Viewing entries tagged
luxury real estate

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

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


HOPE RANCH IS A PLACE LIKE NO OTHER IN THE SANTA BARBARA AREA. AS YOU PASS UNDER THE FILIGREED SIGN SUSPENDED ACROSS LAS PALMAS DRIVE, YOU FEEL AS IF YOU’RE ENTERING A WORLD ALL YOUR OWN. TOWERING PALMS LINE THE MAIN DRIVE, AND A FEELING OF SERENITY IS EVER PRESENT THROUGHOUT THE COMMUNITY. IT IS SITUATED IN THE WESTERN PORTION OF THE SANTA BARBARA AREA BETWEEN HIGHWAY 101 AND THE OCEAN, AND ENCOMPASSES 1,863 ACRES. THE BROAD, FLAT MESA AND LOW ROLLING KNOLLS ARE PUNCTUATED BY A MAGNIFICENT VALLEY OF LIVE OAKS, WHICH MAKES IT AN IDEAL LOCATION FOR EQUESTRIAN-MINDED RESIDENTS.

 

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

 
 

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Private Beach Access

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


 

Trails

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


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Schools

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

LagunaBlanca.org


 

Privacy

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


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

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If These Walls Could Talk

Stories From Solana


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


 
 

The Center of the Study of Democratic Institutions

with Professor Keith Melville


 
 

Solana’s Architecture

with Restoration Architect, Don Nulty


 
 

Solana’s rose gardens 

with Master Rosarian, Dan Bifano


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

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

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

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1125GardenLane_21

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

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

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

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

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1125GardenLane_12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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1125GardenLane_04

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

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

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

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

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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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Press Release: Riskin Partners Closes Over $146 Million in Luxury Real Estate in Q1 2015

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Press Release: Riskin Partners Closes Over $146 Million in Luxury Real Estate in Q1 2015

Santa Barbara’s leading residential real estate team, Riskin Partners, a luxury division of  Village Properties Realtors, the area’s exclusive Christies International Real Estate affiliate,  has broken an all-time record, closing over $146 million in sales in the first quarter of 2015.  Partners Rebecca Riskin, Dina Landi and Sarah Kelly, earned the #1 position in the Santa  Barbara Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for dollar volume sales in 2014, and have closed in  excess of $284 million over the last twelve months. Riskin Partners has claimed the #1  position for dollar volume sales in Montecito 9 out of the last 10 years, and was recognized  by the Wall Street Journal in 2012 as the #11 team in the country.

Riskin Partners’ sales volume is a staggering 206% greater than the #2 agent in the Santa Barbara MLS. Among the team’s 2015 sales was an exceptional Padaro Lane beach house, which closed for $19 million, the year’s highest sale to date. Riskin Partners represented the sellers in every sale over $10 million this year. Three of those properties received multiple offers.

Riskin Partners represented the sellers of this exceptional Padaro Lane beach house, the year's highest sale to date.
Riskin Partners represented the sellers of this exceptional Padaro Lane beach house, the year's highest sale to date.

“In this year’s first quarter, Santa Barbara and Montecito have seen a substantial increase in real estate activity across the board,” said Dina Landi. “In fact, sales are up 26% year to date.”

What is the team’s strategy for the remainder of 2015?

According to Sarah Kelly, “In order to continue to provide impeccable service and unrivaled representation for our clients, we’ve expanded our team to include seven full-time professionals.”

Rebecca Riskin adds, “Meeting our client’s needs is our first priority. We are proud of our success, but ultimately only feel successful when our clients are happy.”

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

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

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

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2860EValley_Waterfall
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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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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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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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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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In the handsome library, paneled walls complementing the French oak floor, exquisite built in bookshelves, French doors and warming fireplace create an ideal space for quiet leisure.

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

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764SanYsidroLane_15

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

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

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764SanYsidroLane_14

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

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

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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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Autumn Gifts: Santa Barbara Sunsets

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Autumn Gifts: Santa Barbara Sunsets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Santa Barbara Riviera home
Santa Barbara Riviera home

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

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

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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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Synopsis: Luxury Consumer Survey

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Synopsis: Luxury Consumer Survey

Realtor.com has released the results of their most recent survey of luxury home buyers, reporting on purchase motivations, amenity priorities and expectations. The numbers are encouraging, with 13% of home buyers looking to buy a luxury home and 26% considering a high-end luxury home. In the niche markets of Santa Barbara and Montecito, properties priced over $1M are considered luxury properties. The report also states that with such a large portion of homebuyers searching for high-end homes, trends in the entire market are being driven by the luxury sector.

A number of factors are motivating luxury homebuyers to make a move, chief among them being recent career success (19%) followed by retirement (17%). Investment and first time home buying were also catalysts to entering the housing market. Challenges homebuyers reported when shopping for a high end home were expected. Challenges included finding a property to meet family needs (40%), a limited inventory (20%) and access to mortgage loans (8%).

