Fiesta: Old Spanish Days 2017

The 92nd anniversary of the Fiesta Historical Parade featured floats 600+ horses depicting episodes from the history of the Santa Barbara and California by descendants of local Native Americans, Spanish Pioneers, the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, and local service clubs and organizations |  Image:  Paul Wellman 

The 92nd anniversary of the Fiesta Historical Parade featured floats 600+ horses depicting episodes from the history of the Santa Barbara and California by descendants of local Native Americans, Spanish Pioneers, the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, and local service clubs and organizations | Image: Paul Wellman 

Viva La Fiesta 2017 

It’s that time of year for cascarones and castanets, pozole and parades, margaritas and mariachis, and most of all, pride in this annual celebration for natives as well as those new to the city and those visiting. Let the Santa Barbara Independent’s annual guide to Old Spanish Days help you get the most out of your Fiesta experience. This year’s special guide will introduce you to 2017 La Presidente Rhonda Ledson Henderson, Spirit of Fiesta Norma Escárcega, Junior Spirit of Fiesta Eve Flores, and Saint Barbara Robin Emily Hill Cederlof. Get ready for the entertainment, food, fun, and tradition that is Old Spanish Days.

Rehearsal for opening night at the Mission |  Image:  Scott London

Rehearsal for opening night at the Mission | Image: Scott London

Meet the Spirits of Fiesta 2017

2017 Spirit of Fiesta, Norma Escárcega (right), and Junior Spirit of Fiesta, Eve Flores |  Image:  Montecito Lifestyle

2017 Spirit of Fiesta, Norma Escárcega (right), and Junior Spirit of Fiesta, Eve Flores | Image: Montecito Lifestyle

Every year, two young dancers are chosen as the Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta, and this year, it’s a graceful, strong, leaderly spirit that 2017 Spirit of Fiesta Norma Escárcega and Junior Spirit Eve Flores carry with them to the stage.

2017 Spirit of Fiesta Norma Escárcega at La Fiesta del Museo | Image: Paul Wellman

2017 Spirit of Fiesta Norma Escárcega at La Fiesta del Museo | Image: Paul Wellman

It’s been a year of milestones for Escárcega. Besides the Spirit coronation, she graduated from San Marcos High School as their senior class vice president with AP and honors classes under her belt. The Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center volunteer and future probation officer hopeful has danced flamenco for 15 years. “It is definitely an honor,” Escárcega said of the Spirit title. She hopes she can be a role model to other dancers, showing they “can be true to who they are, no matter the style of dance or personality. When you dance with passion and love, you can accomplish anything.”

2017 Junior Spirit of Fiesta Eve Flores at La Fiesta del Museo |  Image:  Paul Wellman

2017 Junior Spirit of Fiesta Eve Flores at La Fiesta del Museo | Image: Paul Wellman

For Flores, the Junior Spirit life has been very exciting. “I’m super excited to go place to place, to take it all in and learn what I can accomplish at Fiesta,” said the ambitious 5th grader, an environmentally conscious Hope School student who enjoys spelling bees and math competitions. “I know there’s so much in store for me.” She spent her first three years of school in Mexico, where she learned ballet, hip-hop, jazz, and more, but found the perfect fit in flamenco when she moved here in 3rd grade. Flores says she loves dancing because “I can express myself without using words and share my personality onstage,” and hopes she can inspire young dancers like herself. “If you try your hardest,” she said, “you can get it, no matter what.”

Article by: Terry Ortega & Richie Demaria | Santa Barbara Independent


Make Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara a yearly tradition and live the Montecito Lifestyle

Latest Press Release

The property at 511 Las Fuentes Drive at Birnam Wood Golf Club in Montecito was listed by Compass for $5.2 million.

The property at 511 Las Fuentes Drive at Birnam Wood Golf Club in Montecito was listed by Compass for $5.2 million.

Interview by The Real Deal Los Angeles

It was my absolute honor to be interviewed by the ever-talented Kavita Daswani from the The Real Deal Los Angeles. The Real Deal Magazine provides cutting edge news on the real estate market. A journalist from the magazine contacted me for insight on the Montecito Market.

"Today, there are approximately 3,600 single-family houses in Montecito, averaging about an acre each. As of the end of May 2017, the city had 92 active listings ranging in price from $3.5 to $85 million. The most eye-popping property in the current Montecito portfolio is Rancho San Carlos, a sprawling 237-acre estate that has been owned by the same family for a century and has been on the market for two years. Sotheby’s International Realty has the listing."   - Susan Pate
The Real Deal Los Angeles July 2017

Doing so-so in Montecito

Demand for mid-priced homes remains high, but the top of the market is going soft

July 14, 2017 
By Kavita Daswani

Montecito has a well-established reputation as one of Santa Barbara County’s glitziest celebrity enclaves. Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bridges, Natalie Portman and serial home buyers Ellen DeGeneres and Portia Rossi are just some of the famous people who have property there. The area’s quiet streets, sprawling estates and relatively small population (about 9,000 people over a 9.2-square-mile area, according to the most recent Census data) provide plenty of attractive draws for potential home buyers. But local experts say that some indicators point toward an impending downshift in the residential market.

