Website Development & Design
2008 to present
The Casa is run by the non-profit Casa del Herrero Foundation and is the 1920’s estate museum of Carrie Howard and George Fox Steedman in Montecito, CA (next door and considered part of greater Santa Barbara) designed and built by George Washington Smith with a site plan created by Ralph Stevens, Lockwood De Forest and Francis T. Underhill among others. The estate is one of the most lovingly preserved landmarks dating back to the heyday of Montecito estates in the 20’s. It is included in the National Register of Historic places and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2009.
Ironically, the Steedmans moved into their new abode on the very day of the 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake. The proximity of events connects the estate with important developments in architecture and cultural history of Santa Barbara. It was after the Santa Barbara earthquake that civic leaders proposed that the massive rebuilding required should be consistent architecturally. The style adopted was Spanish Colonial Revival, which continues to this day to contribute to the city’s beauty and dominates its cultural identity.” And so the estate as well -“…The creation of the property reflects a remarkable synthesis of culture, artistic expression, natural environment, and historical antecedents…”
During our visits, we viewed many of the original furnishings, art, antiques and tiles purchased personally by Steedman on a trip to Spain in 1923. One of the most fascinating parts of the estate is the workshop building, hence the name Blacksmith House. Steedman had an strong interest in silversmithing and studied with George Gebelein, the foremost American silversmith in Boston. The workshop he created allowed him to pursue his interest seriously, an area for estate maintenance projects and also provided his wife, Carrie with a place to work on her prizewinning flower arrangements.
What We Did & Why
Our primary task which was to develop a site that would impart the detail and meticulous beauty of the estate on first glance, within a few seconds of landing on the Home page. The design of the site and its details are built on photographs that we took during for this express purpose. Spending time wandering, exploring, looking and shooting photos there for the site also created an intimacy for us that was then translated into the design.
After launch, the site functioned terrifically for them for a few years until it became apparent that it is in need of conversion to a more robust content management system and that it could capitalize on the benefits of a WordPress platform both for SEO purposes and the installation of a blog. To this end, we are currently in development on converting the site to a WordPress content management system. This involved some design tweaks including a side bar, widgetizing, blog design and blog entry layouts.
The text on this page was originally published on this blog post.
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