Credit: HomeonSpringwood on Instagram

Grocery store traffic is tight, inboxes are filled with tasty tips, kids are out of school — and by the way, when did they start getting a full week off?! ’Tis the turkey season! When it comes to decorating for this week’s holiday, I simply let my pumpkins segue from Halloween into Thanksgiving table-toppers. If your standards are higher than mine, turn to Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration, like the DIY recycled pumpkin floral centerpiece above. Either way, come Thursday, the food is bound to be the main attraction, no matter what color your napkins are.


Credit: Richard Powers

California Homes II, a new book released last week, showcases homes designed by local architect William Hefner. Based in Los Angeles and Montecito, Hefner’s work integrates architecture, interior design, and landscape. Studio William Hefner has expanded more recently to offer custom furniture, lighting, and hardware design. The book highlights 10 homes, ranging from contemporary to traditional design, including one in Montecito, shown above. The book is available online, and locally at Hudson Grace.


Credit: Eric Foote

Here’s a fun way to look at recent local home sales. This data, shared by real estate agent Jessie Sessions, represents all listings sold in September and October, broken down by zip code. Perusing the list for my neighborhood, I recognized the cute Craftsman house shown above, which I visited and wrote about a couple of months ago. A before-and-after comparison shows that it sold above asking price, a common occurrence in today’s competitive market. See what’s happening in your own backyard, or any area from Carpinteria through the Santa Ynez Valley. Thanks, Jessie!

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Credit: Virtour Media

The iconic Hope Ranch Barn was the home and studio of the late artist and UCSB Professor Emeritus Irma Cavat. Set on 1.5 acres in the center of Hope Ranch, the property was listed for sale this week by Nancy Newquist-Nolan of Coldwell Banker. Irma’s daughter Nika shared these thoughts about the home she grew up in:

For the past fifty years, the Barn has been the epicenter for international visitors, festive parties, the raising of children and grandchildren, and an abundance of creativity. 

As you drive onto the property, you’ll see Cavat’s beloved pomegranate tree, the fruit of which was featured in many paintings. There are two spectacular, large palm trees, as well as a purple jacaranda tree at the entrance. Finally, a hundred year old oak tree presides over the front entrance as you walk upstairs. 

Cavat was drawn to the Barn because it offered the perfect buttery light, solitude, and space for an artist.  With hoot owls, whinnying horses, the occasional coyote howl, and briny sea breeze, the barn is uniquely situated in a small valley at the end of a dead-end road, so there is never any traffic and, without light pollution, the night sky is awash with stars. 

Cavat built her dream studio, with skylights and high ceilings for maximum light to work. The late afternoon light often makes the second floor feel like a sun-dappled aquarium. 

With its signature red exterior, breath-taking mountain and orchard views, unusual interior spaces, and the deep spirit of a woman artist’s vitality, the Hope Ranch Barn is truly rare and unique.

I hope you found this description of a family home as heart-warming as I did, and that your own home is filled with the joy of the season as we give thanks this week. Happy Thanksgiving!

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