When his dream house high in the hills came on the market, this young real estate developer leapt at the chance—and hasn’t looked back. By, Diane M. Byrne

Sometimes dreams really do come true. For 10 years, Manny Khoshbin lived among the sights and sounds of Newport Beach, California. As nice as his 2,400-square-foot residence was, he longed to live at either Pelican Hill or Pelican Crest, two nearby resort-like properties with villas that featured spectacular sunset vistas over the Pacific Ocean. “There’s no comparison,” he says, explaining that while city views are great at night, the ocean is inviting all day. “You’ve got sailboats on Sundays, all sorts of activity that changes the view,” he says.

Khoshbin got the “grab your checkbook” call during the summer of 2008; a place at Pelican Hill within his price range was available. A few months (and a few more checks) later, he’d renovated it to include a gym, a nine-seat cinema, and wireless automation of audio-visuals in every room.

Khoshbin and his fiancée, Leyla Milani, enjoy the flexibility that the more than 10,400 square feet of space on half an acre affords them. Even with a five-car garage and a guest house that features white marble and Japanese furniture, this is anything but a trophy house. It’s the ideal respite, given their busy careers in real estate and television, respectively (Milani is Lucky 13 on the TV game show “Deal or No Deal”). They also enjoy hosting charity events and entertaining Khoshbin’s sister and her kids for movie nights.

Above all, the couple appreciates that they were able to arrange their comfortably elegant furnishings to make the most of the layout. “I wanted it to have that open feel, like a hotel lobby, when you come in,” Khoshbin says. In addition, the doors in the living room open to the outside. “I love indoor-outdoor living,” he adds.

Then how does he explain the pirate room, populated by wax figures of buccaneers? Khoshbin laughs as he recalls how he was a single man when he bought the house: “It was overwhelming,” he says of his choice of décor. “I had too many rooms to deal with!”