Neighborhood Spotlight: Golden Quadrangle, Montecito


Neighborhood Spotlight: Golden Quadrangle, Montecito

Montecito's Golden Quadrangle

Montecito's  Golden Quadrangle is one of the most desirable places to live, considering it's within close proximity to the famed San Ysidro Ranch, within walking distance to a handful of gorgeous hiking trails, and is in one of the best school districts in all of California. There are a variety of restaurants that are perfect for a casual bite out, or a fancier date night with your significant other. Additionally, Manning Park is the perfect park to run around for a quick soccer game with the family, or a picnic with friends, and you'll often see outdoor yoga classes taking place under the oak trees. Montecito offers a luxurious yet laid back lifestyle, and is an easy getaway from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, or any larger city for that matter. 

Top School in California - Montecito Union

Montecito is a destination for people all over the globe thanks to the gorgeous beaches, fine dining, and luxury shopping. Those lucky enough to live in the Golden Quadrangle benefit from way more than just the tasty food and chic attire Montecito has to offer. This area is home to one of the top elementary schools in California: Montecito Union. Recognized in 2014 as a California Distinguished School by the California Department of Education, and ranked the number 2 elementary school in the state based on the CAASPP ELA (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress for elementary level) test scores, this school is extremely desirable and has a lot to offer. Additionally, MUS obtained international recognition as a Habits of Mind school, and received a gold medal as a California Green Ribbon School.

For many families, living in premier school district is a top priority when searching for a new home. Riskin Partners has a selection of family-friendly listings that fall in this premier school district. Truly the ideal location for primary education.

Bicycle rider's dream patch of the earth right here #biking #longride #traintobiketrail #montecito

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San Ysidro Ranch

"Nestled among 500 acres in the Montecito foothills of Southern California's wine country, San Ysidro Ranch has provided a tranquil vacation destination for discriminating travelers for over a century. Guests are drawn to the Santa Barbara hideaway for its blend of natural beauty, romantic heritage and classic luxury. Individually decorated private cottages and suites wind along San Ysidro's hillside creek and tree-lined paths. Built in classic bungalow style, guest accommodations feature hot tubs on private outdoor patios with outdoor rain fall showers, hand-cut stone or Old World masonry fireplaces, radiant-heated bathroom floors, and hand-selected antique furnishings. Myth and history mingle in the lush gardens where Vivien Leigh and Sir Laurence Olivier exchanged vows; in the setting of John and Jackie Kennedy's honeymoon retreat."

HELLO SUMMER 🍹#plowandangel #olives #margarita #santabarbara

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Sunny days ☀️ #sanysidroranch #santabarbara

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Not just a perfect place for your friends and relatives to stay, but the Ranch has stunning views, amazing cocktails, and gorgeous orchards and herb gardens to stroll through in the evenings.

Fresh basil in Chef's organic garden to top our parmesan crusted halibut with house-made gnocchi 🌱 #sanysidroranch

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A beautiful sunny Monday at the Ranch ☀️ #sanysidroranch

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Montecito boasts a wide variety of hiking trails from easy to strenuous, perfect for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and trail running! Many of our listings are steps away from the most pristine hiking trails, which create a relaxing, serene escape into nature with beautiful scenery of the Santa Ynez mountains and sweeping panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.  Looking to escape the beach? Check out Cold Springs Trail, San Ysidro Trail, and McMenemy Trail! 

Race spectating @katesoutrunning & chillin' with R

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don't forget tangerines!!

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click the images below to view a few of our offerings in the golden quadrangle


Neighborhood Spotlight: Montecito Lower Village


Neighborhood Spotlight: Montecito Lower Village

montecito lower village

When you think of Montecito, you think of luxury accessory boutiques, high-end wine and olive oil shops, nice restaurants that put love and care into their quality, taste, and presentation of dishes, and interior decorating shops to inspire and help you turn your home into a contemporary-chic luxury or a rustic and elegant sanctuary.

The Lower Village in Montecito is the ultimate spot for those looking for privacy, ocean views, large lots, and hoping to be within close proximity to restaurants, coffee shops, shopping of all sorts - jewelry, clothing, cosmetics, home decor, as well as essential places like your vet, attorney, bank, real estate agent, go-to grocery store, hair stylist, and manicurist. Not only does the Lower Village have everything you need, within walking distance, but Butterfly Beach is just steps  away from Coast Village Road. 


Our office is located on Coast Village Road, so we really do experience the Lower Village first hand. Our favorite spots include Jeannine's for breakfast burritos in the morning, or fresh baked cookies in the afternoon. We're also the number 1 fans of Honor Market Pizza and you'll often find one of us there at the end of the day grabbing pizzas to bring home. The Lower Village has it all -  Lucky's for happy hour and a great steak, Los Arroyos for simple yet authentic Mexican food, Tre Lune for a nice Italian dinner, Sakana for sushi, and a handful of coffee shops scattered up and down the street. The Lower Village is really winning your tastebuds over.