Buyers were also questioned on the most desirable amenities and what was the most important features of a home. Chef's kitchens were the most desirable with 54% of homebuyers listing a fabulous kitchen as their top priority. That million dollar view! Second on the list of desired features was a beautiful view (44%) particularly of an ocean, the mountains or cityscapes. Size also matters. Square footage (38%) and a large master suite (36%) also made the list. Resale value was also taken into consideration with 36% of buyers indicating resale value as "very important" and 27% feeling resale value was "extremely important."

For a further breakdown of luxury home buyers and information on homebuyers not looking for luxury real estate, view the full Realtor.com report.

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Five Forces Behind the Luxury Real Estate Boom

As 2013 comes to a close, The Financial Times reflects on five reasons the luxury real estate market has seen a promising upswing over the last 12 months. Compared to the U.S. as a whole, the luxury market has experienced a superior recovery from the housing market bust with home prices in the top 5% increasing by as much as 10% since September of 2012 while the other 95% increased 6% over the same time frame. Read on to find out what has fueled this healthy boost in the luxury market.

  • The increase in wealth. While everyone the world over is rejoicing in the recovering U.S. economic conditions, high-net-worth individuals are doing a decidedly more vigorous celebration dance. Recent data has revealed that the top 1% of households by income has captured 95% of the income gains between 2009-2012. Larger stock portfolios held by these high income individuals have benefitted from a booming stock market. The wealthy are searching for homes to fit their lavish lifestyle and are less likely to let interest rate increases dissuade their buying choices. In addition to these staggering numbers, the remaining 90% of the country has experienced fallen incomes by 16%.
  • Affordable (Oversized) mortgages.   It's no secret that cash is king in the luxury real estate market, but when a mortgage is needed, they are accessible at historically low rates. Larger loans (usually $625,000 in high-cost areas) were generally more expensive and had stricter requirements than conforming loans, but recently have become more in line with conforming loans in terms of affordability and screening requirements. Another factor is the tax break, interest on loans can be written off up to $1M.
  • Foreign buyers. The media has been reporting a sharp increase in purchases by foreign buyers. From Europeans to Asians, buyers are coming in from outside the U.S. with a sense of urgency to buy. Metropolitan cities like Miami, L.A. and Honolulu have seen the largest upswing in purchases by foreign buyers.
  • New construction is back. For several years after the market downturn, new construction of luxury properties was virtually nonexistent. But contractors are getting back in the game as inventory continues to stay low despite an ever increasing demand. The country's largest builder of luxury homes, Toll Brothers, have increased signed contracts by 23% in dollars and 6% in units in the fiscal fourth quarter. Co-founder of Toll Brothers Robert I. Tolls discusses the current state of the luxury home building market and it's relationship to the overall luxury real estate market, "The supply of luxury homes is still not meeting current demand, let alone the pent-up demand of the last seven years. This supply constraint could lead to a further escalation in luxury home prices above and beyond normal trends until industry production returns to historic equilibrium.”
  • Existing homeowners are trading up. First-time homebuyers are not the sector fueling the increase in luxury home market increase - existing homeowners are coming up from beneath the water, now having the ability to sell their homes and move to larger, more expensive residences. According to The Financial Times article, more than 85% of homeowners with a mortgage in the second quarter have some equity in their homes, this number up from 75% in 2011. Low inventory is allowing trade-up buyers an easier time selling their current home.

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Why Luxury Real Estate is a Vote of Confidence for the U.S. Economy

A luxury montecito estate
A luxury montecito estate

The U.S. economy is in full recovery mode! Over the last year, middle class families have jumped at the opportunity to purchase homes with record-low interest rates, contributing the boost in the market. Homes priced under $1 million rose 11% in price during the first half of 2013. Now the luxury home market is gaining momentum as well, with homes priced over $1 million jumping an average of 37% during the same time frame. According to an article released by Financial Post, these are the highest numbers seen since the market's height in 2007. The article goes on to explain that the luxury market tends to follow (closely) behind the broader market, as luxury property purchases tend to be "discretionary spending" and generally waits until a stable market is experienced.

This upswing the in real estate market is a sign of widespread economic growth.  According to the article, economists predict a U.S. economic expansion of 2.3% in this quarter alone. How does home purchasing indicate general economic growth? Home buying spurs consumer spending, with decorating, remodels and entertaining.

Wealthy families are gaining confidence in the economy as they are beginning to see stabilization of their investments, and beginning to purchase high-end homes. For this reason, the surge in the luxury real estate market reflects a vote of confidence in the broader economy. Riskin Associates is excited by a recent article published on AOL Real Estate which named Santa Barbara as the #3 city seeing the highest rate of market rebound in the US!

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