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.