Long considered the crown jewel of Santa Barbara, Montecito was inhabited by the Chumash Indians until the Spanish arrived in the 18th century; remnants of that history can still be seen in the gracious Mediterranean- and Spanish-style homes. In the 1920s, the wealthy families in the multi-acre estates dotting the area banded together to push for strict zoning laws to prevent overdevelopment and discourage an influx of people from elsewhere. Other laws were introduced to prohibit commercialization and anything else that would damage the city’s small-town character. One will not find tract housing or cookie-cutter homes in Montecito, and there are very few condominiums.

These persisting conditions created a low-inventory market that’s virtually always hot at certain price points; however, a broad slowdown has been apparent from the start of this year. “In the first quarter of 2017, the number of sales is drastically down by 27 percent compared to the same period in 2016,” said Jon Gilkeson, a realtor with Keller Williams and the Zia Group in Santa Barbara, whose family has been in the area for four generations. He compared that drop to neighboring cities like Carpinteria and Goleta, where sales have ticked along at a steady rate over the past year compared to the previous year.

Most illustrative of a flatlining in the Montecito market is the median home sales price for 2017, which was $2.88 million in the first quarter, down 13 percent from the same period last year, according to a recent report by Santa Barbara Association of Realtors.

The market’s sluggishness may be a result of the soaring appreciation in the market between 2013 and 2015, which began to taper off last year, Gilkeson said. “That growth just couldn’t sustain itself,” he added.

Susan Pate, a realtor with Compass in Montecito, said a decline in foreign interest may also be partially responsible for the slowdown.
“We used to have a lot of buyers in from Russia and China. We’re not seeing that anymore,” Pate said. Instead, young families looking to take advantage of a top-rated school district and the community’s proximity to Los Angeles are snapping up anything that comes in at under $3 million, which will only buy about 2,500 square feet — among the smallest homes in the enclave.

While inventory is low on those mid-priced homes, “anything over $3 or 4 million isn’t selling as quickly,” Teresa McWilliams, a broker at Coldwell Banker Previews International’s Montecito division said. “And the sales in the $10 to $20 million range have slowed.”

Unrealistic asking prices may have something to do with it, even if sellers are slowly learning their lesson.

“Some sellers may know that they are asking too much,” said Gilkeson. “They are hoping to get that great price, but if in a month or two the offers aren’t there, the market calls their bluff,” he said.

Don’t expect to see a rise in home sales — or inventory — any time soon, experts said. “[The local authorities] made it as difficult as possible for people to buy homes here,” says McWilliams, whose family moved to the area in 1949, when the population was just 943 people. “They wouldn’t give water or sewage hookups. And these were extremely large properties, hundreds of acres, which eventually got broken down little by little.”

Today, there are approximately 3,600 single-family houses in Montecito, averaging about an acre each. As of the end of May 2017, the city had 92 active listings ranging in price from $3.5 to $85 million. The most eye-popping property in the current Montecito portfolio is Rancho San Carlos, a sprawling 237-acre estate that has been owned by the same family for a century and has been on the market for two years. Sotheby’s International Realty has the listing.

This 3,000-square-foot Montecito home at 1547 La Coronilla Drive sold for $2,991,500 last year by Keller Williams Realty.

This 3,000-square-foot Montecito home at 1547 La Coronilla Drive sold for $2,991,500 last year by Keller Williams Realty.

“[Montecito] became a place for people who wanted to get away,” said McWilliams, citing the city’s “no-growth-policy” for its enduring appeal — alongside the climate, of course. Over the decades, the area has been home to legendary chef Julia Child, mega-selling novelist Sue Grafton, The Eagles and The Beach Boys, among others.

Portman is one of the latest celebs to seek escape there. The Oscar-winning actress and her husband, Benjamin Millipied, recently paid $6.5 million for a contemporary 4,000-square-foot home on more than 10 acres with ocean views; it had been listed for $7 million. The steel, glass and concrete house was designed by Barton Myers.

On the commercial front, development is still very restrictive in Montecito. A decade ago, Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso bought the historic Miramar Hotel in Montecito, which had fallen into disuse, and its redevelopment is still in the approval process. It is expected to be a cottage-style luxury resort. In addition, the renovation of the Montecito Country Club is expected to be completed by next year. The property was purchased by billionaire businessman Ty Warner in 2004, and it will reopen with more of a resort and spa feel, according to one local.

