buys the house – just kidding!! 

 

The back garden – with a gorilla focal point.  I think.

 

The kitchen, is weathered wood and contemporary stainless.

 

The outdoor kitchen.  Now this is a great table and chairs for the Villa!  Wonder why she didn’t have one up at the main house?   That’s a pizza oven, naturally.

 

The eucalyptus trees.

 

The bathroom.

 

  With its outside soaking tub.

It all really does have a Japanese vibe.

 

  Below the house is the sunken tennis court.

 

How can you leave this?   I don’t know.  I really don’t understand it.  In search of better or bigger, good luck.  This 1920 house has a charm that few do.   I have no doubt the couple have already either bought another house or have one in mind.  Closer to L.A.  Their “forever house.”   Really, really this time.

 

To order Ellen’s HOME book, click on the above photo.

 

 

 

Go HERE to see Ellen’s large home decor line.  I love the bedding – it’s just like at her Villa and the rugs are great too, especially the prices!  HERE

 

 

Here is Rustic meets Industrial which is what Ellen’s look really is.  Go HERE.

 

Ready for spring?   Darling umbrellas HERE.

88 comments :

  1. Really liked most of the pics you showed of the Saladino designs for the house. Ellen's loggia gates to protect her dogs are very beautiful and work so well with all the stone. I also loved the silky textile wall hanging in the media room. But otherwise my principal reaction to Ellen's house is an impression that it looks dismal and bleak. So lacking in warmth or imagination. Very sad. If all her houses are like this, no wonder she can interchange her furniture and artworks as she moves relentlessly from house to house. And that's what it is - a house - not a home. No wonder she keeps moving. Best wishes, Pamela

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    1. Having read the later comments, I'd like to add that it's particularly Ellen's style treatment of the house that makes it feel so bleak. Real stone castles, as this house has been described, can look very bleak and cold. In days when knights and barons lived in castles, particularly when they weren't purely defensive but also homes - they added layers of furnishings to help with warmth. Castles tended to be chilly drafty places when away from any roaring fires. The furnishings, beautiful tapestries and other wall hangings, paintings, polished metals etc were also there to add beauty and to warm the spirit of the house. If you've explored many old castles in Great Britain and other parts of Europe you see the difference between the places where all the old furnishings have gone and you have bare bleak stone walls and the castles where the originals are still in place - or similar authentic or high quality copies have been acquired and added in modern times.
      Saladino's style treatment certainly gave the house warmth and beauty and enhanced the stonework. Sadly, Ellen's doesn't. But I agree, she hasn't destroyed the house at all - by that I mean irrevocably stripping it of its integrity as the family featured in one of your most recent posts has done. Almost all the changes she has made to the house seem to be surface only and will probably be taken away by her when she leaves. Hopefully she'll leave the beautiful grillework gates though.
      Hopefully also whoever buys will bring more warmth and beauty back to this house. It's also very interesting that the stone was quarried from the property itself, it makes it even more interesting somehow. Best wishes, Pamela

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    2. Beautifully said. I completely agree. Saladino's wall treatment....and use of fabric.......confounds people without understanding......however.......it is brilliant and effective Softens and warms. He made a stone house warm and cozy....sophisticated and beautiful. Whenever I went there......honestly, the breath was knocked out of me. I had to pause. It was brilliant beyond. To the left of the fountain.....(the round one) there was a fire fountain.....breathtaking. Have not seen that in any pictures. When I came for dinner......it took my breath away.
      Here is my bottom line on this house. Living. People who live here......John lived here.....he enjoyed his life here every day. I am not so sure about Ellen.....her life is in LA.....
      I live in Montecito....I love it here....it is not for everyone....... Decorating is so much about how to live. And dthat is what this house is about.......

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  2. I can understand her wanting to move. I've looked at pictures of this house quite a few times and think it's beautiful. The grounds and it's setting are second to none. I'm a California native and this is exactly the terrain I've grown up with and love, I'm very partial to it. However, there's something about the house itself, I just couldn't be happy living there. I know the house is beautiful and if this place were mine I'd understand the significance of it and sell it to someone who could love it as it is. If it wasn't so special I'd tear it down and rebuild something I'd like to live in. The house, no matter what is done to it looks cold and hard. I can see the warm decorating and pretty photography but underneath this house has always looked vicious to me. I can't put my finger on exactly why. There are other houses with stone floors and walls (which I don't prefer) that don't seem like this.

