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Santa Barbara: Sunset Magazine's #1 Beach Town

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Santa Barbara: Sunset Magazine's #1 Beach Town

13 Western states, British Columbia, and Alberta duked it out for Sunset magazine's first annual Travel Awards, which "recognize achievement in lodging, dining, cultural tourism, outdoor adventure, environmental stewardship, and other categories." The magazine solicited nomination entries for a variety of categories, and from there an array of teams, judges and advisory boards deliberated the winners. Judges included tourism directors, authors of travel books and resort CEOs, so opinions were legitimately sourced.

And the winner for Best Beach Town? Drum roll, please... SANTA BARBARA! It is a great distinction to be recognized in a magazine that specifically showcases the ultimate Western lifestyle. From world renown surf spots such as Rincon, vibrant night life on State Street and unique scenery, to a rich Spanish history and culture, and wine-tasting in Santa Ynez, it seems we hit all the checkboxes for an ideal coastal lifestyle. It's no wonder everyone here is happy as a clam! What more could you ask for?

If you're looking for some ideas regarding fun things to do in Santa Barbara, check out our Local's Guide blog by clicking here. We also have a list of local favorites where you may find Riskin Partner's best picks in food, wine, home needs, golf courses and more. Don't forget that FIESTA! begins next week so be sure to participate in the weekend activities to celebrate our awesome community!

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A Local's Guide to Santa Barbara

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A Local's Guide to Santa Barbara

Clear skies and idyllic weather are common here in Santa Barbara and Montecito and now that summer has officially arrived, the locals are increasingly out and about. Fortunately for those who are lucky enough to visit, or even call this place home, there is an impressive array of opportunities to adventure, relax, dine, or anything else your soul desires. If you're yearning to discover unique and high quality places, click here to view a great article by goop.com, which details a variety of wonderful destinations. All of us here at Riskin Partners also have our favorite picks, so check out the list below for a small sampling of all that Santa Barbara has to offer. If you're feeling especially enticed, maybe moving here or buying a second home is in your future! For the full list of our Local Favorites, from real estate needs to lifestyle suggestions, visit the Riskin Partners website here.

Accommodations - The Four Seasons Biltmore, Montecito

For a peaceful and relaxing stay, this 5-star luxury hotel is located adjacent to the beautiful Butterfly Beach. In classic California style, they "invite guests to indulge in everything from tours of local wineries to surfing, lazing on the beach or lounging poolside at the exclusive Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club." Relax and be treated at the Santa Barbara Spa, dine at the ocean-view Bella Vista restaurant, or even book a surf session with surfing legend Tom Curren. Find Sara Thandi here on any holiday with her family, this is her favorite place to grab some brunch!

Adventure - Inspiration Point Hike, Santa Barbara

A great workout with some serious views - Inspiration Point is a classic Santa Barbara hike that will having you feeling motivated once you reach the top. Winding through the stunning Santa Ynez mountains, this 3.5-mile round trip hike is best enxperienced at sunrise or sunset. If you enjoy this one, Rebecca, an avid hiker, also suggests trying the San Ysidro trail.

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Site-seeing & Architecture - Rose Garden at the Old Mission, Santa Barbara

With such a rich history, there are a wealth of landmarks and stunning Spanish Revival style architecture throughout the city which should not be missed. Among the Santa Barbara Courthouse (known by many as the most beautiful public building in the country) and its gorgeous sunken gardens, Meridian Studios, and other iconic buildings, the Old Santa Barbara Mission will always remain a classic. Take Robert's advice: grab a blanket, some wine and outdoor games, and have a picnic next to the Mission's blooming rose garden. A retreat like this is best enjoyed if you bring some friends along!

Mid-day Dining -The Santa Barbara Public Market, Santa Barbara

For just over a year now, the Public Market has been host to an array of purveyors - priding itself in "handcrafted, regionally sourced and sustainably made food and wine." Whether you're looking for Crazy Good Bread, a quality cup of joe, delicious seafood, fresh-made pasta, or a glass of wine, the Public Market has it all. If you're feeling like working on your culinary artistry or need to host an event, their Kitchen serves as a commissary and event space. According to Marie, the Market is a great place to meet with friends because there is something for everyone, but her top pick is the potato gnocchi at the Pasta Shoppe. Pair with a flight of wine at the tasting bar for a delicious Italian meal...you definitely will not be disappointed.

Live Music - The Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara

Set on a hillside overlooking Santa Barbara, the Bowl is a historic amphitheater circa 1936 with striking views - a true landmark of the area. It has been host to some of the biggest names in the music industry including Bob Marley, Santana, Radiohead, Jack Johnson, Steely Dan, and Sting, just to name a few. The intimate venue also hosts a variety of up and coming artists, so all types of music fans can rock out. Upcoming shows include Aerosmith on July 7thAretha Franklin on August 6th, the Santa Barbara Mariachi Festival on August 8th and the Alabama Shakes on August 18th. Live music has always been a big part of Jasmine's life, her husband is even in a band called Surprise Me (vote for them here to help them have an opportunity to play at Summerfest in Wisconsin!). Of all the music venues she has been to, she claims that the Bowl is by far the most beautiful.

Dinner - The Lark, Santa Barbara

We L.O.V.E. the Lark! This family-style restaurant serves "locally sourced and responsibly grown" meals, which are incredibly fresh and delectable. Try the roasted beets and burrata, the marinated grill & hangar steak, the herb roasted diver scallops, or even their famous brussel sprouts - everything on their seasonal menu is simply divine. Sarah Kelly advises that if you're looking to grab a cocktail on a weekend night, this is the place to be. The bone marrow crusted beef cheeks and Mary's roasted chicken are her favorite picks on this menu.

Wine Tasting - The Funk Zone, Santa Barbara

The Funk Zone is a hip, arts, business, and industrial district close to State Street and the Santa Barbara harbor. Here you may find over 10 wine tasting rooms and a variety of studios, galleries, surf shops, and restaurants (including The Lark)! All within walking distance to each other, the Funk Zone makes for a lovely night on the town. Make sure to check out Pali Wine CoCorks N Crowns, and Dina's favorite, Les Marchands Wine Bar and Marchant, where she recently celebrated her engagement! Fun Fact: the owner, Brian McClintic was featured in the popular wine documentary called SOMM, "which chronicled his journey to the elusive Master Sommelier title."

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See What Montecito Agents Are Calling "The Best House on the Market"

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See What Montecito Agents Are Calling "The Best House on the Market"

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It's true. Montecito is riddled with some of the most enviable homes in the country, and arguably, the world. And really, it's no surprise. With the most idyllic climate since the south of France and views of a comparable, coastal landscape, Montecito is easy to fall in love with, make a home, and stay forever. And that is just what the owner's of 1125 Garden Lane did some 20 years ago. A couple from Maine who were pulled away to cultivate careers in the film industry, they vowed to create a home that felt like Maine, with the same sense of "permanence and provenance." And so was built an exceptional Dutch-Revival residence nestled on over 3 captivating acres. Really, the grounds are unlike any other. Read on to experience what many agents are calling "the best house on the market."

