20 Jun 19
MONTEREY – The Carmel Highlands compound, part of which the movie “Basic Instinct” was filmed, has been put on the market for $52.375 million, months after the owner acquired the main lodge on the property for $14.4 million, completing his acquisition of the entire five-dwelling complex.
“I feel like I accomplished what I wanted to do,” said Gary Vickers, owner of the property named Seven Coves of Spindrift in the Carmel Highlands. “I got into it as an investment. … I consider it the last stroke of the paintbrush.”
The 4.1-acre property, set among ancient cypress trees, consists of the main lodge plus four other houses for a total of 12 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, four half-bathrooms, six garage spaces, 17,000 square feet of living space and a 950-foot waterfront that affords million-dollar ocean views.
Gary Vickers sits in his living room at the house he and his family occupy on the Seven Coves on Spindrift property that has 4 other dwellings including the main lodge which was made famous in the 1992 movie, “Basic Instinct.” (James Herrera – Monterey Herald)
Vickers, 59, who lives with his family in one of the dwellings on the property, said that he used to visit the area as a youth from Denver with his family, fell in love with it and ended up attending Stevenson School.
Vickers, a former software engineer, started construction on the four houses in the late 2000s, adding them to the property next to the main house, which he had not yet acquired. Each one of the smaller houses is designed with stone fireplaces and French oak floors, and possess views from the cliffs where they sit, of the crashing waves about 100 feet below, the Pacific Ocean on the horizon, and Point Lobos State Natural Reserve to the north.
Vickers bought the main house in October 2018 following the death of the former owner’s widow the previous year, completing his ocean-side compound.
The living area of the main house with views of the Pacific Ocean and Point Lobos. (James Herrera – Monterey Herald)
The new owner has put millions of dollars into renovating and building all the properties, along with about two acres of gardens, open space and trails. Benches along the footpaths overlook the seven coves on the property at the rocky shoreline.
The four smaller dwellings have a distinctly rustic feel, reflecting the surroundings of the forest and ocean, each built of mostly wood and stone and artfully incorporating modern amenities.
“I’ve given this the right bones and spirit that I hope people will honor,” said Vickers of whoever the next owner will be. “People can relax and feel at one with nature.”
Vickers admits it will be hard to let the property go but knows it is time to downsize.
“Gary has been rebuilding the property over 12 years virtually touching and/or rebuilt everything,” said Tim Allen, listing agent at Coldwell Banker Del Monte Realty.
Allen explained that the $52 million listing is a large cumulative price of four properties.
“The buyer will be one, or a group, seeking something unique to the Monterey Peninsula and on the California Coast,” said Allen. “I haven’t seen an assemblage like this of ocean-front properties in my career. … There is nothing like it. … It provides total privacy and spectacular views, grounds and spaces while still being minutes from all the amenities the Monterey Peninsula has to offer.”
The ocean-front complex has at least two footnotes in history.
Businessman and adventurer Steve Fossett and his wife Peggy had owned the main house since 1996. Fossett was famous for being the first person to fly solo in a balloon nonstop around the world. He held many records in distance and high-altitude flights but went missing in 2007 after taking off in a light aircraft on what was to be a short flight over the Great Basin Desert between Nevada and California. Fossett was declared dead in February 2008 after initial extensive searches were fruitless. But 13 months after his mysterious disappearance, a hiker found crumpled identification cards belonging to Fossett in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. In October 2008, searchers located Fossett’s plane. Two days later, bones were recovered and DNA testing revealed they belonged to Fossett.
The main lodge is part of popular culture as it served as a location for the classic 1992 movie “Basic Instinct” starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone, directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhas. The movie, about a violent police detective investigating a brutal murder, in which a manipulative and seductive novelist could be involved, was controversial at the time for its strong adult content.
Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone starred in “Basic Instinct.” (Photo: TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)
The lodge at the Spindrift Road property served as the home of Sharon Stone’s character, its setting a backdrop for her and Douglas in many pivotal scenes.
According to Architectural Digest, the three-floor main house spans 12,000 square feet and in 2004, interior designer Paul Vincent Wiseman told the periodical that he had been commissioned by the Fossetts to help renovate the home. He said Art Deco touches were “added by a Hollywood art director when it was used in filming scenes for “Basic Instinct.” Wiseman reportedly turned the space into a more modern aesthetic, an appropriate backdrop for the Fossett’s contemporary California art and Japanese porcelain collections. His reconstruction allowed for more natural light, provided greater views of Point Lobos, opened the space between the dining room and gallery, and gave the master bedroom a neutral tone to offset the blue-centric views out the window.
The complete property has changed over time into the rustic property Vickers has created today.
Vickers said he and his friends use the main lodge to congregate on weekends while enjoying the property’s fitness center, spa and pool. He is selling the compound because he said he no longer needs a property so large and sprawling.