Cristal's Blog

Want a Master Suite Sanctuary?

November 1, 2019

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A sample of a master suite sanctuary inside a Montecito home for sale

One of the things I love about many of the Montecito homes listed in my portfolio of fine homes for sale is their massive master suite. While this super-sized space is the perfect place to lay your head at night, all that extra square footage can feel a bit wasted; creating a cold vibe. Don’t fret. Transforming your master suite into a cozy space is easy. All you need is to pay some strategic attention to color and focus on the correct placement of furniture, art, and accessories. That can easily add up to a warm room in which to snuggle.

Here are 4 tips from design pros to make your master suite a comfy sanctuary:

  • Consider Scale
    According to LeeAnn Baker of Seattle-based LeeAnn Baker Interiors, choosing darker wall color and/or using wallpaper, will create a more intimate atmosphere. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s in an earthy hue. She also suggests Montecito homeowners play with scale. Think headboards with a high back, or even one that takes up an entire wall.

“Another way I like to work with a very high ceiling is by adding dramatically lit art,” Baker explains. “It not only sets a moody tone but also forces our eyes to rise a bit, which helps with scaling down the ceiling. I love adding mirrors to either side of the bed. Not only do they act as windows, but they also reflect the light that glows from the bedside lamps, bringing a feeling of warmth to the space."

Then there’s the furniture. With the right placement, furniture can make any large room feel just right for the people living in it. Create seating areas in the form of a couple extremely comfortable upholstered chairs. Use the space at the foot of the bed to place a beautifully upholstered ottoman. It’s the perfect arrangement to fill your master while creating a lovely composition.

  • Don’t Forget Depth
    This important dynamic can be created with warm, soft neutrals that always make a space feel inviting. Montecito homeowners can infuse a pop of texture and dimension in the form of art, accessories and even, perhaps, woven window shades. These different textures will keep your master from feeling flat and monotone.

“The biggest misconception with larger spaces, is that adding properly scaled pieces will make the room feel tight or cluttered,” says Kate Lester of Los Angeles-based Kate Lester Interiors. “We always utilize the length of the wall—selecting larger chests as nightstands and a prominent bed or upholstered headboard. This anchors the room and keeps the space grounded. In comparison, furniture that is too small, or too many furniture pieces in a room, can make the space feel cluttered and even larger.”

Lester goes on to suggest Montecito homeowners steer away from too many patterns, especially in a larger master. For example, if you use a patterned rug, then keep additional patterns to a minimum. If there is already a busy pattern on the drapery, then use a more neutral rug. You can also play with your upholstery to create balance. Plus, specific artwork and accessories can be used to infuse softness. And finally, don’t forget plants. Houseplants can immediately warm up a space.

  • Layers Add Warmth
    According to Jennifer Lannon, senior project manager for New York-based luxury real estate design and marketing firm Interior Marketing Group, Montecito homeowners should keep their bedding primarily light and contrast darker tones in the room using accessories such as pillows, coverlets and even duvets.

READ: What Is the Danish Lifestyle trend called “Hygge” and How Do Santa Barbara Homeowners Embrace It?

“In terms of materials, think soft and luxurious—velvet, cashmere, and linen,” Lannon explains. “As we approach winter, you can't go wrong with a [faux] fur to add dimension and comfort. It’s also very important to go big with your rug. Too small of a rug will shrink your space.”

  • A Textural Touch is a Must
    Christine Markatos Lowe of Christine Markatos Design in Santa Monica suggests Montecito homeowners think of their master bedroom as a sanctuary. The rest of your home may be hectic, but your master should be a soothing space filled with icy blues or lavenders.

“A canopy bed with curtains is a great way to create a cozy feel in an otherwise open space. And if there is room for a sitting area, a reading nook is always welcome,” Markatos explains. “Super-soft luxurious fabrics are the best way to make a room feel cozy. Velvets and chunky woven linens create beautiful layers, and in a room where there is less traffic and a kid-free zone, splurge for the best. A cozy oversized throw blanket on the end of the bed is always a welcome finishing touch to complete the cozy bedroom vibe.”

Many of my listings are waiting for your special touch. For example, the Premier Montecito Estate on the famed Picacho Lane is pictured at the top of this blog. If you’re looking to move within Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, please call at +1 (805) 886-9378 or email me at I’d love to hear any other tips you might have to make your huge master suite feel cozy. Sweet dreams!

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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