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 Occupying one of Montecito’s most sought-after and private locations, an exquisite New England estate perfectly balances character and antiquity with the modern tastes of today’s discerning buyers.

A captivating lane in Montecito’s famed Riven Rock, Garden Lane hosts a timeless residence built by its current owner to feel steeped in East Coast elegance. Beyond private entry gates, a meandering tree-lined drive introduces 3.38 wooded acres, where resident oaks and deciduous specimen trees appear untouched by time.

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The owner envisioned a home with “a sense of history, permanence and provenance,” which is exquisitely achieved not only by the blossoming vines that scale the exterior, but also by the thoughtfully curated design details found throughout the home. The home’s design aesthetic has been keenly celebrated in numerous design publications including Traditional Home, Elle Décor and Beautiful Homes Magazines. Stepping onto the inviting front porch, the attention to detail and superb quality construction is immediately evident. The striking foyer’s towering ceiling, archways and dignified staircase showcase the masterful eyes of architect Jock Sewall and builder Paul Franz. 

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1125GardenLane_12

Abundant natural light filters through an expansive picture window in the formal living room. Wide oak floorboards in a rich stain offer a luxurious contrast to crisp paneled walls, a tasteful fireplace and French doors leading to sunny terraces and glorious rose gardens on both sides of the room. An adjacent den of handsome design, offering built-ins and large window seat, is perfectly situated for an office or game room. 

The formal dining room is poised to host family and friends. Built-in china cabinets, a sundrenched window seat and exquisite chandelier create an atmosphere fitting for intimate dinner parties and jovial gatherings alike. Many of the light fixtures throughout the home are antique, having been hand selected by the owner in an effort to further the desired sense of history.

An expansive great room encompasses the charming kitchen and delightful family room where French doors and large windows open to the pool. Custom designed by the owner, an avid chef, the kitchen boasts the finest culinary appliances. An informal dining area comfortably seats ten, perfect for sunny Sunday morning brunch or casual afternoon snacks in the family great room.

The classic New England tenor continues throughout the great room with beadboard, crown molding and an inviting stone fireplace, creating a sophisticated yet comfortable ambience. A sunny deck with large stone fireplace beckons leisurely afternoons and crisp evenings beneath ancient oaks.

A quaint office/guest suite boasting a private bath, enjoys French doors opening to the pool garden. A powder room, oversized multipurpose room and laundry area ideal for arranging blossoms from the cutting garden, and access to the garage complete the home’s main level.

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The elegant staircase draws one to a lovely sitting area with built-in bookcases. Beautiful arched windows overlook the blossoming rose garden while a towering pitched ceiling creates a room both spacious and open, at the same time cozy and welcoming.

A pair of antique pillars frames the doorway to the master bedroom, introducing the vintage elegance that defines the suite. Century-old oak graces the floor, complementing the aged patina of the plaster walls. Large windows overlook verdant treetops, welcoming the romantic aroma of rose and herb gardens, and brilliant sunlight. Two walk-in closets precede the master bath, a serene escape boasting an oversized shower, elegant soaking tub and sizeable vanity with dual sinks and custom tile work. Windows open to the oak canopy, allowing sweet breezes to further the sense of calm in the master suite.

Two lovely bedroom suites on the opposite wing of the home’s upper level overlook the stunning pool garden. Both suites are bright and open with pitched ceilings and abundant sunlight, and offer the privacy of dedicated baths. In addition to the ample motor court, the spacious garage can house two vehicles and offers a sizeable workshop, custom built humidor and additional storage space ideal for a wine cellar.

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1125GardenLane_04

Outside, the grounds are a private oasis. Towering specimen trees surround the estate, allowing sun to filter to the private pool terrace, lush lawn and porch with outdoor fireplace. A charming pool cabana offers a powder room and lounge area with wet bar, ideal for escaping the afternoon sun. An impressive rose and herb garden offers bountiful blossoms for arrangements and cooking with the freshest ingredients.

Stone-lined pathways meander through the estate’s gently rolling acres, along Hot Springs and Cold Springs creeks, both seasonal, toward hidden sitting areas. A shady woodland of deciduous specimen trees, native oaks, apple and persimmon trees create a lively landscape ripe for exploration. Beyond the private gates of Riven Rock, the scenic Hot Springs hiking trail lies just a half-mile away, at the junction of Riven Rock Road and East Mountain Drive. The serene hiking trail winds past grand estates toward tranquil waterfalls and endless vista points. This exceptional lifestyle amenity can be enjoyed year-round in Montecito’s enviable climate.

The enclave affords unparalleled privacy and is defined by a calm and serenity awarded to few locations so near to town. Just minutes from Montecito’s fine dining, upscale shops, world-renowned resorts and pristine beaches, the quiet lanes of Riven Rock are perfectly situated for a rich lifestyle.

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1125 Garden Lane is offered at $6,795,000To experience the magic of this exquisite home, contact the listing agents at Riskin Partners to schedule a showing. 

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New Listing! Tranquil Montecito Retreat

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New Listing! Tranquil Montecito Retreat

Nestled on a tranquil, gated acre, this captivating Montecito home has been impeccably updated with outstanding design elements, top of the line finishes, lush landscaping and abundant character throughout.

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Wonderful indoor/outdoor living is enjoyed through vibrant, spacious rooms including an airy living room with a whitewashed brick fireplace, large windows and charming built-ins. The dining room’s pitched ceiling and skylights enhance the airy feel of the room while a wall of French doors open completely to the patio for extraordinary entertaining. 

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The spacious family room’s French doors open to a soothing waterfall.

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BreakFastNook

The state-of-the-art Bulthaup kitchen boasts Miele and Sub-Zero appliances, a generous chef’s island with abundant storage and a charming built-in breakfast nook with skylights. French doors open to a beautiful deck and garden, welcoming lovely sunlight into the heart of the home. A powder room conveniently serves the home’s public spaces.

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Luxuriously appointed, the master suite is warmed by a corner fireplace and gorgeous garden views through French doors.

A sumptuous ensuite bath is outfitted with floating teak cabinets, Brazilian marble, a vast walk-in rainforest shower with linen tile and a freestanding spa tub surrounded by lush outdoor greenery.

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Three additional light-filled bedrooms are welcome retreats for guests. Two bedrooms share a pristine bath while a third spacious suite boasts a dedicated bath and custom built-in storage. A sizeable pine-paneled art studio (the converted garage) sits apart from the main house, inspired by garden views and magnificent skylights.

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2860EValley_Waterfall
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Enjoying a rural creek-side Montecito location, mature Oaks tower above enchanting gardens, whimsical paths, colorful specimen plants, native boulders and numerous outdoor patios. Zen-like serenity is achieved with a stunning waterfall feature, cascading into a stone pond adorned with banana trees, palms and lily pads.

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2860EValley_Ext2

Refined design is met with unassuming comfort to create a truly exceptional property.

