Let’s be honest, only those who live under a rock don’t know about Oprah Winfrey. Though she originated from humble beginnings, she has skyrocketed to fame and has been firmly planted among the stars since, with no indication that she will ever stop shining. Over her career, Oprah has experienced quite a bit of success, to say the least. Today, she serves as an inspiration to many, especially to women and those of color, showing that with hard work and faith, nothing and no one can stand in your way. That all being said, with all that success comes quite a bit of cash, and Oprah certainly has plenty of it. With billions of dollars at her disposal, many can’t help but wonder what she does with it all. Well, one place she has spent a pretty penny on is her mansion in Southern California, which serves as her main home. For a woman who values her privacy, she doesn’t reveal much about her home. What she has managed to leak out to the public is enough to let us take a peek inside the residence of one of the most successful women of our time.
Oprah got her big break when she broke into the small screen. Since then, after nearly five decades, Oprah has made quite a name for herself; one that is not only commonly known in the United States but around the world as well. After building a media empire, Oprah has become one of the most influential women on Earth, with her net worth now in the ballpark of $3.1 billion. With that much cash to spend, many could only imagine what her home looks like. Well, wonder no more because its time to take a peek into one of the wealthiest women’s abode.
It’s all about location, location, location! It certainly doesn’t come as a surprise that the famed Television Queen chose to live in one of the wealthiest communities in the United States; Montecito. The extremely high-end community, located just east of Santa Barbara, in the middle of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean shores, is where those of extreme wealth reside. To give a little more clarity to how expensive Montecito is – the listings, on the lower end, start from $1 million and can reach prices as high as $85 million. This community is clearly only meant for the wealthy and the famous, and Oprah meets both of those requirements.
Truth be told, Montecito wasn’t the first place that Oprah was looking at to place her forever home. She only chose the community after she attended a party. The gathering was held at this beautiful mansion. As soon as she crossed over the threshold, Oprah knew that this was her home. Almost immediately, she made an offer to the homeowners, taking them completely by surprise.
The mansion at that time belonged to aeronautical equipment manufacturing legend, Robert Veloz. He and his wife were living comfortably in the mansion and had no intention of selling their home. However, that didn’t stop Oprah from achieving her dream, prompting her to make the deal of a century. She offered the owners a check for the staggering amount of $52 million. This execution was one of the biggest sales of a private home not just in Californian but in the entire nation. Though a deal of that magnitude would have put many into cardiac arrest, Oprah simply was just getting started.
The Montecito estate was first built in 1912 and has been the subject of many renovations since then. Its most current form was finished in 1959 and was put on market for about $88 million. Within its beautiful structure contains a total of 14 bathrooms, 6 bedrooms, and 10 fireplaces. When she first entered on the property, Oprah fell in love with the estate, and soon she would make it hers. She certainly had the money to back up her dream.
With hardly any hesitation, Bob Veloz and his wife agreed to Oprah’s proposal and was happy to sell their home. Now with the mansion officially hers, Oprah knew that there was a lot of work to be done in order to make her vision come alive. She asked for the assistance of her friend and fitness guru, Bob Greene. The two traveled along the grounds of Oprah’s new home, and racked each other’s brains for ideas. Oprah suggested to call the mansion Tara II because the place reminded her of Gone With The Wind. Greene wasn’t on board at all, saying that a mansion of this splendor needed to have a bigger purpose, something with more symbolism.
Bob Greene encouraged her to broaden her perspective and think about the historic moment that they were in. He reminded her about her past and where she came from. Oprah had grown up in Mississippi during the Jim Crow-era. Her and her family were extremely impoverished, to the point where Oprah had to wear potato sacks for dresses. No one expected her to succeed, but now she owned a mansion in one of the wealthiest communities in the United States. She, an African American woman, born into a life of struggle now had everything she dreamed of and more. Greene knew that this mansion was more than a home, it was an opportunity. Oprah couldn’t have agreed more.
