Inside Montecito’s Heavenly Homes

Lensman Firooz Zahedi’s ode to the alluring interiors and architectural diversity of the beachside enclave

Photography by FIROOZ ZAHEDI


A manicured garden features topiary balls and a sandstone-edged square fountain.


After Andy Warhol published Firooz Zahedi’s photographs in Interview magazine in the 1970s, Zahedi went on to become one of the top photographers in Hollywood—he was famously Elizabeth Taylor’s personal photographer (they met because she and Zahedi’s cousin were having an affair). For his latest project, he focused his lens on a much different subject matter. In Montecito Style: Paradise on California’s Gold Coast (Monacelli, $60) Zahedi and writer Lorie Dewhirst Porter, both longtime residents of the area, offer an inside look at 20 distinctive homes.


“There is no one Montecito style in this Valhalla of the West”

Marc Appleton


A painting by Charles Hinman hangs above a stone fireplace in a 1975 Mediterranean-style home—one of architect Wallace Neff’s last designs.


There are Spanish-style manses, including the first home that famed architect George Washington Smith designed in his storied career, along with architect William Hefner’s weekend getaway, interior designer John Saladino’s classicist abode and a brutalist concrete home from the 1970s. Zahedi also opens the doors to the colorful midcentury residence that he shares with his wife, art collector Beth Rudin DeWoody, for a dose of Hollywood Regency in the heart of the American Riviera. “There is no one Montecito style in this Valhalla of the West, which continues to be a magical place in which to live one’s dream,” Marc Appleton writes in the foreward. “There are, in fact, many styles to reflect these different dreams.”


Feature image: Inside a 19th-century carriage house in Montecito.


This story originally appeared in the Winter 2022 issue of C Magazine.

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