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In 1987, my parents and I fled communist Russia for a better life and were very fortunate to settle in Santa Barbara. Shortly thereafter, we purchased our first home in this special community. My family’s journey and the epic pursuit of finding “our home” inspires me daily to help others on the same quest.
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This New Montecitan Is Seriously Funny
Finding respite in our “semi-rural” environs, the massively talented actress/comedienne Jane Lynch and her wife, Jennifer Cheyne, have put down roots here and it fills our hearts with glee.
Terry Pillow: The Pillow Guy Both Parties Can Get Behind
The Arkansas farm boy turned Ralph Lauren whisperer is back in the saddle with his new Homer brand flagship store on CVR. We interview the serial branding genius about his newest brand.
Elizabeth Colling Is Crushing It
Thanks to dead set dreams of working for Martha Stewart Living – as well as boot camp with chefs like Wolfgang Puck – Elizabeth Colling learned the culinary trade from the bottom up. Now, with Merci Montecito, she’s serving up some of the best food in town.
When you create Bongo jeans and Lucky Brand jeans and Civilianaire, what do you do as an encore? You create Tre Lune and the Montecito Deli and Lucky’s Steakhouse (first in Montecito and now, Malibu). We talk with Montecito’s indefatigable impresario.
Developed by cofounders Alex Dessouky and husband and wife Monica and Seth Epstein, this refreshing new spritz blends premium sake with hints of grapefruit and sea salt. Did we mention it came to Monica in a dream?
104.BY KIM REIERSON
De la Guerra Plaza
The history of the local landmark and how it evolved from a single casa in the early 1800s to the current plans for revitalization nearly two centuries later. 124.
Doubling Down on Hospitality
Up in Santa Maria, the Murphy family’s Presqu’ile Winery is recreating the wine tasting experience with picnics, guided tours, and if you’re lucky, a sighting of a rocket launch from the Vandenberg Space Force Base.
ON THE COVER: We were fortunate to spend time with Montecito’s personal Medici, Gene Montesano. The man with multiple successes in two of the hardest fields in which to succeed – the restaurant biz and the garment trade. Yes, that Lucky man with three restaurants in Montecito, two restaurants in Santa Barbara, one restaurant in Malibu, and three clothing brands to his name and still counting, including Civilianaire.
Gene claims to be camera shy but our photographer Kim Reierson worked her usual magic. Turn to the story on page 86 and tell us if you don’t agree.
Meeting All the Animals
For the past 33 years, David and Lisa Jackson have been rescuing exotic animals from dire situations and giving them a loving home at Conservation Ambassadors sanctuary in nearby Paso Robles.
A Gothic Romance
Beloved French author Victor Hugo’s muse, the nearly 1,000-year-old Cathédrale NotreDame de Paris – which burned in 2019 – is currently under restoration to its former splendor. But to which former splendor will it return? And are there lessons for fire-prone California? A Montecitan’s notes from overseas.
From Lindbergh and Lockheed to Musk and Mars
Lockheed started here. Wernher von Braun orchestrated the lunar rover here. Lindbergh and Earhart were here. Santa Barbara is steeped in aviation history, and we’re making more of it every day.
Spruce up your wardrobe with a stop by Catherine Gee, Civilianaire, Paula Parisotto, and Whistle Club.
Here Are a Few of Our Favorite Things
From jewelry to handbags to clothing and more, our annual gift guide will help you find the perfect gift this holiday season. 187.
Some prime properties in the Santa Barbara area as well as mountain manses as the perfect winter home.
VILLA DEL MARE
Arna Behar – Arna Behar’s work is multifaceted, specializing in portraiture, editorial, and documentary photography as well as creative consulting. She is a graduate of Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California, with a B.A. in photography. Find her work at STUDIOARNA.com.
Nicholas Schou – Nicholas Schou is the former editor in chief of OC Weekly and an investigative reporter whose work has led to the release from prison of wrongfully convicted individuals as well as the indictment and imprisonment of a Huntington Beach mayor. Schou’s work has appeared in numerous publications including The Atlantic , Newsweek , Salon , and the Los Angeles Times . He is also the author of several books including Kill the Messenger , which was made into a 2014 film starring Jeremy Renner, and Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and its Quest to Spread Peace, Love and Acid to the World .
Jerry Camarillo Dunn, Jr. – Jerry Dunn worked with the National Geographic Society for 35 years and has won three Lowell Thomas Awards (the “Oscars” of the field) from the Society of American Travel Writers, plus their gold medal for his travel columns in the Montecito Journal. The author of 11 books, he has been published everywhere from The Washington Post to Architectural Digest and was once editor in chief of Santa Barbara Magazine
Hattie Beresford – Hattie has been writing a local history column for the Montecito Journal for nearly two decades. She has written two Noticias and coedited My Santa Barbara Scrap Book, the memoir of local artist Elizabeth Eaton Burton, for the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Her book, The Way It Was ~ Santa Barbara Comes of Age, is a collection of a few of her nearly 400 articles written for the Journal. She is the researcher and author of Celebrating CAMA’s Centennial, a chronicle of the Community Arts Music Association’s 100-year history. When she is not immersed in some dusty tome, she can be found on the tennis courts, hiking paths, or the nation’s rail trails peddling with her husband, former Dos Pueblos High School volleyball coach Mike Beresford.
Kim Reierson – Kim Reierson is a California native who was raised in Bolivia. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in fine arts, she worked as a photojournalist for various newspapers, winning several awards. In 2000, she moved to New York City where she has been represented by the Robin Rice Gallery since 2001. She is best known for her 2007 photography book Eighteen: A Look at the Culture That Moves Us, a visual documentation and an homage to America’s 18-wheeler truck drivers that has been featured on ABC News, CNN, and in National Geographic. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and her clients include Art and Auction, Forbes FYI, Bloomingdale’s, Ralph Lauren, the Smithsonian Institute, and Vogue Mexico, to name a few. When she’s not behind the lens, as an avid cyclist, you’ll find her climbing Gibraltar Mountain on any given day.
– Gabe Saglie has been covering the Santa Barbara and Central Coast wine industry for more than 20 years. The former KEYT weathercaster is also senior editor for Travelzoo and, as such, is an on-air travel contributor and consumer advocate for media outlets across the country. When he’s not sipping, Gabe cooks, bikes, and travels with his family – wife, Renee, and children Gabriel, Greyson, and Madelyn.
Edward Clynes – This Brooks Institute graduate and local freelance photographer has been a steady contributor to the Montecito Journal during the past six years. When not working commercial gigs, his love of the natural world drives him to explore local and faraway hiking trails in search of the next great vista to photograph.
– Jim Buckley founded the Montecito Journal in 1995 and retired at the end of 2019. He now spends his time golfing, studying the French language, and tracking down weekend getaways and other travel possibilities. He also writes a weekly column at jimb. substack.com, where he invites readers to enjoy his conservative-leaning political and travel ideas.
Kelly Mahan Herrick
– Kelly is originally from Newbury Park, California, but has called the Santa Barbara area home for 23 years. Kelly is currently a contributing editor for the Montecito Journal’s weekly newspaper, writing about new businesses, new residential and commercial developments, school district happenings, and other issues that affect our neighborhoods. Kelly is a partner with the real estate team Calcagno & Hamilton with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services.
Musings from the Executive Editor
Santa Barbara’s a small place – as far as cities go. And Montecito, well, that’s more like a tiny village. Prepandemic, we recognized many of the people we passed on the street or sat next to at neighborhood restaurants. A familiar group of locals could be found in a coffee klatch outside of Pierre Lafond at the same time every morning. Same at Tre Lune. And Jeannine’s….
Then came the pandemic – and constant masking up. Fastforward two years (hard to believe), and as we leave our homes and rejoin the flow of humanity out in the world, we can once again spot the Pierre Lafond klatchers. The Tre Lune mafia. The Jeannine’s loyalists. The Merci Montecito or Montecito Village Grocery regulars. Plus a whole new set of faces have been added to the mix. And to be honest, it’s a little confusing. It looks like Montecito. It smells like Montecito. But something feels a little different. Not bad. Just… well… different.
But let’s be honest. Even before this mega (Meghan?) migration to Montecito, we may have found false comfort in recognizing lots of familiar faces, when in truth, did we ever really know these people? Even those we live next door to or regularly pass in the pasta aisle at Vons?
We have ideas about people – old-timers, newcomers, flashy, casual, grumpy, smiley, goofy…. But do we really know who they are?
This edition of the Montecito Journal magazine proves my long-held belief that behind the hedges and picket fences of our beloved village are some of the most interesting, inspiring, and sometimes surprising stories of people who are part of our community’s very fabric. People we thought we knew.
Gene Montesano – that guy with the long white ponytail who seems to own half the places we eat at on Coast Village Road. And who is that Terry Pillow guy nursing a cocktail with friends outside the Honor Bar, always toting around one of the most beautiful leather bags I’ve ever seen? What about that tall, willowy proprietress we always see at Merci, cooking in the kitchen, bussing tables, doing the books.... Who is she? And what’s the deal with that tyrannical coach from the TV series Glee? Does she live here? And is she anything like that in real life? (She’s not.)
You’ll find the surprising answers to these questions within these pages. And as we continue to peel back the layers of the onions that are you and me, I hope you will join us in that exploration –even beyond the pages of this magazine.
All of us at the Montecito Journal Media Group wish each and every reader a wonderful holiday season and a New Year filled with positivity, laughter, good health, happy adventures, and lots of love!Gwyn Lurie CEO & Executive Editor, Montecito Journal Media Group
You think you know who someone is – until you sit down and talk with them.The Santa Barbara Aviation Historic Preservation Coalition is working to save the two original hangars. (Courtesy of goletahistory.com)
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This New Montecitan Is Seriously FunnyStory by Les Firestein Photography by Kim Reierson
New Montecitan Jane Lynch is an almost bizarre mixture of raw talent and stage training, accomplished and interesting, famous yet modest, and approachable. Without a lot of fanfare, she has accumulated six SAG Award nominations with two wins. She has been 13! times nominated for an Emmy with five! wins. These are Hall of Fame numbers that have already earned her a star on the Walk of Fame and put her on pace with such luminaries as fellow Montecitans Carol Burnett and Julia LouisDreyfus. Come to think of it, what’s up with Montecito and world-class comediennes?
In a sector dominated mostly by men, Lynch is a comedy Meryl Streep. Likewise in a business well-known for burnout, she has done outstanding work for decades with no end in sight. Looking over her Wiki, Lynch seems to have been in, well, everything. Her oeuvre is an incredible mix of elite projects and populist ones. Her CV reads like the crème de la crème of comedy and dramedy including The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel , Glee , Party Down , she’s one of the Christopher Guest players, she’s a Judd Apatow player, and had a breakout role in the movie Julie & Julia about yet another renowned Montecitan, the celebrity chef Julia Child, wherein Lynch very much held her own against actual Meryl Streep.
It makes sense that Lynch has made a life for herself in comedy because from what we can tell, her real life has a lack of drama. I ask how she’s so spot-on and specific with some of these memorable characters she develops, and her answers surprise me. “They’re just there. They’re just in you.” I ask, “Do you channel someone you
encountered, someone significant from your past?”
“No, they’re just there,” Lynch repeats matter-of-factly, as if Sue Sylvester (Glee) and Christy Cummings (Best in Show) were imprinted on her DNA and have lived rent free in her subconscious since birth.
The day I first met Lynch, my wife and I were going for a walk in town during the darkest days of COVID. Lynch was outside her house happily watering her hedges, and, due to some friends in common and the desperation to have human interaction during COVID, we wound up talking for about an hour. Yes, like a parody of Montecito, you go for a stroll and wind up talking to Lynch for an hour.
Months later, Lynch and I would sit for a formal interview and, subsequently, she and her wife, Jennifer Cheyne, would allow us into their place for a not-so-formal photo shoot. One of the things I notice about Lynch is she’s not one of those performers who’s trying to make you laugh or trying to show you that the real-life Jane is just like screen Jane, only more so. In fact, Lynch seems to cherish the quiet. She enjoys the music but also enjoys the silences in between. And she seems to enjoy being off stage as much as on. But when she does go on, she’s seriously good at being funny.
LF: What was your path from Chicago to Montecito?
JL: I grew up in a flat suburb outside Chicago called Dolton.
LF: Was the road from Dolton a circuitous route to what you’re doing now?
JL: There was no route. I always knew I wanted to do this. And there was no Plan B. I never thought about if the route was “fast” or “slow.” The route was simply the route and I’ve been happy with it.
Sheela joined the real estate business in Montecito and Santa Barbara after moving from Los Angeles, where her work experience included being a property appraiser, mortgage consultant and personal banker to a high end clientele and their businesses at Citibank in West Los Angeles. During that time, Sheela received numerous recognition awards for achieving customer service excellence and consistently exceeding her sales goals. Today, as a trusted real estate advisor, she continues to deliver that same exceptional service to her clients by bringing her skillset and knowledge to every transaction, closing over a quarter of a billion dollars in home sales in the area. When she’s not working, you can find her spending time with family and friends, involving herself in fundraising for various nonprofit organizations such as Town & Gown for USC, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, Village Properties Teacher’s Fund, and enjoying everything that Montecito and Santa Barbara has to offer.
LF: So you didn’t map out your career in entertainment like so many show business people seem to do?
JL: Not in the least. I simply believed I could and would do this. I don’t think there’s a cause and effect. I think we’re born with a blueprint of how our life is going to go. I can’t prove it, but that’s my belief.
That belief pushed Lynch to pursue an MFA degree at Cornell. Followed by years in Chicago’s prestigious Steppenwolf Theatre Company (home of such notable thespians as John Malkovich, Gary Sinise, Laurie Metcalf, and Joan Allen). Then the Annoyance Theatre (home of Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris, and Joey Soloway). And a stint in the Second City touring comedy troupe (Amy Poehler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Cecily Strong).
Eventually Lynch migrated to Los Angeles. She was working in Hollywood and living in Beachwood Canyon when she had her largest national exposure that changed everything: Christopher Guest’s Best in Show. Lynch played half of a pretty hilarious gay couple – her other half was Jennifer Coolidge (White Lotus). “Yeah that really blew it up for me,” Lynch says. “I mean, I’d been working a lot in L.A., doing tons of theater and lots of commercials. But after Best in Show, I started to be in demand, and that’s when I realized I was probably here to stay. ‘Here’ meaning in show business.”
LF: Probably because you elevate everything you do. Once people book you for something, they pretty much know at least that part of the project is going to be funny.
JL: The other important thing about Best in Show is it gave me enough money for a down payment.
“Basedon the size of my hair, I’m guessing this was 1987. Looks like I had
beenstyled by Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon.
Lady of the Canyon
JL: So I bought this place in Laurel Canyon, which I adored. And of course, in Laurel Canyon there’s that incredibly deep legacy and lore of the whole music scene. Joni Mitchell has always been a personal hero. So I was really quite happy there and certainly thought Laurel Canyon would be my “forever home.”
LF: This Laurel Canyon period seems like one continuous booking for you. And I feel like we’re still in it.
JL: I’m just happy to be doing what I feel like I’m supposed to be doing.
LF: So where does Santa Barbara come in?
JL: That whole time I’m living and working in L.A., my extended family, brothers and sisters, we’d come up here once a year and we’d all stay at the Four Seasons. We must have done it 10 years running. So I was pretty familiar with Montecito. Then at the very beginning of COVID of course the Four Seasons closed, so Jennifer and I decided to get a little country place. Is that what this is called? Country?
LF: It’s called “semi-rural,” according to the Montecito Community Plan. But I’ll accept country.
JL: Okay. So we decided we would look for a “semi-rural” place. We looked at a few places that didn’t work out for whatever reason. And then…
House of Music
JL: One day we drove up, and Mark and Sheela Hunt, who were our brokers at the time but who have become friends, showed us this place. Basically as soon as we set foot in the door we knew. Our place used to be the music house of a larger estate. And because it was a music facility, it’s all open with exposed beams. It’s such a really great high room, perfect for bringing a lot of people together and having, you know, an orchestra or whatever people would have. And then big floor-to-ceiling windows right by the living room with this beautiful garden and a beautiful porch right in front. In short, it was paradise.
LF: So it wasn’t a hard sell?
JL: We sat down in the living room and we just went, “You know, you do not have to sell us on this and we’re not going to disguise the fact that whatever it takes, we want this house.” And then it was ours within, you know, like a week. This was right before property became insanely hot up here. Remember when folks were giving all-cash offers $2 million over asking?
LF: Yes, the “no contingencies, no inspections, seller needs funds in Bitcoin by tomorrow afternoon” days.
JL: We got in right before that. We did some great refreshing with the builders Giffin & Crane. And we thought, We’re gonna stay here half the time, and we’ll stay in L.A. half the time. But by the time we were on our second day here, we both said, “We’re not going back to L.A. This is it. We’re done. We’re home.” I don’t think Jennifer has been to L.A. the whole time we’ve been here, about two years now. I don’t think she’s been back one night.
LF: And your house in L.A.?
“We knew Montecito would be lovely, but we didn’t know how deep it would go and how connected we would be to the other people. If you’re taking that walk down to the beach and you don’t run into someone you know, then you meet somebody and they become your friend.”