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    1. Jeannine, you stated exactly how I feel about the house. There's just something about it that would lead me to want a change, too.

      Joni, I think you're being a little hard on Ellen for wanting to move on. We moved every 3-4 years for my husband's career and though we love our current home, if the right opportunity presented itself, I'd move and decorate a new home in a heartbeat.

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    2. Yes probably. But it's not just me. She's known for this. And who cares, right? So don't announce it's your forever house this time. I mean, be honest about it. Oh well. I'm just sensitive to it because unlike these commentors, - I love the house. I don't find it cold at all. It might look that way with her furniture in it, but John showed it as a warm, wonderful castle or villa for the U.S. I think it's fabulous. I've seen 10000s of houses and very few stop me in my tracks and make obsess over them - this is one of those.

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    3. Joni, I think this house is fabulous also. I am just so happy they did not do anything destructive to it and they are moving on to something else.

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  3. I like the guest house, and would quite happily settle with that alone.

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  4. I am with you as far as preferring Saladino's version. I adore Ellen, but she has such joie de vivre that I imagine her living in a place packed with primary colors, not something that's so zen as to be soporific. It reminds me of a medium-high-end hotel. I love a monochromatic Gustavian vibe, but this is just...gray.
    As for why she moves, I shrug. Why do celebrities do anything? Because they can. While I certainly have found fathomless meaning in being a mother, it isn't for everybody and I laud anybody who is self-aware enough not to have kids just because it's the thing to do. And though she isn't a designer--she shops, as you say, that's the same as all celebs, right? She clearly has an eye and interest in it. I suppose she said "forever" house the way so many people (especially celebrities) get married, probably sincerely believing it's forever, only to divorce a few years later. Good for Ellen that she's been with Portia for so long--that's the forever that counts.
    Great post, with awesome research, as always. I love that you have such a news instinct.

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    1. you are right! it is amazing she has stuck with portia!!!!! I never thought of that. Portia must be very special. I suppose you have never heard the stories about Ellen and her dogs. Howard Stern goes on and on about it. He is not a fan to be it mildly. And neither is Kathy Griffin.

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    2. Joni 6:27 PM
      Ellen makes you see hilarity in the most innocent everyday circumstances. She's one of the funniest people around with no filth or raunchiness and anyone can appreciate her humor. She doesn't limit her audience thusly, and is suitable for family viewing. The others you mentioned are different from this. Could that have anything to do with them not being fans?
      Sheila

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  5. Great post Joni. Very well researched. If the property (no point calling it a house, or a home) sells for the asking price, 45 million, that's 15.5 million more than she paid for it. This looks more like business; Ellen's other job.

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    1. well. but she did build that guest house etc - and two extra properties but I doubt that was 15.5 m. still. she just gets bored. once its done, she moves on.

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  6. I would spend all my time outdoors if I lived there. The interiors leave me cold and feel dusty and like I could never get it clean. Like living in a stone cave, I guess? Saladino made it look much better with his classic flair, but now it looks confusing and like each piece is fighting for the eye's attention! The grounds are timeless and lovely. The house itself seems way overpriced, but 17 acres!

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    1. If one does not know the exact area with it's current market, one cannot say any property is overpriced. The same house would be cheaper in Kansas. (or Ohio, or Alabama or a bunch of other places)
      Sheila

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    2. i doubt you could ever clean stone for good. maybe with water? they might hose it down once every few years. i doubt it's dirty tho. ellen is a clean freak.

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    3. Stone is far cleaner than wall-to-wall carpets! The French clean by pouring buckets of soapy water, scrubbing (often on hands and knees), then using a big squeegee to pull out most of the water, and following up with a mop and clean water. You could eat off the floor.

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  7. Such a great house - I too don't like Ellen's style very much. So odd to call something a 'forever house' -3 years is forever? I wonder if those photos of the (nicer) furniture are perhaps photoshopped? It's hard to tell anymore. So often I see realtor ads for houses where furniture is photoshopped in and unless you look closely you can barely tell! thats the world we live in....

