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montecito real estate

Montecito Social Calendar: December

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Montecito Social Calendar: December

it's always sunny in santa barbara

santa barbara is widely recognized for having the best weather year round, and we couldn't agree more. with our warm winters and coastal vibes, there's no place more ideal to spend the  holiday season. read for a taste of santa barbara's december musts!

a warm Kick off to December

 

outdoor celebrations: holiday parades + festivals

as the holiday season nears, santa barbara takes full advantage of our amazing weather and prime location.  Come and enjoy the holidays as we celebrate all over our beautiful beach town - you wont want to miss these festivities.

 

65th Annual Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade

When: Friday, december 1st | where: state street, from sola to cota

Officially kicking off the holiday season, this signature Downtown Santa Barbara event brings a colossal contingent of high-stepping marching bands, fabulous holiday-themed floats, spectacular performance groups, local personalities, and our amazing Grand Marshal, Noah Wyle! The Holiday Prince and Fairy, selected from winning artwork best capturing the parade theme, lead the parade and light up the street on their way down the parade route.

32nd annual Christmas parade of lights

when: sunday, december 10th | where: santa barbara harbor & waterfront

At 5:30 p.m. the annual boat parade begins with approximately 30 boats motoring, sailing, and paddling the Santa Barbara Coastline to the theme of Hollywood Holidays. Judging takes place at Stearns Wharf and boats are awarded donated cash and prizes in five categories. Best viewing locations include Stearns Wharf and the breakwater. Then visitors enjoy a fireworks show after the parade, ending their night with a bang.

 

Snow Leopard Festival/Sledding at the Zoo

When: sunday, december 3rd | Where: Santa Barbara Zoo

A rare blizzard hits the Zoo with 80 tons of snow for sledding and snow play for this frosty fun family festival. Snow leopards bask in their element while Santa poses for holiday photos.

solvang julefest parade

when: saturday, december 2nd  | Where: Downtown solvang

Along the route of the annual Solvang Julefest Parade. More than 400 participants and 50 + entries march, trot, cruise and stroll along festively decorated Mission Drive, Copenhagen Drive and adjacent streets.  Thousands of spectators from near and far enjoy the parade as well as free, post-parade visits with Santa in Solvang Park.

 

Santa Barbara's Historic theater district

Home to the granada theater, the lobero, and the ensemble theater company at the new vic, the historic theater district provides world-class programming and access to the performing arts to diverse and passionate audiences.

featuring: The Nutcracker

when: Saturday, December 9th, 2:30pm/7pm + Sunday, December 10th, 2:30pm | Where: The Arlington Theater

Featuring: miss bennett: Christmas at pemberley

when: thursday, November 30th - sunday, December 17th | where: The Ensemble theater company

Montecito Real Estate Luxury Real Estate Riskin Partners Santa Barbara Real Estate

Featuring: The Christmas Revels

when: friday, december 15th - sunday, December 17th | where: the lobero theater

 

santa barbara waters

beaches

Whether you're looking to surf, lay out and relax, tale the dog out for a run, or play volleyball with the kids, Santa Barbara beaches are home to some of the best activities for the whole family.

 

Can't help but be thankful for Santa Barbara, each and every day. #happythanksgiving #americanriviera 📷: @paddlesportscenter

A post shared by Visit Santa Barbara (@visitsantabarbara) on

 
 

whale migration

From late December through early February, Pacific Gray Whales migrate south to breed in the warm Mexican waters. A large number of these southbound whales travel through the gap between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands.

 
 

santa barbara beach horseback riding

Enjoy the invigorating (and romantic) thrill of a glorious Santa Barbara Beach Horseback Ride in this acclaimed private or semi-private 90-minute excursion. Two ride options available.

 
 

water sports + activities

Santa barbara adventure company:

Kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, surfing, and much, much more

The SB Adventure company is committed to creating unforgettable adventures of the highest quality, focusing on the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside and coastal waters. Our knowledgeable and friendly guides offer exceptional service and share with you a side of the Santa Barbara area few visitors ever get to experience.


