THINGS TO DO IN MONTECITO: 5 WAYS TO SEIZE THE DAY
Get Inspired in This Luxury Seaside Haven
HOW TO CREATE A CAT-FRIENDLY HOME
6 Steps to Fashion a Haven for Your Feline Family Member
GIVING TUESDAY: NOT JUST A ONE DAY EVENT
Support Local and Give Back to Our Community
MONTECITO HOTELS: LUXURY LODGING AND MORE
4 Properties That Will Leave You California Dreaming
RESTORATION HARDWARE: ITS EVOLUTION TO RH DESIGN
The Popular Brand is Now a Lifestyle Design Studio
INSTA-WORTHY SANTA BARBARA LOCATIONS
7 Epic Places to Snap and Share
MANTEL MAGIC: FIREPLACE DÉCOR IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK
Even Here in Sunny Santa Barbara, Homeowners Welcome Fall With Cozy, Stylish Décor
SANTA BARBARA BUCKET LIST
"The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams." - Oprah Winfrey
IT’S TIME TO TAKE A SANTA BARBARA ELECTRIC BIKE TOUR
5 Benefits of Combining Electric and Human Power
IS WELLNESS REAL ESTATE THE NEXT TRILLION-DOLLAR TREND?
4 Easy Ways to Make Your Santa Barbara Home a Healthy Oasis
THINGS TO DO IN SANTA BARBARA THIS SUMMER
Ahhh, summer fun in Santa Barbara. Summer means kayaking along our beautiful coast, taking an early morning hike in the Santa Ynez Mountains or an afternoon bike ride along the beach
BEST PLACES FOR A SANTA BARBARA PICNIC
July may be National Picnic Month, but in Santa Barbara, it’s always time for a picnic, especially during the summertime. There's nothing better than enjoying some fresh air on a warm day—especially when delicious food is involved. A relaxing picnic doesn't have to be a big, planned event. Just fill a basket with your favorite treats, grab a friend, and head outside.
STUFF TO DO IN SANTA BARBARA: OUTDOOR FUN
Getting outside is essential in Santa Barbara. The golden ridgeline of the Santa Ynez Mountains cascade into the Pacific which means both land and water adventures are abundant here.
PICKLEBALL IN SANTA BARBARA
Pickleball in Santa Barbara? Declared the nation’s fastest-growing sport by USA Today, pickleball’s popularity continues to climb nationwide including right here in Santa Barbara.
SALT CAVE SANTA BARBARA: ANOTHER HEALTHY BENEFIT OF LIVING ON THE AMERICAN RIVERA
It’s not difficult to understand why Santa Barbara is ranked one of the Top 100 Best Places to Live by Livability. Besides enjoying miles of pristine coastline, widespread civic participation, and cultural attractions, locals have many options when it comes to self-care, including the Santa Barbara salt caves that take wellness to new heights.
LUXURIOUS SANTA BARBARA SWIMMING POOLS
Some of the most swoon-worthy bodies of water in the world (in addition to the Pacific Ocean) can be found right here. Luxurious Santa Barbara swimming pools like those pictured throughout this blog post are created with relentless attention to design elements, congruence with the surrounding environment and architecture, and a proper selection of materials, colors, and textures.
SPOTLIGHT ON: MONTECITO COUNTRY MART
Originally built in the 1960s, the Montecito Country Mart is a celebration of the Santa Barbara lifestyle, with its organic eateries, bespoke fashion, curated home goods, local conveniences, and community events. In fact, visiting the Town and Country-style village is the greatest way to experience the best that Montecito has to offer.
SANTA BARBARA LIFESTYLE: A DAY IN SUMMERLAND WITH YOUR DOG
It’s time to treat yourself, and your four-legged family member, to a day in Summerland. This hidden beach town offers everything you and your canine BFF need to sniff out some fun in the sun together. Think unspoiled coastline, chic shops and casual dining—all dog friendly.
SPOTLIGHT ON: IDYLLIC WEDDING VENUES IN SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
Santa Barbara is a sought-after wedding destination for good reason. With breathtaking ocean views, magnificent Spanish architecture, and tranquil vineyards, there’s something inherently romantic about the idyllic wedding venues in Santa Barbara County.
SPOTLIGHT ON: ARCHITECT ANDY NEUMANN
Acclaimed local architect Andy Neumann has been creating a sense of place for fortunate homeowners since 1976 when he burst onto the scene as a founding partner of Seaside Union Architects here in Santa Barbara.
SPOTLIGHT ON: CARPINTERIA STATE BEACH AND COAST
With terraced bluffs, dunes, and a mile of sand and surf for swimming, surfing, fishing, tide pooling, exploring or just relaxing, Carpinteria State Beach is truly a unique treasure.