2860 East Valley RdMontecito, CA 93108

Click Here to view more incredible properties available at Riskin Associates

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Feature Listing: A West Coast Estate with East Coast Charm - Montecito, CA

Brookside Montecito

Escape to an enchanting East Coast country estate in one of the West Coast’s most enviable locations. A ninety-minute coastal drive from Los Angeles, or just fifteen minutes from Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, finds one in the idyllic town of Montecito. Effortlessly luxurious, Montecito invites a relaxed lifestyle ideal for enjoying near perfect year round weather and endless options for leisure by the sea. Throughout the incredibly charming town, upscale hotels, fine restaurants and shopping are lavish amenities.

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764SanYsidroLane_06

On a quiet lane minutes to Montecito’s Upper Village and the celebrated San Ysidro Ranch, approximately 2.38 magical acres host Brookside, an enchanting estate. A gated drive winds past ancient oaks towards the sprawling residence reminiscent of traditional Nantucket homes with a stone facade and slate roof. A spacious stone motor court and three-car garage provide ample parking for residents and guests.

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764SanYsidroLane_12

An inviting brick porch beckons guests into the entry foyer. Introducing the home’s gracious and welcoming atmosphere, this tasteful reception room accesses the formal spaces and private master wing while an elegant staircase leads to the upper level bedroom suites.

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764SanYsidroLane_18

The resplendent formal dining room is rich with elegant details. Poised for formal hosting, silk and wainscot wall treatments, crown molding and a large picture window framing majestic mountain views create a gracious dining space. For casual daily living and entertaining, French doors open to an outdoor patio and lush lawn.

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764SanYsidroLane_17

The formal living room welcomes grand tradition. A towering ceiling combines with the dramatic mountain view, affording a commanding air to the magnificent space. Custom built-in bookcases and an impressive fireplace prominently display the exceptional craftsmanship which defines the house. Three sets of French doors open to the stunning estate grounds providing access to the pool terrace, outdoor kitchen and dining patio.

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764SanYsidroLane_16

The north wing of the home hosts an incredibly lavish yet comfortable eat-in kitchen, outfitted with luxurious amenities while remaining both inviting and livable. Beneath a beamed ceiling, the kitchen boasts mountain views, a spacious center island with a six-burner range and ample storage. In the impressive butler’s pantry, abundant china storage, warming drawers, a wine refrigerator and dishwasher allow for effortless entertaining. The kitchen opens to a cozy family room where built-in storage, a charming fireplace and French doors leading to the outdoor kitchen and dining area are resplendent details for everyday living.

Completing the north wing of the home are spacious laundry facilities, a full bath and an upstairs staff apartment. Offering it’s own entrance, a bedroom, full bath and a sitting room with mountain vistas, this lovely space perfectly doubles as an office or guest suite.

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764SanYsidroLane_19

In the handsome library, paneled walls complementing the French oak floor, exquisite built in bookshelves, French doors and warming fireplace create an ideal space for quiet leisure.

An exquisite galleria leads to the private master wing. Exceptional built-in cabinetry provides both elegant design aesthetics and abundant storage, alluding to the amenities of the sophisticated yet intimate master suite.

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764SanYsidroLane_15

Defined by a lingering air of romance, the expansive master suite is rich with luxurious design details. Delicate rays of sun waft through large windows overlooking the estate grounds, drenching the room in soft light. A fireplace and sunny sitting area welcome quiet personal moments while two private dressing rooms are lavish retreats within the suite.

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The first is pristine with a tranquil soaking tub, oversized shower and elegant vanity creating a sensual haven for relaxation. Beyond, a magnificent walk-in closet exceeds every expectation. Designed with the utmost attention to function as well as aesthetics, the expansive closet affords organization and order to each item and accessory.

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764SanYsidroLane_14

A second dressing room of equal design pedigree, cloaked in handsome alder, includes a distinguished ensuite bath with an oversized shower and access to the pool terrace, completing the gracious master suite.

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In close proximity to the master suite, a lovely bedroom offers playful design, two closets and an ensuite bath finished in marble. Upstairs, two impressive bedrooms boast pitched ceilings, ensuite baths and French doors opening to a spacious mountain view terrace. Equally inviting to family or guests, a glowing fireplace warms the first suite while the second enjoys a large walk-in closet.

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The attached pool cabana is an idyllic accompaniment to the exquisite pool terrace. With a pitched ceiling, the bright and airy cabana includes fantastic built-in storage, a heated loggia and a full bath.

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764SanYsidroLane_09

Two sets of sliding doors pocket into the walls, opening to the pool, lawn and outdoor dining areas creating a true indoor/outdoor experience. When needed, the pool cabana offers all the amenities of a guest suite.

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In addition to the sprawling main residence, two auxiliary structures create the estate’s magical compound. Set privately away from the main house, the immensely charming guest house provides wonderful accommodations for long-term guests, offering dedicated parking, two bedrooms, a full bath, a delightful living room and kitchenette. Soaring ceilings, a warming fireplace and a terrace overlooking a magical oak trees, putting green and tranquil, trickling creek offer a impressive welcome to guests.

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764SanYsidroLane_03

Additionally, a quaint cottage built in 2010, yet designed to appear to have occupied the site for decades, offers a cozy office with built-in cabinetry and a large multipurpose room with a half bath perfect for a gym or art studio.

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764SanYsidroLane_04

An exquisite landscape of blossoming rose gardens, majestic oaks and redwoods, and tasteful entertaining terraces surround Brookside while offering relaxed outdoor living in Montecito’s enviable year-round climate.

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A staggering mountain view is an impressive backdrop to the stunning pool terrace, which is easily accessible from the residence and features a large swimmer’s pool, lounge patio and grand outdoor fireplace. A vine-covered pergola and lush lawn are verdant accompaniments to the beautiful brick terrace.

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764SanYsidroLane_01

Enjoy al fresco cooking and dining as the glorious peaks of the Santa Ynez Mountains are painted shades of purple by the exquisite “pink moment” sunset. An outdoor kitchen boasts a Viking barbecue, a refrigerator and sink aside a dining terrace for seamless outdoor entertaining. Also in this area, a lawn and large play structure await imaginative adventures and games.

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764SanYsidroLane_08 (1)

Stone pathways meander through an enchanting oak woodland toward the creekside guest house, putting green and half basketball court.

Beyond the estate grounds additional amenities lie just moments away. Hiking trails, luxurious shopping and dining, exceptional golf clubs and Montecito’s expansive beaches are all within close proximity to the residence.

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764SanYsidroLane_02

One of Montecito’s finest estates, Brookside is the culmination of grand tradition delicately balanced with luxurious, modern amenities.

764 San Ysidro Lane

Offered at $12,950,000

Click here to explore more listings at Riskin Associates

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Santa Barbara Hosts Second Most Expensive Home for Sale in the United States

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Santa Barbara Hosts Second Most Expensive Home for Sale in the United States

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An article by SuperCompressor.com has listed the most expensive homes available in each of the 50 states, per Zillow reports. Among an abundance of jaw-dropping properties, Santa Barbara hosts the second most expensive on the list, representing the entire state of California (it ranks just behind an estate on Hillsboro beach in Florida listed for $139,000,000)!