“We thought, We’re gonna stay here half the time, and we’ll stay in L.A. half the time. But by the time we were on our second day here, we both said, ‘We’re not going back to L.A. This is it. We’re done. We’re home.’”
JL: I was going to leave it to my niece Megan and her husband in my will because they loved it. But instead I just said, “Take it now just make sure there’s a room for me when I come down.”
It sounds like the actress is working for the Montecito Chamber of Commerce, except we don’t have one.
JL: It’s not just the specific place but the whole Montecito gestalt. It’s not just the physical environment that’s outstanding
here. It’s the people. There’s a classiness, but there’s also a kind of down-to-earthness. I feel like we have real neighbors for the first time since I was a kid.
LF: When my wife and I first moved here, we said the folks up here act like people who never had their hearts broken.
JL: That’s so true. My wife, Jennifer, is not a real social person. And she has found her people. She’s part of a book club – an informal group of women who get together. Some of my neigh bors came out to see my recent show on Broadway. And you know, Sheela and Mark [Hunt], they’re awesome.
don’t really look forward. But I also rarely look back. I’ve never been a big regretter or deconstructor. It would rob me of my joy.”
LF: So you’re on Mark’s homemade fudge list? That’s one of the single greatest things about Montecito. That and Mark’s rapping. Just ask him about it.
JL: Yes, I’m on the home delivery fudge list. Montecito has been such a gorgeous experience. We knew it would be lovely, but we didn’t know how deep it would go and how connected we would be to the other people. If you’re taking that walk down to the beach and you don’t run into someone you know, then you meet somebody and they become your friend. And I love Coast Village Road. It’s just this small meandering stretch of beautiful, independently
owned businesses selling gorgeous things and beautiful food. And you get to know the owners of the restaurants and, yeah, we just love it.
LF: So looking forward, what’s next for Jane Lynch?
JL: I don’t really look forward. But I also rarely look back. I’ve never been a big regretter or deconstructor. It would rob me of my joy.
LF: I guess my preconception was you’re the “move forward machine.” Not big on Sturm und Drang, just moving the machine forward.
JL: No, I’m the “right here machine.” Right here in this moment. And right here in this place.
“It’s not just the physical environment that’s outstanding here. It’s the people. There’s a classiness, but there’s also a kind of down-to-earthness. I feel like we have real neighbors for the first time since I was a kid.”
Terry Pillow: Here Is the Pillow Guy Both Parties Can
Get BehindInterview by Les Firestein Photography by Kim Reierson
Ihad seen Terry Pillow around town. He’s kind of hard to miss, chugging around Coast Village Road in one of his pristine vintage autos. He can seem like a vision from another era, putt-putting around like someone torn from the pages of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. His lion’s mane of hair twisting in the wind. His signature, perfectly patinaed leather bags se cured to the luggage rack of his Jaguar convertible look like they were just air dropped from the Spirit of St. Louis, back when “air dropped” meant actually dropped from the air.
A little research and local scuttlebutt reveals the driver of said Jaguar to be a notable CEO of men’s furnishings – whatever “furnishings” means – who would soon be opening (in December) Coast Village Road’s latest retail venue, Homer, inside a dormant mechanic’s shop (who knew?) adjacent to Tre Lune. This will be the tiniest shop on CVR. Where others see too small a shop, Terry sees an opportunity. The door of the mechanic’s shop had not been opened for 50 years and until recently, still housed a frozen-in-time hydraulic lift. Montecito being Montecito, it wasn’t hard for me to glean Terry Pillow is a talented designer who developed more than a few brands you’ve heard of: Chaps (which Pillow developed and ran for actual Ralph Lauren), A|X Armani Exchange (which Pillow developed and ran for Giorgio Armani), Coach brand apparel, and Tommy Bahama.
“Why don’t you come on over to the house,” Pillow said over the phone in an amiable drawl reminiscent of The Man from Hope. And indeed, Pillow is also from Arkansas. When I got to his house in the Hedgerow, the time-traveler-from-another-era illusion continued – and even expanded.
The Pillows – Terry, his wife Kelley, and their teenager Sam – live in a tastefully semirestored home originally designed by my favorite Santa Barbara archi tect of yesteryear, Mary Craig. The grounds were developed by the be loved local landscape designer Ralph Stevens, who is the same landscape ar chitect who developed the grounds at the Biltmore and Lotusland, among other remarkable Shangri-las. High lights at Pillow’s place include an epic three-story tall banana tree.
For the time being, Terry has set up an atelier in the carriage house on campus beside a ’56 Jaguar (Ter ry gifted himself on his 50th birth day), ’69 Land Rover, and ’78 Jeep (the first vehicle Terry ever bought when just out of college). The shop looks like a vintage man cave that might have belonged to Indiana Jones if Jones had married into the Rockefellers. I am surrounded by the most opulent, man cavey-est, and pungent – in the best way –leathers I have ever seen or smelled. I’m not sure how leather can even get this thick. GMOs?
In person, Pillow is gentle and personable and friendly. Wherev er you talk to him, there seems to be an implied Southern porch that follows him – at least in spirit. He explains to me his pedigree, work ing one-on-one with some of the greatest designers to ever exist. Now at the age of 70 (but looking 60), Pillow is getting ready to do his own thing – what I call the crystal meth of quality, the culmination of all his experience, these completely unnec essary furnishings and exquisitely sumptuous leather accessories that one simply needs to have.
I explain to Pillow he’s going to adorn our magazine alongside Gene Montesano (“Such a talented man, great designer, great restaura teur, what an honor,” says Pillow), Jane Lynch (“So hilarious and real ly cool”), and Elizabeth Colling of Merci Montecito (“That is probably the food we eat the most up here –she’s lovely”). I remind Terry we’re here to talk about him.
“I never entertained a Plan B. But Plan A was pretty much to harangue people at Neiman’s until someone paid attention. That turned out to be someone named Marcus. I didn’t realize at the time it was the Marcus (Stanley) of Neiman Marcus. I thought I was gonna be a sales guy on the floor or work the stock room or something, but Marcus up and puts me in their executive training program. ”
– Terry Pillow
The Odyssey that Led This Arkansas Farm Boy to Homer
LF: You’re a farm boy from Arkansas. Was that a “normal thing” – for someone like you to head straight into men’s fashion?
TP: It seemed normal for me, but I don’t think it was nor mal for anyone else. I was simply obsessed with the details of men’s fashion and accessories for as far back as I can remem ber. I have vivid memories of various saddles we had on the farm that had been tanned and hand-fabricated by my grand father Homer. I remember the stitching on my dad’s shoes. I remember admiring the stitching on a baseball. In the Boy Scouts, other guys would see those uniforms and think, One day I’ll be an Eagle Scout, and I’d see that same uniform and think, These brass buttons are too shiny and should probably be dulled down a notch
LF: Must have sucked for your football coach. He’s saying, “We looked like fools out there!” And you’re thinking, “That’s because our school colors clash and who goes out without a belt?”
TP: God help us if we win the state championship and I have to get photographed in this thing.
LF: How did your folks deal with this?
TP: I was fortunate to have the greatest folks in the world. Back in Corning, Arkansas, if a boy was “too into fashion,” their folks were likely to ship him off to Devereux, you know that institution for kids with perceived “challenges.” In fact, I knew someone that really happened to.
LF: Devereux is actually out here, near UC Santa Barbara. So the irony is had your folks shipped you out, you might have wound up here anyway.
TP: I was fortunate my folks were so accepting – even way back then, there – and just went with it. Textiles, men’s style, and accoutrements. I guess they “pivoted” as people like to say today.
“In the Boy Scouts, other guys would see those uniforms and think, One day I’ll be an Eagle Scout, and I’d see that same uniform and think, These brass buttons are too shiny and should probably be dulled down a notch. ”Pillow playing for the Corning High School Bobcats, 1970. On far left, Pillow as a Boy Scout accepting the God and Country Award, in Corning, Arkansas, 1967.
LF: What was the path from horse bits to horse-bit loafers?
TP: I worked throughout college at a men’s clothing store. Then as soon as I graduated, I went to Dallas seeking a job at Neiman Marcus. Because that was where the best clothing I knew was and still just a day’s drive away.
LF: I have some relatives who spent a lot of time in Neiman Marcus. But never worked there. Was your idea just to walk in, essentially, until someone gave you the time of day?
TP: Basically, yes. I never entertained a Plan B. But Plan A was pretty much to harangue people at Neiman’s until someone paid attention. That turned out to be someone named Marcus. I didn’t realize at the time it was the Marcus (Stanley) of Neiman Marcus. I thought I was gonna be a sales guy on the floor or work the stock room or something, but Marcus up and puts me in their executive training program. So right then and there I was off to the races. I was with Neiman’s for years as a buyer. And when they transferred me to their store at Newport Beach, that was the first time this farm boy had ever seen the ocean.
LF: So you met a lot of vendors working at Neiman’s. Then your first real spotlight job was working for Ralph Lauren. You met him when you were a buyer at Neiman’s?
TP: Yes. What an incredible experience that was. I’ve had the remarkable good fortune to work with the purveyors of some of the greatest lifestyle brands to ever exist. Ralph has of course a preter natural business sense and not just a fashion intuition, but almost a clairvoyance.
LF: Clairvoyance for what?
TP: For what people don’t even realize they want yet. He seems to have an understanding of the human race on a primal, almost neurological level. He understands our hopes and dreams.
LF: You developed the Chaps brand for Ralph. That worked. What else did you learn from him?
TP: There is a definite art to how that man does business. Some times it seems like almost a dance. He knows when to go all in. And when to hold back and create a hunger, an anticipation. At its best, his marketing is almost like music or dance. The man really has a sixth sense.
LF: Then you got headhunted by Giorgio Armani?
TP: I didn’t think there was a further pinnacle past Ralph, but that turned out to be developing the A|X Armani Exchange brand for Giorgio Armani. Mr. Armani was a whole other level of precision and passion. And one of the hardest-working peo ple I ever met.
LF: From Armani you went to Coach. Was that a little like going from first class… to coach?
TP: That was a tough job. In a weird game of corporate musical chairs, when I was at Coach, it was owned by the corporate overlord Sara Lee, the frozen foods Goliath. Think about that for a moment. Do you know the common thread between Sara Lee and Coach?
LF: Some of their food tasted like leather, so there was a natural corporate synergy with leather goods?
TP: There was no common thread. Their motto at the time was
“Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee!” And our answer at the time was “Coach doesn’t.” I’m kidding, of course. I’d put Sara Lee’s cheese cake up against anyone’s. But it was not a great corporate marriage.
LF: But it was good in other ways, I take it?
TP: One other way. I met my wife, Kelley, there. She was a pub licist for Coach announcing the arrival of the much-heralded Terry Pillow. Fortunately for me, she believed her own hype and still does to this day, bless her heart.
LF: Can she do a press release for me that goes to my wife?
TP: She’s retired but you can always ask.
LF: So you created the apparel line for Coach. And then I know you were CEO of Tommy Bahama for a long while. What was the concept behind Tommy?
TP: Tommy was another lifestyle brand. The idea was “Always at the beach.” It was completely beach centric.
LF: What’s the difference between being simply “a brand” versus be ing a “lifestyle” brand?
TP: In one, you create a thing, in the other, you create a world. Or even a universe. And if it resonates, it’s a world that others want to engage with and populate and ultimately live in. And people can be very very loyal to you for a very long time. Like Montecito. Once people move in, they rarely want to move out.
LF: So tell us about Homer – your new brand and brand-new store on Coast Village Road. Tell us about the odyssey that got you to Homer.
TP: I retired as CEO of Tommy and stepped into an advisory role. This gave me the time to conjure my own story-of-a-brand and become boss of myself. I decided upon fine leather goods to tell this story and named it for my forebears. My grandfather and father were both Homer, and it is also our child’s middle name.
LF: How have you been as a boss?
TP: It’s too early to tell.
His perfectly patinaed leather bags secured to the rack of his Jaguar convertible look like they were just air dropped from the Spirit of St. Louis, back when “air dropped” meant actually dropped from the air.
The Terry tote
LF: But tell us more about Homer – what these products are, and, more importantly, what these products “mean.”
TP: Homer encapsulates everything I’ve learned over half a century in the business. They’re the best-crafted, quintessential, timeless, handmade leather goods that will be handed down through generations. They are not necessary. And yet they are essential.
LF: I understand your leather also goes through an or ganic tanning process unique in the industry.
TP: Our process is called “oak bark tanning,” which is vegetable based and organic and unusual. The in dustry standard for tanning leather is called “chrome tanning,” which is highly toxic.
LF: So your leather goods will be available at your shop in Montecito and where else?
TP: For now, nowhere else. Nor will we have any e-commerce initially. We’re Homer, Montecito. We feel like Homer and Montecito are simpatico brands, inextricably linked, representing timeless elegance and slow living. Moreover, we want our customers to have a personal tactile experience with Homer. Come in, feel the heft, admire the stitching, smell the leath er. In that way, we’re more like a tasting room than a liquor store.
LF: Well I wish you the best of luck. Although given your track record and the gorgeousness of your products, I doubt you’ll need it.
TP: Everyone needs luck.
Merci's gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and housemade chocolate caramels with sea salt.
“I didn’t know a thing about lifestyle photography or styling, but I wasn't going to let that stop me.”
Elizabeth Colling Is Crushing It Merci to Martha (Stewart) and MontecitoStory by Les Firestein Photography by Studio Arna
To meet Elizabeth Colling, the owner/pastry chef behind Merci Montecito, the breakfast-lunchpastry and salad spot that has been wildly popular since opening in spring 2019, she seems like one of those people who perpetually walks between the raindrops. She has a sunny disposition. Nothing seems to ruffle her. She always seems poised. So it may surprise you to learn that Colling has weathered calamity in almost every one of her successful endeavors, often at critical times – like the night before the opening of a new establishment.
Colling seems to subscribe to the adage made famous by Winston Churchill: “When you’re going through Hell, keep going.”
It may further surprise you to learn where Colling learned such poise and grace. From none other than the legendary style impresario (and hyphenate-magnate) Martha Stewart.
Perhaps Colling also got some inadvertent resilience training from her dad – the noted Hollywood producer Howard Gottfried, who produced such Oscar chow as the movies Network, Body Double, Altered States, and The Hospital. Moreover, Gottfried was a frequent collaborator with the highly talented and wildly combustible writer Paddy Chayefsky, who was frequently thrown off films for his combative attitude. More than once it was Colling’s dad who was left to clean up the mess. Long before the phrase was everywhere, Colling witnessed the wisdom of living by the mantra “Stay calm and carry on.”
At first, it seemed like Colling might go into showbiz like her dad. Post-college, she worked a year and a half as an assistant at a talent agency only to be unceremoniously fired and replaced by her boss’s friend. C’est la vie.
C’est la Vie, Meet Joie de Vivre
Colling decided to utilize the moment to pursue her goal instead of working in the “dream factory.” Her dream was to work (and learn from) Martha Stewart. Not from Stewart’s books or magazines or programming but from the “Purveyor of Proper” – the actual Martha Stewart. “Martha not only invented but perfected the lifestyle segment. She turned Home Ec into an art and a science. Even if you didn’t live in a manor, or have a lot of money, it just seems like there were these small little perfect things she taught, what I call ‘moments of transcendence.’ I loved everything about Martha’s brand. Her vision, her curating, her leadership – everything.”
“Even the insider trading conviction?” I ask. “Her response to it and her resilience to it, yes,” Colling replies. Colling says she wanted “any job there.” And to this end, she sleuthed what temp agency Martha Stewart Living used. “I think I simply called over and asked what agency they used for temps. It was as simple as that.”
Just like that, Colling got a temp job in Martha Stewart Living’s photography department. “I didn’t know a thing about lifestyle photography or styling, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me,” she says. Then once Colling’s foot was in the door, she witnessed Stewart’s famous test kitchen – a veritable “living laboratory of lifestyle.” Her first day temping at Martha Stewart, Colling declared to herself: “This is the life I want.”
As a temp at Martha Stewart, Colling met the editor Kate Townsend. Townsend recommended Colling look for work at Condé Nast’s training program in the ultimate pursuit of a legitimate full-time gig at MSL. This led Colling to a job at House & Garden, wherein Colling met the food editor, Lora Zarubin. Oddly but presciently, Zarubin recommended Colling go to cooking school to distinguish herself from other lifestyle writers and producers, which Colling did in 2001 and “absolutely adored.” But after 9/11, her folks wanted her back stateside.
“There’s no reason Montecito can’t be one of the great small foodie destinations of the world. We certainly have the resources.”
F ortunately, when Colling returned to the United States from France – now armed with a certificate from the Ritz Escoffier cooking school in Paris – she quickly landed an internship at Wolfgang Puck’s famed Spago in Beverly Hills, which happened to need holiday help. “Spago was intense, it was challenging, and it was difficult – but I loved it,” she recalls. “I totally marinated in its intensity.”
Colling describes working for Puck in the early aughts: “It was a very different time from where we’re at now in the American labor force, in the restaurant business especially,” she says. “Today people work one year in a brasserie, have no seasoning, and think it’s time to open their own restaurant. But I never would have been where I am today without my trial by fire. As they say in the wine biz, ‘Tortured vines make the best wine,’ and I definitely had my share of torment.”
