Brad Pitt buys a historic $40 million Carmel estate

Actor Brad Pitt has set an area record with his US$40 million purchase of a century-old estate in California’s unincorporated Carmel Highlands community.

According to Dirt, the famous property was originally built for wealthy Kansas City businessman D L James by renowned architect Charles Sumner Greene.

The home itself took five years to complete, and renovations continued for decades afterwards.

The property now resembles a medieval castle, with elaborate stonework throughout and an intricate layout of rooms with turret-like windows. 

Situated on top of a steep and rocky bluff on the ocean side of California’s famously scenic Highway 1, the structure is also considered somewhat of an engineering marvel.

Pitt purchased the property in an off-market transaction, from Chicago-based options trader Joe Ritchie and his wife Sharon, who had acquired the property from the son of D L James in 1988 for US$4.5 million, before undertaking substantial upgrades.

The exact details of the 2.5-acre property remain vague, however, it’s believed the house measures about 280sq m, though it appears larger from some angles. 

There is a service wing for live-in help and a basement-level library on the property.

Despite being situated on the beach, ocean access from the house is tricky because of a nearly sheer cliff, with the previous owners seeking approval to build a tunnel to the beach.

From the highway, the only portion of the property visible is a big wooden gate set into a stone arch, with the house set privately on the cliff far below.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.