Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Part 4 ~ Santa Barbara GWA Tour ` Casa del Herrero "House of the Blacksmith" in Montecito

"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.
 Or the scent of freshly mown  grass as a rare storm muscles into our drought-stricken state.

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.

A dog friendly- workshop.

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


Anonymous said...

Once again Lydia, part 4 was as the others: very worth waiting for!

This series has piqued my already high interest in a day trip with my Red Hats group to Santa Barbara gardens scheduled for mid-April.

Thanks for a preview of what promises to be a glorious day!

Judy Duvall
Seal Beach, CA

Anonymous said...


Just BEAUTIFUL! I loved everything about this gorgeous old California home. Lucky you to have visited there and to take such lovely photos for your blog.
I too have enjoyed the entire series!

Thank you for the virtual trip to Santa Barbara!


Oregon Sue said...

What an interesting place. Beautiful photos! ox

Lydia said...

Thank you Judy, Trisha and Sue for being the early bird responders. I am dreaming of going back. Soon!

nikkipolani said...

That workshop! Just being there makes you want to make things :-) Wasn't Molly a wonderful guide? It was very kind of her to spend the time with us.

Unknown said...

Awesome pick!! really beautiful photos you share... if you find Properties Summerland...