Alamo's King of the Hill
A distinctive mansion gets a major makeover, with luxe finishes, eco-friendly landscaping, and a newfound harmony with its setting.
Ever since it was built in 2004, the mansion on the Alamo hillside piqued the curiosity of residents for miles around. Perched high above Interstate 680, the then-pink house languished as an unfinished behemoth. People wondered if it was a hotel, or a mosque; whatever they thought it was, most weren’t fond of it. It wasn’t until 2017, when Mark Cherno, a Russian-born developer whose previous projects include multimillion-dollar homes for celebrities and sports stars, purchased the property that the 15,000-square-foot house began to come into its own.
Working with a dream team of collaborators—residential designer Steven F. Kubitschek, landscape architect Terry Camp, and interior designer Elaine Koch—Cherno and his wife, Jessica, reconceived the mansion as a sophisticated, seven-bedroom, 14-bath home with countless amenities and to-die-for views of Mount Diablo. Perhaps most significantly, thanks to aesthetic improvements and farsighted landscaping choices, the mansion—now known as Villa Montecito—has finally become a welcome and well-integrated addition to the spectacular landscape.