On a secluded Pacific beach where Marilyn Monroe once strolled in retreat from Hollywood celebrity is a two story, 5-level custom-designed and exquisitely crafted home, located in a gated seaside community between Ventura and Santa Barbara. With many rooms positioned to provide views of the ocean, mountains and a classic California coastline, the beachfront sanctuary is going to auction on May 5, 2012. Represented by Sotheby’s International Realty, the original list price of the property was $5,950,000. The opening bid is set at $3,900,000 representing a 35% decrease from the original price.

This is an unbelievable value considering beachfront property is limited and the quality of the home is spectacular. The property at 2956 Solimar Beach Drive is Southern California’s most recent offering in the high-end real estate trend of marketing “trophy properties” through auction.


Indeed…Marilyn Monroe’s voice coach rented a cottage in Solimar Beach Colony under her own name so that her study could stay there and rehearse incognito.  Although impossible to validate, there’s also a widely told story that Ms. Monroe engaged in clandestine trysts with John F. Kennedy at two separate homes in the Colony. Confirmed is that while married to Joe DiMaggio and experiencing marital problems, Monroe was stopped by a police lieutenant for walking nude down the beach; an account of the incident—and a photo of the cottage rented by her voice coach—appeared in a 1954 issue of Confidential magazine. 

Just 15 minutes south of Montecito and 5 minutes from increasingly hip Old Downtown Ventura, Solimar Beach Colony is one of the region’s better-kept secrets …the oldest private beach colony in Southern California predating Malibu Colony.

It also offers a rare joint ownership of over six acres of greenbelt with tennis courts and play area. Some of the original cottages on the roughly one mile of coastline are from the 1940s and 1950s.  Most of the properties have either been remodeled or rebuilt, thus raising the overall property values in the Colony.  The location has been chosen as home to numerous sports and Hollywood celebrities through the years allowing celebrities and their families, privacy and anonymity.

The seller in this auction is the former CPA Patricia Duggan, who is well known for her 400-acre Stonehaven Ranch in Westlake, California, where she rescues and cares for a wide array of animals including exotic emus, llamas, alpacas, peacocks and goats.  “I made use of over 30 year’s experience of oceanfront living to incorporate the best aspects of beach living into the design and building of this home,” said Duggan.  “But at this stage of my life, caring for the animals is my priority, and that means I choose to be at my ranch full time.”

With construction completed in 2008, the newer home categorically surpasses being defined by a labeled style although you may feel as if you have stepped into a tropical retreat.  The home marries a harmonious blend of a neutral palette enhanced by design elements and details of various influences. 


a gourmet kitchen with Viking stainless steel appliances, granite and Quartz Caesar countertops and island, alder wood custom cabinets, travertine flooring, an elevator with stops at all five of the home’s distinct levels, two ocean-side master suites with a connecting balcony, hand-carved Brazilian and Honduran mahogany doors, three fireplaces and recessed lighting.  Hot tubs and fire pits can be found on both the beach-level deck and the rooftop deck.  It is protected by a full security system that includes cameras.

“Although home auctions are generally associated with distressed properties – the polite term for late payments, mortgage defaults and bankruptcy foreclosures – they are increasingly being held for stable, premium homes,” says Tony Fitzgerald, a broker and partner with the Manhattan Beach-based Premiere Estates Auction Company, “as in the case of this property.”

In fact, Fitzgerald has been in the business of quietly auctioning un-distressed high-quality homes and land for about 20 years.  “Because potential buyers are uncertain about prices, the market is slow,” he explains.  “But when you have a trophy property, the one-time-event of an auction can bring a sense of urgency to the sale. Our accelerated marketing brings the deal to the world as everyone wins; but ultimately, it’s the deal to be had that drives buyers and gets the property sold on auction day”.  Fitzgerald added that it’s an increasing trend in the high end, trophy real estate market place and expects auction sales to double this year from record highs last year’.

The Solimar Beach auction is scheduled to commence at 2:00 P.M. on May 5th.  Bidders should call for an invitation to attend and bid. “This is a dream home for an owner who appreciates a custom home, but doesn’t have the desire or time to go through the arduous process of construction and permitting” noted realtor Janet Caminite, who is overseeing the sale for Sotheby’s International Realty, in conjunction with the Premiere Estates Auction Company,  “And then there is the location’s ‘cool factor’ coming from its interesting and seductive history and the fact that there isn’t another private gated community in the area that offers everything Solimar Beach Colony does with unobstructed and sweeping views of the Pacific, Islands, Coastline and Mountains.  This property is one of the most beautiful oceanfront homes I have seen become available in years.”

Even today, its takes only a wee bit of imagination to envision a beautiful, blond-haired apparition, frolicking on the sands of Solimar Beach.