Power couple Jeanne and Gary Newman—the former an entertainment-industry lawyer, and the latter a former CEO of Fox Television—plunked down $12.23 million for a spectacular beachfront in Montecito this month. The outgoing owner was none other than telecommunications billionaire, Clearwire Corp. founder Craig McCaw.
That’s a lot of influence for this little house. But the emphasis here is on retreat, not grandstanding. The five-bed, six-bath house is unassuming and without overt style; a seaside cottage dating to 1900, it has been updated, but even now doesn’t need to impress beyond its location.
Which is spectacular. The Miramar Beach spot boasts all the breezy Pacific quiet one could ask for in a waterfront sanctuary; far from the hue and cry, and without much in the way of tasteless glitz. The lot extends to half an acre, enough to pack in substantial breathing room; a private spit of beach, privacy hedges and lawn, a mazy front walk, and a fire feature help define the living style, along with a hanging chair that might be called its emblem.
The interiors boast vaulted ceilings with tongue-in-groove, built-ins, and plenty of glass in the addition. The common area is open concept, but the extended layout brings an additional living room into the picture. The home features four fireplaces—not bad for just over 3,302 square feet—with one in the cozy master bedroom.
Craig McCaw is a pioneer in the cellular phone industry. His net worth is in the neighborhood of $2 billion. He is a founding member of the Free Willy Foundation, which succeeded in freeing the killer whale. McCaw donated $2 million to the cause. In 2012, McCaw set a then-record for the most expensive car ever sold when he paid $38.1 million for a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO.