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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



Luxury Portfolio features La Pumada for its "captivating ceiling"

Recently, one of our favorite high-end real estate affiliations, Luxury Portfolio, chose to feature our La Pumada property alongside a group of properties with "captivating ceilings." Hand painted ceilings living room

Indeed, intricate, hand-painted ceilings grace the living and dining rooms of this estate. The amount of craftsmanship and artistry that has gone into this ceiling-- along with the similarly exceptional details that cover every corner of the house-- make this property the gem that it is. Such intricacies seem almost dreamlike and otherworldly, and thus walking through La Pumada feels downright heavenly.

Tollis hand painted ceiling

We don't like to play favorites, but if we had to, La Pumada would be at the top of our list.

More photos of La Pumada, a Montecito estate.


Here are a few other captivating ceilings Luxury Portfolio featured:

1. A very jungle-like, natural ceiling on this Sierra Blanca Estate, Marbella Golden Mile, Spain:

wooden natural beam ceiling spain


2. Quite contemporary in composition, the ceiling of this Moroccan Villa works beautifully with the traditional shapes and patterns, Marrakech, Morroco:

marrakech moroccan roof ceiling


3. We love the sleek, yet natural look in this Architectural Estate, Beverly Hills, California:

beverly hills modern beam ceilings


4. For those with ultra-chic, avante garde taste, who never grew out of their love for tree houses, the Villa Due Mari fulfills dreams, Sardinia, Italy:

Villa Due Mari Tree ceiling







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



A Day at the Greystone Mansion

Greystone Mansion Ad Invite Last Friday, December 2nd, Luxe Interiors + Design magazine put on its "Maison de Luxe" event at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. Twenty-four lauded designers decorated the historic mansion's rooms to their hearts' desires.

We decided it would be a great opportunity to head down to L.A. for the day and check it out. While there, we received a wonderful tour of the mansion's expertly-decorated interiors and attended a lecture featuring four of the designers on the panel.

The over 46,000-square-foot mansion (for comparison, our biggest Montecito estate clocks in at 30,000 sq. ft.) was built in 1928 for the Doheny family on over 18 acres. The property is now a landmark, restored by nonprofit Friends of Greystone with tours and events run by the city's Parks & Recreation Department. Obviously, this estate is truly magnificent, especially what with the internationally-renowned designers having gotten their hands on it.

Here are some photos of our wonderful day there.

Rebecca Dina and Sarah at Greystone Mansion

Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills Patio

Beverly Hills Greystone Estate Outside

Rebecca Dina Sarah View of Beverly Hills Greystone Mansion

Montecito also has some amazing historic homes and estates-- take a look at some of our favorites here.