50 minutes until pizza time. #honormarket #montecito #santabarbara #coastvillageroad #pizzatogo #4oclock #pizzatime

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Jeannines's Montecito

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Coast Village CATWALK

Montecito’s lower village has grown with trendy shopping for all ages from gorgeous vintage attire and accessories to chic trends for a weekend at your favorite music festival. Some of our favorite stores include K Frank, Allora By Laura, and Blanka. 


Clothing, Jewelry, and Accessories 

K. Frank offers a carefully selected presentation of mens and women’s clothing from the most relevant designer, contemporary, and classic fashion houses.  Their lifestyle edit incorporates premier shoe, accessory, and jewelry collections.  Owners Kevin and Katie Frank are committed to every detail.  Open seven days a week on Montecito’s main drag.

Remerch by @rachaelgaut feels like 🙌🏽

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BLANKA BOUTIQUE is an eclectic boutique curated by Jennie Reiter. The store is full of brands you used to only find in Los Angeles like Alice + Olivia, Diane Von Furstenberg, Shona Joy, Rebecca Taylor and other more Los Angeles based brands like Privacy Please, Otis & Maclain, and even her own line, Blanka the LABEL. Jennie’s personal styling and shopping background serves as her inspiration for the store and the wide range of style “personalities” she represents- from the city chic girl, to the romantic and retro, there is truly something for everyone. She even offers personal styling appointments you can purchase to gain new understanding about your coloring, body type, and style type. This Spring and Summer, she will be offering closet cleansing and house calls as she goes back to her roots of personal styling. This store is an experience worth making time for on your next stay in Santa Barbara. 


The marriage of fine European clothing with a soulful California attitude could not provide a better foundation for luxurious everyday style. Allora by Laura is a space where fashion lovers can interpret for themselves just how to wear bias cut column dresses, cashmere wraps, retro jumpsuits, leather jackets and curated accessories. Exclusive, captivating silhouettes inspire and enhance the daily wardrobe as well as special event ensembles. Delighting in whats wonderful to wear and finding the perfect piece to express yourself is the Allora experience.

All sorts of new goodies are arriving daily! Also we are really digging this color palate!!

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Ghost Village Road

Every Halloween, "Ghost" Village Road attracts over 1,500 people in costume and ready for treats.  The Lower Village turns into a lively daytime trick-or-treating extravaganza, and all the local businesses are prepared for the exciting event. Children and their parents walk up and down the entire stretch of the road, collecting as much candy as possible. The Montecito Association created this fun, safe, and family-oriented event that also benefits all the shops and businesses along Coast Village Road as it gives us a chance to interact with the community.

halloween '16

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Cacti and Cocktails

Ganna walska lotusland

The cactus garden is especially lovely in the late afternoon light. Stroll through the garden and experience the magnificent epiphyllum and cactus blooms. Join a docent-led tour or members may explore the garden on their own. Specialty cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

butterfly beach

Butterfly Beach draws a strong local crowd. There are no kayak rentals, or snack shops, so it's really the ideal place to post up with a picnic and some magazines if you're looking to relax in the sun!

Other whippets can't hang

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Sunset Beach Runs.

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properties in the Lower Village


Neighborhood Spotlight: Hope Ranch's Beach Access, Trails, and Top Schools Make it a Top Place to Buy Real Estate


Neighborhood Spotlight: Hope Ranch's Beach Access, Trails, and Top Schools Make it a Top Place to Buy Real Estate



Enchanting French Country Estate, Hope Ranch   |   offered at $14,900,000   |   click photo to learn more


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Private Beach Access

As a Hope Ranch member, you have private access to Hope Ranch Beach. This is a huge perk of living in the Hope Ranch community, and a main reason why people purchase homes in this neighborhood. There are lifeguards at the beach during the summer season, ensuring everyone experiences a fun and safe beach day while participating in a handful of activities. Hope Ranch beach offers picnic grounds, a play structure, a snack bar, kayak storage, storage lockers, bathrooms, and outdoor showers. The Hope Ranch Association also holds an annual summer beach party for residents where you spend the day barbecuing, surfing, kayaking, playing beach volleyball, building sandcastles in the sand, and at the end of the evening you have the option to set up a tent and camp overnight with the rest of the Hope Ranch community.



With miles of equestrian trails that span throughout the entire Hope Ranch community, horse enthusiasts can take their equestrian friends out on a trail ride and even ride along the beach at sunset.

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The highly acclaimed Laguna Blanca upper school is centrally located on 35-acres in Hope Ranch. "The Laguna experience shapes students in every possible way. While academics are at the core, it is just the beginning. Students are not only thinkers and scholars, but they are also artists, athletes, community volunteers, club members, leaders, and most importantly friends."



Lined with oak trees, and tucked away in the rolling coastal hills, Hope Ranch is one of the most exclusive communities on the Central Coast. There is exclusive Hope Ranch patrol guarding the roads and keeping them safe, as well as a monthly newsletter with all recent activity that occurred in the community. Those lucky enough to live in Hope Ranch will tell you they wouldn't live anywhere else!


February Highlights in Santa Barbara and Montecito


February Highlights in Santa Barbara and Montecito

Events in February

There are a lot of exiting things happening in February!

