Montecito and Santa Barbara architecture has become famous through the passionate efforts of a variety of very talented architects and designers.
Although well documented... most Admirers are not aware that George Washington Smith had actually dropped out of Harvard University while studying Architecture.
He did not complete the course work, nor did he graduate with a degree in Architecture.
For family financial reasons... he left Harvard and took a low paying drafting position at a friend's startup Architectural Firm in Philadelphia.
With his financial success in Trading, he eventually made it to California- retiring here with his wife Mary... with the intent to focus on his fine art painting.
They bought a beautiful piece of land in Montecito, and George quickly designed and built an Andalusian Farmhouse style home and art studio.
Legend has it, locals were not interested in his paintings... but loved the new home he had designed and fashioned in the style of the old Spanish homes he studied and admired during his travels to Spain.
TOP PHOTO: A beautiful, Spain inspired fountain designed by George Washington Smith (for Casa Del Herrero).
LEFT: A classic fountain found in an old public square in Seville, Spain.
ABOVE: For hundreds of years... these well traveled Spanish Plazas have been inspiration for designers and architects, the world over. The rich textures, colors and brick patterns are "timeless", classic combinations.
Locally, George Washington Smith had an ability to recognize these classic Spanish patterns and finishes, and was able to artistically design them in to his projects.
His fame and Architectural Design Services grew quickly, thereafter.
Clients with means, commissioned him to design Special Homes with Souls...
they too, wanted to enjoy the authentic materials and design details he had discovered and photographed while visiting enchanting villages and towns in Spain.
RIGHT: An East Courtyard at Casa Del Herrero, designed by George Washington Smith and George F. Steedman after their 1923 trip to Spain together.
Most of the homes George Washington Smith designed in the Andalusian vernacular have become well known, and cherished by our community.
His trips to Spain must have naturally given him inspiration for the projects he was commissioned to design.
LEFT: A photo I shot on a beautiful quintessential historical street... just a block or two from Royal Alcazar Palace of Seville, Spain:
A hand wrought iron window grille with simplistic details makes it an attractive composition.
Again... I wondered if GW Smith had also come across this architectural detail while wandering historic Seville.
He incorporated a nearly identical design for two decorative window grilles on the front of the now famous George Washington Smith: Canby/Cunningham House on Mesa Road in Montecito California.
See Page 35 of this Montecito Journal article about the house.
Sadly, George Washington Smith's artistic design career lasted only about 12 years (1918-1930).
He passed away at the young age of 54 years old.
His ability to SEE, Design and Create beautiful new compositions using the Old World, authentic materials and resources from Spain...
secured his Legacy as the Founder and early Leader in reshaping Santa Barbara's architectural history in to the "Spanish Style" we know and love, today.
RIGHT: The charming, gated entrance to the George Washington Smith designed Meridian Studios.
Completed in 1923, the Meridian Studios were originally designed as artist studios in front of the historic Lugo Adobe on East De La Guerra Street.
LEFT: A photo I shot in the historic streets of Seville, Spain.
Catedral de Sevilla- the cathedral that took 100 years to build (from 1402 - 1506)
The Columns and architectural details reminded me of the Meridian Studios, back home in Santa Barbara, California.
I paused to wonder if perhaps George Washington Smith might have also enjoyed this 500 year old detail, during a trip to Seville...
and then incorporated the spirit of it's composition in to Meridian Studios.
While walking the quaint villages and towns of historic Spain...
One can instantly appreciate the romantic and authentic architectural design elements that might have also caught the eye of George Washington Smith...
Streets he may have strolled with clients... a little over 90 years ago-
RIGHT: I shot this photo on a famously quaint, narrow alley in the Barri Gotic district (Gothic Quarter, Old Historic Town Barcelona, Spain).
I smiled when I discovered this unique and special iron dragon detail... and wondered if GW Smith and George F. Steedman might have also been mesmerized by it's artistic composition.
LEFT: If you tour Casa Del Herrero "House of the Blacksmith" in Montecito, California...
make sure to look for this iron dragon detail that is mounted on the East Wall of the house, above an arched alcove with fountain.
According to this direct link entitled:
George Washington Smith and his client George F. Steedman traveled Spain together in 1923...
studying details for the construction of Casa Del Herrero.
I would have given anything to be on that field trip...
With no budget constraints mentioned- it would have been fun looking for whimsical and inspirational ideas that might be incorporated in to the project.
Modifications and design tweaks are a common, Gentleman way of not blatantly knocking off another's original creation.
RIGHT: an iron dragon George F. Steedman created in his Casa Del Herrero foundry and shop.
Click Thumbnail to see this vendors unique collection of Spanish style decor at Amazon.com now.