Santa barbara sailing center

 Learn to sail, charter a sailboat, rent a variety of small sail or power boats or escape on award-winning Liveaboard Instructional Sailing Vacations to the world-famous Channel Islands National Park.
Choose from a wide variety of public cruises and see oceans of marine life and spectacular coastline views.

 
 

eateries with outdoor seating

enjoy santa barbara's beautiful weather and gorgeous views while tasting foods from the area's best restaurants and chefs.

Jeannine's restaurant and bakery

Jeannine’s is part of the fabric of Santa Barbara and strives daily to provide a place where people can enjoy one-of-a-kind pastries and nutritious food every day.

Three locations: Montecito, Downtown, and Uptown

bella vista at the Four seasons resort the biltmore

With panoramic ocean and island views across Montecito’s Butterfly Beach, guests will enjoy a contemporary Italian menu showcasing fresh California ingredients. The expansive terrace features Italian marble, indoor fireplaces, an outdoor fire pit and a retractable glass roof further create the indoor–outdoor dining experience.

Monday's are for Latte Art 👑

A post shared by Jeannines Bakery & Restaurant (@jeanninesrestaurants) on

zaytoon

Zaytoon - the hidden oasis in the center of Santa Barbara. A place where you can experience fresh and tasty Lebanese cuisine. A garden you can enjoy with your special guests. Experience the sounds of waterfall, the glow of little lights and the warmth of fire. 

the stonehouse at san ysidro ranch

Located in a 19th-century citrus packing house, The Stonehouse features a relaxing lounge with full bar service and a separate dining room with crackling fireplace and creek side views. Guests can dine under the romantic gaze of Southern California's stars on the ocean view deck--a wood-burning fireplace and heated stone flooring provide year-round comfort.

Boathouse at hendry's beach

The Boathouse at Hendry's Beach, featuring exquisite dining and Santa Barbara's most spectacular ocean views. Stop by for fresh seafood and the best happy hour anywhere.


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Architecture of Montecito

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Architecture of Montecito


Some of the most well known names in architecture made their way to the small town of Montecito, CA, designing and building extraordinary estates, most of which are still inhabited today. 


George Washington Smith

George Washington Smith founded the California Movement in Spanish Colonial Revival architecture in Montecito, and was the founder and early leader of Santa Barbara's signature Spanish Style architecture.  Smith attended Harvard with the goal of obtaining a degree in architecture, but due to financial reasons, dropped out to find a job. 

He soon became a bond trader and, after a successful career, he retired and moved to Montecito with his wife to paint.  There, he purchased land and built his Andalusian Farmhouse style home with a separate art studio.  Shortly after, Smith found that folks were more interested in the design of his home than they were in his art.  

 He found himself being commissioned to design "homes with soul." Inspired by Spanish Architecture during multiple trips to Spain with his wife, he incorporated Spanish finishes into his designs. His career only lasted a short 12 years in Montecito, when he passed away at the age of 54.  HIs work continues to be admired in the area and his homes are in high demand even to this day.

 

Lutah Maria Riggs

 
 

Lutah Maria Riggs was the first licensed female architect in Santa Barbara and the first woman in California to be named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Riggs attended UC Berkley, but moved home to Santa Barbara before completing her studies to be with her ailing mother.  Back home, she started working as a draftswoman training underneath and working alongside the famed George Washington Smith.  

In 1931, she started her own firm and went on to design some of Santa Barbara's most famous buildings such as the Blaksley Library at the Botanic Gardens (bottom right) and the Vedanta Temple (top).

 
 

Riggs was also known for the stunning homes she designed for wealthy clients such as Alice Erving, Avery Brundage, Wright Ludington and many more. 

 

Bertram C Goodhue

 
 

Bertram C Goodhue was a leader in neo-gothic architecture with significant commissions from ecclesiastical, academic and institutional clients, such as the St. Thomas Church on 5th Ave in New York City, pictured below.

Most of Goodhue's work was centered in New York; however, he built some of Montecito's most historically famed properties, such as the El Fureidis And Val Verde estates.

