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Christie's International Real estate

Calling All Open House Lovers!

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Calling All Open House Lovers!

Riskin Partners is pleased to announce the newest addition to our website:

An online open house directory for Montecito and Santa Barbara!

These directories will automatically update with any open house changes or additions, rendering it a convenient and reliable resource for all those house hunters looking for an incredible property. Users may also filter results and view listing details at their convenience. What are you waiting for? Take a look!

Click Here to View All Montecito Open Houses

Click Here to View All Santa Barbara Open Houses

RP open houses this weekend include:

705 Park Lane - open Sunday, 7/26 2 - 4 PM offered at $4,595,000

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IMG_6758

709 Park Lane - open Sunday, 7/26 2 - 4 PM Offered at $3,750,000

An inviting pool and verdant grounds accompany a bright and pristine 3bd/3.5ba residence at one of Montecito's best addresses.
An inviting pool and verdant grounds accompany a bright and pristine 3bd/3.5ba residence at one of Montecito's best addresses.

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New Listing! El Fureidis - The Scarface Estate

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New Listing! El Fureidis - The Scarface Estate

Riskin Partners is honored to have this architecturally significant and historically unique co-listing with Emilly Kellenberger. El Fureidis – translated as ‘tropical paradise’ – is one of Montecito’s most celebrated estates and steeped in rich and colorful history.

26 - Exterior with Greenery -  Tom Ploch
26 - Exterior with Greenery - Tom Ploch

The estate was founded in 1906 by James Waldron Gillespie, a visionary hailing from New York who came to the West Coast looking for a location with a landscape and a climate that rivaled that of the Mediterranean. Originally known as a botanic garden, the estate boasts 10 acres of exceptional grounds offering the utmost in privacy and a variety of trees, many of which are over 100 years old.  The estate was inspired by Gillespie’s world travels, and designed by renowned architect Bertram Goodhue, known mainly for his churches, museums, and monumental buildings.

21 - Four Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch
21 - Four Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch

Goodhue’s works include the Los Angeles Central Library, Saint Thomas Church in New York City, the Nebraska State Capitol, and the Chapel and Original Campus of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

25 - East Elevation, Walkways and Fountain - Tom Ploch
25 - East Elevation, Walkways and Fountain - Tom Ploch

El Fureidis is known as Bertram Goodhue’s outstanding Mediterranean Revival masterpiece.

10 - Lee Lawrie Original Signature - Zac Smith
10 - Lee Lawrie Original Signature - Zac Smith

A Grand Roman Villa

Together, Gillespie and Goodhue embarked on a yearlong trip to Europe and the Mediterranean region to gather inspiration for the estate; a significant portion of their journey included over 500 miles on horseback from the Caspian Sea to the Gulf of Persia. This journey birthed the concept of a grand Roman villa with Persian gardens, a very progressive architectural style for the time.

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631ParraGrande_01

A Careful Eye for Detail

Constructed of steel-reinforced concrete and retaining the original layout footprint, Goodhue built El Fureidis to last. The main house recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation with a careful eye for detail, preserving the historic elements of the estate, while equipping the estate for modern living in a new era.

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631ParraGrande_02

Piéce de Résistance

The estate itself forms a rectangle with a bright atrium terrace at its center, and is accessed through an entry hall and a “conversation room,” a Byzantine-style alcove crowned with an 18-foot-high central dome that is decorated with a floral hand painted, gold and blue design in 24k gold-leaf modeled after the church of St. John Lateran in Rome.  The conversation room has remained the piéce de résistance of the house.

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631ParraGrande_08

Neoclassical Era

Offering numerous areas for entertaining, the public rooms of the estate are grand in style. The formal dining room is unique with a barreled ceiling painted in 24k gold leaf and depicting a scene of Alexander the Great conquering Persepolis by Henry Wadsworth Moore. The original signature by the artist remains intact. A musician’s balcony overlooks the formal dining room and is accessed via a glass door.

11 - Interior Couryard - Tom Ploch
11 - Interior Couryard - Tom Ploch

Each public room is bathed in natural light from the numerous sets of double doors, which open to the central courtyard and other patio areas.

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631ParraGrande_03
Living Room
Living Room

From the entry, one may enter the formal living room with lovely blue paneled ceilings, representing the heavens, and the neoclassical era of the estate.

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631ParraGrande_04

From the living room, the floor plan continues to a library, a sitting room and a lounge.

