The Fairytale Story of Casa Encantada
Once upon a time and long ago, a little girl dreamt of living in a romantic and colorful village on the shores of a deep blue lake. As she matured and traveled to far-off lands, she discovered the village of Bellagio in Tuscany on the shores of beautiful Lake Como. It was to become her permanent vacation destination.
She returned to Italy every year, taking photos and making plans to one day live in a perfect replica, both inside and out, of a Lake Como/Bellagio estate.
She became very highly successful and after many decades when the time of retirement neared, she hired a fine home designer to study every facet of Bellagio architecture and implement every detail of her perfect Lake Como Estate. Behind enormous leaded glass front doors, he was to feature a study, music room, media room, grand room and three themed en-suite master bedrooms. Outside there would be a large balustrade veranda, classic loggia, three patios, and both sunrise and sunset courtyards.
Land was bought on a special view hilltop overlooking a quaint village and not far from a lovely lake. Work began as the millennium approached; but before her dream home could be visualized, a disastrous market crash devastated her retirement funds. Amidst disappointment and dismay, work on the home stopped.
She was forced to try and sell and return to work; but falling into disrepair, the home was turned over to a relocation company with a listing that was tantamount to a “distress sale.”
After learning of this heartbreaking story and studying volumes about Lake Como estate landscaping and architecture, a prospective owner decided to buy the property and fulfill the dream of that perfect home. Like William Randolph Hearst and Julia Morgan, he decided to hire a world-class interior designer stipulating no budget restraints to encumber her talents and ingenuity. Fortunately, she would be a disciple of Julia Morgan and would have explored Hearst Castle dozens of times.
Like Julia, she was to fill the home with custom furniture, tasseled custom draperies, color matched cornices, and one-of-a-kind canopies; moreover, she was to design and implement the color–themed master bedrooms named after three famous romantic Italian locales: Bellagio, Portofino, and Venice.
Additionally, considering the empty property as a ‘blank canvas,’ she was to complete the home with fine bronzes, themed oil paintings, colorful tapestries, flowered jardinières, ceramic sculptures, classic museum vases and urns, Fine Art lights, and specially adorned medallions and mirrors. Each piece was to be designed or built for a particular room or setting, and framing was to be done where the San Francisco Museum of Fine Art often had it done; but unlike Hearst Castle, there was never to be even a hint of a “Heinz ketchup bottle in the refectory.”
As per the little girl’s dream, the home was to be perfect and complete in every detail, even down to the colors of threads in nearly 100 hand-decorated tassels and custom sewn pillows.
The landscaping also had to be perfect, including three fountains, three geometric Boxwood hedged tree gardens on a grassy slope, topiary trees in front of arched picture windows, and curved Euonymus hedges forming classic Italian gardens adorned with Tuscan urns atop pedestals. Flowers, trees, and shrubs would flourish in the special warmer microclimate with ultra pure water for irrigation.
From every window and door, the visions were to be beautiful. Views of the distant mountains, terraced valley, and village far below would stretch for nearly 100 miles and inspire awe. One visitor would remark: “so this must be what heaven is like.”
Like any fine estate, it would be isolated from the neighborhood. The entire property, including a night-lighted, fragrant dwarf lemon orchard, was to be enclosed and privatized by high hedges and wrought iron gates. And to add touches of whimsy, an ‘animal greenhouse’, stone fire pit with log rack, Nantucket trellis, and a quaint ‘Orchard House’ were added. Bronze signs with script lettering cut with 10,000 psi water jets designated happy junctures throughout. The upper and lower property areas were then connected by a winding 135’ lantern-lighted flagstone slope walkway called ‘Fairytale Lane.”
The result, taking almost 10 years to complete, is the magnificent sanctuary called Casa Encantada. Without question, it defines a truly ‘enchanted villa’ unlike any other residence in the world.
Casa Encantada Estate