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Los Olivitos  - Quintessential Santa Barbara

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Los Olivitos - Quintessential Santa Barbara

An estate unlike any other, Los Olivitos captures the soul and romance long equated with Santa Barbara – The American Riviera. A short distance from the Orient Express’ luxurious El Encanto resort, a rare parcel hosts the captivating Riviera residence. Uniquely oriented, approximately 2.74 flat and usable acres take in ocean and harbor views to the south while the magnificent Santa Ynez Mountains tower to the north.

At the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, entry gates open to a whimsical motor court lined with mature olive trees and stone-lined wildflower beds. The Andalusian style residence pays homage to the area’s Spanish and Mediterranean heritage characterized by staggered Mission red roof tiles, ironwork and exposed balconies.

At the home’s center, the fantastic eat-in kitchen offers an ideal gathering place for family and friends. While fabulously spacious, the kitchen has been lovingly designed to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Created to emulate those found in the Santa Barbara Courthouse, custom painted tiles adorn the walls affording unique charm, luxuriously complemented by a tray ceiling and expansive marble island. A butler’s pantry, top of the line appliances and farmhouse sink create a chef’s kitchen. A mudroom, screened porch, office, powder room and spacious laundry facilities complete this wing of the home. Outside, a wrap around terrace provides an ocean-view dining area for enjoying Santa Barbara’s idyllic year round climate.

Accessed via the kitchen terrace, a large bedroom suite offers private guest quarters. Boasting a lounge, patio, spacious ensuite bath and generous storage the charming and private space provides an ideal guest retreat.

An incredible amenity befitting of such an inspiring property, the artist’s studio beckons the creative mind to take in both mountain and ocean views with a spacious veranda overlooking the Santa Barbara harbor. Cloaked in stained Pine, the studio’s pitched ceiling and abundant windows create a bright and airy ambiance. Off the motor court is a large three-car garage and exceptional additional multiuse space. Teak floors adorn the incredible expanse, ideal for a gym, games room or workshop.

To explore the estate’s magical grounds is to discover an enchanting facet of its most special character. Escape to the Mediterranean pool garden where a swimmers pool with grotto spa is the centerpiece to lush lawns, gardens and flagstone patios. The Pacific Ocean sparkles to the south while towering tropical foliage boarders the pool garden for a secluded feel. A spacious, fully tiled pool bath with shower is conveniently located near the main house.

A labyrinth of stone-lined pathways wind beneath mature oak and olive trees passed lush lawns and wildflower beds mingling alongside blooming rose, herb and succulent gardens. Uncover intimate patios resting beneath oak canopies enticing afternoon picnics, a tree house for the ultimate game of “hide and seek” and a bocce ball court lined by a galleria of olive trees. Entwined around an ocean view pergola, vine foliage rustles in a sweet summer breeze providing a stunning yet casual outdoor setting.

For those who appreciate a property rich in history, character and mystique, Los Olivitos combines authentic architecture and enchanting landscape with incomparable views to create the quintessential Santa Barbara estate.

Los Olivitos - Quintessential Santa Barbara

Offered at $7,350,000

Presented by Riskin Associates

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Curb Appeal is the Real Deal

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Curb Appeal is the Real Deal

Spring is just around the corner, as the season has gotten itself a reputation for being a great time to sell your home, many homeowners like to know where their home improvement investment should be spent. According to an article  by Realtor.com, exterior improvements are going to yeild the highest returns. The article references the 2014 Remodelings Costs vs. Value report, which compares the average costs of the 35 most popular home improvement projects.

Investment return on home improvement
Investment return on home improvement

For 2014, eight of the top ten most popular improvements were exterior upgrades. Exterior appeal is often the most important factor in a buyer's opinion of a property as first impressions are known to have a heavy influence on overall feelings. To view the highest investment returns in Montecito's neighboring Ventura County, click here. Below, enjoy three Montecito estates with incredible curb appeal.

A Montecito estate listed by Riskin Associates
A Montecito estate listed by Riskin Associates

A meandering drive introduces this historic Montecito estate. A sprawling lawn and majestic oaks are the ideal complement to the home's stunning, traditional facade.

For additional information on this Montecito estate, click here.

610CimaVista_Exterior
610CimaVista_Exterior

This ocean-view Tuscan villa's motor court gives an impressive first impression, just a hint of the sumptuous interiors awaiting inside.

To see more of this designer residence, click here.

Rustic ocean-view home in Carpinteria
Rustic ocean-view home in Carpinteria

A rustic beauty in the ocean-view hills of Carpinteria, this compound has been featured in Architectural Digest.

To see inside the estate, click here.

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How to Do Well In a Drought

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How to Do Well In a Drought

California is dry, and thirsty. Perhaps the driest and most thirsty the state has been in a century. With the state recently declaring the situation a "drought emergency," we wanted to educate our readers on the benefits of owning a home with a private well.

