Santa Barbara: Sunset Magazine’s #1 Beach Town


13 Western states, British Columbia, and Alberta duked it out for Sunset magazine’s first annual Travel Awards, which “recognize achievement in lodging, dining, cultural tourism, outdoor adventure, environmental stewardship, and other categories.” The magazine solicited nomination entries for a variety of categories, and from there an array of teams, judges and advisory boards deliberated the winners. Judges included tourism directors, authors of travel books and resort CEOs, so opinions were legitimately sourced.

And the winner for Best Beach Town? Drum roll, please… SANTA BARBARA! It is a great distinction to be recognized in a magazine that specifically showcases the ultimate Western lifestyle. From world renown surf spots such as Rincon, vibrant night life on State Street and unique scenery, to a rich Spanish history and culture, and wine-tasting in Santa Ynez, it seems we hit all the checkboxes for an ideal coastal lifestyle. It’s no wonder everyone here is happy as a clam! What more could you ask for?

If you’re looking for some ideas regarding fun things to do in Santa Barbara, check out our Local’s Guide blog by clicking here. We also have a list of local favorites where you may find Riskin Partner’s best picks in food, wine, home needs, golf courses and more. Don’t forget that FIESTA! begins next week so be sure to participate in the weekend activities to celebrate our awesome community!

Calling All Open House Lovers!

Riskin Partners is pleased to announce the newest addition to our website: an online open house directory for Montecito and Santa Barbara!

These directories will automatically update with any open house changes or additions, rendering it a convenient and reliable resource for all those house hunters looking for an incredible property. Users may also filter results and view listing details at their convenience. What are you waiting for? Take a look!

Click Here to View All Montecito Open Houses

Click Here to View All Santa Barbara Open Houses

RP open houses this weekend include:

705 Park Lane – open Sunday, 7/26 2 – 4 PM
offered at $4,595,000

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This charming country residence features a 4bd/4.5ba main house, 1bd/1ba guest apartment, sport court and a bounty of blooming gardens.

709 Park Lane – open Sunday, 7/26 2 – 4 PM
Offered at $3,750,000

An inviting pool and verdant grounds accompany a bright and pristine 3bd/3.5ba residence at one of Montecito's best addresses.

An inviting pool and verdant grounds accompany a bright and pristine 3bd/3.5ba residence at one of Montecito’s best addresses.

Drought, Desalination… What’s The Deal?

Drought

The current drought in California has commanded the attention of many and as we continue to see minimal rain here in Santa Barbara and throughout the state, this is not an issue that we will be disengaging from anytime soon. This particular drought began in 2012 and is the worst drought in 1,200 years. This year also marks an all-time record low for snow pack levels in the Sierras amounting to an equivalent of 24 billion gallons of water loss. For a striking visual perception of the drought, Click Here to view an article which compares photos of California’s water sources just before the drought in 2011 and their recent state, in 2014.

All-time low snow pack levels in the Sierras amount to an equivalent of 24 billion gallons of water loss for the state.

Limited rainfall has caused our water reservoirs to become depleted and over drafting of groundwater is underway. Looking at our future, “the 2016-2017 water year is looking dire…assuming that there will be no surface water coming from Lake Cachuma, the State Water Project or Jameson Lake.” State-wide, Governor Jerry Brown has issued a mandate that urban water use must be reduced 25 percent below 2013 levels by February 2016. To put this all in perspective, NASA estimates, “it would take 11 trillion gallons of water to get us out of drought,” and it is these types of severities that are causing people to seek for solutions to this complicated problem.

Water levels at Lake Cachuma linger at 28% capacity with the aid of local conservation efforts and water externally purchased and pumped in from the state

Recently, Santa Barbara increased to Stage 3 drought regulations, which call for stringent water use restrictions and increased water rates. Conservation techniques are another alleviation, which Santa Barbara residents are implementing effectively. In the month of May, residents conserved an astounding 37%, bringing reduction efforts up to 24% since last July and only 1% away from the city’s goal (go SB!). Santa Barbara also holds the lead for highest conservation rates in the state, but we must also consider what else may lie in the near future for our community. If the drought persists and there is no water available for purchase, the city needs another fallback.

