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ANN CONWAY

A Home Even James Bond Would Envy--but Could He Afford It?

May 27, 1996|ANN CONWAY

No spike heels, state the invitations to tea at Pacific Reflections.

No wonder. The $16.5-million Laguna Beach mansion is laid with flawless teak, including the 3,000-square-foot pool deck that overlooks the ocean.

"We don't want to damage one inch of it," says Marcia Bents, whose idea it was to stage a formal tea at the 11,000-square-foot estate built in 1979 by then-stock market whiz Boyd Jefferies.

The June 11 benefit for the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum--where Bents is chairwoman--will be restricted to 60 guests, she says, though the house can easily accommodate 500 for a party. And it did--back in the glory days--before Boyd Jefferies pleaded guilty to two felony counts related to the illegal "parking" of stock for inside trader Ivan F. Boesky and corporate raider Paul A. Bilzerian.

It is easy to see why the property, listed last year by Coldwell Banker, is called "007 Heaven" by real estate agents.

The master bedroom alone is something out of James Bond. Push a button and the bed revolves 360 degrees, allowing you to choose views of the ocean, fireplace or media center.

Push another button and the ceiling retracts. "It's wonderful to lie on the bed and stargaze," says Beverly Reese, who bought the home with her husband, Bob, in 1986. "But I have to get up at 5:30 every morning to close the roof because that's when the birds wake up."

Bents, a real estate broker with Coldwell Banker, will be wearing two hats at the $60-per-person tea catered by the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Pasadena, she says. She will be overseeing a benefit for the museum created in memory of her daughter, Bettina, a top-notch sailor who died at age 26 in 1983.

And she will be exposing the property to women who "possibly could afford to buy it."

Owner Bob Reese, a developer and investor, agreed to open the cliff-situated home he calls "a piece of sculpture" because he is eager to sell it.

"We want to find something in the area just like it--only smaller," he says. "Our grandchildren are no longer in the area, so we don't need a property this size."

Sly Stallone has expressed interest in the estate. Ditto Michael Eisner, who ended up buying "a tear-down in Malibu Colony instead," says a spokeswoman for Coldwell Banker.

Says Reese: "A princess from the Middle East was in love with it but couldn't stand to walk to the edge" of the ceiling-to-floor windows or "the pool deck that overhangs the cliff."

Come July, "a famous prince is coming to view the property," the spokeswoman says. "And in 10 days, "one of the most famous sports figures in the world."

Stay tuned.

*

Opportunity for women: In an inspirational acceptance speech at a benefit luncheon, Julie Hill thanked the Women's Opportunity Center at UC Irvine last week for presenting her with the Amelia Earhart Award. The award is given annually to an individual committed to enhancing the lives of women.

"I read once that a friend hears the song in your heart and sings it back to you when your memory fails," said Hill, as she spoke to hundreds of luncheon guests at the Sutton Place Hotel in Newport Beach.

"Thank you to all you singers--I wouldn't be here without you."

And then Hill, president and CEO of Costain Homes Inc. in Newport Beach, talked about opportunity: "Amelia Earhart got things done. She broke barriers. And to do that, you have to take risks, " she said. "Adventure is not just worthwhile in itself. Adventure, taking risks, is what leads us toward becoming who we are supposed to become, to being our best selves. And being our best selves makes our community better."

When her life ends, Hill said, she wants to be able to say yes when she answers the question "Did I do what I came here for?"

To do that, you have to venture "out of your comfort zone once in a while," she advised. "It's easy to become discouraged and frightened, easy to fill up our lives with busywork that keeps at bay the existential question, 'Why?'

"The why, I think . . . is to find our individual path-with-heart and the courage to follow it. . . ."

Proceeds of more than $120,000 from the event will go toward the center's course offerings, counseling services and scholarships. Elizabeth Tierney and Judy Sweeney were event co-chairwomen.

Previous award recipients have included Leslie Etheridge, Judy Rosener, Harriet Wieder, Beth Burns and Jo Caines.

Also among guests were UCI Chancellor Laurel Wilkening, former UCI Chancellor Jack Peltason and Orange County Supervisor Marian Bergeson.

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