Jerry Delgado arrived in the U.S. with an insatiable passion for life and devotion to family
Go inside his Rolling Hills Rancho Cubanoamericano.
- Written byDiane E. Barber
- Photographed byShane O’Donnell, in collaboration with C&C Partners
Jerry Delgado arrived in Miami in 1968 with his parents and sister. Following a brief stay in Florida, the family made their way to California to join his mother’s siblings who had already settled in Los Angeles. He grew up in Inglewood and moved to Playa del Rey when he was in his 20s. He later met his wife, Kelly—a California native—in Marina del Rey.
Free-spirited Jerry recently reflected upon their chance meeting and the beginning of their relationship. “When we started dating, I told Kelly, ‘I am here for a good time—not a long time!’” he laughs. His wife clearly proved him wrong. Today the couple resides in their newly remodeled Rolling Hills home with four of the seven Delgado kids, three of whom are homeschooled by Kelly.
The sprawling, single-story residence was originally built in 1936 and was one of the first houses in Rolling Hills. While living in Playa del Rey, they purchased the property in the summer of 2014 from the original owners’ children and spent six months working on building plans and permits with local architect Russ Barto. The Delgados’ love of the outdoors, their horses (which initially lured them to the Peninsula), dogs, entertaining and, of course, the breathtaking views were key factors in the design process.
“The architectural style is ranch but with crisper and more contemporary detailing,” shares Russ. “The site commands spectacular views, so that was literally front and center in the design. The experience of stepping inside, looking through the great room to the covered veranda and out to the framed view of the L.A. basin is unique.”
After the project was approved by the city, general contractor Mark Walters teamed up with Jerry’s business partner, Eddy Delgado, to design and build the home and new barn. Construction was completed one year later.
A partial footprint of the decades-old structure remained, but ceilings were raised from 8 to 18 feet high. Three fireplaces were added. Decks were installed at the back of the house with landscaped “railings,” along with retractable glass walls for expansive indoor-outdoor living. Hansgrohe plumbing fixtures were specified, and wall-hung cabinets and toilets were installed in the bathrooms for easy cleaning.
Low-maintenance porcelain tiles were selected, including a timeless grey tile that anchors the living spaces. “Jerry wanted indestructible floors and the same material for continuity inside and outside,” says Eddy. “Shades of grey and neutrals were chosen for the color palette to showcase the extensive art collection on display throughout the house. The furniture is a blend of existing pieces from the other house and custom pieces made especially for the new house.”
Other notable design details include a wine room that is also a salute to Jerry’s affinity for cigars, designed to resemble the inside of a cigar box. Custom cabinetry and built-ins by Coastal Cabinets were installed throughout the house, along with tile and stone craftsmanship by BGM/Battaglia. The Lutron home automation system includes automated window shades and glass tinting, energy-efficient LED lighting (with motion sensors and automatic lights in all closets and bathrooms) and radiant heat floors.
The heart of the home is the kitchen—a special joy for Kelly who is a triathlete and passionate about health, cooking, gardening, canning, freeze-drying and pickling food grown at home. Papaya, guava, fig, peach, pear, apple, orange, lemon, lime, cherry and avocado trees; raised garden boxes for vegetables and herbs; and grape vines adorn their 6-acre pristine property. There is also a flock of 21 organic egg-producing chickens.
“My family eats very healthy food that is close to the source,” says Kelly. “I stay away from processed foods and grow most of our produce. We buy our meats from Crowd Cow and our chickens from Pasturebird.”
The grand, open, chef-ready space is appointed with Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, a refrigerated pantry, “leather” finished granite and soapstone. The island is fully topped with an oversized cutting board. “Our family cooks together in the evenings, and we do a lot of chopping.”
In typical Delgado fashion, the barn was as meticulously designed and appointed as the house was. It has six stalls for their beloved horses, a tack room and garage space for a horse trailer. Wood and other materials from the house demolition were repurposed for door trims, baseboards and other design details.
Special attention was paid to the roof. Accord-ing to Russ, “The roof design incorporates a monitor, which is a term associated with raising the roof along the ridge. It is a traditional element that provides light and ventilation.”
Last but not least, adjacent to the barn is Jerry’s version of a man cave: a western-style saloon that pays homage to his cowboy-at-heart spirit and his boyhood summers spent riding horses on his uncles’ ranch in Cuba.
Though the Delgado residence could rival many elite vacation destination spots, Jerry and Kelly pull themselves away from their self-made nirvana to enjoy their shared passion for Harley-Davidson motorcycles and road trips. (Two of their horses are named Harley and Davidson–gifts to themselves on Valentine’s Day months before they purchased the property.) The couple averages 30,000 miles of riding each year, which includes their annual two- to three-week road trip throughout the U.S.
“Kelly spends three months planning each trip,” says Jerry. “We usually travel 6,000 to 7,000 miles one way. We don’t take freeways and travel a lot of old country roads. We take three changes of clothes, and we FedEx other clothes ahead of us to hotels—often a suit and dress to go out to dinner that the hotels send back afterwards. We also make arrangements through Harley-Davidson to return the bikes to California, and we travel home by plane.”
Jerry Delgado’s journey from Cuba to the charmed life that he has created with his family in Palos Verdes could not have been better scripted for this adventurous, charismatic, cigar-smoking, motorcycle- and horseback-riding entrepreneur.