After much deliberation, Bob Greene thought it would be best to choose a more holy route. Knowing how religious Oprah is, Greene suggested that they go Biblical and choose the name ‘Promised Land’. Oprah was enchanted by the name, and knew that it was the perfect identity for her new sanctuary. Now that the name was decided, the next step was decorating. Oprah knew that making every corner in the massive mansion to her liking was going to be a challenge, but she was excited nonetheless. Putting her personal touch in the mansion, like the plethora of books above, began turning the abode into a home.
Moving from the library, we turn our attention to the foyer, which is an intricate part in the home because it is the first area guests will encounter. With that in mind, the foyer has to make an impact. Oprah knew this and rose to the challenge, using her artistic eye with the white main staircase, creamy yellow walls, and beautiful bannisters. Though the elegance of the foyer cannot be denied, the key features in this area are the pictures of Oprah’s family and loved ones. This shows that with even all the wealth and fame, the thing that matters to Oprah are those she holds dear, which is clearly displayed in the front of the home for all to see.
The heart in any home is arguably the kitchen. In Oprah’s case, this is no expectation. Except, Oprah’s kitchen does have one key feature that most homes do not include – a fireplace! Although Oprah admired this unique feature, she opted to take it out when her home went through some remodeling so that she could make more room for her guests when they come over. As we have seen before, Oprah is someone who loves to put others first. Which is good when considering that the kitchen isn’t the only room spacious enough to entertain a crowd of her loved ones.
An avid reader and lover of books, Oprah knows the importance of literature, which is why she devoted this room specifically to engage in one of her passions. Wanting to share her love of reading with others, she started the Oprah’s Book Club. Though Oprah loves to show off her beloved collection to her guests, she cautions them to admire from afar so as not to disturb their careful organization. Aside from the large number of books, another factor that draws one’s attention in the room is the black doll that sits on the couch. Growing up, Oprah was too poor to have a doll, let alone one that had the same skin color as her. Things have definitely changed for her since then.
Who wouldn’t want to be Oprah’s dinner guest? With the candelabras, the dining room screams elegance and a little of Beauty and the Beast vibes. You could practically lick food off of the wooden table which has been polished to shine. Though, it’s not really recommended. Besides, it can only be assumed that Oprah has plenty of plates and silverware, mostly likely made of the finest china.
Once you start to understand Oprah’s style, she turns it on its head and throws in a room like this -boldly checkered and all. Each room in the mansion is different, giving the mansion variety while making the already beautiful space into an even more intriguing one. Since this photo was taken, the stripped couch and pillows have been sold at auction for an impressive $3,000. Of course, this isn’t the only room in the Promised Land to inspire the mind.
Of course, one of the main features to the Promise Land is its vast grounds and gardens. Oprah particularly enjoys this space, so much so that she converted the garden staff building into a tea room. The space is meant to detach oneself from all forms of technology, enjoying the beauties of nature while sipping on some tea. It sounds absolutely lovely! As if this wasn’t enough, there is still more to be discovered at Oprah’s home sweet home.
Returning to the indoors, this is just one of the living rooms that are in the Promised Land. Here, it looks to be crowded with a lot of furniture, paintings, and such. This is because Oprah has admitted to constantly change her style, meaning that every now and then she likes to add some new things or take something away, keeping her space fresh. She has the space, so she has plenty of room to play around with her spontaneous moments of inspiration.
Outside of her tearoom are the sprawling grounds. Above there is a curtain of purple wisteria’s, creating a beautiful canopy that looks like it belongs in a fairytale. Beyond the sweet-smelling flowers is a copper fountain that is surrounded by roses, lilies, and more. With all this natural beauty, it’s hard to believe that Oprah would ever want to leave her own backyard.