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    1. i found those photos on the photographer's web site. i think he might have taken them for someone before she even moved in three years ago.

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  8. I'm still thinking PERIWINKLE!!! Let's see...if there were 45 of us at a mil apiece...better stick with periwinkle. franki

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  9. Love Saladino. What a talented designer. His lavender upholstered bench in the book about the Villa is stunning. Thank you so much for your wonderful story about this magnificent property in such beautiful surroundings.

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  10. The trees and landscaping of the property slay me! Saladino! No one else will do this property justice no matter how much money they pour into it.

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  11. $45 million???? Ellen De Generes is a comedian....nothing less and surely nothing more. Her constantly switching of "homes" is indicative of her approach to life never content, never satisfied, never at peace. John D. Rockefeller was once asked, "How much money is enough?" He famously replied, "Just a little more." This is such a sad statement that encompasses the lives of so many people including the famous Ms DeGeneres. Obviously "more" has not brought her the elusive happiness that she seeks. To quote another famous man, Bully Graham, who has led a rewarding life, "I have never seen a hearse pulling a U Haul." Swapping houses is not the answer !! Virginia McMillan

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    1. Wow, that's pretty harsh. Whether you like her style or not, she has been featured in Architectural Digest and other publications for her various homes and renovations. Just because someone enjoys moving and taking on new challenges doesn't mean they are "never content, never satisfied, never at peace." Who says her life isn't happy or rewarding? I'm beginning to wonder if it might be something other than Ellen's style that is the real problem.

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    2. I just wanted to add that the house will sell for whatever price the market can bear. Making a profit on the house doesn't mean that Ellen is greedy, rather that she is a savvy businesswoman (one who donates a great deal of money to charity, by the way).

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    3. What Kitty said. Both posts.
      Sheila

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    4. Ha, using the intolerance card -- even on a home decorating blog. Sheesh.

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    5. So funny, note how she spelled that intolerant man's name: " Bully Graham, ". (How Freudian :)
      fwiw I don't think Ellen moves/redecorates like this cuz she doesn't have kids. While that certainly allows her more energy to do other things, it seems to me like she loves to update and decorate houses a lot; i would do it if i could. It may be she is restless cuz a lot of gay teens were pretty traumatized by the realization and dealing with all the intolerant and even downright hostile adults in the world.

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  12. This house and property under Saladino were perfection, and it's hard to imagine a more gorgeous place. I adore his Old World treatment of it, which is what the house called for. I can't imagine willingly giving up a home like this. I do think Ellen treats real estate as an investment business rather than a nest to fly home to. Ellen doesn't do pretty, and I think the industrial loft look is wrong for this house, but the house manages to look fabulous despite it. The more recent photos in the listing are better than the ones in her book, and I can appreciate the calm Zen vibe, but it's still the house itself that gives it beauty. I think the odd photos that are clearly not Ellen's furniture must be from a photoshoot for a furniture catalog as you guessed. I used to live in the furniture capital of the world, and furniture companies were always renting fine older homes for photoshoots. Well, we nesters are not made like Ellen and it's hard for us to understand her restlessness. Maybe she's a gypsy at heart and doesn't want to stay in that one perfect place. Each to her own .... By the way, what about her L.A. home, then? How long has she been there? From what you quoted, it sounded like this was a part time home.

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    1. there was that weird quote from gossip cop. they denied Portia was upset about the sale of the house - which is true, I'm sure. Apparently Portia has resolved herself to the wanderlust now. When the ranch was first bought, Portia said it was so large that she thought it would take years for Ellen to finish it. Instead by one year, it was totally done and Ellen was ready to move on - and Portia was not happy about it. She liked the stables and having her house so close by. Not sure where the horse is now and whether she still rides. As far as the LA house, Gossip Cop said that Portia wasn't upset about the sale, but they are still living there??

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  13. Pretty incredible...any of the versions! It's clear. I need a better sense of humor and a tv show!

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  14. Ellen moves, I believe, because SHE MAKES A LOT OF MONEY buying, redecorating, and then selling with her name on the property. She enjoys the process and she rakes in the cash. It's not that hard to figure out.
    Secondly, we've seen most of these pictures before, some of them multiple times, associated with different stories. Sometimes the same story, different day, trying to figure out why Ellen moves so much. Can we just move on to something new?
    Thanks.
    Sheila

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    1. Sheila, this was big news. Google it.

