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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.



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!



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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beautiful kitchens: eat your heart out (part one)

Over the years, kitchens have become a more and more important part of the home. Throughout most of the history of the kitchen-- especially in high-end homes-- it was closed off from the rest of the home, considered more of a workspace than a living one. The popularity of cooking as a creative outlet and admirable skill encouraged the trend of open kitchens, eat-in kitchens, and kitchens suited for socializing in. Today, the kitchen can be the most important room of a home and many buyers will make decisions based primarily on this room. A well-appointed kitchen can be a spectacular place to spend time with family and friends, and thus a major selling point for a home.

We adore lovely kitchens and appreciate the many styles that can be done. Here are a few of our favorites from our current and recent Montecito real estate listings:

1. Between the view, eat-in kitchen, and center island, this Mediterranean kitchen was certainly designed to spend some quality time in.

Freehaven Montecito kitchen

2. This very white kitchen with over-sized spaces and counter tops, and a pitched ceiling achieves a very heavenly feel.

all white montecito kitchen

3. This kitchen, in a modern, Spanish-style home, features another white-based space that is far from bland. Dark accents and exquisite details make it feel refreshing yet opulent.

beautiful hot springs montecito kitchen

4. Stainless steel and sleek lines make this contemporary kitchen so beautiful, you'll forget there are other rooms to relax in.

contemporary modern montecito kitchen

5. Vintage-style appliances make this country kitchen an incredible and unique living space.

vintage montecito kitchen

These are merely but a few impressive spaces; we'll be back soon to showcase some more exceptional kitchens, including old world Mediterranean styles and kitchens that make a small space a gorgeous one.

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popular home styles for 2012

Yahoo Real Estate published an interesting article today about the most popular home styles of 2012. We decided this would be a great opportunity to discuss their findings and showcase the many beautiful listings we currently have that fit each category.


1. One of the most popular styles right now is the modern home. Clean lines, simple floor plans, and easy, open spaces. The modern design leaves out decorative details in favor of industrial materials like glass, steel, and concrete.

Our property on Olive Mill Road honors the modern style with bold splashes of color and unique architectural details.

modern style montecito home


While not overtly modern-esque, our newly-built Hot Springs property features an open, flowing floor plan, geometric lines, and a clean aesthetic in a modern style. The home's Spanish flair adds a bit of intrigue for contemporary style-lovers who want a bit of detail.

Montecito Spanish modern homemontecito spanish modern home family room


2. Neo-Mediterranean homes look fantastic on Montecito and Santa Barbara foothills and coastal cliffs. Local architects have always recognized this and built (and continue to build) in this style accordingly.


One of our most stunning properties is a Mediterranean home graciously overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Montecito Santa Barbara mediterranean homeMontecito Santa Barbara mediterranean home Living room


A brand new construction, this next home features state-of-the-art amenities with a grand, old-world feel.

Montecito mediterranean style home 2Montecito mediterranean LivingRoom


One of the most beloved features of the Neo-Mediterranean style is its eye-catching, red spanish-tiled rooftops. Another newer construction, this Mediterranean beauty graces the foothills and overlooks Montecito's one-of-a-kind coastline.

Montecito mediterranean home 3

Montecito mediterranean home master bedroom 3


Ornate details, while out of place in modern homes, can figure beautifully into the Mediterranean style. In this home, intricate details warm up grand spaces.

Mediterranean home montecito 4 entry waymediterranean home montecito pool


3. Craftsman style homes have captured the adoration of Americans across the country for over a century. They are perhaps one of the few distinctive styles that have timeless charm.

Our historic listing on Ashley Road offers the best of the style, with a wrap-around porch, and decorative brackets and gables. Its artistic details make every room feel special and it looks like it belongs among the giant oak trees that decorate its landscape.

craftsman home montecitomontecito craftsman home living room





a very special property

One of our most recent Montecito real estate listings on Ashley Road has an incredible history. We love working with properties that have an enticing past and truly believe one of the best things about Montecito is its rich history-- something unique to come by in California. Not surprisingly, we weren't the first ones to recognize our area's paradisial beauty!

Original Oglivy House

The original Oglivy house was built in the early 1900s by Scottish immigrant Arthur T. Oglivy as a farmhouse surrounded by lemon groves. Famous architect J.L Curletti designed the distinctive craftsman style home. Arthur T., wife Jessie Alexander, and their only son, Arthur Edward, lived in the barn while they constructed the shingled, two-story home.

