“I felt like an eagle perched at the top of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, 1,100 feet above sea level, surveying my domain,” describes John Z. Blazevich, as he recalls the first time he stood on the stunning 8-acre parcel in the guard-gated city of Rolling Hills, where the splendid Hacienda de la Paz estate now rests. “I searched extensively in Los Angeles for a location with abundant acreage that was private, safe and off the radar. I found it in Rolling Hills.”
Indeed, he did. The impressive work of art and engineering took Blazevich, a food entrepreneur, nearly 17 years to bring to fruition. It was worth the wait. The end result is a millennium of architecture under one roof.
“I wanted to build a home that would stand the test of time,” he remembers fondly. “Therefore, it had to be historical. It had to be original. It had to be meaningful. And it had to be reflective of California.”
Blazevich felt, however, that California’s immediate history was too rustic — so he turned to the first-generation Spanish hacienda style, which he perceived as a sophisticated representation of Spain’s architectural history that later influenced California’s residential style. He cultivated a design vision by tracing Spain’s historical roots back to the Spanish explorers who discovered the Golden State, and then he “brought the history and architecture forward to the look of the 19th-century Andalusia region of Spain,” he reveals. To turn his dream project into a reality, he commissioned award-winning Spanish architect Rafael Manzano Martos, who “lent his expertise in historical accuracy,” and California-based architect Anthony Inferrera, “who combined old-world design with the latest modern amenities and building standards.” It was Blazevich’s exacting attention to detail and purist approach to architectural integrity that added to the construction time frame for the sprawling 51,000-square-foot, nine-bedroom hacienda, notwithstanding the challenges of balancing the building restrictions of Rolling Hills while managing hundreds of tradesmen and artisans on several continents.
“We had no guide book, no pattern to follow and no one to copy,” he says.
Completed in 2010, Hacienda de la Paz stands as a testament to his passion and ingenuity. Blazevich managed to find a harmony between the massive scale of his home and the bucolic surroundings of Rolling Hills. He answered the community’s architectural standards with the hacienda concept, which blended organic materials such as adobe, earthen floor and roof tiles. Meanwhile, his inventive solution for the one-story height limit established for residences in Rolling Hills manifested in a ranch-style compound with subterranean levels. Accessed via secret passageways and elevators, there is a 15,000-square-foot, 18th-century neoclassical grand ballroom, an indoor tennis court built to U.S. Open standards, a 10,000-square-foot, 10th-century hamam spa fit for a king, a gym, a yoga room and a wine cellar.
Formal living and entertaining spaces, envisioned by interior designers from Spain and thoughtfully curated with European paintings and antiquities, convey the warmth and history of times past. The English library was fashioned after a 19th-century gentleman’s club with flooring crafted from 800-year-old river recovered logs.
A Renaissance-inspired chapel and antique altarpiece was meticulously hand painted by an artist-in-residence who restores royal palaces in Spain. A state-of-the-art gourmet kitchen with catering facilities (one of many on the property) allows for both extravagant and informal entertaining. An outdoor swimming pool and loggia open to unencumbered 180-degree panoramic views, stretching from Santa Monica Bay, the Westside and downtown to the San Gabriel Mountains.
Other enhancements reveal Blazevich’s impeccable eye for detail: a gorgeous guesthouse, a six-car garage, a motor court, and an outdoor red-clay tennis court built to French Open specifications. The professionally landscaped grounds complete his vision for modern-meets-19th-century living: Moorish gardens, a bocce court, groves of olive trees, vegetable gardens and countless varieties of fruit and nut trees.
“The vibrant colors of the gardens, the sounds of the fountains and the fragrant aromas of the flowers, both day and night, revitalize us every day,” he says. The property is also positioned in L.A.’s preeminent equestrian community, with access to 57 miles of riding trails.
“It is like living in a world-class resort,” offers the property’s listing agent, Christophe Choo of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Beverly Hills. “Hacienda de la Paz is a visually breathtaking, truly magical and wondrous ancestral home reminiscent of a luxurious world long forgotten. And yet, it also boasts the most modern of amenities.”
Because of the property’s size and stature, Choo expects the future buyer to be a local who “simply wants the best home in the entire area” or an international buyer who is “looking for the ultimate Southern California entertainment compound to enjoy with family, friends and guests.” Choo regards its location in Rolling Hills, one of the wealthiest and safest cities in the United States, as an important point of distinction, since it is the only guard-gated city in America. The property is uniquely situated just minutes from the beaches and 23 miles from the Westside or downtown Los Angeles.
Heritage, honor and a felt sense of value passed on through the ages are themes that permeate Hacienda de la Paz at every turn. Despite the decades he spent cultivating the property, Blazevich is ready to pass the torch to the next owner.
“The Hacienda is a fortress; safe, sound and structurally engineered to last for centuries,” says Blazevich. “The immense passion, taste and thoughtfulness that went into every detail are my personal added value. My family and I are extremely honored to have called this our home. Ultimately, the new owner will inherit not only an iconic property, but a family legacy — an estate to be handed down through the generations.”
By Alyson Pitarre
Rolling Hills — Los Angeles, California | $48,000,000
Represented by: Christophe Choo | Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Beverly Hills | 310.488.3044 | email@example.com
This article originally appeared in the fall 2016 issue of Homes & Estates.