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    2. I know. Ellen lists another house. It's what she does. It's not really big news.
      Sheila

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  15. 17 Acres in Montecito is worth a lot. Also given that the house is so well known and that Ellen is a celebrity sometimes demands a higher price. The real-estate market in Montecito is quite different from the rest of Santa Barbara and many people just want to live in that zip code. There are also tons of stories that float around about people who buy in Montecito, embark on a huge renovation, spend a bunch of money and then change their mind, sometimes never actually living in the houses.
    Ellen is probably just a serial renovator and gets bored easily. Santa Barbara is a pretty quite city for the most part, which is why most people like it. And most people in SB don't care all that much about the celebrity stuff.

    Great post Joni! Will you please give us some more Houston Real Estate stories? I love those

    xxoo Kelley

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  16. Wonderful post--thx Joni! Although I don't care for Ellen's decorating style, the more recent pix did soften me as you suggested. Really like a few of the rooms like the sitting area and the bedrooms. I can understand Ellen wanting to move as the home doesn't fit her style. A few pieces of MCM can work but not an entire room of it, which is what Ellen seems to prefer. Love Ellen sstill shocked that she totally over-looked Saladino's contribution. She has become quite a businesswoman and learned from Oprah and Martha Stewart how to build her brand. And as one previous reader indicated, why do ultra-rich people do the things they do? Because they can indulge every whim! I suspect Portia would have preferred to be in the previous home where she had a stable and horses but that wasn't going to help sell any more books or the ED brand.

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  17. Awesome info! I spent the day enjoying your other Saladino posts too. I think the large white square Abstract Minimalist painting is by Robert Ryman. I would love for someone to verify, as I am a huge fan of his work.

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    1. "White square abstract minimalist" can be done by you over the weekend and then you can tell your friends when they ask you that you did it yourself. Wouldn't that be fun?
      Sheila

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    2. It's Robert Courtright - it you mean the one in the master bedroom foyer. it's incredible. saladino has owned it for decades. google image his work - he has done this painting in different colors. it's gorgeous. and Sheila, if you can reproduce Courtright, please let me know. I'd be happy to buy one!!

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    3. Well, I didn't mean for someone to exactly copy the painting. I was thinking more of suggesting to people that if they admire something like that why not make a trip to the art supply store, (which is full of such fun stuff)pick up a canvas and some paint and have a shot at creating your own art.
      You aren't supposed to copy other people's stuff; you could get sued.
      People in art class sometimes try to copy people's stuff for practice but it's usually old masters who are long dead. You then sign it accordingly, "After (Whomever)."
      Try painting, Joni, you may enjoy it! Take some classes with a local artist. Or just jump in.
      Sheila

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    4. Thanks Joni! I will have to look further into Courtright. BTW, I am an abstract artist, and can make anything you want ;-)
      https://www.facebook.com/LauraGrafStudio/

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  18. Hi there! Here is my take. Ellen has done nothing to that exquisite house except put inappropriate furniture , art and accessories into it. Fortunately, she has not remodeled the main house. Her outbuildings should be torn down. Whatever she has done to change the exquisite perfection of that house.....I hope the next owner will restore. She is a great comedienne.....a great talk show host. She should stop wrecking houses......NOW!!! Please......Ellen......you think you are good at this??? Look at John Saladino's book.....and then look at your book about the same house......CAN YOU NOT SEE THE DIFFERENCE???? You are not good at this!! You are a great talk show hostess.......!!! I adore your show and you!

    Houses are not YOUR TALENT!!! You damn near wrecked the most beautiful house I have ever seen! No wonder you are selling......you saw it....you loved it.....and then you thought you knew more than John Saladino!!

    WRONG!!!!!! Get out of there and let someone buy it who does really love it......as he did. Shame on you! You think you know more? Guess what? NO YOU DON"T!!!