Oglivy Family

Arthur T. was a popular resident of Montecito, and the Oglivy house was known for its hospitality and casual social gatherings. The family regularly participated in community events and entertained visitors often. San Ysidro Ranch has records of Arthur T. taking advantage of its "low summer rates" in 1893-- the famous resort's first year in business.

Arthur T. and Arthur E. Oglivy

The property enjoyed a few wells, one of which produced enough water for the Oglivys to start a drinking water business called Oglivy Artesian Water Company. For almost 30 years until 1947, people would bring jars to the Oglivy well to quench their thirst.

Son Arthur E. attended Cold Spring School before heading off to Yale. After graduating, he returned to Montecito and began working at his uncle's insurance firm, Oglivy-Hill insurance, which is still in practice today. In 1927, he hired architect George Washington Smith to build him a home on the south end of the property, now 650 Ashley Road.  Like his father, Arthur E. became a well-loved local figure in Montecito.

Mrs. Oglivy died at age 90 in 1955, with Arthur E. following shortly after in 1960 at age 71. Their deaths marked the end of the Oglivy presence in Montecito.

The historic Oglivy house in Montecito circa 1952

In 1959, Donald and Ellen Armour of the Armour Meatpacking Empire bought the Oglivy house. According to neighborhood chatter, Donald's penchant for mismanaging money forced the couple to abandon the home with all furniture in tact, vanishing forever.

The following year, Todd and Gail Campbell purchased the home, where they raised four children and several grandchildren. Recently, one of the Campbell children returned the home's original brass doorbell cover, which is now back in its original place.

Oglivy house montecito circa 1976

Julia Emerson bought and restored the home in 1984. She worked hard to get the house back to its original state, re-painting walls white and stripping linoleum away to reveal the original Douglas Fir floors beneath. She updated the kitchen and carefully restored the original pantry. Julia hired landscape architect Nancy Goslee Powers (who designed the driveway around the Norfolk Island Pine that was planted when the home was built), and updated the home's electricity and plumbing to match modern standards.

The Oglivy house Montecito 1991

In the spirit of the Oglivy family, Julia Emerson frequently hosted worldly guests at the home, including the Dalai Lama and a team of monks who meditated at the home for weeks to bless the property before his arrival. As a gift, one of the monks carved a Tibetan prayer into a piece of sandstone, which is now embedded within the front porch.

All of the home's residents who came after the Emersons likewise became beloved members of the community, with the home carrying on its reputation as a lively social gathering spot; the home has traditionally hosted Easter egg hunts, intergenerational bocce tournaments, and summer concert series.

Residents have continued to restore the home over the years, with exquisite care to maintaining original details, while updating its features to the highest end of standards.

The home is truly a treasure trove of community joy nestled in the heart of Montecito.

The Oglivy home today:

Montecito historic home historic montecito estate



Our Montecito Holiday Gift Guide

Montecito Holiday Gift Guide1. Lend some warmth to your loved ones with the Hermés lightweight jacquard blanket. The equestrian print fits perfectly in a Hope Ranch estate or a Montecito Country Estate, not to mention, the Hermés family are Montecito residents. Hermes Finish Blanket, $1850

2. This Jo Malone candle will turn a house into a home with one flick of a match. Bring one when you visit your favorite hostess. Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Luxury Candle, $400

3. Look locally for the bottle of vino that will wow even the most discerning wine connoisseur. With Jonata's luxurious cab, you can bet you'll bring something new to the table (and to your friends' palates)-- the ultra exclusive winery is one of the best-kept secrets of the California wine industry. Jonata Wines 2008 El Desafio de Jonata, Cabernet Sauvignon, $125

4. Montecito's beaches wouldn't be the same without the its residents' ubiquitous, beloved pooches. A bed with graphics as appealing as luxury pet brand, Blueblood's, not only makes a great gift for Fido, but looks wonderful in a Montecito beach estate. Blueblood "Cardiff By The Sea" Trellis Bed, $105-210

5. Wrap an electronic gift as exquisitely as possible with Chloe's tablet case. The tassels add a touch of couture to the simply sleek design. Chloé Leather iPad Case, $600

6. Local jeweler Daniel Gibbings presents an African-style, gold-and-silver confection. The exotic look honors the bohemian-chic style Montecito has become known for. Daniel Gibbings Safari Five Strand Cross Gold and Silver Elephant Hair Bracelet, $245