Villa de Fuego y Agua, or “the house of fire and water,” is the moniker bestowed upon a blufftop estate in southern La Jolla’s Bird Rock neighborhood.
“Soaring high above the sea and sailing into an azure sky,” the listing beckons, the home “enjoys a majestic perch atop the sun-soaked cliffs of La Jolla.” The water (whitewater ocean views from most rooms and the expansive back patio) and fire (a linear gas fire pit that extends along the patio wall) promise “an unforgettable tribute to nature’s most powerful elements,” making the home “more than a residence; it’s a realization of lofty ambitions and lifelong dreams.”
The four-bedroom, four-bath Spanish style residence, constructed in 1985, includes nearly 4000 square feet of living area under roof, as well as the aforementioned back patio and an enclosed front courtyard with arched entryway.
“Step through its doors and drink in nature’s finest work of art, as glass walls frame the magnificent Pacific Ocean view in a moving masterpiece,” the listing continues. “Anchored by an elegant travertine fireplace, the open floor plan flows effortlessly into a spacious kitchen featuring granite countertops, a Sub-Zero refrigerator, and a walk-in pantry.”
Interior appointments were curated by Donna Johnson, an upscale interior designer who works with resorts, hotels, and wealthy homeowners from offices in Newport Beach and Las Vegas.
While there’s a large bedroom with private bath suitable as a master on the ground floor to go with two more bedrooms, the true owner’s quarters “reign over the entire second floor, complete with en-suite bathroom, separate sitting area, fireplace, walk-in closet, and a large private deck. Glass walls invite the ocean in, whether you’re luxuriating in the jetted tub or letting the soothing sounds of the tide lull you to sleep.”
Outside, there’s the “show-stopping 90-foot outdoor terrace” where you’ll “inhale the saltwater-scented breeze and watch pelicans glide overhead on their journey to the cliffs of Bird Rock.” The patio is also home to the “breathtaking custom fire wall — one of the villa’s most prized and distinctive features,” which promises to cast “fiery orange flames skyward against a moonlit blue sea, outlining the villa in a soft, mesmerizing glow.”
The home also includes an indoor swim spa by Cal Spas, and the owner is willing to throw in the furnishings and a Rolls Royce convertible with the right offer.
“Reap the rewards of a life well lived at Villa de Fuego y Agua — the place where sparks of imagination fly, spirits soar, and ocean waves sweep you away on an unforgettable journey.”
Public records indicate current ownership of the home lies with Thanasi Papoulias, a Los Angeles–based film-industry executive and blogger who acquired title from local cinema operator John Ellison Jr. in October 2016 in an apparent off-market transaction. Evidence exists that as early as 2015 Ellision had engaged an agent to seek buyers without placing the property in the regional multiple listing service used by most real estate professionals. Papoulias notably garnered media attention earlier this year when he and his wife were accosted by a woman in an L.A. supermarket who berated them for speaking to one another in their native Greek.
Valued by the county assessor at $2.5 million in 2016 (based on incremental increases since Ellison’s 1996 purchase for $1.8 million), the villa hit the open market for the first time in 20 years in mid-June, seeking offers between $7,950,000 and $8,950,000, a price that remains unchanged to date.