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    Replies
    1. Penelope,
      Relax. She didn't "wreck" the pile. She just put different furniture in it. The next owner can decorate it anyway they desire. I've seen beautiful old worthy houses that have been wrecked, and this one wasn't wrecked.
      She does have a talent with houses; she knows how to rake in the dough with them. She's a real estate magnate.
      I'm kind of surprised that you say this is the most beautiful house you have ever seen.
      Sheila

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  19. You are so right: Why is Ellen so restless? Is that a contemporary malady? Regarding the Santa Barbara house, it struck me looking at the living room before-and-after photos that the house is styled now like a hotel - comfortable for people to sit alone but not together. So many beautiful elements but no real warmth, nothing encourages conversation. I would be terrified there that my stomach would growl and the sound would reverberate through the entire property.

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  20. Thank you for another great tour of a fabulous property. It doesn't bother me that Ellen changed the decor, her house- her decision. I'm just glad that she didn't change the structure. In fact, she had enough respect for it to mimic it in the guest house, for which she had complete control of the design. Bravo for that.

    Forever is just a word to some. Relationships, homes and possessions can be forever or disposable depending on your point of view. Wealth, privilege, celebrity and status are not determinants.

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  21. Meh. She'll never be Saladino. That house is a cold, greiged-out, unwelcoming failure. Maybe the next person will turn it back into a home.

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  22. Another great, well researched article Joni...Bravo! The home is a dream, you couldn't get me to sell it for anything in the world. But people are different, why is everyone hating on Ellen so much? Women, let's lift each other up an support each other, not pick apart and tear each other down! So she likes to decorate, renovate, and move a lot...so what!! She has tons of money, and no children, and this is her passion...stop being so judgmental.

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  23. I was over the moon elated with this news, same as you Joni. I never understood why Ellen purchased Saladino's opus to begin with; it's such a diversion of her style. MCM does not work within the walls of this magnificent architecture, period. To me it would be like owning an Italian restaurant with only Chinese food on the menu. It's just wrong.

    Saladino is my favorite designer; always has been and is the reason I too became an interior designer. His eye for layering and creating romance in any setting is second to none; in my opinion. The natural stone excavated from the property is so beautiful in person with incredible dusty shades of gold, mauve, taupe and lilac. This is something images simply can not capture and changes throughout the day as the Santa Barbara sun settles in each room. I believe this was Saladino's inspiration and reason why he created such a pure backdrop. He often kept the rooms filled with lush greenery and exquisitely simple european florals which only accentuated the natural stone, his collections of antique furnishings, textiles, and art. The home always felt warm and inviting ... you truly wanted to linger. This is not how it feels today with Ellen at the helm. I look forward to seeing whom the next "caretakers" will be... I pray they will honor Saladino for his contribution (as Ellen absolutely should have; shameful) and add their own legacy with a sense of warmth and integrity to their own version of California lifestyle design ~

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    1. Beautifully said. I just got so upset; this is how I feel about the house. I repeat; it was the most beautiful, peaceful house I have ever been in when John lived there. I loved it. Thank God she didn't remodel anything he did. I, too, just hope the next person returns the feeling it had. I think those "mystery pictures" are from when the Sturges's had it. Just a guess.

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    2. Leanne, as much as I want to see the new decor, I"m afraid it's already been the best it could possibly be. Can't imagine who could top that living room that JS did. Hard to imagine.

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  24. The grounds, the setting, are just magical. This epitomizes the allure of the California coast.

    As to why Ellen doesn't feel settled, and why she needs to buy so much and so often, it may be that she has an eye for real estate. Or it may be that she has feels an emptiness that no amount of things she can buy will ever fill.

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  25. A person buying a house has the sole right to determine how it will be furnished.
    End of.
    Sheila

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    Replies
    1. Duh. We all know that. What is the point?

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  26. Sheila.......end of what? Here is what! If one buys a major house.....that has been publicized all over the place; and even a beautiful book published.....and then ; after you buy it; as a celebrity and write another book about it! Sorry......no. You can DETERMINE HOW IT WILL BE FURNISHED.....!! Of course! However; you can certainly have comments ad infinitum about the way you furnished it.....and how hideous it is in the eye of beholders! End of......nothing. That is a ridiculous statement in this discourse. What on earth do you mean???

    This house is part of the public sphere.....We all have our opinions......and no one is denying her right to determine how to furnish it! We just have opinions on how many horrible mistakes she made in doing so!
    Say what, Sheila??!!??

