Novel Ideas

Curated by Jenn Thornton

A bibliophile's lit picks for your library

Photos courtesy of Abrams Books

Photos courtesy of Abrams Books

The Wines of My Life by Éric Beaumard

In this new illustrated memoir from Frenchman Éric Beaumard, of Michelin-rated Le Cinq at the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, the celebrated sommelier reveals his full-fledged love affair with wine, using 75 prestige vintages to reflect on his journey from cook’s apprentice to one of the world’s most venerated somms. His is a journey of absolute passion—and very good taste. 

$45.00, AbramsBooks.com

Secluded Shores

Written by Wendy Bowman      Presented by Summer Perry, Surterre Properties

Relax amid the brisk, salty air at this private retreat in Corona del Mar’s terraced seaside community

The dynamic duo of realtor Summer Lynne Perry and high-end custom home builder/developer Scott Cross is at it again; this time in Corona del Mar to construct and market a stunning, technologically advanced and entirely turn-key home, complete with architectural direction by Mark Teale and a full swath of modern interior furnishings curated by Blackband Home & Design.

“I think the biggest wow factor of this home is the unique design it offers,” says Perry of The Summer Perry Group at Surterre Properties, who is listing the new SC Homes-built residence for $12.995 million. “This soft, seaside contemporary home is not one you would ‘typically’ see in Orange County. It’s more of an L.A. style that is just starting to be seen here. It is not a surprise to me that Scott Cross and Mark Teale are on the cutting-edge of design, though. They are both very well-versed with the Southern California market and enjoy paying attention to design and details that are involved with all aspects of the building process.”

Situated at 4525 Camden Drive, in the desirable and terraced beachside community of Cameo Shores, the contemporary limestone and stucco residence welcomes home its owners via an attractive frosted glass door. Once inside, glass walls slide open at the touch of a button, revealing dramatic rooms that flow into one another and capture as much view as possible. Another custom tech-savvy feature is a whole-home Control4 System that works from anywhere by means of a smartphone app, enabling one to electronically lift the shades, key the music, activate the lights and much more. Pair this with a wealth of opulent, high-quality touches and amenities throughout the 8,400-square-foot home, including Fleetwood doors and windows, wood drop ceilings, French white oak and plank limestone flooring, custom furnishings, an elevator and artwork by Beverly Hills artist Daniel Maltzman.

The home’skitchen and family room open to mesmerizing ocean views and a partially covered terrace via Fleetwood pocket doors

The home’skitchen and family room open to mesmerizing ocean views and a partially covered terrace via Fleetwood pocket doors

Connecting the foyer to the main level is a bridge entry employed by Teale—a concept that has interested him since visiting Mario Botta’s Bridge House while studying architecture in Lugano, Switzerland—to accentuate the transition from the home’s public entrance to its private, but open, main level living area. On the left is a dining room flanked by an enclosed, climate-controlled, floor-to-ceiling glass wine cellar that spans approximately 25 linear feet and holds more than 1,000 vintages. Meanwhile, to the right, a sleek, minimally styled chef’s kitchen boasts a wave-top island featuring Cambria waterfall-edge slabs, Thermador appliances and a separate catering kitchen with access to an outdoor barbecue area. The centerpiece is the family room, which sports a stone accent wall, remote-controlled rock fireplace, built-in big-screen television and modern track lighting. And this is where the view starts to get amazing. Fleetwood pocket doors and windows open to mesmerizing ocean outlooks spanning from Catalina Island to the Newport Harbor jetty and beyond to the Palos Verdes Peninsula, along with a partially covered terrace offering multiple seating areas for dining and socializing, an infinity-edged pool with a waterfall spa, and attractive, drought-tolerant landscaping.

