Featured Property of the Week: A Pristine Oasis in Hope Ranch

An ocean view Hope Ranch Estate, in Santa Barbara California offered by Riskin Associates.

In a premier ocean-view location in Santa Barbara’s prestigious Hope Ranch, surrounded by dozens of towering palms and oak trees, rests a pristine estate waiting to be discovered.

Out Featured Property of the Week is defined by pristine interior spaces, welcoming sophisticated entertaining while breathtaking grounds beckon the seemingly endless summer that it’s coveted location enjoys. Behind an impressive set of entry gates, a spacious drive circles a pond at the port cochere. The commanding residence is surrounded by beautiful mature landscaping with expansive lawns that match the home’s immaculate interiors.

Ocean view estate in Hope Ranch, California

The entry foyer introduces the striking interior and desirable open plan of the home. A sophisticated great room is an ideal space for entertaining, encompassing the formal living and dining rooms and a chic, opaque glass bar. Ocean-view bay windows, stately columns, a warming fireplace, and detailed art lighting adorn the room while a wall of glass doors and windows frame the home’s picturesque grounds, lending an air of casual relaxation to the elegant great room.

Chic interiors of this Ocean View Santa Barbara estate

Adjacent to the kitchen, the family room is a welcoming space for casual leisure with a cathedral ceiling and exposed trusses, fireplace, and built-in media cabinets and bookcases. French doors open to an ocean-view patio while a separate door provides access to the detached garage. Additionally, a powder room is conveniently located between the kitchen, family room and adjoining living/dining spaces.

a cozy family room in a Santa Barbara estate

Nestled among swaying palms, coral and oak trees and lush lawns, the pool cabana/guest studio provides additional guest quarters with a convenient full bath and kitchenette.  The estate’s magical grounds are a lush palette of tropical foliage and tranquil water features, including a waterfall flowing into the swimming pool. 

lush tropical grounds surround a pristine ocean view estate in Santa Barbara

A beautiful, private haven with ocean and mountain views in Hope Ranch, pristine interiors and enchanting grounds are combined in this peaceful and serene property.

The serene ocean view from this Hope Ranch property in Santa Barbara

An impeccable estate with lush, tropical grounds, this property enjoys a plethora of amenities adorned in sophisticated finishes. Click here to discover more pristine interior features and learn more about this sensational property.


Architect Spotlight: Reginald Davis Johnson

An ocean-view estate in Santa Barbara, California offered by Riskin Associates

This sprawling estate was designed by Reginald Johnson in 1929 and resides in the coveted Hope Ranch community of Santa Barbara, overlooking 9 peaceful acres and the sparkling Pacific Ocean.

Montecito and neighboring Santa Barbara are known the world over for stunning architecture and an impressive list of contributing architects who have designed stately homes and structures that perfectly complement the area’s breathtaking landscape. None however, are as acclaimed as the legendary Reginald Davis Johnson.

Reginald Johnson was born in July of 1882 in Westchester New York. Attending a series of reputable educational institutions, Johnson earned a Bachelor of Arts from Williams College in 1907 before attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree. After graduation Johnson married Kathleen Bushnell Leupp and they moved to Pasadena, California. It was there that Johnson began his architectural career and in 1922 he opened an office in Los Angeles.

In 1922, he began his work in the Santa Barbara area with the Jefferson House in Montecito. Down the road, Johnson embarked on his most famous design, the seaside Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel. Now owned and operated as the Four Seasons Biltmore, the hotel completed construction in 1926 earning Johnson a gold medal from the Architectural League of New York. Several years later, Johnson designed the Bath House and a collection of cottages for the hotel, for which he received an award from the city of Santa Barbara. Additional contributions to the area include the Chase House and DeMott house in Hope Ranch and the Gould House in Montecito, among others.

It has been said that Johnson’s prestige comes from his ability to “work into harmony the historic Spanish tradition, the climatic feeling of the area and the appropriateness of the Modern needs.” Signatures of his designs include a mingling of Mediterranean and traditional Anglo-Saxon styles, and congruence between building’ the site and surrounding landscape. Johnson’s final commission, the Santa Barbara Post Office, completed in 1937 followed by Johnson’s announcement of his retirement as an architect.

During his retirement, Johnson was involved in organizations for low-rent housing at the local, state and national levels and he is credited as a co-founder of the Los Angeles Citizen Housing Council. During the 1940s, he contributed to the construction of the private rental project, the Baldwin Hills Village.

Reginald Davis Johnson’s homes not only supply Santa Barbara and Montecito with significant architectural design, but also contribute to the area’s rich history and sense of community.


