Far Afield, a 100-year-old mansion located in the wealthy community of Montecito, California, has just hit the market for $74 million. The estate is fresh off a 15-year renovation. If the property sells for even close to its asking price it will be the most expensive residential sale in history in the Santa Barbara area. The current record belongs to an enormous ranch called Rancho San Carlos, which sold in 2020 for $63.25 million. Billionaire Peter and Stephanie Sperling are the sellers. Sperling made his fortune by taking over Apollo Education Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, which his father founded.
The 20,000 square foot home was built in about 1917 for writer Hobart C. Chatfield-Taylor and his wife Rose Farwell, the daughter of a U.S. senator. The home sits on 10 ½ acres and has seven bedrooms, including the guesthouse. The home has views of the Pacific Ocean to the south and the Santa Ynez Mountains to the north. The grounds contain hiking paths, citrus groves, a chicken coop, and a peacock aviary.
The Sperlings are deeply invested in restoring historically or architecturally significant homes. They purchased Far Afield in 2002. During the 15-year renovation, the home was lifted off its foundation to shore up the structure. All systems in the house were also upgraded and a basement level was added with a tunnel to an entrance at the back of the house, allowing staff to enter without disrupting the occupants. The Sperlings used 17th and 18th century reclaimed materials from the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe. The parquet floor was custom built on-site using French Oak imported from historic chateaus. Dutch, Spanish, and Italian tiles were also used. The project has been a passion project for Stephanie Sperling.
The Sperlings have recently sold two other homes in Montecito for a combined $35 million. They sold an English country manor-style home previously owned by Rob Lowe called Owenshire for $19.1 million and a European style-villa called Gloria for $15.5 million.