Diane Dorrans Saeks: Santa Barbara Living

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of receiving an invitation to the San Francisco Book signing of Diane Dorrans Saeks new book, Santa Barbara Living which was held at the incomparable Gumps store near Union Square. You see, the world of blogging is quite a powerful thing. Ms. Saeks had been keeping up with Katiedid, and had seen my post on the Cosmo Cafe. This led her to read my blog profile. It just so happens to say that I love all books by the so very chic and talented Ms. Saeks. I was very excited to be invited and I will always jump at an excuse to go to San Francisco. And what a great excuse!

Some work colleagues and I arrived in San Francisco, and upon walking into Gumps, were met by a very gracious young woman who directed us to cocktails and books. I thought the table where Diane was to sign books was quite lovely, so I thought you might like seeing the beautiful flowers, and some of her previous best sellers. I am sure you remember Michael S. Smith, Elements of Style, and California Country Style, just two of the more than twenty beautiful books produced by Diane Dorrans Saeks throughout her career as author, editor, design lecturer, and feature writer.

Glass of wine in hand, we circled through Gumps bewitched the beautiful holiday trappings throughout the store (see more here). I had to tear myself away to get into what was becoming a quite lengthy book signing line.

Once seated with Diane, I introduced myself and we ended up having quite a conversation about blogging. My apologies to all of those in line behind me! But when opportunity strikes, who wouldn't take the time to have a chat with Diane Dorrans Saeks?! I must admit, I am quite a fan. Diane was so very gracious, kind, and oh so stylish. It is small wonder her books exude the same sophistication. The thing that struck me the most about Diane was that she truly seems to love people. All kinds of people. She is truly interested and engaged. And what better way to capture the detail and life that is ever present in her books.

I had the pleasure of corresponding with Diane about Santa Barbara Living:

"Santa Barbara Living" was a great pleasure to produce and write," says Diane. "It is a magical place, and my book reveals and describes private gardens, interiors, and historic and new houses that would never be visible. The images are a poetic record of an extraordinarily beautiful region and the talented people who live there."

With the very first page, one steps through a door into a world that is beautifully romantic. It represents the ultimate California dream of sun and casual splendor.

Montecito Moroccan-Spanish-style house, interiors by Christina Rottman. Photo by Lisa Romerein.

These are just a few of the amazing photographs gracing page after glossy page. Chapters in the Table of Contents include: Great Estates, Glorious Gardens, Private Lives, The Beach Life, and California Country.

The book starts with the amazing La Quinta, the estate of "film producer, cultural philanthropist, and champion equestrienne Diane de Morrell Douglas." And it only gets better.

Living Room at La Quinta, home of Diandra de Morrell Douglas. Photo by Lisa Romerein

Guest quarters at La Quinta. Photo by Lisa Romerein

John Saladino estate. Photo by Luca Trovato

The Montecito home of designer John Saladino is featured. He describes Santa Barbara this way, " The sunlight flickers through the trees and I am mesmerized every day. The bouquet of sea salt and eucalyptus that captivated me when I was sixteen is still here. In Montecito, I've been able to express my deepest dreams. Here I feel my best."

Dining Room of designer John Saladino Photo by Luca Trovato

The incomparable Mr. Michael S. Smith has designed two of the homes featured in the book. The first is done in a Portuguese style. The second is fashioned after estates in the Italian countryside.

Living Room of Las Encinitas, Interior Design by Michael S. Smith. Photo by Lisa Romerein

Mr. Smith never fails to surpass each interior with the next superb design.

Interiors by Michael S. Smith. Photo by Lisa Rommerein

One of the things I love about this book is how life is portrayed with such a connection to the outdoors. There are so many beautiful outdoor spaces, such as this intimate loggia at the home of actor Rob Lowe and his wife.

Loggia at the home of Rob and Sheryl Lowe. Photo by Lisa Rommerein.

In some instances, the lines between in and out are definitely blurred, but in the most charming of ways. Take the example of the Summerland stable/ art studio of artist Gerald Incandela and partner George Schoelkopf where Andalusian horses are raised. It just exudes a zest for life.

Living Room of Gerald Incandela near Summerland. Photo by Lisa Rommerein

The architecture in California is younger than the Eastern States. But when there is a concentration of homes designed in the well defined vernacular of old California with it's Spanish influences, one can feel the history.

Spanish style home of Michael and Eileen Haber. Photo by Lisa Rommerein

This is but a glimpse of the pages full of amazing photos of a place that could have been lost. The day after the book signing, we, in California, were watching television in horror as many homes in the Santa Barbara area were lost to the tragic fires a couple of weeks ago. In corresponding with Diane, it was determined that none of the homes in the book were affected. But the danger for this to happen in the future is very real. This book becomes a treasure as it celebrates the beauty of the elegant and authentic architecture of Santa Barbara.

It is the perfect gift this Holiday Season. You may find that you must treat yourself to this little gift as well.

Las Tejas in Montecito. Photo by Lisa Rommerein