SPOTLIGHT ON: OJAI'S TAFT GARDENS & NATURE PRESERVE
Ojai is known for its nature-centric vibe mixed with a thriving culture and art scene. Perhaps the best place to experience the essence of this unique place is by exploring Ojai’s Taft Gardens & Nature Preserve.
A WEEKEND IN SANTA BARBARA
Whether you are planning a girls’ weekend in Santa Barbara, or a romantic California couples escape, right here is the ultimate California getaway.
ARCHITECT REX LOTERY: MASTER OF MODERNIST DESIGN
The renowned architect Rex Lotery died in 2007, but his legacy is manifest on The American Riviera where he designed the AIA Award-Winning Modernist Masterpiece as his personal residence, and pictured throughout this blog post.
Self-Care in Santa Barbara and Ojai
Self-care means looking after your health and wellness in a holistic and preventive way — whether that’s here in Santa Barbara, Ojai, or just about anywhere in the world these days.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival Reinvents Itself
The 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is doing things much differently this year in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
New Year’s Resolutions: Facts, Funnies and Santa Barbara Specific
It’s that time of year when we break out our New Year’s resolutions. And after living through the trials and tribulations of 2020, we’re all looking for a little inspiration for the year ahead.
Timeless Interior Design Trends
When it comes to timeless interior design trends, Montecito homeowners should embrace the ones that never go out of style.
Luxury Bunkers: Time to Invest in a Private Shelter?
Around the world, affluent folks are paying big bucks to create underground luxury bunkers in preparation for a nuclear disaster, climate catastrophe, or other epic life-threatening events.
12 Things To Do When You’re Confined to Your Home
What’s a Montecito or Santa Barbara homeowner supposed to do when at home for extended periods for whatever reason, including work, illness, caregiving, and so on? Fortunately, you'll discover plenty of ways to entertain yourself when you consider things to do when you're confined to your home.
California Volunteers: A Vital New Program for Our Time
In a previous blog post, I shared important information regarding Santa Barbara and Montecito's non-profit organizations in need of financial help to continue their life-saving work during the coronavirus pandemic.
Who Says Fun Games to Play Outside Are Just for Kids?
Warmer days mean homeowners want to get outside and safely enjoy Santa Barbara’s beautiful outdoors. What could be better than fun games to play outside with those you’ve been quarantined with?
Shop and Dine Along the NEW Santa Barbara State Street Promenade
Santa Barbara’s State Street has been transformed into a welcoming Pedestrian Promenade in the wake of COVID-19. For now, the famous street is closed to vehicles from Haley to Sola streets and local businesses and restaurants are spilling out onto the sidewalks, welcoming shoppers, diners, and those who just want to walk the renowned street.
5 Iconic Santa Barbara Estates
Santa Barbara has long been synonymous with gracious living: its hillsides and beaches home to some of the grandest estates in the country.
Lettuce Grow: More Than an Appeal from Veggies
Lettuce Grow is an exciting new initiative of The Farm Project, a sustainable produce venture started by actress Zooey Deschanel and her husband, Jacob Pechenik.
Santa Barbara Day Trips: Convenient, Safe and Sanity Savers
The summer of 2020 might not be the best time to live out your Jack Kerouac road trip fantasy, but locals suffering from cabin fever due to COVID-19 can take a day trip to get away from it all right in their own backyard.
The Backyard Shed: Your New Home Office?
Sales of backyard sheds are spiking. It seems more and more homeowners are needing a Santa Barbara home office. After all, the idea of a separate, quiet, office space is top of mind for many folks who used to trudge to an office downtown, or, even in some cases, to LA.
The Art of Backyard Stargazing in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara and Montecito are renowned for having perfect Mediterranean weather and miles of pristine beaches. But what many don’t realize, or at least notice, is that at night the sky is filled with stars and planets; perfect for backyard stargazing.
The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Eco-Friendly Home: Part 1
It’s not surprising that more and more homeowners are going green in their everyday lives. The benefits of creating an eco-friendly home are far-reaching, but many Santa Barbara and Montecito homeowners concerned about minimizing their impact on our fragile ecosystem don’t know where to begin.
The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Eco-Friendly Home: Part 2
I hope after reading Part 1 of my Going Green series you realize that getting on the right side of things when it comes to the environment is easier than you thought.
Do You Have a Household or Family Disaster Plan?
Santa Barbara homeowners, along with the rest of the world, are experiencing a heightened awareness of natural disasters these days. According to the American Red Cross in Santa Barbara, this awareness has brought with it new ways every household member can be better prepared in an emergency.
20 Things to Love About Santa Barbara
It seems like a bit of a disservice to list only 20 things to love about Santa Barbara. Enumerating all the great things residents enjoy here, however, would take up a great deal more space than this blog post allows.
