An Ode to Spain

Old-World Spanish charm meets modern living at this newly built custom home in San Juan Capistrano

Written by Wendy Bowman

Presented by Bob Gino, Surterre Properties

When it came time for a couple to sell their longtime custom home in historic San Juan Capistrano, they wanted to ensure that their beloved property would be in good hands. So, they approached their neighbor—a successful entrepreneur who had just completed a $4 million re-envisioning of his own residence—to see if he and his partner, high-end custom homebuilder Eldon Blasco (also a neighbor), would consider purchasing and enhancing their dwelling.

Fast-forward to today, and what has since emerged is a custom Old-World-style residence rife with exquisite antiques and authentic period details alongside alluring modern amenities. Originally striking a chord with the new buyers due to its combination of beautiful bones and Zen-inducing views, the approximately 25-year-old residence has been completely transformed during the past 13 months, thanks to the finest materials from around the world and highly skilled craftsmen. Expect 5,000-plus square feet of open and neutrally colored living space punctuated throughout with antiques; hand-forged sconces and chandeliers (along with recessed LED lighting); hand-hewn doors; Turkish travertine and hickory wood flooring; 9-to-14-foot beamed ceilings; cast-iron registers; attractive built-ins; and much more.

Double doors in the family room open to an impressive backyard with several lounge areas for relaxing and entertaining.

Double doors in the family room open to an impressive backyard with several lounge areas for relaxing and entertaining.

According to Bob Gino of Surterre Properties, who is currently listing the home for $3.895 million, the development partnership that led to the home’s transformation has been magical. “That’s what you get when you combine a high-end custom homebuilder with more than 35 years of experience with a successful entrepreneur who has been intimately involved with several development projects of his own.” 

Situated at 28521 Avenida La Mancha —in Hidden Mountain Estates, a secluded haven of 36 custom homes nestled within the gated Hidden Mountain community—the four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath home rests on a sizable half-acre lot bordered by equestrian trails and panoramic views of the rolling hills. Only a mile from downtown San Juan Capistrano, near the 5 Freeway and Ortega Highway, the property also offers convenient access to popular attractions, such as Mission San Juan Capistrano (visible from the home’s backyard) and the San Juan trails, a 50-plus mile system of pathways ideal for hiking, biking and horseback riding, along with the top private schools St. Margaret’s and J Serra.

The sprawling 5,100-square-foot estate rests on a sizable half-acre lot bordered by equestrian trails and panoramic views of the rolling hills.

The sprawling 5,100-square-foot estate rests on a sizable half-acre lot bordered by equestrian trails and panoramic views of the rolling hills.

The grand exterior of the Early California Mission/Santa Barbara-style home is highlighted by a white stucco façade and red tile roof. Upon approaching the front entryway, one is immediately mesmerized by a stunning chandelier, decorative window grills and a one-of-a-kind, 200-year-old double door culled from a monastery in Mexico City, complete with original details such as a skeleton key, knocker and chains once used for holding a bar for additional security. Adding to the door’s uniqueness is a modern touch: a Ring Video Doorbell that allows homeowners to see, hear and speak to visitors using an app on their smartphone.

A stunning chandelier, decorative window grills and a 200-year-old door from a Mexico City monastery immediately capture attention upon approaching the Early California Mission/Santa Barbara-style home.

A stunning chandelier, decorative window grills and a 200-year-old door from a Mexico City monastery immediately capture attention upon approaching the Early California Mission/Santa Barbara-style home.

Stepping into the grand foyer, an office immediately to the left boasts a wood-beam ceiling, 18th-century hand-carved desk and built-in shelving, while a formal living room on the rear left features a dramatic wood-burning fireplace with a travertine stone mantel and surround. Meanwhile, a dual iron and glass door leads from the foyer to the impressive backyard replete with a sprawling checkerboard-style grass and concrete patio holding several lounge areas for relaxing and entertaining, an imported fountain, stone fire pit and antique chimney that doubles as a fireplace, along with an adjacent bocce ball court, attractive drought-tolerant landscaping and stellar views for miles.

Back inside, the home splits off into two separate wings: one holding the bedrooms, and the other the main living areas. Within the bedroom wing, one traverses a sky-lit wooden hallway to reach two well-appointed bedrooms, both featuring en-suite baths complete with antique vanities and travertine showers sporting hand-painted tile and stone borders carved by hand. The elegant master suite occupies the entire rear corner and features a fireplace, sitting area and doors opening to the patio, along with a huge walk-in closet highlighted by trio of antique storage pieces and built-in shelves and master bath featuring a large shower with his-and-her nozzles and an infinity-edge Jacuzzi tub that is both heated and lighted.

Showcased in the master bath is an infinity-edge Jacuzzi tub that is both heated and lighted.

Showcased in the master bath is an infinity-edge Jacuzzi tub that is both heated and lighted.

Found in the elegant master suite is a fireplace, sitting area and doors that open to the patio.

Found in the elegant master suite is a fireplace, sitting area and doors that open to the patio.

Returning to the foyer, one then enters into the living portion of home. Featured here is a formal dining room, and a family room showcasing a 6-foot-tall stone fireplace, arched windows and double doors that open to the backyard. An adjacent casual dining area leads to a professional chef’s kitchen outfitted with alder wood cabinetry; a center island with butcher block; and Subzero, Wolf and Bosch appliances (complemented by an antique brass oven hood with modern lighting and an exhaust fan), along with a double copper sink and a built-in buffet offering ample storage. Found just outside the kitchen is a 500-plus bottle Vinotemp built-in wine room.

Yet other features in the living wing include a powder room boasting a beautiful antique vanity with a copper sink; a guest room with a walk-in closet and en-suite bath highlighted by a hammered copper tub and sink and rain shower; and finally, a laundry room outfitted with a free standing farmhouse sink. Rounding out this home’s special appeal is a three-car garage equipped with indoor-outdoor carpeting and built-in storage, along with unlimited possibilities to expand the home with everything from an additional garage to a guesthouse. “No expense has been spared, from the high-end appliances and 200-year-old front door, to the antique vanities and doors, to the hand-forged sconces and chandeliers,” says Gino.

Adds Blasco: “It’s this level of detail that we pride ourselves on while staying true to the architectural vision in every aspect of the home. When we do that with everything, it all comes together at the end and it’s magical. It would have been less expensive to buy new vanities and other pieces rather than use customized antiques, but building this way is a passion.” One thing’s for sure, with action and passion combined, enchantment is easily within reach at this custom Spanish beauty pleasantly perched in the undulating hills of San Juan Capistrano.