Colling earned her restaurant stripes the oldfashioned way – by dealing with every sort of calamity and personality in a multitude of wellregarded establishments. She spent three years at Wolfgang Puck working under the renowned pastry chef Sherry Yard, ultimately getting herself elevated to the level of sous-chef.
From Spago, Colling transitioned to Los Angeles’s famous Sona restaurant – an establishment much smaller than Spago and more detail-oriented. Then on to Bastide, where the renowned chef Ludovic Lefebvre helped her get a job at Bouchon Bakery in New York. Colling was happy. In New York, she’d be one zip code away from working at Martha Stewart, the inspiration that kicked off her journey and her ultimate goal.
While at Bouchon, Colling applied to supplement her work with an internship at The Modern – a restaurant with four James Beard awards to its credit. All these restaurants were great – and great experiences. More than simply enhancing Colling’s résumé, she gained knowledge as both a restaurateur and and as a chef.
Then when the time was precisely right, Colling finally auditioned as a freelance food editor in the test kitchen for Stewart. It turns out Zarubin’s advice had been prescient: Colling got hired as a freelancer at Martha Stewart Living. Specifically mentioned in her entrance interview was the standout asset of Colling’s boots-on-the-ground experience at some of the great culinary catacombs of the world.
The most popular salad is the chicory salad with endive, radicchio, frisée, and herbs tossed with a mustard vinaigrette.
Colling was at Martha Stewart Living for five joyous years. She says it was her dream job, her grad school. She describes Martha Stewart as actually a kind and fair boss – “More tolerant than I am as a boss to myself. She just had very high standards. After all, that’s what she was selling. These little transcendent moments of perfection. And those don’t happen by accident.”
Colling describes her profound years of “boot camp” working at MSL. “For example, during this time of year, she might want to feature a candy bar-inspired dessert story. So we might propose a dozen different recipes in her test kitchen until we narrowed it down to the ones we were going to develop,” she says. “It was truly the arts and sciences of joie de vivre.” Regardless of how the press sometimes treated Stewart, Colling found her to be fair and loyal and a person who also engendered a great deal of loyalty from her team – all of whom went the distance with her.
Concurrent with her time at Martha Stewart Living, Colling also met her future husband Stephane through a sommelier friend. “Stephane [Colling] was the wine director at The Modern. I went there one night with friends, and he was very attentive. My friends said, ‘He likes you.’ But I just thought it was part of his job – to be solicitous and suave and lay on the French accent.” I asked if perhaps it was all a ploy – if Stephane’s charm, helping her get a job at The Modern, and having children with her were all part of a plan just to get a good tip. “Stephane has certainly been known to go the extra mile to please a client,” Colling replies. “But even if that’s true, I’m definitely going to give him a very high review on Yelp.” Eventually, Stephane followed excellent top-notch sommelier opportunities in California, which is what brought the couple and their firstborn child out to our enclave on the Central Coast.
Colling’s café Merci Montecito was born out of the early days of COVID when their 160-square-foot pop-up for takeout was one of the only ways to disseminate fast gourmet food. “We were greatly supported by our Country Mart landlord Jim Rosenfield – and by the community. Jim really worked to make sure we had enough space but not too much space,” she says. “We tried to be there for the community, and the community has definitely been there for us.” Despite the vagaries of the restaurant biz and COVID, the place has grown by leaps and bounds. And regardless of sharing a walkway with Vons, Colling and her business partner/
“We have an always-rotating selection of wines by the glass or bottle, with an emphasis on organic and biodynamic farming,” says Colling.
“My favorite customers (Celeste, now 12, and Paloma, 8),” says Colling. “As much as they love to work at Merci, they love to eat here even more.”
chef, Nick Barainca (whom Colling describes as “genius” and “indispensable”), have managed to prepare reliable, excellent, bespoke, healthy food. “Montecitans want more than a power bar. In fact, they demand it.”
For her part, Colling is optimistic about how far the Montecito food scene has come and where it is headed. “When I first got here, I’d describe the food offerings as ‘uneven,’” she says. “But there’s no reason Montecito can’t be one of the great small foodie destinations of the world. We certainly have the resources. Look at Boulder, Colorado. Or look at the Santa Ynez Valley. Even Ojai has leveled up its food game” – to the point where Colling has even considered opening an outpost there. “But for now, we are focused and grateful about just being here. What a great place it is to make a life. I feel lucky every day here. The pace. The community. The support. The lifestyle. That’s why our name is Merci Montecito.”
Merci Montecito is open 8 am to 4 pm daily. mercimontecito.com.
“Our beautiful space was designed by my good friend Abigail Turin of architectural design firm Kallos Turin,” says Colling. “She is so talented and understands my style so well and was able to create such a special space.”
LUCKY MONTECITOInterview by Les Firestein Photography by Kim Reierson
This conversation took place over lunch at our always-outstand ing local trattoria Tre Lune, followed by espressos at Gene Montesano’s Montecito abode, an historic home originally designed by Francis Underhill (and lovingly restored over the course of three years by Montesano).
Montesano has had multiple successes in two of the hardest professions: the restaurant business and the garment biz. He has been active in the attire field for north of 50 years, creating not one but three separate apparel companies: Bongo jeans, a company he sold in 1998. Lucky Brand Jeans, an international denim juggernaut he ran for decades then sold in 2013. And now his highest-quality apparel line yet, Civilianaire, jeans lovingly crafted in Los Angeles from top-flight Japanese selvage denim.
“I’ll bet on myself 10 times out of 10. I was going to say nine times out of 10, but I can’t think who that other person would be.”
But Montesano is no one-trick pony. As if his fashion enterprises weren’t enough, at the same time, he has launched a plethora of successful dining establishments –starting in South Beach, later in Aspen, and proliferating all over Southern California. Today, Montesano’s various trattorie are the gateways to Coast Village Road no matter what direction you’re coming from. Just his Montecito portfolio of eateries (to say nothing of his Santa Barbara establishments) includes Tre Lune, Lucky’s, and Montesano’s Italian (and sometimes Jewish) deli.
I was excited to interview Montesano because I was curious why he chose Montecito as essentially Montesano headquarters. There are very few people who are “all-in” with this place as Montesano. And he is unquestionably one of our unincorporated town’s de facto mayors.
LF: I know you’re the pope of Coast Village Road, but it’s not exactly where you started – geographically or sociologically. Am I characterizing that correctly?
GM: I started life in Bensonhurst, New York. My dad died at age 48, after which my mom raised the four of us by herself. So, yes, where I grew up was a long way, physically and culturally, from 93108.
LF: Weren’t you also in Florida for a while?
GM: When I was 10, my mom and dad moved us to South Florida. As a kid from Brooklyn I loved it. First of all, the weather. But I was also bowled over by how much land there was everywhere. Football field-sized open lots abounded. And of course we had alligators. So for me, Florida was exotic and kitschy and culturally interesting all at the same time. And it was not a bad place to grow up.
“Me and my mom. I had short hair for a minute in 1999,” he says.
LF: How did you break into the apparel business?
GM: There was no break in. I just started doing it. I was a lifelong tinkerer and obsessor. Maybe I inherited the ability to work with my hands from my dad who was a mechanic. Like if I bought a pair of jeans and I thought the leg was too bulky I would just taper them myself. Truth be told, I never stopped to think about the odds or my qualifications or lack of education or anything like that. And the concept of a business plan? That was Greek to me.
LF: So what propelled you and your businesses forward?
GM: In retrospect, I guess I made some very positive assumptions about myself. It probably helped that I had nothing to lose, zero expectations, and nowhere to go but up.
LF: Tell us about your first enterprise.
GM: My first enterprise was in 1973 with my lifetime business partner, Barry Perlman, who to this day is still one of my very best friends. It was a clothing store called Four Way Street. The idea was to sell what we did – the enhancements and improvements we made to various garments. I guess on the macro level, really what we did was add a lot of nuance and personality and detail to otherwise ordinary garments. That was the whole idea. And Barry had some money. So we literally did a brick-and-mortar store together. Built it ourselves.
LF: So you built the foundation for your business by literally building the foundation for your business.
GM: Barry and I swung the hammers and put up the studs. We were a version of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.
LF: And how long did Four Way Street last?
GM: It went till August of 1978 when Barry said he was taking a year off to travel. I was restless too, so we decided we’d drive across the country in his van and my Volvo. Some nights we slept in the van.
LF: Why were you restless?
GM: We were big fish in a little pond. And I thought it was time to be a big fish in a big pond. But even beyond that, there’s always been a major strain of American mythology running through my brands. Like any kid of an immigrant, I was fascinated with the greater meaning of America, the metaphor of America and the iconography of this place. If I could write, maybe I’d have written the great American novel. But I guess I did my writing with a needle and thread.
LF: So what happens when you guys get to the mythological Land of Dreams?
GM: Actually Barry got out in Colorado, and I continued to Los Angeles on my own. I took one crappy job in apparel, then my next job was slightly less crappy. But then I landed a job working for the Marciano brothers at Guess. That was a revelation. That’s where I picked up the tools I’d need for the rest of my journey.
LF: How so?
GM: On the one hand, I learned what hard work really looks like. Like when I came in early to work at 7 am? The Marcianos had already been there since 6. The irony was it didn’t feel like work. I learned that if you’re doing something you love, that’s yours, that’s your baby – it ain’t work.
LF: You’re right. I doubt Bezos and Musk are complaining, “Oh no, not another Monday.”
GM: Exactly. The other thing I learned at Guess is if you have a core group of good, like-minded people, you can essentially build a whole world. I quickly adopted the Marcianos’ work ethic, and they always appreciated that I didn’t start up my own thing under their roof and on their dime. I didn’t start Bongo Jeans until I was long gone from Guess.
LF: Tell me about Bongo. You started that around… 1983?
GM: After working at Guess, I had a desire to take what I had learned and bet on myself. That’s always been a thing with me: I’ll bet on myself 10 times out of 10. I was going to say nine times out of 10, but I can’t imagine who that other person would be. Fortunately there was a guy named Michael Caruso, a salesman at Guess. He also bet on Bongo to the tune of $50,000 in seed money –him financing and selling Bongo and me producing and creating.
LF: What was the “big idea” of Bongo?
GM: Bongo was the antidote to the Levi’s 501 jean. Levi’s were all about standardization. And obviously they’ve been great at that. While we were about audacity and idiosyncrasy and letting your freak flag fly. You could say we were about destandardization. And I guess that resonated with a segment of the population because we sold Bongo in 1989 to another company called Candie’s in one of the worst deals I’ve ever made.
LF: What made it such a bad deal?
GM: We undervalued ourselves and sold the company too cheap.
LF: Was that hard for you? Letting go of your baby?
GM: It’s always bittersweet. Fortunately, I’d already had the idea for my next venture, Lucky Brand.
LF: And that idea was…?
GM: To do the same thing we’d done at Bongo but push the irreverence and audacity even further, and, perhaps counterintuitively, lean in even more to the quality and idiosyncrasy. And at a higher price point no less. That’s a weird combination, right?
LF: Well, spoiler alert, I’ve seen your house, so I assume it worked out. What do you mean by “leaning into the idiosyncrasy”?
GM: You could say irreverence was woven into the very fabric of our garments. We took huge risks. Like when you opened our fly, on the side of the zipper in very bold letters it said, “Lucky You.” Talk about something that would never survive a focus group. And yet – they flew off the shelves.
LF: So you never did market research?
GM: Everything we did spoke to exuberant individualism and that comes from leading the market not analyzing it.
LF: Give an example.
GM: We did a store window once that looked like 4:30 am after a frat party. Like literally with lamps turned over and beer cans on the floor. It looked like the opening of The Hangover
LF: And at the same time you guys are killing it with Lucky Brand, that’s also when you went deep into the restaurant business. Was your intention to basically never have a free moment?
GM: Again if you love it, it’s not work.
The unique “Lucky You” insignia was provocative to say the least.
“My version of college was working for the Marcianos at Guess. Those brothers taught me what hard work looked like. They always started the day before the sun came up. But it never felt like work because we all passionately loved what we were doing.”
“Weused this photo from the 1970s in an ad for Lucky Brand that took up a whole city block of Times Square.”
LF: Can you tell us the genesis of these eateries?
GM: It all started with me making Montecito my home. Before then, I’d been living in Los Feliz.
LF: What brought you here?
GM: After our first kid was born, my first wife and I came up for a night of R&R. Her mom said she’d watch the baby, so we came up to The Ranch (San Ysidro Ranch) for the night. While my wife got a massage, I went out for a drive and had my lightbulb moment.
LF: Which was?
GM: Well, of course I fell in love with the place. What’s not to like? The place is like a model train set but less noisy and better made. And, fortunately, since I was co-owner of Lucky Brand, that gave me the latitude to live here and commute.
LF: So you made the decision on that initial drive you’d uproot from Los Feliz and move here? Must have been a nice day with no cloud cover and no construction on the 101.
GM: I’ve always followed my impulses for better and for worse. Mostly for better.
LF: You had no reservations about moving here? Once your mind was made up, that was that?
GM: I didn’t think the food scene was perfect, but I knew I could fix that.
LF: There you go again with the restless mind and the tinkering
GM: My first restaurant in Montecito was Lucky’s in 1999. I had already been successful with Bucatini in Santa Barbara but wanted to create the living room and dining room of Montecito.
LF: Mission accomplished. By the way, Lucky’s to-go drinks were my “go-to” during COVID. Followed by a romantic walk on the beach. Sometimes even with my wife. Thank you for that.
GM: Happy to be of service. Then one year after we started Lucky’s Steakhouse, I needed my companion to that, my Italian joint, of course. And so it came to be that we started Tre Lune.
LF: Can I just say I appreciate Tre Lune offers more than tiramisu? So many Italian joints the only thing they offer for
dessert is tiramisu. It’s like Italy’s version of the fortune cookie.
GM: I believe when you have talented people you need to let them play. We love to obsess over every part of the meal from the first breadstick to the last crumb and the cookie.
LF: I guess it’s no accident your places have almost a five-star rating out of 1,500 reviews.
What about the chairs on the wall at Tre Lune? They seem both kind of whimsical and kind of genius.
GM: The story there is someone’s kid was like fanatical about Tre Lune. It was not just his favorite restaurant. It was like his favorite thing in life. So I decided to honor his loyalty by creating a little chair for him and putting it up on the wall.
“I give a lot of credit to my subconscious. I’m emotional and sentimental and nostalgic –and it hasn’t led me wrong yet.”
“Some vestige from my past will pop up, kind of the way Google will send you an old picture out of the blue. Look at this koi pond. Suddenly I had this strong yearning that I had to have one, and I had a pretty good idea what it needed to look like too. Then one day I’m back in Brooklyn and I remembered my Uncle Nino used to put me up on his shoulders and walk me past a fountain just like this at Brooklyn College.”
“The idea with the wainscot at Lucky’s Malibu was I wanted it to feel not like you were entering a restaurant but like you were going to a friend’s home.”
“I’ve been lucky to be business partners with Barry for more than 50 years. He’s a top-notch guy from head to toe, front to back. If I left him to hold a million dollars, when I got it back there’d be a million eight.”
built for la dolce vita.
LF: An indication that there would always be a chair for him at Tre Lune.
GM: Exactly. Then that morphed into a thing that was pretty much for family. And then it became a thing for people who felt like part of the Tre Lune family.
LF: Is there a system for getting one’s chair on the wall?
GM: Have you heard of the Italian word omertà?
LF: Anyway it feels like that thing from the theme song from Cheers, “Where everybody knows your name.” I think it gives people a sense of loyalty and belonging.
GM: I call it the “extra hug.” I try to do that with everything I do. Like even with our new Lucky’s in Malibu, the type of wainscot I put on the wall – I wanted it to feel not like you were entering a restaurant but like you were going to a friend’s home.
LF: Speaking of which, your home is gorgeous. And imbued with your personality. There’s so much character everywhere.
GM: Thank you. It’s been a labor of love.
I’m not sure I’m built for regimented, civil society.”The owner eats for free. It’s a blessing and a curse.
LF: Did you have a decorator?
GM: Nah. I draw from my personal internal Pinterest board. I pick up all kinds of stuff along the way. Sometimes I’m not even aware things have hit me on a visceral level. And then one day when I’m designing something it occurs to me. Some vestige from my past will pop up kind of the way Google will send you an old picture out of the blue. Look at this koi pond. Suddenly I had this strong yearning that I had to have one, and I had a pretty good idea what it needed to look like too. Then one day I’m back in Brooklyn and I remembered my Uncle Nino used to put me up on his shoulders and walk me past a fountain just like this at Brooklyn College.
LF: Do you miss Brooklyn?
GM: Hey, at least now we’ve got some good Italian food and some good delis. So in that sense, “Brooklyn” isn’t as far as it used to be.
LF: And we’ve got Uncle Nino’s fountain. Not to mention the Dodgers.
GM: Yeah, if the Brooklyn Dodgers could move from home and put down roots in California, it’s probably okay that I did too.
