Name Dropping Estates

Posted on Aug 22, 2017
Name Dropping Estates

By Mark Ashton Hunt
(originally published in the Montecito Journal, 8/17/17)

At this moment, there are only a handful of homes on the market that are promoted, based on the architect who designed the home. Plunkett, Craig, Sauter, Cramer, names that if you research, one will discover that many of these architect and others of their time, designed significant public buildings in Santa Barbara, as well as numerous homes and estates around town.

Many modern day architects are referred to by name when a home is for sale, and that was certainly the case 90 and 100 years ago, with some of those early names still carrying weight almost 100 years later. A scattering of homes from that earlier time still exist, and are occasionally available for a new owner to experience life, in a home that was designed for a world that existed, before and in the early stages of the great depression.

Montecito is now, and always has been, home to many artists and professionals, who function at the highest levels of their craft, architects included, and focused on here today. Sometimes, the importance of a home is not about the size of the estate or the value, but in who designed the home.

Here are four properties that will allow you to step back in time the moment you cross over the threshold.

165 La Vereda Road – $3,500,000

“El Cedro”, as it is named was designed by famed architect Joseph Plunkett (El Encanto Hotel & Gardens, Original Santa Barbara Airport). The home is set on 1+/1 acre in Montecito’s Hedgerow District, just a few blocks to the beach or to Montecito Union School. Completed in 1921, the home includes 5 bedrooms, 6 fireplaces, and staff quarters. The grounds include a patio and lush gardens with a lawn for games and parties. An oversized 3-car garage with workshop completes this offering. The estate’s name “El Cedro” commemorates the numerous cedar trees and redwoods guarding the entrance and perimeter.

The home was once one of only three structures located on the original 28-acre Spaulding estate displays a unique Californian version of formality with a large living room with extensive windows opening to the charming, mature gardens on the property. There is a den or library with French doors to a side patio and formal gardens, and a dining room, with a wall of glass and French doors, that opens to the rear formal gardens. This is an opportunity to restore the home with your personal preferences.

1574 Green Lane – $5,650,000

This 1926 Spanish Revival Estate was designed by Mary Craig (Casa De Maria, Plaza Rubio), and is on a private 1.3+/- acre lot on a prime Hedgerow location on a very low traffic lane in the Montecito Union School District. The home maintains the original character and design of the home and over the years, owners have made upgrades throughout.

The gated entry opens to a spacious motor court, with passage through the nearly 100 year old landscaping to a 3 car garage compound area and separate 2 bedroom guest house. The residence has 3 bedrooms on the main floor and 3 bedrooms upstairs.

For entertaining, find grand public rooms with French doors that open to the patio and terraces, and enjoy the beautiful gardens and pathways. As advertised, the property is served by both Montecito Water and Ivydene private water sources.


801 Alston Road – $14,750,000  

“Graholm” is one of the original Santa Barbara hilltop estates from the last century, taking full advantage of the majestic views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara Harbor, and Montecito Valley from its approximately 7.43 acre hilltop perch. The home was designed by architect Roland Sauter (Cabrillo Pavilion, Improvements at the Old Mission) for David Gray, whose family was one of the original shareholders in Ford Motor Company.

Construction of the approx. 18,150 sq. ft. grand Spanish Colonial Revival estate began in 1918. The restored and remodeled home now enjoys modern amenities. The new features of the estate with 8-bedrooms, 9-full baths, and 3-powder rooms, include a gourmet center island kitchen with 28-ft. vaulted, beamed ceilings, classic Spanish-style patterns and finishes, rich textures, massive wood-beamed ceilings, massive, arched French doors and windows and Batchelder Spanish-tile floor throughout the public rooms and custom wrought-iron balustrades.

Additionally, there are 7-fireplaces, two 4,000-bottle wine cellars, a pub room, estate office, craft room, media/game room, arcade room, staff bedroom, and several balconies and terraces all opening to the dramatic ocean views and stunning landscaped grounds accented with fountains and towering Eucalyptus and Redwood trees. The mid-century 2,800 square foot, 3-bedroom, 3-bath guesthouse features a large den with fireplace, full kitchen, another upstairs den, a game room, laundry, its own pool area, and decks with incredible ocean, island and Santa Barbara Harbor views. This home is in the 93108 Zip Code, but is not within either of the Montecito School Districts.

1599 East Valley Road – $16,800,000

Located down a long, gated drive, past a very significant private pond with manicured lawns, is this impressive, notable, Montecito estate. Featured on the cover of the novel, “Montecito Boy”, this home represents a cherished piece of local area history. Grand mountain views and ocean vistas surround this 1931, Cape Dutch estate designed by noted architect, Ambrose Cramer.

This 10,000+ square foot home is on a 3.5+/- acre lot, just a block from Montecito’s upper village, on estate row along East Valley Road, just a few doors down from Oprah and another estate that is on the market for $48,500,000. This grand, renovated residence retains the charm and architectural details from Montecito’s Golden Era while offering modern conveniences and amenities, including 6 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms, a substantial and bright chefs kitchen, pool, pathways, entertaining patios, parking for many guests and is within the Montecito Union School District.

For more information on any of these listings or to have us arrange a showing with the listing agents, please contact us directly: or call/text 805-698-2174. or call/text 805-698-3767

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