A luxurious Montecito estate
A luxurious Montecito estate

Firstly, and most appropriately, private wells are often excluded from municipal water bans. During times of drought or water conservation, a private well would allow homeowners to continue with their normal water usage and lifestyle, experiencing limited interruptions.

Secondly, and possibly more importantly, is the absence of a water bill. Drawing the water directly from the ground, rather than being tracked by a meter, allows homeowners to rid themselves of water bills every month or, if well water is used only for landscape or agriculture, would significantly reduce the amount paid each month for municipal water.

Below indulge in some real estate eye candy. These luxury properties all include private wells.

An expansive French Provincial estate in Montecito with ocean and mountain views.
An expansive French Provincial estate in Montecito with ocean and mountain views.

690 Picacho Lane, Montecito, Ca

Offered at $27,000,000

9 acres with orchards, vegetable gardens and lake

Private well

Riskin Associates, 805.565.8600 or associates@riskinproperties.com

Ocean view Mediterranean estate in montecito, ca
Ocean view Mediterranean estate in montecito, ca

588 Freehaven Drive, Montecito, Ca

Offered at $14,900,000

Approx. 20 ocean and mountain-view acres

Private well

Riskin Associates, 805.565.8600 or associates@riskinproperties.com

1140 East Mountain Drive, Montecito, Ca

Offered at 9,875,000

6 acres with manicured rose gardens, lush lawns and oak trees

Shared private irrigation well

Riskin Associates, 805.565.8600 or associates@riskinproperties.com

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The Negative Impact of Celebrity on Real Estate

A Santa Barbara Ocean view estate.
A Santa Barbara Ocean view estate.

Modern media revolves around celebrity and the personal lives of high-profile individuals, and is no different for the buying and selling of residential real estate. The media loves to know when a public figure is listing their property or in negotiations for purchasing a new abode. And as is usual in the world of celebrities, the more the media wants to know, the less they are willing to share. Celebrities go to great lengths in order to protect the privacy of their personal lives and their homes as possible, and as an article by MainStreet.com argues, often to the detriment of future resale values. The article discusses several elements that celebrities find attractive in their homes, but can be too personal for future buyers to identify with.

While exposing the name of a famous owner can get a listing extended exposure, a dream come true from a marketing standpoint, a well-known listing can also be seen as a negative by some high-end buyers. A buyer may not want to purchase a home which has gotten a lot of press due to a well-known seller being attached to the property. This also goes for high-rise apartment complexes and gated communities. Having a high-profile neighbor attracting paparazzi attention may be a negative attribute of a home or apartment driving buyers away.

Customization of a home, while usually a huge selling point, can often be overdone by celebrities making the home too personal to them, making it difficult for buyers to see themselves living in a home. While a star athlete may want an indoor sport court with their jersey number splashed across the court, or a young movie star may love the idea of a private bowling alley in their own home, a buyer may find these amenities disarming and be off-put by the home as a result.

While celebrity and fame do have positive attributes for real estate from a marketing standpoint, often the attention this garners can be viewed as negative to buyers.

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All Is Calm, All Is Bright! The Lady's Gift Guide

forher13
forher13

Forget the sugarplums, visions of jewels and dresses are dancing in her head this holiday! The glittering season calls for sparkling attire and a fresh, rejuvenated spirit. But fret not, we have scoured Montecito compiling a list of the most luxurious and stylish gifts certain to enchant the women in your life. Read on to take the guesswork out of shopping for your ladylove's holiday gift.

1. Parker EXCLUSIVE.Let her shine at every holiday soiree in this glittering Parker EXCLUSIVE Racerback Sequin Dress ($398). Montecito's newest boutique INTERMIX in the Country Mart carries the dazzling cocktail dress and a plethora of  designer apparel and accessories.

2. Echoz Crystals. The earth's healing energy and chic style combine in these designs by Echoz Crystals. Echoz Crystals necklaces are designed with simplicity and elegance, each necklace is uniquely and carefully handcrafted. The crystal pendants create a bold statement, trumping the need for other pieces of jewelry. With a fantastic price point (necklaces start at just $30) you can gift your girl a collection of these beautiful, metaphysical pieces.

3. Antik Batik. An unique piece inspired by the designer's global travels, this Mirrored Ale Wallet by Antik Batik ($325) is sure to be appreciated by your lady all year round. Intricate embroidery and beadwork applied to exquisite leather create a piece both refined and relaxed. Visit Calypso St. Barth in the Montecito Country Mart to admire this remarkable clutch.

4. EVE LOM. Give the gift of beauty this year with EVE LOM's Ultimate Collection ($275). Montecito Country Mart's SPACE.NK.apothecary carries this luxurious set which includes an array of products designed to enhance her natural beauty.