Kitchen
Kitchen
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631ParraGrande_07

Modern Appointments

Many of the original fixtures and appointments remain, and are coupled with fully modernized and deluxe appointments in the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry facilities, such as radiant floor heating, a steam shower, and top-end appliances. The renovation includes a second floor configured with three guest suites.

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631ParraGrande_09

Upstairs, an exquisite rooftop with three access points provides 360-degree views of the lavish ten-acre property, Pacific Ocean, and the Channel Islands. The desirable Montecito climate allows the rooftop to be enjoyed year round, while expansive space for rooftop lounging and sunset views provide the perfect setting for events.

3 - South Elevation with Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch
3 - South Elevation with Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch

The property is bordered by a seasonal creek and offers significant gardens and landscaping, originally Persian in design, and reflective of Gillespie’s fondness for palm trees.  At one time, the gardens boasted more than 100 different varieties of palm and other trees, and today the expansive 10-acre grounds still harbor several century-old tree specimens, including a massive Chilean wine palm, Montecito’s largest Moreton Bay fig tree, magnificent king palms, a grove of coast redwoods, citrus and walnut orchards, and many others.

22 - Lower Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch
22 - Lower Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch

Significant Landscape

9 - Back Patio - Tom Ploch
9 - Back Patio - Tom Ploch

The many terraces, reflecting pools, and gardens are enhanced by Lee Lawrie’s nine bas-reliefs located at the rear of the estate. Lee Lawrie and Bertram Goodhue collaborated on many projects, bringing Lawrie to the forefront of the architectural industry. Lee Lawrie known as one of the United States’ most influential architectural sculptors and likely best known for the sculpture of Atlas at Rockefeller Center. The nine bas-reliefs depict scenes from Arthurian legends, which form a band between the tops of columns on the south side of the estate and feature Lawrie’s signature etched in stone.

The south elevation of the estate is dominated by a dazzling terrace of herringbone brick and turquoise reflecting pools, which descends via a walkway graced with additional water features—ending at a stately Roman temple or casino.

23 - Lower Fountains - Tom Ploch
23 - Lower Fountains - Tom Ploch

The prevalent rectangular shape of the pools, terraces and walking paths in the gardens provide a tranquil atmosphere while water transports from one place to the next via narrow, shallow channels that are terraced to create cooling water.

24 - Lower Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch
24 - Lower Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch

The estate includes numerous original brick pathways offering opportunities to take in the lovely trees, and to reflect on the peaceful atmosphere across the grounds.

27 - Moreton Bay Fig Tree - Tom Ploch
27 - Moreton Bay Fig Tree - Tom Ploch

El Fureidis is a place of legendary provenance and has at times received credit for playing host to many memorable tenants and visitors, including Thomas Mann, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Charles Chaplin, and John F. Kennedy. It is perhaps best known in recent years as a location for the 1983 film “Scarface,” and the wedding scene of Michele Pfeiffer and Al Pacino. The estate is one of only three residences in Montecito designed by Goodhue, and is a true piece of art history.

El Fureidis

631 Parra Grande, Montecito

Offered at $17,900,000

Click here to experience the virtual tour of the estate

Click here for a complete list of all of Riskin Partners' luxury listings

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A Quick Look Into the Inaccuracies of Zillow Home Zestimates in Santa Barbara

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A Quick Look Into the Inaccuracies of Zillow Home Zestimates in Santa Barbara

The LA Times recently examined Zillow's price inaccuracies, where Zillow CEO, Spencer Rascoff, remarked that their "Zestimates are a 'good starting point' but that nationwide they have a 'median error rate' of about 8%." This is of significance considering that Zillow is one of the most popular real estate information sites. "Shoppers, buyers, and sellers" alike often quote these estimated value prices to real estate agents, and discrepancies can sometimes lead to disagreements. The disparity can be especially significant in regards to luxury homes, where that "small" percentage can translate to hundreds of thousands of dollars - possibly even more in market areas where inaccuracy percentages are even higher. (Read the full LA Times article here) So, we decided to do a little bit of our own research about the Santa Barbara area including Carpinteria, and Montecito. We compared the sales price of 10 different homes that closed since January 1, 2015 to current Zillow Zestimate prices. Differences ranged from +/- 3% all the way up 31%, with the majority of discrepancies being between +/- 3% and 11%; the average deviation from actual closing sale price was 11.8%. Although it would be a stretch to assume this is the average for the entire Santa Barbara housing market, it does give us a general idea of the extent to which Zestimates are flawed. Fortunately, it seems Santa Barbara does not suffer from drastic price discrepancies, but it is a factor that home buyers, sellers, and shoppers should be aware of.