UNIQUE NEW SPRITZ HAS MONTECITO ROOTSBY GABE SAGLIE
The makers of Ysidro hope you will, in fact, judge a book by its cover. Because the packaging of this new spritz – which blends premium sake with hints of grapefruit and dashes of sea salt – has a lot to do with its allure. Pale pink with baby blue accents, slender, and fashioned by Santa Barbara-based designer Leo Basica, these 250ml cans definitely catch the eye.
Inside, a real refresher: the effervescence is light and tight, a soft rush of tiny bubbles. The aromatics are zippy and intense. The flavor is big on grapefruit, with a bright finish and, from the sake base and the salt, subtle umami notes. It’s interesting and distinctive, but also clean and approachable.
t’s definitely very drinkable,” jokes cofounder Alex Dessouky, a boutique wine importer by trade, referring to how easy Ysidro is to drink. “We definitely wanted it to be complex enough so that it’s interesting to people but also easy enough that anyone can pop a can and sip and relax.”
Ysidro, with its fresh and splashy personality, and at 6.9 percent alcohol, is an homage to California coastal living. Its roots, though, are firmly planted in Montecito. Dessouky, whose niche import business brings organic and biodynamic wines from cool growing regions in Europe into the American market, is a 10-year Montecito resident. In Zoom wine tastings he hosted at the onset of the pandemic, he met Monica and Seth Epstein, fellow oenophiles, and, it turns out, neighbors; they live down the street just off San Ysidro Road.
Monica refers to the partnership that ensued, and that led to their unique beverage product, as a dream come true – and quite literally. “She had this dream that we started a drink company together, something that would be a nice mix of our skill sets,” says Dessouky. “The next day we ran into each other on Miramar Beach.” Kismet, they thought, and Ysidro was born.
To distinguish it from other carbonated alcoholic drinks/spritzes already in the marketplace, the Ysidro team focused on “purity of alcohol,” as Dessouky puts it. The sake is produced domestically, in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where rice grains are milled down to 60 percent of their original size. “That leaves us with the most flavorful part of each kernel,” he adds. “On the sake quality pyramid, that’s a super premium level.”
Four ingredients only – rice, water, koji, and yeast – keep the purity factor high. The finished product is trucked down to a Ventura distillery, where local grapefruit (in honor of the area’s citrus industry) and local sea salt –“a nod to our proximity to the ocean,” says Dessouky – are blended in and the finished product is canned.
The consummate Ysidro consumer? “The curious tastemaker,” says Dessouky, “someone who likes having a cocktail or a glass of wine when they go out, but who wants an alternative that’s unique, that’s lower in alcohol, and that speaks to their sense of style.”
“THE CURIOUS TASTEMAKER IS SOMEONE WHO LIKES HAVING A COCKTAIL OR A GLASS OF WINE WHEN THEY GO OUT, BUT WHO WANTS AN ALTERNATIVE THAT’S UNIQUE, THAT’S LOWER IN ALCOHOL, AND THAT SPEAKS TO THEIR SENSE OF STYLE.”Alex Dessouky with Monica and Seth Epstein. Part of the sake production process.
De la Guerra Plaza The Way It WasBy Hattie Beresford
The 1820s adobe home of José Antonio de la Guerra y Noriega, the fourth commander of the Santa Barbara Presidio, together with its grand plaza, was the center of Spanish and Mexican Santa Barbara life. Celebrations, dances, and bullfights were staged in the plaza, and men of business and other visitors paid a call on El Capitán when they came to town. Early in American Santa Barbara, the long-awaited arrival of Bishop Thaddeus Amat on Sunday, December 2, 1855, played out at the Casa as well.
Amat, the recently appointed Bishop of the Dioceses of Monterey, had been ordered by the Blessed Pius IX to center his bishopric in Santa Barbara and build a great cathedral to house the body of the new patron saint of the dioceses, the martyred Saint Vibiana. When the holy relic was disembarked, it was taken directly to the home of Don José de la Guerra. There, her effigy was reverently unpacked from the cargo box and placed on a pavilioned stretcher.
At Vespers, having blessed the house of De la Guerra with her sojourn, she was transported to Our Lady of Sorrows via a carreta pulled by eight white-clad girls and accompanied by the entire populace of the town. Clearly, even in American Santa Barbara, De la Guerra’s home and the adjoining plaza remained the social and civic center of the town.
Santa Barbara officially became an American city after the con clusion of the Mexican-American War and the beginning of statehood. The 1850 census listed the population of the entire county as 1,180. The first Common Council conducted its business in Spanish for several years, and it was not until 1870 that public records were kept in English. By then the population had grown to a whopping 3,000.
In 1853, the Common Council had accepted the gift of Plaza de la Guerra for a civic square. For some reason, they did so again in 1855 with Ordinance No. 3, which professed the right to appropriate such lands for public purposes. Section 2 of the ordinance said all the land between or bounded by the houses and lots surrounding Plaza de la Guerra constituted a public plaza. At that time, the president of the council was Antonio Maria de la Guerra, and the mayor was José Carrillo.
In the years leading up to 1874, De la Guerra Plaza seems to have remained an earthen open space surrounded by adobe homes and the backs of the growing businesses on State Street. In early 1874, the city council decided to build a fire department, city hall, and jail in the plaza and to beautify the surrounding area. The twostory brick structure was to include an engine and hook-and-ladder house, a police court, and a jailor’s office with three cells on the first floor. The city council chamber and the assessor and tax collector
offices were to be on the second.
Immediately there were objections to the placement of a city hall in the public square. The council did not have the right to use it in this way, the critics claimed, since it had been donated for the purpose of a public gathering place, a plaza for all to enjoy.
Beautification of the Plaza
Despite protests, City Hall was built and improve ments to the grounds attempted. In 1875, howev er, the Commissioner of Streets reported that the cess pool at the rear of City Hall was in terrible condition and neighbors were complaining. With a burgeon ing population of 3,000 souls and few if any sewer pipes, the disposal of human waste was accomplished through vaults, open cesspools, and open windows.
By 1877, the town had become so foul and odiferous that City Council passed Ordinance No. 14, which required that vaults, privies, cesspools, sewers (which required flushing), and private drains be kept up or the owners would be prosecuted.
In 1878, work on beautifying what was now dubbed City Hall Plaza began. Rows of Monterey cypress and pepper trees with a street running between them were planted around the plaza as well as a row of rock elm trees in front of the De la Guerra property. A reporter for the Daily News opined that when the grass grew up and the trees grew large, the plaza would become a desirable promenade and one of the prettiest spots in
The 1888 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the configuration of City Hall Plaza and its neighboring dwellings and businesses. Brown indicates adobe buildings, yellow is wood frame, and red is brick. The dotted line indicates the platted route of De la Guerra Street according to the Haley Survey and Wackenreuder map of 1851.
the city. Even the cesspool was deemed to be in decent shape. Mission Water Company pipes were extended to the grounds and blue grass seed was sown.
Alas, a month later a report came in that the trees were not thriving. A month after that, the reporter wrote, “City Hall Plaza, of which so much was expected after being sown with Blue Grass has brought up only a crop of malva [poisonous weeds].” Not much more could be expected, really, with no caretakers and a huge cesspool in the area. Nevertheless, they kept trying, and in 1882, the council passed Ordinance No. 101, which required the city janitor and jailer to trim, cut, and care for the trees and grass that had been replanted in the plaza.
De la Guerra Street Controversy
The Haley Survey and the Wackenreuder maps of 1850 and ’51 divided the town into square blocks and laid out the path of De la Guerra Street. This path for the street did not actually exist. If built the way it was drawn, it would pass through the ado be homes of Rafael and Leanardro Gonzalez, Teodor Arrellanes, Octaviano Guttierrez, Francisco Leyva (Leiba), Herbacio Ayala, and Mora Arrellanes. Com mon usage, therefore, established the route of De la Guerra Street as directly in front of Casa de la Guerra.
By the early 1900s, De la Guerra Street remained an alternately dusty and muddy trail. Casa de la Guerra had
shutters. The Raffour House took up half the street, which partially ended at its front porch.
Frenchman Louis Raffour had arrived in Santa Barbara in 1864 and established a restaurant, and later a hotel and restaurant, on State Street. In 1887, he built a two-story redwood hotel just north of the Gutierrez Adobe. His edifice impinged on the actual street but lay outside the path of the platted street. City Council spent
years alternately attempting to remove the Raffour House or the Gutierrez Adobe, but the city clerk wouldn’t sign off on the order to remove the latter. The case dragged through the courts for years, as plans to remove one or the other coughed and started, then stalled and coughed to life again like a crotchety old jalopy.
City Hall contained the town’s fire de partment, and firemen were lodged in the crumbling Gutierrez Adobe. When fire department lieutenant and local heartthrob Albion E. Boronda married his sweetheart in 1912, the popular couple returned from their honeymoon to find that their quarters in the adobe had been fitted up with “noise produc tive what-nots’’ silently awaiting their return, much to the delight of their many friends.
The firemen planted a thriving vegetable garden at the rear of the plaza, which was coveted by others who sought more parking spaces. Autoists could only park on State Street for one-half hour, so the pressure was on to create additional parking in the plaza.
In 1921, the firemen cleared a 30-by-60-foot space behind the firehouse for a volleyball court. They hoped to become an “aggregation of volleyball sharks.” They justified their request by pointing out that “smoke eaters” in other cities had gyms, tennis
courts, and reading rooms for their men between calls. The only thing the poor bomberos of Santa Barbara had was a sparse lawn. The executive board of the recently formed Fellowship Colony on the Mesa donated the requested equipment.
Don Jose de la Guerra died in 1858, but his illustrious casa con tinued to house his descendants. By 1886, however, the adobe was seen as a tenement that leased rooms, most likely to extended family members. In 1922, when Bernhard Hoffmann purchased the adobe, only Don Jose’s granddaughters – Delfina de la Guerra and her sister Hermina de la Guerra Lee – remained. Hoffmann stipulated that they would have a home there for the remainder of their days.
Across from Casa de la Guerra stood the controversially located Raffour House. Raffour was already a popular Santa Barbara restaurateur when he opened what was later described as “a mecca for hosts of tourists and autoists,” and its fame spread up and down the coast. Tourists planning on a real French meal on July 14, however, were out of luck; the place closed for Bastille Day. Louis served only the best wine and included Justinian Caire’s vintages from Santa Cruz Island. Raffour died in 1912, but several of his children entered the restaurant/hotel field. His son William, on the other hand, eschewed the French gourmand trade and became a well-known saddler eventually operating a shop on City Hall Plaza.
Probably the next most prestigious dwelling on the Plaza was the Yorba/Abadie/Harmer adobe, which grew to be the focal point of Santa Barbara’s fledgling artists’ colony. Alexander Harmer had
The eastside of De la Guerra Plaza shows the Harmer Adobe, the Gutierrez Adobe, the Raffour House, and lush vegetation in the plaza circa 1908.
(Presidio Neighborhood Photograph Collection, Santa Barbara Presidio Research Center)
married Felicidad Abadie in 1893, at which time his life’s work became depicting the stories and lifestyle of the Spanish past through his talented brush.
The couple moved into the family adobe in 1894, and by 1905, Harmer had completed the first of two duplex art studios, which would see the likes of such notable artists as Rob Wagner, Fernand Lungren, H.M. Howard, John Gamble, Edward Borein, Dudley Carpenter, John A. Donovan, and Steven Childs. He also hosted exhibitions for other local artists such as Lilia Tuckerman and John Dwight Bridge. In the 1910s, Flying A Studios used the exterior of Harmer’s Adobe for The Suppressed Order, a Civil War drama, and as the exterior of a tavern for His Masterpiece
The Basque Influence
I n 1899, another hotel opened on the plaza. It was owned by Basques Joseph (aka Joe, José) Borderre and his wife, Jennie Alfa ro Borderre. Joe had arrived from Euskal Herria in 1879 and within a few years had become a “ranchless rancher” running more than 1,000 sheep on pasturage near Ventura, Santa Paula, Simi Valley, and Santa Barbara, where in those early years he had driven his sheep along the dusty lane of State Street.
When the couple moved from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, they opened an ostatuak, a Basque hotel, which became known as Joe Borderre’s French Hotel. (The wood frame, two-story house they purchased encased the former adobe home of Carlos Ruiz.) Throughout California, “French” hotels and rooming houses became bastions of Basque culture. They served as social centers and employment agencies where Basque immigrants and others could find familiar food and language as well as translation services and advice. Jennie even taught young Basque girls to cook and helped them find positions in town and Montecito. Over the years, they helped immigrants from many nations find employment. Among the ads that Borderre placed were those for a young French girl seeking housework, a young French man seeking work on a ranch or estate, and a Japanese man seeking work as a cook or waiter.
On Sundays, Basques from as far away as Santa Maria and Ventura gathered for pelota, traditional Basque foods, wine, cognac, song, and comradeship at the Borderre house and handball court at 721 Anacapa Street. In this photo, José Borderre leads the toast straight from the bottle. Jennie stands to the right, wearing her famous apron with Bernardo in a chair in front of her. Their home and water tower can be glimpsed on the right. (Courtesy Mike Perry)
Another view of the east side of De la Guerra Plaza (aka City Hall Plaza) circa 1910. (Right to left) Joe Borderre’s French Hotel; Justice Court; two-story Harmer addition; Yorba/ Abadie/Harmer Adobe; and Raffour House. (Courtesy Lynne Borderre)
In 1919, after a series of lessees, Jennie took over operations and made further renovations. Joe, meanwhile, spent most of his time running sheep on the Rutherford Ranch in Refugio Canyon.
The Borderre property extended to Anacapa Street, and Joe built a handball court that was open to the public. The local Basque community and others flocked to the courts. On Sundays, Basques from Ventura to Santa Maria gathered at the Borderres’ to celebrate in communal concert with people who shared their cultural heritage.
A sense of what that must have been like is told by Jerónima Echeverría, former executive vice-chancellor and chief academic officer of the California State University system and Basque descendent. In her book about the Basques in California, Home Away from Home, she wrote, “I vividly remember my father and his compatriots playing handball at the cancha [in Bakersfield] while my mother sat in the bleachers and discussed the week’s events with her friends. In the afternoon, we gathered for supper at long tables placed under dense grape arbors. After supper, the men sang folk songs in Basque, smoked thick cigars, and drank cognac while the rest of us visited or played in the area.”
In 1906, Joe leased the hotel to a fellow Basque and former boarder, Antonio Bastanchury. At that time, Jennie had a two-story home built behind the hotel. There, they also took in boarders, probably to accommodate a portion of the incredible increase in Basque immigration, which by 1910 was eight times what it had been in 1900. (Crop failures between 1904 and 1907 had sent desperate Basques fleeing their homeland.)
Bastanchury had only been in business a short time when his liquor license was revoked for violation of the current ordinances. He must have been puzzled by the puritanical and bureaucratic American attitude toward the elixir of life. Later, during Prohibition, the hostelry was extremely popular when it became known that Jennie “always held a bottle of wine in her ample white apron.” However, flagrant violations of the Volstead Act could not remain hidden forever. In July 1922, the police raided Borderre’s and took six men into custody. The liquor was being dispensed from a white coffee pot and the “coffee” cost 35 cents a cup. When the liquor was tested by Chief Wall, he declared it to be 90 proof.
The following month, Bastanchury himself was arrested for violating the Prohibition laws. According to the local paper, he was sentenced to 30 days in “the city bastille for purveying strong waters at his establishment on City Hall Plaza, not a stone’s throw from the police
station.” The reporter was surprised, however, to find Bastanchury, not behind bars, but in the pleasant outer room of the station. “[He was] sitting on a comfortable chair,” he wrote, “while a stream of visitors helped him beguile the weary hours with conversation! His wife and family dropped in every little while to see how daddy was getting along, the little ones playing on the floor about his feet while the desk sergeant benignly smiled on them.”
The Jail and Justice Court
In 1875, the mayor of Santa Barbara had reported that the city jail was almost continuously without an inmate. He was both proud and gratified that the city was without crime and vice of all kinds. The following year, however, Sidney Hunter was arrested for drunkenness and disturbing the “peace and dignity” of the city. “It was proved,” reported the press, “that Mr. Hunter had punched a law-abiding beer-vender in the nose for the cheek of the latter in asking him for remuneration for a glass of beer.”
As time passed, business picked up for the jail at City Hall, and by 1910 it was known to do a brisk business, especially on holiday weekends. In September 1910, Desk Sergeant Pat Woods’s
reception desk admitted 11 drunks and disturbers of the peace. Among those distinguished guests were “Montecito desperadoes” Phil and Bill H__. “Their pal, C. T__, came to Santa Barbara yesterday afternoon to bail them out,” reported the press, “but he was so intoxicated that he could not find the city hall until led there by an officer. When he sobered up after a short nap, he produced the coin and the three walked out, bail amounting to an even $40.”
That same year, Officer Charles Hacking placed the inebriated songsters of the Jay Bird Quartet in jail one night. “Their mood was just mellow enough to make them musical and during the early hours of the night, before cold crept into their suite, the city hall plaza was offered everything from grand opera to ‘Sally in Our Alley.’”
The local police were kept especially busy during prohibition. One article in the paper reported a mournful crowd of several scores of persons watching the police, under the direction of Chief Wall, “destroy something like $1,000 (retail price) of wine, home brew, whiskey, gin, cocktails, and unidentified liquids classed under the comprehensive title of ‘moonshine.’ The liquor was poured out on the ground in front of police headquarters and formed a small but exceedingly expensive and odorous stream that flowed along the driveway circling the rear of City Hall Plaza.”