The $125,000,000 hilltop manor shown above was built in 1930 by renowned architect Reginald Johnson and is located in none other than Montecito; in fact, it's only a short drive from our office! This property is evidence of the rich history, beautiful panoramas, and luxurious lifestyle available in the area. Riskin Associates has a variety of similarly impressive and exceptional properties in the area also including a historic Reginald Johnson home.

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The historic property described above is also one of Hope Ranch's original estates - to experience the enchanting charm of 1520 Roble Drive, simply click on the video above.

1664 East Valley Road, currently listed by Riskin Associates
1664 East Valley Road, currently listed by Riskin Associates

Just down the road from the chart-topping manor is 1664 East Valley Road - a romantic Mediterranean villa where impressive architectural details complement contemporary amenities. On approximately 2 acres, this home boasts 7 bedrooms and 12 baths, with an additional bedroom and 2 baths in the pool house. List price is $13,795,000.

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1530 Roble Driveis another 1930 compound on 8 acres. It features a comparable architectural style, charming interiors, romantic gardens, and lush lawns. With an 8 bedroom/10 bath main house, an additional cottage with 2 bedrooms/1 bath, and another guest house with a bedroom and 2 baths, this elegant listing is available for $15,500,000.

Check out the Riskin Associates website for even more incredible listings available in the Santa Barbara area

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New Listing! Pristine Sand Point Beach

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New Listing! Pristine Sand Point Beach

Another incredible new offering from Riskin Associates! Nestled down a private, gated lane paralleling the breathtaking California coastline, a turnkey mid-century modern home offers a quintessential beachfront lifestyle on coveted Sand Point Beach. Known locally as one of the area’s most desirable beach locations, Sand Point Beach boasts a unique air of privacy, while offering the luxury of an afternoon stroll to charming Santa Claus Lane’s shops and cafes. Meanwhile, Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria are just a short drive away.

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645SandPt_09

Upon arrival at the residence, the staggering mountain view is on impressive display. A two-car detached garage and motor court offer ample parking while expanses of glass introduce the vast ocean views and indoor/outdoor atmosphere enjoyed throughout the home. Stepping through the entry door, the interior’s chic, pristine design features include hardwood floors, beamed ceilings, skylights, a sleek fireplace and walls of glass doors opening to a spacious ocean-view lounge deck.

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645SandPt_03

The eat-in kitchen is defined by expansive ocean, island and mountain views, perfectly complementing the casual atmosphere. Top of the line appliances including Miele, Wolf and SubZero offer a sense of luxury to the chef’s kitchen.

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645SandPt_06

A cozy reading or television nook with built-in bookshelves lies between the public spaces and the home’s three private bedrooms.

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645SandPt_04

The inviting master bedroom offers a serene open ambience with abundant doors and windows welcoming staggering ocean and mountain views and accessing the sunny lounge deck. A luxurious ensuite bath and a spacious closet complete the ocean-view master suite.

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645SandPt_07

Two additional bedroom suites are tranquil retreats for guests, one boasts a private ensuite bath while both offer mountain views and beautiful beamed ceilings. A full bath with shared shower and a laundry room complete this area of the home.

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645SandPt_12

Outside, the home is surrounded by coastal beauty. From the spacious lounge deck, the glistening Pacific Ocean is an awe-inspiring view, offering a casual yet impressive entertaining space.

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A large glass wall on the western side of the deck keeps the occasional coastal breeze at bay, while creating an outdoor living roomlike atmosphere. Beyond the lounge deck, a spacious lawn and patio beckon afternoon barbecues and lawn games year-round.

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A rare offering for nearby homes, the residence offers easy beach access via a spacious view deck between the lawn and the sand. The deck enjoys 360-degree views, encompassing the ocean and islands, the entire meandering coastline and the majestic Santa Ynez Mountains, and is ideal for enjoying the “pink moment.” The Santa Barbara coastline is renowned for brilliant sunsets affectionately referred to as the “pink moment,” when the sun dips just below the oceanic horizon, setting the sky ablaze.

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A home on the sand lures one to endless outdoor activities. Waves break in synchronization, ideal for surfing, kayaking or paddle boarding alongside marine life while the shoreline is a most tranquil host for running, yoga or simply bathing in warm California sun.

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645SandPt_01

An oceanfront home defined by a casual beach lifestyle, 645 Sand Point Road offers chic, turnkey design in a premier beach location.

645 Sand Point Road
Offered at $9,000,000

Click here for more Information about the Carpinteria area

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New Listing! Quintessential Montecito Villa

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New Listing! Quintessential Montecito Villa

Riskin Associates is excited to announce one of our newest listings! World-class scale and grace abound in this near new Montecito Villa, only moments from the shops and restaurants of the upper and lower villages. The exquisite Mediterranean estate enjoys monumental mountain views from nearly every room and throughout the nearly three acres of manicured gardens. Grand entry gates introduce a meandering, palm lined drive leading to a gracious motor court graced with roses. The lushly landscaped property presents the home’s breathtaking façade—a two-story Mediterranean masterpiece accented with Moroccan-style arches, pulling inspiration from southern Spanish architecture.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_52

The interior begins with a grand, two-story entry foyer that boasts a sweeping staircase and limestone floors. Just off the main hall, a gracious formal dining room offers magnificent mountain and garden views, and abundant natural light.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_33

The lavish kitchen-- with a large center island and state of the art appliances-- connects to both a cozy family room with a fireplace and a beautiful breakfast room that looks out to the majestic mountain range. Nearby, the home offers a large bedroom suite, well suited for staff quarters or guest accommodations alike. Downstairs below the main living spaces, an ideal setting for a wine cellar and home theater awaits, providing a fantastic opportunity to create a custom dream.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_24

The opposite wing of the first floor presents a grand formal living room with lustrous hardwood floors, intricate woodwork on the ceilings and an elegant fireplace as a focal piece. Adjacent to the living room is a warm library with paneled walls clad in bookshelves and another charming fireplace. Additionally, the first floor offers a peaceful home office with a fireplace and French doors to the garden; and a lavish guest suite complete with ample privacy, a walk-in closet and spacious bathroom and an inviting outdoor patio.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_49

An open galleria spans the upper floor, leading to the glorious master suite. Enormous in scale, Venetian baroque plaster designs reminiscent of Addison Mizner grace the ceilings, plentiful windows frame phenomenal views, and a sitting area sits before a fireplace. With stunning, separate his and hers bathrooms and closets replete with custom details, this room offers an airy, elegant retreat. The galleria leads to two additional bedroom suites, each with its own bathroom and private terrace.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_Guesthouse

The enticing guesthouse on the property offers an airy living room, sunny bedroom, bathroom, and kitchenette, making for premiere accommodations with a delightful view of the pool.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_54

A grand terrace with a large, stone fireplace enjoys views over the property, and surrounded by lush gardens. Every public room on the first floor boasts doors out to this spectacular space, offering a beautiful seating area to enjoy the towering views. Below the terrace is a deluxe pool pavilion with another fireplace, a cooking and dining space, and a lounging area just steps away from the expansive swimmer’s pool.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_56

Impeccably designed and in pristine condition, this exceptional estate seamlessly welds the best of indoor and outdoor living, and pulls in superlative views while doing so.