Lesson to learn from all of this: online home estimates should be used for general reference, and not treated as factual or explicit. Buyers and sellers are encouraged to trust the valuations of real estate professionals and appraisers.

For more information on Santa Barbara real estate, or the luxury enclaves of Montecito, Hope Ranch, the Riviera and Beaches, please contact Riskin Associates, the top producing real estate team in Santa Barbara.

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Riskin Associates of Village Properties Sells Mediterranean Estate in Montecito for $15,000,000

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Riskin Associates of Village Properties Sells Mediterranean Estate in Montecito for $15,000,000

LuxuryRealEstate.com, "a compendium of the finest residential real estate firms from around the world," has published a press release regarding the recent sale of one of Riskin Associates' exceptional properties in Montecito. The two-story Mediterranean estates which prides ocean- and mountain-views, a six bedroom main house, two bedroom guest cottage, pool and cabana, tennis court, and lusciously manicured gardens, was sold for $15,000,000.The press release from LuxuryRealEstate.com contributes to the recognition of Riskin Associates as a prominent figure within the Who's Who in Luxury Real Estate network; we genuinely feel inspired and motivated to continue striving toward our goals! If you would like to browse more closed sales by Riskin Associates, click here, or if you would like to view more of our available listings, click here.

To read the full significant sale articleclick here or on the picture below

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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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LivingRoom
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Dining-2

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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FamilyRoom

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

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2860EValley_Kitchen
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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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MasterBedRoom
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2860EValley_Bath

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.

BedRoom
BedRoom
GuestHouse
GuestHouse

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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2860EValley_Porch

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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764SanYsidroLane_11

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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764SanYsidroLane_27

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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764SanYsidroLane_26

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.

[vimeo 104343670 w=500 h=281]

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! 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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Christie's International Real Estate CEO Talks to The NYT

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Christie's International Real Estate CEO Talks to The NYT

Village Properties is the exclusive Christie's International Real Estate affiliate in the Santa Barbara market. Recently, Christie's CEO Bonnie Stone Sellers spoke to the New York Times about the future of the powerhouse company, and how it's success is driven by the success of the affiliates.

Ms. Sellers is the chief executive of Christie’s International Real Estate, the New York-based division of the auction houseChristie’s. The company has 138 real estate affiliates in 45 countries, including Brown Harris Stevens.

Before joining Christie’s in September 2012, she served as the head of the real estate group at McKinsey & Company, where she was a partner for 14 years.

Interview conducted and condensed by VIVIAN MARINO

Q. How does the New York market factor into the overall business at Christie’s International?

A. There isn’t any one affiliate that is that major a factor, but New York is a very important location for us. A lot of our major transactions are in the New York market. Since I’ve been with Christie’s International Real Estate, our network’s biggest transaction in New York City was through our affiliate Brown Harris Stevens: an $88 million apartment at 15 Central Park West bought by a Russian oligarch in 2012.

Q. Have you added affiliates since you came to the helm?

A. We’ve added 18 affiliates, some of which are in really key areas — from Singapore to Dubai; Monaco; Orange County, Calif.; Honolulu, just to name a few.

As a result of this and as a result of the strength of the luxury market, our growth has been substantial.

Q. How so?

A. In 2013, we had a sales volume of $106 billion. That reflected a 29 percent growth over the previous year of about $82 billion.

Q. What is your forecast for this year?

A. We’re looking for a bigger number.

Q. Your company recently published its second annual study of the global luxury market. Any surprises?

A. The big surprise for us was the velocity of sales. We had no idea that the growth in the luxury market was related to the volume of sales, in particular, rather than the increase of prices. The second big “aha!” to us in our research — and we do all the research ourselves, by the way — was that luxury real estate has no relationship to general housing. It bears a very close relationship to luxury goods, particularly fine art. And if you look at how well the auction house did this past year, it kind of proves the point. Many have multiple pieces of art, and multiple homes.

Q. Are there just more rich people around?

A. There are a lot more rich people, and the rich people have more wealth — this had been in many public reports. But to us, we see three groups driving this.

