Cristal's Blog

Your Fall Home: Décor Tips and Must-do Chores

October 6, 2020

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With the sunny weather here in Montecito it may not feel like it yet, but it’s that time of year to create and care for what will be your fall home. Taking care of the little things now can make a big difference from now through winter. Why not make the inside of your home reflect the vibrance outside, where sycamore, cottonwood, liquid ambers, vineyards, and even the often dreaded poison oak erupt with color in the surrounding forests of the Santa Ynez Mountains, and the Pacific awakens with the best surf breaks of the year.

  1. Design a welcoming area for people to gather
    It’s so important to have your dining table ready for the fall. So, refresh your dining room as shown in the image above taken at my Premier Mediterranean-style Ennisbrook Estate This singular Mediterranean-style Ennisbrook estate offers breathtaking views through a wealth of large windows and arched French doors that bring the outside in, all year long. For those who have frequent visitors, the property also has two additional structures for guests to stay when they visit from out of town.

READ: Ocean View Homes are Good for Our Health

Or better yet, here in sunny Montecito, you can dine outside practically any time of the year thanks to our perfect Mediterranean weather. Either outdoors or in, the more welcoming your dining area is, the more your fall home will come alive with what matters most: your friends and family. Simply add a runner or placemats, place fresh flowers from your garden as a centerpiece and your table will feel extra inviting.

  1. Light the fireplace to invite in warmth.
    On a chilly autumn night, you’ll want to light that fireplace to warm up the room, just like the current owners have done in this picture from the living room of a singular ocean-view Montecito home that I just sold. Situated on nearly 1.5 acres in Montecito’s coveted “Golden Quadrangle,” one the affluent community’s most desirable places to live, the entire estate offers an abundance of large single-pane windows and French doors complementing the clean horizontal and vertical lines that define classic contemporary and distinctly modernist design.

READ: What Makes Montecito Spanish Colonial Revival Architecture Such a Sought-After Design?

Don’t worry that you didn’t get to purchase this property, the creation of an elite team of two architects and an artist. I have many other equally amazing estates to show you.

  1. Soften every space with layers.
    Check out the layers that add that comfy feel inside the bedroom of this European-Inspired Montecito Contemporary Estate. The former estate of revered comedian Jonathan Winters and his wife, Eileen is exquisitely grand. It has also been extensively remodeled by award-winning builder Allen Construction, internationally acclaimed architecture and design firm Harrison Design and the visionary landscape architects of Arcadia Studio.

As you can see, pillows are a great way to offer an invitation to relax and get comfortable. So, pile those plump and cozy pillows everywhere this season. Add extras to your bed, sofa, daybed, and chairs. Plus, lush linens are a great way to layer because they offer an invitation to relax and get comfortable. Sinking into a comfortable, fresh, and clean bed with the right bedding can make all the difference to getting a good night’s sleep.

  1. Little touches add texture and function.
    The rug, lighting, mirror, house plant, and window in this room all add that little something extra, bringing texture and function. This particular example can be seen at my French Country-Style Montecito Home in Birnam Wood. If you are drawn to Old World French country elegance combined with 21stcentury conveniences, this property is perfect for you! Built in 2019, bordering the 12th fairway and green of the gated and guarded sanctuary that is Birnam Wood, this spectacular property is one-of-a-kind with quite a pedigree.

READ: Home Improvement: Repair, Remodel or Renovate?

The extras add texture, but they are also considered stylish decorative elements. It’s the little things that bring a fall home to life, so make them more personal and show off your unique style.

Here are my top 12 general tips for getting a fall home ready:

1) Clean your gutters. 
Inspect and clean gutters and downspouts.
2) Seal gaps and cracks. 
Seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors with weather-stripping and caulk.
3) Inspect your roof. 
Inspect your roof for damaged or curled shingles, corroded flashing, or leaky vents.
4) Repair sidewalks and driveways. 
Take steps to repair damaged sidewalks, driveways, and steps.
5) Get ready for the chilly evenings in Santa Barbara. 
Drain and winterize outdoor faucets and irrigation systems.
6) Freshen your filter. 
Clean or replace dirty furnace filters.
7)   Inspect your furnace. 
Have a professional inspect your heating system.
8)   Inspect your fireplace. 
Check fireplaces for soot or creosote build-up. Better yet, schedule a visit from a reputable chimney sweep.
9)   Clean your humidifier. 
With our perfect weather in Santa Barbara, we don’t necessarily need a humidifier, however, if you use one, clean the plates or pads to ensure efficient operation.
10) Inspect gas heaters. 
If you have a gas-fired room heater, have it inspected by a pro. Also, perform any routine maintenance recommended by the maker.
11) Inspect any wood stoves. 
Wood stoves are making a comeback. To avoid a deadly situation, be sure to inspect yours before firing it up.
12) Keep your family safe at home. 
A fall home safety check should be an annual ritual in every household. Test smoke and CO monitors, inspect (or install) fire extinguishers, review fire escape plans, and rid your home of old newspapers and other fire hazards.

These are just a few ways to bring your fall home to life as you fill it with comforts, warmth, your own unique style, and of course, your favorite people (and furry friends). I’d love to hear some of your favorite ways to refresh your Montecito home this fall. Just give me a call at +1 805.886.9378 or email me at You can also contact me when you are ready to sell in Montecito, Hope Ranch, or another of the Santa Barbara area’s upscale communities.

I’ve earned a coveted place as a “Top 5” agent among Berkshire Hathaway’s 60,000 agents nationwide and am committed to excellence. I’ll be happy to share my personal, local contacts that can help you get your house ready for fall.

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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