“I paint almost every day,” says Rich Untermann, owner of the Spanish Garden Inn in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. “When I like a painting, I frame it, and hang it someplace in the hotel. I shift them around until they feel comfortable—it is in a constant shuffle.”
Over the years, Untermann’s paintings have filled up most of the hangable places in the hotel’s public spaces and 24 rooms. The self-taught painter is also an architect and, 17 years ago, he designed the hotel with the help of his wife, an interior designer.
The couple moved to Santa Barbara from Seattle in 1995. On their list of requirements for their chosen relocation was an ocean and a university. “My wife and I wanted to buy property downtown—an urban hotel, and historic, like Santa Barbara,” says Untermann.
Their lushly landscaped Spanish-style boutique hotel is located, appropriately, on Garden Street. …
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