Selling the dream

Hacienda del Corazón is up for sale

"Think carefully before you make an offer, pardner."
  • "Think carefully before you make an offer, pardner."
  • Screencap from 6900viadelcharro.com

The San Diego Film Foundation’s 2018 Oscar Viewing Party was held at the luxurious Hacienda del Corazón in Rancho Santa Fe. On January 5 of last year, it was the Wall Street Journal’s House of the Day, and it remains available for sale. “We’re honored to be able to host an event like this,” says agent Jenna Daley, “to showcase this one-of-a-kind property. It’s 15,000 square feet under roof, and an entertainer’s dream.”

Daley is the wife of the man who built the home in 2009: Jeff Daley, owner of Daley Custom Homes. And Jeff is the son of the man who owns it: John Daley Sr. “This was his dream,” says fellow agent Criss Crozier. “And [his wife] Gina executed it, making sure of all the details.”

“The idea was to have a Spanish hacienda,” says builder Jeff. “We ended up going deep into Mexico and checking out all the architecture. The furniture was all made in Mexico. All the copper and silver in the inlays is from Mexico. And all the Cantera stone came out of Guadalajara; some of it hammered, some of it chiseled. We had about four truckloads.”

But not everything came from Mexico. “[The owner] was a bridge contractor,” says Jeff, gesturing toward the massive beam over the fireplace in the grand hall. “That’s falsework from a bridge — the wood that holds it up before they pour it.” The grand hall’s floor came from President James Madison’s estate. And the life-sized bronze statues are courtesy of sculptor Bradford Williams. On Oscar night, the hall boasts three, most notably John Wayne, the Duke himself, standing at one end of the bar. Beside the statue, on the bar, is a coaster bearing Wayne’s image; atop that is a shot glass, also adorned by Wayne; and behind that is a framed picture of Wayne captioned by “Duke’s Code” from The Shootist: “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I wont’ be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same of them.”

The owner comes by the Cowboy Way honestly: his father Donald grew up working his father’s 10,000-acre ranch in Jamul. (Later, Donald developed Rancho Bernardo and helped build Interstate 8.) The family’s cattle brand is emblazoned in the woodwork over the bar. The love that went into the place is obvious; what’s less clear is why they’re selling. “They want to build another,” offers Jenna. “They had horses and all this stuff,” says Criss. “They sold it all because they’re going to switch it up.” Even The Duke is for sale if the price is right.

Another, smaller Williams statue illustrates “Born To This Land,” a framed poem by Red Steagall: a boy and his grandfather, both on horseback. The penultimate stanza reads,

  • And now that he’s gone, things are certain to change
  • And I reckon that’s how it should be
  • But five generations have called this ranch home
  • And I promise it won’t end with me.

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