Although new hotels may boost interest in the town, brokers such as Gilkeson acknowledge that there are challenges up ahead for residential sales. “You’re going to have those buyers who are willing to take their money elsewhere,” he said, citing a client who opted for the hills of Santa Barbara after looking at properties in town. “And he was able to buy a house for a fraction of the price than [one in] Montecito.”

Needing an expert on the Montecito Market? 

Susan Pate Montecito Lifestyle

Your Best Summer Yet in California

Get the most out of your summer by exploring all California has to offer. 

Get the most out of your summer by exploring all California has to offer. 

An Insider’s Guide to Your Best Summer Yet: California Edition

Spend every day al fresco in LA, scour San Francisco for souvenirs, and cycle the Santa Barbara coastline, guided by the Golden State’s knowledgeable Compass agents.

Sip the best Bay Area cocktails


“If you want to enjoy a truly creative libation, you can’t beat Trick Dog in the Mission. There’s no sign; just follow the sound of shakers. Once inside, encounter drinks named for local street artists like the “Jeremy Fish” (Banks 5 rum + chai liqueur) and “Rogelio Martinez” (Aviation gin + papaya “som tam” liqueur). The bar commissioned 13 works around town by the muralists themselves; check the menu for the location of each, then tour the sites after kicking back a couple.”

— Compass SF agents Derek Chin and Natalie Rome

Cycle through the Central Coast


Santa Barbara agents Bridget Murphy and Paul Suding routinely pedal through the coastal terrain. Follow their path to find the route right for you.

“Our favorite ride is not for the faint of heart, but offers an endorphin-boosting, 3,000-foot climb and fantastic city views. Starting from El Cielito, you’ll take Gibraltar Road all the way up to Camino Cielo.

To fully enjoy Santa Barbara’s stunning real estate, cycle along Mission Ridge Road on the city’s Riviera. The Spanish-inspired homes on this stretch are dramatically set into the hillside.

If you’re looking for a less-strenuous option, start at Stearns Wharf and take the marked bike trail in either direction to enjoy the beachfront. Bonus: Bike rental is available all along the water.”

Score the ultimate San Francisco souvenir


Looking to bring home a piece of the Bay Area? San Francisco agent Danielle Lazier shares her favorite local boutiques around town.

Rare Device
This quirky store has locations in both NoPa and Noe Valley. Its products range from graphic San Fran-themed tea towels and stained-glass trays to contemporary jewelry and floral-printed planners.

Heath Ceramics
Founded in 1948, two designers took over the family-owned pottery in 2004. Though they’ve since expanded throughout the state, each sculptural vase, plate, and coffee cup is still handmade in the Bay Area.

This store features off-the-rack goods — macramé plant hangers, vintage clothing, and energy-cleansing palo santo wood — as well as classes, from graphic design to fermentation-focused cooking workshops.

San FranPsycho
Screen-printing is this firm’s claim to fame; their tanks and caps are inscribed with everything from political sayings to ’80s pop lyrics. Sold in the Sunset, the motifs celebrate their city of origin.

Scour Pasadena for buried treasure

“If you’re willing to rummage, Pasadena has a very active antiques scene. The second Sunday of every month is the Rose Bowl Flea Market; with no fewer than 2,500 stalls and crowds of up to 20,000 or more, it’s not unusual to spot a celebrity or two in the aisles.

If vintage music is more your style, the Pasadena City College bazaar, held the first Sunday of every month, is known for its 50+ vinyl vendors. Can’t swing a Sunday? The 40,000-square-foot Fair Oaks Avenue Antique Mall has peddled furniture, memorabilia, and housewares every day of the week since 1976.” — Compass Pasadena agent 

Enjoy a day of dining in Newport Beach

When Orange County restaurants are good, they tend to stick around, say agents Mark Taylor and Dylan Mason. And with the youngest of their recommendations having already clocked 27 years of business, it stands to reason. Here’s where they suggest recharging between trips to the beach.

Located in nearby Costa Mesa, Haute Cakes Caffe’s specialty is — you guessed it — from-scratch pancakes. Snag a table in the courtyard and choose from varieties including classic buttermilk, blueberry cornmeal, and orange ricotta.

Situated on the harbor’s edge, Newport Landing serves up the area’s top seafood alongside views of coastal community Balboa Island and the cloud-capped twin peaks of Saddleback Mountain. Enjoy Fanny Bays on the half shell or an order of Pacific cod tacos, Baja-style.

From within an iconic Newport building that’s housed restaurants since 1925, A Restaurant has garnered accolades for its superlative steaks, including the exquisitely-marbled Imperial Wagyu Coulotte and Japanese A5 Miyazaki Beef.

Soak in the SoCal sunshine

When you live in a city like Los Angeles, why not spend every minute al fresco? Beverly Hills-based agent Tori Horowitz recommends the city’s hottest spots.

Not only is open-air coffee hub Go Get ’Em Tiger designed for walk-up, bar-style service, but they make their own almond and macadamia milks in-house, and the breakfast biscuit with soft eggs is to die for. Check them out in Larchmont or Los Feliz.

