Modern Age Privacy in Luxury Estates

“I never said, ‘I want to be alone.’ I only said ‘I want to be let alone!’ There is all the difference.” ― Greta Garbo

Whether you find your particular brand of privacy at the end of a long driveway, behind artful gates or hedges, at the top of a keyed elevator, or on a remote island, privacy is power.

The dictionary defines privacy as “the state of being apart from other people or concealed from their view” and freedom “from unwanted or undue intrusion or disturbance in one’s private life or affairs.” Today, issues of privacy focus largely on the defense of identity and personal data and growing concerns about intrusive technology–Google Street View, GPS, drones, etc. (The Federal Aviation Administration estimates that there will be more than 30,000 private, remotely piloted vehicles competing for U.S. airspace by 2030!)

Homeowners and home buyers continue to occupy a unique category: those who see home as the embodiment of privacy. In the National Association of REALTORS’® “2013 Community Preference Survey,” Americans cited privacy from neighbors as number one on their list of important factors in deciding where to live (86 percent important).

“Privacy is not something that I’m merely entitled to, it’s an absolute prerequisite.” ― Marlon Brando

Among the owners of luxury properties, neighbors are not only unseen and their barking dogs unheard, but they are also kept at a discreet remove by sophisticated security systems, guards, gates, and attentive concierges, as well as the physical and psychological privacy offered by generous lot sizes and expansive views. The pleasures of exquisitely planned landscaping add immensely to the enjoyment of the property as well as introducing verdant screens of separation from the outside world. Whether the luxury estate is a Golden Mile condominium or a palatial enclave in Bel Air, attention to matters of privacy are as critical as architectural design.

Increasingly, residential developments–communities and individual structures–are shielding themselves from all-seeing technology to be essentially invisible. Google vehicles are banned, ownership may be concealed through convoluted documentation, and even advance privacy systems may be employed to jam GPS signals. Other measures include stealth residences–the contemporary equivalent of Batman’s cave–built within mountains, underground, or otherwise camouflaged. Going “off the grid” is another way to remain undetected; Home Power Magazine estimates that some 180,000 U.S. households live off the grid–a number that grows each year.

“All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.” ― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

Still, for many homeowners, the benefit of privacy continues to be the worry-free psychological landscape it provides within the boundaries of personal space–a place free of annoying intrusions and replete with exceptional beauty. A place where one can be oneself, at peace, and truly at home.

If you are uncertain about the “privacy is power” equation, look no further than the Forbes article, “Billionaire Private Islands: 10 Luxurious Retreats and Hidden Hideaways.” In fact, a quick glance at my recent transactions shows that the five most recent sales over $30 million had the two significant hallmarks of privacy: three were on lots over an acre in size and the other two had unbelievable views.

If privacy is at the top of your must-have list, I would be very pleased to introduce you to the truly exceptional private properties currently available in the Southern California marketplace.