Santa Barbara Film Festival

"SBIFF is a year-round organization that is best known for its main film festival that takes place each year in February. Over the past 30 years the Santa Barbara International Film Festival has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 90,000 attendees and offering 11days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums. We bring the best of independent and international cinema to Santa Barbara, and we continue to expand our year-round operation to include a wide range of educational programming, fulfilling our mission to engage, enrich and inspire our community through film."


Coastal Concierge Wine Tours

"'Wine tour' is almost too tame of a designation for this day. This is a wine escapade, a wine fantasy, or best, a wine caper, a whirl of a day that will have you feeling like elder statesmen or adventurers in page-turning fiction.

Your guide will escort you from your hotel or residence to the Santa Barbara airport, where you will take a private flight in an R44 Raven 1 helicopter, soaring above the Pacific and passing over the Santa Ynez Mountains, easing to a gentle landing among our hillside vineyards. Two separate wineries will treat you to exclusive tastings and tours. As you enjoy the gourmet lunch your guide has prepared, you will vow never to travel by car again."


Health and Fitness in 2017


Health and Fitness in 2017


Setting fitness goals is the most popular new years resolution. Gyms are crowded, and it's often hard to find the perfect workout that you enjoy going back to. 


Aug 25-27, 2017: Santa Barbara Triathlon


Date TBD: Pier to Peak Half Marathon


Oct 8, 2017: Big Avocado 5K Run/Walk


Nov 11, 2017: Veterans Day Half Marathon

Nov 23, 2017: Thanksgiving 4 Miler

Nov 23, 2017: ZeeBlu 5K and 10K


Date TBD: Santa claus run


2016 Home Design Trends


2016 Home Design Trends

Let's face it, 2016 saw major style mixed with 70's, 80's and 90's throwbacks!

Click through the gallery below for the trends that shaped 2016.


Brunching in Montecito


Brunching in Montecito

Santa Barbara and Montecito are filled with hidden gems where you can enjoy brunch with incredible ocean and mountain views.

Whether you prefer to go out to a restaurant, enjoy a catered brunch in your own backyard, or prepare the meal yourself, you can’t find a more breathtaking and brunch friendly place than here!


Scarlett Begonia

Scarlett Begonia strives to have interesting, thoughtful food. Their menus change weekly with an innovative fresh look at breakfast and lunch and dinner. They provide Santa Barbara with a restaurant that showcases progressive modern food, using sustainable, organic, high quality ingredients coupled with innovative cooking to be one of the most foodcentric restaurants around. Some of our favorite brunch items include their magnificent house made granola pictured above and left, their lemon ricotta pancakes, and their kale Caesar salad with a poached egg on top.


If you feel like avoiding the stress that comes with hosting brunch altogether, head to Lucky’s in Montecito for a home away from home vibe. They are dedicated to their customers’ enjoyment, relaxation, and happiness while holding a comfortable setting that’s right for brunch, and a warm welcome for old friends and new acquaintances. Their menu is extremely versatile and appeals to all tastes from French onion soup, corned beef hash and poached eggs (pictured right), to a waffle platter and a sliced steak salad. Don't forget to order a brunch cocktail!

c'est cheese

C'est cheese has a simple yet amazing menu that caters to all tastes and dietary restrictions. They open early for breakfast, which makes it easy for those early risers who want to meet their friends for a light breakfast before a morning hike up Inspiration Point. They also have a wide variety of teas, coffees, and juices, and of course mimosas are on the menu! Additionally, they make it super easy to order takeout, if you're planning on hosting a brunch at home, or even better... they cater events!

incredible Brunch Terraces


Solana is home to numerous outdoor dining destinations. From expansive entertaining to private moments for two, Solana’s many terraces create unrivaled ambiances for every event imaginable. Enjoy a lavish brunch on the ocean terrace offer sweeping views of the sea, or an intimate morning on the north facing Montecito Peak terrace. Tucked beyond the southeastern corner of the residence, the alluring Four Seasons dining area awaits. Adorned with Terra Cotta tiles depicting the four seasons and an Italian fountain-house, this wonderfully private glen is the perfect backdrop for Sunday brunch in Montecito.

710 Picacho Lane

This home reigns over Montecito after having just emerged from an incredible elevation of style, with a sense of effortless sophistication. The dreamy kitchen, with white marble countertops, professional appliances, and a walk-in pantry is the perfect place to entertain while perfecting your brioche French toast or blueberry compote with fresh ingredients from Friday’s Farmers’ Market. The kitchen opens to the breakfast room, ocean view terrace, and a covered verande with views of the formal gardens. This space is perfect for a transition from a casual Sunday brunch to a formal evening of cocktails with friends.

871 Oak Grove

871 Oak Grove offers incredible mountain views, a charming patio, and a bubbling, natural stone water element. The north patio provides a serene mountain view and overlooks the gardens, designed by the renowned San Ysidro Ranch landscape architect Laurie Lewis. Start your morning with brunch outside while the kid’s play Capture the Flag on the lawns, or hide and seek among the magnificent oak trees.



