Editor’s Pick: Casa del Herrero Celebrates 90 Years

Casa del Herrero, courtesy photo.

Casa del Herrero, courtesy photo.

George Fox Steedman and his wife Carrie moved into their new home on June 29, 1925. Now we have a chance to celebrate “father of Santa Barbara style” George Washington Smith’s architectural legacy with a special garden party. Casa del Herrero, 1387 E. Valley Rd., Montecito. June 28, 4–7 p.m. 805/565-5653, casadelherrero.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine, Summer 2015.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Share the Gift of an Experience

GiftofExperience1-704x400Nothing beats the gift of a memorable experience…except perhaps one that you can share with your loved ones. Here are some holiday gift suggestions that can be appreciated together.

Santa Barbara Beautiful

When it comes to enjoying our gorgeous city, the options truly are endless. One of the best ways to soak in the soul of Santa Barbara is to get out on the water. In the early winter months, Condor Express whale-watching charters follow migrating California Gray Whales as they pass through the channel (805/882-0088, condorexpress.com) and Adventure Sailing Charters (805/794-8703, adventuresailingventura.com)offers boats to the Channel Islands, as well as surf trips.

Landlubbers will love a membership to Lotusland, which provides priority access to 37 acres of spectacular collections of exotic plants (805/969-9990, lotusland.org). Members of Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (805/682-4726, sbbg.org) not only get free entry to this living museum, but also support the garden’s mission of conservation, education and scientific research. Garden lovers, not to mention history buffs and architecture aficionados, will love a tour of the historic Casa del Herrero (805/565-5653, casadelherrero.com), an elegant Montecito estate and National Historic Landmark. For a truly adventurous gift, take to the skies with Santa Barbara Helicopter Tours (805/845-4500, helicoptertoursofsantabarbara.com), offering wine tours, whale watching trips and Channel Islands flights.

Wine and Dine

Oenophiles will appreciate the plethora of tasting and transportation options offered by Wine Canyon Tours (805/453-7047, winecanyontours.com), Sustainable Vine Wine Tours (805/698-3911, sustainablevine.com) and Cloud Climbers Jeep Tours (805/646-3200, ccjeeps.com), among others. Got a sweet tooth? Santa Barbara Adventure Co.’s Tasty Cupcake and Wine Tour (805/884-9283, sbadventureco.com) is simply delicious.

The Show Must Go On

Why not treat that special someone to passes for Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which runs Jan. 30–Feb. 9 (805/963-0023, sbiff.org) and offers a variety of packages that include movie tickets, parties and tributes and awards ceremonies. Classical music aficionados will love series tickets to Santa Barbara Symphony (805/898-9386, thesymphony.org), the “Met Live In HD Series” at Music Academy of the West (805/695-7931, musicacademy.org) or CAMA’s International Series (805/ 966-4324, camasb.org). If the play’s the thing, then the Broadway Series at The Granada is just the ticket (805/899-2222, granadasb.org) for big musical performances, while the black-box intimacy of Center Stage Theater (805/963-8198, centerstagetheater.tix.com) hosts a terrific variety of plays and performances, including the locals’ favorite Speaking of Stories (805/963-0408, speakingofstories.org) reader theater series.

Catch Some Culture

Museum memberships make great gifts. Santa Barbara Museum of Art (805/963-4364, sbma.net) members have access to the museum’s renowned exhibitions, grand opening events and other special activities, as well as a connection to a vibrant community of art lovers. MCASB (805/966-5373, mcasantabarbara.org) also cultivates a unique arts community. Its members form a society of contemporary art lovers, patrons and artists who actively participate in the intellectual and artistic life of the museum. Another great way to catch some culture is via UCSB Arts and Lectures Series (805/893-3535, artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu), which has about a dozen terrific ticket series to choose from—or you can build your own.

Get Active

The gift of physical fitness is a gift that keeps on giving. Why not give golf lessons (805/968-1541, sandpipergolf.com), try stand up paddle boarding (805/881-2115, supadventuressb.com), or yoga at Core Power Yoga (805/884-9642, corepoweryoga.com) or Yoga Soup (805/965-8811, yogasoup.com). Los Padres Outfitters offers beach horseback rides, day rides or pack trips for horse lovers (805/331-5961, lospadresoutfitters.com), while Rancho Oso (805/683-5110, rancho-oso.com) in the beautiful Santa Ynez Mountains is a great place for beginning riders to get comfortable with gentle horses and on guided trail rides.