With every great fashion icon, there has to be a closet to match. This inner sanctum within the Promise Land is where Oprah retreats to accessorize. Hard to believe that this is not even the entire closest! It’s also baffling to know that someone could own so many pairs of shoes. Then again, every event needs a shoe to match, and Oprah certainly has the space to have as many pairs as she wants.
With a mansion of this size to decorate, Oprah quickly came to the realization that she can’t do it all on her own. So, she contacted designers Andrew Walker and David Simmons. These two masterminds are responsible for a large portion of the decorations in the household, including this guest room where the massive penny on the wall takes center stage, which the designers found at an antique sale in Waukesha, Wisconsin. They obviously did a great job for Oprah, but there is more to the mansion than just the interior. A large portion of the mansion is the gardens, which Oprah knew she had to put in her personal touch.
In continuing with connecting to her religious core, Oprah added in the Hallelujah Lane, which is a path in her garden that leads to a beautiful Greco-Roman statue. The flowers around the white figure take on the same hue and carry a special meaning. The hydrangea bushes especially are important to Oprah because they are the same flowers she remembers being outside the home of her grandmother’s home in Mississippi. Though the pathway is breathtaking, it isn’t the only figure that stands on the grounds.
With a love for art, Oprah’s attention was particularly interested in the Costa Rican artist and sculptor Francisco Zuniga. She especially liked the piece called ‘Grupo de cuatro muieres de pie,’ which are four women statues standing. Now stationed underneath the shade of trees, each statue represents a different stage in the life of a woman: the teenage girl, the expectant mother, a middle-aged woman, and an elderly woman. The statue was purchased by auction at Christie’s for $3.1 million dollars.
To add to the luscious grounds, Oprah planted twelve oaks tress. She christened the trees as her Twelve Apostles. These trees happen to be one of Oprah’s favorite feature on the grounds, mainly because they give her a sense of tranquility every time she walks among the peaceful giants. For someone who loves her moments of silence, Oprah certainly created a lot of places where she can be at ease.
Oprah has created her mansion to be a palace of tranquility that she has even admitted to going an entire summer without turning on the television. Though she is considered the Queen of Television, her show is over and there is no real reason to watch TV, especially when you can explore the Promised Land. Oprah has become so at peace in her own home that she is constantly floating off into dreamland and with a place like this, we can definitely understand why.
As if the Promised Land wasn’t enough, Oprah’s home has recently expanded. One of the first things that Oprah did when she bought the Promised Land was getting to know her neighbors, which she eventually grew close too. Which is why in 2016, when her neighbor died, the family hoped that Oprah would buy the property. To their relief, she did, costing her $28.9 million. She would later call the land Seamair Farm. With more room to grow, and a style that never ceases to amaze, Oprah had more opportunity for her vision to expand. Apparently, to even her surprise, that vision included a ranch.
Seamair Farm’s architectural design was created by Cliff May, who is best known for his work in pioneering the concept of the California Dream Home. When Oprah bought the property, she was now in possession of one of his creations, which included five bedrooms, four baths, and takes up 4,750 square feet. A fun feature added on the land is a pond filled with koi fish. This is yet another peaceful area where Oprah can retreat to if, of course, she ever gets bored of her tearoom. It is not known how often Oprah frequents the pond, but it cannot be denied that the space is truly tranquil. The property came with more than just fish though, but contains elements that the Promised Land doesn’t possess.
The property was mainly used for a horse track, making the mansion more compact but the grounds more equestrian. The space is so grand that you couldn’t see the neighbors even if you tried. Even though the mansion is smaller compared to the Promised Land, there is still plenty of space for Oprah’s imagination and creativity to thrive. A special feature on this piece of land is that it has two wells, which would later be quite important.
One of the things that Oprah is proud of is her vegetable garden, and loves growing her own produce. However, living in California has lately come with its challenges. Drought has taken over the beautiful state, and has taken a devastating toll on farmers everywhere. For Oprah, her garden was still able to flourish because of the two wells on her new property. She still had to cut her water use in half, but having the wells allowed her to live comfortably until the end of the water shortage. Even though she was able to overcome the drought there was still some trouble ahead for Oprah’s beloved home.
