February 10, 2018 10:00 AM

Hollywood talent manager and record-label boss Scooter Braun knows a star when he sees one — he works with Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Kanye West — but it was another pair of famous friends that led him to his stunning Montecito, California, home, while it was still a diamond in the rough.

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi (rather forcefully) convinced Braun, 36, and his then-girlfriend Yael Cohen, 31, to go house hunting during a fateful lunch in 2014.

The spouses endlessly talked up the seaside town, Braun tells Architectural Digest in the magazine’s March issue. “We were like, ‘We’re not going to buy a house.’ We weren’t even married yet!” But, he recalls, “when we got back to their house afterward, there was a broker waiting for us.”

(Serial renovators DeGeneres and de Rossi have since listed a stunning $45 million estate in nearby Santa Barbara, and picked up a new place in Montecito, which was struck by deadly mudslides in January.)

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Trevor Tondro

 

Braun and Cohen fell for the third place they visited: a six-bedroom, 7,000-square-foot home originally built in 1916. “As soon as we pulled into the driveway, between all those trees, we kind of instantly knew that we were going to buy it,” says Braun.

The couple has since married and welcomed two sons, Jagger Joseph, 3, and Levi Magnus, 1.

Alexi Lubomirski, courtesy Architectural Digest

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With help from two of DeGeneres’s go-to decorators Kathleen and Tommy Clement, who also worked on Jennifer Aniston’s Bel Air home, they upgraded every inch of the house and the surrounding landscape, which now features myriad outdoor entertaining areas and two fire pits.

“I’m obsessed with fire pits,” Braun tells AD, “and that’s because some of the best concerts I’ve been to in my life have been around them. I can’t tell you how many times our friends have sat down to sing and play at the piano in the living room, but the real fun happens around the fire pits. We literally sit around and jam.” And, he notes not so subtly, “we are fortunate enough to know a couple of people who can really sing.”

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