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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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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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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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Drought, Desalination... What's The Deal?

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Drought, Desalination... What's The Deal?

Drought

The current drought in California has commanded the attention of many and as we continue to see minimal rain here in Santa Barbara and throughout the state, this is not an issue that we will be disengaging from anytime soon. This particular drought began in 2012 and is the worst drought in 1,200 years. This year also marks an all-time record low for snow pack levels in the Sierras amounting to an equivalent of 24 billion gallons of water loss. For a striking visual perception of the drought, Click Here to view an article which compares photos of California's water sources just before the drought in 2011 and their recent state, in 2014.

Limited rainfall has caused our water reservoirs to become depleted and over drafting of groundwater is underway. Looking at our future, "the 2016-2017 water year is looking dire...assuming that there will be no surface water coming from Lake Cachuma, the State Water Project or Jameson Lake." State-wide, Governor Jerry Brown has issued a mandate that urban water use must be reduced 25 percent below 2013 levels by February 2016. To put this all in perspective, NASA estimates, "it would take 11 trillion gallons of water to get us out of drought," and it is these types of severities that are causing people to seek for solutions to this complicated problem.

Recently, Santa Barbara increased to Stage 3 drought regulations, which call for stringent water use restrictions and increased water rates. Conservation techniques are another alleviation, which Santa Barbara residents are implementing effectively. In the month of May, residents conserved an astounding 37%, bringing reduction efforts up to 24% since last July and only 1% away from the city's goal (go SB!). Santa Barbara also holds the lead for highest conservation rates in the state, but we must also consider what else may lie in the near future for our community. If the drought persists and there is no water available for purchase, the city needs another fallback.

Desalination

Desalination has been a topic of discussion as the vast ocean near our homes provokes its consideration as a potential water source; after all, 97.5% of all the water on Earth is sea water. Click here to watch a 30-second informational video explaining the process of desalination. For a smaller Santa Barbara community like Montecito, drought relief options are limited and, aside from increased water rates, desalination seems a viable recourse. According to Montecito general manager, Tom Mosby, "Santa Barbara expects to get its desalination facility operational next year [and] if it’s approved by the state and the Santa Barbara City Council moves forward, Montecito could get emergency permit status by the end of 2016 for its own facility." A new Montecito plant would cost between $60 and $80 million and in conjunction with the Santa Barbara plant,  "could handle almost all the city’s water needs"; but only as long as residents continuation their conservation and cut their existing usage by 25%.

The Deal

- The drought is very serious and even with some recent minor rainfall, residents must keep in the mind that this issue has not been overcome. There is a 70% likelihood that the drought will persist.

- Santa Barbara locals are responding productively to water restrictions and conservation efforts yet that does not mean we should ease up on conservation techniques and implementation - this is an ongoing endeavor. For further tips and information regarding reduction of your water consumption, visit the Santa Barbara County Water Conservation page by clicking here. 

- Desalination is only a complementary aid to water conservation, and efforts are underway to recommission the Santa Barbara plant as well as construct a new plant for Montecito; however, this may be costly, energy-intensive and it is questionable whether or not the plants will be ready and functioning before the drought is over.

- Effect on the real estate market: Water allotments per parcel are tightening and causing buyers to reconsider their water sources and water use (on average in California, almost 50% of total residential water use is for the outdoors/landscaping). Now more than ever, buyers are placing high value on wells and also drought-considerate landscaping in order to remain within these allotments.

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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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An International Affair

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An International Affair

Just a hop, skip, and a jump across the pond...and then all the way over to the West coast - yesterday, our fantastic affiliates at Mayfair International Realty paid us a lovely visit here in Montecito! Along with Village Properties' founder, Renee Grubb, we were fortunate enough to network with our guests, Managing Director Nick Churton and Director Annette Reeve. Much of the day was spent discussing advertising and press opportunities, as our exclusive collaboration with Mayfair presents the unique advantage of superb exposure to the global market. With member firms dating back to 1750 and covering every aspect of modern estate agency, land agency and property related professional services, Mayfair blends multiple disciplines with outstanding expertise and geographical supremacy. The Mayfair Group brings together all the very best independent firms to make a formidable force in property services. Over 300 hundred UK offices working in 47 counties, plus 150 offices active across North America and Australia, all have one aim in common – to provide the best possible property service where you live or would like to live.

So, we took the best to tour the best of our beautiful town. Throughout the day, we explored a variety of Village's properties including the romantic Villa di Serenita, charming Brookside, and one of our newest listings, enchanting Garden Lane. Of course, a proper experience of Santa Barbara would not be complete without a stop at the El Encanto Hotel for a delicious lunch! We wanted to thank our UK visitors for an enjoyable visit, we hope that our adoration for Santa Barbara and Montecito rubbed off on you and left a lasting impression!

