Blessed by a combination of provenance, impeccable care, skillful renovation and tasteful updating, Montecito’s Somerset estate stands ready to welcome its new owner. Built in 1918 in the community’s elite “Golden Quadrangle,” it is now a fine example of superior 21st century workmanship and conveniences while honoring early 20th century charm and class.
Beginning in 1939 and continuing into the 1960s, the home’s owner, Henrik Westen, commissioned iconic architect Lutah Maria Riggs to design and oversee several alterations and additions. Landscaping of the approximately 1.6-acre grounds is believed to be attributed to prominent landscape architect Lockwood de Forest.
European and Montecito Influences Meet
Imposing electric gates ensure privacy at each of the estate’s two entrances and open to a brief drive surrounded by lush landscaping. Arriving at the main residence, one is struck by the harmonious integration of classic and new architectural elements. Estates of the privileged nestled in the countryside of both England and France come to mind. Yet the ambiance here is distinctly Montecito, where the natural Mediterranean-like light is encouraged to permeate the finest homes, and an active indoor-outdoor lifestyle is de rigueur.
Of Contrast and Complementarity
Once inside, entering via the stunning custom-designed front door, one finds oneself in a gracious foyer. Across this welcoming vestibule, the home’s stately staircase leads to the second-floor master suite. Off the foyer, the living room is a showcase of casual sophistication and masterful juxtaposition, where walls of boiserie manage to both contrast with and complement the floor-to-ceiling fireplace surround of precisely-cut native sandstone. A soaring vaulted ceiling rises above massive open beams, and the room bathes in natural light bestowed by large multi-pane and clerestory windows.
There are multiple French doors as well, opening to a spacious terrace and beyond to the spa, pool, gazebo and gardens. Two guest suites are conveniently located off the living room.
Across the foyer, the dining room offers a more formal mood with the handsome stone mantel and surround of its fireplace, wainscoting and crown moulding. There are large French windows and egress to a balcony perfect for intimate al fresco repasts.
Pots, Pans, Practicality and Perfection
The culinary center of the main residence at Somerset estate is truly impressive and is designed to please the most finicky home or private chef, or the most particular caterer. A spacious kitchen, expertly designed for both aesthetics and efficiency, features top-of-the-line professional-grade appliances, abundant Shaker-style cabinetry, a large and versatile center island, and a generous butler’s pantry providing significant counter space and substantial storage. The beautifully polished wood floor extends into the adjacent breakfast area, which is set in a bay, illumined by large French windows and open to the inviting family room. Nearby, a service hall leads to the wine and laundry rooms, office, and a guest or staff bedroom with bath en suite.
A Worthy Retreat. A Welcoming Refuge.
The upper level of the estate’s primary residence is reserved for the mountain view master suite: a sanctuary rivaling those at the world’s finest hotels and luxury resorts. Entrance is through a large, supremely inviting and comfortable sitting room. From there, double doors lead into the bedroom where a soaring, heavy-beam vaulted ceiling and French doors to a large balcony overlooking the estate grounds create a bright and airy setting. The suite also hosts a room-size walk-in closet flanked by a pair of luxurious bathrooms.
Something for the Most Discerning Visitors
Two guest residences grace the estate as well, and provide an additional 3 bedrooms. A single-story abode provides a country feel, with its wide-plank wood floors, open-beam vaulted ceiling, fireplace with floor-to-ceiling stone surround, and a pair of French doors to a charming portico. Refined relaxation exemplifies the ambiance of the “west” guesthouse. It hosts a comfortably-sized living room, lovely bedroom, full kitchen, spacious second floor loft, and access to the estate’s guest pool, surrounded by verdant lawn.
Gardens of Effusive Enchantment
The grounds of Somerset estate are special, not just due to provenance, but also considering their maturity, the continuity of their care, and the symphony of complementary at play between the gardens’ elements. From the lengthy hedgerow at the entrance to the estate, to the abundant display of flora and precisely sculpted hedges within the property’s borders, landscape magic is present and thriving here.
The sparkling pool and spa, intimate seating areas and walking paths, delightful gazebo, and even the built-in cooking area with its top-of-the-line grill, are all highlighted and defined by the perfectly placed and impeccably maintained flora surrounding them.
The Versatile Jewel of Montecito’s Golden Quadrangle
Here, then, is a Montecito estate to serve every lifestyle, taste, and family or personal situation. No matter if one prefers formality or casual sophistication; European or American sensibilities; grand entertaining or an occasional intimate soirée; short-term guests or long-term extended family; privacy and seclusion or convenience to all the cultural, recreational and social opportunities Montecito and Santa Barbara offer, Somerset provides the perfect home or home away from home.
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