Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"A" List L.A. A Day Trip to Santa Barbara

On day one, we popped up to Santa Barbara to visit our cousins, who graciously drive us around Santa Barbara, Summerland and Montecito, over and over and over. It is 90 minutes North of L.A. and a worthwhile day excursion, to say the least. Tip #1: Garmin's work poorly in Los Angeles, I do not know why. 

The light was hitting a mustard field on this equestrian property in Hope Ranch, in a way that screamed God was trying to say: "HELLO." Thank you God, for Santa Barbara! It is truly more beautiful than the French Riviera.  Hope Ranch, is also fertile ground for spying original California ranch houses which, as you know,  have been entirely corrupted all over this country. 

Original California ranch houses, usually one room wide, have great flow between rooms (read no dark halls). Extended roof lines which will often run the length of the house, act as exterior halls and create transitional space between the interior and property.  This is a lovely, mid-century interpretation. 

Mr. and Mrs. C, gave us an insider's tour of their home turf, and we stopped in at the Music Academy of the West. You can snag some serious swag at their gift store, where Santa Barbara patrons leave their beautiful possessions, after organizational fits, downsizing, or you know....

 The charming succulent garden outside the shop.

See what I mean? Here is the Lucre: "shameful gain." The Patrons are generous and the prices are more than fair. I can be shameful when it comes to bargains. I have been known to run out of the Sloan Kettering thrift store in New York, with 17th century prints in hand, fearful that they will change their minds over my fabulous finds.

Here is where to go.

Just so you know, there are designer clothes in the next cottage. 

Fabulous gardens surround the 10 acre estate, once called Miraflores. For more architectural history click HERE. May I add, the fragrance of Santa Barbara is an intoxicating combination of Eucalyptus, flowers and citrus--with a touch of the sea.  

I never, ever get tired of the beautiful entrance gates.

One good reason to get arrested, would be the Addison Mizner, Santa Barbara City Hall. On a safer level, I certainly would not shirk my civic duty to sit a jury. It is quite the mighty fortress, and turns a sharp corner to embrace a stunning public park. Shifting to the left, from the previous perspective, we see the rest of the massive structure. Heavens, Santa Barbara must have anticipated a great deal of issues, or...Addison padded the space. 

What has happened to the world?  I cannot resist a political question. Why was everything beautiful then, and new civic buildings in America look like retina burning, Soviet bloc structures?  It is hard to comprehend that poor Addison Mizner died broke after the Florida land boom/ bust. Since we are now in town proper, Mrs. C. brought us to Raoul, the hot design fabric and design shop.

Sallie and Tim McQillan have a remarkable textile company that counter-intuitively produces woodblock print fabrics in Santa Barbara, the most expensive real estate in the world. It all began in a Quonset hut on the Santa Barbara beach in 1981 and thrives in the world of globalization. Fasten your seat belts. 

Get inspired! If you can't handle the $1,350.00 price tag, paint your chairs and buy a few yards of Eve Robin's Egg 802B67. 

Or, find your way to Henry Rose. 

 Chunari fuschia below

Or, find yourself sitting in these vintage, truly original, beaded lawn/porch style chairs. I've never seen anything like them and they are hard to describe. The chairs are actually covered with a fabric of tiny beads. 

As we move through our visit, here are some spectacular views from a friend's house in Santa Barbara. 

Below is the definition of a 365 view. If you swivel in Santa Barbara, you alternate dramatically between mountain verticality and ocean horizons. 

We always eat at Jeannine's in Montecito. Fresh baked croissants and breads compete for your attention with delectable egg dishes and the freshest fruit and juices. Try a chicken mango quesadilla! 

High Point Furniture market is coming in a month, 
so if you are a blogger making your way to our 
neck of the woods, please let me know and we 
will plan a fun dinner. 
To see some our market favorites 



  1. Oh I feel relaxed just looking at your photos. I have only been through SB, stopping for a quick bite now and again. Why?
    I must now go back, #1 on my list is that Rack & Treasure House shop. It's making my heart race a little just thinking about it :)

  2. So beautiful!! I have always wanted to go to Santa Barbara - and you are just emphasizing the point. I sat next to a lovely food blogger from there one night at conference in LA. And I adore Raoul Textiles!!

  3. Dear Liz;
    This is pure heaven, truly amazing landscape, architecture. Mountains and the sea, a perfect world.
    Would love for you to show me around next time you head to Santa Barbara.
    I, unfortunately, will not go to High Point in April as I just realized i will still be in France, but will be coming later to work on furniture.
    Can't wait to see you in New York!

  4. Liz,
    What a beautiful tour of a city on my side of the country. I don't get up to Santa Barbara nearly enough...your tour convinced me a day trip needs to be in the works. Thank you.

  5. Liz what a treat to read your blog lately! I love Santa Barbara and have not been for some time,your tour and images are wonderful. Those fabrics! The Gardens, the shops, the architecture, all treasures.

    Art by Karena

  6. is there a site where you can purchase the eve robins egg fabric online??? im in love with it!

  7. Wow...what a fabulous trip! I've never been to the Santa Barbara area, but so want to go. The Miraflores gardens are gorgeous!!! Have to learn more!

    xo Elizabeth

  8. I'll take six of those orange chairs - expense be damned!

    And our GPSs seem to work really badly in any inner city area with high rise buildings close by (i.e. the area around the Regency Wreck) - could that have been the problem?


  9. Well, the Garmin thing is dodgy to say the least. It was still wrong on the freeway. And yes, I can sell you those orange chairs for a kindly price if you like. If you are an orange girl like me, check out our outdoor furniture at our store. I am in love with orange metal pieces.

  10. wow...thank you for taking us along on your trip...it looks like a wonderful place!! Adore the fabrics ~

  11. Hi! as long as I am signed into google......that seems to work!

    The Santa Barbara courthouse is spectacular; but Addison Mizner didn't do it!

    He did do one house here.....in Montecito on Park Lane. You can see it in the book "The Los Angeles House" by Tim Street-Porter. (and my old house in Pasadena, too!!

    The courthouse is considered one of the most beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival buildings in the country!!

    Catch you next time!!!

  12. Liz-
    I have always wanted to visit Santa Barbara, and plan on doing that very thing when my daughter graduates. We are going to spend a while traveling, and this looks like the perfect place.
    Thank you for taking us along, as always.
    Happy Thursday.

  13. Raoul Fabrics are enticing enough on their own but you have made it irresistible!

  14. I thought I would add a suggestion for a day trip (it's actually only about a 20-30 minute drive from S.B.) along the lines of the type of stuff I cover in my weblog. It's the Cold Spring Tavern in the Santa Ynez Mountains above S.B. It's a rustic old stagecoach stop from the nineteenth century that today functions as a restaurant. It serves classy meals often offering exotic fare, though with traditional staples, too. During the weekends it's a popular place to stop for a cold beer or glass of wine and live music. It makes for a great stop on the way to or back from wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley or even wildflower viewing on Figueroa Mountain in the early spring. It was the first place, as well, where Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing, a Santa Barbara original, was put on an official menu and launched into the modern culinary phenomenon it now is.



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