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    Replies
    1. I hope a very private person buys this pile of rocks and we never see pics of it again. It's getting boring. Maybe Kristin, or Rob or Barry will list a house next week.
      Sheila

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    2. Whoever they are!! Have they taste???

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    3. Nothing boring about this exquisite stone house! "Pile of rocks" shows your ignorance!!!oh well!!!!

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    4. Penelope, you've never visited this house, but bless your heart for thinking you did. I hope you see your family physician soon. In the meantime, there's more information here.

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  27. I am so sorry you are bored! Joni! NOT many of us are bored! Please keep the stories coming on this fascinating...legendary, and magnificent house! I was 16 years old.....lived in Pasadena, came to Montecito for August every year......and drove up the driveway of his house every year......every single year for 20 years or so. It is a legendary, fascinating house. One of a kind........a treasure.. Please never stop!

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    1. Penelope,
      You're cracking me up now, Girl. You just wrote six separate comments in response to what I said. Oh, and I'm not ignorant, by the by.
      Sheila

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    2. I had to!!! (but I was wrong.....you are not ignorant. Just don't call my favorite house of my life "a pile of rocks", again! Okay???

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    3. Pile is an old term which actually refers to how the rooms are arranged. (Single pile, double pile) It is often heard in England when referring to a large/rambling country home. This place is a "pile." And it's made of rocks.
      Sheila

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  28. Two of the "TODAY" photos of the loggia show a massive hanging plant that Joni's keen eye notice how much it contributed to the beauty of that area. I think it is an antelope ear or elk's horn fern, i.e., Staghorn fern (Platycerium). It is provably mounted on wood or wire basket like structure with moss. I am so envious! I love that fern but I cannot grow it outdoors here where I live in the North West. Letty

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    Replies
    1. It is beautiful! and it does soften that area. the front loggia looks better today, edited, cleaned up. I'm still not a fan of the gates though.

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  29. The big black stylized gorilla has got to go regardless...ugh! And it's even positioned so you can be sure to see it from inside. Lovely. Not. It probably cost more than my house...ha!
    Sheila

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  30. No kidding! (I take it back! You are not ignorant!!) That gorilla is hard to believe ugly; and it is a fireplace!!!

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  31. There is a lots of images are there in blog.Design Within Reach

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  32. Amei. Lindas inspirações.
    Tenha uma ótima semana.

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  33. Hi Joni - good article and it has me thinking about "home" and what that means to most people. I think its the personality, energy, life,living,loving, the care and attention given to the home itself - all of it amounts to our building & maintaining a comfortable,inviting (for us) place of our own, a respite from the rest of the world, our own cozy nest - big or small. For most of us on here this also absolutely includes our decor! Evidently, Ellen could care less about that aspect of "home" - You'd think she would have enough to keep her busy but I guess this house flipping has become a project/hobby/moneymaker??? for her. I don't get it either. Thanks!

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  34. Not sure if she regretted buying the house but hopefully the next person will appreciate it more and live there "forever".

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  35. Hi Joni,
    I think the thing is that everyone has a different definition of words, and you have to know the person to be able to translate effectively. To Ellen, "forever" equals five year. To you or I, "forever", could equal fifty years. Ellen made it clear that to her a house is just like painting, she redoes it, gets bored and moves on to the next.

    So she isn't emotionally attached, and her idea of "loving" something is temporary, our equivalent to "liking" something and no more.

    I don't think the patter of little feet has nothing to do with it. I can't stand the patter of little feet, and find it disruptive and annoying instead of tranquil and enchanting. (but that's just me as a cranky old maid:)

    I think it has to do with a person either being at peace with themselves - or not. Ellen is restless, where other people are extremely content with their home and it gives them great satisfaction.

    Ellen also doesn't choose well. She doesn't know WHAT she wants or WHERE, except for RIGHT NOW.
    She has the money to indulge that habit.
    And going forward, we all should learn that the minute one of her houses is in a multi-spread page in Architectural Digest, etc., that it will be on the market within 2 years!

