"The conventional selling to a regular broker, we just didn't get any action on it," said Dorothea.
In 2006 they put their house on the market for $31 million. No takers.
So today, there's no "for sale" sign on the Cheslock's lawn. In an unusual real estate twist, they turned to marketing guru Jon Gollinger, shelling out $200,000 to his firm to market the house. Then he'll get a cut of the standard six percent realtors fee on the future sale of the home. All of this in hopes that he can work some mansion magic and make the house disappear.
Gollinger and the Cheslocks have now taken a cue from the foreclosure world, opening a five-week auction with bids starting at $19 million -- a measure usually reserved for properties seized by banks, not high-end real estate.
"What we do is we set a sealed bid price at a price point that is a below market price," said Gollinger.
Real-estate experts say Hillcrest is the most expensive house in U.S. history to be sold this way.
"This is, pretty much a watershed event, I think, for high-end homes," said Gollinger. "You're not going to be able to sell them utilizing typical ... broker-to-client standard kind of process. People are going to have to be more bold in their outreach."
And the envelope please ... on August 15th, the bidder with the highest offer will come home to Hillcrest. But what happens to the theater, the pool, the sculptures ... even the wine? Does it come with the house?
"All negotiable," said Stanley.
"Negotiable. Everything's negotiable," added his wife.
"I'm confident we will get bids," Stanley continued. "Whether we see bids at a number as high as we would like to see is questionable but it's gonna sell. We'll find out what market is."
So what's next for the couple who outlived their dream?
Believe it or not, the Cheslocks are at odds over size. Stanley's keen on a 7,000 square foot house. Dorothea, a former teacher, says she can live with just 3,500.
"We've enjoyed it," she said. "I think we're really, really lucky to come this far. Stan's done a phenomenal job with his business and I think good for us and good for my family. It's been great and I wouldn't change anything."
"Houses, cars, investments. That's fleeting," adds Stanley. "It's really the other things that are important ... friends and family."