New Years Eve Celebrations in Santa Barbara and Montecito


New Years Eve Celebrations in Santa Barbara and Montecito



Jet set new years eve

where: four seasons biltmore

when: 6pm-2am

cost: first class ticket - $210

"Toast the New Year in style as we jet set to Tokyo, Paris, New York and Los Angeles with a dinner buffet highlighting each cities flavors and cooking techniques. A first class ticket includes admission to Ty Lounge where guests will dance the night away and enjoy a champagne toast at midnight."|1272|1557|1272|1557

NYe brazailian carnival party

where: bacara resort

when: 7:30pm-1:30am

cost: $150

"Inspired by the most iconic carnival celebration in the world, Bacara is pleased to present our take on Brazilian carnival. This festive evening includes samba dancers, dinner stations, party favors, a cash bar and champagne toast. Music by DJ Ricky Rocks includes live drums & percussion spanning today’s dance hits, latin and timeless party classics."


masquerade ball

WHERE: canary hotel

WHEN: 8:00PM-1:00AM

COST: $100

"Includes (1) craft cocktail, (1) glass of champagne at Midnight, sweet & savory bites by Finch & Fork, cash bars, dancing, and live entertainment by DJ Darla Bea."

NYE Sunset sail

WHERE: santa barbara sailing center

WHEN: 3:00PM-5:00pM

COST: $65

"Enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne and light appetizers while enjoying the last sunset of the year."

Cirque de la Symphonie

WHERE: granada theater

WHEN: 8:30PM-10:30pM

COST: $39 - $114

"Bid a celebratory farewell to 2016 as you spend New Year’s Eve entertained by favorites from stage, screen and Broadway with acrobatic performers from Cirque de la Symphonie. We’ll light up the Granada from 8:30 to 10:30 on New Year’s Eve, welcoming the New Year in unforgettable style."


Montecito: Best Elementary Schools in California


Montecito: Best Elementary Schools in California

Top schools in montecito, california

more than just a vacation destination

Montecito is a destination for people all over the globe thanks to the gorgeous beaches, fine dining, and luxury shopping. Those lucky enough to live in this gorgeous town benefit from way more than just the tasty food and chic attire Montecito has to offer. Montecito is home to two of the top elementary schools in California: Montecito Union and Cold Spring Elementary. Both schools were recognized in 2014 as California Distinguished Schools by the California Department of Education. Montecito Union School (MUS) was also ranked the number 2 elementary school in the state based on the CAASPP ELA (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress for elementary level) test scores. Additionally, MUS obtained international recognition as a Habits of Mind school, and received a gold medal as a California Green Ribbon School.

For many families, living in premier school district is a top priority when searching for a new home. Riskin Partners has a selection of family-friendly listings that fall in these premier school districts. Truly the ideal location for primary education.

Selection of our listings in the MUS School District


Rebecca's Holiday Gift Guide


Rebecca's Holiday Gift Guide

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Never skip a beat with your holiday giving

There is a chill in the air, the lights have been hung on Coast Village Road, and the sunsets are brilliant.  To help you navigate your holiday list, Rebecca rounded up a list of her favorite gifts this holiday season. See her picks below!

scent of a woman

Let me say upfront that I am biased about Sarabecca, but that does not make me love it any less.  My husband created this line of all-natural perfumes, and I was there watching and smelling and suggesting every step of the way.  His vision was to create truly natural and truly beautiful perfumes, something that is very hard to do, and he has succeeded magnificently.  Sarabecca is his labor of love, and I love it too.  I wear Sarabecca every day, and love to give it to the special people in my life. Sarabecca Natural Perfume Gift Assortment, $70;

Warm his heart

If luxury was defined by a feeling, it would feel like the inside of a UGG slipper.  The Men's Ascot is the perfect gift, lined with soft, natural wool and rubber soles, these slippers will get him through winter, indoors and out!  UGG Ascot Slippers for Men, $120; 

The ultimate first ride

Three of our grandsons are toddlers, and this year I want to get them Skuuts balance bikes.  These cute little wooden bikes teach kids how to balance without the use of training wheels or a trike.  Parents say that having both feet on the ground builds confidence and is a great transition to pedal bikes.  Skuut Diggin Active Red Balance Bike, $99;

Rockin' around the christmas tree

Sonos PLAYBAR is a home theater soundbar and streaming music speaker in one.  We love music in our house, but TV has its place too!  We love that Sonos can deliver both.  Sonos PLAYBAR, $699;

treat yourself

On Sunday nights we like to snuggle in.  We often make a vegetable stew and watch a movie or a football game.  All of this goes perfectly with our favorite wine, Linne Colado.  Linne is a boutique winery in Paso Robles, and every wine they make is amazing.  You won’t find it in many restaurants or retail locations, so you might want to go up and visit their very cool facility (something else we love to do).  Their wines are pricey, but worth it.  We are club members and have never had one that we didn’t love. Linne Calodo Wineries;

Montecito Gift Guide

a signature staple

Even in the digital age I still rely on  pen and paper.  My quintessential luxury gift this holiday season is the Montblanc pen.  I treasure my Montblanc pen almost like a piece of jewelry!  A Montblanc pen is a timeless gift for someone truly special in your life.  Montblanc Etoile de Montblanc Sand Fountain Pen;