5. Montecito Yoga. Inner peace is a priceless present, but you can help her find it with a year of unlimited yoga sessions at Montecito Yoga ($1700). Class schedules are flexible, accommodating those who enjoy morning and evening sessions.

This wraps up our holiday gift guides for 2013! It has been yet another year of working with fantastic clients and lovely agents. Riskin Associates wishes all a joyous holiday and a wonderful new year!

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Holiday Gift Guide: The Gentleman's Wishlist

forhim13
forhim13

Looking to impress the man in your life with the IT gift of the year? Fear not as 2013 did not disappoint, with a list of exclusive gifts and gadgets from luxury electronics to designer accessories certain to delight the most distinguished gentleman! Read on to find the area's most lusted-after wishlist.

1. Sonos Wireless Music System.Santa Barbara electronics company Sonos has quickly become a household name with its line-up of high-tech sound systems. Hifi speakers and audio components distribute your music collection throughout the home, allowing you to create a unique atmosphere for each room by customizing the soundtrack - controlling the entire system from your preferred device. Find it at Santa Barbara's Home Integrated Technology. (Play:5+Bridge Gift Pack, $399).

2. Louis Vuitton Steeve Men's Bag.Louis Vuitton's coveted trademark checkerboard design adorns this stylish and functional men's bag. For business or pleasure, the versatile bag holds all the important possessions to take your man from the boardroom to the gym and from the gym to dinner without a stop in between. Find this fashionable gift at La Cumbre Plaza's Louis Vuitton boutique. (Steeve Men's Bag, $2,600)

3. Taka Puna Bespoke Suits. Luxury menswear designer Tom Ford made 2013 the official year of men's made to measure suits. Custom made suits in crafted in the finest textiles is the ultimate in luxury gift giving. Make your man the eye candy of every holiday soiree by outfitting him in a tailor made suit by Santa Barbara's premier bespoke tailor, Taka Puna. (Starting at $1,950).

4. Breaking Bad - Complete Series. Breaking Bad, the men's entertainment obsession of the year. Did your man miss out on the action? Is your TiVo backlogged with saved episodes he watches over and over? Remedy these tragedies with one easy gift - the complete series DVD gift set. Find it on Amazon.com. (New from $470)

5. Burberry The Britain.  Owning a fine timepiece is a symbol of accomplishment and status. Shower the gentleman in your life with praise and show your appreciation for the hard work he puts in all year. The Burberry Automatic Alligator Strap watch is a modern take on the classic Burberry design. Find it at Nordstrom in Santa Barbara's Paseo Nuevo. ($1,995)

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Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire!

Fireplaces and impeccable spaces in these Montecito Estates.
Fireplaces and impeccable spaces in these Montecito Estates.

Montecito and Santa Barbara are renowned  for year-round sunshine and temperate temperatures. The enviable climate allows for surfing, golf rounds, hikes, wine tasting and just about any other outdoor activity you enjoy, 12 months a year. Even the "cold front" which has moved into our lovely coastal town, bringing daytime highs down to the 50's and evenings to almost freezing temperatures, hasn't kept residents and visitors indoors, with many continuing with morning beach walks and strolls along Coast Village Road. Embracing our abnormally cool weather, Riskin Associates invites you to enjoy three cozy spaces where fireplaces are warm and inviting centerpieces. To enjoy more of these distinctive estates, click the links below.

From the top: Shadows of Provence, Stunning Ocean View Estate, Rustic Beauty

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Featured Property of the Week: A Stunning Ocean View Estate

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Featured Property of the Week: A Stunning Ocean View Estate

This week, our featured property is defined by the unparalleled views and bright, inviting interiors. 

588Freehaven_BalconyView
588Freehaven_BalconyView

Commanding a serene hilltop, this magnificent Montecito estate offers unrivaled panoramic ocean and mountain views, while approximately 20 acres provides uninterrupted privacy. This sprawling 12,000+/- square foot residence exemplifies Montecito’s casually luxurious tenor with inspiring architectural elements, elegant finishes and breathtaking views gracing each bright and airy room.

588Freehaven_TwilExt_
588Freehaven_TwilExt_

Stepping into the gracious foyer, a sweeping ocean view is the focal point while a spiraling iron-railed staircase hints at the home’s upper and lower levels. Bathed in natural light, the airy formal living room enjoys a generous, pitched beamed ceiling, an expansive ocean-view picture window and two sets of French doors leading to an outdoor patio and the beckoning grounds. A pair of iron chandeliers and a grand limestone fireplace create an elegant atmosphere.

588Freehaven_LivingRoom
588Freehaven_LivingRoom

Privately set behind a set of double doors, the sumptuous master suite is a feast for the senses. Immediately upon entering, a sweeping ocean view is the centerpiece to room, enjoyed through a set of French doors opening to a private terrace, which rests beneath a charming vine-covered trellis, and a private coastal-view spa. With two bounteous walk-in closets, an ensuite bath with an impressive walk-in steam shower, oversized air-jet soaking tub and an ocean view, the impeccable master suite is a spa-like retreat.

