Archive » December 7, 2006
By Sunnie Robertson
Molly Barker is the new executive director of Casa del Herrero. Her warm smile and friendly demeanor is the perfect accent to one of Montecito's most historic and prestigious homes, a George Washington Smith Spanish Colonial Revival built in 1925. The home is located at 1387 East Valley Road and was originally owned by Mr. and Mrs. George Steedman and later transferred to the Casa del Herrero Foundation. The foundation currently offers public tours on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Although Molly has been in town for less than two months, her knowledge and passion of the estate’s 11 acres is impressive. She defines the historic house and garden as one of high integrity.
Molly says she has always been passionate about California's historic homes and gardens. She explains that the homes provide a window into a past lifestyle, one that cannot be recaptured but certainly appreciated.
Molly grew up in West Los Angeles. She received a plant science degree from the College of the Redwoods and a bachelor's of science in biochemistry from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. She worked previously as a medicinal chemist for seven years in Palo Alto. Molly’s love of gardening and the preservation of historic homes led her into her current profession. Prior to arriving at Casa del Herrero, she was executive director for 18 years of Filoli in Woodside, a grand historic home and garden sitting atop 600 acres of coastal range in the Santa Cruz mountains. While at Filoli, Molly oversaw the historic home, 16 acres of gardens, social and philanthropic events and more than 1,100 volunteers.
When Molly is not working she enjoys cooking and gardening. Her favorite flower to grow is the camellia, which, coincidentally, was also Mrs. Steedman's. Molly has two dogs – Snooks! and Sally. The exclamation point after Snooks! is part of his official name as he is a winning agility Labrador Retriever. The dogs competed on the Bay Team, for which Snooks! is a “Titled” agility dog.
A few snapshot questions for Molly:
Q. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A. I took adult tap dancing lessons
What was your first job?
File clerk at an insurance company
Where is your favorite place to be in Montecito?
Right here at the Casa; look at this beautiful place
i>What other profession would you have chosen?
Split between flower farmer and dog trainer
What is one thing you are looking forward to doing when the boxes are all unpacked?
Hiking in Montecito with my dogs
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