With so many holiday parties and get togethers this time of year it is great to have something on hand to show your appreciation for your host or hostess.  COS BAR has a wide selection of luxury gifts for any price range.  An office favorite, NEST's votive set can transform any space.  NEST Luxury Votive Set, $40;


Virtual Staging: The New Trend in Selling Real Estate


Virtual Staging: The New Trend in Selling Real Estate


You never get a second chance to make a first impression, which is why many people choose to stage their homes. The interior of a home can change dramatically by staging rooms, from small changes of wall colors to new furnishings. Virtual staging is the latest technology trend sweeping the real estate industry, which uses 3D technology to help home buyers visualize a home's potential. Virtual staging gives home sellers the ability to stage their home at the click of a mouse, making the staging process affordable and hassle-free compared to the process of physical staging — no one likes moving furniture! Home buyers start their home search online, so it is critical for your listing to stand out in the sea of homes for sale. It's no wonder why virtual staging has become so popular overnight!

Below virtually staged photos are shown on the left and photographs of the estate are featured on the right.***

benefits of virtual staging

Cost Effective — Re-design a home without the expense of a professional stager and the furniture rental.  The costs of renting furniture continue to accrue monthly, which add up the longer your home is on the market. 

Save Time — There is no need to worry about damages made by moving furniture.

Re-Design — Transform home interiors to make a listing more marketable and attractive to current trends with high quality furniture.

Envision Space — Staging and updating decor helps buyers envision a home as their own,  it helps prospective buyers see the potential in a property.

Personalize — Virtual staging provides tools to personalize the interiors to an individual's style and taste. 

example of OUR virtually staged LISTING 

At Riskin Partners, we work to build a lasting relationship with our sellers, by giving great attention to all of our listings. We are always keeping up with new trends and seeking new ways to help promote our listing.  Our analysis of current home sales indicates a trend in buyers purchasing contemporary homes with a neutral design pallet. We saw virtual staging as an amazing opportunity to help showcase our listing, 4621 Via Roblada, a sprawling Mediterranean estate, part of the exclusive Hope Ranch community, was immaculately built and designed in 1990.  

why we chose to use virtual staging

Virtual staging gave Riskin Partners the opportunity to create a more contemporary, white, fresh, and clean finish compared to the pre-existing decor. Now we are able to showcase the estate with a design that isn't overly specific, by creating a calm, clean, elegant feeling that resonates with a broader buyer demographic. Via Roblada is a dream for most looking for a relaxing and private sanctuary. Offering an abundance of bedrooms and bathrooms, separate guest quarters, a pool and spa, private access to the beach, a horse stable, and a tennis court. We have partnered with Tour Factory and the roOomy design team to virtually stage 4621 Via Roblada.


Constantia — Montecito Cape Dutch Estate


Constantia — Montecito Cape Dutch Estate


The Cape Dutch architecture style was developed around the 1800’s in the new colony of Cape Town, South Africa. The Cape Dutch style had influences from medieval Holland and Germany, French Huguenots, and Indonesia. These farmhouses had thatch roofs and white washed walls with a simple symmetrical façade, sensible floor plan, added wings in a U, T, or H shape, raised stoop, and a gable. 


The early Cape Dutch style houses were built very symmetrically— the central door was the focal point, and on either side, two half-windows were equally spaced with two or four full-width windows. The kitchens had open fireplaces and a Dutch oven fitted with iron bars to hold cooking pots. As Cape Town grew, so did the elaborate design of the Cape Dutch style. Homeowners began to add wings onto the ends of their original structures, resulting in a U-plan. The T-plan began to evolve in rural areas, this model had a single wing, with a kitchen at the end attached to the center of the main building.

Later, another wing was added at right angels to the T, and parallel to the original building creating the well known, H-plan of Cape Dutch homes. As the architecture changed, so did the materials. The floors began to be made of Robben Island slate, shutters were crafted to protect windows, and stronger wood like ironwood was used in the construction of the homes. Often farms were magnificently placed against mountain backdrops and surrounded by agricultural lands.


Cape Town, South Africa was entirely created for agricultural purposes. Produce and cattle were farmed to supply passing ships and the employees living at the Dutch East India’s provisions stop. Homes were built for the farmers and merchants, and that is how the Cape Dutch style arose. These homes were built strictly out of necessity, small in size and made of basic materials. Roofs were made up of wild reeds, indigenous wood was used for frames and support beams, while the walls were clay, thick rubble, or burnt brick. Floors were made of lime-mortar from seashells, and due to minimal technology and lack of local materials, floors were often made of compacted peach pits or left as dirt. Larger homes were built as the economy in Cape Town flourished— the small farmhouses were extended in a Northern European longhouse fashion. The most distinctive and unique characteristics of Cape Dutch Architecture is the central dormer gable.

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A Cape Dutch house has its own individualized gable with consistent features including: the date of construction, molded decorations, and a prominent centralized location. Many of these historic gables were created by the Malay craftsmen, as the non-European carvings are evident. The gable represented the financial wealth of the settler, their social status, ownership, and their power over the landscape and social structure. The date of Cape Dutch homes can be identified by the central gable— the more elaborate gables were newer styles. The earlier gables of the late 1600's and early 1700’s were lobed or curvilinear, and later concave or convex shapes. Transitional styles followed, and by the later 1800’s the Neo-classical style.


