Villa Nafissa, a once-in-a-generation compound located 42 miles north of downtown San Diego in Rancho Santa Fe, comes with nearly 40 acres of park-like grounds, a private lake, waterfalls, over 3,000 species of flora, and idyllic gardens. designed to evoke Impressionist painter Claude Monet’s famous water garden in Giverny, France.
The estate, which is up for sale for $35 million, reflects a decades-long effort that has transformed the property from a dirt road to a lush oasis that is huge but full of intimate spaces. Tucked away behind gates and largely hidden by the hilly hillside surrounding it, the park-like property has the feel of a modern secret garden.
Despite there being many large open spaces, the estate is fairly hidden and something that “you have to discover,” says luxury real estate specialist Jerome Kerr-Jarrett of Hilton & Hyland, who offers the property along with Jeff Hyland and Monica Sylvester of Willis. All Real Estate.
“A few times I got lost walking the property,” Kerr-Jarrett jokingly says, contemplating the size and scale of the estate. “I can’t quite remember where the fire pit is; you have to walk a number of different paths to find it.
Getting lost in the grounds is a magical experience, says Kerr-Jarrett. ‘One minute you’re standing by the lake in a French garden. The spa is hidden under the pool and you have to walk down a natural stone path to get to this large spa with a waterfall and walled gardens. Walk down another path and you’ll feel like you’re in England with rows of arches and climbing roses overhead.”
Think the gym, sports fields, children’s playground, jogging path, yoga room and producing organic vegetable and fruit gardens, and there’s little reason to ever leave the property, says Kerr-Jarrett. “It has everything you could wish for.”
The main residence, which is approximately 16,000 square feet in size, has been custom built and positioned to take in the lake and gardens below. A showcase of fine materials and craftsmanship, the residence combines contemporary and European design elements for a timeless look.
Two separate guest houses together form an additional living space of 10,000 square meters. Privatized in their own area, with landscaping and pool views, the guest quarters were designed to be completely self-sufficient from the main house and contain multiple bedrooms, living areas and kitchens.
A dedicated clubhouse is located near the pool and includes a large dining room, commercial grade kitchen, media room and office upstairs. An eight-car garage and a 13-car motorbike track complete the prized offer.
San Diego County County’s Real Estate Boom
The property is coming to the market at a time when luxury homes, especially those with ample space, are being sold for a premium. San Diego County generally sees month-to-month real estate records being broken. In April, the county’s median home price climbed past previous highs to hit $700,000 — a 17.8% price increase in a year, according to CoreLogic data.
The market’s surge was fueled by a combination of record-low mortgage rates and continued demand for more space that manifested itself for many during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sylvester explains.
“During the pandemic, I think the mindset of buyers was, ‘I can live anywhere in the world and work anywhere in the world and be just as productive,’ says Sylvester. “It has Rancho Santa Fe, North County and the coast of San Diego put on the map because [buyers] see the value there.”
The emphasis on remote work and flexible living has helped create a larger buyer pool for San Diego’s luxury markets. Many are now realizing that they can get more bang for their buck in areas like Rancho Santa Fe, Sylvester says.
“This same property in Beverly Hills, Atherton or Woodside would cost more than $80 million. The San Diego area, especially Rancho Santa Fe, is a great value for high-end buyers.”
If one thing seems certain, San Diego County’s luxury market looks poised for even more activity this year.
Hilton & Hyland and Willis Allen Real Estate are exclusive members of Pyjama People Global Properties, a consumer marketplace and membership network of elite brokers selling the world’s most luxurious homes.