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La Jolla Mansion Appeals to Champagne Taste and Beer Budget

La Jolla Mansion Appeals to Champagne Taste and Beer Budget

La Jolla Pool

An opulent mansion in La Jolla, CA, offers a historic twist on an old expression, “Champagne taste on a beer budget.”

Once owned by famed jockey and quiz show star Billy Pearson, the 10,000-square-foot home will obviously appeal to anyone with a taste for fine French bubbles. The home’s list price is a bubbly (and precise) $ 9,800,876.

(The list price was set at $ 12.95 million in 2012, 2013, and again last year. However, Maxine Gellens, who recently took over as the listing agent, says the home’s current price is in line for La Jolla.)

What about that beer budget, you ask? Well, because the home is designated as a historic landmark, annual property taxes are only about $ 10,000 a year compared with $ 100,000 or more for similar properties in the area, Gellens says. We didn’t say it was cheap beer, but the advantage is obvious to any savvy investor.

“You get an unbelievable property tax advantage,” says Gellens. And “the house is completely, beautifully remodeled, and some of it is brand-new.”

Living room

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Living Room in La Jolla

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Living room

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Built in 1929, the home is located in the fashionable Lower Hermosa area of La Jolla. It has six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, two half-baths, a movie room, a wine room, and a three-car garage. A quiet beach that’s popular with the locals is less than two blocks away. With extensive marble finishes and antiques in every room, the house exudes an old-time elegance that’s appropriate given its storied past.

In Pearson’s day, the home was a regular stopover for many of his celebrity friends, including film director John Huston. Singers Bing Crosby and Burl Ives are also said to have passed through.

Master bedroom

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Master bedroom in La Jolla

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Master bedroom

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Pearson earned his first taste of fame as a jockey who won more than 800 races in the 1940s and 1950s. He captured the public’s attention again as a contestant on “The $ 64,000 Question,” a game show that aired in the 1950s. He also dabbled in TV acting, playing a jockey on “Perry Mason” in 1958.

Along the way, the hard-living Pearson became an art collector while assembling his own collection of fabulous houses, according to his 2002 obituary in the New York Times. Pearson made no excuses for his lifestyle, telling one magazine, “I am reconciled to the fact that I will never get out of this life alive, and while I’m still breathing, I’m going to live it up.” He lived to be 82.

Pool area and patio

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Pool area and patio in La Jolla

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Pool area and patio

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It’s not difficult to picture Pearson and his celebrity friends lounging poolside at the La Jolla house, which was designed by architect Thomas Shepherd. Shepherd is well-known in La Jolla for his distinct designs that incorporated elements he had seen during travels to Japan and Europe.

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