Located in the coolest LA neighborhood, known by the locals as Frogtown, Salazaroffers amazing tacos al pastor alongside potent cocktails like the whiskey-and-mezcal-based “La Anticuado,” all while channeling a casual backyard-BBQ vibe complete with communal tables.

In the shadow of the famous Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock house, evening wine tastings take place at Barnsdall Park in East Hollywood. Picnic, sip, and sway to local DJs as the sun goes down, grabbing a snack from food trucks including gourmet hot dog purveyor Let’s Be Frank and inventive ice creamery Coolhaus.

Editor: Hannah McWilliams
Illustrations: Ping Zhu


 Contact Susan Pate to find out all California has to offer including the Montecito Lifestyle.


4th of July in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Harbour displaying gorgous Fireworks Display |  Image by:  SBFourth 

Santa Barbara Harbour displaying gorgous Fireworks Display | Image by: SBFourth 

Celebrating the Fourth

There's no better place to watch fireworks than on the pacific coast beachfront of Santa Barbara. It's happening here! The City of Santa Barbara's traditional Fourth of July celebration is back again and ready to build upon the fabulous events in years past! Join in on the festivities at Santa Barbara's beautiful waterfront along West Beach on Independence Day for an afternoon and evening of food, music, fireworks, and fun for all ages.

What's Happening

Tuesday, July 4, 2017 

12PM to 9PM

Festivities at the Santa Barbara waterfront and Stearns Wharf (11AM - 9PM), including favorite food vendors, and a music variety show featuring local musicians hosted by John Palminteri, as well as local shops, face painting, and live band, Tequila Mockingbird, on the wharf. End the day with fireworks and music at West Beach, plus the return of the radio simulcast, courtesy of 92.9 KjEE. New this year - extended festivities! Bands begin performing on Stearns Wharf at 11AM and on West Beach at noon!

Other Fourth of July Festivities   

Stearns Wharf Merchants Association Live Music & Fun

Enjoy live Music beginning at 12:00 p.m. and hang out and enjoy the festivities until the City's fireworks show begins at 9 p.m. where visitors will have one of the best views in Santa Barbara. While waiting for the fireworks show tobegin, the wharf offers many attractions including live music by Tequila Mockingbird and others along with face painting; ice cream, sherbet, candy, popcorn, fudge, and cotton candy; jewelry, hats, leather goods, art, crafts, gifts, toys, shells, mineral, and fossils; wine tasting; bait and tackle along with fishing gear rentals; palm reading; fresh fish, shellfish, steaks, prime rib, fish and chips, burgers, cocktails, exotic tropical drinks, and more! You can even enjoy a child-friendly water taxi ride and interactive Sea Centermuseum. There's something for everyone!

Live music and fun for 4th of July |  Image by:  SBFourth

Live music and fun for 4th of July | Image by: SBFourth

These Colors Don't Run

The 4th Annual "These Colors Don't Run" event will take place at the Veterans' Memorial Building on Sunday, July 2nd (12 p.m. - 7 p.m.) featuring live music, military car show, an art show, silent auction, and pinup show. Event benefits Santa Barbara volunteer-run veteran groups. For all the details


4th of July Art Show

Visit the Old Mission Santa Barbara (2201 Laguna Street) for a special 4th of July Art Show and view 80 incredible artisans for one of the largest and longest running art shows in California! Grab a bite to eat and enjoy the sights and sounds of this long running art show. Free parking and admission! 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 


4th of July Parade

The 54th Annual 4th of July Parade begins at 1:00 p.m. at Micheltorena Street, proceeding down State Street to Old Town Santa Barbara, concluding at Cota Street. Over 175 agencies will parade to a patriotic theme for the community to enjoy. This event is coordinated by the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation. Contact or (805) 259-4394 for more information.

4th of July Parade is coordinated by the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation |  Image by:  Non profit Resource Network

4th of July Parade is coordinated by the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation | Image by: Non profit Resource Network

4th of July Sunken Gardens Concert

Another community favorite is the free Annual July 4th Concert held at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens starting at 5:00 p.m. The 4th of July Concert will feature American song favorites performed by the West Coast Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Christopher Story VI and Dr. Michael Shasberger. More information may be found at


Santa Barbara City College 4th of July

Santa Barbara City College is proud to host a family-friendly 4th of July viewing at their Main Campus. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy views of the fireworks show at the Santa Barbara Waterfront. Food Trucks will be on site from 4 - 8 p.m. Guests are welcome to bring their own food, but please be advised that no alcoholic beverages are allowed on campus or in parking lots. Campus rules regarding alcohol and smoking will be enforced. Viewing areas will be located on the West Campus Great Meadow and the East Campus Winslow Maxwell Overlook. For more information, including a map of the campus, click here.


