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  • Writer's picturePrinceton North

Kitty Litter Heiress's California Compound Listed at $88 Million

For the first time in over half a century, the ocean-view compound of John and Betty Stephens in the Santa Barbara area is hitting the market. Sold by their daughter Joi Stephens, this iconic property carries a rich history of familial legacy and community prominence.

Following the passing of her husband in 1996, Betty Jo Stephens solidified her presence in the Santa Barbara community as CEO of Excel Mineral, renowned for the creation of the Jonny Cat litter brand. A fixture in local political and philanthropic circles, she hosted esteemed guests such as President Jimmy Carter and Texas Gov. Ann Richards at her hilltop home in the affluent Hope Ranch enclave.

Now, after almost six years since Betty's passing, her cherished residence emerges on the market for the first time, commanding an impressive $88 million. Acquired by the Stephenses in 1957, the property has evolved into a sprawling family compound spanning 11 acres, boasting panoramic ocean, canyon, and mountain views.

The property presents an unparalleled opportunity for creating an estate of grandeur, with plans for a 20,000-square-foot main house and two 7,500-square-foot guesthouses. The existing home, last updated in the early 2000s, offers four bedrooms and five baths across 7,500 square feet of living space.

Nestled behind a gated driveway, the residence features a koi pond, spacious motorcourt, and two-car garage. Indoors, highlights include a living room with a two-way fireplace, a chandelier-adorned dining room, and an ocean-facing master suite. Outside, the private grounds boast an observation deck, pool, spa, and equestrian amenities, perfect for horses and a stable, per the listing.

Despite receiving multiple offers, Joi Stephens and her husband Frank Kominski, an auctioneer, have decided to sell as they split their time between Hope Ranch, Palm Beach, and Boston. With Kominski Auctions expanding to South Florida, the couple is relocating to the East Coast, presenting a rare opportunity to acquire this iconic Santa Barbara estate. If you'd like to schedule a private showing let's chat, (805) 455-9066,

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