At Home With Owen & Jolene Perry
Years ago, Owen Perry, a resort developer and restaurateur, used to play poker with Hollywood producer Ed Friendly at his Rancho Santa Fe home overlooking the San Elijo Lagoon. After Friendly, known for producing such hits as Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and Little House on the Prairie, passed away in 2007, a real estate broker showed Perry the expansive property. Perry and wife, Jolene, owners of Delicias Restaurant, loved the riveting views, the nearby Rancho Santa Fe schools, and room for their blended family (Owen’s two older daughters and the couple’s two young children)
The couple spent a year remodeling the home, expanding it from 10,000 to 12,000 square feet, adding bedrooms and maximizing the outdoor spaces to include a loggia and vanishing-edge pool, gym, tennis courts, trails and play equipment, fire pit and putting green. Now nicknamed the “Perry Farm,” the property has an orchard filled with a dozen types of fruit trees, a butterfly garden, a family of playful dwarf goats, and plump chickens including “Queeney,” a 4-H Blue Ribbon champion at the Del Mar Fair.
Jolene, a “country girl” who grew up in a small town east of Seattle, delights in the outdoors, and loves to play with her kids and their friends. Known as a “go to” room mom at the R. Roger Rowe Elementary School, she is the leader of two Girl Scout troops and a Cub Scout troop. “I feel most at home surrounded by a bunch of kids,” she says. “I love to play an important role in their lives. I feel like I have a lot to teach them.”
Her passion for children extends to the thousands of kids living in foster care in San Diego County. Jolene has long been involved with Promises2Kids, the nonprofit creating a brighter future for foster children through The Polinsky Children’s Center, the Guardian Scholars program, and Camp Connect, which reunites hundreds of foster children with their siblings at camps throughout the year. On June 8, Jolene co-chairs the organization’s signature fundraiser, “Dream On,” a concert gala featuring Grammy Award-winner Bonnie Raitt at the La Jolla estate of Joan Waitt. “All children deserve to be in a loving home,” she says, “to be around parents who make them feel secure.”
The Perrys are teaching their own children to give back. Rather than receiving presents for his recent birthday, their son raised funds for a sanctuary for baby elephants. When Hurricane Odile slammed Cabo San Lucas last September, the children collected bags of clothing to distribute in the barrios. Owen, whose company, The Villa Group, has 14 luxury resorts in Mexico, sent a planeload of emergency supplies for employees and guests.
The Villa Group has long supported charities in areas where the company has developed projects over the past 25 years, including the Casa Hogar orphanages and Amigos de Los Niños, a nonprofit that funds programs and provides scholarships. The company also co-founded The Eagle’s Wings Foundation, donating millions of dollars to charitable groups that work with Mexico’s poor.
The Perrys have a special connection to Cabo, where they met while Jolene worked in hotel marketing, and where they continue to vacation. They also cruise (Alaska was a recent destination) and ride Harleys. But their home, filled with family, friends, music, and children, is the destination they love the most. Andrea Naversen
Photography by Vincent Knakal