At the very back of the plaza lay the adobe of the Justice Court. In 1913, Charles A. Storke purchased the adobe and added a onestory wood frame addition to serve as a composing and press room. At the time, it was rumored that he was working to produce a new daily newspaper for the town. The rumors, of course, were correct, with the exception that it was his son who secretly owned the paper. The paper was a success, and in 1922 George Washington Smith
The west side of the plaza was made up of the backs of State Street businesses, some adobe, some wood frame, and some brick.
Charming in the front, the backsides sported the sheds, garbage, detritus, and outhouses associated with the businesses.
Plans, Plans, and More Plans
Gatherings were held at City Hall Plaza, most no tably political rallies, fire department demonstra tions, and stagings of parade participants. Probably one of the most interesting events, however, was when the State Fish and Game Committee came to town for a convention. City Council went all out with an elaborate bull’s head dinner prepared by Councilman Caesar Lataillade. This required digging a luau-style pit in the plaza to roast the bull’s head. The honor of eating the roasted eyes went to the loftiest dignitary.
Over the years, the plaza never quite lived up to its possibilities. Attempts made in the 1870s, ’80s, and ’90s resulted in dying trees and shrubbery and dead grass. In 1902, a feeble attempt was made to improve the plaza with a wrought iron fence and orange trees. In 1903, there was a flicker of a movement to enlarge the plaza by getting rid of the City Hall. The council
considered oiling the roadway around the plaza ahead of the rainy season and creating an asphalt sidewalk between the two justice courts since the dirt of the plaza became a sea of adobe mud in winter. Again, not much was done.
In 1905, someone came up with the brilliant idea of arresting tramps and putting them to work on chain gangs for civic projects, including fixing the lake of mud in City Hall Plaza by macadamizing it. In 1907, the paper reported that Pat McCune, a plain drunk [as opposed to an elaborate drunk], was given three days to sober up and assist in beautifying the City Hall Plaza.
In 1909, the Morning Press reported, “James Berkeley a gardener by profession, who occasionally lodges in the city’s cells for cultivating the barleycorn too assiduously, returned to town Monday after an absence of some weeks in the country, and passing through the city hall plaza beheld the unkempt condition of the hedge surrounding the jail garden. His professional instincts were so outraged that he proceeded to get drunk on the spot, was pinched and put to work this morning trimming the salt-bush barrier.”
As interest in beautification grew, in 1910 the Santa Barbara Civic league hired noted city planner Charles Mulford Robinson to create an overall plan to rebuild the civic landscape of Santa Barbara to make it a “City Beautiful.” As it turned out, Robinson’s plan was too expensive
to implement. Nevertheless, pressure for a new city hall continued.
In September 1910, inspired by public pressure and Robinson’s plan, the city decided to renovate the old City Hall as a Mission Style edifice that would better complement its surroundings. Architect José Luis Curletti drew the plans for the changes. As it neared completion, however, the city clerk began to wonder if he might now be required to wear Franciscan garb.
In July 1911, now that there was an up-to-date Mission Revival City Hall, work once again began on making a park and beautifying the plaza. Concrete curbing was laid around the entire space set aside for grass and trees. A six-foot strip of parking was to surround the entire building.
Though City Hall was in keeping with the new motif, the 1903-04 Italianate McKay Building already seemed dated, and the detritus of the backs of State Street businesses were still a blight. In the background is the old adobe once used as Judge Wheaton’s Justice Court and now Charles A. Storke’s Daily News Building. (Presidio Neighborhood Photograph Collection, Santa Barbara Presidio Research Center)
De la Guerra Street was finally widened. The adobe of the former Justice Court, then owned by Charles A. Storke, was demolished and the Daily News building constructed. A new city hall was designed by Roland Sauter and Keith Lockard in Spanish Colonial style and built on the southeast corner of the Plaza.
The De la Guerra Adobe was restored, and a charming faux Spanish Village dubbed El Paseo was designed by James Osborne Craig, who also drew plans for De la Guerra Plaza, as did George Washington Smith and a slew of others. The Olmsted Brothers, landscape architects, and Charles Cheney, nationally known planning consultants, were hired to develop a blueprint for the entire city, including the plaza.
fter World War I, a blossoming of civic enterprises and culture led to the development of the Commu nity Arts Association with its various branches. One of these was the Plans and Planting Branch, headed by Pearl Chase and Bernhard and Irene Hoff mann. Its work aimed to enhance and beautify the architectural and horti cultural landscape of Santa Barbara.
In the early 1920s, City Hall, the fire department, and the jail were finally removed from the center of the plaza. The Raffour Hotel was cut in half and moved to East Carrillo Street where it was stripped of its Victorian features and encased in pink stucco. Interestingly, when the Gutierrez adobe was razed, workers discovered the tracks of a pack of wolves, three bears, and several deer embedded in the adobe bricks.
Outhouses, trash, and ramshackle structures faced the plaza in 1920. (Courtesy of Santa Barbara Historical Museum)
Despite ambitious plans, it was decided that the plaza should remain an open space for public gatherings. Curbing and sidewalks delineated the circular drive and scalloped walls hid the debris of the backs of the State Street businesses. The oldest of these buildings dated to 1875, and they were mainly Victorian-style brick stores with false fronts. After the 1925 earthquake, they were renovated into Spanish doñas.
The plaza itself regained its original name of De la Guerra Plaza and has remained an open area of a large grassy field with a circular drive for 100 years. It has served the community for more than two centuries, and discussions and plans considering its future have achieved that august age as well. Today, the city is once again actively engaged in “beautifying” – or, to use the latest jargon, “reimagining” De la Guerra Plaza.
After the 1922 renovation of the plaza, the outbuildings were removed from the backs of State Street businesses whose storefronts acquired a Spanish veneer. In back, white stucco walls, wrought iron grills and scalloped walls that hid any remaining litter completed the transformation. (Courtesy of Santa Barbara Historical Museum)
In 1999, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation published Plaza de la Guerra Reconsidered, a book of potential plans for Plaza de la Guerra. One of those plans, seen here, was by architect Fred Sweeney. This effort at renovation came to naught, but was picked up again in 2020 with the city’s current endeavor entitled “De la Guerra Plaza Revitalization,” which is nearing completion and can be accessed at santabarbaraca.gov/ projects/de-la-guerra-plaza-revitalization-project. (Courtesy Fred Sweeney)
Plaza de la Guerra in 1967 during the State Street Mall project that removed parking from State Street, widened the sidewalks for pedestrian friendliness, and made the street two instead of four lanes.
(Edson Smith Collection, Santa Barbara Historical Museum)
(Sources: Echeverría, Jerónima (Jeri), Cali fornia-ko Ostatuak: A History of California’s Basque Hotels. Doctor of Philosophy (His tory), May, 1988; contemporary news arti cles; ancestry.com resources; santabarbaraca. gov/projects/de-la-guerra-plaza-revitaliza tion-project with Post and Hazeltine Historic Resources Report and Anne Peterson’s sum mary history; Sanborn maps; Wackenreuder maps; city directories; ancestry.com resourc es; Mary Grace Paquette, Basques to Ba kersfield, 1982; carriagemuseum.org/articles/ william-raffour-and-the-boeseke-saddle/; Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preserva tion’s Plaza de la Guerra Reconsidered, 1999; thanks to Lynne Borderre, Brian Tappeiner, and Mike Petty for sharing their information and photos.)
30 plus years and counting. While we take a second to celebrate, please know that we are as dedicated as ever to build on what we’ve accomplished over the years. We’ve certainly seen a tremendous amount of change, from cassette tape, VHS, flat screen TV, CD, DVD, cable, satellite, WIFI and streaming just to name some. If we know one thing it’s that the home entertainment field is constantly evolving, innovation is the norm. You can always count on our factory trained and certified Mission team to keep you up to date on the latest and greatest.
PRESQU’ILE WINERY RAMPS UP EXPERIENTIAL OFFERINGSBY GABE SAGLIE PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY PRESQU’ILE WINERY
Amajor draw for wine sippers at Presqu’ile is the views. Huge views, stretching across the undulating hills of the Santa Maria Valley, and, from various locations, 16 miles out to the Pacific Ocean. Some visitors even brag about having witnessed rocket launches from here, liftoffs from nearby Vandenberg Space Force Base.
“Maybe,” says Tim Wanner, Presqu’ile’s director of hospitality, who admits that clear shots at the periodic blastoffs are pretty iffy. “But you can definitely hear them and feel them.”
Presqu’ile – pronounced “Presk-eel” (French for “almost an island”) and an homage to the proprietor Murphy family’s Louisiana roots – has been a pioneer in Santa Barbara County’s hospitality-driven wine experience since it opened its doors in 2013. Built from the ground up, the luxe visitor center – featuring five levels and a state-of-theart winemaking facility set on sprawling, undulating terrain just off the 101 in Santa Maria – is a wine lover’s destination. The contemporary design features a variety of thoughtful, consumer-focused spaces, and a menu of experiential options to match.
As the collective pandemic exit continues, “We’ve doubled down on that,” adds Wanner. “We find that people aren’t just coming to taste wine anymore. They want to immerse themselves in a food and wine experience.” To capitalize on the trend that’s become increasingly pervasive across the hospitality industry, Presqu’ile has planted a one-acre organic garden and hired chef Julie Simon to elevate the guest offerings, which are currently available by appointment only.
The Wine + Food Experience ($65 per person or $35 for food only), for example, serves up six wines and a chef-prepped picnic and is set outdoors among socially distanced tables.
The guided Food + Wine Tour (from $125 per person) takes visitors through the 240-foot cave, into the gravity-flow winery, and out to the hilltop pond and private lookout terrace, where food is doled out alongside sparkling and single-vineyard wines.
“We stopped using herbicides and have introduced more organic material that’s led to more balance in the vines and better physiological ripeness.”– Winemaker Dieter Cronje
Top-tier experience upgrades include the Horseback Estate Tour +Tasting Experience ($250 per person with a maximum of six guests), which features a guided ride through the 400-acre estate as well as Wine + Bocce ($750 for up to 12 guests), with exclusive access to the property’s regulation bocce ball court and horseshoes.
Frills aside, it’s what’s in the bottle that’s the focus for winemaker Dieter Cronje. The 72 acres of vines onsite, which was once planted to gladiolas, focus on cool-climate darlings – 70 percent of it is Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – along with smaller plantings of Syrah, Gamay, and Aligoté. Much of the fruit – among the most coveted in Santa Barbara County – stays onsite to fuel the winery’s annual production of about 20,000 cases, with some also earmarked contractually for various other high-profile producers. Presqu’ile became certified organic recently, “and that’s made a massive difference in the quality of the fruit,” says Cronje. “We stopped using herbicides and have introduced more organic material that’s led to more balance in the vines and better physiological ripeness.”
Cronje, who’s been with Presqu’ile from day one, has also made recent stylistic upgrades. Pinot ages 12 months in oak and six in stainless steel – a change from the earlier 18-month, oak barrel-only program – to maintain fruit flavor and soften tannins. Chardonnay spends time in large-format vessels – they’re eight to nine times the size of a regular wine barrel – to minimize the volume-tosurface ratio and elevate freshness. To make reservations and to find out more, visit presquilewine.com.
MEETING ALL THE ANIMALS
(Clockwise from bottom left) Edward Scissorhands, a two-toed sloth native to Central America and northern South America; Wesley, a capybara native to South America and the largest rodent in the world; David Jackson with Bakari, a black-and-white ruffed lemur. David started this rescue zoo 33 years ago to not only provide a permanent loving home for animals in need but to create amazing animal ambassadors to help teach children about conservation and to inspire generations to protect and care for the wild world; Lisa Jackson with Tucker, a North American river otter; Kylo Roo, a red kangaroo.
CONSERVATION AMBASSADORS OFFERS CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE FURRED KIND
Out in the dusty ranchland near Paso Robles, we walk to the front gate of the Conservation Ambassadors sanctuary. Assistant director Lisa Jackson is there to welcome us, a petite blonde in jeans and knee boots. We’re excited because we’ve come for a two-hour, private hands-on visit with a whole menagerie of wild and exotic animals.
My wife, Merry, a former feeder at the Santa Barbara Zoo, is in heaven. A nutball for animals, she basically wants to hug and kiss any critter she meets. You can’t do that at a zoo – but here, it’s the whole idea. Unique among wildlife refuges, the mission at Conservation Ambassadors is to let you spend time with the animals, cuddle them, feed them, and fall in love with them.
Lisa has a canvas Trader Joe’s bag slung over her shoulder, and she hands it to Merry. I figure it’s snacks and water bottles for our tour.
Ababy kangaroo pops its head out. Merry melts. Unbelievably cute. “He’s seven months old,” says Lisa, “and I know because I watched this one being born.” Merry gives him a pat. Lisa nods. “His favorite spot.”
The joey is called Sasquatch, says Lisa, “because a kan garoo’s scientific name is macropod, Latin for ‘bigfoot.’” She points to the “elbow” of his long rear leg. “That’s the heel.” Then way down to his foot: “That’s the toe.” The lit tle guy with the big feet definitely got the right name. Sasquatch gives us a warm welcome to the sanctuary. In fact, all the animals here are friendly – as we’d soon find out.
Conservation Ambassadors was established 33 years ago by Lisa’s husband, David Jackson, on 40 acres of family land. Garrulous and looking super-fit at 60 years old, he has a degree in exotic animal training and zoological management from Moorpark College’s not ed program and once worked at the zoo in Santa Barbara. He and Lisa first met when she was in her 20s and riding killer whales in shows at SeaWorld, then got together two decades later.
His dream was to create a rescue zoo where unreleasable and un wanted wild and exotic animals could find sanctuary. They come from broken homes – illegal to have as pets, abandoned, abused, or permanently injured. They aren’t able to survive in the wild, so this becomes their forever home, a safe place to retire in comfort, surrounded by love.
There’s Muktuk, the cougar that a drug dealer in Northern Cal
ifornia kept at his house to make him look cool. (During the FBI bust, agents discovered Muktuk in the attic.) There’s Maya, a spider monkey that somebody threw in a dumpster in Los Angeles. Other residents include a fuzzy Madagascan lemur, a dazzling tiger, and playful river otters.
David also wanted to give these animals a second chance at life by becoming ambassadors for their species through outreach educa tion. He and Lisa usually make about 300 school visits a year with their Zoo to You program.
[The animals] come from broken homes – illegal to have as pets, abandoned, abused, or permanently injured. They aren’t able to survive in the wild, so this becomes their forever home, a safe place to retire in comfort, surrounded by love.
Then COVID closed the schools, driving the pro grams to extinction. “We lost everything in one day, in April 2020,” says David. Annual fund-raisers also went dormant. Killed off was the financial sup port that came from bringing furry guests to birth day parties for the children of celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Montecito residents Rob Lowe and Dennis Miller. “Our entire business model – if you want to call it that – was gone,” he says. “But being a nonprofit organization, you learn how to be scrap py. You adapt or die. We tell the kids, ‘We’d rather be an alligator than a dinosaur.’ Why? Because dinosaurs went extinct – and alligators survived.”
Lisa came up with the life-saving idea of offering in timate tours at the sanctuary. “Our animals are amaz ing!” she says. “They’re all very friendly and handleable because we take them to schools every day.” And so was born the interactive experience that Merry and I are just beginning.
A kookaburra – a large Australian kingfisher – greets us inside the gate. Lisa throws back her head and lets loose with a raucous trilling call – and the kookaburra answers with an identical ear-piercing trill. This morphs into the classic laugh familiar from the stock soundtracks of jungle movies. The feathered jester is laughing his head off, his beak flapping, his belly shaking. He slowly settles down to
chuckles, then trails off to soft giggles. It’s hilarious and amazing – and quite the hello.
Despite their name, Lisa explains, these particular kingfish ers don’t eat fish but go for terrestrial dining on mice, snakes, and insects. We’d be learning facts about the animals with each encounter along our way.
Now we walk into a flight enclosure the size of a small air plane hangar. A bristly South American capybara – the world’s largest rodent – sees Lisa and trots over to follow her like a dog. “Hi, Wesley!” She hands him a small pumpkin, which he promptly begins to gnaw. “He’s like a beaver, with teeth that keep growing,” she points out. “In the wild, capybaras spend most of their time swimming and eating water plants.” She gestures at a pool of water. “Not Wesley: ‘Oh, it’s a little cold! I don’t think I’ll go in today.’”
Our next encounter is with a Harris’s hawk named Chanti co. The magnificent, wide-winged bird of prey sits on a perch high at the end of the enclosure, about 40 feet away. Merry is issued one leather arm sleeve and one deceased, very tiny white mouse to hold atop her gloved fist. Lisa calls out, and the hawk swoops at high speed directly at Merry. She doesn’t even flinch. The bird lands neatly on her arm, plucks up the treat, and at Lisa’s command (“Back!”) returns to its perch. Dark brown, white, and chestnut red, Harris’s hawks are the most social of North American raptors; their ease with humans makes them popular with falconers – and wildlife education programs.