Information supplied by Santa Barbara Architecture, Third Edition.


Property of the Week: Legendary Ocean-View Estate in Hope Ranch

An ocean-view estate in Santa Barbara, California offered by Riskin Associates

Yes, that vast lawn rolling toward the Pacific is part of this breathtaking property too!

Rarely does a property of such prestigious architectural caliber combined with a location offering truly impressive acreage come onto the market. Unlike any other, this unique Hope Ranch estate offers a lifestyle few can attain. Breathtaking ocean views are the backdrop to approximately nine park-like acres, so whimsical and enchanting they could have been painted upon canvas and displayed on gallery walls. A scene realized in 1929, by the great Reginald Davis Johnson, award-wining architect to Santa Barbara’s Biltmore hotel, retains its character, mystery and allure today.

Impressive entry gates open to reveal a meandering oak lined drive spilling with shrubs, flowers and trees, leading to a welcoming motor courtyard. Across an expansive, rolling lawn, the Pacific Ocean glistens, while the fragrant aroma of blossoming rosebuds lingers in the air.

A deluxe Santa Barbara estate offered by Riskin Associates

Introducing the home’s exquisite character, hand-painted details, original terra cotta floors, and a beamed ceiling adorn the foyer. An impressive galleria connects private and public spaces with elegance and grandeur, graced with a hand-painted barrel ceiling, ornate crown molding and French doors opening to the ocean-view terrace.

Original details adorn each room of this Hope Ranch estate offered by Riskin Associates.

The generous formal living room is a powerful space, with a soaring pitched beamed ceiling, hand-painted details, an elegant fireplace, a large picture window framing garden views, and French doors revealing the ocean view. A handsome copper bar with a beverage refrigerator and temperature-controlled wine refrigerator complements the space, while French doors providing direct access to the pool courtyard are ideal for entertaining in this magnificent formal living room.

grand formal living room in this Hope Ranch estate.

The formal dining room encourages the utmost in sophisticated entertaining with a warming fireplace, gallery walls and custom Wendel lighting, ideal for showcasing art. Doors provide privacy for gatherings, separating the space from the extensive and well-appointed butler’s pantry.

Formal dining room in Santa Barbara california

French doors open the formal dining room to a terrace and the pool. A second set of French doors open to the home’s centerpiece, a delightful and sun-filled courtyard, where a hand painted tile fountain and climbing foliage create the most relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere.

A sunfilled courtyard is the centerpiece to the Santa Barbara estate

Outside, the swimmer’s pool is surrounded by vine-covered pergolas, a hedge-lined patio and ample terrace spaces while an ornate tile mural draws the eye towards the spa. Exploring the property’s stone pathways, citrus and avocado trees and rose-covered trellises lead to a mature, aromatic rose garden where the only disruption is a soft, sweet breeze and the charming chirp of native birds.

Pool pavillion in Reginald Johnson Santa Barbara estate.

Fragrant  gardens surround the Santa Barbara estate.

Privately set away from the main hacienda, a lavish two-bedroom guest house enjoys views of the Pacific Ocean and the property’s immaculate grounds. Beautifully renovated throughout, the guest house features a gourmet kitchen with breakfast bar and top-of-the-line appliances, French doors opening to ocean vistas, a charming fireplace, two luxurious bedroom suites, a patio and ocean view terrace.

The guest house provides additional quarters while entertaining in this Santa Barbara estate.

Above a detached three-car garage, a lovely apartment with ocean views is outfitted as a gym with a private massage room. With an eat-in kitchen, featuring a pitched beamed ceiling and Electrolux appliances, and a full bath, the space perfectly doubles as additional guest quarters.

A guest apartment features a gym, full kitchen and bedroom with full bath.

One of Hope Ranch’s original homes, this expansive ocean-view estate is truly unique in both amenities and character.

An ocean view welcomes you to the comfortable terrace.

These impressive features are just the beginning of this incredible Hope Ranch estate. To discover the other secrets Reginald Johnson hid throughout the estate, click here. Or contact Riskin Associates at 805.565.8600 or associates@riskinproperties.com

Architect Spotlight: George Washington Smith

George Washington Smith designed this impeccable Montecito estate in 1923

George Washington Smith designed this impeccable estate in 1923.

Arguably Montecito and Santa Barbara’s most celebrated architect, George Washington Smith’s unique take on Spanish Revival design has made Santa Barbara’s architecture world-famous.