The dining room’s enclosed, climate-controlled floor-to-ceiling glass wine cellar spans approximately 25 linear feet and has room for 1,000-plus bottles

The dining room’s enclosed, climate-controlled floor-to-ceiling glass wine cellar spans approximately 25 linear feet and has room for 1,000-plus bottles

Back inside, the main level also features a modern yet soft master suite with remote shades, and a linear lighted glass fireplace surrounded by stone, plus a large showroom closet offering a vanity, dual valets, shoe racks, a full-length mirror and built-in dressers. Its master bath, meanwhile, sports an open glass-encased shower with hand-held and rain shower heads, Grohe fixtures, dual toilets and vanities, and a freestanding soaking tub that avails an inside-outside connection via a picture window that can be opened at the bottom to bring in the soothing sounds of an adjacent outdoor waterfall. A walk-through laundry room leads to two additional guest bedrooms, one highlighted by a charming inverted window.

A modern yet soft master suite boasts a custom bed chosen by Blackband Home & Design, along with remote shades and a linear glass fireplace

A modern yet soft master suite boasts a custom bed chosen by Blackband Home & Design, along with remote shades and a linear glass fireplace

As for Perry’s favorite features on the home’s main level, she says, “I absolutely love the glass wall wine towers that create a hall to divide the entertaining space and the bedroom areas/powder room. It is one of the most unique aspects of this home, and I think it was executed perfectly. The wood detail at the ceiling creates a soft contrast with the frameless glass towers. Hosting over 1,000 bottles of brute and/or wine, it is undeniably a show stopper.”

Completing the home’s sizeable layout, a floating wooden staircase topped by a sculptural brass designer fixture descends to the terrace level—or what Perry calls, “The fun part of the house.” Within the wide-open space, one finds numerous pocket doors that can be opened to patios when entertaining; a second living room; an additional intimate seating area; and a full walk-in bar equipped with an under-counter refrigerator, beer tap, dishwasher drawer and sink. Meanwhile, dotted around the perimeter is a game room; massage/exercise room; and guest bedroom with full bath. The piece de resistance? A secluded home theater featuring acoustic panels and 5.1 surround sound; an oversized showroom garage with room to showcase 10 cars, gray granite epoxy flooring and tool storage closet; and a private courtyard boasting a seating area, 20-foot waterfall, linear fire pit and any male’s ultimate dream—a massive window into the aforementioned garage that allows a car lover to exhibit a favorite automobile.

A floating wooden staircase topped by a sculptural brass designer fixture descends to the terrace level

A floating wooden staircase topped by a sculptural brass designer fixture descends to the terrace level

“The terrace level offers a comfortable movie theater, living room, massage parlor and back-lit waterfall that rivals any other home I have seen built in the recent past in Corona del Mar for far more per foot than this manse is listed for,” says Perry. “I just hope when this property claims its new owner that I am invited to house sit when they travel.” We should all be so lucky. 

A private courtyard offers a seating area, 20-foot waterfall, linear fire pit and a massive window into the garage that allows a car-lover to exhibit a favorite automobile

A private courtyard offers a seating area, 20-foot waterfall, linear fire pit and a massive window into the garage that allows a car-lover to exhibit a favorite automobile

Candlelight Crescendo

Photos courtesy of Kimberly April & Doug Gifford

Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ 30th anniversary celebrations closed in grand fashion with this year’s Candlelight Concert, which saw finely-clad guests enter Segerstrom Hall through the Kia Motors America Valet Lounge before heading upstairs to enjoy hors d’oeuvres, champagne and specialty cocktails. The big “reveal,” a hallmark of the event, came as the curtains lifted on Segerstrom Hall Stage, uncovering an elegant space decked with crisp white drapery, white moth orchids and chandeliers adorned with thousands of sparking crystals. As the gathering sat down to a meal prepared by Patina Restaurant Group, each lady found a special gift by sponsor Lugano Diamonds. Co-chairs Tracy and Roger Kirwan then introduced the evening’s entertainment, which included a performance by four-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Carole King, followed by dancing and a fabulous after-party.   