588Freehaven_NewMaster
588Freehaven_NewMaster

The home’s lower level encompasses what can only be described as a truly great room. Ideal for a media or game room, the expansive area boasts an incredible 3,000 bottle temperature-controlled wine cellar and a full wet bar, an impressive fireplace and custom-built bookcases, a full bathroom and abundant storage. A wall of French doors open to an outdoor dining room, a tranquil fountain and views of the property’s gardens.

588Freehaven_WineCellar
588Freehaven_WineCellar

Outside, the lush grounds are a fragrant medley of rosemary and wildflower beds. Stone paths encircle a trickling fountain and wind through lush lawns, leading to the sparkling pool. For additional privacy, a spectacular guest house enjoys ocean and mountain views and offers one bedroom with a full ensuite bathroom, a living room and kitchenette, and a charming pitched beamed ceiling.

588Freehaven_NewPoolView
588Freehaven_NewPoolView

With vast Pacific Ocean views, beautifully appointed indoor and outdoor living spaces and opulent grounds, this expansive Mediterranean estate provides the utmost in Montecito living.

Can't get enough of this quintessential Montecito estate? Check out more photos and details or contact Riskin Associates at 805.565.8600 or associates@riskinproperties.com.

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Property of the Week: Legendary Ocean-View Estate in Hope Ranch

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Property of the Week: Legendary Ocean-View Estate in Hope Ranch

Rarely does a property of such prestigious architectural caliber combined with a location offering truly impressive acreage come onto the market. Unlike any other, this unique Hope Ranch estate offers a lifestyle few can attain. Breathtaking ocean views are the backdrop to approximately nine park-like acres, so whimsical and enchanting they could have been painted upon canvas and displayed on gallery walls. A scene realized in 1929, by the great Reginald Davis Johnson, award-wining architect to Santa Barbara's Biltmore hotel, retains its character, mystery and allure today.

An ocean-view estate in Santa Barbara, California offered by Riskin Associates
An ocean-view estate in Santa Barbara, California offered by Riskin Associates

Impressive entry gates open to reveal a meandering oak lined drive spilling with shrubs, flowers and trees, leading to a welcoming motor courtyard. Across an expansive, rolling lawn, the Pacific Ocean glistens, while the fragrant aroma of blossoming rosebuds lingers in the air.

A deluxe Santa Barbara estate offered by Riskin Associates
A deluxe Santa Barbara estate offered by Riskin Associates

Introducing the home’s exquisite character, hand-painted details, original terra cotta floors, and a beamed ceiling adorn the foyer. An impressive galleria connects private and public spaces with elegance and grandeur, graced with a hand-painted barrel ceiling, ornate crown molding and French doors opening to the ocean-view terrace.

Original details adorn each room of this Hope Ranch estate offered by Riskin Associates.
Original details adorn each room of this Hope Ranch estate offered by Riskin Associates.

The generous formal living room is a powerful space, with a soaring pitched beamed ceiling, hand-painted details, an elegant fireplace, a large picture window framing garden views, and French doors revealing the ocean view. A handsome copper bar with a beverage refrigerator and temperature-controlled wine refrigerator complements the space, while French doors providing direct access to the pool courtyard are ideal for entertaining in this magnificent formal living room.

grand formal living room in this Hope Ranch estate.
grand formal living room in this Hope Ranch estate.

The formal dining room encourages the utmost in sophisticated entertaining with a warming fireplace, gallery walls and custom Wendel lighting, ideal for showcasing art. Doors provide privacy for gatherings, separating the space from the extensive and well-appointed butler’s pantry.

Formal dining room in Santa Barbara california
Formal dining room in Santa Barbara california

French doors open the formal dining room to a terrace and the pool. A second set of French doors open to the home’s centerpiece, a delightful and sun-filled courtyard, where a hand painted tile fountain and climbing foliage create the most relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere.

A sunfilled courtyard is the centerpiece to the Santa Barbara estate
A sunfilled courtyard is the centerpiece to the Santa Barbara estate

Outside, the swimmer’s pool is surrounded by vine-covered pergolas, a hedge-lined patio and ample terrace spaces while an ornate tile mural draws the eye towards the spa. Exploring the property’s stone pathways, citrus and avocado trees and rose-covered trellises lead to a mature, aromatic rose garden where the only disruption is a soft, sweet breeze and the charming chirp of native birds.

Pool pavillion in Reginald Johnson Santa Barbara estate.
Pool pavillion in Reginald Johnson Santa Barbara estate.
Fragrant  gardens surround the Santa Barbara estate.
Fragrant gardens surround the Santa Barbara estate.

