Cristal's Blog


June 6, 2024

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In the lush expanse of Santa Barbara, where opulent estates and historic landmarks weave into the fabric of the landscape, one name stands out among the architects who helped shape the region's architectural identity: Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue. A visionary architect and originator of the Spanish Colonial Revival Style we know and love today, Goodhue took an innovative approach to architecture, masterfully blending historical influences with contemporary design principles. His contributions to the Spanish Colonial Revival style influenced architectural trends throughout California and the Southwestern United States.

Vintage black and white photo of architect Bertram Goodhue
Architect Bertram Goodhue,

About Architect Bertram Goodhue

Bertram Goodhue is known for reinterpreting the masterful Spanish Baroque and Spanish Colonial architecture, incorporating traditional Churrigueresque detailing to create what became known as the Spanish Colonial Revival Style. His designs led to the assimilation of Spanish Colonial Revival Style architecture as California's dominant historical regional building design, a trend that continues today.

Goodhue's journey began not in the hallowed halls of academia, but as an apprentice in a prestigious New York firm. Only fifteen years old at the time, he refined his craft, meticulously copying the drawings of senior architects—an essential skill in an era predating copy machines. Despite the modest compensation of $5 a month, which exceeded the norm for apprentices, Goodhue seized the opportunity to immerse himself in the intricacies of architectural design.

In 1891, Goodhue experienced his first taste of success when he clinched a cathedral design competition in Dallas—a breakthrough moment that marked the beginning of his illustrious career. In the subsequent year, he embarked on a transformative journey through Mexico where he became captivated by the country's architecture. The profound impact of these travels reverberated throughout much of his work, infusing his designs with a distinctive flair inspired by the cultural landscape of Mexico.

Over the years, Goodhue's architectural odyssey took him far and wide, from the ornate cathedrals of Europe to the sun-drenched landscapes of Mexico. It was during his travels that he developed a deep appreciation for the intricate beauty of Spanish Colonial architecture—a fascination that would leave an indelible imprint on his later work.

Vintage black and white photo of amassive, lavishly decorated dining room, with hand-painted murals on its barrel-vaulted ceiling and a dining room table with 16 chairs.
El Fureidis dining room with its lavish, hand-painted barrel-vaulted ceiling, [circa 1907]

The Santa Barbara Connection

Goodhue's connection with Santa Barbara was forged when he was commissioned to design El Fureidis, an enchanting estate known as the “Scarface” mansion nestled in the heart of Montecito. Drawing inspiration from Spanish, Italian, and Persian influences, Goodhue crafted a masterpiece that would become a hallmark of our local architectural splendor.

In 1902, his firm secured the prestigious commission to reimagine the Military Academy at West Point, prompting Goodhue to relocate to New York, where he eventually established his own firm in 1914. During this transformative period, Goodhue solidified his reputation as a master architect, renowned for his ecclesiastical or church design expertise. He left an indelible mark on landscapes from New York to Pittsburgh and Havana, earning him widespread acclaim and admiration.

The summer of 1916 brought Goodhue back to our coastal haven—this time by the Santa Barbara Country Club officials, later rechristened as the Montecito Country Club (now Montecito Club). Perched high on a hill overlooking the scenic vistas of Hot Springs Road, Goodhue's design for the clubhouse was nothing short of revolutionary. With its towering three-story tower and distinctive blend of architectural styles, the clubhouse sparked both admiration and controversy, nearly succumbing to the weight of its lofty construction costs.

Goodhue's architectural contributions continued in the region. He crafted the design for Henry Dater Jr.'s Montecito residence and surrounding grounds, which reached completion in 1918. This remarkable estate later evolved into Val Verde, the cherished home of Wright Ludington.

His special touch can be seen in the rebuilding of Santa Barbara after the 1925 earthquake, inspired by local Mission Revival and Goodhue's Spanish Colonial Revival style from the Panama-California Exposition. As you navigate the streets of Santa Barbara today, you will find his sensibility in the very fabric of our city's rich architectural heritage with designs that continue to captivate and inspire.

Vintage black and white photo of the facade of the Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Public Library [circa 1935], Wikimedia Commons

Beyond Santa Barbara

Beyond our shores, Goodhue's portfolio boasted iconic landmarks such as the monumental Los Angeles Public Library pictured above, the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., and the stately Nebraska State Capitol. Notably, he also left his mark on the entire company town of Tyrone, New Mexico, showcasing his versatility and mastery across diverse architectural styles.

Goodhue's talent for building noteworthy creations was matched only by his artistic versatility. In addition to his architectural endeavors, he ventured into the realm of typeface design, creating iconic fonts such as Cheltenham and Merrymount—earning him accolades and admiration from coast to coast.

Tragically, Goodhue's life was cut short in 1924, a mere five days shy of his 55th birthday. Nevertheless, his enduring influence persists in the timeless beauty of his architectural creations, which continue to grace the landscape of Santa Barbara and beyond.

If you're in the market for one of Santa Barbara's exquisite properties currently available for sale, look no further. Allow me the privilege of guiding you through every step of the buying and selling process. With my expertise and dedication, I'll ensure a seamless experience as you embark on your journey toward owning a piece of Santa Barbara's rich architectural heritage. Feel free to contact me today at (805) 886-9378 or via email at to get started. Let's make your real estate aspirations a reality in the picturesque setting of Santa Barbara.

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“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

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- M.F.

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- 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