Desalination

The Santa Barbara desalination facility was built in 1991 yet has never been used. Reactivation of the SB plant is in the works and Montecito is considering building its own, new plant to curtail the persistent drought. There is some resistance concerning plant costs, timing, energy intensity, water prices and the potentially harmful effects inflicted on aquatic organisms.

Desalination has been a topic of discussion as the vast ocean near our homes provokes its consideration as a potential water source; after all, 97.5% of all the water on Earth is sea water. Click here to watch a 30-second informational video explaining the process of desalination. For a smaller Santa Barbara community like Montecito, drought relief options are limited and, aside from increased water rates, desalination seems a viable recourse. According to Montecito general manager, Tom Mosby, “Santa Barbara expects to get its desalination facility operational next year [and] if it’s approved by the state and the Santa Barbara City Council moves forward, Montecito could get emergency permit status by the end of 2016 for its own facility.” A new Montecito plant would cost between $60 and $80 million and in conjunction with the Santa Barbara plant,  “could handle almost all the city’s water needs”; but only as long as residents continuation their conservation and cut their existing usage by 25%.

The Deal

– The drought is very serious and even with some recent minor rainfall, residents must keep in the mind that this issue has not been overcome. There is a 70% likelihood that the drought will persist.

– Santa Barbara locals are responding productively to water restrictions and conservation efforts yet that does not mean we should ease up on conservation techniques and implementation – this is an ongoing endeavor. For further tips and information regarding reduction of your water consumption, visit the Santa Barbara County Water Conservation page by clicking here. 

– Desalination is only a complementary aid to water conservation, and efforts are underway to recommission the Santa Barbara plant as well as construct a new plant for Montecito; however, this may be costly, energy-intensive and it is questionable whether or not the plants will be ready and functioning before the drought is over.

Effect on the real estate market: Water allotments per parcel are tightening and causing buyers to reconsider their water sources and water use (on average in California, almost 50% of total residential water use is for the outdoors/landscaping). Now more than ever, buyers are placing high value on wells and also drought-considerate landscaping in order to remain within these allotments.

A Local’s Guide to Santa Barbara

Clear skies and idyllic weather are common here in Santa Barbara and Montecito and now that summer has officially arrived, the locals are increasingly out and about. Fortunately for those who are lucky enough to visit, or even call this place home, there is an impressive array of opportunities to adventure, relax, dine, or anything else your soul desires. If you’re yearning to discover unique and high quality places, click here to view a great article by goop.com, which details a variety of wonderful destinations.

All of us here at Riskin Partners also have our favorite picks, so check out the list below for a small sampling of all that Santa Barbara has to offer. If you’re feeling especially enticed, maybe moving here or buying a second home is in your future! For the full list of our Local Favorites, from real estate needs to lifestyle suggestions, visit the Riskin Partners website here.

Accommodations – The Four Seasons Biltmore, Montecito

For a peaceful and relaxing stay, this 5-star luxury hotel is located adjacent to the beautiful Butterfly Beach. In classic California style, they “invite guests to indulge in everything from tours of local wineries to surfing, lazing on the beach or lounging poolside at the exclusive Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club.” Relax and be treated at the Santa Barbara Spa, dine at the ocean-view Bella Vista restaurant, or even book a surf session with surfing legend Tom Curren. Find Sara Thandi here on any holiday with her family, this is her favorite place to grab some brunch!

Adventure – Inspiration Point Hike, Santa Barbara

A great workout with some serious views – Inspiration Point is a classic Santa Barbara hike that will having you feeling motivated once you reach the top. Winding through the stunning Santa Ynez mountains, this 3.5-mile round trip hike is best enxperienced at sunrise or sunset. If you enjoy this one, Rebecca, an avid hiker, also suggests trying the San Ysidro trail.