In the pool nearby, a pair of river otters is lazing about. They had been illegal pets, confiscated from a couple in Florida who kept them in their bedroom. Now, says Lisa: “They’re really the only trained otters anywhere, so I get the call when Hollywood wants one, whether it’s The Late Late Show with James Corden or a Disney movie. As long as it’s the right conservation message, we do it. These two are trained to go to a lake or river, swim, catch fish, and come right back to me. I also have a signal that means ‘Go play!’ kind of like you do with your dog.” Lisa sits Merry down in a folding chair and plops a slightly damp otter in her lap. Merry laughs with joy and amusement.
WHERE TO STAY We like the Stables Inn (730 Spring Street, Paso Robles, 805-296-3636, stablesinnpaso.com).
The 19-room boutique motel (from $155 per night) stylishly evokes the traditional look of whitewashed stables. Also, it’s pet friendly and three blocks from historic downtown Paso Robles. Its more upscale sister property, Hotel Cheval (1021 Pine Street, Paso Robles, 805-226-9995, hotelcheval.com), is located nearby.
If you are looking for a real zoo experience, spend a night in a safari tent inside the zoo – sounds of nocturnal critters and all. Reservations (from $485 per night) include lodging for five and a continental breakfast.
Through a gate we reach the “Outback” – aka Lisa and Da vid’s backyard, whose fence is painted like an Australian sunset for the resident kangaroos. We quickly spy Burt Reynolds, a big guy whose lips and bedroom eyes bear a striking resemblance to the actor in his famous pose in Cosmopolitan magazine. His fur is surprisingly soft, and he behaves like a gentleman as he takes a ripe banana from Merry.
Next, we meet Ruby, whose pouch holds a three-month-old joey. (Fun fact: When a baby kangaroo latches onto the mother’s nipple, it swells in its mouth so there’s no way the joey can fall out of the pouch.) Merry sits in a wooden chair as Lisa hands her a smaller kangaroo named Kylo. Kylo isn’t exactly infant size, its legs sprawl ing off Merry’s lap, but he slurps up his bottle just like a baby.
We had been excitedly anticipating our meet-up with the sanctu ary’s black-and-white ruffed lemur. Bacari is 25 years old but doesn’t look a day over three. He eats a piece of sweet potato from Merry’s hand as she coos over him and tells him how cute he is. An encoun ter like this had been on Merry’s wish list since her days at the zoo, where the lemurs were sociable and lovable, but out of reach inside their cage. Now, up close and personal, Bacari holds on to Merry’s hand with his own tiny black one.
Moving along through the refuge, we meet Mo, an African porcupine. His black-and-white quills are hollow, and when he shakes them, it sounds like a rattlesnake. (Porcupines don’t eject these sharp spines but raise them to deter predators.) “In Africa, they kill the porcupines for their quills,” Lisa laments, “but they don’t need to. Mo loses some every day, just like we lose our hair.” She picks up a few for us to take home.
“Oh! Mo likes his ears scratched,” she says, adding: “If you can find them.”
A short ride on a golf cart takes us to David and Lisa’s house, also part of the sanctuary. In a breezeway we meet Jane Doe, a blind deer. We take bits of whole wheat bread and guide them to her mouth. “She’s very happy in her little apartment back here,” Lisa observes. Lisa
Suddenly the black-and-white fuzzball makes a flying jump onto my shoulder… and then on top of my head. Tree dwellers in the wild, leaping through the canopy of rainforests in Madagascar, lemurs like to see the world from the highest point around. At six feet, six inches, right now that was me. It feels like wearing a helmet with feet. I love every second.
We head over to the sanctuary’s zoo area, driving along a fence with a flock of Australian emus standing on the other side. The large, flightless birds start trotting along with us, just as if we were all out jogging together.
At the zoo, David joins us next to a cage holding a couple of big black ravens. He sounds like a proud father: “This one is my baby, Beelz. He has a brain the size of a shelled walnut, but he’s smarter than a chimpan zee.” Beelz came to the sanctuary after a man tried to save a nest full of babies that had fallen from a tree. But ravens are not only against the law to keep; they’re also difficult to care for. Only Beelz survived.
David turns to his raven and sings out, “Good boyyyy!” The brainy bird immediately repeats back the words in a perfect imitation of Da vid’s voice. Then to our surprise, the female raven croaks out her own impersonation of Beelz impersonating David(!). “Good boyyyy!”
A couple of capuchin monkeys have quite a backstory. Illegal pets kept by a couple back East, they were confiscated by authorities, and the court decided to place them with David and Lisa. Meanwhile, the male got the female pregnant. “Please come pick them up soon!” begged the official who phoned David in California. He drove across the country, and on the way home the female gave birth in David’s truck, calling to mind the classic movie scene in which a woman has a baby in the back seat of a taxicab on the way to the hospital.
Our last stop is a highlight – the chance to meet a tiger. As we ap proach her cage, Sima begins to chuff, excited to see David and Lisa. (Tigers can’t purr but make short puffing sounds when they’re happy.)
Sima came to the sanctuary at four months, and David raised her by hand. Today, she’s almost 21 years old, a regal beauty with a lustrous coat. Lisa steps over to the cage, and the tiger rubs her head against the bars so Lisa can pet and scratch her. “She’s like a kitten,” says David. “She gets to come out of the cage all the time, so she’s not stressed, as you can see.”
David takes a moment to explain their approach to raising wild animals. “The training we do is basically ‘no negatives’: We ignore bad behavior and pay attention to good behavior. Negative rein forcement is the traditional way of training big animals, and it’s be cause trainers are basically afraid of them,” he says. “The theory is that if you dominate them when they’re young, when they’re older they’ll respect you.
“And it’s just not the case. We don’t ever do that. If you walk a young tiger and it grabs your leg when you take a step – which is just their normal, growing-up, prey-capture practice – you stop and do what we call ‘Be a Tree.’ You wait. You’re not fighting, you’re not telling them to knock it off. It’s not a game anymore; you become as boring as a tree. Pretty soon you can take two steps, then three, and six months later you can walk all around without them latching on.
“We give lots of attention when the tiger does something good. It’s a time-consuming method of training,” he observes, “but we’re going to be working with this animal its whole life. Someday it’s going to weigh 350 pounds and have four-wheel drive! It’ll be able to take me out. I’m not going to fight it then, so why fight it now?”
As David talks, Sima presses up against the bars. “She’d love it if I leashed her up and walked her out so you guys could meet her,” he says. “Unfortunately, that’s against the rules anymore, but she’s always been so sweet.”
In a zoo, a wild cat always seems to move as far away in its cage as possible. But here, Sima comes as close as she can get, chuffing happily and looking at you with warm eyes. You feel a companion ship, a connection. And suddenly you understand: Opening up this affection between people and animals is the whole mission here at Conservation Ambassadors, the reason why the sanctuary exists. Thankful and happy, Merry and I head home. Mission accomplished.
WHERE TO GO Two hours north on the 101, Conservation Ambassadors (2445 Adobe Road, Paso Robles, 805-391-0604, conservationambassadors.org) offers full two-hour adventures ($299 per person for first two minimum and $150 each additional person). David and Lisa also bring their animals to some private celebrations and corporate events.
“The training we do is basically ‘no negatives’: We ignore bad behavior and pay attention to good behavior. Negative reinforcement is the traditional way of training big animals, and it’s because trainers are basically afraid of them.”
– David Jackson
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A Gothic RomanceStory by Jim Buckley
This is how the Cathedral of Our Lady of Paris looked from 1853, when it became a major European tourist attraction, until April 2019, when a fire erupted under the spire that was, coincidentally, being renovated by a work crew.
Rebuilding Notre-Dame de Paris...
Notes from a Montecitan abroad
It was April 15, 2019, and one of the world’s most cherished and visited sites –the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris –was on fire. All of Paris voiced alarm as smoke and flames engulfed the wooden spire before rushing through the roof of the nearly 800-year-old structure.
I was in Paris barely six months after the fire, but the pain and shock of the event remained as poignant as ever. I stood on the plaza in front of Notre-Dame with hundreds of oth ers, both Parisians and tourists, all of whom seemed crestfallen as they – we – looked upon what had now become an enormous construc tion site in the heart of Paris. Two shoulders away, a Frenchman took off his soft felt hat and began to sing, tremulously at first but more powerfully as he harnessed his compo sure. The song he sang was familiar to most everyone in the crowd: Ave Maria. Most of us cried along with him as he sang.
Three years later and just a few months ago, I returned to Paris to witness the French and the rest of the world’s work to restore Chris tendom’s most notable cathedral. It is worth while to note that this isn’t the first rebirth of Notre-Dame de Paris.
In the early 1830s, a young French writer by the name of Victor Hugo was pivotal in saving the gloried structure after the degradations of the French Revolution and the July Revolu tion of 1830 had left the proud old lady in tatters. Hugo admired Notre Dame as, say, Abelard admired Heloise, or Romeo admired Juliet. Victor Hugo, in other words, loved everything about Notre-Dame de Paris. No tre-Dame cathedral was his passion, the love of his life. He loved not only its history and con struction, but perhaps, even more, its hidden curves, its elaborate apses, its flying buttresses, its very place in the universe.
Hugo was a writer and an illustrator (whose dark imagery can only be described as… gothic) with a secondary love for architecture and an unseemly admiration for France’s at-the-time out-of-favor gothic structures, many of which were being torn down and replaced with modern architectural edifices.
Without the goading of this 29-year-old writer who possessed both prodigious talent and an indefatigable spirit, there would be no No tre-Dame to marvel at today. The cathedral would have been razed in the 1830s, its foundational stones dating back to the Roman era carted away to form the base of another, newer, building. Notre-Dame’s el egant façade, its finely crafted doors, the famous bells, the arches, the rose-colored central stained-glass window, all would have disappeared. The majesty of this glorious structure would be a thing of the past, celebrated, if at all, as a marvel of its age, but gone like the Colossus of Rhodes and other ancient Wonders of the World that survive only as memories.
Hugo, upon reading about and listening to public officials discuss what to do with the remains of the 226-foot-high double hulks of stones desecrating Île de la Cité – the very place where the city of Paris was born – decided that he could not allow them to tear the building down. He publicly objected to the Parisian city officials’ plans to raze the storied structure; he pleaded – eloquently – at public meetings against the city’s plan, which nevertheless proceeded apace despite his entreaties.
Introducing the Hunchback
In a desperate bid to save his beloved building, Hugo spent three years writing a novel: Notre-Dame de Paris, frantically barricading himself inside his Paris apartment in a final four-month orgy of writing in order to finish the book before city fathers could begin demolishing the edifice.
Notre-Dame de Paris was released in 1831 (the title was changed to The Hunch back of Notre-Dame in 1833), and it became at first a publishing phenomenon in Paris, then in all of France, and, soon after, an enormous international bestseller. The book was translated into more than a dozen languages and its success signaled the arrival of Victor Hugo as one of France’s most accomplished authors (who went on to write the equally influential classic, Les Misérables, published in 1862). To call his novel a “tour de force” would be an understatement. His words, his affection, his passion saved his endangered mistress, and because of him, Notre-Dame was on its way to becoming one of the most visited buildings in the world.
Hugo’s book was such a sensation that tourists from all over Europe descend ed upon Paris, seemingly for one purpose: to visit the renowned cathedral that Hugo had written about so eloquently. The international outpouring of interest in Notre-Dame turned the argument of what to do with the nearly abandoned structure completely around: officials not only agreed not to tear it down but also voted to rebuild it to its former glory.
Hugo’s descriptions of the cathedral of Our Lady of Paris are sensuous. His words read as if he is describing an alluring older woman. He calls his Grande Dame “beautiful” and professes his undying love. He laments that “it is difficult not to sigh, not to wax indignant, before the numberless degradations and mutilations which time and men have both caused the venerable monument to suffer.” He calls her “this aged queen of our cathedrals,” and proceeds with a detailed intimate description of her charms: “The three portals hollowed out in an arch; the broidered and dentated cordon of the eight and twenty royal niches; the immense central rose window… the frail and lofty gallery of trefoil arcades… its fine, slender columns.” In his introductory chapters, Hugo rails against the various architects who he says had no respect for the building nor “for Charlemagne, who laid its first stone, or for Philip Augustus, who laid the last.”
Destruction by Time and Man
Hugo tore into those whose changes, he be lieved, had desecrated the cathedral. “Who has thrown the two rows of statues?” he asks in an early chapter of the book. “Who has left the niches empty? Who has cut, in the very middle of the central portal, that new and bastard arch? Who has dared to frame therein that commonplace and heavy door of carved wood, à la Louis XV?”
It was, he answers: “The men, the architects, the art ists of our day.”
Hugo laments the loss too of all the statues that once peopled the spaces between the columns of the nave and the choir, “kneeling, standing, equestrian, men, women, children, kings, bishops, gendarmes, in stone, in marble, in gold, in silver, in copper, in wax even – who has brutally swept them away?”
He answers again: “It is not time.”
Reconstruction of Notre-Dame took place in the 1840s and was overseen by Victor Hugo, ensuring that the treasured building wouldn’t be bastardized by architects of his day. Mid-19th century restoration specialist Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc stayed true to Hugo’s vision, though Viollet-le-Duc did allow himself a personal misdemeanor: when the giant stat ues of Jesus and his 12 apostles were recreated, Mon sieur le-Duc managed to have his own likeness carved into the face of St. (Doubting) Thomas, whose visage is turned away from the other apostles and placed at the end of the group. It remains there today.
(An indication of Victor Hugo’s popularity and eminence is that an estimated crowd of two million turned out to honor and grieve the author upon his entombment in the Pantheon in Paris after his death in 1885.)
What is Gothic?
Historically, Visigoths, Vandals, Lombards, Ostrogoths, Franks, and indeed the Goths, were an assemblage of German tribes who ruled northern Europe for centuries and caused great stress in the Roman Empire between 238 AD and 455 AD. The Goths (in 410) and the Vandals (in 455) eventually sacked Rome, leading shortly thereafter to the fall of Rome itself. The original term “gothic” to de scribe most of the dark and gloomy buildings constructed between 1100 and 1450 by the various Germanic tribes was meant as an insult by 16th-century Renaissance architects who had rediscovered light and space.
For those worried that this 21st-century restoration may introduce some of the same kinds of adulterations that Hugo decried, Philippe Villeneuve, the architect heading up the effort, promises he’ll strictly follow Victor Hugo’s and Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc’s restorative examples. His hope is that Notre-Dame de Paris will look and feel the same as it did before April 2019, including the spire, which was added in 1220 but demolished in the late 1700s and reintroduced by Viollet-le-Duc in 1859.
French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed that Notre Dame will be finished and ready for occupancy before the Summer Olympics scheduled to take place in and around Paris in July 2024. So far, things seem to be on schedule.
Open For Visits
There is only one way to “visit” Notre-Dame currently, and that is by reserving a tour of the crypt – the un derground museum where the foundational stones of the original building are; its entrance is down a short flight of stairs directly in front of the cathedral. For three euros more – and this is a must; don’t pass it up – you can rent a pair of Oculus glasses that will take you on a virtual tour of the church.
You’ll visit various apses, the main hall, come face to face with the two massive organs (surprisingly saved from mobs who tore out most pipe organs in French churches to turn the metal into bullets), the historic stained-glass windows, exquisite statuary, flying buttresses and all. As you go up, you’ll find yourself inside looking down at the center hall from a small balcony near the ceiling of the church. Next, you’ll go on the roof and will stand next to various gargoyles and sculptures. The view of the sur rounding city of Paris is exhilarating and the experience is so real that when I found myself standing on some unsteady boards left behind by carpenters, I feared falling off the top of the six-story structure if I took another step forward.
If you’d like to help in the ren ovation and reconstruction, you are invited to visit the Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris at friendsofnotredamedeparis.org, where you’ll find regular updates and a way to donate to the re building.
Notre-Dame de Paris has become a giant construction site since the fire of April 2019 but is scheduled to reopen before July 2024.
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FROM LINDBERGH AND LOCKHEED TO MUSK AND MARSBY NICHOLAS SCHOU
Santa Barbara is a city that wears its history on its sleeve, and the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport is no exception. From the aban doned and neglected but still-standing “Boneyard” hangars that were originally built by Fred Stearns (as in Stearns Wharf) in 1930 to the airport’s beautiful original Spanish Revival terminal (commissioned by United Airlines and built by famed architects William Edwards and Joseph Plunkett in 1942), the architecture itself – now surrounded by the sprawl of Goleta and UC Santa Barbara – is a living testament to the airport’s stubbornly old-school existence.
But there’s a deeper story be hind the airport that lies just beneath the surface, a story that’s perhaps surprisingly rich with history. What started as a simple landing strip in a field in the 1920s had expanded a decade later into a well-serviced airfield complete with hangars and boxy buildings providing headquarters for vari ous airplane manufacturers. The airstrip’s reputation as a key part of America’s exploding aviation in dustry is evidenced by the fact that aviators like Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart frequently flew here, proudly posing for photos on the runway next to their planes.
