Landmark Homes in the OC

Orange County has a rich heritage filled with a unique history all its own. In addition to a variety of fascinating historic sites, Orange County is also filled with numerous historic homes. From a sprawling cliffside mansion to a house belonging to a former president, each of these landmark homes in Orange County will leave you in awe.

Laguna Beach Rock House

Seemingly wedged inside an oceanfront boulder, the Laguna Beach Rock House, located on South Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, is a feat of wonder designed by Orange County architect Brion Jeannette. This unique 3,000-square-foot home is constructed of steel, glass, and a reinforced concrete roof to hold the weight of the original cliff. The home brings the natural beauty of its beachside setting inside with an indoor creek running through the living area and floors inlaid with shells in the kitchen.

Portobello Estate

Sitting on three oceanfront lots, the Portabello Estate in the Cameo Shores neighborhood of Corona del Mar got its name from its unique curving white roof, which resembles a portobello mushroom. This massive home features 22,000 square feet of living space, with 10 bedrooms, a bowling alley, a vintage movie theater, jewelry store, car museum, and a gym. Outside, this luxurious estate boasts three unique swimming pools, a two-story grotto, and two spas. 

Mariona Estate

This historic home overlooking a private cove in Laguna Beach was constructed nearly 100 years ago. Mariona, located on South Coast Highway, is a Mediterranean Revival-style mansion built by Frank Augustus Miller as a wedding gift to his wife, Marion. The secluded estate, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, features 12 bedrooms and 11 baths. This beautiful home was built entirely by hand and the craftsmanship of its builders is apparent in its carved wooden doors, wrought iron accents, and cloistered windows. In addition to its lovely exterior, this magnificent home is also surrounded by lush gardens and features a staircase descending to a private stretch of beach below.

Maharaja House

Known as the Fortress of Santa Anna when it was built in the late 1930s, the Maharaja House was constructed by Indian-born millionaire Yeshwar Rao Holkar. In the Art Moderne style, this elaborate home features extravagant mirrors lining the entryway and lovely Art Deco etchings throughout the house. Located at the corner of Heliotrope and Santa Clara, this historic home has recently made headlines as the owners battle with city officials over renovation disagreements. 

The Western White House 

Once owned by President Richard Nixon, the Western White House at the southern end of San Clemente is a historic fixture of Orange County. The Spanish-style mansion sitting on five acres of lush land overlooking the ocean was purchased by Nixon shortly after he was elected president and became known as his Western White House. With 15,000 square feet of living space, this expansive compound includes nine bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, a guest house, and an entertainment pavilion. 

*Header Image: President Richard and First Lady Pat Nixon in the living room of “The Western White House”, 1971 / National Archives

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