Take A Look Inside Sugar Ray Leonard's Home

Former boxer Sugar Ray Leonard has a $46.5 million Mediterranean-style home where he has lived with his wife Bernadette for over two decades, according to the Los Angeles Times. It is one of the most expensive homes in the upscale seaside community, with only Shane Smith's home being worth more at $48.6 million. The Leonard mansion is situated in the heart of the Pacific Palisades on a nearly two-acre lot. And it's roomy inside, too: The sprawling estate has a total of 16,000 square feet. 

The home was designed by Richard Landry and Hendrickson Allerdice, who gave it a decidedly Mediterranean feel with Juliet balconies and high ceilings. There are an eye-watering seven bedrooms and 12 bathrooms with all the extras befitting a successful American icon, such as a wine cellar, gym, and solarium. Outside the main home is a two-story guest house, a regulation-size tennis court, a swimming pool, a hot tub, and a secret garden complete with a romantic Italian fountain. "This is like my sanctuary, no question about that," the boxer told Architectural Digest as his wife relayed that the style of the home was inspired by a residence they had seen in Northern California. Plus, the house holds a special place in their hearts: it is where Sugar Ray and Bernadette tied the knot in 1993.

It's big but homey

Some homes are big, and then some homes are really big! With 16,000 square feet, it's hard to make a home look cozy. But Sugar Ray Leonard and his wife Bernadette managed to pull it off. One way they did so is by making each room on the smaller side, so there is a feeling of intimacy and not a McMansion essence. Also, the home is stuffed with historical artwork from Italy to create a sense that harks back to more romantic times. However, the decorators focused on making the estate look like a home for a family rather than a showpiece. Bernadette told Architectural Digest, "It was very important to me that you didn't feel like you were walking into a museum." She also said she wanted everyone to feel very comfortable so people could relax and be with the family. 

Shopping for antiques can be challenging. Antique Collecting shared that the top three things to be concerned with when acquiring pieces are: Making sure the items are authentic, checking if the price is on target, and determining if the look is good for your home. The most valuable items are over 100 years old, rare, still in good shape, and have historical significance. And you will know if something is fake if it is made of plywood, has staples, and uses Philips screws.

The primary bedroom has a working fireplace and a den

This Mediterranean masterpiece has stunning rooms throughout the house, and the primary bedroom is no exception. The neutral-toned room stands out for its high ceilings and a large working fireplace with an antique mantle. There is also enough room for a mini lounge complete with a sofa and coffee table positioned next to the king-sized bed and nightstands. 

Interior designer Tori Jones of Tori Jones Studio told The Spruce how to choose a sofa for a bedroom. "Go for a beautiful, richly colored upholstery fabric, layer it with a patterned throw, and load it up with a mix of pillows," she said. And she added that if there is space for it, add several sitting areas. "Something like this adds interest to the formulaic 'large sofa plus two armchairs floating in the middle of a room' scenario." 

The space also has a roomy en suite bathroom with a stand-alone marble "soaking tub," an oversized shower, and double sinks. A walk-in closet off the bedroom has space for hundreds of designer items. But one of the nicest things about the primary bedroom is the balcony with a veranda that looks out to the Pacific Ocean on a clear day.

The stone is ancient

Many Mediterranean-style homes are made with fake stone to give them an old look, but the Leonards used real stone imported from Europe. There is stone all over the house; the walls, floors, statues, and columns. Bernadette shared that much of it is from Italy, and some are "biblical stones" from Jerusalem. All of the stone fireplaces are from Europe. "Nothing is local. We really went all out," Bernadette said during the home tour. "It's not Venetian plaster, it's real," she stressed. 

Venetian plaster dates back to the 15th century and is made of fired limestone mixed with water to give a wall a textured feel. According to Vogue, Venetian plaster has become popular in recent years. Jan Hooss, who is considered a Venetian plaster master, told the magazine, "You can use it to cover walls and model nearly anything. I love it because it is so simple and at the same time you can create very complex forms with a fresh and natural looking surface." One of the best examples of heavy use of Venetian plaster is the Hidden Hills, California mansion Kim Kardashian and Kanye West built together and made famous on "Keeping Up With The Kardashians." Real stone, like the type at the Leonard home, costs a fortune to import. But it's still popular: According to Trading Economics, $672 million worth of stone and mica were imported from Italy to the U.S. in 2021.

The wine cellar is as big as a bedroom

It would be awkward not to have a large wine cellar in such a sprawling Mediterranean home. Happily, there is one that is not only spacious but beautifully designed. It holds floor-to-ceiling racks of rare vintage red and white wine bottles locked behind a massive glass door. Per Rosehill Wine Cellars, the best place to build a wine cellar in a home is on the first floor or basement, because it's easier to control the light, heat, and humidity. But the space also has to be hermetically sealed so that moisture does not get in. 

