Though it was never officially on the market, a lavish Laguna Beach residence long owned by businessman Raymond Francis and his wife Maria, the parents of Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis, has sold to a neighbor for $25 million, a large number for Orange County’s guard-gated Emerald Bay enclave and among the biggest sums ever paid for an Emerald Bay home without direct beach access.
Records show the buyer is veteran mortgage lender/entrepreneur Evan M. Stone—cofounder and CEO of Champions Funding, a provider of non-traditional mortgage financing services—who also purchased a smaller Emerald Bay home last summer, paying $8.5 million. Stone also serves as chairman of Community Savings Bank, as well as a co-owner and partner of Rep 1, a sports agency for pro athletes such as Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp and Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff that was recently acquired by Excel Sports Management.
The Francises paid $2.2 million for the Emerald Bay property some 27 years ago, back in May 1996, before completely leveling and rebuilding an existing home on the site. Completed in 2007, and resting on a nearly quarter-acre parcel, the resort-like abode features five bedrooms and seven baths spread across almost 7,600 square feet of two-level living space overlooking sweeping views of the Pacific coastline and surrounding bluffs.
Once inside, the interiors are decked out with high coffered ceilings, bespoke millwork, ornate stair railings, hand-crafted chandeliers and clerestory windows. Posh amenities range from two wood-paneled offices and a wine-tasting chamber, to a seated wet bar, screening room and sauna-equipped gym.
Additional highlights include formal living and dining rooms, plus a gourmet kitchen outfitted with custom cabinetry, stone countertops, a center island, top-tier stainless appliances, a butler’s pantry and an accompanying breakfast nook. There’s also a sumptuous master retreat, which sports a fireplace, sliding glass doors opening to a private ocean-facing patio, a walk-in closet, and spa-inspired bath boasting dual vanities, a dressing area, soaking tub and separate shower.
Outdoors, the landscaped grounds host numerous terraces adorned with fire features, along with a fountain, built-in barbecue and putting green. Rounding it all out: an attached two-car garage, plus an $8,200 annual HOA fee allowing Emerald Bay residents access to a private beach, junior Olympic-size pool, tennis courts, parks and playgrounds.
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