DIY

Learn to paint (and sip local wine) at The Painted Cabernet (805/963-9979, paintedcabernet.com), a perfect place for a date-night gift. Market Forays cooking classes and culinary adventures are also a great gift for someone who would enjoy a guided shopping tour through local farmers’ markets and the fisherman’s market, followed by a hands-on cooking class and five-course feast (805/259-7229, marketforays.com). Brooks Institute Extension (805/690-7629, workshops.brooks.edu) offers a variety of excellent workshops for photographers of every level to improve their skills.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in the Winter 2013/14 issue of Santa Barbara SEASONS Magazine.

Keeping it Green: Cozy Charm Meets Environmental Friendliness

Photo courtesy Allen Associates

Photo courtesy Allen Associates

Combining cozy quaintness with modern conveniences was the goal when Linda and Jerry Gutterman decided to remodel their 1930’s cottage. As much as they loved the homey feel of their tiny, 1,086 square foot abode, they wanted more room, and used their remodel as an opportunity to create a greener, healthier and more energy efficient living space.

It was important to Linda that they maintain the cottage’s cozy feeling. “I wanted a real cottage feel when you came up the driveway, “ she says.

Located on a cul de sac off of Schoolhouse Road, the cottage has a long and storied history that Linda and Jerry wanted to make sure they preserved. The property, which runs alongside a creek, originally belonged to the family of Burr and Beverly Barker, Linda’s former husband and his sister.

Photo courtesy Allen Associates

Photo courtesy Allen Associates

Their grandfather, William Barker, purchased the five-acre property in 1895 and it became known as Barker Ranch. William had eight children, six sons and two daughters, who lived in the original farmhouse down the street.

“As they grew up he decided to give his children property on the farm so they could build their homes with their spouses when they married,” says Linda. So the property was divided up and Burr’s father Fred built the original cottage with his brothers in 1932.

When Fred and his wife Jeanne passed away in the late 1970s, Burr (then married to Linda) and his sister Beverly inherited the cottage. They bought Beverly’s share and held onto the property.  In 1994 the property was deeded to Linda and she moved into the family cottage.

Four generations of Barker children have played among the oak trees that frame the backyard of the cottage, which butts against the grounds of the 11-acre Casa del Herrero estate. Designed by the area’s premiere architect, George Washington Smith, Casa del Herrero is noted as one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and has been in the hands of its original owners, the Steedman family, since it was first constructed more than 75 years ago.

Photo courtesy Allen Associates

Photo courtesy Allen Associates

“What we wanted to achieve with this house remodel is to make it feel like it’s always been here,” Linda says, citing her love and appreciation for the older home styles found in Montecito and the Upper East Side of Santa Barbara.

Both of the Gutterman’s like traditional style homes that feel like they have a history. They have a special affection for the cottage, where Linda took residence in 1994. She married Jerry in 1999. “I married her for her cottage,” he jokes.

“I loved the cottage and I enjoyed living in it very much. It was very cozy because I had added all my touches. But the house was single wall construction, and it was cold. The windows were single glass paned…the nice leaded glass windowpanes that came from the old Parma Estate, and neat windows, classic leaded glass windows … but it was just drafty,” says Linda.

Photo courtesy Allen Associates

Photo courtesy Allen Associates

“They weren’t very energy efficient,” adds Jerry.

“We were burning gas like mad just keeping the house warm,” says Linda.

In addition, the house wasn’t well built. “It wasn’t a home that you could save and remodel. It wasn’t built well enough structurally, because it was built by the kids, by the boys,” she says. Plus, it is located right next to a creek and they had problems with mold and mildew.

“It was almost like it was becoming uninhabitable for health reasons, and so we decided we would build a whole new home. (There was) almost like an underwater lake that was developing under the foundation of the house when you dig down underneath the property,” says Linda.

Jerry explains that the Jell-O-like substance under the house was subsurface water, which had to be excavated in order to rebuild the structure. “We did not want to build over that because we would continue to sustain the same problems,” he says.

Photo courtesy Allen Associates

Photo courtesy Allen Associates

Working with Allen Associates, a local building contractor that specializes in green construction, the Gutterman’s decided to install a French drain system that collects all of the water runoff from the back of property and the roof and then drains it into the streambed for reuse.

While the Gutterman’s decided to remodel in January 2006, they didn’t actually begin demolition until April of that year. They worked with several architects to come up with a design that would preserve the look and feel of the old cottage while using new materials and technological innovations to go from a 1,086 square foot home to 2,900 square feet. Linda’s father, architect John Roberts, did the initial layout and floor plan.