This Artisanally Crafted replica (19th century antique) is a quality 2 lb. cast iron piece, 12" tall
If you get a chance to tour Casa Del Herrero in Montecito...
make sure to check out the garage... just wide enough to house a Model T.
George Washington Smith and George F. Steedman put alot of effort in to it, and masterfully detailed it with classic, Spanish tile patterns.
Throughout Casa Del Herrero... you can see authentic Spain in the execution of their design.
RIGHT: A photo I took in a quaint Tapas Bar in the historic district in Seville, Spain.
Note the classic chair rail tile pattern.
LEFT: Front Entry Door of Casa Del Herrero.
George Washington Smith and George F. Steedman composed beautiful, traditional and classic Spanish details: Tiles beneath the iron balcony.
They also installed an authentic Spanish door with iron clavos details and door knocker.
I like the use of carved stone as an important design statement for the door surround.
RIGHT: A warm entry to an authentic Spanish Home.
The pair of wood doors with decorative iron clavos and door knocker are eye catching.
I came across this attractive pair of doors in the narrow streets of Seville, Spain.
I thought the pounded sheet metal at the bottom was both decorative and ingenious for protecting it from the bumps and common Oopsie Daisies of living on a busy alley way in this vibrant, historic city.
LEFT: These narrow streets of Seville, Spain are riddled with unique trinkets and architectural embellishments- delightful art pieces which I could stare at for hours.
It makes sense in a sea of historic buildings that the building owners would hire Artisans to create "Signature" markings to their properties. Here, a carved stone Family Crest.
Also note classic Spanish tile beneath the twisted iron balcony.
Art + Architecture Lovers could spend endless hours wandering the streets of historic Spain.
I shot this interesting graphic- An old map, mounted to a wall...
another souvenir photo, and fond memory of the treasures a friend of mine and I stumbled upon while exploring cities in Spain.
If you would like to read about the adventures of George Washington Smith and George F. Steedman, as they collaborated to design Casa Del Herrero-
You can purchase Casa Del Herrero: The Romance of Spanish Colonial directly from Amazon. Not cheap... when I wrote this page, it was hovering at $399
I bought this book back in September 2011 and serendipitously ran in to author Robert Sweeney at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.
I asked if he would autograph my copy at some point, which led to a very gracious invite and private tour of Casa Del Herrero. A special treat since I have been a huge George Washington Smith fan for decades.
Architect George W Smith is without a doubt, the most admired home designer in local Santa Barbara and Montecito architectural history.
His life and his art, and the homes he created in Montecito in the short 12 years of his career are now the gold standard for distinctive Santa Barbara and Montecito architecture.
They are highly prized by realtors, home buyers and home owners and new listings quickly sell for top prices.
Luckily, there are resources to see his work up close...
Casa del Herrero is open to the public and is a quintessential example of an artistically designed Santa Barbara Spanish Revival Style home.
George W Smith also created projects that ranged from Montectio Cottage Andalusian Style to grand and gated Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial Revival Estates in Montecito and the Hope Ranch Robledal estate.
With the assistance of a talented draftsperson (Lutah Maria Riggs who later became a well known architect herself)...
George Washington Smith produced an impressive number of buildings in California, a large portfolio of completed projects.
Interesting photos and information about Santa Barbara's beautiful architecture and colorful history is a hobby of mine.
Please peruse the many pages of this website to learn more about the local Santa Barbara and Montecito scene.
Here, some beautiful photo images of architectural details at Casa Del Herrero... You can see for yourself by taking a tour.
Meridian Studios (Shown in photo at left), Casa De Buena Vista, Il Brolino, Santa Barbara News Press building, Lobero Theatre, Casa del Herrero, Casa del Greco, La Cumbre Country Club, Eichheim House, El Hogar, Casserly, Perkins House, Buffum House, Dieterich, Brainard House, Andalucia, LaToscana, and Douglas House
There is limited information online about these various masterpieces.
Although George Washington Smith is the most famous and celebrated designer architects in Santa Barbara and Montecito history...
Since the 1920s there are other noted California architects + designers that have contributed to Santa Barbara’s unique charm.
These Talented Architects and Landscape Architects include:
Carlton Winslow (La Quinta)
William Mooser III (Santa Barbara Courthouse)
Bertram Goodhue (Montecito Country Club)
Edwards and Plunkett (Arlington Theatre)
Landscape Architect Lockwood de Forest
Spanish Colonial Revival (1915 - 1930s California ) is considered the most popularly identified "Spanish Style" in the Santa Barbara Downtown
El Pueblo Viejo Landmark District - is a beautiful concentration of architecturally significant and important Santa Barbara buildings-
The City of Santa Barbara Charter for Designing Downtown architecture also puts an emphasis on Monterey Revival and California Adobe as other desirable Spanish Styles of Architecture for El Pueblo Viejo (the Old Town).