Content by: The City of Santa Barbara


Interested in living the Montecito Lifestyle?

George Washington Smith

Original sketches & drawings by George Washington Smith found at the   Architecture and Design Collection of the Art Museum at the University of California, Santa Barbara  | Image:  by Isaac Hernandez

Original sketches & drawings by George Washington Smith found at the  Architecture and Design Collection of the Art Museum at the University of California, Santa Barbara | Image: by Isaac Hernandez

Architect of Spanish Colonial Revival

Late in 1929, Santa Barbara architect George Washington Smith was interviewed by the New York critic John Taylor Boyd, Jr., who was conducting a series of interviews with America's most famous architects for the magazine Art and Decoration. The inclusion of Smith was perfectly understandable--buildings designed by this Santa Barbara architect had been, from the beginning, a favorite of the country's leading architecture and design magazines.

New Yorkers had been exposed to his buildings through photographs and drawings in annual exhibitions of the Architectural League of New York. In a review of the 1925 League exhibition, Matlack Price wrote of Smith's ability to realize buildings of "exquisite simplicity of design...of proportions," together with a sensitive use of "the fine patterns of trees and shrubs made by sunlight and shadows on the walls of the house."

George Washington Smith designed home in Montecito | Image:  by

George Washington Smith designed home in Montecito | Image: by

Smith's work was equally appreciated in California, where he was always mentioned as the leading exponent of the Hispanic and Mediterranean revival of the 1920s. Although her house was never built, the Hollywood film star Mary Pickford selected Smith to design a ranch house for her and husband Douglas Fairbanks Jr. "His homes, whether large or small, are remarkable in their directness," she said in an interview in Pacific Coast Architect in 1927, "in the simplicity with which they speak the truths of this old architecture as something eminently suitable to the creation of a tradition of beauty."

When these New Yorkers and Californians, and certainly many of his clients, characterized Smith's designs as simple, they were responding to two important qualities: the purity of geometric abstraction in his volumes and surfaces, countered by a strong sense of the primitive. As Smith himself frequently pointed out, he thought in terms of the primitive in his own art, just as did the painters Paul Cezanne and Paul Gauguin, two 19th-century artists whom he very much admired. The impressive impact of his buildings was also an outcome of his sensitive response to each site and his high regard for landscape architecture.


His houses and other buildings throughout California, in Arizona, Texas and New York, played a fascinating visual game between strong historical reminiscences and the developing modern idiom of those years. In Europe, Smith had seen not only the wonders of Spain's historic white cities, but also the work of many early modernists, including the Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. "Le Corbusier," he noted, "is a tonic. Too severe, but a pioneer with vision."

Before he turned to architecture in Santa Barbara in 1919, Smith had experienced several divergent careers in business and in art. He was born in East Liberty, Penn., on Feb. 22, 1876, and since the day was George Washington's birthday, he was given his name. His father was a successful and highly respected engineer, who designed bridges and elevated railroads. Smith was sent to Harvard to study architecture, but was unable to complete his formal education because of his parents' financial reverses. He worked briefly in a Philadelphia architectural firm, but found, as he put it, that his wages did not provide him with the lifestyle he was used to. He then joined a bond firm, and was so successful that he abandoned the world of business to become a painter.

He and his wife Mary Greenough went off to Paris, where they lived for three years while he studied and painted. With the advent of the First World War, he returned to the United States in 1914 and established himself in New York City, where he exhibited with William Glackens, John Sloan, George Bellows, Robert Henri and Eugene Speicher. His paintings were shown at the McDowell Club in New York, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C., and the Chicago Art Institute.

He came to California in 1915 to see his paintings exhibited at the Gallery of Fine Arts at the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, and decided to stay for the duration of the war. It was Smith's intent to return to Paris, but through Philadelphia friends he was attracted to Montecito. Since he and his wife were going to be here for a few years, he decided to design and build a studio residence. The design sources for this 1916 house were the Andalusian farm houses he had experienced on a trip to Spain in 1914.

The house was an instant success in California and nationally--it was published and republished throughout the country, and illustrations of it were used by the manufacturers of Portland Cement and by tile makers. Locally Smith "found that people were not really eager to buy my paintings, which I was laboring over, as they were to have a white-washed house like mine. So I put away the brushes and have not yet had a moment to take them up again."

Smith's architectural career lasted only 12 years, from 1919 to 1930. But during these years he (with the assistance of his draftsperson, Lutah Maria Riggs, who joined his office in 1922) produced a remarkable array of buildings, both in quality and quantity--of 80 designs for new or substantially remodeled homes in Santa Barbara County, 54 were built. Many were based on Spanish, Mexican and Hispanic California precedents, but he also designed in the Italian, French Norman, and English Tudor modes. His 1926-28 Crocker Fagan house at Pebble Beach is America's one and only example of a Byzantine house. In Texas, for the Van Wyck Maverick family (1926-28), he created one of the most impressive courtyard-oriented houses built during these years, and he introduced the world of Spain to, of all places, Fisher's Island off the coast of New York (in his Cheney house of 1928-29). At the time of his death he was just beginning to explore modern architecture in his unrealized Art Deco-inspired Crocker house (1929-39) in Pebble Beach.