But because we changed our minds so much, “her father fired us,” laughs Jerry. “Her dad does drafting the old-fashioned way with a pencil and eraser, and with the way Linda and I change our minds, until we figure it out, it was a lot of erasing for him.”

“We became known as Mr. and Mrs. Change,” says Linda. The next architect hired was Melvin Hemmer, who unfortunately passed away before the project was completed. Sophie Calvin took over at that point to complete the plans and get the design through all of the necessary approvals.

While the new home is more than twice the size of the original, from the curb it still looks like a small cottage. “We tried to keep the feel of this home from the front when you drive up to be similar to other homes on the street, to keep that same cottage sense and feeling,” says Jerry.

“When you drive up, it doesn’t look nearly as big as it is,” says Linda. “I kind of like the element of surprise. That is really what I enjoy is coming in to a home and seeing the charming little touches.”

Among the charming touches she preserved are the fireplace mantel from the original cottage, which now graces the master bedroom, and the door of the original 1900s farmhouse from Barker Ranch, which is now the entry to a new garden cottage in the backyard.

“That was important to us to try to keep the traditional integrity as best we could,” says Jerry.

There’s always a concern in older neighborhoods when people hear that there’s a new home going up, says Linda. While she understands the need to update older homes, “what I want is for this street to stay charming as it always has been. ”

Some of the biggest updates were in the area of energy efficiency. Improving insulation is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to improve the energy efficiency of a house, says Allen Associates Green Resources Manager Karen Feeney. In the Gutterman’s case, they used recycled content non-formaldehyde fiberglass insulation in all of the walls.  They also used energy-efficient windows and ceiling fans to improve circulation. An “on-demand” hot water heating system also improved efficiency, as did new Energy Star appliances.

The Gutterman’s selected innovative structural materials for their remodel as well. They used faux stonework for the outside fireplace, which is less expensive and easier to work with because it’s much lighter than real stone. Their backyard deck is a product called EverGrain, made from plastic and recycled wood fibers. This type of decking is extremely low maintenance and not prone to damage from termites or weather.

Linda says she marvels at the many high substitute materials available now instead of wood.

Fire is also a big concern in Montecito, and the Gutterman’s took this into consideration when choosing the EverGrain decking, which is Class A fire-rated, meaning it has a high resistance to fire and a lower probability of combusting during a fire. They also chose to use fiber cement shingle siding manufactured by CertainTeed and a fiber cement roof product called Firefree to address both their environmental and fire safety concerns.

“They were able to achieve both goals, the green goal as well as putting in materials in their home that were not going to be susceptible to fire, so there’s a win win in both areas,” says Feeney.

Their Isokern fireplaces in the living room, the kitchen, and outside on the deck were all designed for energy efficiency. “A lot of times you’ve got your fireplace and three-fourths of the heat is going up. The way that these are designed is that they are much more fuel-efficient and they radiate the heat back out into the rooms so they are more effective,” says Feeney.

In order to improve the air quality and therefore their health, the Gutterman’s—who had custom dining room and office cabinets built by John Willis and purchased their kitchen and bathroom cabinets from Jack’s Kitchens— used formaldehyde-free shelving and cabinet materials, as well as non-toxic sealants, adhesives and oils and zero/no VOC (no emission) paints and coatings throughout the house.

They also installed PEX plumbing, which is made from cross-linked polyethylene. In addition to the cost saving advantage over traditional copper plumbing, this material is more flexible so it doesn’t require welding, it’s more durable under temperature extremes, and there are no chemical byproducts to get into the water supply. “It’s definitely a cost effective green alternative,” says Feeney.

The Gutterman’s were thrilled to be able to move back into their cozy cottage last April, exactly one year and one week after demolition day. They had a hard time picking a favorite room. Jerry says he had a special affection for his office, the bedroom and the living room, while Linda says she loved both the kitchen and the master bathroom, in part because of their beautiful, park-like views, and of course the memories.

“There’s so much memory here of all our family get-togethers under these trees and of all our picnics and all that, so it’s really a very nostalgic thing for us,” says Linda, whose daughters Bryn and Leah now visit often with their own babies.

The structure may be new, but the rumble of the creek, the swish of the trees, and the history of the house still remain.

Originally published in Montecito Magazine, Spring 2008.