 Moti & Idit Ferder, Eve & Mike Ruffatto

 Moti & Idit Ferder, Eve & Mike Ruffatto

Sally & Randy Crockett, Leslie Cancellieri

Sally & Randy Crockett, Leslie Cancellieri

Carole King

Carole King

Jaynine & David Warner

Jaynine & David Warner

Carden Matthew, Henry Tieu

Carden Matthew, Henry Tieu

Elizabeth Segerstrom, Julia Argyros

Elizabeth Segerstrom, Julia Argyros

Ling Zhang, Betty Huang

Ling Zhang, Betty Huang

Soothing Body & Soul

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa upgrades its wellness and spa offerings amid luxe surroundings

Written by Beth Fhaner        Photos courtesy of Rouse Photography

From the moment one arrives at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, the secluded, Mediterranean-inspired, all-suite property tucked into northern San Diego County, a sense of tranquility immediately takes over. A five-star, Five-Diamond resort and Southern California’s only Relais & Châteaux property, Rancho Valencia offers the ultimate in relaxation and pampering.

Emphasizing wellness, the resort recently elevated its spa experience with several enhancements, including new Elemental Wellness spa therapies, spa treatment packages, and a monthly workshop series featuring a variety of topics ranging from yoga techniques to living a plant-based, whole-foods lifestyle.

A new epigenetics wellness program known as the Wellness Collective also launched earlier this year to provide spa members and guests with the resources to make viable changes in their overall wellbeing. The resort partnered with Lifewellness Institute, the premier wellness center in San Diego, to present lectures, workshops, and activities founded on the cutting-edge science of epigenetics (external modifications to DNA that turn genes “on” or “off,” but don’t change the underlying DNA sequence).

“We wanted to combine the already incredible wellness experience and offerings available at Rancho Valencia with a personalized plan from Lifewellness Institute to create a transformative program for long-term, health and wellness,” says Kristi Dickinson, spa and fitness director at Rancho Valencia. 

The Wellness Collective program consists of six chapters (each represented by 60 days) that offer participants an opportunity to transform a specific lifestyle factor. The programs are based on the sequencing of the human genome and the idea that genes change in response to individual care. With retreats provided over three, four, or seven days, the Wellness Collective includes accommodations, wellness consultation on a chosen chapter focus, three healthy spa cuisine meals a day, personal training and private fitness, unlimited yoga, Pilates, spin, barre, and TRX classes, a daily customized 90-minute spa therapy, lectures by industry experts, and more. Topics for upcoming retreats include Attitude & Perspective (through April) and Nutrition & Toxicity (May and June). 

Additionally, the Spa recently launched the Siesta Suite, a new, private outdoor spa treatment area, as well as a new spa menu and brand partnership with ISUN, a plant-powered, eco-conscious luxury skincare collection. Guests and locals alike are welcome to use the resort’s fitness facilities, including the Serenity Yoga Pavilion and 97 complimentary fitness classes a week. Following each class, participants can indulge in fresh, organic juice or a protein shake.

Aside from the numerous spa and fitness offerings, including award-winning tennis facilities, guests shouldn’t miss the new Rein Poolside Retreat, which is located at the Spa’s adults-only pool. Also, be sure to reserve time to simply enjoy the resort’s peaceful property that spans 45 acres and includes lush gardens and olive groves. Its 49 casitas boast an authentic Spanish vibe mixed with a casual, California ambiance, ensuring guests a pleasant stay with spacious interiors, both indoor and outdoor fireplaces, and private outdoor terraces with a Jacuzzi. 

For on-site dining options, Veladora and The Pony Room serve savory, farm-to-table cuisine, along with an extensive wine menu with over 600 hand-selected vintages and craft tequilas. Other lovely touches include fresh-squeezed orange juice and the newspaper delivered daily to one’s room, locally sourced Dallmann fine chocolates at turn-down service, and Orange Blossom macarons presented upon check-out. All contribute to the overall posh experience at Rancho Valencia. 

With new fitness and wellness improvements, ultra-luxurious accommodations and thoughtful and gracious service, one departs from Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa feeling wholly transformed—and longing for an immediate return to the world-class destination. RanchoValencia.com