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Smithcliffs’ ‘Understated Elegance’ in Laguna Beach

A rare listing with an even rarer asking price has come online in the community of Smithcliffs, an exclusive Laguna Beach gated neighborhood home to some of the area’s top business executives.

The newly reconstructed 10,000-square-foot home at 33 Smithcliffs has six bedrooms and nine bathrooms, with an asking price of nearly $48.9 million.

“There’s nothing like this home in the market,” said Paul Daftarian of The Daftarian Group, who has the listing along with Michael Balliet. “It’s a trophy property.”

The home is the only active listing in Smithcliffs—a 20-home community located just off Coast Highway, south of Emerald Bay in Laguna Beach—though one other home in the neighborhood is said to be in escrow.

Newish Build 

The undisclosed sellers bought the home in 2017 via auction for a reported $12.5 million.

The home was first built in 1998 and initially designed by local architect Brion Jeanette.

The owners quickly started work on an extensive renovation project that upgraded every aspect of the home, while keeping in line with remodeling guidelines for the community.

“There are regulations against new home builds on the bluff top,” Daftarian notes. “This is essentially a new home that complied with remodeling guidelines.”

The design and construction team includes Carlton Graham, Michael Fullen and Hill Construction.

The home is described as “warm modern” with contemporary finishes, such as 20-foot-high motorized pocketing glass doors that blends indoor and outdoor spaces.  

“It’s beautiful yet livable,” Daftarian said.

Other amenities include a chef’s kitchen, wine cellar, gym, library, and a 1,800-square-foot roof deck.

A-List Neighbors

The front-row home is on a double lot spanning half an acre.

It’s one of just six double lots in the neighborhood, and is one of four double lots located on spots overlooking the ocean.

The community was developed by Gary Brinderson, the chairman of Corona del Mar-based Brinderson Holdings who still counts a home in the neighborhood.

All of the lots have since been built out, with homes dating back to the early 1990s.

“Almost every home that has been sold in recent years has undergone massive renovations,” Daftarian said.

Homes rarely go for sale within Smithcliffs; when they do, a typical asking range is between $5 and $15 million.

The high price tag for 33 Smithcliffs is due to the reconstruction, location and size of the property and land parcel, he said.

Other executives reported to count ownership ties in the community include the Merage family, well-known area entrepreneurs and philanthropists; the Bhathals, known for locally based Raj Swim and Raj Capital and part of the ownership team for the Sacramento Kings; and Shaheen Sadeghi, developer of retail and event centers including Anaheim Packing House and LAB anti-mall in Costa Mesa.

“The seaside community offers privacy and an understated elegance that is hard to find,” Daftarian said. 

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