 

 

Val Verde was originally owned by the cousin of the owner of El Fureidis, and occupies the land adjacent to it.  The owner hired Goodhue to design the home and it was the first in the area done in the Spanish colonial revival style.  The property was later sold to an one of Santa Barbara's most important cultural figures, who  collaborated with Lockwood de Forest on the formal gardens, which de Forest would work on intermittently for the rest of his life.  Val Verde long served as the backdrop for some of Santa Barbara's best parties and provided solace to some of the entertainment industries biggest names. 

 

 

El Fureidis, which translates to "pleasure gardens," is one of Montecito's most historical and notable properties. The grand Roman villa was founded in 1906 and was defined in the early 1900's as one of the top 15 places to visit in the United States.  This iconic, ocean view estate served as the backdrop for Charlie Chaplin's wedding to Oona O'Neil and also for the filming of the 1983 movie, Scarface starring Al Pacino.

 

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to build the George C. Stewart home near the intersection of Hot Springs and Summit Rd in Montecito. The prairie style residence, constructed in 1910, was his first home in the state, and the only example of this style of his architecture in California.  Made of redwood, and with over 350 windows, Wright created a natural flow between inside and outside surroundings. 

 
 
 
 
 

Today, more locally famed architects in Montecito include Don Nulty, Micael de Rose and Jock Sewall. Collectively, they are responsible for designing some of Montecito's most noteworthy estates, shown below: 


Don Nulty

 
 

This exquisite ocean view villa, on Oak Creek Canyon Road, overlooks the Montecito Valley towards the Channel Islands.

This Montecito masterpiece, on Cima Del Mundo Lane, showcases 360 degree views of the Pacific Ocean. 

This contemporary ocean view Mediterranean villa, on East Mountain Drive, exudes California luxury.

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Another Mediterranean ocean view estate, privately situated at the end of a long drive, among enchanting gardens, is currently listed for sale.

 

Michael de Rose

This magnificent Mediterranean compound, on Cold Springs Road, sits on the site of the original El Mirador Estate and is currently listed for sale.

Named Villa de Serenita, this romantic Montecito estate, located on Freehaven Drive, embodies authentic Italian spirit.

 

Jock Sewall

This custom villa, situated on over 21 acres on Freehaven Drive, showcases incomparable ocean, island and mountain views.

This beautiful European Country home, located on a prviate cul-de-sac on Stonehouse Lane, is currently listed for sale.

This captivating estate on Garden Lane exudes East Coast elegance.

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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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FrontExtVert

 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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1125GardenLane_09

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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1125GardenLane_25

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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1125GardenLane_20

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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New Listing! El Fureidis - The Scarface Estate

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New Listing! El Fureidis - The Scarface Estate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Grand Roman Villa

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

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631ParraGrande_01

A Careful Eye for Detail

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

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631ParraGrande_02

Piéce de Résistance

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

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631ParraGrande_08

Neoclassical Era

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

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

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

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631ParraGrande_03
Living Room
Living Room

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

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631ParraGrande_04

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

Kitchen
Kitchen
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631ParraGrande_07

Modern Appointments

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

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631ParraGrande_05
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631ParraGrande_09

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

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

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

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

Significant Landscape

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

El Fureidis

631 Parra Grande, Montecito

Offered at $17,900,000

Click here to experience the virtual tour of the estate

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

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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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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! Quintessential Montecito Villa

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New Listing! Quintessential Montecito Villa

Riskin Associates is excited to announce one of our newest listings! World-class scale and grace abound in this near new Montecito Villa, only moments from the shops and restaurants of the upper and lower villages. The exquisite Mediterranean estate enjoys monumental mountain views from nearly every room and throughout the nearly three acres of manicured gardens. Grand entry gates introduce a meandering, palm lined drive leading to a gracious motor court graced with roses. The lushly landscaped property presents the home’s breathtaking façade—a two-story Mediterranean masterpiece accented with Moroccan-style arches, pulling inspiration from southern Spanish architecture.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_52

The interior begins with a grand, two-story entry foyer that boasts a sweeping staircase and limestone floors. Just off the main hall, a gracious formal dining room offers magnificent mountain and garden views, and abundant natural light.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_33