The first thing to do when building a wine cellar is to check the room for any leaks; the last thing you want is moisture getting in. Next, add vapor barrier plastic sheets for insulation, then seal the concrete floor so there are no cracks (wood and carpeted floors are not recommended). Furring the walls, which means adding wood strips to help with insulation, is also necessary, and the walls have to be finished with water-based paint. The quality of the door is also vital. Glass doors, like the one used by the Leonards, are not the best for insulation, so a cooling system was likely added. Finally, add wood racks where the bottles can lay on their sides to keep the cork from drying out.

A solarium is bright

When you walk into the house, there is a welcoming sitting room filled with light. It looks through massive windows to the vast backyard complete with a lush lawn, mature trees, and a rose garden. Inside the room, which was called a solarium during the home tour because of the huge arched windows, there is a large beige sofa, a black grand piano, vintage-looking armchairs, and a low coffee table. In the center of the room is an iron and glass pendant lamp that goes well with the iron wall sconces. It has beige stone columns imported from Italy that line the room to give it an old-world feel. It's a great place to warm up when waiting for the homeowners to come out and greet guests. 

A solarium is not a sunroom, according to Patio Enclosures. Sunrooms have glass all around them to let in as much light as possible. But solariums have an added bonus: They have their own heating and cooling system independent of the rest of the house. That means the Leonards can sit in this space comfortably, whether it is 30 degrees in the winter or 100 degrees in the summer.

The beauty is in the details

There is no McMansion feel here because the home is far from slapped together. A lot of attention has been paid to the small details. There are vaulted ceilings with solid wood beams and a Juliet balcony on the second floor that overlooks the TV room and entrance. There is stenciling on the walls, a tradition in old-world Italian villas. The winding staircase is made of real hardwood and rod iron, and the wooden doors are beautifully carved with metal door handles carefully chosen for their Mediterranean beauty. The chandeliers are ornate, some made of carved wood and others with metal and dangling crystals.

Chandeliers were first used thousands of years ago during the Byzantine era, Lights Online reports. But crystal chandeliers did not come into use until the 17th century, when French designers added cut rock crystal for more sparkle. The most famous crystal chandelier of all time is in The Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, per Classical Chandeliers. It is the biggest Bohemian crystal chandelier in the world, with 750 lamps and weighing 4.5 tons. It was a present from Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, who lived from 1819 to 1901.

The living room looks 500 years old

The living room is one of the most beautifully appointed rooms in the entire home. It includes breathtaking antiques that make you feel transported to ancient Rome and large wood-framed glass doors that allow light to flood in. The fireplace is hundreds of years old and was flown in from Italy. The wall sconces go well with the chandelier and standing lamps for a unified look. There is a comfy sofa and armchairs that look carefully picked out. And a painting above the fireplace adds Renaissance charm. There is also a large woven tapestry of angels in pink and gold on the far wall. 

Tapestries are a form of textile art using wool or silk. They used to be woven by hand, but are now made with the help of machines. They date back to ancient Egypt when weavers would create dramatic floor-to-ceiling wall coverings of Pharaohs, as per Tapestry Art Designs. In the 13th century, churches started to show stories from the Bible in tapestries, which were hung in the church and the homes of nobility. Some of the best tapestries were made in Paris during the reign of Louis XIV and still hang at the Palace of Versailles today, which is why hanging one in your own living room evokes such a luxurious and stately feel.

The formal dining room is dramatic

The Leonards have a large blended family with four kids — Ray, Camille, Jarrel, and Daniel Ray. So they needed a large dining room for those holiday dinners (Christmas and Thanksgiving are their favorite celebrations). And big it is. A long wooden table with high, gold fabric chairs invite guests to gather around the table. There are French doors that let in lots of natural light, and by the entranceway to the room are two recessed shelves with arches that have been painted an olive green color. A green and rust-colored wood credenza has an antique, gray, foggy mirror above it, and there is a polished wood cabinet full of silver collectibles. The room's highlight is the ornate crystal chandelier with beige lamp shades. 

 Andrea West of Andrea West Design told The Washington Post that it is clever to add mirrors to smaller rooms because it makes the room appear bigger. She said, "I would go one size larger than you would originally expect. When you go a little bit larger in your scale, it makes it look so much more dramatic, continues the line of vision, and it really visually expands the space."

The chef's kitchen is huge

Bernadette said that the kitchen is one of her favorite rooms in the house because it is where she has cooked for her family for decades. It's large, white, and full of everything a chef would want. There is a massive white island with a green marble top perfect for chopping and prep work. It's also handy that the island has a sink. It seems like the kitchen has every amenity: A double oven, dual sinks, and a walk-in pantry offer convenience and space. But there is an old-world charm, too, like a metal crest hanging above the oven and copper faucets. 

According to decorator Eileen Taylor, green marble has become a big trend in kitchens lately. She shared with Ultimate Academy Decorating it was a "unique take" on the white and gray marble that has been in fashion for over a decade. Green marble also works well in bathrooms, added Taylor. As for decorating that green marble island, interior decorator Kelley Nan suggests that less is more. She said a bowl of fruit or a vase full of flowers with a lemon candle to the side is just enough. At the Leonard home, a vase full of white roses grown in their very own garden was seen during the home tour.