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Mayfair6-3

To find out more about our premier affiliates at Mayfair International Realty, click here

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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.

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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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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
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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.

[vimeo 99591114 w=500 h=281]

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! 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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download (1)

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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Aerial-1

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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Aerial-3

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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Weekend Food, Fun & Sun in Santa Barbara!!

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Weekend Food, Fun & Sun in Santa Barbara!!

The SOL Food Festival in Santa Barbara has fun for the whole family!
The SOL Food Festival in Santa Barbara has fun for the whole family!

Santa Barbara is renowned for it's stretches of sandy beaches, exciting events such as the SB International Film Festival and of course, it's profusion of delectable culinary offerings. But restaurants and cafes aren't the only spots in Santa Barbara you will find food and fun combined! Santa Barbara residents and visitors regularly enjoy festivals and celebrations that prove to be a feast for all the senses! Santa Barbara offers year-round opportunities to appreciate the beautiful bounty of the area. From the Solstice Festival in June to Octoberfest fun, and lets not forget the annual Holiday Parade, each season has it's own way of partaking in the excitement! As we head into the fall season (which, in Santa Barbara, bares a striking resemblance to Summer) harvest fun is  everywhere! This Saturday, the SOL Food Festival will pay tribute to local farmers, chefs, and organizations  throughout SB County. The festival, which will be held at Plaza Vera Cruz Park on Santa Barbara street between Cota  and Haley Streets, will feature several different stages each boasting their own theme such as Making Change Stage  and Hands On Kitchen Stage. We've included the festival map to the left! Bring the family out to Plaza Vera Cruz Park for a day of fun, food, music and of course, Santa Barbara sun!

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company Figtober Fest
Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company Figtober Fest

Another way to enjoy the beauty of Santa Barbara's fine offerings is directed to our adult residents and visitors. The new "it" locale for laid-back dining and drinking is Santa Barbara's up and coming neighborhood, lovingly referred to as The Funk Zone. This area of SB was once known for its industrial atmosphere, but star chefs, breweries and sommeliers are breathing new life into the area, giving it a relaxed yet stylish feel. New restaurants and tasting rooms are popping up what seems to be weekly, and the activity is getting everyone's attention.

This weekend, Santa Barbara County favorite Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company is hosting FigtoberFest in two locations, Buellton and the Santa Barbara Funk Zone. The Funk Zone location will feature beer tastings, guest breweries, wine tastings, food trucks, live music and costume contests! In keeping with the Oktoberfest spirit, traditional German garb is encouraged!!

Sunday, work (or watch) off your food/beer coma by heading down to West Beach and take in the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour, going on Friday - Sunday. Click here to buy your tickets to the action!!

Riskin Associates invites you to visit Santa Barbara and get a taste of what everyday life is like in paradise!

AVP
AVP

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The Housing Market According to Fannie Mae

The housing market has been making big news lately, and it seems everyone has something to say about home prices, inventory and mortgage rates. To make sense of all the information floating around, editors of the LA Times met with Fannie Mae chief economist Douglas Duncan to get the scoop on what to believe about the current state of the market, and what to ignore. Here's a summary of Duncan's comments:

  • There is no bubble, this is not a boom. Duncan does not view the housing market as robust, rather that rising home prices are simply bouncing back from very low bottoms. New construction is also moving at a slow but steady pace, however it is not expected to resume the pace it held at the height of the market.
  • Don't fear the mortgage rates. Fannie Mae reports that there is little correlation between the increase in mortgage rates and home prices and Duncan predicts that while sales may decline, home prices will continue to increase. Duncan also doesn't see a second surge in rates in the future, but rather a gradual increase.
  • There is no longer shame in renting. Ownership is still part of the dream, but renting has become a larger part of the norm. Investors have purchased single-family homes since the boom and families who were drastically burdened by the recession are renting to "recreate" the home ownership experience. And "downgrading" to renting no longer means that your home owning days are over, Duncan says many who lost their homes will own again.
  • It's true, it is a good time to buy. Although home prices are up from their rock bottoms, they are still considerably low as are mortgage rates despite to recent spike. However Duncan warns, "You should only buy a house if you can afford it."
  • Investors: a possible risk. Investors have played a crucial role in the market recovery. However it is possible that as new construction begins to take off, investors could sell their holdings, which could cause decline. Duncan urges investors to watch construction which acts as competition.

Riskin Associates has seen a renewed energy in the high-end market in the recent weeks. Many high-end listings in Montecito are receiving back to back showing requests and multiple offers, proving that the competition is stiff across all branches of the market.

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Santa Barbara Home's One of the Fastest Rising List Prices in California!