Site-seeing & Architecture – Rose Garden at the Old Mission, Santa Barbara

With such a rich history, there are a wealth of landmarks and stunning Spanish Revival style architecture throughout the city which should not be missed. Among the Santa Barbara Courthouse (known by many as the most beautiful public building in the country) and its gorgeous sunken gardens, Meridian Studios, and other iconic buildings, the Old Santa Barbara Mission will always remain a classic. Take Robert’s advice: grab a blanket, some wine and outdoor games, and have a picnic next to the Mission’s blooming rose garden. A retreat like this is best enjoyed if you bring some friends along!

Mid-day Dining –The Santa Barbara Public Market, Santa Barbara

For just over a year now, the Public Market has been host to an array of purveyors – priding itself in “handcrafted, regionally sourced and sustainably made food and wine.” Whether you’re looking for Crazy Good Bread, a quality cup of joe, delicious seafood, fresh-made pasta, or a glass of wine, the Public Market has it all. If you’re feeling like working on your culinary artistry or need to host an event, their Kitchen serves as a commissary and event space. According to Marie, the Market is a great place to meet with friends because there is something for everyone, but her top pick is the potato gnocchi at the Pasta Shoppe. Pair with a flight of wine at the tasting bar for a delicious Italian meal…you definitely will not be disappointed.

Live Music – The Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara

Set on a hillside overlooking Santa Barbara, the Bowl is a historic amphitheater circa 1936 with striking views – a true landmark of the area. It has been host to some of the biggest names in the music industry including Bob Marley, Santana, Radiohead, Jack Johnson, Steely Dan, and Sting, just to name a few. The intimate venue also hosts a variety of up and coming artists, so all types of music fans can rock out. Upcoming shows include Aerosmith on July 7thAretha Franklin on August 6th, the Santa Barbara Mariachi Festival on August 8th and the Alabama Shakes on August 18th. Live music has always been a big part of Jasmine’s life, her husband is even in a band called Surprise Me (vote for them here to help them have an opportunity to play at Summerfest in Wisconsin!). Of all the music venues she has been to, she claims that the Bowl is by far the most beautiful.

Dinner – The Lark, Santa Barbara

We L.O.V.E. the Lark! This family-style restaurant serves “locally sourced and responsibly grown” meals, which are incredibly fresh and delectable. Try the roasted beets and burrata, the marinated grill & hangar steak, the herb roasted diver scallops, or even their famous brussel sprouts – everything on their seasonal menu is simply divine. Sarah Kelly advises that if you’re looking to grab a cocktail on a weekend night, this is the place to be. The bone marrow crusted beef cheeks and Mary’s roasted chicken are her favorite picks on this menu.

Wine Tasting – The Funk Zone, Santa Barbara

The Funk Zone is a hip, arts, business, and industrial district close to State Street and the Santa Barbara harbor. Here you may find over 10 wine tasting rooms and a variety of studios, galleries, surf shops, and restaurants (including The Lark)! All within walking distance to each other, the Funk Zone makes for a lovely night on the town. Make sure to check out Pali Wine CoCorks N Crowns, and Dina’s favorite, Les Marchands Wine Bar and Marchant, where she recently celebrated her engagement! Fun Fact: the owner, Brian McClintic was featured in the popular wine documentary called SOMM, “which chronicled his journey to the elusive Master Sommelier title.”

See What Montecito Agents Are Calling “The Best House on the Market”

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It’s true. Montecito is riddled with some of the most enviable homes in the country, and arguably, the world. And really, it’s no surprise. With the most idyllic climate since the south of France and views of a comparable, coastal landscape, Montecito is easy to fall in love with, make a home, and stay forever. And that is just what the owner’s of 1125 Garden Lane did some 20 years ago. A couple from Maine who were pulled away to cultivate careers in the film industry, they vowed to create a home that felt like Maine, with the same sense of “permanence and provenance.” And so was built an exceptional Dutch-Revival residence nestled on over 3 captivating acres. Really, the grounds are unlike any other. Read on to experience what many agents are calling “the best house on the market.”

FrontExtVert Occupying one of Montecito’s most sought-after and private locations, an exquisite New England estate perfectly balances character and antiquity with the modern tastes of today’s discerning buyers.

