Doubling for actors such as Robert Redford and Paul Newman, Mickey Gilbert has performed in more than 100 films since the 1960s. He counts Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Blues Brothers, and City Slickers as part of his repertoire, as well as many more hits in which he has worked as a stunt performer, stunt coordinator, and/or second-unit director. Whether flipping cars in a chase scene or dodging gunfire on horseback, Gilbert has designed and orchestrated the action that helps create the fantasy world of the silver screen.
Walking through Gilbert’s home in Hope Ranch, I almost felt as if I had landed on one of his Hollywood movie sets. The size of each room, and of the house overall, is huge. Yet rather than feeling imposing or intimidating, the atmosphere of this residence is warm and welcoming, and at times whimsical.
As I drove through the gates and up the long, curved driveway approaching the house, I smiled at the fanciful décor adorning the gardens. One corner boasts a large rusted wagon grouped with succulents and boulders; another section features a weathered bird house growing out of a huge tree stump surrounded by flowers. These touches don’t clutter the introduction to the property; rather, the scale permits plenty of time to appreciate each new accent area.
The house is a tri-level Tudor designed by renowned area architect Don Pederson, set on an expanse of green lawn edged with river rocks. I walked up a path lined with stunning multicolored hibiscus bushes and arrived at an arched front doorway set in the middle of a round tower. This turret sets a playful tone and eliminates any possibility of austerity as one walks into a necessarily curved entryway that spills up and down onto multiple levels, providing multiple routes to explore the approximately 5,700-square-foot home.
The kitchen, the family room, an office, and a laundry room lie on the right side of the house. A striking pentagon-shaped island in the center of the kitchen looks as though the room was formed around it, and vies with the massive breakfast bar as the spot destined to be the most popular gathering place in the home. The family room has a huge balcony with ocean views, yet I couldn’t take my eyes off the ceiling. I’m told that the hand-hewn beams of this soaring space were reclaimed from an East Coast barn belonging to a fellow stunt-performing friend of Gilbert’s. When the friend couldn’t find stunt work, Mickey offered to buy as much of the barn wood as the friend wanted to part with. The friend brought the wood, and Mickey used it for this ceiling. Gazing at it today, the rich colors and textures are the perfect natural accent for this wing of the house.
Upstairs, three en-suite bedrooms appear equally tempting, but upon exploration, the pièce de résistance is undoubtedly the master bedroom. With a stunning bath, an enormous walk-in closet, and a large balcony that overlooks the front of the grounds, this suite feels proprietary, perfect for the master of this castle.
Downstairs, the living room is another space that is both grand and comfortable. Its high ceilings are open to the walkways of the floor above, while a massive fireplace, wood-beam accents, and the natural stone of the curved turret wall lend warmth. Adjacent French doors open to the gorgeous green backyard, literally letting nature inside. Another bedroom suite on this level provides an option for separate guest or nanny quarters.
Having almost completed my tour of this magical property, I was introduced to one final convenient detail: An elevator goes straight from the garage on the lower level to both the family room on the second level and the master suite upstairs. I walked away musing about what fun the elevator would be for kids, or that it could even figure into elaborate stunts coordinated by Gilbert himself. In any case, 4170 La Ladera Road is a beautiful home in a serene setting. I left feeling that someone would soon be able to make it their own magic castle, befitting of the silver screen.
4170 La Ladera Road is currently for sale in Hope Ranch, listed by the Grubb Campbell Group of Village Properties Realtors. Reach the Grubb Campbell Group at firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 895-6226.