The Legendary Estate

Both Joe and Jennifer say that it was love at first sight, which was a relief after their seemingly endless search. They ended up eventually acquiring four adjoining parcels and creating Villa Montana, a 503-acre estate. Today, the grounds feature a professional-grade equestrian center, full-sized basketball court, skeet shooting range, caretaker’s residence, guesthouse, pool and spa, gym, Bocce ball court, and a producing olive farm. Two flowing creeks and a private pond, stocked with fish are also present, as is an untouched forest that is abundant with the natural wonders of the region.

But it is the main residence that is the crowning jewel of the property. The couple spared no expense in designing their dream home in from the ground up in the likeness of a Tuscan villa, a task that took nearly as many years to complete as it did for them to find the property.

The final result was certainly worth the wait. While Moller & Willrich Architecture & Design is listed as the firm for the home, it was Jennifer who is ultimately responsible for the design of the 9,700-square-foot main home, both inside and out. The three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath abode is arranged to accommodate an indoor-outdoor lifestyle, and includes all of the luxuries one would expect, such as the requisite media room and climate-controlled wine cellar. Joe explains that the home sits on the property in such a way as to take full advantage of the views, an intentional decision on their part. “It is absolutely beautiful,” he explains, “and it borders reserved land, so the views will never be interrupted.” From the elevated perch of the guard tower, one can enjoy untouched vistas that stretch for 100 miles. The location also served to offer unsurpassed privacy to the notorious footballer and his family.

While it is a daunting task to make such a grand estate into a home, Joe credits Jennifer with handling it with ease, although she does admit making it comfortable for everyday living was the biggest challenge. The result is a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted masterpiece that is worthy of praise. “We traveled all over to find the perfect pieces for the home,” Jennifer says. For example, the couple made a special trip to Italy to review the green marble selected for the kitchen island to ensure the color was to their liking. They imported ancient stone and terra cotta floors from Italy and France, and chose to outfit the space with hand-hewn beams, selected carved Baroque wood portals, artifact Italian fireplaces, and authentic plaster frescoes by master French artisans. While on these treasure hunts, they were constantly in touch with the builders, adjusting the plans as necessary to accommodate the worldly artifacts. “The home was designed to feel as if it was handed down through the generations,” she explains. “But it’s still incredibly homey,” Joe counters.