The lavish kitchen-- with a large center island and state of the art appliances-- connects to both a cozy family room with a fireplace and a beautiful breakfast room that looks out to the majestic mountain range. Nearby, the home offers a large bedroom suite, well suited for staff quarters or guest accommodations alike. Downstairs below the main living spaces, an ideal setting for a wine cellar and home theater awaits, providing a fantastic opportunity to create a custom dream.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_24

The opposite wing of the first floor presents a grand formal living room with lustrous hardwood floors, intricate woodwork on the ceilings and an elegant fireplace as a focal piece. Adjacent to the living room is a warm library with paneled walls clad in bookshelves and another charming fireplace. Additionally, the first floor offers a peaceful home office with a fireplace and French doors to the garden; and a lavish guest suite complete with ample privacy, a walk-in closet and spacious bathroom and an inviting outdoor patio.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_49

An open galleria spans the upper floor, leading to the glorious master suite. Enormous in scale, Venetian baroque plaster designs reminiscent of Addison Mizner grace the ceilings, plentiful windows frame phenomenal views, and a sitting area sits before a fireplace. With stunning, separate his and hers bathrooms and closets replete with custom details, this room offers an airy, elegant retreat. The galleria leads to two additional bedroom suites, each with its own bathroom and private terrace.

2733SycamoreCanyon_Guesthouse
2733SycamoreCanyon_Guesthouse

The enticing guesthouse on the property offers an airy living room, sunny bedroom, bathroom, and kitchenette, making for premiere accommodations with a delightful view of the pool.

2733SycamoreCanyon_54
2733SycamoreCanyon_54

A grand terrace with a large, stone fireplace enjoys views over the property, and surrounded by lush gardens. Every public room on the first floor boasts doors out to this spectacular space, offering a beautiful seating area to enjoy the towering views. Below the terrace is a deluxe pool pavilion with another fireplace, a cooking and dining space, and a lounging area just steps away from the expansive swimmer’s pool.

2733SycamoreCanyon_56
2733SycamoreCanyon_56

Impeccably designed and in pristine condition, this exceptional estate seamlessly welds the best of indoor and outdoor living, and pulls in superlative views while doing so.

2733 Sycamore Canyon Road, Montecito
Offered at $13,900,000

Click Here for more information about the Montecito area

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Montecito - The Zip Code of Wealth

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Montecito - The Zip Code of Wealth

Every year Forbes.com releases a list of the nation's Most Expensive Zip Codes, and like clock work, Montecito's 93108 makes the list in the top 20. Home to not just millionaires, but a healthy number of billionaires and celebrities who either call Montecito home or their favorite place to keep their vacationhome. In 2013, Montecito ranked #17 on the Forbes list, with a median home price of $3,740,091. This year, with property values across the state of California slowly inching upward, Montecito comes in at #14 and $4,236,951. Other than exceptional year-round weather in an incredible coastal location, what defines a wealthy zip code. Firstly, the neighbors. Montecito is a mingling of staggering mega-mansions, distinctive historic houses, expertly designed new constructions and quaint cottages. A cozy 2 bedroom home may rest adjacent to a 10,000sf manse. These large estates tend to rest on acres of superbly manicured grounds with lavish outdoor entertaining spaces - perfect for lounging in warm, Montecito sun. These large properties affect the values of every property in their vicinity - driving up the value regardless of size - and increasing the average property value.

Secondly, that million dollar view. Montecito can be found between the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountain range and the Pacific Ocean. These higher elevations afford stunning views of both the mountains and the ocean. Some homes boast views so expansive, you can see the Santa Barbara harbor and the coastline to Ventura.

Next, the schools. Montecito is home to many of California's finest primary schools. Montecito Union and Cold Springs schools regularly rank as two of California's best public schools. Crane Country Day School, All Saints by the Sea, Music Academy of the West and Westmont College are all excellent private schools in the area. Being within the Montecito Union School district directly affects the price of a home when compared to homes which sit in neighboring districts.

Below, enjoy a few of the fantastic properties which have helped land Montecito's 93108 make the Forbes list once again. For more information on each property, simply click the image...