Privately set away from the main hacienda, a lavish two-bedroom guest house enjoys views of the Pacific Ocean and the property’s immaculate grounds. Beautifully renovated throughout, the guest house features a gourmet kitchen with breakfast bar and top-of-the-line appliances, French doors opening to ocean vistas, a charming fireplace, two luxurious bedroom suites, a patio and ocean view terrace.

The guest house provides additional quarters while entertaining in this Santa Barbara estate.
The guest house provides additional quarters while entertaining in this Santa Barbara estate.

Above a detached three-car garage, a lovely apartment with ocean views is outfitted as a gym with a private massage room. With an eat-in kitchen, featuring a pitched beamed ceiling and Electrolux appliances, and a full bath, the space perfectly doubles as additional guest quarters.

A guest apartment features a gym, full kitchen and bedroom with full bath.
A guest apartment features a gym, full kitchen and bedroom with full bath.

One of Hope Ranch’s original homes, this expansive ocean-view estate is truly unique in both amenities and character.

An ocean view welcomes you to the comfortable terrace.
An ocean view welcomes you to the comfortable terrace.

These impressive features are just the beginning of this incredible Hope Ranch estate. To discover the other secrets Reginald Johnson hid throughout the estate, click here. Or contact Riskin Associates at 805.565.8600 or associates@riskinproperties.com

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Architect Spotlight: George Washington Smith

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Architect Spotlight: George Washington Smith

Arguably Montecito and Santa Barbara’s most celebrated architect, George Washington Smith’s unique take on Spanish Revival design has made Santa Barbara’s architecture world-famous.

George Washington Smith designed this impeccable Montecito estate in 1923
George Washington Smith designed this impeccable Montecito estate in 1923

Born in East Liberty Pennsylvania in February of 1876, Smith inherited his eye for design from his father, a civil engineer who designed bridges for local railroads. After attending several prestigious primary schools, Smith enrolled at the Harvard School of Architecture in 1894. However, due to financial hardships Smith withdrew his enrollment from Harvard and took a position as outside construction supervisor for the architectural firm of Newman, Woodman and Harris. A few years later, further financial difficulties forced him to leave the firm and begin selling stocks and bonds in Pennsylvania.

After marrying in 1912, Smith and his wife Mary Cathrine Greenough spent three years traveling Europe. During their tour, Smith devoted himself to studying at the Julian Academy of L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and painting the architecture and landscape of the country, taking particular interest in Spain’s rural farmhouses. Upon returning to the U.S., George and Mary settled in New York before moving to Santa Barbara in 1916.

After designing and building his first home, known as the Smith-Hebertson House on Montecito’s Middle Road, Smith found that many of his neighbors wanted to live in a house like it, and thus began his career as a full-time architect. Viewing himself as a gentleman architect, Smith enjoyed a heavy involvement in the design process by those who commissioned him to create their residences. Together with his clients, Smith traveled across the globe to gather accouterments unique to each individual project. By the mid-1920’s, the commissioning of a house in Santa Barbara or Montecito by Smith was considered the hallmark of success.

Credited as the “father of Spanish Colonial Revival” in the U.S., Smith gathered much of his inspiration from Spain’s rural Andalusia region, featuring subtle and romantic design. Whitewashed exteriors, spiraling staircases, archways, balconies and intricate iron and tile work are familiar motifs of the Spanish Colonial Revival period.

The landscape surrounding the site of a future home was taken into expert consideration prior to design and construction. Working with notable landscape architects including Lockwood de Forest, A.E. Hanson and Ralph T. Stevens, Smith not only created residences, but entire estates with the vision of a full life lived by those who would live there, experiencing the beauty of both the interior and exterior environments.

Today, there are over 80 George Washington Smith works in Santa Barbara, and many more across the country.  Smith’s 21st Montecito house known as Casa del Herrero, built in 1922, is now a museum listed on the National Register of Historical Places, and many of his designs, sketches and correspondence can be found in the University of Santa Barbara’s Art Museum. His works are featured in many prestigious architectural publications including The Architect, Architectural Forum, Achitectural Digest and House Beautiful.

Riskin Associates recently sold this romantic George Washington Smith estate in Montecito.
Riskin Associates recently sold this romantic George Washington Smith estate in Montecito.

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Oprah's Montecito Auction Makes Headlines

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Oprah's Montecito Auction Makes Headlines

In case you've been living under a rock, media mogul and billionaire Oprah Winfrey owns a massive piece of  Montecito real estate, which she affectionately calls "Promised Land." Recently Oprah told reporters the estate, reportedly worth upwards of $85 million, is undergoing a major renovation to allow the residence to "reflect her true self."

Part of Oprah's home makeover includes a tremendous unloading of furniture and artwork which, according to Oprah's interior decorator, don't "have anything to do with" the mogul. So what does Oprah do when she needs to get rid of enough furniture to fill a 23,000 square foot residence? She hires Kaminski Auctions to get rid of it for her, donating the proceeds of the sale to her leadership academy for girls in Africa.