The gym is Sugar Ray's office

Every man needs a place to call his own, and Mr. Leonard has his. It is his gym/home office which is a bit of a man cave for the iconic athlete. A lot in this space can overwhelm the eye, but that is just how he likes it, he said during his home tour. It is where he keeps his many awards, his signed letter from Muhammad Ali, framed magazine covers, and memorabilia, such as an Olympic torch. In addition, there is a desk in the middle of the room with an office chair where he can take care of business matters. He also has a ton of gym equipment in the space, like a bench press, treadmill, and, of course, punching bags to keep him in fighting shape. The oversized French doors lead to a spacious balcony where lounge furniture waits for him after a hard work day. 

His wife Bernadette has her own office too, but it is much smaller. She uses it to grow her brand, Born Indigo, which designs candles, among other things. Interior design wiz Kelly Wearstler told Fast Company it is important to design a workspace well because it invites creativity and overall happiness. "Good design has the ability to make somebody happier," she said. "It can elevate everyday experience and also make you feel more efficient, because you feel more energized and organized."

The guest house is roomy

The grounds are so spacious that there is plenty of room for a large guest house, which is the size of an Average Joe house in Los Angeles. It is located just next to the swimming pool. There are two stories, so it is not short on room. The bedroom and living room area are on the top floor, with a bathroom and a kitchenette on the ground floor. Underneath, a space has been carved out for an outdoor area with tables and chairs. And there is a spectacular view of not just the swimming pool, but also the large lawn and rose garden. 

Decorator Nate Berkus said on his Instagram account that the best thing to do with a guest space is to make it look like a hotel. "One of the most overlooked rooms in your house: The guest room!" he wrote. "A great upgrade is all about adding personal touches plus thoughtful details to create a hotel-like experience (my favorite). And top of the list: a set of luxurious sheets and a great quilt and shams." designer Kristen McGowan added that offering a "convenience basket" filled with amenities like an eye mask, linen spray, dry shampoo, moisturizer, aspirin, and a cell phone charger on the nightstand is comforting. "It really makes your guests feel like they are living in a hotel," she said. She also said chocolate on the pillow is "a great touch."

There is a rose garden

The Leonards have an impressive rose garden in the backyard of their hilltop mansion that helps scent the estate with the sweet smell of honey and fruit. Thanks to the nearly two-acre lot, there is plenty of space for the woody perennial flowering plant. It yields beautiful red, white, and yellow blooms. According to their home tour, there are 700 different roses on the grounds that are cut and used in the house daily. They can be seen all over the house, like in the living room and kitchen. 

Rose gardens are popular all over the world. As per Traveller, three of the best are in Europe. There is the Princess Grace Rose Garden in Monaco, which is in the residential Fontvielle district and houses 300 different rose varieties. It is a memorial to the Hollywood actor Grace Kelly, best known for the movies "Rear Window" and "To Catch a Thief," who died in 1982. And then there is the Roseto Municipale in Rome, where ancient roses are grown alongside newer varieties. Every May, there is a rose-breeding competition. And the Parc De Bagatelle in Paris also boasts a huge rose garden with mostly hybrid tea roses near a 1775 chateau.

The backyard is spacious

There is plenty of room to roam at this gated estate. Not only is there a lawn and trees all around the motor court, but there is a lush lawn in the backyard with a rose garden and a large Italian fountain. And the yard holds special meaning for the Leonards as it is where they wed in 1993. They have also hosted holidays like Easter and charity events in the backyard. The grounds also hold the tennis court, swimming pool, and mini putting green, and offer plenty of space to sit as there are at least two lounge areas with sofas, chairs, and coffee tables. 

Designer Butter Wakefield told The New York Times that garden furniture and potted plants are the main elements of a backyard. "If you can get a chair outside, it creates a different dimension," she said. "Planters add another level of interest and allow you to go vertical. They give you a focal point and, set against a wall, they provide a base for climbers so that when you look at brickwork you see something green and growing."

The tennis court is big

Though Sugar Ray Leonard is known for his boxing career, he is also an avid tennis player and will often spend his weekends on the tennis court in his backyard just outside his gym/home office. "I love the tennis court," he said during his home tour. And he told New York Magazine he is passionate about the sport: "I love playing tennis — I play with all my wife's friends, doubles and everything." The green and blue court is impressive. It's not a skimpy little court for a quick game; it is a real, regulation-sized court on which a proper match can take place. 

According to the United States Tennis Association, a regulation-sized tennis court must be rectangular, measuring 23.77 meters long with a width of 10.97 meters for doubles and 8.23 meters for singles. Most tennis courts are not private but public, and one of the best public tennis courts in the world is the Alice Marble Tennis Courts in San Francisco (via Tennis Express). They are named after Alice Marble, who won 18 Grand Slam championships between 1936 and 1940, according to Britannica. The four courts are situated high up on Russian Hill with a view of the San Francisco Bay.