La Casa Pacifica, originally known as the Cotton Estate, holds a prominent place in California history. Hamilton H. Cotton reserved San Clemente’s finest oceanfront parcel for his own estate. His vision was to model his home after an Andalusian-themed manor he had seen in San Sebastian, Spain. The Cottons constructed their stately single-story residence on a gentle knoll, known as Cotton’s Point. A two-story tower, white stucco walls, wrought-iron flourishes, and hand-painted tiles played an important role in defining the historic home’s overall character. In addition, acres of impeccably landscaped grounds complemented the seaside residence. Monterey cypress trees were brought in and planted in strategic locations across the oceanfront bluff in order to diffuse the late-day sun, add shade, and lend an imposing presence to the magnificent grounds that surrounded the landmark residence. The Cotton Estate gained national prominence when, in 1927, it was featured in Architectural Digest. In 1970, the home would again appear in the magazine, this time featured as the cover photo and described as “The Western White House,” highlighting the importance of its second owner, then-President Richard M. Nixon.
La Casa Pacifica rests on one of Southern California’s largest and most scenic sections of coastal residential real estate. It comprises two parcels totaling 5.45 acres, and the site features 450 lineal feet of beachfront. The entire compound sits behind private walls and fences. The property is mostly flat with a garden that gently slopes seaward. The natural elevation is ideally suited to maintain privacy and enhance the sweeping ocean, island, and sunset views. The beach is easily accessible from La Casa Pacifica’s private gate.
The primary design language is a romantic interpretation of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. The gleaming white structures provide a perfect canvas for the vibrant colors and textures of the gardens, paving, and tile work. The period craftsmanship of La Casa Pacifica is superb—there are one-of-a-kind, hand-painted ceramic murals and tiles throughout the property, as well as original installations comprising patterned ceramic tiles characteristic of early California, Spanish, and Moorish designs.
There are approximately 15,000 square feet among all the structures on the property, including a main residence of approximately 9,000 square feet; a pavilion, with a grand main room, bar, guest suite, and den; a two-bedroom guest house; pool and pool terrace; a lighted tennis court; a gazebo on the bluff; expansive lawns, formal and cutting gardens, vegetable and succulent gardens—many with exotic specimens; a greenhouse; multiple garages; a catering facility with separate entrance; a separate staff building with multiple garages, four staff residences with separate access; security annexes; as well as a private well for landscaping water.