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Casa del Herrero, Montecito

Santa Barbara, California, United States

Description

Casa del Herrero is a house built by George Washington Smith in 1925 in Spanish Colonial style. You can only see the house and pretty gardens by a very long docent-led tour. This is unfortunate because the gardens are lovely. 90 minutes (the time the tour is supposed to take) is already a long time to stand and listen to someone, and also a long time to tour a small house and fairly small garden. But the tour ends up taking 140 minutes. The docent we had spoke well and was interesting- but it was just too much! There needs to be some cutting of the tour material.
The house itself has some precious items from very long ago. Many are from 16th century convents. I loved the lamps made of gregorian chant choir paper. How unique! The house is very dark inside, as Smith was trying to make an authentic Andalucian farmhouse.
A real problem if you have asthma or allergies is that the house is extremely musty. This can happen with tours of old houses, and it is definitely the case with this house.
A breath of fresh air is the garden, at the end of the tour. It was designed with different "rooms." The first is a rectangular lawn bordered with flowers, with a Spanish tile seating area. When you walk down you come to a rose garden with hedges. Toward the back of the house is the most adorable garden clock on a high pedestal, which looks so charming with the mountains behind it. I couldn't get enough of this clock! There is a star-shaped fountain that leads down in a rivulet to another fountain at the top of the cactus garden. Next you walk through a delightful orchard with orange, lime, and avocado trees. This is California at its best! And then you reach a herb garden and the scent in the air makes you feel alive. Finally, you are in a courtyard with an arch and yellow wall, where the garage and workshop are located.
It would be nice if you could tour just the garden here, followed by tea beside one of the fountains.
Afterward, check out Upper Montecito Village for a bite to eat.

Photo Gallery


Wonderful trees and tilework by the workshop.

Entrance to the courtyard by the workshop.

Looking past a tilework seat to the herb garden.

Engraved sandstone and bougainvillea.

Bougainvillea tumbling over a wall.

Looking toward the orchard from the herb garden.

The garage and courtyard by the workshop.

Herb garden. I want a herb garden like this!

Bougainvillea delighting passersby.

Even the drains are beautiful!

Orange tree.

Avocadoes hanging from a tree.

The orchard in the morning sunlight.

Looking out over a gate to the cactus garden.

The lawn behind the house and mountains beyond.

Fountain by the cactus garden.

Rivulet that leads down from the back lawn.

Aluminum furniture in the back garden.

The back of the house, and star fountain.

Rivulet. See the fountain at the very bottom of the lawn, where the water ends up.

Fountain and cactus garden beyond.

So many sweet details.

Star fountain.

An ornate window and tropical flowers.

Pedestal clock and arches.

Doorway in a hedge.

Pomegranate tile on the side patio.

White roses and arched tile seating area.

A twisty column.

Rose garden.

Rose garden with hedges.

Blue tilework.

The rectangular side garden.

Rectangular lawn.

Looking at the house from the side garden.

Delicate flower.

Trumpet flower.

Flowers border the rectangular lawn.

Moorish window.

Banana trees.

Side doorway with decoration.

Above the entrance to the house.
   

Directions

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Casa del Herrero is located at 1387 East Valley Rd, Montecito CA 93108, call (805) 565-5653.
You must reserve your tour tickets online at their website. Tours are capped at twelve people, so book ahead of time. Tours are on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10am and 2pm. Cost is $25 and cancellations are not allowed, even far ahead of time. Children aged ten and up are allowed on the tour, and cost the same as adult entry, though the tour is too long for them.
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