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Real Estate newsletter: Vineyards, mansions and hideaways – Los Angeles Times

Welcome back to the Real Estate newsletter. This week, we’re heading up and down the coast on a tour of California, taking in a handful of very-different-yet-still-all-incredibly-photogenic properties on the market.

Our first stop takes us to wine country, where “American Idol” producers Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe are selling a Paso Robles vineyard that they built from scratch.

We chatted with the pair, who gave us the backstory on the wine-fueled passion project. It starts with a leisurely drive down the coast after auditioning 40,000 singers and ends with the duo spending five years and $5 million creating an Italian-inspired vineyard on the Central Coast.

Next, let’s head to the Hollywood Hills, where “Big Bang Theory” star Johnny Galecki put his Spanish hideaway on the market for $11.9 million. A hot spot for celebrities, the tropical retreat has been owned by multiple actors over the years, including Ben Stiller and Jason Statham.

We’re not quite sure where Galecki’s new spot is, but his budget is probably big; during his run as Leonard Hofstadter on the hit sit-com, he became one of the highest-paid TV actors in the world.

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Katy Perry got an even bigger price in Beverly Crest, selling her Regency-style home for $18 million after moving to Montecito with her fiancé, Orlando Bloom. The sale came just months after she sold the property right next to it, which she’d been using as a guesthouse, for $7.475 million.

The last stop on our journey takes us to Little Holmby, a small enclave that’s home to some of the Westside’s finest architecture. The latest notable residence to hit the market was designed by Paul R. Williams, the iconic architect who made history as the first Black member of the American Institute of Architects.

The Colonial Revival-style home, which cost $19,800 to build back in 1937, is asking $5.25 million. It’s the first time the property has been listed in more than half a century.

Lastly, Lisa Boone gave us another installment in her stellar ADU series, this time looking at a Culver City family who built a 500-square-foot accessory dwelling unit behind their house for their disabled son and his caregiver. That way, the son could live independently while still being close.

As always, while catching up on the latest, visit and like our Facebook page, where you can find real estate stories and updates throughout the week.

The vineyard that ‘American Idol’ built

Ken Warwick, left, and Nigel Lythgoe stand and look at each other while each holding a wineglass

Ken Warwick, left, and Nigel Lythgoe are asking $22 million for their 164-acre vineyard in Paso Robles.

(Villa San-Juliette)

Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe were exhausted.

The two “American Idol” producers had just wrapped up a stint in San Francisco, the last stop of a nationwide tour for the show’s second season that saw them audition more than 40,000 hopeful singers. Rather than flying back to Los Angeles, they opted for the scenic route and drove down Pacific Coast Highway, stopping in Paso Robles along the way.

There, they hatched an idea with the show’s other big names — host Ryan Seacrest, judge Simon Cowell and creator Simon Fuller — to buy a vineyard. The other three eventually dropped out, but after a few years of scouting, Warwick and Lythgoe bought a 164-acre spread for $5 million in 2005.

The duo spent the next five years creating a Tuscan-style vineyard called Villa San-Juliette. Now, they’re looking to sell the fruits of their labor for $22 million.

‘Big Bang Theory’ star offers hidden retreat

A view toward one of the doors of the villa with gardens all around.

The half-acre hideaway includes a 1920s villa, guesthouse, speakeasy pub and mosaic pool.

(Hilton & Hyland)

Actor Johnny Galecki, who’s best known for his role in the hit CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” is shopping around his Spanish-style villa in Hollywood Hills for $11.9 million.

Galecki was looking for a tenant to move into the compound last year, offering it up for rent at $45,000 a month.

He paid $9.2 million for the property in 2015, becoming the latest actor to inhabit the home. Ben Stiller owned the place for over a decade, during which he oversaw an expansion and restoration from Roman & Williams, a design firm that worked with Stiller on the set of his 2003 film “Duplex” before bigger projects for the Ace Hotel in Brooklyn and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In 2011, Stiller sold the leafy retreat for $7.325 million to action star Jason Statham, who passed it onto Galecki four years later.

Pop star sells second Beverly Crest residence

Spanning more than an acre, the estate is tucked behind gates and reached by a tree-lined driveway.

Spanning more than an acre, the estate is tucked behind gates and reached by a tree-lined driveway that covers a quarter of a mile.

(Hilton & Hyland)

Katy Perry is officially out of Beverly Crest. A few months after selling her guesthouse for $7.475 million, the pop star just unloaded the main house for $18 million — the same price she paid for it in 2017.

The sale comes as no surprise. In 2020, she moved to Montecito with her fiancé, Orlando Bloom, shelling out $14.2 million for a sprawling nine-acre compound.

Built in the 1950s but updated since, the Regency-style home showcases dramatic style across 5,400 square feet. Even the entrance is over-the-top, as massive gates open to a quarter-mile driveway lined with trees and hedges.

Stellar architecture in Little Holmby

Built in 1937 for $19,800, the Colonial Revival-style home showcases bright colors and a classic Williams-style staircase.

Built in 1937 for $19,800, the Colonial Revival-style home showcases bright colors and a classic Williams-style staircase.

(Marco Franchina)

Few architects have left a larger mark on Southern California’s architectural landscape than Paul R. Williams. The prolific designer worked on thousands of projects during his decades-long career, including a healthy mix of public landmarks and private residences.

One of the latter just surfaced for sale in the Westside neighborhood of Little Holmby, where a Colonial Revival-style spot is up for grabs at $5.25 million. It’s the first time the house has hit the market in half a century.

Williams, who made history as the first Black member of the American Institute of Architects, built the home in 1937 for Watterson Rothacker, the owner of a film processing lab. At the time, it cost $19,800 to build — which seems cheap, but was actually relatively expensive for the era.

The estate traded hands a few more times over the years before selling to the current owner, interior designer and businesswoman Ann Ascher, for $176,000 in 1971.

An ADU keeps family close

A family sits together on a couch.

Family portrait of Adrian Perez, center, Joey Villicana, left, Andrea Villicana, second from right, and Alex Chavez inside the family’s ADU.

(Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times)

Andrea Villicana has long worried about long-term care for her 33-year-old son Adrian Perez, who is developmentally disabled and nonverbal due to health complications when he was a baby, writes Lisa Boone.

She was intrigued by the possibility of Adrian living with a caregiver on the property, so she attended a class on how to build an ADU.

Eight months and $260,000 later, the family installed a 500-square-foot disability-friendly unit in the backyard complete with wood floors, clerestory windows and easy-access shower controls.

“While Adrian can’t own property, at least he has a place in the back where his siblings can watch over him,” she says. “We feel so fortunate to be able to do this. We can keep our family close.”

What we’re reading

With enough money, you can add just about any amenity imaginable to your home, but you’ll have to leave California to land the primary feature of this one-of-a-kind listing in San Antonio: a cave. Listed at $875,000, the house features a deck with a secret door that descends into a cavern complete with electricity and handrails. KSAT 12 has the story.

The latest example of the devastation that wildfires can wreak just popped up in Montana, where the Elmo 2 Fire destroyed a family’s dream house weeks before they were able to move in. According to NPR, the couple bought the land in 2019 and spent 18 months building the place before the fire destroyed it in minutes. Fortunately, a GoFundMe has raised more than $53,000 to help them rebuild.

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