In yesterday’s post I shared a picture of a lovely home located in the quaint, yet exclusive, community of Montecito, California. If you are not familiar with Montecito then I must tell you that it is a beautiful enclave with a small community of under 10,000 residents, probably most of which live there part time. It is ranked by Forbes Magazine as one of the wealthiest communities in America and since it is a 2-hour drive from Los Angeles it is a very attractive to many notable Hollywood types, as well as other wealthy/uber-wealth folks. I once worked in Los Angeles (West Hollywood to be exact) and had a coworker who would commute from Montecito to L.A. on a weekly basis. He lived in an apartment in L.A. during the week and would drive to Montecito on Friday night to be with his wife and kids. He would drive back to L.A. for the work week on Sunday night or Monday morning. Go, figure…

Little did you know that the single image in yesterday’s post was a sneak peak of what was to come today as we take a look inside the legendary Montecito estate known as Los Suenos (“The Dreams”). The house was built in 1929 by American architect George Washington Smith and measures over 10,000 square feet and is situated over 3.3 acres of land. It even has a water tower that has since been converted into a four-story guest house.


When researching a post, you never know what you’ll come across. I found the website of journalist Isaac Hernandez who had the most intriguing insight regarding the history of the current ownership.

Robert Lieff bought this home with his then-wife, Carole Lieff, in 2004 for $4.5 million, spending another $2 million in renovations. They say home remodels are very tough on relationships. A year later the marriage ended in divorce, and Robert’s ex-wife kept the house. Robert went on to marry Gretchen, a supporter of UCSB Arts & Lectures, and one of my personal mentors. When the house went on the market, Robert knew he had to have it. He bought it back from his ex-wife in July 2012 for $10.5 million. And then it was many months of work to bring it back to its original beauty, investing $300,000 just to clean the grounds alone.  (Source: Isaac Hernandez, journalist)

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These original floors of the bathroom were designed by Lutah Maria Riggs, Santa Barbara's first female architect, who worked closely with George Washington Smith on the design of Los Suenos.

These original floors of the bathroom were designed by Lutah Maria Riggs, Santa Barbara’s first female architect, who worked closely with George Washington Smith on the design of Los Suenos.

I must admit that I don’t particularly love most of the furniture choices for the home but I think the owners did a fine job on the restoration of the gardens and architectural style and details. I commend the Lieff’s for scouring through original drawings and historical documents to lovingly restore their property making sure each detail was just right. And just for that, I give them a thumbs up!

Images via Santa Barbara Magazine.



  1. Karen B. says:

    I love the architectural style of the home. I remember when our youngest was attending UCSB we picked up a local paper and were blown away by the prices of the homes. We live very near Newport Beach and thought we were accustomed to expensive houses, but these were so much more. I have to say if I had that kind of money that is where I would like to live…love Montecito. Thanks for the tour.

    • Reviving Charm says:

      The prices of California real estate are astonishing in many areas, isn’t it? I guess we are fortunate to have bought when we did as prices just continue to rise. UCSB is such a great campus – how lucky for your daughter and for you to visit!

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