Expansive ocean views, a pool with lavish pool house and approximately 8,000sf of living space command a $13,695,000 price tag for this Montecito estate.
Expansive ocean views, a pool with lavish pool house and approximately 8,000sf of living space command a $13,695,000 price tag for this Montecito estate.
$9,250,000 will buy you a historic English Manor with ocean views and a location that allows for walking to restaurants, shops, luxury resorts and beaches.
$9,250,000 will buy you a historic English Manor with ocean views and a location that allows for walking to restaurants, shops, luxury resorts and beaches.
In a private, gated community, $2,195,000 will buy you a beautiful, flat 1.5 acre lot to build your dream home.
In a private, gated community, $2,195,000 will buy you a beautiful, flat 1.5 acre lot to build your dream home.

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LIVE! The Riskin Associates Mobile App

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LIVE! The Riskin Associates Mobile App

  Introducing the Riskin Associates mobile application 

  We are pleased to announce the availability of the Riskin Associates mobile application. Based in Montecito, CA, Riskin Associates has been the    top selling Santa Barbara real estate team for the past decade. The award-winning team lists some of the most coveted estates on the south Santa  Barbara coast. We were engaged by them to create a mobile application that would add to the services they provide their buying and selling clients  that have made them a market leader.

  Goals and Approach

For the design of the application, we took queues from the Village Properties mobile website we developed since the Riskin Associates team is part of the brokerage. We decided to keep the overall flow of the application intact, but the branding, content and functionality needed customized for Riskin Associates. We wanted to accomplish a number of goals with the modified design:

  • Produce a clean, elegant design that conveys the elegance and luxury of the properties they represent
  • Provide a vehicle for them to highlight and market their distinctive properties
  • Incorporate visual imagery that reflects the unique nature and beauty of their listings and the surrounding area
  • Create a finished product that would further differentiate their brand and set them apart as a leader in the market
Riskin-Associates-Featured-Properties-199x300-1
Riskin-Associates-Featured-Properties-199x300-1

Key features of the application

In order to develop the key features of the application, we evaluated their online presence which uses vivid photos and imagery to highlight their property listings. We wanted to provide a similar visual experience on mobile and give Riskin Associates the flexibility to highlight the different properties they represent. In addition to the essential features such as property search (both by location and by criteria), methods to contact the team, and an about us section, we incorporated the following:

  • A vivid home page focused on a full width image that can be dynamically changed by Riskin Associates
  • A featured listing section that allows them to highlight the properties they represent – each listing is its own interactive photo gallery that can be compiled and controlled by the Riskin Associates marketing team
  • Links to custom content created by the marketing team such as property brochures that are hosted through Calaméo

You can access the application via any iPhone or Android device by opening the browser (or Safari) on your phone and going to www.montecito-realestate.com. You will be automatically redirected to the mobile application where you can learn more about the Riskin Associates team and explore their featured listings.

Raising the bar for service and performance

It was a pleasure working with the Riskin Associates team on the development of their mobile application. The energy and enthusiasm they brought to the project is evident in the finished product. It is a reflection of the time and personal attention that they give each of their clients. It shows in all aspects of their business, particularly in the level of service they provide their clients and the attention-to-detail they put into their marketing materials. With the availability of their mobile application, they have another tool that reinforces this high level of service, whether it is used for marketing properties or helping prospective buyers identify properties to purchase.

The Riskin Associates mobile application is another example of how leading brokerages and agent teams are embracing mobile to raise the bar on the services the provide their clients, differentiate themselves in the market, and further reinforce their leadership position in the market.

The Riskin Associates mobile website was created by Aumnia.

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October's Epicure.sb Is Back!

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October's Epicure.sb Is Back!

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 2.22.33 PM
Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 2.22.33 PM

It's no secret that the Santa Barbara area is well-known for some of the freshest, most delectable farm-t0-table culinary offerings around. All year round, menus across town are tailored to highlight each season's unique fare and autumn is absolutely no exception. The harvest season brings out robust flavors and heart-warming colors which Santa Barbara chefs take full advantage of. October brings about the fabulous Epicure.sb event which invites locals and visitors alike to experience food-focussed events and creative menus. Special menus, crafted cocktails, wine tastings and more are all spotlighted all month long, infusing a fresh take on Santa Barbara cuisine. Invite your favorite foodie friends and indulge your appetite all through the month!