White Stucco with red roof top tiles and arched doorways | Image:  by

White Stucco with red roof top tiles and arched doorways | Image: by

Like many architects of his generation, Smith continually explored and expanded his knowledge of historic as well as contemporary architecture. He visited throughout Mexico making measured drawings and taking photographs, and in the 1920s he returned several times to Europe, examining and recording buildings and gardens in Spain, Italy and France. He amassed an impressive library devoted to architecture and landscape architecture--if one pages through these books one frequently comes across notes indicating individual buildings or details that interested him.

In the 1925 exhibition of the Architectural League of New York, Smith's work was commended for achieving "an effect that is at once original, personal and distinctly American." Although taste in architectural imagery has shifted radically in one direction and another from the late 1930s to the present, Smith's buildings have continued to be discussed and admired on a regional and national level. In recent years architect Charles Moore has written appreciatively about Smith. In his 1990 volume on The Architect and
the American Country House, Mark Alan Hewitt wrote that Smith "stood above his peers as a genius whose work epitomized and extended the limits of the Mediterranean idiom."

George Washington Smith (1876-1930) Image:

George Washington Smith (1876-1930) Image:

A visit today to any one of his houses in Montecito, Pasadena or Woodside will easily reveal why writers and critics have always responded so strongly to his designs. Smith was one of that rare breed of architects who was able to produce buildings that were both subservient to their environment and at the same time able to project strong, beautiful forms into the landscape.


Above with permission from Santa Barbara Magazine

To learn more about George Washington Smith:

George Washington Smith: Architect of the Spanish Colonial Revival

By Patricia Gebhard


I Madonnari Festival - Santa Barbara

Image by: Rob Laskin 

Image by: Rob Laskin 

Each year chalk fills the air in front of Santa Barbara's Mission Plaza. Thousands of visitors come from far & wide to enjoy this Italian Street Painting Festival. There's nothing quite like enjoying your Memorial Day weekend taking in the vivid colors of each artist overlooking the picturesque ocean views of Santa Barbara. Plus there'll be an Italian Market with Italian cuisine, music and festivities.  

Image by: David Iranpour

Image by: David Iranpour

May 27-29, 2017 [ 10:00am - 6:00pm ]

Madonnari, or street painters, transform the Mission plaza using pastels on pavement to create 150 vibrant and colorful, large scale images. We are proud to be the first to bring this romantic festival to the western hemisphere from our sister festival in Grazie di Curtatone, Italy. The festival benefits the Children's Creative Project, a nonprofit arts education program of the Santa Barbara County Education Office. The Project serves 50,000 children in more than 100 schools with visual and performing arts workshops and performances throughout Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. 

Festival hours are 10-6 daily. Admission is free.



The Santa Barbara Mission is located at the corner of Los Olivos and Laguna Streets.

From the 101 Freeway, take Mission Street exit and travel east to Laguna Street, turn left and continue two blocks to the Mission entrance. Additional parking is available on the Mission field.

Image: Endangered Species of the World highlighting Nature Conservation | Photo by

Image: Endangered Species of the World highlighting Nature Conservation | Photo by

The Italian Market

To engage the other senses, live music and an authentic Italian market will be held adjacent to the painting. Enjoy a fabuloso array of Italian cuisine and specialty items. Join the 25,000 visitors who attend this celebration of color and creativity.

Image: Italian Market | Photo by

Image: Italian Market | Photo by

Endless Summer in Santa Barbara? Enjoy the Lifestyle, Live the Dream!

Summer in Santa Barbara? The Best Tech for Travelers

You may be headed for vacation, but that doesn’t mean your house can take a break. Invest in these seven smart devices and prepare for liftoff knowing your home is in good hands.

Words: Paulina Pinsky | Illustrations: Arina Shabanova

Maintain the grounds with Rachio

This smart sprinkler system and connected app allow you to specify grass type, shade levels, and soil by zone. Worried about unpredictable weather? Rachio automatically adjusts, taking into account the forecast as well as current conditions. Available at; compatible with Amazon, Google, and Nest products.

Save up to 50% on water bill

Protect your property with Canary

This security camera is programmed to automatically activate when you leave the premises and disarm upon your return. If tripped, you’ll receive an alert on your smartphone with the option to sound a 90-decibel siren and notify the authorities from afar. Available at

Secure the perimeter with August Smart Lock

Double-check that your entrances are secure from your phone — and, if not, lock them from thousands of miles away. The device, which integrates with your deadbolt, can create virtual keys for the house-sitter; it even logs who was there and what time they arrived. Available at; compatible with Amazon, Google, and Nest products.