2733 Sycamore Canyon Road, Montecito
Offered at $13,900,000

Click Here for more information about the Montecito area

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A Little Something for Your Lady: A Women's Holiday Gift Guide

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A Little Something for Your Lady: A Women's Holiday Gift Guide

Gentlemen, the holidays are here and it's that time of the year to spoil the special woman in your life. This gift guide will help you get into the giving spirit and hopefully entice you to shop and explore the local Santa Barbara area. Not only are these gifts unique, the majority also offer opportunities to spend some quality time with your lady, an added bonus. Simply click on the links and pictures to discover more information. Happy holidays!

Rejuvinate

Shangri-La Spa Package from Ojai Vally Inn and Spa, $560

No one can say no to a day at the spa, especially when you spend it in scenic Ojai. This particular package is the full deal including a choice of three classic spa treatments, a lavender or seasonal manicure and pedicure, and lunch at Cafe Verde.

Cuddle Up

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Exotic Faux Fur Blanket from Restoration Hardware$239

Luxuriously soft and warm, this faux fur blanket is likened to a personal cloud. It's perfect for those rare cold and rainy winter nights in Santa Barbara when you're cozied up by the fire place. Order from our local Restoration Hardware on State Street.

Adventure

"Top Deck" Tour from Captain Jack's, $400

For the adventurous couple who wants a little bit of everything, this tour is the perfect fit. A guide will accompany you throughout your day as you start off by kayaking the Gaviota Coast. Next, enjoy lunch at a secluded resort, horseback riding through the beautiful mountains, and, to top it all off, wine tasting at two local Santa Barbara wineries.

The Ultimate Luxury

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Paraiba Tourmaline Earrings from Silverhorn Jewelers, contact Silverhorn for pricing

Jewelry is a classic and timeless way to express your love for someone. Silverhorn jewelers in Montecito has a variety of unique and elegant pieces that are sure to impress. They also have gem carvings, mineral specimens, gem stones, and other stunning objects of art available so be sure to explore their entire store.

Splurge Day

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"49 Square Miles" Outfit (left) from Wendy Foster, total $1,658

Back to the basics: a new outfit never hurt anybody. Wendy Foster is a high-end fashion boutique with locations in Montecito, State Street, and Los Olivos. This store has clothing options for every type of woman - from casual to business attire, accessories to small gifts, this place has trendy written all over it. Buy her a full outfit or take her on a shopping spree, if that's more your cup of tea; there are plenty of delicious restaurants nearby to make this a splurge day for your special lady.

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For the _____ In Your Life: A Men's Holiday Gift Guide

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For the _____ In Your Life: A Men's Holiday Gift Guide

During the holiday season you want to impress that special someone with a gift that's as incredible as they are. Good news: we're here to help. This men's holiday gift guide has a little something for every type of personality to ensure that each individual's unique needs are satisfied. These distinct items may be purchased or experienced locally in Santa Barbara, simply click on the pictures and links to discover more information!

Surfer

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9' 10" Andreini Owl Tribute Vintage Longboard from Surf-n-Wear's The Beach House, $1,650

Winter has arrived and so has the swell. What better way to ride those long waves at Rincon than with a vintage longboard from a local surf shop established in 1962. Sounds like a surfer's fantasy!

Food Fanatic

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Farmer's Market-To-Fork Dining Experience from the Four Season's Biltmore Santa Barbara, contact the Biltmore for pricing 

With Executive Chef Alessandro Cartumini as your escort, visit the local farmer's market to select fresh produce. Then, continue your journey with a private cooking class; finish off the experience with a remarkable four-course lunch and wine pairing at the oceanfront Bella Vista restaurant. Guests at the Biltmore resort are invited to partake in this gourmet dining experience, so book a room and enjoy a romantic day!

Business Man

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42 mm Burberry Round Leather Strap Watch from Nordstrom$695

Keep things classy and traditional with this Burberry watch. It's available at Nordstrom in the Paseo Nuevo Mall in a variety of colors, making it a quick buy but a guaranteed timeless piece.

Adventurous Spirit

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Santa-Barbara-two-balloons

Hot Air Balloon Ride from Cloud9Living, $432 for two people

The sky's the limit with this fantastical adventure! Experience a Santa Barbara sunrise and California wine country from an entirely different perspective. And to top it off, enjoy complimentary champagne and a continental breakfast upon landing.

Health Conscious

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Fitness Retreat from Sky Ranch Fitness, $2,900 for 4-day all inclusive trip

Fitness, nutrition, and rejuvenation are the highlights of this retreat. Whether you're trying to kickstart a healthy lifestyle or simply desire a wholesome fitness trip, this gift is great for every fitness level. Hikes, training, healthy cuisine, therapeutic spa treatments, personal coaching, and a 4- or 6-day stay at the Bacara Resort and Spa are all included.

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LIVE! The Riskin Associates Mobile App

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LIVE! The Riskin Associates Mobile App

  Introducing the Riskin Associates mobile application 

  We are pleased to announce the availability of the Riskin Associates mobile application. Based in Montecito, CA, Riskin Associates has been the    top selling Santa Barbara real estate team for the past decade. The award-winning team lists some of the most coveted estates on the south Santa  Barbara coast. We were engaged by them to create a mobile application that would add to the services they provide their buying and selling clients  that have made them a market leader.

  Goals and Approach

For the design of the application, we took queues from the Village Properties mobile website we developed since the Riskin Associates team is part of the brokerage. We decided to keep the overall flow of the application intact, but the branding, content and functionality needed customized for Riskin Associates. We wanted to accomplish a number of goals with the modified design:

  • Produce a clean, elegant design that conveys the elegance and luxury of the properties they represent
  • Provide a vehicle for them to highlight and market their distinctive properties
  • Incorporate visual imagery that reflects the unique nature and beauty of their listings and the surrounding area
  • Create a finished product that would further differentiate their brand and set them apart as a leader in the market
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Riskin-Associates-Featured-Properties-199x300-1

Key features of the application

In order to develop the key features of the application, we evaluated their online presence which uses vivid photos and imagery to highlight their property listings. We wanted to provide a similar visual experience on mobile and give Riskin Associates the flexibility to highlight the different properties they represent. In addition to the essential features such as property search (both by location and by criteria), methods to contact the team, and an about us section, we incorporated the following:

  • A vivid home page focused on a full width image that can be dynamically changed by Riskin Associates
  • A featured listing section that allows them to highlight the properties they represent – each listing is its own interactive photo gallery that can be compiled and controlled by the Riskin Associates marketing team
  • Links to custom content created by the marketing team such as property brochures that are hosted through Calaméo

You can access the application via any iPhone or Android device by opening the browser (or Safari) on your phone and going to www.montecito-realestate.com. You will be automatically redirected to the mobile application where you can learn more about the Riskin Associates team and explore their featured listings.

