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“Owner was a tinkering genius” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Casa del Herrero

Casa del Herrero
Ranked #22 of 173 things to do in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Tours are by reservation only on Wednesdays and Saturdays for those 10 years & older. Admission for the 90-minute, Docent-led tours is $20 per person. Designated in 2009 as Santa Barbara's 4th National Historic Landmark, the Casa del Herrero, built in 1925, stands today as one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. The creative manifestation of St. Louis industrialist George Fox Steedman, Casa del Herrero (House of the Blacksmith) reflects the visionary passions of its 'dream team' of designers: reknowned architect, George Washington Smith, landscape architects Lockwood de Forest and Francis T. Underhill, and antiquarians Arthur Byne and Mildred Stapley, who also helped outfit the well-known Hearst Castle.
Ojai, CA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Owner was a tinkering genius”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 25, 2012

First, it's a stunning property. The grounds and gardens are well planned, and the mansion reveals close attention to detail. A snapshot of the mind of the owner and (I would say) co-designer is revealed in the last stop of the tour, the extensive workshop. By the time the tour concluded, I could anticipate seeing this bastion of manliness, because the owner had thought so much about the other parts of the property. Our tour guide (David) described the owner Mr Steedman as a Renaissance man and as the tour progressed David revealed the many grand and small touches that Steedman brought to the place. It's a stunning tapestry of the man's genius, that the brilliant parts enhance the whole.

Our tour started in the gardens -- plural, because of the fashion to include surprise gardens, French gardens, rose, desert, forest, kitchen-and-cutting gardens, etc. The house had a Moorish southern Spain concept, well-integrated throughout and accented both with items brought from overseas and those made by Steedman. A special feature was the octagonal library that Steedman had built for his wife -- we lingered there for the longest time.

Our guide's enthusiasm and expertise made the tour extra special. Kudos to him.

Make reservations for a tour of this special place.

Visited December 2012
2 Thank PJ P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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142 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
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  • Spanish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Dover, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
58 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Our Favorite”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 4, 2012

In two full days of seeing the various attractions in the Santa Barbara area, Casa del Herrero was our favorite. It is enjoyable to tour palatial residences from the past (such as Hearst Castle), but it is hard for ordinary human beings to relate to many of them. Casa del Herrero is different. While clearly a home well out of the financial reach of the average citizen, it is at the same time a residence one can imagine living in. Its scale and amazingly tasteful design and decoration simply make one feel at home. The story of the building, and the builder, of the house is truly intriguing and was very well-told by the guide. If you're in the area, don't miss this!

Visited October 2012
2 Thank Ronald G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
35 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Charming and delightful house and garden: Spanish Colonial Revival”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 3, 2012

Tucked away, and a haven of charm and beauty. Fantastic guide (Hal) who evoked the people and time the house was built. It's an interesting story and the house is full of extraordinary objects. It has integrity and presence as well a lovely feeling about it, strengthened by the welcoming docents. The garden is a series of spaces, the best of which is probably the moorish influenced garden stretching down from the house to a dry cactus garden, so calm and peaceful; but are rose, water and herb sections also (as well as an enormous Dragon's Blood Tree!). Steedman's workshop is quite remarkable. Such a particular and romantic house.

Visited October 2012
1 Thank IsisMG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara, California
Level Contributor
79 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
“Fascinating story of talented man.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 21, 2012

Good docents - worth a visit. Interesting house & grounds. Great workshop. Kids over 12 would be interested.

Visited July 2012
1 Thank winetripper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A Beautiful Glimpse Into The Past”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 14, 2012

What a terrific way to spend an afternoon. Plan ahead to make a reservation for the docent led tour. It will be well worth the time. The interior and exterior architecture is amazing. The grounds are beautiful. It was fun to hear the stories of the various furnishings and of the incredibly detail oriented man who had this house built. His workshop is every man's dream!!! We will definitely return for another tour or event in the future.

3 Thank Adelina D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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