A captivating lane in Montecito’s famed Riven Rock, Garden Lane hosts a timeless residence built by its current owner to feel steeped in East Coast elegance. Beyond private entry gates, a meandering tree-lined drive introduces 3.38 wooded acres, where resident oaks and deciduous specimen trees appear untouched by time.

The owner envisioned a home with “a sense of history, permanence and provenance,” which is exquisitely achieved not only by the blossoming vines that scale the exterior, but also by the thoughtfully curated design details found throughout the home. The home’s design aesthetic has been keenly celebrated in numerous design publications including Traditional Home, Elle Décor and Beautiful Homes Magazines. Stepping onto the inviting front porch, the attention to detail and superb quality construction is immediately evident. The striking foyer’s towering ceiling, archways and dignified staircase showcase the masterful eyes of architect Jock Sewall and builder Paul Franz. 1125GardenLane_09

Abundant natural light filters through an expansive picture window in the formal living room. Wide oak floorboards in a rich stain offer a luxurious contrast to crisp paneled walls, a tasteful fireplace and French doors leading to sunny terraces and glorious rose gardens on both sides of the room. An adjacent den of handsome design, offering built-ins and large window seat, is perfectly situated for an office or game room. 1125GardenLane_12

The formal dining room is poised to host family and friends. Built-in china cabinets, a sundrenched window seat and exquisite chandelier create an atmosphere fitting for intimate dinner parties and jovial gatherings alike. Many of the light fixtures throughout the home are antique, having been hand selected by the owner in an effort to further the desired sense of history.

An expansive great room encompasses the charming kitchen and delightful family room where French doors and large windows open to the pool. Custom designed by the owner, an avid chef, the kitchen boasts the finest culinary appliances. An informal dining area comfortably seats ten, perfect for sunny Sunday morning brunch or casual afternoon snacks in the family great room.

The classic New England tenor continues throughout the great room with beadboard, crown molding and an inviting stone fireplace, creating a sophisticated yet comfortable ambience. A sunny deck with large stone fireplace beckons leisurely afternoons and crisp evenings beneath ancient oaks.

A quaint office/guest suite boasting a private bath, enjoys French doors opening to the pool garden. A powder room, oversized multipurpose room and laundry area ideal for arranging blossoms from the cutting garden, and access to the garage complete the home’s main level.

The elegant staircase draws one to a lovely sitting area with built-in bookcases. Beautiful arched windows overlook the blossoming rose garden while a towering pitched ceiling creates a room both spacious and open, at the same time cozy and welcoming.1125GardenLane_25

A pair of antique pillars frames the doorway to the master bedroom, introducing the vintage elegance that defines the suite. Century-old oak graces the floor, complementing the aged patina of the plaster walls. Large windows overlook verdant treetops, welcoming the romantic aroma of rose and herb gardens, and brilliant sunlight. Two walk-in closets precede the master bath, a serene escape boasting an oversized shower, elegant soaking tub and sizeable vanity with dual sinks and custom tile work. Windows open to the oak canopy, allowing sweet breezes to further the sense of calm in the master suite.

Two lovely bedroom suites on the opposite wing of the home’s upper level overlook the stunning pool garden. Both suites are bright and open with pitched ceilings and abundant sunlight, and offer the privacy of dedicated baths.
In addition to the ample motor court, the spacious garage can house two vehicles and offers a sizeable workshop, custom built humidor and additional storage space ideal for a wine cellar.

1125GardenLane_04Outside, the grounds are a private oasis. Towering specimen trees surround the estate, allowing sun to filter to the private pool terrace, lush lawn and porch with outdoor fireplace. A charming pool cabana offers a powder room and lounge area with wet bar, ideal for escaping the afternoon sun. An impressive rose and herb garden offers bountiful blossoms for arrangements and cooking with the freshest ingredients.

