Las Varas Ranch in Santa Barbara is the opposite of your average million dollar listing

By Mackenzie Schmidt
Updated December 01, 2020 01:43 PM
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Credit: Courtesy Douglas Elliman

A quick glance at the aerial view of the main house at Las Varas Ranch in California— a very pretty, but relatively modest Spanish-style structure on a rural-seeming plot of land — may leave you wondering at the place’s current $108 million asking price.

A slightly longer look, however, reveals a landscape of dramatic oceanfront cliffs in the background. And a viewing of the listing’s cinematic promotional video, below, reveals what might be the coolest real estate listing in the country right now: a lost to time ranch, miles of private beach, endless orchards, a landscape out of a Peter Jackson movie and oil heir’s widow, Anita “Topsy” Doheny, as the seller. Topsy’s husband, Timothy Doheny, is the grandson of California tycoon Edward Laurence Doheny, who was implicated in the Teapot Dome Scandal and inspired a character in the film There Will Be Blood.

Unlike many a fully-loaded listing that pops up in Los Angeles, or even nearby Santa Barbara, this home, which is offered by Douglas Elliman for the first time in 50 years, has no state-of-the-art movie theater or personal champagne bar (or a “wine mine,” for that matter).

Instead, it comes with 1,800 picturesque acres, two miles of ocean frontage, a cowboy ranch manager and the feeling that a Nancy Meyers character could pop out from behind every ancient oak tree.

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Credit: Courtesy Douglas Elliman

Other amenities include lemon and avocado orchards, specimen landscaping, secret sandstone tunnels to the beach and panoramic ocean views.

“I used to sit on that stone wall in front of the house and just look at the ocean and the whole landscape there. It’s very peaceful and tranquil. Very serene,” Topsy explains of her life on the ranch in the 1960s. “And from where the house sits, the land curves around so you can see forever.”

Allow yourself to get swept up in the breathtaking vistas — and the swelling musical score — and you’ll soon be convinced $108 million is an all too reasonable ask for this one-of-a-kind estate.