Named for the wine region of Cape Town, South Africa, Constantia arose from the visionary genius of Ambrose Cramer, who designed the pristine estate in 1930. Cramer drew inspiration from the Cape Dutch homes that populated the southernmost tip of the African continent. Santa Barbara and the Cape held appealing similarities in climate, vegetation, and scenery, and Cramer was commissioned to recreate the same plantation style amid the breathtaking terrain of Montecito. Constantia has all the essential features of the Cape Dutch style home: great gables, wide windows with mahogany half-shutters, broad wall surfaces, and high-pitched roofs. Just like the original Cape Town homes with mountain backdrops, Constantia is carefully sited with vistas of the reflecting pond and mountain range to the north, and the expansive views of the Pacific Ocean to the south.


The Constantia estate in Montecito was inspired by Groot Constantia, South Africa's oldest wine producing farm and best known wine estate. Groot Constantia evolved from one man's love of wine, where he created the first wine farm in South Africa. Commander Simon van der Stel arrived a the Cape supply station in 1679 with an expertise in viticulture from his vineyards in the Netherlands. Simon van der Stel was granted the land by Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Drakenstein, which he named Constantia. It is thought that the the farm was named after Van Goen's daughter, in thanking him for helping obtain the farm land. Today the estate is owned by the Groot Constantia Trust, which is committed to maintaining and restoring the national monument. It is still a fully operated farm, one of South Africa's most visited tourist attractions, where a wide range of quality estate wines are created and sold.


Montecito Hiking Trails


Montecito Hiking Trails


Santa Barbara is home to many amazing hiking trails, perfect for the avid outdoor enthusiast. Although Montecito may have a small-town atmosphere, it boasts a wide variety of hiking trails from easy to strenuous, perfect for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and trail running! Many of our listings are steps away from the most pristine hiking trails, which create a relaxing, serene escape into nature with beautiful scenery of the Santa Ynez mountains and sweeping panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.  Looking to escape the beach? Check out these 4 beautiful hikes located in Montecito. 


#1 San Ysidro Trail

This a beautiful and relatively easy 4-mile round trip hike.  The trail is shaded by trees, providing retrieve on warm days.  A large waterfall greets you  after 2 miles in.  The waterfall can be quite impressive after a strong rain, and very tranquil in the drier months.

Our listings in close proximity to the San Ysidro Trail:

764 San Ysidro Lane

Escape to an enchanting East Coast country estate on 2.38 magical acres in the heart of ultra-charming Montecito. Romantic details and character define the exceptional compound, offering an additional charming guest house, pool cabana and separate gym/office. An exquisite landscape of blossoming rose gardens, majestic oaks and redwoods, and tasteful entertaining terraces surround Brookside and offer hiking trails just steps away. After hitting the trails you can relax by the large swimmer's pool, lounge patio, and grand outdoor fireplace while admiring the staggering mountain views. 

871 Oak Grove Drive

A French-inspired stone farmhouse in Montecito’s Golden Quadrangle pairs the light and romance of Provence with layered gardens and an advanced smart home automation system. Interior rooms mingle effortlessly while mature oaks and mountain views highlight beautiful outdoor spaces. Expansive finished attic space provides endless possibilities. This peaceful and pristine home is a treasure. In the backyard, an outdoor kitchen and shower allow for incredible outdoor living with a spa made of Santa Barbara stone. 

#2 McMenemy Trail 

McMenemy Trail is 1.2 miles and leads across San Ysidro Creek through a stunning eucalyptus forest. A well maintained the trail, suitable for horses with multiple hitching posts along the way.  A bench at the top allows for a nice place to take in the breathtaking ocean views.

Our listings in close proximity to the McMenemy Trail:

900 Hot Springs Road

Fall in love with the endless ocean and mountain views of romantic Prima Luce, Italian for “first light.” In the finest Montecito location, Prima Luce enjoys unparalleled privacy and a most tranquil setting with many hiking trails just feet out the door.  This estate is also in close proximity to the renowned amenities of affluent Montecito. Impeccably designed to maximize views and privacy, and built to the highest standards, Prima Luce’s stunning architecture is adorned with hand painted details, paneled walls and the finest finishes. Surrounded by the estate’s 2+ acres of alluring gardens and oak woodland, an inviting guesthouse, fireside pool cabana and wonderful children’s play house complete this most idyllic ocean view retreat. 

818 Hot Springs Road

Nestled at the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains, with many local hiking trails, one of the area’s most luxurious and romantic estates embodies authentic French spirit, while breathtaking Pacific Ocean and Channel Island views capture the essence of California coastal living. Designed by noted architect Lutah Maria Riggs, the expansive main residence is reminiscent of an 18th century French country manor with charming shutters, a slate roof and an alluring stone and blush stucco façade. Extensively remodeled in 2006, the home meets every modern standard while maintaining the exceptional architectural pedigree. Only the natural beauty of the surrounding ocean and mountain panoramas match the impressive architectural provenance and enchanting landscape of this truly captivating Montecito estate with beautiful gardens by famous landscape architect Lockwood de Forest. 

