On Location: On The Riviera in Santa Barbara, California

By Roger Grody


In Santa Barbara, the idyllic community that anchors the portion of the California coast known as the “American Riviera,” is Estancia, a development of 72 distinctive residences  that celebrated its grand opening in July. Prominent local builder Franciscan Developments collaborated with Cearnal Collective, a premier Santa Barbara-based architectural and interior design firm, on the project, to present a modern interpretation of the coastal community’s quintessential Spanish Colonial architecture.


John Schuck, president of Franciscan Developments, reports, “The vision for Estancia was born out of a desire to take what is most loved and cherished about Santa Barbara and create a residential experience that takes full advantage of the city’s healthful and active lifestyle.” Emphasizing Estancia’s Old World charm, communal outdoor spaces and semi-custom interiors that showcase views of the Santa Ynez Mountains, the developer adds, “I’m very proud of this project.”


Inside Estancia’s residences, traditional aesthetics fade into clean-lined modern living environments. Ten-foot ceilings, solid 8-foot doors and open floor plans are designed for contemporary lifestyles, and expansive terraces create a true indoor-outdoor experience that capitalizes on Santa Barbara’s Mediterranean climate. High-end finishes are standard, and a Carrara marble option transforms bathrooms into luxury spas. Generous breezeways with mountain views give common areas a resort feel and private garages are provided. Two story townhomes feature two bedrooms and two full baths in floor plans of 1,495 to 1,539 square feet, with gourmet kitchens, fireplace-warmed living rooms, and an additional powder room in select residences.

Three-story townhomes (1,923 to 2,063 square feet) provide those exceptional amenities with a second floor primarily dedicated to family life or entertaining. Representing a third option are convenient single-story residences, the first luxury flats to be constructed in Santa Barbara in 30 years. Ranging from 1,459 to 1,696 square feet — their high ceilings, abundant natural light and generous patio space make them live much larger — these units are popular with downsizing couples.


A lush landscaping concept provides a park-like setting for Estancia, with palm-lined European-inspired inlaid stone drives, flowering vines and open spaces that preserve views of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The excitement of Los Angeles is just 90 miles away yet a world apart.


Approximately 28 units of the two-phase project were completed at the end of June and complete buildout will occur in spring 2019. Prices start at $1.125 million for the single-story residences, $965,000 for the two-story townhomes and $1.125 million for the three-story townhomes. Estancia is represented by The Agency Development Group, headquartered in Beverly Hills

Santa Barbara, or “The American Riviera,” as some call it, is known for its clear blue beaches, stunning mountainous scenery and Mediterranean-style buildings. In this edition of Unique Homes, we researched the 25 most expensive listings in the coastal California city. These luxurious Santa Barbara offerings range from a $108 million ranch spanning 2 miles of oceanfront, to a 4-bedroom beachfront estate featuring extensive landscaping for $22.5 million.

10045 Calle Real, Goleta
Las Varas Ranch, an 1,800-acre coastal gem with 2 miles of unspoiled oceanfront, a classic hacienda main house, numerous ranch buildings, lemon and avocado orchards, and a private lake.
• Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties
• Douglas Elliman Real Estate

2500 East Valley Road, Santa Barbara
Rancho San Carlos, an approximately 237-acre estate property that for nearly 100 years has been under the ownership of one family.
• Sotheby’s International Realty

5225 Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Olivos
Sycamore Valley Ranch, formerly known as Neverland Ranch, is both residence and retreat — 3 parcels, totaling approximately 2,700 acres, bordering on historic family ranches and the Los Padres National Forest.
Joyce Rey, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

120 Montecito Ranch Lane, Summerland
World-class 19-acre polo ranch estate includes a grand main house, 3 detached guest suites, private polo field, quality stables/office/clubhouse complex, 128-foot pool, poolside cabana and more.
Randy Solakian, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

2825 Padaro Lane, Carpinteria
Providing privacy and exclusivity, this estate site boasts approximately 500 feet of unparalleled ocean frontage affording breathtaking 360-degree views of the majestic Pacific, nearby islands and tranquil Santa Barbara mountains.
Erik Wilde & Cathy Titus, Coldwell Banker Property Shoppe

Rancho Dos Pueblos, Santa Barbara
This 214-acre ranch estate includes the stately Casa Grande mansion built in the 1920s in the classic California Spanish style.
• Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

1627 East Valley Road, Santa Barbara
Magnificent estate with glorious ocean and mountain views, splendid architecture and historic gardens on over 9 acres in Montecito’s world-renowned estate enclave.
• Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Hills of Santa Barbara (address undisclosed)
The pure pastoral ambience of the Tuscan countryside pervades this elegant stone villa, with its gentle light, rugged stone and wood, and reverence for the natural surroundings.
• Sotheby’s International Realty

2955 East Valley Road, Santa Barbara
Breathtaking views of ocean and mountains greet you upon arrival to this extraordinary Balinese and Asian-style contemporary estate on approximately 8.24 acres.
• Sotheby’s International Realty