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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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Class is Now in Session: Montecito and Santa Barbara's Excellent Educational Institutions

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Class is Now in Session: Montecito and Santa Barbara's Excellent Educational Institutions

Class is now in session! Montecito and the neighboring school districts are now well into the 2014/2015 school year - which means local children are back to learning and growing at some of the state's highest ranked educational institutions. The respected and coveted Montecito Union School is regularly ranked an 10/10 school, with an enrollment hovering around 460 children across 26 classrooms, with an average class size of just 18. The staff at MUS strive to help build well educated, well attended to, and well rounded students. Offering numerous extra curricular activities including after school programs, Art at Lunch, a Garden program and the GATE program, the school is renowned for producing exceptional students. Cold Springs school, just a few miles from MUS, is the second public school in the area while our numerous private schools include Crane Country Day School, Laguna Blanca and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Each educational institution in the area offers a unique strategy for its attendants, all in the beautiful, bucolic setting of Montecito.

Outside of Montecito, are the Santa Barbara Unified School District (home to 13 elementary, 4 junior high and 5 senior high schools), Hope Elementary School District in Santa Barbara's Hope Ranch enclave, and the Goleta Union School District.

One of Santa Barbara Unified School District's senior high schools, Dos Pueblos High, recently received a fantastic honor as one of the Top 25 Schools in the West, and the subsequent press. With a graduation rate of 99% (with 98% of graduated headed to college!!) the Home of the Chargers shares the common goal of helping students reach their highest potential on their path the higher education.

 

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Montecito's Water Rationing Success

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Montecito's Water Rationing Success

The California drought has been gaining attention for quite some time now, and cities across the Golden State have been working to save water and eliminate waste. Santa Barbara and Montecito have been taking drastic measures to ration and conserve water, gaining national attention for the cities' success. The Santa Barbara News-Press' Sara Bush recently reported on the success of the Montecito Water District's water rationing ordinance. Below is a synopsis of Bush's article.

The Montecito Water District (MWD) enacted an ordinance earlier this year to force customers to cut back on water use by 30% or face fines. After receiving information about the severity of the drought and a few tips on how to save water, educated customers went above and beyond the call, with 80% bringing their water usage to or below their allocations in May, and 84% (!) below the allocation in April. Many believe Montecitians will simply write a check to pay a fine, in order to keep their rolling lawns lush, but experts were astounded by the efforts residents were putting in.

The MWD's Thomas Mosby has been contacted by major national news outlets such as CBS and NBC to discuss the strategy which has garnered so much success in such a small timeframe. Mr. Mosby advises people to read their water meters every two or three days, and avoid leaving properties (and irrigation systems!) unattended for long periods of time.

For more information on the water emergency in Montecito, and how you can help conserve water and lower your water bill, check out the MWD website.

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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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Martha at the Market

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Martha at the Market

Home and lifestyle mogul Martha Stewart recently made a trip to sunny Santa Barbara to experience one of the area's most charming offerings - the daily farmer's market. Popping up six days a week throughout Santa Barbara County, local farmers, growers and culinary artisans converge to offer the best of the area's local harvest. Martha spent a Santa Barbara morning perusing the market, delighting in multi-colored carrots, okra, bounties of berries, freshly baked artisan breads and fromage accompaniments and a plethora of other eye-catching and mouthwatering finds. In Montecito, the Friday spot to do your farmer's market shopping, the market travels along scenic Coast Village Road, sprouting in front of iconic Montecito eatery, Jeanine's Bakery one week and in the Montecito Country Mart the next. On Tuesday afternoons, several blocks of Santa Barbara's famous State Street shut down to traffic so locals and visitors can mix and mingle in the market. On a warm summer afternoon, break from the market to pop into one of the shops or restaurants on either side of the street for a refreshing glass of local sangria or to find a unique Santa Barbara treasure.

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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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