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    1. Many , many houses I have seen in A.D. have been listed soon after. It's high-class free advertising.
      Sheila

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    2. Hmm... I wonder if it is like placement advertising in movies where the producers get $$ to have a character in the movie use a certain product. Would AD get paid to do a spread on a home that is about to be listed for sale? Like BMW had a 3 movie arrangement with the James Bond franchise... Not to mention Reese's pieces: Hershey Co. spent $1 million promoting E.T. in exchange for the rights to use E.T. in its ads. Two weeks after E.T. gobbled a few pieces of the candy, Hershey's reported a 65% jump in profits. Could it be that there is more to a home being featured on AD than "Hey, that is a cool pad! Let's do a cover story on it." ??? Letty

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    3. I'll second (or third) everything Constance and Penelope have said here. Thanks for saying it all for me. If I lived here I'd never leave. Ever. I'm a nester and I agree with Joni that John Saladino's living room at Villa di Lemma is the most perfect living room I've ever seen. Whenever I need to see beauty I look at these photos of Saladino's masterpiece, and quickly scroll by the others. Please post more about this incomparable stone house. Do you have, can you find any history of former owners going back to 1920? Who were they? What did it look like when the first owner moved in? And please keep us updated about John Saladino's whereabouts and activities. I discovered him on this blog. Thank you for giving him his due here and for your recent update on another post.

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  36. Joni, give it up! I don't know why you don't like Ellen Degeneres It is because she is gay? This is the second posting you have made blasting Ellen, her book, and her house. We all have different lifestyles. Saying she can't settle down because she doesn't have children is a low blow! It makes you sound mean and cruel. Are you so jealous of her success not only as an actor, a comedienne, and as a designer that you have to put her down to make yourself feel better. You come off sounding like a bully. Just let it go. Disappointed.

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    1. Joni is not anti-gay! Far from it. She is also not jealous. At all. She is upset, that is all, that Ellen bought a beautiful house, called it her "forever house" did some really stupid stuff to it....and is moving. I get very emotional over this also. Don't turn it into something it isn't. We are just upset. We love this house....maybe too much!!!

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  37. I usually like your posts and I don't mind people stating strong opinions about design. If you hate her furniture and style feel free to criticize it. But your tone toward Ellen is nasty and you sound petty and jealous. Who cares if she wants to move every two years? She has the money to do so. And to make assumptions about her life choices based on gossip and presumptions about lack of children is immature. This post comes off as pathetic and makes you look bad. I hope in the future you can critique design without personal attacks or I'm going to have to stop reading.

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  38. Ellen moves a lot, I guess, because she's smart and savvy with her real estate purchases. She's said herself that she moved around a lot as a child, which could be one of the reasons why moving isn't such a big hassle for her. My partner and I rent and have moved four times in eight years, and whilst saving up for our own place I do dream of settling down, we always manage to make a home where we live. We hang pictures and curtains, put down rugs, and with time and memories you can feel at home. I guess it's the same with Ellen and Portia.

    I do have to say though that Ellen's horse ranch, still to this day, is one of my favourite design spreads from a celebrity. The little cabins in a large expanse of beautiful and natural land was so anti-celeb that it was refreshing to see such an expression of contented living. The Elle Decor spread was lovely, but oddly the real estate listing photos showed the place in a much more liveable light. The same with the Villa. I have Saladino's book and though I wouldn't want to live in it the way he designed it, it was a masterpiece and hearing that Ellen had bought it was a real surprise. I was a little disappointed with her book. She has great style and interior taste and can afford the best, and I know the layout of the photos were to showcase it in an architectural way, but again the recent real estate listing photos are what the book should have been. Obviously they are still styled, but you get the sense that they are what the rooms look like when they're looking their best, like when they have people over - the way we all clean when we have guests coming. We scrub to within an inch of our knuckles, the mother-in-law's coming kind of clean, but there's still life in these pictures that the book photos did not convey.

    I like the fact that John Saladino brought this place back to life. I like that Ellen and Portia bought it and tinkered with it in a fun way and it was filled with their cats and dogs. Even the crazy art. With a price tag of $45 million, it's never going to be a family home with kids running about and drawings on the refrigerator.

    I am fascinated by their real estate shenanigans. You can tell that home is important to them, even if it changes every year or so.

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  39. Officially, Salivating... Christie Annabella

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  41. Hi Joni,
    when I saw the news that Ellen is selling the house, my first thought was about you because I red about her house(s) on your blog before.
    Greetings from PalazzoPizzo.com

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    ReplyDelete
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