Despite being a small dot on the map of California, Montecito is one of the most exclusive places in the United States. It recently gained popularity as the destination that Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, chose to buy a luxurious mansion and settle with his family. However, even before the arrival of the famous couple, other millionaires had already chosen this area to settle and buy property.
According to 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data, this corner of Santa Barbara County has less than 9000 inhabitants, the majority with a lifestyle only within the reach of a few. In its 23.99 square kilometers of extension there are big houses, luxurious spas, private beaches and even golf courses. In addition, some properties built in the 18th century are also preserved in the town.
The story of the emergence of a unique combination of architecture and interior design in this area found its way into a book: “Montecito Style: Paradise on California’s Gold Coast” (Montecito Style: A Paradise on California’s Gold Coast). In the compilation, made by Iranian American photographer Firooz Zahedi, in collaboration with the writer Lorie Dewhirst Porter, it shows “An insider’s look at the homes and gardens in the exclusive corner of Southern California”, according to the description of the Monacelli publishing house.
According to this work, Montecito’s rise as a haven for millionaires began in 1917, when architect and painter George Washington Smith began building the first residences, with Mediterranean colonial touches. His inspiration had been a trip to Andalusia, Spain. Other designers, such as Reginald Johnson and Myron Hunt, seconded him and the call was soon forged “Montecito style”.
The attractive range of architectural styles are combined with the peculiar geographical features, unique, such as the good climate and the proximity to the beaches of Santa Bárbara and other tourist attractions. All this make Montecito one of the most desired places to live, that already fell in love with prominent celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Katy Perry, Jennifer Aniston, Adam Levine, George Lucas and others.
Although one of the outstanding factors of Montecito is the good climate, in recent years have faced threats caused by heavy rains. Just at the beginning of 2023, the town was one of those that was under a flood and landslide alert due to the torrential rains that impacted California. Residents had to prepare for evacuations to avoid a major catastrophe.
As reported niche, a tool to review what life is like in different areas of the United States, Montecito is the best location to live in the Santa Barbara area. The aspects that stand out are the family life and public schools. The average value of a property to live in exceeds two million dollars, while rents are above US$2,300 a month.
“I will liven Montecito offers residents an unusual suburban feel; most own their homes. There are many restaurants, cafes and parks (…), and the residents tend to be conservative”, the site remarks.