It started with a vision. Enchanted with the remarkable estancias enjoyed during a trip to Argentina, one couple was inspired to create their own ranch reflecting the same passion for horses and relaxed ambiance. Rancho Santa Fe was the ideal spot to fulfil that dream, a rural enclave in a desirable metropolitan city.
The prestigious Southern California community has the perfect location and climate for enjoying San Diego’s abundance of outdoor activities with easy access to the Del Mar Race Track, famous surf spots, trails for biking, hiking and horseback riding, and multiple championship golf courses.
A PICTURESQUE ESTANCIA
Their search for an available property with enough contiguous acreage to support their dream, and close to where their five children attended school, led them to Willow Creek Ranch. The property had been used as a training site for a young Olympic hopeful and consisted of flat land with a 27-stall barn, multiple pastures, several arenas, and a hay barn. This provided them with a starting point for creating their own picturesque estancia.
Shortly after acquiring their first parcel, the couple met the highly acclaimed architect, Marc Appleton. When they discovered their shared background growing up on ranches in the midwest, the owners knew they had the right fit. Under Mr. Appleton’s direction, the property began the transformation into a gracious family compound, beginning with the main residence, designed in the timeless Santa Barbara-style. The understated elegance of the home, which is entered by a gated private drive, is framed by mature trees, a bougainvillea-draped veranda, and lush plantings.
The estate has continued to grow and evolve over the years as they purchased and enhanced surrounding parcels. It now includes all of the amenities that complement a competitive horse program and support a variety of disciplines. Additions include an eight-stall family barn adjacent to a tennis court and pavilion, and a detached 2,000 sq. ft. recreation room complete with a two-lane bowling alley, a variety of arcade games and gaming tables, a full caterer’s kitchen and bar, and a separate exercise room. They also added two beautiful guest suites detached from the main house, so that when their parents visited they could enjoy their family, as well as their own privacy.
Family and friends have gathered to experience Willow Creek and all it has to offer. The owners have celebrated many birthdays, countless family holidays, and held their daughter’s wedding at the ranch. Fellow horse enthusiasts bring their motorhomes and horses to camp at the 20-acre lake where they fish, paddle canoes, and ride the trails along the San Dieguito River to the east. They have also hosted many wonderful events to support their local charities. While the Willow Creek estancia has been their pride and joy - and home - for many years, now that their children are grown, the couple has made their primary residence in Wyoming, where they continue to pursue their ranching career.
AN EXTRAORDINARY PROPERTY
Comprised of seven parcels totalling more than 77 acres in a neighbourhood known as the Covenant of Rancho Santa Fe, this property is one of the most significant ranches in the region, and an extraordinarily rare find.