$33.5-Million Estate In Montecito Draws On The Heritage Of Coastal California

exterior view of a montecito luxury home at 888 Lilac Drive
The luxurious mansion at 888 Lilac Drive is in keeping with other estates in coastal Montecito. (Village Properties)

Montecito, California, known for stretches of beach and surf breaks, is characterized by the luxury estates that hug the coastal plain and foothills.

Today a seaside haven for celebrities and the well-heeled, the area was the home of the Chumash for more than 10 millennia before the Spanish arrived. In fact, the name of the community means “little mountain” in Spanish in reference to the Santa Ynez Mountains beyond.

Italian settlers, perhaps feeling a welcome familiarity in the Mediterranean-like climate, put down roots in the late 1800s.

A driveway curves towards the front of the mansion in Montecito.

Mediterranean design influences are apparent throughout the $33.5-million estate. (Village Properties)

The confluence of these later cultures no doubt influenced the built environment, but local architect George Washington Smith and his protege Lutah Maria Riggs are credited with popularizing the Spanish Colonial Revival style so often seen in the region.

Set on more than two flat acres with Pacific and mountain views, this $33.5-million estate pays homage to those traditions with its red-tile roof, arched openings and decorative wrought ironwork.

Designed for everyday living as well as large-scale events, the mansion features flexible spaces and seamless room flow.

The formal living room takes in treetop and ocean views.

The formal living room takes in green belt and ocean views. (Village Properties)

The entry-level living room sets the tone for the interiors with its high wood-beam ceiling, ornate stone fireplace and central chandelier. Three sets of arched French doors open to an ocean-facing loggia overlooking the swimming pool and a swath of manicured lawn.

The loggia runs the entire length of the main house. Gas heaters and ceiling fans keep the loggia comfortable year round.

The living-room adjacent formal dining room, which also opens to the loggia and an outdoor fireplace, is topped by a silver-leaf domed ceiling.

A silver-leaf ceiling reflects light back onto the table in the dining room.

A silver-leaf ceiling reflects light back onto the table in the dining room. (Village Properties)

A corner family room featuring vaulted beam ceilings, a fireplace and wood floors sits off the open-plan kitchen, which easily accommodates an informal dining table as well as the eat-at and prep island. Wide plank floors, soapstone sinks and marble counters are among the details.

A hidden panel in the library connects to the primary suite, which has a roomy sitting area and loggia access.

The lower-level home theater is equipped with a drop-down screen, blackout shades and an acoustic ceiling. Other living spaces include a gym, a bar and a game room.

The wood paneled library/office contains a secret entrance to the primary bedroom.

The wood paneled library/office contains a secret entrance to the primary bedroom. (Village Properties)

Including the guest house, there are six bedrooms and eight bathrooms within some 13,600 square feet. The guest house, at nearly 800 square feet, contains a kitchenette and sits atop a three-car garage.

Off-the-grid amenities include solar power, a generator, a greywater irrigation system and a private well. Secluded gardens, an organic vegetable bed, citrus orchards and chicken coops complete the grounds.

Riskin Partners Estate Group at Village Properties has the listing for 888 Lilac Drive, Montecito, California.

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During four decades of covering luxury and celebrity housing, I’ve looked into people’s homes, lives and property records through many lenses. I was the Los Angeles Times Real Estate section editor for eight years, the Hot Property columnist for six and did stints as a newspaper reporter, copy editor and page designer. My work for The Times Business, Home and Real Estate sections has garnered in-house and national awards for blogging, editing and feature writing.