The auction will not only include items from her sprawling Montecito residence, but her homes across the country, including those in Chicago, Maui and her Indiana farm.

The auction is being held just a stone's throw from Montecito in Carpinteria on November 2nd beginning at 10am. Kaminski will host a special preview of items for sale on November 1st from 5-8pm. Tickets for the preview are on sale for $100.

Montecito is known to be a celebrity hideaway, with a long list of Hollywood heavy-hitters owning homes or visiting in order to escape the constantly prying eyes of the paparazzi.

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Friday Formal Living Rooms: What's Your Style?

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Friday Formal Living Rooms: What's Your Style?

The Formal Living Room. Everyone knows it, that room in your grandmother's house "no one ever goes in" or "only when we have important guests," conjuring up images of stark white carpet and delicate glass accouterments.  But the uninviting spaces of your grandparents' days are over and formal living rooms are making a casually elegant comeback. From classic European to charming rustic, there is a room to suit anyone's "formal" preferences. Below, enjoy four unique formal living rooms, and Riskin Associates wants to know, what's your style?

a Montecito estate's formal living room
a Montecito estate's formal living room

Elegant Tuscany. This elegant, grand formal living room is the sophisticated centerpiece to an equally grand Tuscan villa. The room has been designed for luxury and outfitted with the highest quality finishes, including hand-finished walls, a coffered lyptus wood ceiling and an imported fireplace mantle.

A Montecito ocean view formal living room.
A Montecito ocean view formal living room.

Casual CaliforniaPerched on a high hilltop, this estate's formal living room enjoy a panoramic ocean view, which commands center stage through an expansive floor-to-ceiling window. A soaring pitched beamed ceiling is complemented by a pair of chic iron chandeliers.

A rustic ocean view formal living room in Santa Barbara
A rustic ocean view formal living room in Santa Barbara

Rustic Retreat.If you prefer a rustic,  mountainous atmosphere, perhaps this comfortable formal living room with towering ceilings and beamed walls will suit you. A fireplace warms the expansive room which enjoys a wall of sliding glass doors opening to a terrace overlooking and expansive ocean view.

A craftsman living room in Montecito
A craftsman living room in Montecito

Comfortable Craftsman.Warm rays of sun stream in through sky lights and picture  windows in this charming craftsman style room. Take in lush lawns and shady trees from the lovely window seat!

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The Luxury Market Goes To The Young and the Wealthy!

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The Luxury Market Goes To The Young and the Wealthy!

The National Association of Realtors has reported on a very intriguing study conducted by the Luxury Institute, which found those who are driving the luxury real estate market are not those middle-aged CEO's but younger buyers with a fresh take on what is "in" in luxury real estate. Looking at young buyers aged 21 or older with a minimum income of $250,000, the survey concludes that these young buyers are willing to pay more than buyers of similar wealth but aged over 55. On average, young buyers spent over $2 million on their most recent residential property purchase which was almost twice as much as older buyers spent! The article by RealtorMag quotes the CEO of the Luxury Institute: “Luxury homes are for more than successful and retired empty nesters,” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. “Today’s luxury buyer is both dynamic and diverse, and it’s reflected in the homes and products they’re buying.”

However, it's not just how much young buyers are spending, but also what they are spending it on that is of note. The amenities at the top of most young buyer's wish lists are outdoor kitchens, gyms, home theater systems and garages to house 4+ cars! These amenities all showcase the desire to lead active lifestyles, raise families or entertain in their homes and make the most of their purchases. Despite these new age desires, the oldest adage in real estate still applies: Location, location, location! Location is still the most important factor in property purchases, with only 6% of young buyers purchasing homes outside of the U.S.

Calling all you young buyers looking for the perfect property! Take a peek into these luxury Riskin Associates properties and tell us, do you see something you like?

A home gym in a Santa Barbara estate
A home gym in a Santa Barbara estate
This contemporary Montecito property boasts one of the most luxurious outdoor dining areas.
This contemporary Montecito property boasts one of the most luxurious outdoor dining areas.
610CimaVista_Cellar
610CimaVista_Cellar

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A Riskin Associates Listing Catches the Wall Street Journal's Eye

An Artful Flip in Montecito - WSJ.com
An Artful Flip in Montecito - WSJ.com

Riskin Associates is proud to represent some of the most unique and exquisite homes in Montecito and Santa Barbara, and we are so flattered that national real estate news outlets recognize our listings for their individuality and luxurious qualities. This time one of our more recent listings is enjoying the spotlight as the Wall Street Journal's House of the Day. This contemporary hacienda on Via Manana is just steps from the world famous San Ysidro Ranch and Montecito's extensive hiking trails.

