The third day of our road trip began in Santa Barbara – a place that we are both very familiar with. However, our goal for this day was to do a combination of things; some which we had done before while also taking part in some new experiences.
This is the ‘lavanderia’, which was built in 1808 by the Chumash Indians of the Santa Barbara mission village. It is the wash basin where the Indian women did the laundry. The clothes were washed in the basin and then scrubbed and laid out to dry along the sloped sides.
At the end of the lavanderia is the head of a mountain lion that was carved by a Chumash Indian. It is thought to the be the oldest, public stone sculpture in California.
|A flowering Dasylirion quadrangulatum.|
The cemetery was filled with old graves from the late 1700’s all the way to the early 1900’s. The Indian girl from the book, “Island of the Blue Dolphins”, who was found on the islands just off the coast of California, is buried on the mission grounds in an unmarked grave.
This shaded pathway ran along the side of the cemetery.
Have you ever visited a California Mission? There are 21 located along the California coast from San Diego to San Francisco. I’ve seen several, and will visit a few others on this trip, which I’ll share with you.
Now for the second part of our day…
Casa del Herrero is an historic mansion located in Montecito, which is a small town located next to Santa Barbara.
This Spanish Colonial style home was built in 1925 and is still largely the same, indoors and outdoors making it a wonderful example of the style of the 1920’s period.
|A purple trumpet vine crawls up the side of the front entry.|
This was the home of the Steedman family who came from St. Louis. They made the decision to build their second home in Santa Barbara (Montecito). Mr. Steedman was a engineering graduate of Harvard and owned a munitions plant that was instrumental during WW I.
After retiring, he began silversmithing and working with other metals, earning him the name “the blacksmith”. His workshop is filled with countless tools, meticulously arranged. There areseveral of his inventions still in the workshop that he had patented.
|Bright red geraniums hang from the window, peeking through the rejas (decorative iron work covering the window).|
Tours of the estate are by reservation only and small groups are led by docents at a pre-arranged time. The tour begins in the home where no photography is allowed. Then it moves to the garden and finally the workshop. As you can probably guess, I was mostly interested in seeing the garden.
The tour begins in the house. Photographs were allowed outside but not indoors. I did really like the windows, which were covered with decorative metal iron, which is characteristic of the Spanish Colonial Revival style. Another feature of this style is that window aren’t symmetrical – they are asymmetrical and occur wherever a window is needed for light or to open up a view.
The style of Santa Barbara (and Montecito) is the Spanish Colonial Revival style and I was very excited to see some great architectural examples as well as in the landscape design.
This view from the downstairs of the house shows a brightly-colored Spanish tiles. The refreshing sound of water made me yearn to go outside.
At this point, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the inside tour.
When it was time to go outdoors, I tried to stay toward the front, without being obnoxious so that I could get pictures of the garden without people turning up in them – I think that I mostly succeeded 😉
This slightly raised area is backed by a ‘foot fountain’ where you can cool off your feet in the shallow basin – I’d love something like that in my garden, wouldn’t you?
In this area of the garden, plants with white blooms were added at the request of the owners. They liked to take a strolls at night and without outdoor lights, could still see where they were walking due to the way white blooms appear to ‘glow’ at night.
|White bearded iris|
|Calla (Arum) lilies|
Here is the rose garden, which was filled with tree roses enclosed in sharply pruned boxwood shrubs. Not really my style, but they were nice.
This other section of the garden starts with a unique water feature.
As with all Spanish Colonial Revival design, there are Moorish influences as is shown with this eight-pointed star-shaped fountain.
A grassy space lined with star jasmine, trained as shrubs lead toward another water fountain and a gate at the very end.
I don’t know about you, but I really want to know what lies beyond the little gate.
Standing at the gate, you see an area that has been allowed to remain natural except for the Spanish tiled structure. Evidently, the grandchildren of the originally owners would have campouts in this area and the servants would haul out cots, sheets and blankets for the kids. I know that my kids would love to have done something like this.
Adding to the intrigue of this more natural area is a huge dragon tree (Dracaena draco), which adds intrigue and interest to this area.
Semi-circular steps lead you back up toward to the back of the house.
A shady seating area is covered with lovely tiles. I think that this would be a really great option for a decorative patio.