CAR Top 7 Metros
CAR Top 7 Metros

The California Association of Realtors has released the top seven metropolitan areas with the fastest rising list prices, and Santa Barbara is #2! With a 38% year-over-year increase, Santa Barbara comes in just behind Sacramento. According to the CAR, the median list price of homes in the Santa Barbara area is just under $700,000. According to leading real estate professionals, nearly every neighborhood in Santa Barbara has seen an increase in list prices since the beginning of the year. Many listings are receiving multiple offers and offers coming in at full price. This active summer selling season is motivating home owners to put their homes on the market, and commanding top dollar.  Although the first quarter of 2013 was quiet in the luxury real estate market, the market has picked up significantly with multiple new properties coming on the market every week. Riskin Associates is excited by the active market and is reveling in this busy time!

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Foreign Buyers are Snatching Up Luxury Real Estate

Hand shakes close many business transations
Hand shakes close many business transations

AOL Real Estate is reporting an influx in foreign homebuyers with staggering figures. Between March 2012 and March 2013, foreign buyers spent over $68 billion in real estate! Interestingly, Chinese buyers are taking the lead in purchases, contributing 18% of that $68B. The article reports that Chinese buyers spend more on real estate than any other foreign demographic and nearly 70% of their purchases are made in cash. California is their location of choice for home purchases; last year, more than half of the homes sold in California went to Chinese buyers!

Interestingly, these Chinese buyers do not spend their time in the homes they buy. Most buyers are wealthy industrialists and real estate tycoons who spend less than half the year in the U.S. Motivations for purchases include California's abundance of prestigious school systems, with many purchasing homes for children receiving an education in the state.

Riskin Associates affiliate Christie's International Real Estate recently held a conference in San Francisco which focused on this emerging market, providing further insight into the motivations of Chinese buyers. With interests in winemaking and vineyard ownership as well as premier golf facilities, Chinese buyers are flocking to California to explore all that the diverse state has to offer.

California's luxurious neighboring communities, Montecito and Santa Barbara, are home to several prestigious educational institutions, multiple premier golf courses, and just a short drive up the coast, the Santa Ynez Valley is emerging as a first-class region for vineyards and winemaking.

As the economy continues to strengthen and foreign buyers contributing substantially to it's growth, the residential real estate market continues to experience a surge as well.

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Santa Barbara South County Sales Race 40% Ahead Of Last Year

Just last month we reported to you that sales for Santa Barbara County were booming. Well, the May numbers are in and the market is gaining speed even faster than expected. In fact, the South County real estate market is now running 40% ahead of 2011 year-to-date. The graph below displays a serious spike in sales, with May 2012 reaching an all time high and breaking the 200 property threshold. This is the strongest start to the year we've seen since 2004!

Meanwhile at Rebecca Riskin & Associates, we are definitely feeling the market heat up as we continue to break records. Our year- to-date sales are now at $135 million! Make sure to visit our website to view the beautiful photos and full details of our 22 current listings.

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sales up 33% from last year in santa barbara county

As of lately, fantastic weather has graced our seaside town. Things aren't just looking up outside, however: Our office has been booming with action. We have proudly closed nearly $110 million in sales since January, a new record for us. In fact, the southern Santa Barbara County real estate market is up 33% in sales compared with last year.  

 

We're thrilled to see the market upturn, as increases in high end real estate sales bodes well for the market in general, boosting consumer confidence.

Additionally, we have some exceptional mega listings coming up and will have some beautiful things to share here. Stay tuned because can't wait to show them off!

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beautiful kitchens: eat your heart out (part two)

As promised, today we bring you part two of our kitchens feature. We briefly spoke about the importance of a well-appointed kitchen these days, especially with a cultural shift in how Americans use their kitchens. In other words, increasingly more people are using their kitchens as a central social zone in their homes, foregoing separate dining rooms in favor of enjoying meals directly within the kitchen itself. Here are some more of our favorite kitchens from various Montecito real estate listings-- ones we definitely want to spend time in.

1. We love how this kitchen places bright, white marble with dark cabinetry and hardware; it creates a sleek, yet prominent contrast.

Montecito Lilac white marble kitchen

2. Country style kitchens tend to feel the most inviting and easy to spend time in. The use of open spaces and an immediate eat-in area makes this one feel particularly social.

white country kitchen in montecito

3. Another lovely country-style kitchen, this more charmingly-sized space uses lots of bright white, light countertops, and a bit of sheen to maximize cheerfulness. This creates a perfect balance between refreshing and cozy.

bright country kitchen montecito

4. Country kitchens can take on a Mediterranean flair, like this one, which has a touch of Tuscan villa and looks out over the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez mountain range.

mediterranean style country italian kitchen montecito

5. Kitchens with less space can still be spectacular, with beautiful beamed ceilings, gleaming granite counter tops,  stainless steel appliances, and stone tile back splashes.

smaller beautiful granite kitchen in montecito

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