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



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.


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. 





Montecito – The Zip Code of Wealth

Every year releases a list of the nation’s Most Expensive Zip Codes, and like clock work, Montecito’s 93108 makes the list in the top 20. Home to not just millionaires, but a healthy number of billionaires and celebrities who either call Montecito home or their favorite place to keep their vacation home. In 2013, Montecito ranked #17 on the Forbes list, with a median home price of $3,740,091. This year, with property values across the state of California slowly inching upward, Montecito comes in at #14 and $4,236,951.

Other than exceptional year-round weather in an incredible coastal location, what defines a wealthy zip code. Firstly, the neighbors. Montecito is a mingling of staggering mega-mansions, distinctive historic houses, expertly designed new constructions and quaint cottages. A cozy 2 bedroom home may rest adjacent to a 10,000sf manse. These large estates tend to rest on acres of superbly manicured grounds with lavish outdoor entertaining spaces – perfect for lounging in warm, Montecito sun. These large properties affect the values of every property in their vicinity – driving up the value regardless of size – and increasing the average property value.

Secondly, that million dollar view. Montecito can be found between the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountain range and the Pacific Ocean. These higher elevations afford stunning views of both the mountains and the ocean. Some homes boast views so expansive, you can see the Santa Barbara harbor and the coastline to Ventura.

Next, the schools. Montecito is home to many of California’s finest primary schools. Montecito Union and Cold Springs schools regularly rank as two of California’s best public schools. Crane Country Day School, All Saints by the Sea, Music Academy of the West and Westmont College are all excellent private schools in the area. Being within the Montecito Union School district directly affects the price of a home when compared to homes which sit in neighboring districts.

Below, enjoy a few of the fantastic properties which have helped land Montecito’s 93108 make the Forbes list once again. For more information on each property, simply click the image…

This exceptional Standford White home circa 1895 is offered at $11,900,000

This exceptional Standford White home circa 1895 is offered at $11,900,000.

Expansive ocean views, a pool with lavish pool house and approximately 8,000sf of living space command a $13,695,000 price tag for this Montecito estate.

Expansive ocean views, a pool with lavish pool house and approximately 8,000sf of living space command a $13,650,000 price tag for this Montecito estate.

$9,250,000 will buy you a historic English Manor with ocean views and a location that allows for walking to restaurants, shops, luxury resorts and beaches.

$9,250,000 will buy you a historic English Manor with ocean views and a location that allows for walking to restaurants, shops, luxury resorts and beaches.

In a private, gated community, $2,195,000 will buy you a beautiful, flat 1.5 acre lot to build your dream home.

In a private, gated community, $2,195,000 will buy you a beautiful, flat 1.5 acre lot to build your dream home.

October’s Is Back!

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It’s no secret that the Santa Barbara area is well-known for some of the freshest, most delectable farm-t0-table culinary offerings around. All year round, menus across town are tailored to highlight each season’s unique fare and autumn is absolutely no exception. The harvest season brings out robust flavors and heart-warming colors which Santa Barbara chefs take full advantage of. October brings about the fabulous event which invites locals and visitors alike to experience food-focussed events and creative menus. Special menus, crafted cocktails, wine tastings and more are all spotlighted all month long, infusing a fresh take on Santa Barbara cuisine. Invite your favorite foodie friends and indulge your appetite all through the month!


Autumn Gifts: Santa Barbara Sunsets

While Santa Barbara and the surrounding towns of Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria are known for spectacular sunsets all throughout the year, the fall season brings especially brilliant fusions of purple, orange and pink hues. Casting a purple glow upon the Santa Ynez Mountains and Channel Islands, the sky burns the last moments of summer creating a romantic and unforgettable celestial sight.

Enjoyable from just about any point, Santa Barbara’s fall sunsets are particularly awe-inspiring from vantage points overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean. The Santa Barbara harbor, Shoreline Park and Montecito’s Butterfly Beach are a few of the area’s most famous spots to take in the view.

But if you prefer to enjoy this natural art show from the comfort and privacy of your own chaise lounge, we’ve got something (a few somethings) for you! Below are some of the most luxurious estates currently on the market, all with one thing in common: a brilliant sunset view.

villa di serenita, california italian villa, luxury ocean view estate

Villa Di Serenita boasts a premier ridge-top location, and views to match.

Perched atop a quiet ridge in Montecito, 550 Freehaven Drive‘s unique location allows for nearly 360 degree views, spanning from the serpentine Carpinteria coast to the shimmering Santa Barbara harbor. Taking full advantage of the impressive view, architect Michael De Rose designed the luxurious home with a tower viewing pavilion where one can take in Tuscany-like views of orchards and the Montecito Valley and endless ocean views simultaneously. It is truly a magical place for private moments and joyous celebrations alike. Offered at $16,950,000.

This sprawling Hope Ranch estate is perfectly sighted for enchanting sunset views.