The home has been extensively renovated by Montecito design team Kirsten and Darrell Becker of Becker Studios. Kirsten Kemp Becker is the former host of numerous HGTV interior design shows and affords her experience and expertise in interior design to the homes which her husband Darrell renovates to maximize each property's livable space. For their latest endeavor, Becker Studios outfitted the home with luxurious, low maintenance finishes and landscaping, to evoke the feel of historic Montecito haciendas.

To learn about the uniqueness of the proeprty that caught the eye of the WSJ, click here. For more information on the property, please contact Riskin Associates.

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Deer Lodge is being featured on BRAVO's Property Envy Tonight!

The pool and patio at Santa Barbara's Deer Lodge!
The pool and patio at Santa Barbara's Deer Lodge!

Riskin Associates is excited to announce that our listing, Deer Lodge, will be featured on BRAVO network's new real estate show Property Envy. The show looks inside some of the county's most unique and distinctive properties as a panel of comical real estate personalities provide commentary. Deer Lodge fits the bill of the show, an incredible property with amenities akin to the coolest summer camp you never had the opportunity to attend. With 180 acres of hiking trails, sport courts, mountain view terraces, pool and spa, game room, and multiple structures with five star sleeping accommodations. Riskin Associates will be watching as the cooky panel of Property Envy sounds off on this and a number of other amazing properties tonight on Bravo! For airing times, check your local listings!

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Trending: Luxurious, Low Maintenance Finishes!

One of the fastest growing trends in luxurious residential interiors are environmentally friendly and low maintenance finishes. Designers are searching far and wide for unique, sustainable, and easy to live in materials to outfit homes. These days, homebuyers want durable finishes that can withstand day to day living, while maintaining lavish design and aesthetics. While classic materials will always be in style, fresh new materials are taking over our homes. Take a look at the luxurious finishes in the latest Riskin Associates listing...

...Designed by Montecito design team Becker Studios, this contemporary hacienda is adorned in low maintenance materials such as wide-plank drift wood oak floors, combed Chinese basalt, concrete, Lagos Azul and Arival Spanish  Limestone and Calcutta marble. The landscape design acknowledges Montecito's temperate climate, utilizing low maintenance succulents to create attractive gardens, while oak and olive trees line the gravel drive.

Want an inside look into this fabulous hacienda? The home will be open this Sunday from 1pm-4pm, 770 Via Manana, Montecito.

770ViaManana_Motorcourt
770ViaManana_Motorcourt
770ViaManana_Courtyard
770ViaManana_Courtyard
770ViaManana_Dining
770ViaManana_Dining
770ViaManana_GreatRoom
770ViaManana_GreatRoom
770ViaManana_Kitchen
770ViaManana_Kitchen
770ViaManana_Main
770ViaManana_Main
770ViaManana_Drive
770ViaManana_Drive
770ViaManana_Master
770ViaManana_Master
770ViaManana_MasterBath
770ViaManana_MasterBath
770ViaManana_Patio
770ViaManana_Patio
770ViaManana_Pool
770ViaManana_Pool

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Sumptuous Sarabecca is the Belle of the Ball

Sarabecca perfume
Sarabecca perfume

Rebecca Riskin, together with her Husband Ken Grand, has spent many months perfecting an all-natural perfume, Sarabecca, which has been named for Ken's two daughters Sarah and Rebecca, using only natural essence oils like vetiver, lemon, and an array of herbs. With two distinct yet harmonious fragrances, Day and Night, the duo provides a light and floral option ideal for sunny Spring afternoons and a silkier evening counterpart which is both warm and luminescent with notes of ginger and sage.

Respected perfume blog CaFleureBon.com has caught wind of this enticing new fragrance, and like those of us around Montecito who have had the pleasure of experiencing Sarabecca, instantly fell in love with each version of the sumptuous fragrance. A glowing write-up perfectly describes the whimsical flirtation shared by Sarabecca Day and Night. The article aptly details the story of Sarabecca's creation while providing fun facts about the processes involved, and those not involved (read: Sarabecca is not tested on animals).

Do you need to experience Sarabecca? (Answer: Yes!) Head to Cos Bar in Montecito's Lower Village, try it to be instantly transported a sun drenched field of summer wildflowers.

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Celebrity and Summer Camp!

Deer Lodge's Pool and Terrace
Deer Lodge's Pool and Terrace

It's a beautiful 75 degrees and the sun is shining in Montecito and Santa Barbara, summer is definitely underway! In honor of graduations and great weather, let's tour an incredible compound built by the John Deere family in the early 20th century and once owned by legendary actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg, which just so happens to be the ideal location for a kid (or adult!) summer camp.

The compound is nestled between lush mature landscape of wildflowers and oak tree canopies.
The compound is nestled between lush mature landscape of wildflowers and oak tree canopies.

Nestled between Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley, the original adobe hacienda has been restored and elaborated upon to what is now an incredible wonderland. With multiple residences and 180 acres of spectacular grounds, the  property is absolutely ideal for summer gatherings and weekend getaways for the whole family.

