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Ojai California: A Magical Mecca of Wellness and Wonder

December 20, 2021

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The front of a story book looking estate in Ojai, Calfiornia taken at night with twinkling lights in the windows. The estate is surrounded by trees and shrubs.

As real estate buyers continue their search for the perfect home or home away from home, I’ve added a new hamlet to my portfolio of distinctive Santa Barbara area communities. Ojai California is that special place. It seemed like a natural expansion for me, adding this 4.3-square-mile town with about 8,000 residents that sits in the Ojai Valley, a scenic recess in the Topatopa Mountains.

Only a little more than 30 miles from Santa Barbara and 15 miles inland from the Pacific Coast, the small, quiet community borders the Los Padres National Forest on the north, and has long attracted spiritual and creative types. One reason is the famous sunsets in Ojai, often capped by a phenomenon called “the pink moment,” when the light hits the Topatopa Mountains just so, bathing them in shades of pink.

Distinctive Designs by Distinguished Architects, Built for Discerning Owners

The architecture here is a diverse blend of styles. Homes and other buildings by important noteworthy 20th-century architects run the gamut here. Some names you might recognize are Julia Morgan of Hearst Castle fame; George Washington Smith, renowned for creating Montecito’s Casa del Herrero; well-known modernist Richard Neutra, responsible for the Kronish House in Beverly Hills; plus, Reginald Johnson, Lutah Maria Riggs, and Carleton Winslow, a trio that built many Santa Barbara area homes as well. Many lesser-known architects of importance are also rejoiced here, through their work with lovely Queen Anne, Spanish Colonial Revival, and mid-century modern styles.

READ: Top Residential Architects in Montecito and Santa Barbara History

The town also offers nods to famous patrons who made Ojai the town it is today. One such local celeb is glass industrialist Edward Drummond Libbey, who the Libbey Bowl is named after. He played a vital role in creating Ojai’s downtown business district; setting the tone for the town’s casual and creative vibe and look. His own Craftsman-style hunting lodge, designed by Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey in 1909, is revered. Other wealthy patrons created their own piece of Ojai history, which includes the Ford Estate, a 1920 mansion designed by noted African American Los Angeles architect Paul Revere Williams.

Other important designs in town include Meditation Mount, Pine Cottage, the former home of philosopher J. Krishnamurti, now the Krishnamurti Library, and the Krotona Institute of Theosophy. There’s also the Spanish Colonial Revival-style Ojai Presbyterian Church built back in 1930 by Carleton Winslow on Foothill Road, which still welcomes worshippers.

Many homes were built between 1940 and 1980. After rapid growth in the 1970s, Ojai passed slow-growth laws to rein in development. Nonetheless, the town’s visible architectural delights were already tucked into all manner of nooks, crevices, and winding roads. Some are obvious and readily accessible to everyone, such as downtown Ojai’s pergola, arcade, post office, and St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel, now home to the Ojai Valley Museum, while others remain private retreats like my listing featured later in this blog post.

Health, Wealth, Culture and More

Wellness tourism is a major draw here, and spa resorts like the Ojai Valley Inn are popular with celebrities and Santa Barbara residents who come here to unwind. Like neighboring Santa Barbara, Ojai was first inhabited by Chumash Indians. Today, Ojai is a hotbed of meditation retreats, herbal medicine shops and vegan eateries featuring a walkable and quaint downtown village with shops, and restaurants. The town also hosts an annual music festival at Libbey Park, anchored by the 973-seat Libbey Bowl amphitheater. Residents and tourists alike also attend an annual wine festival at Lake Casitas and Ojai’s popular tennis tournament, which dates back to 1896.

Welcome to the Premier Offering in My Ojai California Portfolio

The living room of an Ojai estate that's for sale with soaring cathedral ceilings.

By now, I’m sure you can understand why I’m expanding my professional services to Ojai California. The premier entry in my Ojai portfolio of fine Santa Barbara area homes is Foothill Farms: A Historic Ojai Estate. This storybook sanctuary is nestled on over an acre of land, situated on a charming country road.

With roots dating back to the 1920’s, the one-of-a-kind estate has been designated a Historic Landmark. Architect William Albert Edwards worked with the renowned landscape designer Lockwood de Forest to impeccably preserve and embellish the home’s main residence, guest cottage, and detached studio. The substantial remodel kept the integrity of the original design intact, masterfully combining modern conveniences adding to the undeniable character of this 4-bedroom, 6-bathroom estate.

READ: Buying a Second Home? Or a Third? You’re Not Alone.

A grand piano sits in front of windows wiht trees in the background. there's also a staircase in the background.

When you enter the main residence, you’re greeted with soaring cathedral ceilings, accented by the home’s authentic oak floors. Surrounded by the Topatopa Mountains, the estate grounds feature a serene pool with a red brick terrace, plus a dining and entertainment veranda, along with multiple additional terraces. The property includes a delightful field of lavender, fruit trees, and vegetable gardens. There’s even an authentic chicken coop on the property.

An outddor patio wiht a stately tree handgng over.

Foothill Farms is located in a prime location convenient to downtown Ojai and its delightful array of eateries, taprooms, wine tasting rooms and boutiques. I am more than proud to offer this listing as the first of many in Ojai.

If you are ready to take advantage of today’s rising home prices and want to list your property in Ojai, Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, just call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at

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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