Florestal Then & Now

A talk by Marc Appleton at the historic Lobero Theatre

In 1925, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Cooper Bryce built a Spanish Colonial Revival house designed by architect George Washington Smith on fifty-two acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Hope Ranch in Santa Barbara, California. Known as “Florestal,” the late historian David Gebhard considered it “one of the great houses of the era and one of Smith’s finest masterpieces.” The house and surrounding gardens, which were developed by Mrs. Bryce with input from the horticulturalist Peter Riedel, became the family home to their children and grandchildren and endured intact and unchanged until Mrs. Bryce’s death in 1980. In his talk, Marc Appleton (one of the grandchildren) recounts Florestal’s story and describes the magical influence it had in its heyday, as well as what has recently happened with the property’s renovations.

About The Speaker
Marc Appleton is an award-winning architect. His design work has been widely published in Architectural Digest, Town and Country, and other periodicals. He has consistently been named one of AD’s top 100 Designers. In 1999, he wrote a new introduction and bibliography for Acanthus Press’ reprint of Rexford Newcomb’s Mediterranean Domestic Architecture in the United States, Followed by this publication of George Washington Smith: An Architect’s Scrapbook, and is currently working on several forthcoming books.

Mr. Appleton is a founding member of the Appleton-Whittel Research Ranch Foundation in Arizona and the Mingei International Museum of World Folks Art in San Diego. He has served on the Board of Trustees for Prescott College in Arizona, and currently serves on a a number of committees and boards, including as a Museum Trustee, the Board of Trustees for Cooper Union, New York, The Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America, and the Dean’s Council of the Yale School of Architecture.

Marc is a graduate of Harvard College (1968), and has a Masters of Architecture degree from the Yale School of Architecture (1972).

This Post Has One Comment

  1. So excited to see this. My grandmother, Mary Jackson, worked as a live in cook for Mrs. Bryce from the Mid-1970’s until they sold the property after she passed. On the weekends, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go stay with my grandmother at her job at Florestal. So many a weekend I got to roam the gardens, play in the play house (that had running water and everything), play with the bunnies and even met Galapi. I also got to know all the staff, gardeners, seamstress, accountants and drivers. Mrs. Bryce would even invite me to high-tea in the afternoons with her sometimes, overlooking the view of the ocean of course. She was such a nice lady. Looking back at all the photos brings back SO MANY MEMORIES of my time learning to cook in the kitchen with my grandmother and the other cooks – and helping them dye Easter Eggs for the giant Easter Egg hunts that they held for all the children of Hope Ranch. It’s also where I developed my life long true appreciation for architecture. I had always wondered what had happened to the estate after it was sold, and to see the pics of the library and the house after what the two previous owners had done to it, literally made my stomach hurt… My last memory of the library was of it entirely empty, after everything had been sold – it looked so enormous once everything was gone. How fortunate that the new owners reached out to Marc Appelton to help try to restore it – it looks like you guys did an amazing job, well done. Anyhow, I see that occasionally he writes about the property, and having spent a good deal of time there as a child if there’s anything I can ever offer or help fill in the blanks for historical purposes (or for any times that might be missing in the timeline), feel free to contact me. Warm Regards, – Deana Igelsrud (Granddaughter of Mary Jackson, Cook).

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