Light up the night with Wink + GE Link

Pair GE Link’s LED bulbs with the Wink app to set up an automatic schedule mimicking your daily routine, and even the neighbors won’t know you’re gone. From table lamps to garden lights, the bulbs work indoors and out. Available at; compatible with IFFTTT and Amazon products.

Save the environment

Cool your home with Ecobee

Control this smart thermostat’s temperature settings from your phone, reducing energy usage while you’re gone and ensuring a temperate climate upon arrival. Better yet, the device will issue an alert should it detect any problems with your heating or cooling systems while you’re away. Available at; compatible with IFFTTT, Amazon, and Apple products.

Pamper the pets with Rover

Whether your dog or cat likes to stay on their home turf or they’re ready for a mini-vacation of their own, find a top-reviewed caretaker for house visits and boarding alike, backed by premium insurance for any accidents. Book at

Stock your fridge with Instacart

Who wants to return home to a bare cupboard? As you taxi down the runway, open the delivery app on your smartphone and order some fresh staples — milk, fruit, yogurt — to arrive within the hour. Order at; compatible with iPhone andAndroid phones.

How will you be spending your summer? Come see all Santa Barbara has to offer, leaving your home in good hands. 

Mother's Day in Montecito

Montecito Country Mart are hosting a pop-up show demonstrating how to create this beautiful vertical succulent circle [May 13th, Saturday 1:30] 

Montecito Country Mart are hosting a pop-up show demonstrating how to create this beautiful vertical succulent circle [May 13th, Saturday 1:30] 

Wondering what to do for Mother's Day in Montecito this year? Look no further, I have some suggestions that will make your mom well up with tears with gratitude. Montecito has some incredible experiences to offer for you and your mummy dearest to show how much she means to you. 

Montecito Country Mart: Succulent Circle Demo

May 13th, Saturday 11:00am-5:00pm [demo at 1:30pm]

Montecito Country Mart, a fabulous local shopping center on Coast Village Road in Montecito, is hosting the pop-up shop Dalla Vita. Dalla Vita is an online garden and home shop that plants a tree for each item purchased. This mother's day they'll be doing a demonstration on how to create their beautiful vertical succulent circles at 1:30pm. Alternately you can leisurely peruse their pop-up shop from 11:00am-5:00pm. 

Dalla Vita  Landscape Designers create stunning vertical wall gardens that are drought resistant providing a lush look in your home. 

Dalla Vita Landscape Designers create stunning vertical wall gardens that are drought resistant providing a lush look in your home. 

Lotusland: Mother's Day Tour & Tea

May 13th, Saturday 1:30pm - 4:00pm

Another idea, for that special someone in your life, is a Mother's Day Tour & Tea of Ganna Walska's Lotusland. Lotusland is a non-profit botanical garden located in Montecito. The (15 ha / 37 acres) garden is the historic estate of Madame Ganna Walska. Named one of the 10 best gardens in the world, home to over 3000 plants from the world over and the horticultural passion of an extraordinary woman. 

The Saturday before Mother's Day, Lotusland offers one of their most popular events, a tour of the gardens whilst sipping on tea and refreshments from their pavilion patio. The tours are docent-led or members may explore the garden on their own. This is the perfect treat for someone special in your life!

Tickets are $80 for members, $90 for nonmembers and $40 for children ages 3–12. Advance reservations are required and may be made by calling 805.969.9990. Click here for more information on Lotusland.

Ganna Walska Lotusland - Mother's Day Tour & Tea

Ganna Walska Lotusland - Mother's Day Tour & Tea

Four Seasons The Biltmore: Mother's Day Brunch

May 14th, Sunday 9:00am - 12:00pm

I don't know by, but woman (including me), just love us a good brunch! Plus throw in the fresh breeze of the pacific coast and overlooking Butterfly Beach and you've got a golden ticket to satisfy your mother's heart desire. 

The Bella Vista Restaurant at the Four Seasons, The Biltmore will be having a special brunch menu in Montecito’s most beautiful al fresco setting. Partake in an abundant buffet, featuring traditional favorites as well as an extensive selection of seafood, salads, freshly made pastas and carvings.

Reservations are highly recommended by calling 805) 969-2261. $125 per adult, $65 per child (ages 5-12). Click here to view more.

Bella Vista Restaurant at the Four Seasons The Biltmore Santa Barbara  

Bella Vista Restaurant at the Four Seasons The Biltmore Santa Barbara  

Whatever you decide to do this Mother's Day, take a moment to express gratitude to those who have nurtured, loved or cared for you as Mother. If you're a mother, I understand how you give tirelessly, sacrificially and often neglect yourself, but this day is for you, so take it, embrace it and know you're appreciated for all you do (the things seen and unseen). You are the unsung heroines of our society and are shaping the next generation! 