During World War II, Santa Barbara Airport – then called Marine Corps Air Station Santa Barbara –played a critical role in helping the U.S. Marine Corps during its Pacific Theater campaign against Japan. It served as a training base for young flyers, and in 1944 housed the so-called “Black Sheep” squadron that had al ready seen heavy action and experienced numerous casu alties before they departed via aircraft carrier for the final attack on the Land of the Rising Sun. Several streets sur rounding the airport are named for local flyers who went through the Marine Corps base and were killed in action: Frederick Lopez, Wallace Becknell, Rex Eckles, Jack Peres, David Love, Francis Botello, and John W. Hays.
Santa Barbara Airport’s crucial role in the Second World War was also celebrated by Hollywood, which included footage of it in the 1951 John Wayne film Fly ing Leathernecks as Wayne’s character was written to be based here. With the fighting over in 1945, the airport returned to civilian control and became the Santa Bar bara Municipal Airport.
In order to make room for hangars used to help build the massive Aero Spacelines Super Gup py – an almost ridiculously wide-bodied cargo plane used to transport rocket parts to Cape Canaveral –airport authorities had to close one of the three run ways that originally existed here. The Guppies allowed NASA to avoid having to ship the parts to Florida via the Panama Canal.
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In recent decades, the airport has become increasingly busy, partially due to the success of Santa Barbara as a “Zoom town.”
Thanks to the addition of regional commercial routes and a thriv ing charter flight business, there’s been a 27 percent increase in pas sengers since 2011. But the proximity of Goleta, whose population has risen 15 percent since 2000, means that Santa Barbara Airport has thus far been unable to significantly expand its geographical footprint. Nevertheless, plans are in the works to expand the ter minal and build a new parking structure that will help the airport accommodate what is projected to be a 79 percent growth in pas sengers by 2032.
Santa Barbara Airport is in the early stages of design for improvements to the passenger terminal complex, which include additional airline gates and boarding areas, additional food and retail space, and improved check-in, security, and
areas. Improve ments would include a new multi-level parking structure, which will be a marked improvement for
who currently must utilize the economy lot located on Hollister Avenue, a distance from the terminal. If the project remains on schedule, groundbreaking is planned for 2026 with completion in 2028.
THE SANTA BARBARA AIRPORT COMMERCIAL AVIATION IMPROVEMENTS ARE ABOUT THREE YEARS OFF
SANTA BARBARA AVIATION is a Generational Business with a Spotless Reputation
Santa Barbara Aviation has been the go-to for all things plane in Santa Barbara pretty much since its inception in 1995. But there is nothing plain about the services the company provides. It is the human capital at Santa Barbara Aviation that sets them apart.
Max Rosenberg is SBA’s chief pilot and lead aircraft manager with a long history in the aviation industry working his way through UC Santa Barbara as a full-time flight instructor. Since then, Rosenberg has more than 23,000 accident and incident-free hours piloting jets, commercial airliners, and turboprops. Rosenberg is so knowledgeable and experienced he sometimes gets called in as an aviation expert witness.
“If it can fly, Max can probably pilot it,” says Sheridan Rosenberg, who has been successfully copiloting the company with her husband for decades. She continues, “Max started out as a national champion sailor, now he’s considered one of the greatest, most revered pilots. Whether it’s wind current or water current, helming a vessel is simply in the man’s blood.” It doesn’t hurt that the man’s dad was also in aviation as an air traffic controller.
An integral part of the operation at SBA is their FAA-approved director of airplane maintenance Olie Okpysh. Says Rosenberg, “Olie is the best in the business. Not just the best in Santa Barbara –I mean the best in the business. Whereas most directors of maintenance work their way up from technical school, Olie is a fully licensed engineer and aerospace fabricator. Having Olie as your mechanic is a little like having a paramedic who went to medical school. He’s wonderfully overqualified.”
Rosenberg continues, “We’re proud to be part of the incredible history of Santa Barbara aviation, which has a storied legacy going back to Lindbergh and Earhart, all the way up through the Apollo program and Wernher Von Braun and the aerospace boom in the 1960s and ’70s, then right on through to the infrared cameras used on most planes, which were developed right down the street here at Teledyne FLIR. We could not be prouder to call ourselves Santa Barbara Aviation and are thrilled to continue the legacy.”
ROAM If You Want To
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Local Montecitan David Young took an untraditional path into jet charter and continues to blaze an untraditional path in aviation. Growing up as a drummer in Goleta, Young discovered and managed the local band Dishwalla in the 1990s, and as Dishwalla gained popularity, their tours segued from buses to eventually planes. It was once he was in the air, however, that Young really grew into his second career and spread his aeronautic wings. In fact, the documentary Rihanna 777 is all about the singer’s record-setting tour organized by Young, wherein she performs seven concerts in seven countries in seven days on a chartered Boeing 777. The only reason that worked is because of Young (and, of course, Rihanna).
It’s an understatement to say that through his various aircraft enterprises and rock star tours, Young has become adept at fulfilling unusual requests in the sky. But not just for celebs and rockers. Young’s latest venture, ROAM Maui, is simply a low-stress, costeffective way to fly luxuriously to or from Maui via a private aviation airport in Los Angeles, San Jose, or Seattle. ROAM Maui’s motto is “Sitting comfortably between first class and private,” and to this end, they use gorgeous and luxuriously fitted Boeing 737s that take a max of 44 passengers… and their pets… providing them with meals curated by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, the “Best Chef in America” according to the Culinary Institute of America. You also enjoy wines by the legendary sommelier/vintner Kathryn Hall, whose bottled offerings from Napa frequently score in the high 90s if not 100.
Throughout his career in transpo, Young has always tried to bring
environmental sanity and responsibility to all his endeavors. Preaviation, he had a very successful company that converted carbon colossal SUVs to natural gas, and even had a high-level meeting with General Motors about it. Unfortunately at the time (around the year 2000), GM said they liked it – and him – but didn’t think the demand for alternatives to gasoline was there….
Cut to today. Young explains the environmental advantage of ROAM Maui: “The carbon advantage of ROAM Maui is by making the simple adjustment of flying nearly private versus totally private, we’re able to bring down costs to the consumer as well as, importantly, the cost to the planet.”
Meanwhile, Young also prides himself on being able to fulfill anyone’s private jet management, charter brokerage, or aircraft sales needs and make them feel like a rock star. “Think of me and my team as your personal tour manager,” he says. “And Charlie Palmer’s food isn’t bad either.”
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SILVER AIR Provides the Gold Standard of Plane ManagementBoutique airplane management advocates and collaborates with owners
You never have to worry if Silver Air is in it for the long haul.
CEO Jason Middleton – a pilot but also veteran of 300 endurance races and Iron Man competitions – is a man for whom enduring commitments are a way of life. “Staying calm, managing one’s resources, and always remaining even-keeled have been a great benefit to me both on the ground and in building a robust business in aviation,” says Middleton.
And the Silver Air silver-haired CEO continues, “What separates us from others in the field is we really are a bespoke operation offering custom solutions. We apportion our clients’ spending differently. In private and business aviation, there are places to spend money lavishly and places to negotiate aggressively with vendors. At this point we certainly know the difference.
“We spend the most money on pilots and safety expenditures. We’re definitely ‘next level’ when it comes to compensating pilots. The reason for this is obvious: Something like 92 percent of all airplane incidents are rooted in pilot error or what I prefer to call ‘pilot reaction.’ Even when there’s a mechanical problem, it’s how the pilot reacts that’s critical. Look at Captain Sullenberger on US Airways Flight 1549. What if there had been a different pilot
in the seat the day he landed that Airbus 320 on the Hudson? People don’t realize Sullenberger was truly a top-notch pilot, a very academic guy – literally a member of Mensa – whose area of expertise long before that incident was pilot error regarding mechanical failure. In a certain sense, Sully’s whole life was building toward that moment in 2009.
“Sully said something that always resonated with me: ‘For 42 years, I’ve been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience, education, and training. And on January 15, the balance was sufficient that I could make a very large withdrawal.’”
To this end, Silver Air contracts with the best, most-experienced pilots, builds loyalty, and keeps their pilots happy. In addition, Silver Air is extraordinarily proactive with maintenance and updating of systems. Where they save the client money is on the noncritical systems: hangar leases, insurance, even selection of where (and when) to buy jet fuel since prices vary so much throughout the country. In addition, Silver Air offers charter services and has an excellent listing of one-way flights often available at a discount, which the industry refers to as “empty legs.”
WINGTIPS LUXURY RIDESHARE
Is a “Tech Company That Happens to Operate Aircraft”
Now fly private somewhere desirable but inconvenient for around $2 an air mile
WingTips is a new luxury aviation bundler that calls itself a “tech company that happens to operate aircraft.” CEO Mike Azzarello (UCSB class of ’84) goes on to say: “We fly efficient aircraft more efficiently.” The idea behind WingTips is simple albeit mathematical: WingTips operates like an on-demand air carrier that bundles luxury fliers to nonmetropolitan destinations. Their algorithms and software cluster passengers flying to and from secondary airports – of which there are literally thousands across the nation. The result, says Azzarello, is generally a four times-plus savings over driving, and a cost that is only about $2 to $3 an air mile per seat. (That’s about the same fare per mile charged for ground travel by Uber and Lyft.)
What Azzarello and his software engineers gleaned from a very successful proof-of-concept trial run to and from this year’s Coachella, is that the drive from Los Angeles to the concert venue can take a couple of hours – or with bad luck, it can be more than five uncomfortable hours driving in traffic. Meanwhile, a semiprivate WingTips flight from Van Nuys to Bermuda Dunes (the airport 10 miles from Coachella) takes about 35 minutes. What’s eight hours not driving in stop-and-go traffic worth to you? Is it worth two bucks an air mile?
Azzarello has no problem rattling off additional examples of desirable destinations that are difficult to get to because commercial flights don’t serve them: “Marfa, Mendocino, or Telluride (the mountain road from hell) – unless you fly private and land at the local airport, as we do.”
What WingTips and its algorithm Aristotles figured out is that increasingly, when it comes to leisure travel, its customer prioritizes time over expense: If you have a long weekend to optimize, you obviously want to spend as little time as possible in transit. And what is the cost of arriving somewhere exhausted and achy from driving? “Driving days are like the
sick days of vacation,” says Azzarello. “And no one wants sick days on vacation.”
WingTips helps clients make the most of their travels by providing the reasonably priced, shortest commute between two points. And WingTips utilizes the more than 5,000 commuter airports across the nation to make your dream their reality.
SUN AIR JETS
Boasts a Perfect Safety Record Since Its Inception Almost 25
Serving Southern California with two convenient fixed-base facilities in Camarillo and Van Nuys
Sun Air Jets serves Southern California with private and business flight service hubs located in low-stress Camarillo and the convenient-to-L.A. Van Nuys Airport.
According to Brian Counsil, the CEO who has been with the company since its inception in 1999, what really separates Sun Air from the rest of the pack is its safety record – 42,000 flying hours without a single incident of any kind. It has earned Sun Air accolades and certifications as one of the five safest charter air travel providers in the nation. That’s five out of 2,000.
Sun Air Jets is proud to have surpassed all four of the major safety audit standards in the air charter industry: IS/BAO Stage 3, Wyvern Wingman Pro, ARG/US Platinum, and the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) – an achievement held by only a handful of global operators. Sun Air is also a preferred vendor to Executive Jet Management (EJM), which requires an additional on-site audit of their flight operations and is one of the most difficult safety distinctions to achieve and maintain in aviation.
As part of its boutique operation, Sun Air prides itself on operating not just the cleanest planes on the planet, but for the planet – the company offers Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) derived from
organic, renewable materials instead of refined petroleum.
Sun Air Jets is also respectful of their neighbors and neighborhoods by surpassing suggested neighborhood noise abatement guidelines and following voluntary, self-imposed curfews.
If you are new to private charter or business aviation, booking an “empty-leg” charter on Sun Air Jets is a good way to get one’s feet wet.
The Fixed Base Operator for Santa Barbara… and more than 100 other important cities across the United States as well
At the center of private or business jet travel is what’s called an FBO, aka Fixed Base Operator. An FBO is kind of a fancy way of saying “airport operator and manager,” except when it comes to private and business travel, the facility manager – or FBO – offers much more than a traditional “airport.” Included in the menu of what an FBO provides are not just airplane fueling, repair, cleaning, deicing, and heated hangars, but also concierge amenities such as conference rooms, limo service, showers, and billiards. Not to mention an actual professional concierge is typically de rigeur
Santa Barbara’s main FBO is Atlantic Aviation, which just opened its brand-new, state-of-the-art, and expanded facility which, as of this writing, is about a week old.
Atlantic Aviation is one of the true exemplars of private travel and has been in continuous operation for almost 100 years and now includes more than 100 private aviation portals across North America – as well as Alaska, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. Included under the Atlantic umbrella is not only our local Santa Barbara facility, but the dozens of robust FBO locations in the United States – to name a few: New Jersey-Teterboro, a facility in Dallas, and a facility in Las Vegas. Other oft-traveled Atlantic hubs from Santa Barbara include Palm Beach, Palm Springs, LAX, Napa, and, as we head into the winter months, Aspen-Rifle. Atlantic also operates the
34th Street Heliport in New York City – really the best way to get into Manhattan from Atlantic’s nearby facility in Teterboro.
Atlantic takes pride in trying to lead the way to the environmentally cleanest private jet travel available. At its facility at LAX, the company announced it would replace 100 percent of its fossil-based diesel fuel with renewable diesel, which is primarily used in groundsupport equipment operated by Atlantic Aviation and its customers. This fuel is derived from fats, vegetable oils, and waste cooking oils that can be used interchangeably with traditional diesel. And at the facility in Aspen, Atlantic now offers sustainable aviation fuel, which can be up to 80 percent cleaner than traditional aviation fuel. These initiatives aim to further Atlantic Aviation’s commitment to delivering top-notch sustainability and reducing their greenhouse gas footprint as much as possible.
Where to stop and shop to spruce up your wardrobeby Kelly Mahan Herrick
Aiming to “fill the void” in the fashion retail scene of Santa Barbara and Montecito nearly eight years ago, Rebecca McKinney – armed with a Parsons degree in fashion marketing as well as experience in the fast-paced fashion/tech/ start-up environment of New York City – opened Whistle Club in 2014 and has been stylishly dressing her loyal clientele ever since.
Fronting Coast Village Road in Montecito’s Lower Village, Whistle Club showcases a tightly curated assortment of women’s clothing, accessories, and gifts from both emerging designers and industry favorites – think Rachel Comey, Proenza Schouler, and No. 6 to name a few. McKinney focuses her offerings on quality, integrity, ethical production, and design, and seeks to “spark joy” for her customers through their experience in the store.
In our post-COVID world, McKinney says she notices her clients are longing to leave their pandemic-era loungewear behind, yet they still want to be comfortable while being stylish. Endeavoring to find that perfect balance, she focuses on the tactile quality of the garments while blending the directional fashion-forward style of New York City with the easy, relaxed style that feels relevant for Californians. Think thoughtful pieces with a lifespan that both look and feel great.
Whistle Club is located at 1235 Coast Village Road, Suite C, 805-565-2800, www.whistleclub.com.
In 2016, shortly after Santa Barbara-based clothing designer Catherine Gee launched her first designs, she won the WWD x Galeries Lafayette Paris Crème de la crème Emerging Designers Competition at MAGIC Las Vegas, a large and prestigious apparel show, winning a trip to Paris Fashion Week. Winning the competition not only got her a windfall of press, but her designs started appearing in stores, namely, the Four Seasons, which featured her designs in 16 of their resorts, making a name for herself in the luxury space.
From her very first launch as a fashion designer, Gee has favored working with silk, and in 2015 she launched her brand as an all-silk collection. She explains her love of the fabric is two-fold: It comes from both her Asian heritage as well as growing up in the 1990s, when the silk slip dress was an iconic fashion staple.
In 2020, her slip dress was on the silver screen: Kate Bosworth wore Gee’s signature piece throughout the 2019 film The Devil Has a Name – a major coup for a fairly new fashion designer. Gee’s silk niche has since evolved further: Her own one-of-a-kind photographs or paintings are now printed on the clothing. These gorgeous prints – think graffiti art in Paris or a sunset in Bali – lend themselves to the bright colors and comfortable yet tailored pieces that are Gee’s signature style.
Catherine Gee is located at 1114 State Street, Suite 24 (by the turtle fountain in La Arcada Court), 805-324-4699, www.catherinegee.com.
Switching gears in her 40s to pursue designing full-time, Paula Parisotto is both a fashion and interior stylist, but she’s best known now as the self-made designer behind her eponymous line of cork handbags.
Reigniting her passion for design after taking sewing classes, she admits that when she first started to research accessory design, she knew very little about designing, fabricating, and manufacturing products. Over the course of two and a half years, she taught herself to design and manufacture bags entirely in the United States, and she launched her first cork bags after exploring cork as a unique and functional material that is sustainable, long-lasting, soft, and durable. She credits Women’s Economic Ventures of Santa Barbara for helping her craft her business plan and launch – and the rest was history.
Inspired by Santa Barbara’s “laid-back but elevated vibe” but driven by functionality, Parisotto’s designs are both beautiful and multipurpose. Her Gigi clutch, her most popular bag, functions as a crossbody, a shoulder bag, and both an under-arm clutch and wristlet. Her Yvonne convertible tote expands to hold a laptop, clothes, or magazines, and contracts to offer less space when appropriate. Parisotto credits her highly organized, detail-oriented personality for inspiring her to make bags that marry form and function, encouraging a minimalistic appeal.
