There are some backyards that have transportive qualities, whisking you to far-off places like Italy or Provence. This inspiring luxury villa, set within the gates of Serrano Country Club in El Dorado Hills, has just that sort of effect on you. From the very moment, you step inside the entry courtyard of the two-acre Old World Mediterranean home, you are completely immersed in a setting complete with rose bushes, geraniums and olive and citrus trees. You feel as if you are worlds away as you make your way to the pavilion and private casita. You look over the sweeping green hills of the golf course, and out to the valley below. Indoor spaces blend with outdoor spaces, creating a seamless experience on par with the greatest resorts and spas of the world.
Bregard, a gardening enthusiast worked closely with architect Kevin O’Brien and renowned Sacramento landscape architect Ron Allison (a founding member of the California Central Valley Horticultural Foundation which has developed plans to bring a sustainable botanical garden to Sacramento) to bring his unique vision for the indoor/outdoor living spaces to life. Allison drafted a preliminary landscape design for the house, which was completed in 2012. During construction, Bregard had the opportunity to purchase the adjacent lot, which brought the total acreage to almost two and necessitated a whole new scheme of trees and shrubs that enhanced the house and also met the Serrano Country Club landscape guidelines. Bregard was deeply involved to ensure his vision was fully realized.
“We wanted a nice feeling of relaxation and calm to wash over you when you come onto the property or into the house for the first time,” says homeowner Dick Bregard, a retired U.S. Army officer and Aerojet Rocketdyne executive who used his extensive travels throughout Europe and the Middle East for inspiration. “We want people to feel relaxed, comfortable and at the same time, we want them to be able to enjoy a piece of elegance. It’s like a high-end home resort.”
Covered loggias provide elegant entertaining spaces. An outdoor living room centered around an ornate fireplace with ceiling fans stationed above provide a year-round gathering spot for Bregard’s guests and large extended family — four children, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
“We sit out there all year long,” he says. “When it rains, we don’t get wet. When we need to warm up on a cool night, we use the fireplace. When the temperatures hits 100 degrees in the summer, we have the breeze from the fans. We open the doors from the dining room as well, so you can walk through the house. The indoor/outdoor flow is spectacular.”
There’s also a state-of-the-art outdoor kitchen and a pavilion with another outdoor space, with a fireplace and pocket doors that disappear into the walls. A large grassy area doubles as an ideal reception area.
“That landscaped area is .6 acres alone,” says Bregard. “My sister renewed her wedding vows out there. It’s the perfect setting for large parties and/or intimate events.”
The pool, flanked by fountains, magically lights up at night for a captivating and memorable scene. Two spas — one in the courtyard— and another private one nestled off the master suite garden. Moorish-style fountains surrounded by black granite feel other-worldly. The uniqueness of stonework found throughout the exterior adds to opulence of the setting.
“The travertine pavers surrounding the pool and spa area are at least one-inch thick and take much longer to heat, so when it’s 105 degrees, my granddaughter does not burn her feet,” he says.
However, it’s the gardens — designed in “a soft, flowing style,” notes Bregard — that sets the magnificent stage and ambiance for the property and fills Bregard with a sense of pride. Thuja trees were planted strategically around the property. A low hedge of boxwoods and a small orchard of citrus trees line the courtyard and highlight the magnificent stone work. Olive trees were thoughtfully planted throughout the property, providing a natural flow to the landscaping. A symphony of flowers — from lilies to Chinese orchids and roses in shades of red, white and pink — are carefully arranged to fill the property with vibrant color and form a band around the entire property. The remarkable beauty of the landscaping shifts with the seasons, giving the home a “living” quality that is never quite the same from one day, one month, and one year from the next.
Offered for $6.95 million and listed with Patricia Seide of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in El Dorado Hills, this landmark custom home is another world, just waiting to be opened by its next owner.