It’s easy to understand how Santa Barbara’s exclusive Riviera neighborhood got its name. Perched on a hillside just above the city’s picturesque downtown area, where views of red-tile roofs give way to the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands beyond, one would be forgiven for mistaking this lush locale for the Mediterranean Coast.
Of course, upon closer inspection, the ubiquitous Spanish Colonial Revival architecture and coastal-cool aesthetic make it abundantly clear that this is a rare remaining slice
of California’s Golden Age.
In fact, the lasting legacy of Reginald Johnson, one of the premier architects behind this distinct vernacular can still be seen throughout the city today, from the Santa Barbara Post Office to the iconic Biltmore Hotel (now owned and operated as the Four Seasons Biltmore). Yet there’s perhaps no greater example than the immaculately maintained Cuatro Vientos, a glamorous Spanish Colonial Revival residence located right in the Riviera.
Built in 1929, the property makes an enchanting first impression as one winds passed idyllic gardens, originally designed by noted landscape architect Ralph Stevens, and toward an auto circle that leads to the front entrance, flanked by towering palm trees and wooden balconies on either side. While the breathtaking façade makes it apparent
that this a work of supreme architectural significance, it only hints at the splendor that’s to come inside.
In the two-story entry foyer, visitors are greeted by tiled floors with a lustrous patina, ornately carved spiral-fluted wood columns on the second floor, and a dazzling pendant light above. Glimpses of the back patio entice one to move throughout the home and experience the dwelling as the architect intended. From far-ranging views that await around each corner to subtle details, like wrought iron finishes and varying floor patterns, the home carefully balances both a grand and intimate sense of scale.
The sun-drenched living room provides direct access to an expansive outdoor living space with multiple seating areas where one can watch the sunset behind the Pacific and enjoy a coastal breeze. Complete with a loggia, fully-equipped outdoor kitchen, sparkling swimming pool, and a rolling lawn, one can take full advantage of the favorable year-round climate with an unsurpassed backdrop.
The primary suite is located on the second floor, where each morning can begin by stepping onto a private balcony with views over the Santa Ynez Mountains before preparing for the day in a sumptuous bathroom, recently remodeled by Harrison Design. Intricate ceiling patterns and an elegant wood-trimmed fireplace further the timeless appeal.
A second spacious suite completes the upper level, while five more bedrooms are found throughout the main residence. Additionally, a two-bedroom guest house with ocean views provides luxurious living quarters for family, guests, or staff.
Designed by one of California’s most revered 20th-century architects, Cuatro Vientos has been fortunate to retain its authentic form and craftsmanship over the years,
providing the opportunity to experience the splendor of a bygone era.