Raising the bar for service and performance

It was a pleasure working with the Riskin Associates team on the development of their mobile application. The energy and enthusiasm they brought to the project is evident in the finished product. It is a reflection of the time and personal attention that they give each of their clients. It shows in all aspects of their business, particularly in the level of service they provide their clients and the attention-to-detail they put into their marketing materials. With the availability of their mobile application, they have another tool that reinforces this high level of service, whether it is used for marketing properties or helping prospective buyers identify properties to purchase.

The Riskin Associates mobile application is another example of how leading brokerages and agent teams are embracing mobile to raise the bar on the services the provide their clients, differentiate themselves in the market, and further reinforce their leadership position in the market.

The Riskin Associates mobile website was created by Aumnia.

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Autumn Gifts: Santa Barbara Sunsets

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Autumn Gifts: Santa Barbara Sunsets

While Santa Barbara and the surrounding towns of Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria are known for spectacular sunsets all throughout the year, the fall season brings especially brilliant fusions of purple, orange and pink hues. Casting a purple glow upon the Santa Ynez Mountains and Channel Islands, the sky burns the last moments of summer creating a romantic and unforgettable celestial sight. Enjoyable from just about any point, Santa Barbara's fall sunsets are particularly awe-inspiring from vantage points overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean. The Santa Barbara harbor, Shoreline Park and Montecito's Butterfly Beach are a few of the area's most famous spots to take in the view.

But if you prefer to enjoy this natural art show from the comfort and privacy of your own chaise lounge, we've got something (a few somethings) for you! Below are some of the most luxurious estates currently on the market, all with one thing in common: a brilliant sunset view.

villa di serenita, california italian villa, luxury ocean view estate
villa di serenita, california italian villa, luxury ocean view estate

Perched atop a quiet ridge in Montecito, 550 Freehaven Drive's unique location allows for nearly 360 degree views, spanning from the serpentine Carpinteria coast to the shimmering Santa Barbara harbor. Taking full advantage of the impressive view, architect Michael De Rose designed the luxurious home with a tower viewing pavilion where one can take in Tuscany-like views of orchards and the Montecito Valley and endless ocean views simultaneously. It is truly a magical place for private moments and joyous celebrations alike. Offered at $16,950,000.

This sprawling Hope Ranch estate is perfectly sighted for enchanting sunset views.
This sprawling Hope Ranch estate is perfectly sighted for enchanting sunset views.

Set on approximately 9 rolling acres, 1520 Roble Drive in Santa Barbara's Hope Ranch enclave boasts a sprawling main house, a luxurious 2 bedroom guest house and an ocean view apartment. Enjoy the view from the loggia surrounded by bougainvillea and fragrant gardens.  Offered at $16,900,000.

1398 oak creek canyon, montecito custom estate
1398 oak creek canyon, montecito custom estate

Described as "quite possibly one of Montecito's best view properties" by many who have toured it, 1398 Oak Creek Canyon Road boasts 53 acres and a truly panoramic ocean and island view. Not to be overshadowed by the Pacific, the Santa Ynez foothills are the host of this new construction, which offer majestic views in their own right. Multiple terraces and balconies provide choice viewing locations for fall's stunning sunsets. Offered at $13,650,000.

Santa Barbara Riviera home
Santa Barbara Riviera home

You don't need to be sitting on 10+ acres to enjoy a fabulous ocean and sunset view. Sitting high in the Santa Barbara Riviera, 917 Paseo Ferrelo is the coolest house on the block - and then some. The ultra-modern home is ultra-ultra-chic with sensual interiors and expansive glass opening to a fantastic ocean, island and city view deck. Sunset in the fall, fireworks on the 4th and the sounds of the nearby Santa Barbara bowl are all included in this modern marvel unmatched by another. Offered at $3,150,000

Watch the sunset (or rise!) from one of these spectacular homes. Contact Riskin Associates.

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Martha at the Market

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Martha at the Market

Home and lifestyle mogul Martha Stewart recently made a trip to sunny Santa Barbara to experience one of the area's most charming offerings - the daily farmer's market. Popping up six days a week throughout Santa Barbara County, local farmers, growers and culinary artisans converge to offer the best of the area's local harvest. Martha spent a Santa Barbara morning perusing the market, delighting in multi-colored carrots, okra, bounties of berries, freshly baked artisan breads and fromage accompaniments and a plethora of other eye-catching and mouthwatering finds. In Montecito, the Friday spot to do your farmer's market shopping, the market travels along scenic Coast Village Road, sprouting in front of iconic Montecito eatery, Jeanine's Bakery one week and in the Montecito Country Mart the next. On Tuesday afternoons, several blocks of Santa Barbara's famous State Street shut down to traffic so locals and visitors can mix and mingle in the market. On a warm summer afternoon, break from the market to pop into one of the shops or restaurants on either side of the street for a refreshing glass of local sangria or to find a unique Santa Barbara treasure.

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Summer Fun in Santa Barbara! Downtown Art and Wine Tour

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Summer Fun in Santa Barbara! Downtown Art and Wine Tour

Santa Barbara Downtown Art and Wine Tour
Santa Barbara Downtown Art and Wine Tour

Everyone knows that summer is everyone's favorite season, and in Santa Barbara summer seems to last all year. But come the month of May, a shift can be felt in our fresh coastal air and there is a distinctive feeling that summer fun is about to be kicked into high gear. Summer events seem to happen weekly in Santa Barbara from cultural celebrations such as the Solstice Festival and the Old Spanish Days to beer tasting at the Santa Barbara Zoo's ZooBrew! event and everything in between, there is no shortage of opportunities for casual family fun and upscale socializing.

The long weekend kicks off this Thursday with the annual Downtown Art and Wine Tour. The self-guided tour, which begins at 5:30, invites participants to meander through retailers, galleries and restaurants experiencing the works of local artists, vintners and chefs, on their way to the tour's Final Party at the Santa Barbara Club. Feasting on hors d'oeuvres and sipping wine or beer, party goers will eat, drink and dance the night away in celebration of all that Santa Barbara's Downtown District has to offer.

Tickets are $75 each and can be purchased online, at the Downtown Organization office or at the box office of the Arlington Theater.

Arlington Theatre Box Office 1317 State Street Monday – Saturday: 10am-6pm, Sunday: 10am-4pm (805) 963-4408 (credit card or cash + $2.50 surcharge per ticket)

Downtown Santa Barbara Office 27-B East de la Guerra Street Monday – Friday: 9am-4pm (cash, check, Visa and Master Card)

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Village Properties' Carpinteria and Summerland Artists Studio Tour

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Village Properties' Carpinteria and Summerland Artists Studio Tour

The 8th Annual Carpinteria and Summerland Artists Studio Tour generously presented by Village Properties takes place on Mother’s Day weekend, the 10th and 11th of May from 10am – 5pm. This event is FREE and open to the community. A map and Art Studio Directory will be available both online at www.artscarp.org and from the Carpinteria Arts Center and will guide you through some of the diverse fine artists studios of Carpinteria & Summerland.