Born in East Liberty Pennsylvania in February of 1876, Smith inherited his eye for design from his father, a civil engineer who designed bridges for local railroads. After attending several prestigious primary schools, Smith enrolled at the Harvard School of Architecture in 1894. However, due to financial hardships Smith withdrew his enrollment from Harvard and took a position as outside construction supervisor for the architectural firm of Newman, Woodman and Harris. A few years later, further financial difficulties forced him to leave the firm and begin selling stocks and bonds in Pennsylvania.

After marrying in 1912, Smith and his wife Mary Cathrine Greenough spent three years traveling Europe. During their tour, Smith devoted himself to studying at the Julian Academy of L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and painting the architecture and landscape of the country, taking particular interest in Spain’s rural farmhouses. Upon returning to the U.S., George and Mary settled in New York before moving to Santa Barbara in 1916.

After designing and building his first home, known as the Smith-Hebertson House on Montecito’s Middle Road, Smith found that many of his neighbors wanted to live in a house like it, and thus began his career as a full-time architect. Viewing himself as a gentleman architect, Smith enjoyed a heavy involvement in the design process by those who commissioned him to create their residences. Together with his clients, Smith traveled across the globe to gather accouterments unique to each individual project. By the mid-1920’s, the commissioning of a house in Santa Barbara or Montecito by Smith was considered the hallmark of success.

Credited as the “father of Spanish Colonial Revival” in the U.S., Smith gathered much of his inspiration from Spain’s rural Andalusia region, featuring subtle and romantic design. Whitewashed exteriors, spiraling staircases, archways, balconies and intricate iron and tile work are familiar motifs of the Spanish Colonial Revival period.

The landscape surrounding the site of a future home was taken into expert consideration prior to design and construction. Working with notable landscape architects including Lockwood de Forest, A.E. Hanson and Ralph T. Stevens, Smith not only created residences, but entire estates with the vision of a full life lived by those who would live there, experiencing the beauty of both the interior and exterior environments.

Today, there are over 80 George Washington Smith works in Santa Barbara, and many more across the country.  Smith’s 21st Montecito house known as Casa del Herrero, built in 1922, is now a museum listed on the National Register of Historical Places, and many of his designs, sketches and correspondence can be found in the University of Santa Barbara’s Art Museum. His works are featured in many prestigious architectural publications including The Architect, Architectural Forum, Achitectural Digest and House Beautiful.

Riskin Associates recently sold this romantic George Washington Smith estate in Montecito.

Riskin Associates recently sold this romantic George Washington Smith estate in Montecito.

California Association of Realtors Conference: Market Report

A flurry of activity has been seen across the country, however low inventory in the West has caused a dip in transactions. At a recent conference, the California Association of Realtors released a bundle of market statistics, explaining the current state of the residential real estate market and providing insight into what to expect in the future. According to the CAR, sales are up 12% nationwide, while California sales are down 3.2%. On a brighter note, 72% of California sales this year had multiple offers and 25% were all cash transactions. Forecasting 2014, the CAR predicts a rise in inventory will recover California sales 3.2% with prices rising as much as 6%.  The past two years have shown steady recovery of the housing market, with increased sales and home prices. Despite dips in various regions of the country, the US housing market should continue to make strides toward a full recovery. Riskin Associates will continue to keep our readers apprised of current events and trends in the real estate market.

Property of the Week: Breathtaking Ocean Views, Sprawling Floor Plan, Sophisticated Design

Sophistication, luxury and grandeur combine in this Montecito estate.

Sophistication, luxury and grandeur combine in this Montecito estate.

Beginning this week, we will feature one listing each week, with photos and information to inspire our followers! This week we are featuring one of our favorite listings in Montecito. This impeccable European residence enjoys a private, hilltop location allowing an uninterrupted view of the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands. The almost 10,000 sqft home was designed by celebrated Montecito architect Don Nulty in 2004, while Santa Barbara’s own DD Ford constructed the design with meticulous craftsmanship and the finest finishes to create a residence defined by pure sophistication the utmost in luxury.

The unique hilltop location affords the home incredible ocean and Island views.

The unique hilltop location affords the home incredible ocean and Island views.

Opulence adorns each room of the expansive home. Towering columns frame the ocean-view living and dining rooms, where a gallery walls provide ample space to showcase a collection of masterpieces.

An inspiring ocean-view living and dining room

The open floor plan allows a seamless transition from the formal living room into the dining room.