Stone-lined pathways meander through the estate’s gently rolling acres, along Hot Springs and Cold Springs creeks, both seasonal, toward hidden sitting areas. A shady woodland of deciduous specimen trees, native oaks, apple and persimmon trees create a lively landscape ripe for exploration. Beyond the private gates of Riven Rock, the scenic Hot Springs hiking trail lies just a half-mile away, at the junction of Riven Rock Road and East Mountain Drive. The serene hiking trail winds past grand estates toward tranquil waterfalls and endless vista points. This exceptional lifestyle amenity can be enjoyed year-round in Montecito’s enviable climate.

 

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The enclave affords unparalleled privacy and is defined by a calm and serenity awarded to few locations so near to town. Just minutes from Montecito’s fine dining, upscale shops, world-renowned resorts and pristine beaches, the quiet lanes of Riven Rock are perfectly situated for a rich lifestyle.

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1125 Garden Lane is offered at $6,795,000
To experience the magic of this exquisite home, contact the listing agents at Riskin Partners to schedule a showing. 

 

 

 

An International Affair

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Just a hop, skip, and a jump across the pond…and then all the way over to the West coast – yesterday, our fantastic affiliates at Mayfair International Realty paid us a lovely visit here in Montecito! Along with Village Properties’ founder, Renee Grubb, we were fortunate enough to network with our guests, Managing Director Nick Churton and Director Annette Reeve. Much of the day was spent discussing advertising and press opportunities, as our exclusive collaboration with Mayfair presents the unique advantage of superb exposure to the global market. With member firms dating back to 1750 and covering every aspect of modern estate agency, land agency and property related professional services, Mayfair blends multiple disciplines with outstanding expertise and geographical supremacy. The Mayfair Group brings together all the very best independent firms to make a formidable force in property services. Over 300 hundred UK offices working in 47 counties, plus 150 offices active across North America and Australia, all have one aim in common – to provide the best possible property service where you live or would like to live.

So, we took the best to tour the best of our beautiful town. Throughout the day, we explored a variety of Village’s properties including the romantic Villa di Serenita, charming Brookside, and one of our newest listings, enchanting Garden Lane. Of course, a proper experience of Santa Barbara would not be complete without a stop at the El Encanto Hotel for a delicious lunch! We wanted to thank our UK visitors for an enjoyable visit, we hope that our adoration for Santa Barbara and Montecito rubbed off on you and left a lasting impression!

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To find out more about our premier affiliates at Mayfair International Realty, click here

New Listing! El Fureidis – The Scarface Estate

Riskin Partners is honored to have this architecturally significant and historically unique co-listing with Emilly Kellenberger. El Fureidis – translated as ‘tropical paradise’ – is one of Montecito’s most celebrated estates and steeped in rich and colorful history.

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The estate was founded in 1906 by James Waldron Gillespie, a visionary hailing from New York who came to the West Coast looking for a location with a landscape and a climate that rivaled that of the Mediterranean. Originally known as a botanic garden, the estate boasts 10 acres of exceptional grounds offering the utmost in privacy and a variety of trees, many of which are over 100 years old.

1 - Private Driveway Entrance - Tom Ploch

The estate was inspired by Gillespie’s world travels, and designed by renowned architect Bertram Goodhue, known mainly for his churches, museums, and monumental buildings.

21 - Four Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch

Goodhue’s works include the Los Angeles Central Library, Saint Thomas Church in New York City, the Nebraska State Capitol, and the Chapel and Original Campus of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

25 - East Elevation, Walkways and Fountain - Tom Ploch

El Fureidis is known as Bertram Goodhue’s outstanding Mediterranean Revival masterpiece.

10 - Lee Lawrie Original Signature - Zac Smith

A Grand Roman Villa

Together, Gillespie and Goodhue embarked on a yearlong trip to Europe and the Mediterranean region to gather inspiration for the estate; a significant portion of their journey included over 500 miles on horseback from the Caspian Sea to the Gulf of Persia. This journey birthed the concept of a grand Roman villa with Persian gardens, a very progressive architectural style for the time.

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A Careful Eye for Detail

Constructed of steel-reinforced concrete and retaining the original layout footprint, Goodhue built El Fureidis to last. The main house recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation with a careful eye for detail, preserving the historic elements of the estate, while equipping the estate for modern living in a new era.

