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Montecito Estates: Calling New Owners to Paradise

February 5, 2019

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Map of Montecito

Affluent buyers insist there’s something exceedingly special about Montecito estates. Perhaps it’s their location in this rarified enclave of just under 10,000 mostly affluent residents; neighboring world-renowned Santa Barbara, known as “The American Riviera.” Both communities are home to classic and predominately Mediterranean-style architecture, breathtaking mountain and ocean vistas and year-round sunshine.

Montecito, however, is somehow singularly idyllic. That’s why it has been the chosen spot for the well-known and well-heeled to build homes and estates as their primary and secondary residences since the very early years of the 20th century.

In Spanish, the word Montecito is derived from the fact that the community is built into the oak-laden foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Residents enjoy the peaceful, quiet, and safe sanctuary that boasts world-class resorts, top-rated schools, golf and country clubs, and numerous high-end boutiques and dining establishments.

It’s the lavish Montecito estates and high-end homes, however, that truly set the enclave’s 8 square miles apart. You’ll find hillside estates with to-die-for views of both the beach and the mountains.

Come along for a tour of just a few of the spectacular Montecito CA estates for sale currently.

 One of several Montecito estates listed by Cristal Clarke. White Neo-classical-Modernist home overlooking the Pacific Ocean

Spectacular Ocean View Estate ~ East Mountain Drive, Montecito ~ $16,250,000

Take this Spectacular Ocean View Estate, for example. If you are a fan of Modernism, Post-modernism, Neo-classicism or Art Deco, then this estate is for you. The 3-bedroom, 5-bath residence is situated on approximately 2 acres and rivals the most awe-inspiring domiciles anywhere in the world. Featuring an imposing front gate that looks like a work of art itself, the entire estate evokes an air of privacy and class. The new owners will enjoy breathtaking ocean views in just about every room, including the living room, which looks out to the Channel Islands.

Spacious and beautifully yet casually furnished living room of a Montecito Estate for sale by Cristal Clarke

Montecito Hacienda ~ Sheffield Drive, Montecito ~ $3,195,000

How about putting down roots in this charming Montecito Hacienda? Situated on nearly 1.5 spectacular mountain view acres, the main residence features 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths. There’s a private guest cottage on the grounds. Surrounded by landscaped gardens and majestic oak, sycamore and magnolia trees, this hacienda combines early California with modern amenities. The property, built in 1941, underwent a major renovation in 2001. Today, it is a superb example of the coveted indoor-outdoor lifestyle synonymous with living in this part of the world. This estate is available for either sale or lease.

Ranch Style Montecito Estate lit up at dusk

Ocean View Ranch-style Home ~ Alston Road, Montecito ~ $2,795,000

This Ocean View Montecito Ranch-Style Home offers sweeping views of the Santa Barbara coastline, the Channel Islands and beyond. Like other ranch-style homes, this one fuses modernist ideas and styles with the American Western period of wide open spaces to create a comfortable, casual living style. Besides the amazing views, the new owners will also get to enjoy an entire acre of exquisitely landscaped grounds featuring multiple flagstone patios, a built-in barbecue and stone fire pit with seating, walking paths and beautiful, well-maintained gardens. Inside, the home’s flexible floorplan includes spacious living areas and generously-sized bedrooms. I love the living room’s vaulted ceilings that give the home a light and airy feel, adding the inside-outside element found in many Montecito homes. Another favorite is the elegant, wood-paneled library with its wet bar and distinctive vintage Asian doors. The kitchen is gorgeous too. We’re talking cherry cabinetry complimented with burnished stainless steel countertops and a cozy breakfast area. The kitchen’s expansive windows overlook the well-manicured backyard. Put it all together and this home is an entertainer’s dream come true!

Montecito Estate with red tile roofs surrounded by trees.

Casa Señorial ~ Coyote Road, Montecito ~ $3,450,000

Or how about moving to Casa Señorial: A Classic Spanish-style Estate? Charming and eclectic as the name itself: Casa Senorial means “Stately Home.” And this property definitely fits that description. Sitting on approximately one acre of prime real estate is the main 2-bedroom, 2.5 bath main residence, and a detached casita. A lovely pergola leads you from the main residence to the casita, which is itself a tranquil hideaway with vaulted beam ceilings, a sandstone fireplace, built-in shelving, and an intimate loft. The setting of the property is unmatched; with abundant trees and plants; winding walking paths; views of the ocean, city, and foothills; and multiple venues for relaxation, including an intimate sitting area surrounded by hedges. This exceptional property, nestled in the foothills and with its colorful history, has evolved into a perfect retreat with the convenience and versatility of a modern lifestyle.

View of Montecito Estate with manicured grounds and large pool.

Somerset Estate ~ East Valley Road, Montecito ~ $7,495,000

One look at the 5-bedroom, 6.5 bath Somerset Estate and you’ll know you’ve arrived home. Located in Montecito’s elite “Golden Quadrangle,” the Somerset Estate offers a fine example of superior 21st-century workmanship and conveniences even though the home was originally built in 1918.  Many aspects of the approximately 1.6-acre grounds are attributed to celebrated landscape architect Lockwood de Forest. One could say that the home features the best in European influence with a Montecito flair because the property is reminiscent of the English or the French countryside. Even the custom designed front door is a show stopper. Featuring soaring vaulted ceilings in the living room with loads of natural light emanating from the large multi-pane and clerestory windows. Multiple French doors lead to the private terraces and manicured grounds with their spa, pool, and gazebo. There are 2 guest houses that provide a total of an additional 3 bedrooms. Whereas both abodes offer a country feel, one hosts wide-plank wood floors, an open-beam vaulted ceiling, French doors to the portico, and a fireplace with floor-to-ceiling stone surround. The “west” guesthouse has a comfortable living room, bedroom, full kitchen, and a spacious second-floor loft.

Now that you know about this relaxing, picturesque, charming town, I invite you to experience its Old World charm and world-class amenities for yourself. Check out my additional amazing Montecito estates and homes for sale on my comprehensive website. I also have some lovely properties for sale in Hope Ranch, Carpinteria and all of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities. See something you like? Call me at +1 (805) 886-9378, or email me at Allow me to find your new dream home in Montecito.


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Client Reviews

“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