The dreamy mansion tucked into the hills south of Mt. Soledad

Modern luxury, meet retro pool design.

Modern luxury, meet retro pool design.

“This Striking Contemporary, Fully Gated Estate is set on 1.46 acres and is exquisitely DREAMY!” So opens the Zillow write-up for our home this week, a newly constructed 7000-square-foot mansion at 1781 Colgate Circle, billed as “one of La Jolla’s most prominent cul-de-sacs,” tucked into the hills south of Mt. Soledad. “Designed for luxe indoor/outdoor living,” the listing continues, “the home offers soaring ceilings, imported marble, limestone, and Poliform cabinetry from Italy.”

And of course, there’s more — much more. We’ve got our usual photo tour, which we may or may not get into, because first, we’re going to have a look at this YouTube video promoting the property, which has already racked up over 30,000 views in the few weeks it’s been posted. A sparkly gold title card sets the tone: we’re about to see a “luxury listing” for “luxury houses — American homes.” The music opens under a shot taken by a drone as it frantically dive-bombs the backyard, so before we zoom in on the backyard and pool deck we can see that we are indeed at the end of a cul-de-sac, with what looks to be a bit of open space affording us some distance from our neighbors to the rear. Quick outdoor shots establish the scene: neatly manicured lawns, a few trees, some very large windows that aren’t the floor-to-ceiling, fully-retractable type we’ve seen in some other houses, but should still be more than sufficient to let in plenty of natural light. The clear glass front door could just as easily lead into a mall boutique as an eight-figure estate, but I still think it works here.

The world isn’t black and white. There are shades of gray.

The living room is flanked on three sides by massively-windowed white walls. There’s a gray floor, black chairs, white couches with gray and black pillows, and what looks like a pair of black and white ottomans set up to be used as stools. A painting over the gray fireplace is mostly black, white, and gray, but there’s a exciting square in there that looks like it might have a bit of brown in it. Jump shots lead us quickly through an office, a dining room with a modernist black circular light above the table, and into a linear kitchen with a wooden bar top and breakfast nook. We linger for a moment on a coffee table topped with a bowl full of round stones and a book by fashion designer Tom Ford, helpful reminders that this is a house for fashionable people.

Moving on, we see several bedrooms and a staircase fashioned from floating slabs of natural wood at the end of an otherwise black-and-white hall. The main bedroom has wood floors mostly covered by a gray rug, a gray four-poster bed, gray side tables, and a gray structure which looks like a fireplace but which lacks a grate, visible flue, or gas starter, and is missing even the ceramic logs you’d expect to find in a fake fireplace. The en-suite bathroom features another interesting light fixture, plus a floating vanity and a freestanding tub, and is all white save for the black-framed window.

Then we’re headed outside to the covered patio with lounge seating adjacent to the pool deck. There’s certainly plenty of space out here to barbecue for and otherwise entertain a decently sized group. But: it might seem a bit nit-picky, given that a yard with any pool at all is automatically better than my yard, which contains no pool nor room for one, but the tile work and coping here look like they would be more at home in the ‘80s. We do extreme luxury at Unreal Estate, and this sloping yard seems to beg for one of those fancy vanishing-edge jobs.

Okay, now the video is starting the tour over and slowing down a bit — maybe this time through, we’ll be able to see things a little better than we did during our minute-long speed run through the house. There’s still lots of natural light (nice), and there’s still almost no color anywhere in the space aside from a single accent here or there (not so nice). A directorial flourish: an extended shot holding on a very old typewriter on a desk. If it works, I would like to borrow it and write my columns on it, columns which would henceforth be delivered to editorial via fax machine or carrier pigeon.

The circular dining room light in this extended cut flickers on and off, and we get a closer look at the hallway kitchen, which lets us see some of the stained wood cabinetry and the panels hiding the refrigerator, plus the glass-enclosed “152-bottle wine vault.” Again we see the Tom Ford book, along with another in the main bedroom espousing the wares of Chanel. These are among the only books we see; the built-in bookshelves around the house are mainly used to display statuary and various knick-knacks.

Last sold in 2015 for a reported $1.76 million, the Colgate estate was first listed for sale last September with an asking price of $12,850,000. Finding no buyers, it was pulled and re-listed in mid-January for $11,975,000, a price that remains unchanged to date. If you’ve got that much to spend, I hope you’ll invest a few dollars more for some colorful paint and/or furniture to bring some much-needed character to this otherwise opulent abode.

  • 1781 Colgate Circle| La Jolla, 92037
  • Current owner: Colgate Circle LLC | Listing price: $11,975,000 | Beds: 5 | Baths: 6 | House size: 7000