Say hello to my little house: the grandiose tribute to poor taste and excess that housed the final hours of Tony Montana in the classic De Palma/Pacino flick ‘Scarface’ is on the market – after a clean-up and a facelift.
The opulent 10, 000 square foot property is surrounded by palm trees and Mediterranean gardens, and everything about it screams ‘Miami’ – so much so that a Miami house has run tours for years as the ‘Scarface mansion.’ In fact, though, the movie was shot on the other side of the country, in California’s Santa Barbara, where this 10-acre property is located on 631 Para Grande Lane.
The mansion was built for James Waldron Gillespie, and the design deliberately evokes classical Greek and Roman sculpture throughout. Designed by architect Bertram Goodhue in 1906, the property even has a name: ‘El Fureidis,’ meaning, ‘Tropical Paradise,’ and includes 5 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms and details including painted ceilings with gold leaf trim, tiled rooms and a unique pool – very recognizeable from a certain angle – complete with fountains.
The ostentatious poor taste that characterised the mansion in the film was added for characterization – the filmmakers thought that the home of Tony Montana should look crass and glitzy, so gold and statuary, including a gigantic pink neon globe bearing the legend,’ the world is yours!’ was added. All that has been removed, though, leaving a home that’s certainly expensive but no longer looks cheap.
Now, the mansion looks stately and palladian, with a dignified neoclassical frontage, bright blue pools divided into quadrants and an estate packed with palm trees and formal gardens. Inside, the gigantic piles of illicit substances and terrifying firearms have long since been removed. Instead, there are parquet floors, statement modern furniture seamlessly integrated with the antiques and spacious, high-ceilinged rooms. The main ‘conversation room’ features an 18-foot-high dome ‘modelled after the church of St. John Lateran in Rome,’ according to the brochure copy. The recent refit replaced old-fashioned appliances, particularly in the kitchen, without affecting the mostly original fittings and fixtures.
One reason why such a large house has so (comparatively) few bedrooms is that the original design was aimed at producing a house to entertain in rather than a dormitory. Rather than extra bedrooms, space was given over to patios, an interior courtyard, a rooftop terrace, verandas and Persian gardens. Indoors, the barrel-vaulted ceilings might interest you – if not, there’s a view out over the Pacific Ocean from every room.
The price tag keeps falling, too: the home was last on the market for $35m in 2008, before selling for an undisclosed amount – maybe just over $2m, maybe about $6m, depending on who you listen to – to Russian financier Sergey Grishin. Now it’s relisted for more modest sums and there’s even a rental option. You can rent the mansion for $30k a month.
All Images: The Santa Barbara, California mansion made infamous in the 1983 movie “Scarface” starring Al Pacino as Tony Montana, is for sale. Tour inside “El Fureidis,” which means “tropical paradise.” Courtesy Village Properties/Tom Ploch