Written By: Jan Walker

Imagine a community where families make their homes from generation to generation. A community in a setting so beautiful that people love coming home to it each day. A place that fosters friendliness, where neighbors know each other by name and greet each other with a smile and a wave. A place where people can live in harmony with nature, look out over a pristine landscape, and celebrate the sunrise and sunset every day.

A Norman Rockwell fantasy? No. It’s called Monterra, and you’ll find it nestled in the gently rolling hills overlooking Monterey Bay.

Monterra, an exclusive development on nearly 2,000 acres on the Monterey Peninsula, consisting of just 168 homesites.

The first homesite at Monterra turned out to be the founder Mills’ own.

Per the project manager, the house had already been designed and the foundation had already been laid, so Little worked to modify the existing plans and expand on the design. Mills’ original home plans encompassed approximately 7,000 square feet. Little added an upstairs bedroom and apartment with a separate entrance, a wine cellar, and additional bedrooms, among other changes.

Mills’ home has indeed become the first place most potential homebuyers at Monterra see, and he makes it available as an inspiration source for their home designs.

Mills’ home began as something of a Craftsman-style huse.

The lay of the land plays a vital role in home designs at Monterra. Preserving a sense of surrounding and enhancing the natural environment is a key factor in the structure of the community, with its limited number of lots. Residents enjoy looking out from their homes and seeing the countryside, and not feeling as though they’re living on top of their neighbors.

The exterior of Mills’ home echoes the landscape.

The landscaping plans called for a rich variety of indigenous, drought-resistant plants. About 30 trees were planted or relocated to the property, which blends seamlessly with its natural surrounding.

The entrance to Mills’ home is enhanced with a trio of dramatic arches and a 12-foot-high front door. A statue of a woman trumpeter by renowned sculptor Richard MacDonald welcomes guests.

Inside, the goal was to achieve a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Touches like the beautifully hand-painted ceilings in the foyer and dining room add a classical appeal to the home. The color scheme for the house is anchored with tan and expands into muted green with some complementary brown and red tones added.

The size of the rooms, with the varying ceiling heights, called for oversized furnishings that wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the sense of space. Textures, including grasscloth wallpaper in many of the rooms and handcrafted plasterwork, add depth and character to the interior.

Wool rugs and upholstery provide additional weight and texture. Hand-hewn floors of hickory and pecan add inviting warmth to the dining room and kitchen. Cobblestone from France was used in the hallway and reclaimed lumber for the home’s beams and trellises.

A wine cellar below the kitchen also serves as an intimate dining spot. Food is delivered downstairs by dumbwaiter.

A Crestron Smart Home system allows Mills to electronically control lighting, temperature, security, and audio-visual equipment at the touch of a button.

Just outside the living room, a large outdoor fireplace serves as a focal point and gathering place.

Entertaining is a large part of Mills’ life at Monterra. In addition to fundraisers for local non-profit and community organizations, he also opens his home to host activities for residents.

Outside the attached three-car garage, there’s an additional detached three-car garage and a spacious motor court. Mills makes use of the space by inviting luxury automobile makers including Bently and Bugatti to come and showcase their newest models. Residents are invited to test-drive the cars around the Monterra community.

Mills often hosts cooking classes in his kitchen, taught by well-known chefs. After the class, guests stay for lunch and enjoy the meal they watched being prepared.

On the second Wednesday of each month, Mills hosts a family movie night at his home for residents with children. Monterra residents also enjoy photo walks in the surrounding countryside hosted by professional photographers and nature hikes led by local naturalists who introduce newcomers to the region’s flora and fauna.