In January 2018, Oprah woke up around 3:47 AM to her dogs barking. She immediately woke up her partner Stedman, and they both saw mud creeping onto the land. The town of Montecito was devastated by mudslides, utterly destroying much of the homes. Fortunately, Oprah’s home was spared from major catastrophe but she was surrounded by mud and with Highway 101 covered in it as well, she was trapped. With no one else to turn to, she called one of her friends, another famous resident of Montecito.
The famous friend she called was none other than Ellen DeGeneres, who is also proud resident of Montecito and often gushes about it on air. When Oprah was going through her ordeal, she Facetimed with DeGeneres while she was filming her show, showing the viewers the damage that her home endured. What Oprah emphasized the hard work of the firefighters and the search and rescue team that came from Ventura City, adding that they were helping the community in a great way. Eventually, Oprah’s water and gas was shut off, but she didn’t worry too much because once she was finally able to leave, she had plenty of other places to call home.
One of the places she resides when she is not living in the Promised Land or on Seamir Ranch is in Telluride, Colorado. There she bought a 60-acre home for $11 million dollars. The home came completely furnished and has five bedrooms, six and a half baths’, a home theater, a fitness room, a chef’s kitchen, a game room, an indoor hot tub, and more. So, whenever the billionaire decides to hit the slopes, Oprah can escape the cold in luxury.
When snow gets too boring, and a beach sounds more exciting, Oprah will not have a worry because she has a home in Hawaii. She was close to tearing down this home, but her friend and property manager Bob Greene convinced Oprah to keep the land. She agreed but it turned out to be more than she originally bargained for. She wrote on Oprah.com, “Architectural designer Jeff Wooley, of John B. Murray Architect, rejiggered the quirky floor plan to create less-angular rooms and then, with the help of T.M.C. General Contracting Inc. and a team of craftsmen, stripped the house to its basic structure.” Apparently, no task is too big as long as you got the money to back it up.
When the heat gets unbearable, Oprah can ditch the beaches and escape to the beautiful state of Washington where her $8 million-dollar property is located on the Orcas Island. With 40 acres, four bedrooms, three baths, powder room, and an amazing kitchen; this house serves as the perfect party home, with a family shuffleboard and pool table upstairs. When she does want some time to relax, she will have no problem finding peace as she looks out into the sunset along the 3,000 feet west-facing shoreline.
Though Oprah was originally based in Chicago, she now no longer owns any property in the city, selling her 2,250-square-foot Colonial-style home in Elmwood Park in 2018, according to the Chicago Tribune. It sold for only $375,000, which is not much compared to her duplex in Water Tower Place (sold for $4.625 million) and co-op unit in the Gold Coast (sold for $2.75 million). Though she has nothing against Chicago, she simply didn’t live in the city as much as her other residents, prompting her to sell the properties to people that would actually put them to use.
Other places where Oprah has owned property is in Florida and Indiana. For her Florida home, she listed it in 2008 for only $2,090,000. For her Indiana ranch, she listed the 164 acres farm with the real estate agent Jane Field of Koenig & Strey. With the land having its own private orchard, it was a hard place for Oprah to give up, but something tells us that she will survive with her many other properties.
From the Promised Land to her $8.2 million wood cabin in the Orcas Island, Oprah has many places around the country that she can call home. As she lives in abundance of wealth, its important to note that Oprah has a heart as big as her bank account. She donates a large portion of her revenue to charity. Today, she is considered one of the most charitable celebrities. Her foundation, the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, has raised funds around the ballpark of $40 million. Though Oprah can clearly have anything she wants, she is not blinded by the fame and wealth she has garnered over the years. Instead, she knows that the true riches live in helping others. This major celebrity is not only one of the wealthiest and well-known women in the entire world, but also one that is the most inspirational.