VENTURA — Close show business friends of President-elect Bill Clinton have purchased a coastal estate between Ventura and Santa Barbara that is expected to be used by Clinton and his wife, Hillary, as a western retreat.
The country French-style house, in the beachfront community of Summerland, is likely to be frequently used by the Clintons when they want to get away from the pressures of Washington.
"They have used our house in Laguna Niguel from time to time," said television producer Harry Thomason, who recently purchased the house, not far from another retreat owned by Los Angeles attorney Warren Christopher, director of Clinton's White House transition team.
Thomason said he has been looking for a home near the beach "on and off for months," with much of his focus between the communities of Carpinteria, on the southern tip of Santa Barbara County, and Montecito, a few miles to the north.
Summerland, a quaint seaside enclave, lies between the two communities.
Thomason and his TV producer wife, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, have moved furnishings into the house, sources said.
Although Thomason suggested that the Clintons might use the house to kick back on occasion for a few days, he said it will not become a White House West. "I categorically deny that," he said.
The Clintons do not own a house. They lived in the Arkansas governor's mansion for 12 of the last 14 years.
The Thomasons have produced such television shows as "Designing Women" and "Hearts Afire." Clinton's half-brother, Roger, 35, works as a production assistant on "Designing Women."
Among Hollywood political activists, none became as involved in the Clinton campaign as the Thomasons. Their production company, Mozark, became known as a kind of second campaign headquarters for Clinton.
The Thomason influence was felt at the Democratic National Convention in New York City, where the Clinton family's televised walk to Madison Square Garden was orchestrated by Harry Thomason. His wife produced Clinton's highly personal 14-minute campaign film, highlighted by footage of a 16-year-old Clinton shaking hands with President John F. Kennedy in the Rose Garden.
The Clintons may visit the Thomasons, who are also from Arkansas, as early as Thanksgiving. "This is just friends with old friends," a source said. "It's just kind of a family reunion."