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Piéce de Résistance

The estate itself forms a rectangle with a bright atrium terrace at its center, and is accessed through an entry hall and a “conversation room,” a Byzantine-style alcove crowned with an 18-foot-high central dome that is decorated with a floral hand painted, gold and blue design in 24k gold-leaf modeled after the church of St. John Lateran in Rome.  The conversation room has remained the piéce de résistance of the house.

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Neoclassical Era

Offering numerous areas for entertaining, the public rooms of the estate are grand in style. The formal dining room is unique with a barreled ceiling painted in 24k gold leaf and depicting a scene of Alexander the Great conquering Persepolis by Henry Wadsworth Moore. The original signature by the artist remains intact. A musician’s balcony overlooks the formal dining room and is accessed via a glass door.

11 - Interior Couryard - Tom Ploch

Each public room is bathed in natural light from the numerous sets of double doors, which open to the central courtyard and other patio areas.

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From the entry, one may enter the formal living room with lovely blue paneled ceilings, representing the heavens, and the neoclassical era of the estate.

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From the living room, the floor plan continues to a library, a sitting room and a lounge.

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Modern Appointments

Many of the original fixtures and appointments remain, and are coupled with fully modernized and deluxe appointments in the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry facilities, such as radiant floor heating, a steam shower, and top-end appliances. The renovation includes a second floor configured with three guest suites.

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Upstairs, an exquisite rooftop with three access points provides 360-degree views of the lavish ten-acre property, Pacific Ocean, and the Channel Islands. The desirable Montecito climate allows the rooftop to be enjoyed year round, while expansive space for rooftop lounging and sunset views provide the perfect setting for events.

3 - South Elevation with Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch

The property is bordered by a seasonal creek and offers significant gardens and landscaping, originally Persian in design, and reflective of Gillespie’s fondness for palm trees.  At one time, the gardens boasted more than 100 different varieties of palm and other trees, and today the expansive 10-acre grounds still harbor several century-old tree specimens, including a massive Chilean wine palm, Montecito’s largest Moreton Bay fig tree, magnificent king palms, a grove of coast redwoods, citrus and walnut orchards, and many others.

22 - Lower Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch

Significant Landscape

The many terraces, reflecting pools, and gardens are enhanced by Lee Lawrie’s nine bas-reliefs located at the rear of the estate. Lee Lawrie and Bertram Goodhue collaborated on many projects, bringing Lawrie to the forefront of the architectural industry. Lee Lawrie known as one of the United States’ most influential architectural sculptors and likely best known for the sculpture of Atlas at Rockefeller Center. The nine bas-reliefs depict scenes from Arthurian legends, which form a band between the tops of columns on the south side of the estate and feature Lawrie’s signature etched in stone.9 - Back Patio - Tom Ploch

The south elevation of the estate is dominated by a dazzling terrace of herringbone brick and turquoise reflecting pools, which descends via a walkway graced with additional water features—ending at a stately Roman temple or casino.

23 - Lower Fountains - Tom Ploch

The prevalent rectangular shape of the pools, terraces and walking paths in the gardens provide a tranquil atmosphere while water transports from one place to the next via narrow, shallow channels that are terraced to create cooling water.

24 - Lower Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch

The estate includes numerous original brick pathways offering opportunities to take in the lovely trees, and to reflect on the peaceful atmosphere across the grounds.

27 - Moreton Bay Fig Tree - Tom Ploch

El Fureidis is a place of legendary provenance and has at times received credit for playing host to many memorable tenants and visitors, including Thomas Mann, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Charles Chaplin, and John F. Kennedy. It is perhaps best known in recent years as a location for the 1983 film “Scarface,” and the wedding scene of Michele Pfeiffer and Al Pacino. The estate is one of only three residences in Montecito designed by Goodhue, and is a true piece of art history.

El Fureidis

631 Parra Grande, Montecito

Offered at $17,900,000

Click here to experience the virtual tour of the estate

Click here for a complete list of all of Riskin Partners’ luxury listings