Montecito Mercantile Opens This Friday

••• I got to visit the thoroughly renovated and altogether striking 1969 Cliff May house at 2069 China Flat Road ($8.5 million) in Birnam Wood, and I found a lot to like. One detail that stood out: there’s a golf-cart garage with dedicated gate out to the course, and both have automatic doors.

••• The Montecito Mercantile shop opens this Friday at the Montecito Country Mart, in the former Read N’ Post space. It’s featuring “Summer, 90s Style” photo by Dewey Nicks.

••• “What’s happening with the desalination plant in Santa Barbara?” asked L. The city’s Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant has been reactivated since the summer of 2017. Montecito, which I believe is what L. was curious about, will begin taking deliveries starting January 1, 2022. Montecito Water District general manager Nick Turner explained that the Water Supply Agreement between Santa Barbara and the Montecito Water District is not specifically for desalinated water; the city may provide from any of its sources. The delivery is for 1,430 acre feet of water a year, irrespective of rainfall, which is between 35 and 40 percent of our water demand, depending on usage. And as always, usage is key: “This has been one of the driest years on record,” said Turner. “While we have desal starting in January, and that’s great news for reliability for the community, it doesn’t mean we have an endless supply. Other supplies are going to continue to run short, so we’re asking people to use water wisely—which we hope they’re always doing—but even more, we need to begin to cut back some. Collectively, if everyone cuts back some, it’ll add up to a lot.” He said more definitive targets will be announced in coming months. P.S. Pre-Covid, the city offered monthly tours of the desal plant.

••• A friend with a place in Hollister Ranch showed me around, and holy cow, what a magical place. I used to be convinced that public access to its beaches was important, but now I also see what’s at stake and how difficult it will be. Alas, I don’t think it’s kosher to publish photos, so you’ll have to trust me that if anyone ever invites you, you should clear your schedule and go. (For a sense of what it looks like, check out this exquisite 2017 project from Anacapa Architecture. I’d bet money the house is in the Ranch, although I don’t know for sure.)

••• Santa Barbara Airbus is once again offering daytrips to L.A., including to Dodgers games and the Beyond Van Gogh exhibit.

••• Architecture firm ShubinDonaldson posted a photo of a model of the Pepper Hilla “villa” (their word, my quotation marks) under construction for Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin. If you’re new to this site, wander over to see the renderings—the house promises to be something else (and I mean that in the very best way).


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