Montecito, California is home to some of America's most spectacular private residences. Most amazing perhaps is Val Verde, the house built in 1915 on a breathtaking seventeen-and-one-half-acre coastal plot by American architect Bertram Goodhue. Besides its status as the most preserved of the great early-twentieth-century Southern California estate properties, Val Verde also bears the distinction of being the earliest American free-standing single-family house in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. Austin Val Verde: A Montecito Masterpiece is the first book to reveal the full extent and richness of Val Verde's architecture, interiors, and gardens. The book includes never-before-published color photographs of the house and its gardens by the late Berge Aran that capture the enchanting spirit of this American architectural icon and give the reader the rare opportunity of exploring this wonderful place, inside and out.
Berge Aran received a degree in architecture and a Ph.D. in the history of architecture from Istanbul Technical University and later became an assistant professor at that institution. From early in his career he was a serious photographer and documented historical and archeological sites throughout Turkey. The Getty Research Institute has indexed many of these photographs. In 1973 he became a lecturer in architectural history and curator of the audiovisual collection at the University of California, Los Angeles. His photography of architecture in Mexico and Southern California was extensive. In 1997 he began a three year project, a color photographic essay on Austin Val Verde, which resulted in an almost unprecedented documentation of a specific site. He died in 2000.