Village Properties Artists Tour
Village Properties Artists Tour

The Artists Studio Tour is a unique opportunity to view 35 participating local artist studios, some of whom have shown in well-known galleries internationally and in the U.S. from Los Angeles to New York. It is also a chance to see and buy work of established artists as well as budding emerging talent who live in the beautiful Summerland and Carpinteria Valley. Some of this year’s highlights include new works by well-known local artist, Cayetana (Tani) Conrad, daughter of famed author, Barnaby Conrad. Tani is well known for her paintings of figures and landscapes distinctly featuring California colors and light. Her Toro Canyon studio has been featured in a number of magazines and will be open both Saturday and Sunday of the tour.

Originally a native of Carpinteria and just returning back to the area from a career in Santa Monica where she was working as an award-winning network TV producer, Danielle Methmann will be showcasing her latest work at Café Luna. Danielle’s photographs exude laid back So Cal lifestyle and beautifully capture the inspiration she gets from her surrounding environments. Danielle’s photographs will be on display at Café Luna both Saturday and Sunday.

Open Sunday only studio tour goers seeking an adventurous art studio visit are urged to visit local painter, Thomas Mace’s art studio. Perched atop Shepherds Mesa, Tom built the studio that is his wood shop, idea factory and home for his current projects. Situated in the mountains above Carpinteria, Thomas’ studio is the converted lathe house and a must see.

For a full list of participating artists please visit Carpinteria Arts Center website at www.artscarp.org or on Facebook @CarpinteriaArtistsStudioTour. This weekend long opportunity to tour and visit local artist studios is FREE and open to the public. A small percentage of art sales will benefit CVAC’s missions to promote, support our local artists in their studios and galleries, Bellas Artes program, Art by the Sea kids camp, Art in Public Places, Flicks film club and more. In the belief that the arts are vital to a healthy community, the Carpinteria Arts Center is committed to providing challenging exhibitions, innovative learning opportunities, and cultural enrichment for people of all ages, interests, and abilities.

The Carpinteria Valley Arts Council would also like to thank Village Properties that generously donated at the Presenting Sponsorship level for this year’s 8th Annual Artist Studio Tour. Visit their website atwww.villagesite.com.

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Local Showcase: Santa Barbara Artist Lisa Pedersen

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Local Showcase: Santa Barbara Artist Lisa Pedersen

As Santa Barbara's top real estate team for over a decade, Riskin Associates has the pleasure of representing many fabulous clients. Currently, local Santa Barbara artist Lisa Pedersen, happens to be one of them. Pedersen, who lives in a quintessential andalusian estate in Santa Barbara's Riveira, has been an artist her entire life and began painting professionally at the encouragement of friend and fellow painter John Brosio. Living on the Southern California coast offers endless opportunity for inspiration. Using water based oil paint, Lisa paints landscapes, architecture and cityscapes up and down the central coast.

Artist Lisa Pedersen art studio in her Santa Barbara Riviera Estate.
Artist Lisa Pedersen art studio in her Santa Barbara Riviera Estate.

Aside from painting, Lisa indulges her artistic and creative energies through other forms of design. After graduating from USC, Lisa went on to UCLA to study architectural and interior design. Lisa lives in one of her most impressive endeavors. The exceptional residence in Santa Barbara's Riviera is an incredible example of Lisa's finely tuned creativity. Together with her father, Harlan Pedersen and builder Ken Rideout, Lisa restored a magical estate, circa 1939, to perfection.

Lisa's romantic vision, realized in 2004, includes custom designed kitchen tiles designed to emulate those in the historic Santa Barbara Courthouse, rich wood floors and beamed ceilings. Ocean and mountain views have been captured throughout via French doors, Juliette balconies and intimate patios. A jewel among jewels, a fantastic space has been utilized as an inspiring artists' studio. A south-facing ocean view terrace is matched by French doors framing mountain views to the north.

As enchanting as the residence is, the estate grounds are an idyllic complement. Pathways wind through blooming rose gardens, lush lawns and vine-covered pergolas. A bocce ball court, hidden tree house and sensational Mediterranean pool garden await discovery and take thorough enjoyment of Santa Barbara's enviable year round climate.

To experience Lisa's repertoire of work, visit Porch in nearby Carpinteria where an exhibition features Lisa's work throughout the month of May. Riskin Associates Partner joined Pedersen at Porch for the exhibition opening.For further information of Lisa's romantic and enchanting estate, contact Riskin Associates.

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"My Home Is My Castle" Understanding American Real Estate Needs

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"My Home Is My Castle" Understanding American Real Estate Needs

Unique in many ways, American's have a variety of characteristics which set their lifestyle apart from the rest of the world. One of Americans' most distinctive lifestyle choices is their home - no surprise - as Americans covet their personal time and space. Inman News contributor Bernice Ross recently delved into the unique real estate needs of Americans. During her account of the four basic needs of American real estate, Riskin Associates noticed a trend, Montecito real estate easily covers all the bases: safety, privacy, size and retreat. 1. Safety. Americans consider safety one of their top concerns. Safe neighborhoods for children and home security systems are important amenities American's rarely compromise on. Particularly in the luxury real estate market, increased safety precautions and a high-end security system is often the standard and expected among wealthy home buyers.

Protective gates provide privacy to this Montecito estate.
Protective gates provide privacy to this Montecito estate.

 This magnificent French Chateau is set behind it's own private entry gates. Before arriving at the gates of the Chateau, visitors to lavish the entertainer's estate must identify themselves at the Birnam Wood Country Club's manned community gates.

Offered at $13,900,000.

State-of-the-art home secuirty systems protect this fabulous Italian Villa in Montecito.
State-of-the-art home secuirty systems protect this fabulous Italian Villa in Montecito.

Surrounded by protective gates, this newer Italian villa boasts a state-of-the-art home security system. For security reasons (natch), we can't disclose the brand or extensive features of the system. Offered at $17,750,000.

2. "Top of the Heap." Hilltop properties are often valued higher than low-lying properties becaues being higher up exudes a "powerful" facade. Also, having extended visibility (apart from providing a stunning view) often allows people to feel increased safety. These two Montecito properties provide that extended hilltop advantage (and that million-dollar view).

A hill top view provides this Montecito estate a stunning ocean view.
A hill top view provides this Montecito estate a stunning ocean view.

The incredible ocean-view may be the most obvious advantage of this hill top estate, but the safety and privacy advantages are also (almost) priceless. Offered at $9,875,000

A rustic hill-top retreat
A rustic hill-top retreat

Surrounded by 5+ private, hill-top acres, this luxurious rustic retreat's location affords a view as far as the eye can see.

Offered at $6,495,000.

Supersize. Another point of rare surprise: Americans' belief in "bigger is better" translates to their property as well. Whenever possible, Americans prefer bigger homes, bigger cars and bigger televisions. You name it, Americans would supersize it. The following properties are just plain big.

An expansive French Provincial estate in Montecito with ocean and mountain views.
An expansive French Provincial estate in Montecito with ocean and mountain views.

