Cristal's Blog


October 2, 2023

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In the picturesque Ojai Valley, architect Marc Whitman has been a cherished resident since childhood, and his lifelong connection to this stunning region has cultivated his unique perspective on his craft. With an innate sense of balance, rhythm, and an unwavering appreciation for the interplay of shapes and forms, Whitman is celebrated as a prominent contributor to the Art of Architecture. And you’ll find a Magnificent Marc Whitman Designed Ojai Estate for sale on my comprehensive website with images of it featured throughout this blog post.

A birds eye view of a luxury home in Ojai at sunset

About Visionary Architect Marc Whitman

Whitman's journey in architecture began in the very heart of Ojai. After graduating from Nordhoff High School, he embarked on a transformative academic path at Arizona State University, earning his Bachelor of Architecture. In 1989, he became licensed within the State of California and gained membership in the esteemed American Institute of Architecture. His pursuit of excellence led him to attain certifications from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), a nonprofit organization made up of the architectural licensing boards of 55 U.S. states and territories. and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a green building rating system administered by the U.S. Green Building Council.

A luxury study with bookshelves and a handsome home office desk

Whitman Architectural Design

Today, at the helm of his small, privately-owned firm, Whitman offers a comprehensive suite of services encompassing design, planning, pre-design studies, construction documents, and interior architectural expertise. Yet, it's the celebrated architect’s extraordinary ability to visualize in three dimensions and effortlessly sketch his ideas in perspective that truly sets him apart. Over three decades, Whitman's firm has created an impressive portfolio predominantly featuring new custom homes, alongside remarkable remodeling projects. Many of his commercial endeavors have garnered awards, and have included iconic establishments such as The Ojai Design Center, and the Ojai Presbyterian Church restoration.

Whitman's architectural ethos is deeply rooted in his belief that the natural environment and architecture are inextricably linked. His conviction that nature and design should harmonize serves as the cornerstone of his firm's success.

A fully stocked luxury home wine cellar

Whitman’s Philosophy

As Winston Churchill famously said, "We shape our buildings, and then our buildings shape us." Whitman takes this sentiment further by asserting that "integrating architecture and nature is the ultimate union of heart and mind." According to Whitman, this philosophy has borne witness to structures that not only exquisitely blend with their surroundings but enhance them, emphasizing unity over discord. Balancing personal ambition with a commitment to the greater good, Whitman recognizes that his work influences people at large. By crafting meaningful and emotionally resonant designs, he hopes his work contributes to a better world.

While his design philosophy remains at the core of his mission, his Whitman Architectural Design tirelessly upholds the highest construction standards and practices. Three decades of experience in Ventura County have solidified Marc's expertise in navigating the intricacies of the local terrain, climate, politics, and governmental regulations. By seamlessly blending contemporary technology with time-honored craftsmanship, he consistently delivers work that stands out.

The living room of a luxury Ojai home with cathedral ceiling

Client-Centric Designs

Client engagement is paramount to Whitman's approach, and he actively involves clients throughout the design process. He steadfastly ensures that his personal preferences don't impede on the influence of clients as well as environmental considerations on his designs. For Whitman, architecture is the conduit through which client ideas merge with environmental and social responsibilities.

His adept coordination with contractors, engineers, and consultants ensures the realization of cost-efficient and energy-conscious designs. Moreover, Whitman remains committed to environmental sustainability, infusing energy-efficient, sustainable, and socially responsible design principles into every project.

A luxury Ojai home with mountains in the background and a red tiled roof

Timeless Elegance and Modern Comfort

In my listing seen here, Marc Whitman has masterfully fused the artistry of Old World craftsmanship and techniques with the convenience of state-of-the-art technology, resulting in an estate that offers panoramic vistas of the awe-inspiring Topatopa Mountains. Nestled on 3.8 sprawling acres of land, this three-level residence captures the very essence of Ojai's renowned relaxed sophistication.

As you step inside, you'll be greeted by open-beam vaulted ceilings that stretch overhead, graceful arches that lend an air of grandeur, solid walnut wide plank floors that exude warmth, and Spanish tiles that add a touch of Mediterranean charm throughout.

The property itself is a testament to nature's beauty, with a lush array of trees, meticulously manicured bushes, and various plantings that harmoniously complement the architectural marvels of the residence and its outdoor amenities. Meandering walking paths invite you to explore, and there's even an enchanting labyrinth set amidst the open space, brimming with endless possibilities for additional amenities. These features, along with the stunning natural landscape that envelops the property, can be savored from the numerous balconies, terraces, and decks that grace the estate.

All of this casual luxury is convenient to downtown Ojai, where you'll find essential services and top-notch schools, as well as the delightful allure of dining, shopping, and art galleries for which this enchanted community is celebrated and cherished.

In a place as unique and vibrant as Ojai, Marc Whitman's architectural vision continues to leave an indelible mark, seamlessly blending the timeless beauty of nature with the artistry of design.

Meantime, if you’re considering moving to Ojai or within any of our upscale communities, please give me a call at (805) 886-9378 or email me at I’d be happy to arrange a private tour for qualified potential buyers of my "Magnificent Marc Whitman Designed Ojai Estate," or any of the listings found on my comprehensive website.

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Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“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.”

- M.F.

“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!”

- P.B.

“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.”

- T.C.

“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!”

- D.R.

“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. ”

- M.A.

“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.”

- D.K.

“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