#3 Ennisbrook Trail

Stroll through an oak woodland and enjoy this mostly flat trail. Approximately a 1.8-mile loop with 150 feet of elevation change within the 44-acre San Ysidro Creek Preserve. The trail follows along San Ysidro Creek and the old stone bridges that span the creekside. A perfect trail to enjoy on a warm day shaded by oak trees with loved ones!   

Our listings in close proximity to the Ennisbrook Trail:

308 Ennisbrook, Rancho San Leandro

Set gracefully overlooking the ocean and in the shadow of the Santa Ynez Mountains, Rancho San Leandro reigns over Montecito as it has for nearly 170 yrs. The compound, an Adobe (circa 1850), the 2006 Monterey House and a first class equestrian facility, boasts ocean and mountain views, historical significance, and modern amenities on nearly 6 acres. The grounds of Rancho San Leandro are laced with lush gardens, botanical vignettes, and drought tolerant succulents; enjoy an afternoon relaxing on the covered veranda; romantic courtyards beckon late night star gazing; stone pathways meander throughout the property and lead you to discover moments from the estate’s history. Rancho San Leandro is the perfect equestrian estate with local trails nearby for both horseback riding and hiking. 

#4 Toro Canyon Trail

This is a short 1-mile path situated in Toro Canyon Park. The trail is short and not too steep, leading to a gazebo that circles a knoll. The top is the perfect place to catch a stunning Santa Barbara sunset. 

Our listing in close proximity to the Toro Canyon Trail:

705 Toro Canyon Road

Sweeping ocean views are on full display from this modern home designed by Barton Meyers on 10.4 acres in a pastoral location in the Montecito foothills. A sleek balance of steel, glass, and concrete, this remarkable modern home showcasing endless ocean views explores the boundaries of progressive architecture and living in nature. The house boasts three dramatic glass “garage doors” that when raised blur indoor spaces and the outside environment to create a chic, integrated living experience. This house is an outdoor enthusiast's dream, with an abundance of hiking trails in close proximity, a beautiful salt-water pool, an outdoor fireplace and terrace with walking paths, an olive grove, and Lockwood de Forest gardens.


Les Chenes by Lutah Riggs


Les Chenes by Lutah Riggs

Lutah Maria Riggs

Les Chenes

Lutah Maria Riggs (1896-1984) was Santa Barbara’s first licensed female architect and the first woman in California to be named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Riggs’ career had great breadth and spanned both notable residential and commercial works. Her legacy is seen throughout Montecito and Santa Barbara in places like the Lobero Theater, Vedanta Temple, and the Botanic Garden. Riggs continued to practice architecture until the age of 84 before eventually retiring in her beloved hometown of Montecito.  

Lutah Riggs

Riskin Partners proudly represents one of Riggs’ most beautiful residential creations: Les Chenes

Les Chenes, French for The Oaks, was named for its incredible setting among a grove of ancient California live oaks. Though the property has been renovated to accommodate a modern lifestyle, Riggs’ timeless vision continues to define this landmark estate.  

Below please enjoy a photo journey of Les Chenes, from Riggs original work to its modern day glory.


      If These Walls Could Talk  Stories From Solana           If the walls of this century old estate could talk, they would have an impressive story to tell.  From its time as a great American Think Tank, the journey through a meticulous 21st century renovation, to the care and thought in raising a six-tiered rose garden with over 500 roses, Solana has many remarkable stories to share.  A property like Solana exudes a timeless appeal and offers the new owner the opportunity to be the steward of an important piece of American history.  Click below to watch three short films about Solana.                                              The Center of the Study of Democratic Institutions  with Professor Keith Melville                                              Solana’s Architecture  with Restoration Architect, Don Nulty                                              Solana’s rose gardens   with Master Rosarian, Dan Bifano           For a deeper look into the beauty of solana view our slideshow


If These Walls Could Talk

Stories From Solana

If the walls of this century old estate could talk, they would have an impressive story to tell.  From its time as a great American Think Tank, the journey through a meticulous 21st century renovation, to the care and thought in raising a six-tiered rose garden with over 500 roses, Solana has many remarkable stories to share.  A property like Solana exudes a timeless appeal and offers the new owner the opportunity to be the steward of an important piece of American history.  Click below to watch three short films about Solana.


The Center of the Study of Democratic Institutions

with Professor Keith Melville


Solana’s Architecture

with Restoration Architect, Don Nulty


Solana’s rose gardens 

with Master Rosarian, Dan Bifano

For a deeper look into the beauty of solana view our slideshow


Playboy Mansion Up For Grabs!


Playboy Mansion Up For Grabs!