Local Spotlight: Montecito’s Lotusland: One of the World’s 10 Best Gardens
Everyone knows about Santa Barbara’s beautiful beaches, impressive architecture, and perfect Mediterranean weather, but do you know about Montecito’s Lotusland?
The Emerging Popularity of Luxury Storage Units
Luxury storage units offering options for everything from storing treasures including rare vehicles and works of art, to creating extra entertainment spaces away from home are popping up across the country.
The Santa Barbara School District
Many of my customers ask me about the Santa Barbara School District, the main public school district that serves Santa Barbara and Goleta. I am happy to answer that the Santa Barbara’s public school district is highly rated; with 15,453 students in grades K-12 and a student-teacher ratio of 24 to 1.
The Junk Drawer: A Montecito Tradition?
I’m going to take a bold step here and assume that literally every Montecito residence – including my own – has at least one junk drawer.
6 Ways to Build Wealth Without Touching the Stock Market
There are so many ways to build wealth without relying on one of the most common wealth-building platforms: the stock market. To some, investing in the stock market might feel a bit risky today since we are at near-record highs.
Private Firefighters: Help For Montecito Homeowners?
You may have heard that private firefighters saved the $60 million home of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West when the California Woolsey Fire ravaged Ventura County.
Baby Checklist: 10 Things to Do to Prepare Your Home for a Newborn
In honor of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle’s royal bundle of joy, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, I thought I’d offer some important ways to prepare for a newborn.
Ocean View Homes are Good for Our Health
Those of us fortunate enough to live in Montecito ocean view homes or those with an ocean view in Santa Barbara don’t take our amazing vistas for granted. In fact, just look up Santa Barbara Sunsets on Instagram and you’ll find pages including this one that features more than 1000 of them.
No Kid Hungry: The Manifest Altruism of Actor Jeff Bridges
Jeff Bridges brings more to the Santa Barbara community than his superstar status. A longtime resident of Montecito, the Academy Award winner is also the national spokesperson for the No Kid Hungry program and an advocate for the free lunch program in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara: Oasis of Arts and Culture
You may not consider the arts and culture when you think about Santa Barbara, but the area's location, climate, and topography are definitely good for the creative soul.
Hug a Santa Barbara Tree Today
Each Santa Barbara tree is an invaluable resource. Together, the city’s trees provide more than $2 million in annual benefits: from stormwater and carbon dioxide reduction to reduced energy costs.
Social Media Influence on Interior Design in Santa Barbara and Montecito
Today’s consumers have become increasingly digital-savvy and social media-driven. I have blogged about Insta-worthy locations in Santa Barbara in the past. Now, it’s time to take a look at the ways social media is influencing design, even here in Montecito and Santa Barbara.
Running Trails in Santa Barbara: 8 of the Most Popular
Why not make 2020 your year to explore the wonderful running trails in Santa Barbara? After all, this vibrant community is home to a large and active endurance community.
Downsizing Your Home: 5 Signs It Might Be Time
Is it time for downsizing your home? I recently posted a guest blog, “Downsizing for Seniors,” explaining how to make it as stress-free as possible. But when I thought about the topic, I realized that downsizing is not reserved for seniors only.
Fiscal Fitness: The Advantages of Investing in Your Health
Fiscal fitness is a piece of financial advice that is nothing to scoff about. It’s real. By investing in your health, you can also improve your bank account. We all know the importance of diet and exercise, but now there’s proof that your health does indeed affect your wallet.
Montecito Community Leadership Forms The Partnership for Resilient Communities
As our neighbors in Ventura and Los Angeles begin to recover from the Woolsey Fire, Montecito co
Survey Finds More People Are Working From Home Today
Recent data compiled by a consortium of economists, data scientists, designers, researchers, and business executives compiled a comprehensive report, Data USA, that revealed approximately 20% of Montecito residents work from home.
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- Home Maintenance (9)
- Home Technology (11)
- Home Values (5)
- Housing Market (16)
- Interior Design (31)
- Just for Fun (45)
- Lifestyle (59)
- Local Happenings (60)
- Moving (7)
- Outside (17)
- Practical Advice (39)
- Real Estate Law (4)
- Realtor Tips (19)
- Remodeling (4)
- Selling (69)
“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”
“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”
“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”
“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”
“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”
“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”
“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”
- S.N. Decker Ph.D.
“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”
- Johan and Paula van den Berg
“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”
- John and Lacey Williams
“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”
- Michael & Nancy Lee
“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”
- Richard and Catherine Frinier
“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”
- Laurie Siegel
“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”
- Ken Saffir
“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”
- Michael & Susan Marquart
“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”
- Rob & Judi Kelch