Inside a $ 25 million California “white house” with its own oval office and rose garden

It would have made a perfect setting for the TV drama West wing, with Martin Sheen as President Jed Bartlet walking the sacred corridors. But this White House in the sleepy Hillsborough enclave of central California is actually 3,800 miles from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and 372 miles from NBC’s Burbank film sets, where the much-loved political drama was filmed.

Dating back to 1878, the imposing neo-classical Georgian Colonial, with its towering pillars, grand entrance and manicured grounds, once belonged to George Hearst, eldest son of media mogul William Randolph Hearst. In 1930, young Hearst turned to famous Bay Area architect Julia Morgan to completely redesign the house after it was badly damaged by fire.

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The imposing facade and the vast automobile courtyard.  - Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby & # x002019; s International

The imposing facade and the vast automobile courtyard. – Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Morgan, who was the first female architect licensed in California and the first woman to be admitted to the famous architecture program at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, had gained notoriety for designing the legendary Hearst Castle in San Simeon, in California.

According to legend, George Hearst dreamed of welcoming American presidents to his new home, so he commissioned Morgan to create a mini replica of the White House. Unfortunately, no POTUS ever came and Hearst sold the estate without ever spending a night there himself.

The open living space.  - Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby & # x002019; s International

The open living space. – Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Since then the house has had a host of high profile owners. John Lennon and Yoko Ono would have almost bought the domain in the early 1970s, only to withdraw at the last minute. “The house continues to rank among the region’s finest heritage estates, and the fact that it was designed by Julia Morgan adds a great deal to its stature,” said Jennifer Gilson, listing broker at Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty. Robb Report.

Today, the house is owned by Shailesh Mehta, former chairman and CEO of leading credit card issuer Providian Financial (which was sold in 2005 to Washington Mutual for $ 6.5 billion). Records show he bought it in 1997 for $ 6.05 million and, according to Gilson, invested millions in exterior renovations. He has now listed it for $ 25 million.

One of the bedrooms.  - Credit: Photo: Courtesy Golden Gate Sotheby & # x002019; s International

One of the bedrooms. – Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

The unassuming security gates of Hillsborough’s Tony El Cerrito Avenue open onto a long, winding cobblestone driveway that leads to the house’s expansive motor yard and imposing pillared entrance. “It’s such an imposing and majestic facade that makes everyone who comes here feel like they’ve arrived at the White House,” says Sotheby’s Gilson.

It’s an impression that continues once you step inside and see the beautiful paneled-slash-“Oval Office” bookcase on one side. With its impressive black marble and carved wood fireplace, bespoke bookcases and an imposing desk at one end, this is a room worthy of any president.

The “Oval Office”.  - Credit: Photo: Courtesy Golden Gate Sotheby & # x002019; s International

The “Oval Office”. – Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

The entire main house covers 22,300 square feet, of which 6,600 square feet on the ground floor are reserved for receptions. “Typically, homes this age would have much more compartmentalized spaces, but Julia Morgan created a more open look, with oversized pieces like the impressive full-width living room,” says Gilson. This also applies to the chef’s huge kitchen and expansive family room, where French doors lead out to a large patio and pool area. On this level there is also a lavish Hollywood-style multi-level movie theater, wine cellar, and gym.

The dining room.  - Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby & # x002019; s International

The dining room. – Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Take the grand staircase or the elevator to the second floor to find 11 bedrooms and 10 full bathrooms. The large master suite is located in the semi-circular central rear part of the house and offers a view of the swimming pool. The restoration of the Olympic-sized swimming pool and adjoining pool house were part of Mehta’s major renovations, as was the elegant grounds with this rose garden and stand of cherry blossoms. In total, the land covers just under three hectares.

Of course, if that “Western White House” doesn’t tick all the right boxes, it may be worth taking a trip along the coast to San Clemente. Here, overlooking the collapsing Pacific, sits the true White House of the West, the former home of President Richard Nixon that was listed, until recently, for $ 65 million.

Discover more images of the estate here:

An other room.  - Credit: Photo: Courtesy Golden Gate Sotheby & # x002019; s International

An other room. – Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

A living space.  - Credit: Photo: Courtesy Golden Gate Sotheby & # x002019; s International

A living space. – Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

A study.  - Credit: Photo: Courtesy Golden Gate Sotheby & # x002019; s International

A study. – Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

The gym.  - Credit: Photo: Courtesy Golden Gate Sotheby & # x002019; s International

The gym. – Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

The screening room.  - Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby & # x002019; s International

The screening room. – Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

The kitchen.  - Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby & # x002019; s International

The kitchen. – Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

One of the bathrooms.  - Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby & # x002019; s International

One of the bathrooms. – Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

The sauna.  - Credit: Photo: Courtesy Golden Gate Sotheby & # x002019; s International

The sauna. – Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

The swimming pool and the gardens.  - Credit: Photo: Courtesy Golden Gate Sotheby & # x002019; s International

The swimming pool and the gardens. – Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

The pool house.  - Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby & # x002019; s International

The pool house. – Credit: Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

Photo: Courtesy of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International

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