"Use well thy time
Fast fly my hours
Good work lives on
The night brings rest."
~George Fox Steedman, motto inscribed on sides of Sundial
|No detail escaped attention. Not even the carving on the sundial pedestal.|
On Armistice Day, 1918, his fortune established, industrialist George Fox Steedman retired. He discovered Santa Barbara while he and his wife visited his brother being treated there by a foremost diabetes specialist, Dr David Sansum.
The climate. The geography. The potential for a country estate. An obsession was born. His dream was not to create an extravagant stage set to excess, such as the perpetually under-construction Hearst Castle up the coast, was considered by some to be.
|Solandra Maxima (cup of gold vine) breaks the expanse of white stucco wall between the loggia and sleeping porch|
A Harvard- educated engineer, Steedman's vision was to shape a timeless country home. He was throughout, along with his wife, an active participant in the creation of a 7,000 square foot family home.
Steedman bought 8 acres in Montecito, adding 3 more acres later. The couple hired the architect most associated with Spanish Colonial Revival, George Washington Smith and landscape architect Ralph Stevens, adding to his team of collaborators as what was to be a vacation home turned into a full-time residence.
There were shopping sprees to Spain accompanied by antiquarians Arthur and Mildred Stapley Byne. Old World. New World. What all the purchases and details have in common is quality craftsmanship articulated in even the smallest details.
Landscape. Architecture. Decorative Elements.What sets this home apart is how none is subservient to the others.
This early history of the house are the days fictionalized in the lives of where the last season of Downton Abbey left off. An ocean and far side of the American Continent away, if Julian Fellows wanted the old-money Crowleys to venture to our California central coast- I can envision Casa del Herrero cast as a destination.
|State Street in Santa Barbara, June 29, 1925|
June 29, 1925. Up the road in Santa Barbara, as the earth was shaking the downtown to the ground, industrialist George Fox Steedman and his wife, Carrie, were moving into their home. When Santa Barbara rose again- it was reshaped with consistent architectural identity which is now iconic to the region.
The Spanish Colonial Revival style of Casa del Herrero- "The House of the Blacksmith "
As God is in the details,
Oh, to be able to send you the scent of jasmine spilling over a wall.
|long view from sleeping porch.|
What I can show you is how decorative accents in cobalt blue lights up the landscape.
Show you how attractive trumpet vine is as an outdoor roof-covering. Imagine your heart fluttering as hummingbirds hover in their collection of nectar.
Meet George Steedman. A man so meticulous he hired an architect to design his workshop- Floyd Brewster.
With lots of windows to let in the views of the surrounding gardens..
Not just for his endless hobbies, but with a bright space for his wife to collect floral supplies and display her ribbons.
His tools were abundant. To keep so many and know where they are...
The space planning. The careful labeling. Good work lives on in the house that George built.
A National Historic Landmark, a visit belongs on anyone's list who is interested in California's cultural, architectural or landscape history, Casa del Herero is a must visit. Entrance is by reservation only- which you can find out about here .
While you are waiting , satisfy your cravings for the beauty of the place by checking out Nikkipolani's blog. The sleeping porch... I've been figuring out how many stories I need to sell to add one here):-
Until we meet again- Thank YOU for all YOU do to make the world more beautiful.
*State Street view post earthquake scanned from Bulletin of Seismological Society of America, v.15. December 1925