256 Eucalyptus Hill Drive, Montecito
Solana, circa 1916, is shining from a stunning restoration, unfolding gracefully over 22,000-plus square feet and 11-plus acres.
• Village Properties, Realtors

13600 Calle Real, Goleta
Immersed in privacy and serene natural beauty, this gracefully designed villa offers unparalleled opportunities to experience the vibrancy of unspoiled surroundings from 287 grassy acres.
Randy Solakian, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

1104 Channel Drive, Santa Barbara
Rare wide-open oceanview contemporary built in 2008 captures the essence of paradise and elegant modern architecture.
• Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

14200 Calle Real, Goleta
Five-bedroom Villa della Costa on 106 acres overlooks the Gaviota Coast and its panorama of spectacular untouched seaside landscape with breathtaking 360-degree views.
Randy Solakian, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

4347 Marina Drive, Santa Barbara
A legacy property in Hope Ranch — a reimagined Wallace Neff architectural masterpiece with new theater room, wine cellar, guesthouse and ocean views.
• Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

1590 E Mountain Drive, Santa Barbara
Sweeping ocean views, stunning architecture, impeccable quality and timeless elegance coalesce on nearly 2.5 lush acres to create a remarkable 10,000±-square-foot estate.
• Village Properties, Realtors

700 Park Lane, Montecito
One of Montecito’s great architectural estates by George Washington Smith, circa 1923, on over 5 manicured and magnificent acres; tastefully updated in 2006.
Randy Solakian, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

121 Hollister Ranch Road, Goleta
Five-bedroom home on 115-plus acres with ocean views.
• Hollister Ranch Coastal Properties

771 Garden Lane, Montecito
In Montecito’s coveted Riven Rock, a commanding 5.5-acre country estate offers a stellar 7-bedroom residence, extensively remodeled in 2007.
• Village Properties, Realtors

2709 Vista Oceano Lane, Summerland
A majestic estate of nearly 20 acres inspired by the Italian countryside, Tuscany Oaks Farm combines magnificent vision with seductive beauty in a setting with sublime coastal and mountain views.
Joyce Rey, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Emily Kellenberger, Village Properties, Realtors

3055 Padaro Lane, Carpinteria
This estate on 2 parcels has 4.37 acres; 350 feet of ocean frontage.
• Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

3271 Padaro Lane, Carpinteria
On Padaro Beach, this 7,287-square-foot, 6-bedroom Hamptons-style estate is built on a knolltop with 105 feet of beachfront.
• Sotheby’s International Realty

Santa Ynez Mountains, Carpinteria (undisclosed)
This 40±-acre estate includes an over 6,000-square-foot main residence, a 2-bedroom guesthouse and multi-room cabana.
• Sotheby’s International Realty

765 Rockbridge Road, Montecito
On more than 7 acres, Rockbridge has a sprawling main residence, sweeping lawns, magnificent landscaping and a guesthouse.
• The Icon Realty, Inc.

3365 Padaro Lane, Carpinteria
Gated beachfront estate with a 4-bedroom contemporary main residence, 2-bedroom guesthouse and extensive landscaping.
• Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

851 Buena Vista Drive, Santa Barbara
Offering a 12,000-plus-square-foot main house, guesthouse, poolhouse and 2 garages is this estate with 7 bedrooms and 13 baths.
• Compass California Inc.

By: Kelly Potts

Las Varas Ranch in Santa Barbara, California, spans 1,800 acres of various terrains, including mountains, pastures and white sand beaches, and is what listing agent Anthony Punnett of Douglas Elliman Real Estate calls, “a direct link to the ancient past.”
Punnett states that the next owner of the property, which features a World War II-era observation post and a ranch manager’s house from the 1920s, should have a sense of the history and heritage of the area. “It’s so unspoiled, it’s as it was for hundreds of years,” says Punnett, “You can almost imagine the Spanish Galleon pulling up there.”

The ranch has two active creeks, meadows, canyons and foothills offering panoramic views of the coast and Santa Ynez Mountain range, and oak forests leading up to an 18-acre lake at the foot of the mountains. There are 520 acres of pasturelands with lemon and avocado orchards, eucalyptus, live oak and juniper, as well as manmade improvements (such as the Hacienda-style main home) that enhance the natural feel of the property. There’s also a reservoir at the top of the canyon, where one could fish and hunt. Punnett says, “It has everything you’d want to see in California, wrapped into one.”

Las Varas Ranch has two private access points onto a two-mile stretch of private beach — a rare feature that Punnett considers his favorite aspect of the property, noting that he’s never seen this before in California.
Just 15 minutes away from Montecito, 100 miles from Los Angeles and in close proximity to a regional airport, the $108 million ranch provides an ease of access that is extraordinary and unique. “There’s total privacy and seclusion, which is an interesting thing about the property, since it is so vast you could consider it your own state,” says Punnett.

“You’re living amongst nature; you can build whatever home and comforts you’d require, but at the same time, you’re in unspoiled wilderness.”

Photos courtesy of Douglas Elliman Real Estate

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