On a leisurely beach stroll some 40 years ago, Carol Pastor and her husband Mort were walking past 1015 Ocean Boulevard when Carol announced, “That’s the house I want to live in!” They called the owner at the time, Greg McPartlin, and asked what it would take to make the house their family home. A bargain was struck that afternoon to trade several condos at the Coronado Shores in exchange for the then named “Van Ness Mansion.”
The Pastor family, which included seven daughters, moved into the house in early fall 1977. At that time, 12 of the 13 bathrooms didn’t work, so they posted a user schedule for the entire family to work around with only the one bathroom for nine people, while they completed an extensive three month renovation. From the attic to the basement, they found lots of unexpected obstacles typical when restoring an old home. “We wanted to restore it to its original condition, maintaining the character that made the house special,” says Carol.
They worked with the San Diego American Society of Interior Designers to be added to their Spring Fling Tour in 1979. Working with an array of designers, they helped restore the interior of the more than 20,000 square foot home to its former glory. Some of their personal antiques were incorporated in the rooms and they secured final architectural approval. They only had to veto one designer for the living room design. The 1000 square foot room has a window facing the ocean with gorgeous wood floors and a wall of bookcases. The corner featured a cozy seating area with a hidden walk-in safe. The ceiling was the original exquisite gold leaf, which was put up individually in four to five inch squares, making it costly and labor intensive. “I had to put my foot down when she suggested that we paint the golf leaf ceiling white,” laughs Carol.
“With more than 40 rooms, we had plenty of space to live and entertain, so we opened our home to various charities and political organizations for events,“ says Pastor. They hosted local dignitaries, such as Governor Jerry Brown, Former Sheriff and San Diego Police Chief Bill Kolender, foreign officials, and a number of weddings.
One of her favorite memories was hosting a black tie after-theater party for 50 guests honoring Marion Ross after a performance at San Diego State University (SDSU), in which Ron Howard and his wife, Cheryl, who played the harp at the event, and Henry Winkler aka Fonzie, were among the guests. Everyone was still dancing and playing the piano in the ballroom at 4 a.m. They raised $250,000 for the SDSU Theater Arts Department.
The first Christmas they lived there, the neighbors commented that it was the first time they had seen a lighted Christmas tree in the front window. The house had been owned by three families, the Richards, Dupee/Burnham and Van Ness families, in the previous 50 years, but no one had lived there permanently and decorated for holidays.
In an interesting twist, they inherited the Indonesian swim team one year. “God works in strange ways. The polo coach asked if we could help after the visiting team’s living arrangements fell through,” laughs Carol. Luckily, the second owner, Walter H. Dupee, was a polo enthusiast and had added two wings to the house, and stables for visiting polo teams. The team settled into the prior polo quarters with five bedrooms and a sitting room for the six-month season. The team members went to high school with the Pastor girls.
The Pastors raised their girls there for six years and they have a host of memories and stories to share. The sleeping porch became a “girls only” lounge and television room. The girls were all swimmers, so they put in a 50-foot pool, spa and waterfall. They inherited McPartlin’s dog, Redford, after they moved in to the house and the family fondly remembers that no one could put down their soda, beer or wine around the pool or the dog would promptly drink it.
Their second year in the house they got a call from the Hotel del Coronado saying that a daughter from the Richards family, the mansion’s second owner, was staying there and would love to see inside the house, so Carol invited her for tea. She was delighted that the Pastor family had stayed true to the original design in the restoration process. When she entered the Wedgewood room, named because it had authentic blue and white Wedgewood china cameos inlaid in the frieze and doorknobs, she mentioned that she still had the original furniture from the room at her home, which Carol’s daughter later visited.
In 1983, when Carol got a call from Larry Lawrence to meet for coffee, she assumed that he was taking her up on her offer, as a registered dietitian, to redo the Hotel del Coronado’s dining room. Especially after she had volunteered following an incident where a rat ran across the Crown Room at The Del when they were having lunch a few weeks prior.
“Larry surprised me when he put a piece of paper in front of me and said ‘What house do you want to trade for the Van Ness Mansion?’” said Carol. The house was on the market at the time for $2 million. On the list were six properties for her to choose from, including a home in La Jolla, a ski lodge at Lake Tahoe and others. They selected a house on Glorietta Boulevard in Coronado, which was a downsizing for them with only seven bedrooms. They stayed there on the golf course for 14 years, and have lived in other houses in Coronado through the years.
Much has been written about the Tudor Revival Style mansion at 1015 Ocean Blvd, named the Crown Manor by Larry Lawrence, who lived there off and on until it was sold in 1999 to its new owners who currently have it on the market for $25 million. The house historically should be named the “Richards/DuPee/Burnham/Van Ness/McPartlin/Pastor/Lawrence/Black/Bower” with its storied past. The palatial mansion, which spans more than 160 square feet of ocean front, has seen its share of people from all walks of life. It has been used as a family home, vacation home, showcase, and has hosted charitable, community and political events. If the walls could talk, imagine the tales they could whisper.