On over nine lush and private acres, there is nothing miniscule about this coveted Montecito estate. An approximately 12,000sf main residence overlooks expansive lawns, gardens and a private lake. Offered at $27,000,000.

AN expansive equestrian property in Santa Barbara
AN expansive equestrian property in Santa Barbara

This approx. 13 acre equestrian property features multiple guest structures, horse facilities, tennis court and two pools.

Offered at $18,200,000.

4. "My home is my castle." Americans covet their personal time and their privacy and view their home as their retreat from the stresses of daily life. A home in a quiet, tranquil setting is often a major priority for Americans. These two properties embody the stress-free living Americans strive toward.

Enchanting gardens and a tranquil location in Montectio.
Enchanting gardens and a tranquil location in Montectio.

This magical English Manor's private location is renowned in Montecito to be tranquil and quiet. Serene ocean views and enchanting gardens define the estate's placid aura. Offered at $7,995,000.

A tranquil zen garden surrounds this Montecito home.
A tranquil zen garden surrounds this Montecito home.

Zen gardens and trickling fountains surround this chic contemporary home near Montecito's Lower Village. While the location is desireably close to luxurious shops, restaurants, hotels and beaches, the floor plan allows for California-style indoor/outdoor entertaining and living. Ocean vistas and tranquil grounds create the ideal retreat from hectic daily life. Offered at $5,495,000.

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Curb Appeal is the Real Deal

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Curb Appeal is the Real Deal

Spring is just around the corner, as the season has gotten itself a reputation for being a great time to sell your home, many homeowners like to know where their home improvement investment should be spent. According to an article  by Realtor.com, exterior improvements are going to yeild the highest returns. The article references the 2014 Remodelings Costs vs. Value report, which compares the average costs of the 35 most popular home improvement projects.

Investment return on home improvement
Investment return on home improvement

For 2014, eight of the top ten most popular improvements were exterior upgrades. Exterior appeal is often the most important factor in a buyer's opinion of a property as first impressions are known to have a heavy influence on overall feelings. To view the highest investment returns in Montecito's neighboring Ventura County, click here. Below, enjoy three Montecito estates with incredible curb appeal.

A Montecito estate listed by Riskin Associates
A Montecito estate listed by Riskin Associates

A meandering drive introduces this historic Montecito estate. A sprawling lawn and majestic oaks are the ideal complement to the home's stunning, traditional facade.

For additional information on this Montecito estate, click here.

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610CimaVista_Exterior

This ocean-view Tuscan villa's motor court gives an impressive first impression, just a hint of the sumptuous interiors awaiting inside.

To see more of this designer residence, click here.

Rustic ocean-view home in Carpinteria
Rustic ocean-view home in Carpinteria

A rustic beauty in the ocean-view hills of Carpinteria, this compound has been featured in Architectural Digest.

To see inside the estate, click here.

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What's Happening in Santa Barbara?

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What's Happening in Santa Barbara?

It's nearly impossible to decide on the best aspect of living in the Santa Barbara area. Ideal weather with year round sun and temperate temperatures, a culinary wonderland of fresh, inventive flavors paired with the region's award winning wines, vast sandy beaches nestled against the Santa Ynez Mountain's hiking trails or the numerous cultural community events which throughout the year bring visitors and locals alike into the streets to celebrate Santa Barbara's rich history and modern lifestyle. Fortunately, being a resident of this fantastic locale allows for the enjoyment of each of these pleasures and the countless others waiting to be discovered.

This month, our town is bustling with excitement as the Santa Barbara International Film Festival approaches! The world renowned festival brings hollywood heavyweights up from LA to a warm welcome of Santa Barbara-style events. Take a look at a sampling of this month's events and get in on the action. (Note: when planning your attendances, please note that the average temperature in Santa Barbara during the month of January is 64 degrees and this week's forecast puts our temperatures in the high 70's all week. Just saying.)

January 16th: Meet the Masters, Miro Restaurant - Bacara Resort. Enjoy an intimate dining experience that offers culinary enthusiasts the rare opportunity to dine with Master Sommeliers from across the globe who share a proven mastery in the art and science of wine and spirit pairing.

January 19th-26th: Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant WeekRestaurants throughout the Santa Ynez Valley are offering special 3-course tasting menus for the price of $20.14

January 21st: New Year Modern with the Santa Barbara Chamber OrchestraCelebrate the beginning of 2014 with SBCO at New Year Modern and dive into the world of modern music! This concert features contemporary works of the 20th century and Appalachian Spring performed as a ballet.

January 30th-February 9th: Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), announces its highly-anticipated line-up for 2014. The 29th edition offers a vast array of films representing 60 countries and a rich selection of films sure to delight audiences from all reaches of the globe. SBIFF is proud to welcome many promising and established filmmakers, as well as honorees to join in its grand tradition of celebrating independent film.

January 30th-February 9th: Film Feast. Libations, cuisine, APPETITE! The original lights of Hollywood are shining brighter than ever, as Santa Barbara goes to the movies for a performance your taste buds will never forget. For eleven straight days, Film Feast 2014 is your invitation to explore the best plates and pours throughout Santa Barbara's many theatre districts during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. If something is made here, it's just a little more special, more flavorful, more memorable. This is where the greatest things come together. Ocean meets mountains. Sunny meets year-round. The good life meets the great life. This isn’t the end but actually just the beginning. Take a walk down the red carpet to savor the flavors made in Santa Barbara during Film Feast 2014.

For further information on Santa Barbara's seemingly endless entertainment offerings, visit SantaBarbaraCa.com. Additionally, we invite you back each month the find out what's going on around town.

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The Negative Impact of Celebrity on Real Estate

A Santa Barbara Ocean view estate.
A Santa Barbara Ocean view estate.

Modern media revolves around celebrity and the personal lives of high-profile individuals, and is no different for the buying and selling of residential real estate. The media loves to know when a public figure is listing their property or in negotiations for purchasing a new abode. And as is usual in the world of celebrities, the more the media wants to know, the less they are willing to share. Celebrities go to great lengths in order to protect the privacy of their personal lives and their homes as possible, and as an article by MainStreet.com argues, often to the detriment of future resale values. The article discusses several elements that celebrities find attractive in their homes, but can be too personal for future buyers to identify with.

While exposing the name of a famous owner can get a listing extended exposure, a dream come true from a marketing standpoint, a well-known listing can also be seen as a negative by some high-end buyers. A buyer may not want to purchase a home which has gotten a lot of press due to a well-known seller being attached to the property. This also goes for high-rise apartment complexes and gated communities. Having a high-profile neighbor attracting paparazzi attention may be a negative attribute of a home or apartment driving buyers away.

Customization of a home, while usually a huge selling point, can often be overdone by celebrities making the home too personal to them, making it difficult for buyers to see themselves living in a home. While a star athlete may want an indoor sport court with their jersey number splashed across the court, or a young movie star may love the idea of a private bowling alley in their own home, a buyer may find these amenities disarming and be off-put by the home as a result.

While celebrity and fame do have positive attributes for real estate from a marketing standpoint, often the attention this garners can be viewed as negative to buyers.

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