Hugh Hefner, founder of the Playboy empire, recently put his Beverly Hills mansion up for sale in what is, quite possibly, the most talked about listing in Los Angeles real estate history. The mansion - famous for housing exotic animal's, Hefner's "Bunnies," and some seriously risque parties - is listed with Hilton & Hyland for $200,000,000.  Some of the more notable property features include: a pool with a grotto, tennis courts, a wine cellar, a gym, a movie theatre, and a 4-bedroom guesthouse. Also included in the sale is a zoo license and.... Hugh Hefner himself. Whoever purchases the property must allow Hefner to remain in the estate for the remainder of his life (fancy a dinner guest?). A spokesperson for Playboy Enterprises stated that the sale is a strategic decision that will allow Playboy “to continue to reinvest in the transformation of our business", and noted that the home served as a workplace and creative center for Hefner and he hopes that it will do the same for whomever the new owner is to be.  

Interested? Click Here for listing details.



Architecture of Montecito


Architecture of Montecito

Some of the most well known names in architecture made their way to the small town of Montecito, CA, designing and building extraordinary estates, most of which are still inhabited today. 

George Washington Smith

George Washington Smith founded the California Movement in Spanish Colonial Revival architecture in Montecito, and was the founder and early leader of Santa Barbara's signature Spanish Style architecture.  Smith attended Harvard with the goal of obtaining a degree in architecture, but due to financial reasons, dropped out to find a job. 

He soon became a bond trader and, after a successful career, he retired and moved to Montecito with his wife to paint.  There, he purchased land and built his Andalusian Farmhouse style home with a separate art studio.  Shortly after, Smith found that folks were more interested in the design of his home than they were in his art.  

 He found himself being commissioned to design "homes with soul." Inspired by Spanish Architecture during multiple trips to Spain with his wife, he incorporated Spanish finishes into his designs. His career only lasted a short 12 years in Montecito, when he passed away at the age of 54.  HIs work continues to be admired in the area and his homes are in high demand even to this day.


Lutah Maria Riggs


Lutah Maria Riggs was the first licensed female architect in Santa Barbara and the first woman in California to be named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Riggs attended UC Berkley, but moved home to Santa Barbara before completing her studies to be with her ailing mother.  Back home, she started working as a draftswoman training underneath and working alongside the famed George Washington Smith.  

In 1931, she started her own firm and went on to design some of Santa Barbara's most famous buildings such as the Blaksley Library at the Botanic Gardens (bottom right) and the Vedanta Temple (top).


Riggs was also known for the stunning homes she designed for wealthy clients such as Alice Erving, Avery Brundage, Wright Ludington and many more. 


Bertram C Goodhue


Bertram C Goodhue was a leader in neo-gothic architecture with significant commissions from ecclesiastical, academic and institutional clients, such as the St. Thomas Church on 5th Ave in New York City, pictured below.

Most of Goodhue's work was centered in New York; however, he built some of Montecito's most historically famed properties, such as the El Fureidis And Val Verde estates.



Val Verde was originally owned by the cousin of the owner of El Fureidis, and occupies the land adjacent to it.  The owner hired Goodhue to design the home and it was the first in the area done in the Spanish colonial revival style.  The property was later sold to an one of Santa Barbara's most important cultural figures, who  collaborated with Lockwood de Forest on the formal gardens, which de Forest would work on intermittently for the rest of his life.  Val Verde long served as the backdrop for some of Santa Barbara's best parties and provided solace to some of the entertainment industries biggest names. 



El Fureidis, which translates to "pleasure gardens," is one of Montecito's most historical and notable properties. The grand Roman villa was founded in 1906 and was defined in the early 1900's as one of the top 15 places to visit in the United States.  This iconic, ocean view estate served as the backdrop for Charlie Chaplin's wedding to Oona O'Neil and also for the filming of the 1983 movie, Scarface starring Al Pacino.


Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to build the George C. Stewart home near the intersection of Hot Springs and Summit Rd in Montecito. The prairie style residence, constructed in 1910, was his first home in the state, and the only example of this style of his architecture in California.  Made of redwood, and with over 350 windows, Wright created a natural flow between inside and outside surroundings. 


Today, more locally famed architects in Montecito include Don Nulty, Micael de Rose and Jock Sewall. Collectively, they are responsible for designing some of Montecito's most noteworthy estates, shown below: 

Don Nulty


This exquisite ocean view villa, on Oak Creek Canyon Road, overlooks the Montecito Valley towards the Channel Islands.

This Montecito masterpiece, on Cima Del Mundo Lane, showcases 360 degree views of the Pacific Ocean. 

This contemporary ocean view Mediterranean villa, on East Mountain Drive, exudes California luxury.

View From Garden1.jpg

Another Mediterranean ocean view estate, privately situated at the end of a long drive, among enchanting gardens, is currently listed for sale.


Michael de Rose

This magnificent Mediterranean compound, on Cold Springs Road, sits on the site of the original El Mirador Estate and is currently listed for sale.

Named Villa de Serenita, this romantic Montecito estate, located on Freehaven Drive, embodies authentic Italian spirit.


Jock Sewall

This custom villa, situated on over 21 acres on Freehaven Drive, showcases incomparable ocean, island and mountain views.

This beautiful European Country home, located on a prviate cul-de-sac on Stonehouse Lane, is currently listed for sale.

This captivating estate on Garden Lane exudes East Coast elegance.