The chef’s kitchen lies in the heart of the home. Outfitted with the highest quality appliances including Viking, La Cornue and Sub-zero, the space invites a lifetime of culinary endeavors. An adjacent breakfast room and a attached butler’s pantry are ideal for those who enjoy entertaining in this ocean-view kitchen.

Brilliant ocean view and luxurious La Cornue range are unique and coveted features of this kitchen.

Brilliant ocean view and luxurious La Cornue range are unique and coveted features of this chef’s kitchen.

In addition to spacious five bedroom suites, the home features an opulent library, den,  gym and sauna.

The Montecito residence's library overlooks the ocean through French doors opening to a quiet patio.

The residence’s library overlooks the ocean through French doors opening to a quiet patio.

The estate’s over 5.5 acres have been beautifully landscaped with blossoming rose gardens, manicured lawns and patios allowing outdoor spaces  to enjoy the idyllic surroundings. 

A palatial Montecito estate over looks the Pacific Ocean and acres of manicured grounds.

Ocean-view patios allow idyllic outdoor entertaining.

Rose gardens flourish in Montecito's ideal climate, permeating a sweet aroma across the grounds.

Grand in size and style, exquisite ocean views are matched by the finest details to create a home that embodies Montecito’s coveted sophistication and class. For further information on this exquisite property, click the link or contact Riskin Associates at 805.565.8600.

A private, ocean-view estate in Montecito

Location Report: Walkable Neighborhoods Top Wish-Lists

Recently Riskin Associates reported on estate features that topped luxury home buyers’ wish-lists. Home gyms, outdoor dining rooms and wine cellars all made the the list, but according to the National Association of Realtors, many home buyers will sacrifice those perks in favor of a location that is within walking distance to shops, restaurants or activities. Montecito has two luxury shopping centers in the heart of town and several lavish hotels with award winning restaurants.

The first, the Lower Village along Coast Village Road is comprised of fine dining restaurants, luxury clothing shops, health food retailers,  salons and more. This sophisticated contemporary compound is located just a five minute walk from the luxuries of the Lower Village. With serene ocean vistas, multiple guest structures and two pools, this estate was designed to take full advantage of Montecito’s plethora of desirable offerings.

A chic Montecito estate near shops and restaurants

This chic contemporary compound is located just a few steps from Montecito’s Lower Village

If you are too tired from a day at the beach to get dressed up for dinner, enjoy a meal under the stars in the home romantic outdoor dining room.

If you are too tired from a day at the beach to get dressed up for dinner, enjoy a meal under the stars in the home romantic outdoor dining room.

The sun sets over the Pacific ocean, while you look on from your private retreat.

The sun sets over the Pacific ocean, while you enjoy the view from your private retreat.

The Upper Village, conveniently located along East Valley Road, also supplies Montecito residents with multiple luxurious culinary and retails offerings, a book store, day spas and multiple banks. Hot Springs Road also intersects the Upper Village, providing convenient access to Hwy 101. With a private walking path leading directly to the Upper Village, this sprawling Picacho Lane estate boasts one of the most coveted locations in Montecito.

A lavish montecito estate

Nine lavish acres include a lake, tennis court, green house, lawns and citrus groves. All overlook serene ocean and mountain view.

Serene ocean views are an idyllic backdrop to gardens and lawns.

Serene ocean views are an idyllic backdrop to manicured gardens and lawns.

Park-like grounds at a Montecito estate

Enjoy a stroll through park-like grounds on your way to the Upper Village for a lovely meal or shopping trip.

Montecito is home to the world-renowned, award winning hotel, the San Ysidro Ranch. Breathtaking gardens, majestic mountain views, and five-star service make what locals refer to as “The Ranch” a top destination for visitors and residents of Montecito alike. A short distance from The Ranch are trailheads to Montecito’s extensive hiking trails. This completely renovated modern hacienda is walking distance to both San Ysidro Ranch’s dining and accommodations and the hiking trails.

A spanish hacienda in Montecito

Warm up with a morning hike, then return to your hacienda to cool off in the pool.

The rich interior is adorned in maintenance finishes. Created a  sumptuous yet low-key atmosphere.

The rich interior is adorned in maintenance finishes. Created a sumptuous yet low-key atmosphere.

A quiet location allows for relaxing soaks in the master bath's outdoor tub.

A quiet location allows for relaxing soaks in the master bath’s outdoor tub.

When shopping for your next luxury home, be sure to find out the distance between the property and the nearest shops and restaurants. Being within walking distance to these amenities is not only convenient, but will improve your quality of life and allow you to enjoy your new home to the fullest. Should you be interested in these, or any other Montecito properties, please feel free to contact us.