LEFT: Classic Red Tile roof and white plaster on the Santa Barbara's Courthouse.
RIGHT: A familiar side entrance and narrow alley way in the historic downtown district of El Pueblo Viejo in Santa Barbara, California
The "organicness" of hand troweled plaster, cobble stone walkways, hand wrought iron details and 2 piece mission red tile roofs add to the authenticity of bringing Spain to our little seaside hamlet.
Even Santa Barbara's newest, most whimsical architecture might have faint traces of Spain's architectural DNA...
perhaps a magical moment during a stroll through the streets of Spain.
We know for sure, that for well over 100 years local Santa Barbara Architects, Designers and their clients have been visiting Spain for inspiration.
Eating, Breathing and Sleeping in the Old Country can bring new insights and appreciation for the quality and authenticity that each creative collaboration, seeks.
LEFT: La Plaza de Toros Monumental de Barcelona was the last active bull ring in Barcelona, before bull fighting was banned in Catalonia in 2012.
The 100+ year old structure is a beloved fixture in historic Barcelona Spain.
The artistically designed and built Arena has quite a colorful past... including Rock Concerts by the Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
As I wandered the empty grounds, I imagined the roar of the crowds echoing through the perfectly round structure.
I wondered what it would have been like to experience a real life bull fight there- the Gladiator aspect of it all...
Without doubt, I know I would have enjoyed the Stones concert.
Other Influential Architects and Designers:
I have always admired Wallace Neff (Libbey Ranch)
and Stiles O. Clements (Adamson House)
LEFT: Adamson House
as major influencers on my creative outlook,
and design style for carrying on the tradition of Hand Drawn, Concept Renderings
They had the mindset of an artist creating a work of art, when designing their homes.
If you are looking for quality books about George Washington Smith...
please visit the Santa Barbara Home Design Online Book Store to see current Best Selling Book rankings.
See what other visitors are purchasing, as well as the most popular books (best selling) featured on this website.
LEFT: Click here to learn more about this rendering
Click George Washington Smith: Architect of the Spanish-Colonial Revival to see current pricing, and Santa Barbara Home Designer Jeff Doubet's Verified Amazon Purchase 5 Start review on this George Washington Smith book that I wrote back in October 2009.
Not CHEAP... this rare book now has a flucuating price range of $380 - $500 for a new copy. Used copies start at about $180.
Click thumbail at left to see Amazon's real time pricing.
Click George Washington Smith: An Architect's Scrapbook to see current pricing, and Santa Barbara Home Designer Jeff Doubet's Verified Amazon Purchase review on this George Washington Smith book, that I wrote back in April of 2010.
LEFT: A client tipped me to this Impressive Book created by local Santa Barbara Architect Jock M. Sewall, A.I.A.
Nearly 2 inches thick, it is a highly recommended reference book, 430 pages of inspiring photos and information.
Here, I used client marked pages to incorporate details he liked, into the new Conceptual Design Rendering.
The elevation renderings were used in a recent Montecito Architectural Board of Review (MBAR). The client proposal for a brand new estate on a prime, vacant parcel in the heart of Montecito.
Mediterranean Architecture: A Sourcebook of Architectural Elements by local Santa Barbara Architect Jock Sewall-
It is my most recommended reference book for Santa Barbara style designing of Homes.
For over a century, Santa Barbara, Montecito and Hope Ranch have been upscale, Coastal California communities that are ideal for the Best Designers and Architects to practice their craft.
I enjoy compiling resource lists for the best California architects contributing to classic Spanish Revival architecture in the region.
These Spanish Revival and Mediterranean Masters designed many of Santa Barbara's most iconic, architectural gems:
Please peruse these direct links to other things you may find interesting.
San Marcos Court Building
Navigate dozens of pages dedicated to information, photos, designs, drawings and insights for designing a Santa Barbara Style home.
*I encourage you to click image ABOVE to see a wide selection of completed projects.
Other Links of Interest:
George Washington Smith Bibliography
David Gebhard "Founding Father: George Washington Smith". Santa Barbara Magazine.
Patricia Gebhard George Washington Smith: Architect of the Spanish-Colonial Revival , Gibbs Smith, 2005. ISBN 1-58685-510-7
* Please note that I am an Amazon Affiliate. I receive a small commission on items that you purchase directly at Amazon (through the direct links I provide on my website). Because you are purchasing directly at Amazon... the price you pay is the same (no extra charge to you). Thanks for your support and Good Luck with your project! Jeff