This sprawling Hope Ranch estate is perfectly sighted for enchanting sunset views.

Set on approximately 9 rolling acres, 1520 Roble Drive in Santa Barbara’s Hope Ranch enclave boasts a sprawling main house, a luxurious 2 bedroom guest house and an ocean view apartment. Enjoy the view from the loggia surrounded by bougainvillea and fragrant gardens.  Offered at $16,900,000.

1398 oak creek canyon, montecito custom estate

Perched on approx. 53 acres high above Montecito, enjoy an unrivaled vantage point for endless ocean, island and – of course – sunset views.

Described as “quite possibly one of Montecito’s best view properties” by many who have toured it, 1398 Oak Creek Canyon Road boasts 53 acres and a truly panoramic ocean and island view. Not to be overshadowed by the Pacific, the Santa Ynez foothills are the host of this new construction, which offer majestic views in their own right. Multiple terraces and balconies provide choice viewing locations for fall’s stunning sunsets. Offered at $13,650,000.

Santa Barbara Riviera home

Need city views to accompany that sparkling Pacific? You’re welcome.

You don’t need to be sitting on 10+ acres to enjoy a fabulous ocean and sunset view. Sitting high in the Santa Barbara Riviera, 917 Paseo Ferrelo is the coolest house on the block – and then some. The ultra-modern home is ultra-ultra-chic with sensual interiors and expansive glass opening to a fantastic ocean, island and city view deck. Sunset in the fall, fireworks on the 4th and the sounds of the nearby Santa Barbara bowl are all included in this modern marvel unmatched by another. Offered at $3,150,000

Watch the sunset (or rise!) from one of these spectacular homes. Contact Riskin Associates.

Vacation Homes: Protecting Your Property and Yourself

Ocean view terrace in a Santa Barbara home

If you simply do not have the good fortune of calling Montecito or Santa Barbara “home” year-round, purchasing a vacation property to lure you to  this casually luxurious, coastal paradise as often as possible is the next best thing. Recently, Zillow released an article detailing a number of ways to protect your second home when you are not there to enjoy it. Below, Riskin Associates tailors these steps to the Montecito/Santa Barbara area  for an quick and informative read.

Homeowners Insurance Policies:

  • The policy on your primary residence may not cover all of the personal property in your second home. While many standard policies will cover a portion of the belongings, it is important to check with your provider as to the extent of that coverage.
  • Taking out a mortgage on your second home will likely require you to purchase a second homeowners insurance policy. Be sure that this policy is covering a vacation home, as unique risks of such properties should be outlined and covered. Below are a number of these unique risks.


  • Oceanfront parcels are undoubtedly a desirable location for a vacation home. However, close frequent hurricanes can often cause flooding, which is usually not covered by your insurance policy. Fortunately, Montecito and Santa Barbara do not experience tropical storms with any regularity. However, the Santa Ynez Mountains are literally in the backyards of many Montecito estates while fires do not present danger frequently, fire insurance is highly encouraged.
  • Earthquake concerns do tend to come up for many out of the area buyers. Earth quakes do happen occasionally in the southern California area, earthquake insurance is another option for homeowners to protect themselves and their properties. Riskin Associates provides buyers with an in depth booklet detailing the risks of earthquake damage and the many ways to protect your home.

Vacancy Vulnerabilities:

  • Vacation homes are often left vacant for much of year. This can leave homeowners at risk for unnoticed electrical fire, pipe flooding or theft. Renting your home to tenants during your absence is a great way to ensure your property is cared for. Another way to protect your home is to ensure that your insurance coverage lines up with the current replacement cost of your home. Finally, have a professional inspect the major systems in your home (plumbing, electrical etc.) to ensure that these systems are up to date and in good condition.

Leasing Liabilities: 

  • Should you decide to lease your home to tenants to avoid leaving it vacant, there are a number of precautions to take. Homeowners insurance may cover incidentals and personal injury of tenants if you rent out your home only occasionally and for short periods of time, if you plan to rent your home for longer than four weeks, consider landlords insurance to cover a wide range of circumstances. Also, take the extra steps to conduct background checks on potential tenants, draft lease agreements or purchase an umbrella insurance policy.

Owning a vacation property in Montecito or Santa Barbara offers a lifetime of memories with family and friends in one of the west coast’s most coveted locales. If you are purchasing a home in the area for the first time, working with a team of real estate agents who hold an intimate understanding of this niche market is crucial, particularly when navigating the myriad of intricacies vacation homes can present.




Friday Fever: Ocean Views

We never take Montecito‘s beauty for granted. So when the sun is shining and it’s Friday afternoon, we like to marvel at the stunning ocean views that our listings command. We hope a little coastal eye candy will get you through your Friday as well. Intruiged by what you see? Click on each photo for an extensive photo tour. Note to Montecito and Santa Barbara locals, this is a beach weekend: 78 & 79 degrees on Saturday and Sunday!








Happy Friday, enjoy the weekend!