The first group that everyone hears about is the foreigners. They invest in London and the United States and they do that to have a safe place for their capital, a place where they can eventually live when they want to send their children to school; a place that has ease of access — a lifestyle city.

A second group are the millennials. This is a generation that for the first time is receiving money from their baby-boomer parents or perhaps they were in the tech area and they’ve earned their own money. They’re becoming a noticeable force in the market.

But the third group — the real driver — is the locals. And this is not just focused on New York but all the major cities we’ve looked at. The locals were on the sidelines during the recession and they’ve now come back with their pent-up demand and they’re fueling the growth of the lowest end of the luxury market — $1 million to $5 million — because finances are available and they have confidence.

Q. In the New York market, $1 million isn’t really considered luxury.

A. We actually agree with you. In the New York market, we define luxury as $5 million and above. But for our network globally, we only handle properties starting at $1 million.

Q. So if I wanted to list a home for under $1 million, you wouldn’t market it?

A. Our affiliates may take it, but not under the Christie’s network.

Q. Are you working directly with any big developments?

A. You caught us just before we announced the business — we’re going to be launching it this summer.

One of the new initiatives this year is to create a business in development project marketing. We have three projects under our belt already. The one we are about to launch is in Sardinia; we also have two projects in London.

Q. Where would you like to see the company in the next few years?

A. We have some bold aspirations in the next five to 10 years. First: geographic expansion. We need to be in every major luxury city in the world, and there are still a few that we haven’t yet tackled. There are several in Asia that we’re testing the waters on right now — for example, Tokyo.

I’d like to deepen synergies with the auction house. This year we had the opportunity to market and sell the properties of Huguette Clark. She died, a copper heiress, with four properties in the New York area — three on Fifth Avenue, sold together with our affiliate Brown Harris Stevens — and one in Connecticut. In addition, we sold a lot of the art in the homes, jewelry and in the most recent auction, the Monet “Water Lilies.” So it came full circle: the art and the real estate together. It was a perfect synergy.

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Montecito's Largest Real Estate Sale of the Year

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Montecito's Largest Real Estate Sale of the Year

 Santa Barbara’s top real estate team, Riskin Associates of Village Properties Realtors, exclusively affiliated with Christie’s International Real Estate, was the listing agent for the highest priced residential sale of 2014 thus far. Commanding a list price of $28,000,000 the approx. 3-acre Fernald Point property included 300+/- feet of sandy beach frontage and coastal views spanning from Carpinteria to the Santa Barbara Harbor. The property closed escrow in late April, marking the beginning of a market pick up in the high end. Luxury real estate markets in major metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, New York and London have been booming for a few years now. “During that time the high end market in Santa Barbara and Montecito was relatively slow. Recently, we've seen a nice pick up in sales over $7M” says Riskin Associates Partner Dina Landi, “But we still have a lot of inventory.”

The staggering sale on Fernald Point contributes to Riskin Associates’ impressive sales total, so far this year the team has closed over $70 million dollars in luxury real estate transactions. On top of their closed 2014 transactions, the team has a number of additional high-end properties currently in escrow, ranging from $7,950,000 to $14,900,000. This recent shift in the market has the team at their busiest since 2012, when they totaled over $225 million in sales for the year.

Their unique team approach allows Riskin Associates partner’s Rebecca Riskin, Sarah Kelly and Dina Landi to always be available. “During a hot market, working as a team allows us to maintain an unparalleled level of service, with attention to every detail and anticipation of every client’s need" says Rebecca. Clients appreciate the team’s intimate involvement with every aspect of a transaction.

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Christie's Fine Estates & Fine Wine: A Perfect Pairing

A Santa Ynez Valley vineyard
A Santa Ynez Valley vineyard

Riskin Associates is a proud affiliate of luxury real estate giant, Christie's International Real Estate.  With our office in such close proximity to one of the world's finest wine regions, the Santa Ynez Valley, we are excited to announce the newest branch of the Christie's empire: Vineyards by Christie's. The new program will pair leading wine experts and first-class luxury real estate specialists with participants to provide the knowledge of industry authorities to assist in the accession of wine and wine-producing estates. Other services included with the program are in line with the five-star service Christie's and Christie's affiliates provide, and include personalized travel arrangements and language translation services. The Riskin Associates team is excited for Christie's newest endeavor and supports the ideal pairing of luxury real estate with fine wines! Cheers!

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