Susan Pate

Interested in living the Montecito Lifestyle?



Cinco de Mayo Santa Barbara


People travel far and wide to celebrate this fun filled festivity of Cinco de Mayo in the highly sought after travel destination of Santa Barbara and Montecito. Here's a few reasons why....

What is Cinco de Mayo?

Every May, Santa Barbara celebrates its Spanish heritage with the extraordinary Cinco de Mayo Festival at De La Guerra Plaza. This year’s festivities are here, and they will draw thousands of locals and visitors. With live music and delicious cuisine from an array of food vendors, this festival is the best place to be on the Fifth of May.


What's the history of Cinco de Mayo?

(pronounced: [ˈsiŋko ðe ˈmaʝo]; Spanish for "May 5th", or literally, "Five of May") is a celebration held on May 5. The date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín.

Where & When is Cinco de Mayo?

Located in downtown Santa Barbara, De La Guerra Plaza is a haven for Latino culture in Southern California. It also hosts the Old Days Spanish Fiesta every August—one of the region’s most popular annual events. On May 5th, the city will commemorate the Mexican defeat of the French in 1862 and celebrate the country’s heritage.

What's happening in Santa Barbara for Cinco de Mayo?

With such a strong Mexican culture throughout the city and state, a Cinco De Mayo celebration in Santa Barbara is as authentic as anyone will find in the United States. In the past, festival-goers have enjoyed everything from confetti-filled eggs to live Mexican music to delicious taquitos, tamales, and grilled corn on the cob.

The city of Santa Barbara even throws in a few extra fun for everyone attractions, like the rock climbing wall which has made appearances at festivals past. To take part in the fun this year, just head over to De La Guerra Plaza.

With musicians jamming in the plaza, and chicken and beef simmering on the grill, this year’s Santa Barbara Cinco De Mayo Festival promises to impress.

Don't miss out on all Santa Barbara has to offer in this fun filled festival.

For more information about Montecito and Santa Barbara lifestyle

D'Alfonso Spanish Architecture

Coveted Diana Lane

Santa Barbara has some of the most extraordinary architecture with it's quintessential Spanish Colonial Style with red rooftops and white walls. The seaside town has a consistent theme and design throughout, making it an exquisitely beautiful place to behold. But who do we have to thank for this significantly crafted architecture?  To name a few of the historical designers of their day, George Washington Smith, Reginald Johnson, the Moody Sisters and this week's featured listings Architect - Alex D'Alfanso. 

This talented master of home building, was known for his Spanish Colonial Revival style and built many of the homes and city landmarks in Santa Barbara including the Nogales Medical Building, the Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Guadalupe School, the El Prado Motel, the St. Francis Medical Convent, the first Sambo’s Restaurant, and the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and Mausoleum at the Old Mission.  D’Alfonso began to build houses in 1920 and continued as a successful developer of both residential and commercial properties for almost 60 years, until he retired in 1978.

Spotlight Listing

Diana Lane - D'Alfanso Architecture

1216 Diana Lane, Santa Barbara California

[ Open House : Sunday, April 30th 2:00-4:00 ]

This week's featured listing, 1216 Diana Lane in Santa Barbara California, represents the work of Alex D’Alfonso, one of the earliest and most important developers and builders in the City.  Be sure to drop in and see this fabulous listing on the coveted Diana Lane, this Sunday's Open House 2:00-4:00pm. 

Lower Riviera Eastside

5 BED | 2 BTH | $1.475.000

Located on one of Santa Barbara's most coveted lanes, this property offers a D'Alfonso Spanish  built in the 1940's [For more info on Alex D'Alfonso Architecture click button below]. The home features a two-story easy floorplan with two bedrooms and shared bathroom upstairs (entry level) and three bedrooms and one bathroom downstairs. Many quiet living spaces upstairs and downstairs make this home versatile with the gain of extra square footage in a finished game room with lots of extra storage. Two car garage offers access directly into the kitchen for ease in unloading groceries.

Santa Barbara’s Lower Riviera Eastside is a very special place. Many of the people are long time residents and the community heartbeat of this special enclave is apparent when you walk the beautiful, blooming streets where the streets are named for the City’s forefathers De La Guerra, Cota, Carrillo, and Haley. Milpas Street is the main corridor most residents commute on, but the urban trails in and around this neighborhood are unmatched in ease of walk with short arrival times to most anything downtown Santa Barbara. Restaurants, shops, coffee shops, Farmer's Markets, bars, specialty shops and fun are all within about a mile of this special neighborhood.

This sophisticated Spanish home finishes with a relaxing and comfortable view deck where you can sit back, take in the Riviera and twinkling City light views and sip your favorite beverage. Possible historic activity in this authentic neighborhood.
Welcome home!

Interested in living the Montecito Lifestyle?