The main residence boasts almost 6,000 square feet of living space and four additional guest houses with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms provide private quarters for your closest friends and family. An expansive entertaining terrace boasting an outdoor kitchen can host over thirty for dinner.

The kids won't be disappointed by the plethora of playful amenities the property offers. An infinity pool with pool house, media area and game room are just the beginning. A tree house and fort, bocce ball court, lighted sport court and 3 miles of walking trails are waiting to be explored. Oh, did we mention the 150 foot long zip-line?

Adults won't be missing out on the fun, the property offers a wine cellar and a 300-vine syrah and grenache vineyard. Don't worry - you won't have to maintain this vineyard yourself, the famous Beckmen Estate tends the vines.

An outdoor fireplaces at Deer Lodge.
An outdoor fireplaces at Deer Lodge.
Views of the Santa Ynez Valley
Views of the Santa Ynez Valley
Deer Lodge pool house, Montecito CA
Deer Lodge pool house, Montecito CA
Deer Lodge Living room
Deer Lodge Living room
Deer Lodge's incredible grounds.
Deer Lodge's incredible grounds.
The infinity pool overlooks the Santa Ynez Valley and Deer Lodge's Bocce Ball Court.
The infinity pool overlooks the Santa Ynez Valley and Deer Lodge's Bocce Ball Court.
The expansive kitchen is warm and wonderful gathering area.
The expansive kitchen is warm and wonderful gathering area.
Deer Lodge is one of Santa Barbara's most incredible and serene properties.
Deer Lodge is one of Santa Barbara's most incredible and serene properties.

Discover this most unique treasure trove of amenities offered at $10,900,000.

For more information, please contact Montecito's number one real estate team, Riskin Associates.

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Median Square Footage on the Rise!

A montecito estate with 13,000 square feet.
A montecito estate with 13,000 square feet.

CNNMoney is reporting an upswing in homebuyers' preference for larger homes. As effects of The Great Recession continue to fade, Americans are purchasing larger homes once again. According to the Census Bureau, the median home size in 2012 was up 8% from 2009 at a record of 2,306 square feet. In 2013, home sizes appear to be growing even more, with Marcie DePlaza, a division president for GL Homes reporting that so far this year, her company is selling homes 7% larger than those in 2012. 

Access to credit may skew these statistics as mortgages for low- and mid-income home buyers are more difficult to get than for high-income buyers. With strict underwriting standards, homebuyers who receive loans tend to be a bit more affluent and can afford larger homes. Some predict that as mortgages become easier to obtain, median home sizes will drop, but current trend seems to be staying the course. People tend to prefer more space, and Jeffry Roos, regional president of homebuilder Lennar, credits affordability with the drop in home sizes during The Recession, "It wasn't that consumers wanted less space, many just couldn't afford more." In fact, homebuyers tend to buy homes larger than originally planned, 18-20% larger in fact. "The four-bedroom outsells the three-bedroom all day long" said DePlaza.

These statistics are promising evidence that the economy is in a healthy state of recovery, "People weren't buying SUV's during the recession either and they are again," DePlaza said.

Riskin Associates represents properties of distinction in Montecito, California and the surrounding communities of Hope Ranch and Carpinteria. The average square footage of Riskin Associates' listings is 7,668 sqft.

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Hope's Dream Home - $50M

WNDRMRSC001_Manual_p21
WNDRMRSC001_Manual_p21

Hollywood icon Bob Hope and his wife Dolores have listed their desert dream home for a cool $50,000,000. Set in Palm Springs, an area that in its heyday was a glamorous playground for Hollywood's elite, the Hopes have collaborated with renowned modernist architect John Lautner to create a visionary property of unsurpassed contemporary design. The sprawling 23,000 square foot home overlooks the Coachella Valley with views of the surrounding mountains. Completed in 1980, the home is described by Luxury Portfolio International as a "stunning structural symphony blending concrete, steel, and glass crowed by a curving copper roof." Boasting a tennis court, indoor and outdoor pools, a putting green and a pond with a waterfall, the Hopes' imaginative dream home was designed for all aspects of a leisurely and relaxed lifestyle while expansive terraces rest beneath the stars to create the ultimate entertaining paradise. Love contemporary architecture? Is $50M just out of your budget?  Explore these listings offered by Riskin Associates:

Chic Sophistication: an ideal illustration of contemporary style, this entertainer's property enjoys two guest suites, two pools, fantastic entertaining patios and the perfect location for strolling to Montecito's Lower Village to enjoy a glass of sangria or warm cup of coffee.

Inspiring Architecture: a collaborative effort by acclaimed architects Pierre Gabrol and Steven Ehrlich, this contemporary home is an artistic juxtaposition of clean, modern lines surrounded by timeless mature oaks, lush gardens and commanding mountain peaks.

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