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Santa Barbara's Diverse Residential Architecture

montecito residential architecture
montecito residential architecture

Southern California's residential real estate is often misconceived to be a sea of red-tiled roofs and "Mediterranean" style residences, but Montecito begs to differ. A quiet drive along any of our charming streets feels like a trip around the world, revealing a refreshing mix of architectural eye candy inspired by all corners of the earth. From historic English tudors to functional contemporaries, Santa Barbara and it's surrounding communities of Montecito and Carpinteria offer a home to suit everyone's style preference.

Above, check out a collage of some of the area's most distintive homes, boasting unique architecture unparalleled by their neighbors.

Clockwise from top left:

This modern masterpiece was designed around ancient oak trees and offers gallery walls and abundant natural light, perfect for showcasing a collection of artwork; A French provincial style home is nestled behind iron gates opening to a bucolic, tree-lined drive; This incredible residence has been artfully infused with European finishes, 100-year old Tuscan roof tiles and antique French oak and limestone floors; A rustic mountain retreat awaits discovery in the hills of Carpinteria overlooking the Pacific coast; this historic English manor boasts a prestigious address in the heart of Montecito's golden quadrangle; Spanish-inspired La Candelaria is a sanctuary of richly colored walls, unique coffered and wood-paneled ceilings.



Peek inside a Hollywood director's one of a kind Carpinteria compound


Montecito and its surrounding coastal communities is known for its relaxed and luxurious California lifestyle, so it's no wonder that LA's elite flock to the casual oceanside towns to unwind. A stone's throw from our offices in Montecito, high in the hills of the seaside town of Carpinteria, Hollywood heavyweight Joel Schumacher, known for the Batman films of the 90s, and more recently for directing Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum in Phantom of the Opera, has collaborated with noted Santa Barbara architect, Don Nulty, to create a truly one of a kind compound. As if plucked from a forest in the snowy Sierras and gently placed in one of California's most desirable beach towns, the property beautifully marries rustic yet refined finishes with breathtaking views of the Pacific ocean. Upon stepping through the grand foyer, ocean views are the centerpiece to the expansive living room with soaring ceilings and furnished to the nines with plush couches and cozy blankets perfect for enjoying the impressive fireplace.  The home features three incredible bedrooms in the main house, a loft designed to take in the surrounding views, a masterpiece of a kitchen, and a spacious guest house just off the key-shaped pool with additional guests quarters. A gem of a hideaway, the entire home begs to entertain, relax, and recharge all who step onto its special property.




Al Fresco Entertaining

Untitled-3 copyJPG
Untitled-3 copyJPG

Montecito is known for its beautiful surroundings and fantastic climate, including incredible ocean views, epic mountain vistas, hidden meadows and rolling hills, which beg to be enjoyed with al fresco dining and entertaining. Here, we highlight some of the most enviable outdoor spaces in the area!



Award-Winning Montecito Home

We just got word that one of our listings here in Montecito is receiving an award! Next month, Qualified Remodeler Magazine will publish its annual Master Design Awards, recognizing the best in residential remodeling. 1134 Hill Road in Montecito, CA earned the Master Design Award this year with both the Gold and Judge's Choice Award!

Contemporary Montecito Villa

The home, Villa Vicin' 'O Mare, is a wonderful transformation of a classic Montecito bungalow into a contemporary beach villa with seamless indoor-outdoor living. Redesigned by Santa Barbara architects Neumann Mendro Andrulaitis and remodeled by Allen Associates, impeccable attention to detail has been paid to every aspect of the home’s design, from the champagne limestone floors to the wide plane wood paneled ceiling.

Seamless indoor/outdoor Santa Barbara Living

Custom mahogany bi-fold doors and windows effortlessly connect indoor and outdoor living spaces, opening completely for endless entertaining opportunities. A glass-enclosed patio includes ample room for dinner parties, complete with an artistic wall of water and fire table feature.

Glass-enclosed patio

Outside, a large garden oasis awaits with wandering paths through fruit trees, palms and towering bamboo. Generous patios, water fountains, a walled private garden and lush tropical landscaping allow for true indoor-outdoor Santa Barbara living.

Lush garden oasis

Inside, an open-plan living space designed with yacht-like efficiency showcases exquisite, contemporary décor and interior details, revealing understated elegance. The eye-catching gas fireplace, featuring Rasmussen FireBalls, makes the living room feel sleek and modern while warm in ambience.

Sleek, modern design

Beautiful double doors open on to a sunken master retreat, enhanced by a luxurious spa-like bathroom and private patio. A blown glass pendant chandelier adorns the freestanding soaking tub, overlooking a serene courtyard with an eight-foot privacy glass gate.

Spa-like master bath with private patio


Located in the heart of Montecito and steps from Butterfly Beach, the Biltmore and Coral Casino, Villa Vicin’ ‘O Mare combines  the highest quality amenities for modern living in an exquisite 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom beach retreat.



beautiful kitchens: eat your heart out (part two)

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

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

Montecito Lilac white marble kitchen

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

white country kitchen in montecito

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

bright country kitchen montecito

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

mediterranean style country italian kitchen montecito

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

smaller beautiful granite kitchen in montecito


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beautiful kitchens: eat your heart out (part one)

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

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

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

Freehaven Montecito kitchen

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

all white montecito kitchen

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

beautiful hot springs montecito kitchen

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

contemporary modern montecito kitchen

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

vintage montecito kitchen

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

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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







popular home styles for 2012

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


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

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

modern style montecito home


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

Montecito Spanish modern homemontecito spanish modern home family room


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


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

Montecito Santa Barbara mediterranean homeMontecito Santa Barbara mediterranean home Living room


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

Montecito mediterranean style home 2Montecito mediterranean LivingRoom


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

Montecito mediterranean home 3

Montecito mediterranean home master bedroom 3


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

Mediterranean home montecito 4 entry waymediterranean home montecito pool


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

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

craftsman home montecitomontecito craftsman home living room