 

 

Ho Ho Holiday

‘Tis the Season in Santa Barbara

By Leslie Dinaberg

Say bah, humbug to the snow. Our warm-weather winters offer plenty of opportunities to fill your calendar with holiday cheer. Whether you’re looking for glittering lights, glitzy trees and glow-in-the-dark Santa Clauses, or more refined merry making, here are some of our favorite ways to celebrate the season, Santa Barbara style.

Historic Casa del Herrero’s Holiday-Themed Tour

Step back in time to the 1930s and enjoy the ambiance of Casa del Herrero (House of the Blacksmith), one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Revival Architecture. Reservations are a must for the special holiday-themed tours featuring classically elegant holiday decorations and special refreshments, alongside this historic landmark Andalusian-style country house and its lavish grounds and gardens.

Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, December 9,11,12,16,18 and 19th at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $20. Children 10 and over are welcome. For reservations call (805) 565-5653 or email casatour@silcom.com. 1387 East Valley Road, Montecito. www.casadelherrero.com.

Holidays at the Historic Stow House Ranch

The Stow House, dating back to 1873, will be dressed in a full festive array of finery for its annual holiday open house, featuring oodles of decorations both inside and out. Photo opportunities abound with Santa and his rein-goats offering a warm lap to visitors old and young; tours of the beautifully decorated house, where an old-fashioned toy train circles the base of the living room Christmas tree; crafts, including cookie-baking and decorating for the kids and live music.

December 12 and 13. Free admission. Call (805) 681-7216 or email dacia@goletahistory.org for more information. 304 N. Los Carneros Road, Goleta. www.stowhouse.com.

10th Annual Trolley of Lights Tour

Enjoy an incredible show of holiday light artistry when you take this 90-minute trip through town on the Trolley of Lights. Both the young and young-at-heart are sure to enjoy this dazzling display of decorations, as well as the hot apple cider and holiday treats. This tour is a local holiday favorite that always sells out, so make your reservations early.

From mid-December and throughout the month meets at 6:30 p.m. nightly at Stearns Wharf Dolphin Foundation, intersection of State Street and Cabrillo Boulevard. For more information call (805) 965-0353 or visit sbtrolley.com.

Originally published in the winter 2009/10 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine. See the pdf version here.

 

Winter Activities: Ho Ho Holidays

Casa Del Herrero, courtesy photo.

Casa Del Herrero, courtesy photo.

Say bah, humbug to the snow. Our warm-weather winters offer plenty of opportunities to fill your calendar with holiday cheer. Whether you’re looking for glittering lights, glitzy trees and glow-in-the-dark Santa Clauses, or more refined merry making, here are some of our favorite ways to celebrate the season, Santa Barbara style.

Historic Casa del Herrero’s Holiday-Themed Tour

Step back in time to the 1930s and cas enjoy the ambiance of Casa del Herrero (House of the Blacksmith), one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Revival Architecture. Reservations are a must for the special holiday-themed tours featuring classically elegant holiday decorations and special refreshments, alongside this historic landmark Andalusian-style country house and its lavish grounds and gardens.

Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, December 9,11,12,16,18 and 19th at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $20. Children 10 and over are welcome. For reservations call (805) 565-5653 or email casatour@silcom.com. 1387 East Valley Road, Montecito. www.casadelherrero.com.

Holidays at the Historic Stow House Ranch

The Stow House, dating back to 1873, will be dressed in a full festive array of finery for its annual holiday open house, featuring oodles of decorations both inside and out. Photo opportunities abound with Santa and his rein-goats offering a warm lap to visitors old and young; tours of the beautifully decorated house, where an old-fashioned toy train circles the base of the living room Christmas tree; crafts, including cookie-baking and decorating for the kids and live music.

December 12 and 13. Free admission. Call (805) 681-7216 or email dacia@goletahistory.org for more information. 304 N. Los Carneros Road, Goleta. www.stowhouse.com.

10th Annual Trolley of Lights Tour

Enjoy an incredible show of holiday light artistry when you take this 90-minute trip through town on the Trolley of Lights. Both the young and young-at-heart are sure to enjoy this dazzling display of decorations, as well as the hot apple cider and holiday treats. This tour is a local holiday favorite that always sells out, so make your reservations early.

From mid-December and throughout the month meets at 6:30 p.m. nightly at Stearns Wharf Dolphin Foundation, intersection of State Street and Cabrillo Boulevard. For more information call (805) 965-0353 or visit sbtrolley.com.

Originally published in the Winter 2009/10 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.