‘Sky’s-the-Limit’ Beverly Hills Compound Lists for $85 Million

‘Sky’s-the-Limit’ Beverly Hills Compound Lists for $85 Million

  • Wall Street Journal
  • 03/18/24

A collection of redbrick and stucco structures overlooking Los Angeles evokes a small, rural Mediterranean village, but the walls conceal modern amenities worthy of a theme park: a bowling alley, nightclub, shooting range and even an escape tunnel.

Known as Villa Theos, the roughly 28,000-square-foot, 13-bedroom compound in Beverly Hills is the decadeslong project of software mogul Jim Demetriades and his wife, Nancy Demetriades. The couple bought the main house for $8.45 million in 2000 and renovated it, and have spent tens of millions adding more structures to the roughly 2.5-acre property over the years.  “Jim and I really sat down and thought, ‘OK, if we could have anything we wanted—the sky’s the limit—what would we want?’ And we just went for it,” said Nancy.

Now the couple, faced with the prospect of becoming empty-nesters sooner than expected, are putting the compound on the market for $85 million.

Jim founded SeeBeyond Technology, a software company that was sold to Sun Microsystems, now part of Oracle, in 2005 for almost $400 million. He and Nancy were married in 2000, the same year they purchased the house. Before that, Jim had been living on the ocean in Manhattan Beach, where the decor was marble and stainless steel with a three-story crystal waterfall running through it. “It was the ultimate bachelor pad,” said Nancy.

Jim was convinced he would stay there forever, he said, but Nancy insisted that they move to a more child-friendly location with a large garden. The couple went on to have five children.

Villa Theos comprises several structures, including the main house, the “coach house” and a four-bedroom guesthouse, the couple said. The name Theos references the Greek word for God; Jim, who grew up in Pasadena, is of Greek descent. The name is apt, Nancy said: “We just thank God every day for allowing us to live in this. I felt like he gave it to us.”

The six-bedroom main house was built about 30 years ago. The living room has a bar, an antique fireplace imported from France, and dramatic reclaimed wood-beamed ceilings. The home’s decor—classical statues, heavy upholstery and chandeliers—reflects Nancy’s self-described “eclectic” style. “It’s Old World,” she said, “with old fabrics and old carpets.” 

The coach house, which was completed in the last few years, is home to the property’s more unusual amenities. An Old West-themed nightclub has a disco ball, velvet couches and a custom 50,000-watt speaker system with subwoofers built into the ceiling. The space provided a place for the couple’s children, now college-age or approaching it, to gather with friends.

A bowling alley has animatronics including faux boulders and lanterns that swing, shake and flash with each strike, Jim said. In the shooting range, users can shoot the traditional way or with lasers. Images of objects like watermelons or soda cans are projected onto a screen and explode when they are hit. “You shoot a can of pop and it bounces into the air,” Jim said.

One of Jim’s contributions to the house is a giant man cave that doubles as an emergency bunker in the event of fire, earthquake or other disaster. Located about 24 feet underground, it is built with an escape tunnel, 1-foot-thick reinforced concrete, and 2,000-pound blast-proof, bulletproof doors, he said. It also has a 4,500-bottle wine cellar, which was completed just as the Covid-19 lockdowns started, Jim said. “I told Nancy, ‘We might run out of food, but we won’t run out of wine.’” 

The estate also has a large outdoor pool, a chicken coop and about 140 fruit trees, including grapefruit, orange, avocado, passion fruit, pear and apple. 

“We walk out in the morning with our coffee and we just pick the fruit off of the tree and that’s our breakfast,” Nancy said.

The Demetriades children were home-schooled, so there is a classroom on the property. When the children were young, the family spent at least three months of the year abroad and went to about 20 countries, Jim said, spending time with chimpanzees in Tanzania and fishing for halibut in the Scottish Hebrides. The couple valued those experiences for their children more than the traditional school experience. “We were able to travel, so the last thing I wanted was to be beholden to the schedule of schools,” said Jim, who is now founder and CEO of Kairos Ventures, a venture-capital firm that partners with universities to identify scientific discoveries and commercialize them. A former actress, Nancy helped run and design some of the couple’s other investments, such as hotels and restaurants.

Now, three of their children are in college and their youngest is thinking of attending boarding school in Europe. The couple decided to put Villa Theos on the market as they consider their options, including a move to Florida or pieds-à-terre in Paris and New York, they said.

Drew Fenton of Carolwood Estates holds the listing

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