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The area now home to luxury real estate in Montecito and Santa Barbara was formerly home to approximately 10,000 members of the Chumash tribe of Native Americans. Although Spanish explorers landed here in the 1700s, the majority of non-Native American settlement didn’t begin until the early 19th century. It’s interesting to note that around the mid-19th century land now hosting multi-million-dollar homes and estates was occupied by bandits and highwaymen. By the latter 1800s, however, Italian immigrants arrived and began establishing gardens and farms. The late 19th century saw an influx of wealthy tourists from the eastern and Midwestern U.S., drawn to the area by its temperate climate, proximity to the ocean and beaches, and several hot springs. Soon, many of those visitors began purchasing land and building large estates.
The ultimate in luxury real estate is defined by Montecito estates. The birth of luxury real estate in Montecito and Santa Barbara extended from the teen years of the 20th century into the 1920s. Affluent visitors recognized the beauty and potential of the area, purchased land and retained architects to design and supervise the building of distinctive homes. Among those notable architects was George Washington Smith, who moved to Santa Barbara, designed and built his own Montecito home in 1917, and became known as the father of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture in California and elsewhere.
Architects and Architectural Styles
Homes designed by Smith, including 80 in Montecito and Santa Barbara, were used as permanent residences, vacation retreats, and abodes for transplanted family members. Although many of the original estates have since been subdivided, a significant number of the historic homes remain today as private residences orpublic examples of local architectural history. Other respected early architects of Montecito estates include Carlton Winslow, Reginald Johnson (designer of Montecito’s renowned Four Seasons Biltmore Resort), Wallace Neff, Bertram Goodhue, and landscape architect Lockwood de Forest.
Today, luxury real estate in Montecito includes significant homes designed by respected local and internationally-acclaimed architects in addition to those iconic residences of yesteryear. While Spanish Colonial Revival and other Mediterranean-influenced styles are popular, the current architectural landscape is diverse. Large and impressive Tudor, French Provincial, and even Modernist homes rest behind lush landscaping and imposing gates.
Santa Barbara estates are located predominately in the foothills above the town on its north, in affluent Hope Ranch on its south, or bordering on Montecito to the east. Historic Graholm Estate, built in 1918 and resting on a more than seven-acre hilltop aerienear the boundaries of Santa Barbara and Montecito is just one example. The multi-acre bluff top luxury compounds in Hope Ranch enjoy the enclave’s miles of equestrian trails and private beach.
Distinctive Santa Barbara and Montecito Homes
In addition to large estates, often consisting of multiple acres and structures, more modest though by no means humble and unexceptional Santa Barbara and Montecito homes are plentiful. They are residences of perhaps 1,500 to 10,000 square feet or more, exhibiting superior design, craftsmanship and materials, meticulous attention to detail, and tasteful landscaping.
Why Choose Cristal Clarke as Your Real Estate Professional?
With her three decades among the top Realtors in the Santa Barbara area as well as the top 1% of Sotheby’s International Realty® agents nationwide, Cristal Clarke offers her discerning clientele a level of experience and personalized service unsurpassed on the California Central Coast. Her sensitivity to her clients’ needs and her skill at matching each client with the right property are reasons why Cristal maintains her coveted place in the upper echelon of her profession.
As a long-time Montecito resident herself, Cristal can provide in-depth knowledge about the community’s many distinctive services and amenities, and key insight into Montecito and Santa Barbara luxury real estate. She excels at finding each buyer the perfect home or estate and providing each seller with optimum financial return.
Exploring Cristal’s Website
If you are looking for a Montecito estate, home or outstanding Santa Barbara property, there is no better place to find your dream than right here among Cristal’s exclusive listings or on her extensive MLS homes for sale search. Santa Barbara County beaches; Cristal’s favorite hotels and inns; a virtual concierge of activities, services and recreation; and an interesting overview of Santa Barbara Wine Country are also here at your fingertips.
Whether you want to purchase a mountain view home, ocean view estate or other distinctive residence, or if you want to sell your property and move down the lane or across the city, you owe it to yourself to learn about Cristal Clarke. She is your preeminent choice for Montecito luxury real estate and Santa Barbara properties. Contact her at 805.886.9378, or email Cristal@Montecito-Estate.com.