- A Palm Springs home that looks like it belongs in Santorini, Greece, has sold for $US2.65 million after three months on the market.
- Known as The Santorini House, it is one of just four homes designed by avant-garde architect William Nicholson, according to the home’s previous owner Dan Valentino.
- Valentino purchased the house in 2017 and spent 18 months transforming it from a 1970s time capsule into a Mediterranean-themed events space.
- Take a look inside The Santorini House, which comes with bright blue windows and a sparkling pool that would look right at home on the Aegean Sea.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A California home once considered so avant-garde that no one wanted to buy it, according to previous owner Dan Valentino, just sold for $US2.65 million after less than three months on the market.
Known as The Santorini House, it looks out over Palm Springs from a hilltop about two hours east of Los Angeles.
Built by architect William Nicholson in 1977, the home consists of interconnected, balloon-like domes plus a three-story observation tower. The property recently underwent a dramatic transformation.
Valentino, a self-taught designer and managing broker at Valentino + Valentino Real Estate, told Business Insider that Nicholson designed four domed houses in California before switching careers.
Today, just two remain: The Santorini House and The Flintstone House in Hillsborough, California, whose current owner modelled it after the famous cartoon of the same name.
Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesAerial view of the Flintstone’s House on April 11, 2019 in Hillsborough, California.
In 2017, the then-owner of Nicholson’s Palm Springs home approached Valentino to see if he would be interested in buying it.
Valentino, who has met Nicholson on several occasions, told Business Insider that the house took almost two years to sell after it was first built.
Intrigued, Valentino paid the home a visit.
Though architecturally interesting from the outside, Valentino found it to be “hideous” on the inside.
Walking through the house, he found brown shag rugs and walls lined with mirrors.
Bathroom mirrors glowed with 1970s disco colours …
… and appliances were outdated.
Valentino’s longtime contractor accompanied him on the tour and told him that the home was destined to be demolished.
But Valentino saw potential. Shortly after, an idea came to him as he was falling asleep one night.
Valentino remembered a trip that he had taken with his partner and family to Santorini, Greece, and woke up the next morning determined to transform the home into the white-and-blue Grecian paradise.
He got to work in May 2017, and eighteen months later, had turned the four bedroom, three-bathroom home into the stuff of Instagram dreams.
Now, in place of a rock garden is a freeform Aegean-blue pool and hot tub …
… and windows that were once circular have been replaced with three-paned windows painted deep blue.
In place of the brown shag rug are white stone floors punctuated by blue-and-white rugs.
A brand new skylight allows light to flood in to the home …
… and the kitchen now boasts updated, stainless steel appliances.
Valentino also modified the arched entryways, using wood from a 100-year-old barn in Pennsylvania to transform them into more rectangular openings.
The most challenging part of the renovation was designing for the curved shape of the home. “Everything had to be custom-made,” Valentino told Business Insider.
Post renovation, Valentino rented the space out “almost daily” for photo shoots and events at a rate of $US5,000 per day.
Valentino listed the home for sale in May after the pandemic put events on pause.
Just two months later, a buyer from Santa Monica offered Valentino all-cash and closed on the home in two weeks.
“You could kind of tell when he got out of the car that he just really connected with the house, which was important to me,” Valentino told Business Insider.
“It couldn’t have gone to a nicer man,” he said of the unnamed buyer.
“He calls it his retreat from the world,” Valentino added. “It was almost like the house was waiting for the buyer — you know, for the right person.”
Valentino called the sale “bittersweet.” On the upside, the Palm Springs real estate market is booming, he said.
Droves of urbanites, especially residents of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and New York, are looking to buy homes in smaller towns to self-isolate and work from home in comfort, he told Business Insider.
“It’s been insane, honestly,” Valentino said. “In the 40 years I’ve been in this business, even in the heyday of the early 2000s, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
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