Next up for Parisotto is a line of beautiful yet functional home goods, including accessories for the kitchen and tabletop in both her beloved cork as well as from 100 percent natural wool to add texture to the brand.
Paula Parisotto is located at www.paulaparisotto.com.
After 24 years, the founders and visionaries of Lucky Brand Jeans –Montecito restaurant mogul Gene Montesano and Barry Perlman – have returned to their roots and are manufacturing domestically in Vernon, California. A wellestablished brand on the West Coast with a boutique in Montecito’s Lower Village, Civilianaire offers high-quality, timeless, and classic clothing for men and women.
Montesano and Perlman believe that consumers should buy less and choose well, and they say they enjoy the satisfaction of the high quality they achieve and control by doing smaller, specialized, local clothing production. Think basic tees, henleys, denim, hoodies and sweatshirts, outerwear, knits, pajamas, and more in the highest quality of fabrics and craftsmanship.
Civilianaire is located at 1145 Coast Village Road, 805-969-2520, www.civilianaire.com.
MADE IN THE USA OF CORK FROM PORTUGAL
Inspired by nature, designed for life.
“Here are a Few of
SILVERHORN DESIGN STUDIOPAULA PARISOTTO
“Here are a Few of
DANIEL GIBBINGS JEWELRY GRACE DE MONACO
Our Favorite Things”
8. Stunning 18k white gold diamond, rubellite, and amethyst earrings. BRYANT & SONS, LTD. Purveyors of the Finest New, Custom, Reimagined and Estate Jewelry Since 1965 812 State Street, Santa Barbara 805.966.9187 | BryantAndSons.com
9. Bespoke cuff bracelet in 22k royal yellow gold with opal and diamonds.
DANIEL GIBBINGS JEWELRY 1143 Coast Village Road, Montecito, CA 93108 805-565-1284 | danielgibbings.com
10. Promenade Twilly featuring the House’s sig nature floral bouquet and color palette, capturing the quintessential Mediterranean joie de vivre. GRACE DE MONACO New York, NY gdmonaco.com or at neimanmarcus.com
11. Porcelain Fragrance Diffuser – an artistic creation evocative of the French Riviera that leaves an indelible mark on any room. GRACE DE MONACO New York, NY gdmonaco.com or at neimanmarcus.com
12. Fine Art by Cassandria Blackmore. Ab stract shattered glass pieces reflect light with shim mering surface.
CASSANDRIA BLACKMORE 1275 Coast Village Road Montecito, CA 93108 805.895.2447 | www.cassandriablackmore.com
13. Handcrafted in Japan using Japanese aerospace grade titanium, the SALT. Colorado is reengineered to provide a better fit and improved optical functionality. SALT www.saltoptics.com
14. The Civilianaire Velour set. Made from a su per soft cotton blend, and hand-sewn in Los Angeles.
1145 Coast Village Road, Montecito, CA 93108 805.969.2520 | www.civilianaire.com
Perfectly situated be tween the mountains and the sea, Montecito, with its impeccable weather, lush landscape, and small-town atmosphere, is home to some of the most exquisite homes and estates on the California coast. Here is a closer look at 26 homes for sale.
LUXURY ON PADARO
ncompassing over 3,100 acres of majestic rolling hills and natural open space along the Gaviota Coast, The Hacienda Ranch at El Rancho Tajiguas embodies the spirit and history of Old California.
13800 US Highway 101 $45,000,000
Riskin Partners Estate Group 805-565-8600
Village Properties DRE# 01815307 / 01447045 / 01954177 / 01951069
Vast ocean views, flat grounds, luxe ameni ties, and incredible design coalesce at this iconic Montecito property. Public spaces blend seamlessly and open to the view and lush grounds beyond. Solar, a generator, greywater irrigation system, private well, organic vegetable beds & citrus orchards, chicken coops, and secret gardens define sustainable sensibility.
888 Lilac Drive $33,500,000
Riskin Partners Estate Group 805-565-8600
Village Properties DRE# 01815307 / 01447045 / 01954177 / 01951069
PADARO BEACH COVE
VILLA DEL MARE
gated, expansive beachfront estate with coastline views in both directions, flanked with lawns in the front and rear of the property, high quality construction, exquisite details, de tached guest house, and wine cellar. One of Pada ro’s larger parcels, offering breadth and bright, generous spaces.
3599 Padaro Lane $26,500,000
Emily Kellenberger 805-252-2773
Village Properties DRE# 01397913
The Morehart Group 805-689-7233
Compass DRE# 00828316
Combining the romance of Old California with design, quality, and amenities, Villa Del Mare embodies the very best of California’s Central Coast. On 287 acres near Refugio State Beach, with sweeping views of the coastline and surrounding foothills, this estate is ideal for a weekend getaway or a permanent residence on the Gaviota Coast.
13600 Calle Real $25,000,000
Riskin Partners Estate Group 805-565-8600
HOPE RANCH VIEWS
This exceptional modern estate was designed by noted architects, Warner & Gray, and recently underwent a down-to-the-studs ren ovation by Becker Studios. The 2+ acre estate includes a sprawling residence, pool/spa, tennis court, and more, all in Montecito’s guard-gated Ennisbrook enclave.
1850 Jelinda Drive $22,750,000
Calcagno & Hamilton Partners 805-565-4000 Berkshire Hathaway DRE# 01499736 / 01129919
ocean, island, coastline, and moun tain views from private homesite on gentle usable 5.5 acres on two parcels in Hope Ranch. Lighted tennis court, detached guest house/office, gated driveway, motor court, and six garages.
4475 Via Abrigada $22,500,000
Randy Solakian Estates Group 805-886-6000 Coldwell Banker Realty DRE# 00616212
Romantic 1929 Montecito Estate designed by noteworthy architects, Edwards and Plun kett. Picturesque ocean views behind iron gates in the famed “Golden Quadrangle” on nearly 3.5 ma jestic oak lined acres. Large corner tower serves as the entry, and opens to a light and airy formal liv ing room overlooking vast rolling lawns, ancient majestic oaks, and tennis court beyond.
930 Lilac Drive $16,995,000 Team Scarborough 805-331-1465 Berkshire Hathaway DRE# 01182792
UPPER VILLAGE PERFECTION
mazing Mediterranean home offering 12,000 sq. ft. and spacious outdoor living. Well and solar; utmost privacy and phenomenal views in beautiful Ojai.
561 Saddle Lane $14,500,000 Patty Waltcher 805-340-3774
Berkshire Hathaway DRE# 01176473
Hidden behind the high walls of this exten sively remodeled estate, a peaceful Upper Village oasis awaits. Designer Xorin Balbes was inspired by the view of the Santa Ynez Moun tains and Tulum’s bohemian-minimalism; it is a showpiece for indoor-outdoor living.
491 Pimiento Lane $9,975,000 Nancy Kogevinas 805-450-6232
Berkshire Hathaway DRE# 01209514
Design, form, and function perfectly combine in this rare, newly constructed Santa Ynez estate by renowned designer and builder Mark Trabucco. Situated in wine country’s coveted corridor and boasting panoramic mountain, vine yard, and pastoral views, this contemporary oasis is a true work of art. The adjacent 20+/- acre lot to the west is also available.
4300 Roblar Ave $8,600,000 Riskin Partners Estate Group 805-565-8600 Village Properties DRE# 01815307 / 01447045 / 01954177 / 01951069
HOPE RANCH PERFECTION MODERN RIVIERA
SAN YSIDRO STYLE
This quintessential Santa Barbara ranch estate with new ADU sits on 1.2 acres within the desirable Hope Ranch community surrounded by vast mountain and canyon views. The 4-bed room, 4.5-bathroom main house boasts 4,890 sq. ft. along with vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors throughout, floor-to-ceiling French doors and windows, and an abundance of natural light.
4345 Via Glorieta $8,495,000 Crysta Metzger 805-453-8700
Coldwell Banker Realty DRE# 01340521
SANTA YNEZ STYLE
A Mediterranean majestical masterpiece located on 2.5 acres sweeping over the American Riviera. Five bedrooms and 4.5 baths in Hope Ranch. A comfortable and spacious home with natural light, vaulted wood beam ceilings, and French doors throughout. Enjoy luscious greenery at every turn in this secluded sanctuary that offers close access to an exclusive gated beach.
4520 Via Esperanza $8,250,000 Gary Goldberg 805-455-8910 Coastal Properties DRE# 01172139
723 Via Manana $6,475,000 Cristal Clarke 805-886-9378 Berkshire Hathaway DRE# 00968247
The Jenni Kayne Ranch, located on 20 ± acres: the home offers four generous bedrooms, all en-suite. Featuring breathtaking 360-degree views of the Santa Ynez landscape, and primed for all forms of indoor-outdoor living with a luxuri ous pool and spa and gathering spaces suited for year-round entertaining.
3226 Live Oak Road
Laura Drammer / Richard Ehrlich 805-448-7500
Berkshire Hathaway / Westside Estate Agency DRE# 01209580 / 01267136
Nestled in the Hedgerows on a darling little lane, this charming cottage embodies the old adage that good things come in small packages. Vaulted ceilings, divided light windows, and orig inal built-ins nod to the home’s 1915 origins while updated baths, kitchen, and finishes have a chic, modern vibe.
1530 Willina Lane $5,850,000
Riskin Partners Estate Group 805-565-8600
Village Properties DRE# 01815307 / 01447045 / 01954177 / 01951069
This San Ysidro Ranch-style home is tucked off the street in Montecito’s Lower Village. Sit ed on nearly a half-acre, enjoy a peaceful setting while remaining close to restaurants, shops, and the beach. The single-level home features four bedrooms and three baths, vaulted wood-beamed ceilings, hardwood floors, numerous French doors, newly updated kitchen, formal dining, and media room.
1255 Mesa Road $5,250,000
Marsha Kotlyar Estate Group 805-565-4014 Berkshire Hathaway DRE# 01426886
Thirty-three-plus acres in the heart of Wine Country: this compound exudes high-end rustic elegance and charm. Main house, pool/spa, guest house, pool house/studio, and car barn with bonus studio/office. Magical rolling hills, oaks trees, well, and owned solar.
4086 E Oak Trail $5,200,000
Laura Drammer / Cammy Godeck-Pinoli 805-452-9725 Berkshire Hathaway DRE# 01209580 / 02074002
Situated on a quiet Toro Canyon ridge-top, this gated contemporary-style home is accessed by a private road and located on 10+/- rural acres of beauty yet close and convenient to the Upper and Lower Montecito villages and Summerland.
840 Toro Canyon Road $4,450,000 Cristal Clarke 805-886-9378 Berkshire Hathaway DRE# 00968247
Wonderful opportunity to live in More Mesa Shores, merely two short blocks away from privately gated beach access and close proximity to biking and hiking trails. Recently remodeled, this single-level home sits on a quiet cul-de-sac with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a spa cious backyard with pool.
5292 Louisiana Place $3,450,000 Crysta Metzger 805-453-8700
Coldwell Banker Realty DRE# 01340521
Farmhouse feel on a large, flat, and usable oneacre parcel in Mountain View School District. Amazing potential and once-in-a-lifetime lega cy property with creative living configurations, orchard, views, and location! The main house features three bedrooms and two bathrooms up stairs, with an additional two bedrooms and one bathroom downstairs.
4414 Meadowlark Lane $2,795,000 Easter Team 805-453-7071
Berkshire Hathaway DRE# 01923719
ocated in the Lower Village of Montecito, this .89 +/- acre parcel can become your piece of paradise. The mountain views and mature trees will adorn your dream home. Situated within the Montecito Union School District, the property has utilities on site.
361 Hot Springs Rd $2,575,000
Maureen McDermut 805-570-5545
Sotheby’s International Realty DRE# 01175027
Modern, spacious living combined with the exquisite natural beauty of Ojai; this fourbedroom, four-bathroom home includes a formal dining room, sunroom, and gym/office. Expansive front porch along with an outdoor BBQ and stone seating area offer many opportunities to entertain while enjoying the beauty and serenity of the lushly landscaped, nearly one-acre lot.
1464 Foothill Road $2,475,000 Patty Waltcher 805-340-3774 Berkshire Hathaway DRE# 01176473
SUMMERLAND SANCTUARY PERFECT POLO CONDO MONTECITO PARCEL
Rarely available, turn-key three-bedroom, three-bathroom Summerland beach home with large entertaining deck and sweeping ocean, island, and coastline views. Flexible floor plan with separate entrance to lower level; located in coastal zone. Easy access to beach, shops, winery, and restaurants. 2540Varley.com.
2540 Varley Street $2,395,000 Knight Real Estate Group 805-895-4406
Village Properties DRE# 01463617
Ocean, island, and polo field views with this 3/2 penthouse corner unit. Experience the wrap around balcony, floor-to-ceiling glass win dows/doors, and vaulted ceilings showcasing the views. Beautifully remodeled with stunning floor ing, this is a must-see to appreciate.
3375 Foothill Road #134 $1,945,000 Susan Jordano/Simone Eurich Real Estate Group 805-455-7992/ 805-680-9060
Village Properties DRE# 01175462 / 02105209
T his .87-acre parcel offers incredible moun tain views, mature Oak trees, and the po tential for you to design and build the home you’ve always wanted. Situated within the es teemed Montecito Union School District, the ultra-charming Glen Oaks community is home to some of Montecito’s most incredible estates, where peace and unrivaled privacy reign su preme. The next chapter of this Montecito estate parcel is waiting to be written!
1705 Glen Oaks Drive $1,725,000
Marsha Kotlyar Estate Group 805-565-4014 Berkshire Hathaway DRE# 01426886
picturesque beaches on which to spend the day on the sand; to multiple luxury resorts to bask by the pool or enjoy a spa day; to a lively downtown scene with five-star dining, bou tique shopping, and historic theaters, Santa Barbara and neighboring towns offer an ideal place to vacation.
H istoric four-acre property is a private mini-resort ready for your next getaway. Enjoy the day at the pool or beach, then feast on a meal with our private chef. One-of-a kind experience!
Sea Ranch, Montecito Inquire for rental rate Paradise Retreats www.paradiseretreats.com
old-world charm in this three-bedroom, three-bath furnished rental.
1520 Lingate Lane $17,000-$23,000/mo
Vacation Rentals of Santa Barbara 805-319-4045 DRE# 01751182
Hit the Slopes! REAL ESTATES
Aquintessential Wyoming compound, de signed for living with horses amid nature. Set on 16 lush acres replete with barns, pastures, and an arena, this singular ranch is distinctly private yet conveniently 15 minutes from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
1800 S Fall Creek Road, Wilson, WY Matt Faupel $ 13,000,000 307-690-0204
Graham Faupel Mendenhall & Associates, Compass Real Estate WY AB27056
Gorgeous south-facing views from this mod ern getaway in Mammoth Lakes. Fu-Tung Cheng-designed open concept layout, six bed rooms, hydronic heat, floor-to-ceiling Fleetwood windows and doors, private setting on a large .43 acre lot with mature trees.
471 Ranch Road, Mammoth Lakes, CA $3,990,000 Danica McCoy 831-840-1453
Mammoth Sierra Properties DRE# 01879662
This rare gem backs to the nearby 1,200-acre wildlife refuge which is perfect for capturing amazing sunrises from the primary suite with its own private deck or a tranquil glow over the ridge line in the foreground at sunset. An updated kitch en has a large patio door out to the patio allowing family and friends to flow seamlessly from the in side and out, perfect for entertaining.
1242 Cutter Lane, Park City, Utah $2,700,000 Onie Bolduc 1242CutterLane.com
Summit Sotheby’s International Realty 10407557SA00
Located steps from Jackson’s town ski hill, this home base for adventure offers easy ac cess to slopes as well as the amenities of town. Short-term rentable, the year-round investment income opportunity tops off this quintessential mountain retreat.
524 N Lower Snow King Loop, Jackson, WY Matt Faupel $1,575,000 307-690-0204
Graham Faupel Mendenhall & Associates, Compass Real Estate WY AB27056
568 Ranch Road, Mammoth Lakes, CA $3,975,000 Stacey Bardfield 818-519-0027
Mammoth Sierra Properties DRE# 00664388
Wohali is Utah’s newest luxury mountain community. With its mission to be au thentic alpine living, Wohali is a place for family, friends, and loved ones to experience the well ness, the adventure, and the inspiration that the Wasatch Mountains have to offer. From luxuri ous awe-inspiring architecture to rejuvenating amenities, world-class golf, and on-site private cat skiing, Wohali is redefining community and mountain living.
Estate Lots between $700,000-$2,300,000 Onie Bolduc WohaliUtah.com
Summit Sotheby’s International Realty 10407557SA00
couldn’t give 25% of
proﬁts. They were wrong.
When Daniel Zia envisioned a real estate company designed to give 25% of all profits to vulnerable women and children, his peers said it couldn’t be done. “It’s too much” they said. They were wrong. 17 years later, Zia Group has transformed countless lives through our commitment to impact. Even today, when you choose Zia Group to help you buy or sell a home, 25% of the profits are devoted to vulnerable women and children. If you believe in doing well by doing good, call Zia Group.