Virtually everyone remembers American Idol superstars Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks, Katherine McPhee and Adam Lambert, talented singers who achieved instant fame on the reality series. Few recall the spectacular Beverly Hills Tuscan mansion that housed Idol contestants during their pursuit of music fame. Until now.
After a meticulous seven-year renovation, Villa Colibri is reimagined as an iconic estate of spellbinding art, elite amenities and architectural ingenuity. Now it can be had for a song—well, if that song is worth $72 million (the official list price). If that induces sticker shock, it’s okay—dreaming about owning this villa is free. Like the special Idols, this estate has the “it factor.”
Accessed via double gates, Villa Colibri sits majestically on 10.5 acres with unobstructed Franklin Canyon Reserve and mountain views. The sale price includes a completely remodeled Tuscan-style main house (by architect Lise Matthews), a guest house, and two additional buildings (a pavilion and bath pavilion)—totaling 17,000 square feet.
“The canyon, reservoir and private golf course views are breathtaking and framed with sculptures, fountains and lush landscapes,” says owner Steven Dunn. “We never get tired of seeing beautiful deer prancing across the lawns and the golf greens. One morning, we were lucky to catch the birth of a fawn and watch its first steps.”
Originally built in 2009, the estate (and two adjacent lots) were purchased in 2011 for $11.2 million by toy mogul Dunn, CEO of Munchkin (a baby lifestyle brand and supplier), who along with his wife Laura, upgraded the mansion with extraordinary vintage elements and exotic sculptures. Laura designed the interiors, which fused 17th and 18th Century materials the couple collected abroad with modern Mediterranean materials and comfort.
The home’s timeless design was refined with extraordinary vintage elements—a antique Roman for and face sculptures; a rare 19th century Murano glass chandelier; a 17th century Trumeau fireplace; and a 600-bottle wine cellar behind an antique jailhouse door.
“The antique jail house door from South America was selected for the wine cellar and fitted with glass so you can look in but no wine escapes,” jokes Dunn.
The property is co-listed by Joyce Rey, Stephen Apelian, Timothy DiPrizito of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, and Josh & Matt Altman of Douglas Elliman. “What stands out the most is the absolute perfect fusion of timeless art, architecture, home, functional, entertainment and lifestyle,” says Diprizito.
“When looking out over the property, it feels like its in the European countryside,” adds Apelian.”
Avid art collectors for 20 years, the Dunns incorporated pieces from their extensive travels. Stone work throughout the property is reminiscent of Tuscany, quarried and cut by 12 stone masons who hand-cut sandstone boulders for authentic interiors and exteriors, according to Dunn, an avid art collector who also owns actor James Cagney’s old Beverly Hills estate.
The Great Room is highlighted by sculptures, contemporary art and a 17th Century Trumeau fireplace from the Loire Valley. The kitchen has a centerpiece marble island, fireplace, antiques and open-air disappearing windows. The home theater entertains beneath an antique terracotta barrel ceiling. The home also boasts his and her master bathrooms with walk-in closets.
Yet some of these luxurious living spaces are actually upstaged by world-class amenities that could shame a 5-star resort, including a private golf course, three pools (infinity-edge included), pool house, home theater, gym, a pro tennis court, bocce ball court, etc. The future owner better be a Renaissance man or Renaissance woman—with a low golf handicap.
Dean Reinmuth, golf legend Phil Mickelson’s coach, designed two of the spectacular greens, which are inspired by the historic Rae’s Creek holes at Augusta National Golf Club (part of “Amen Corner”), where The Masters legends (like five-time major champ Mickelson) are born.
Says Dunn, “When Dean came up to Villa Colibri and looked out over the canyon, he said ‘I see Augusta greens #12 and #13 which would look great here.’ I hired Dean on the spot. Dean has offered to throw in three private lessons to the future buyer.” Sold!
Picturesque greens, tee boxes, and golf cart paths were carved into the hillside. The most dazzling is a cliff-high tee that overlooks a green a couple hundred yards below—Acapulco cliff-diving style (No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass has nothing on this!). The couple hosted a “Closest to the Hole” golf and wine tournament-fundraiser along this remarkable landscape.
“Villa Colibri is the only estate we know of in Los Angeles featuring the ability to play 28 holes of regulation-sized par 3 golf,” says Diprizito.
This exceptional property could appeal to a billionaire, athlete, golfer, an international buyer or a domestic buyer looking for a trophy estate to entertain or hold functions and fundraisers.
“Villa Colibri exudes so much character, style and warmth,” says Coldwell Banker’s Apelian. “ The finishes that were so thoughtfully selected and placed on the property by the owners show the labor of love it took to create such a masterpiece.”
Nevermind those past haunted mansion rumors from American Idol Season 10 Idol contestants who claimed they witnessed flickering lights, banging doors and spooky apparitions. They were either Hollywood fodder, practical joke hijinks or a renovation indicator. That’s all water under the Rae’s Creek bridge now. Besides, who could blame a ghost if he did want to live here? Even former curmudgeon American Idol judge Simon Cowell would be impressed with Villa Colibri.
A Season 10 American Idol promo gave contestants and viewers a behind-the-scenes tour of the old Villa Colibri to highlight the TV show’s rags-to-riches potential. The tour showed contestants losing their minds as they entered the mansion, playing on staircases, cartwheeling by a piano, jumping on beds, soaking up terrace views, even shedding tears—a temporary taste of fame and fortune.
Now listed for more than six times its last sale, Villa Colibri is back in the spotlight, like all American idols.