Make Myself at Home: A One-of-a-Kind Montecito Treasure

A Look Inside 145 Olive Mill Lane, a One-of-a-Kind Montecito Treasure

Address: 145 Olive Mill Lane

Status: On the market

Price: $3,295,000

I’ve always been more of a jeans and flip-flops person than a ball-gown and high-heels person. As a parent, I always let my kids get sandy at the beach and muddy on hikes. If something wasn’t washable, it didn’t belong in our house. So the houses I’ve lived in have always felt … lived in. We had chickens in downtown Santa Barbara at a craftsman we called The Clubhouse, and we had an overgrown fenceless adobe on the Mesa that allowed the kids to explore to their hearts’ content.

So you may not be surprised to hear that I’ve never been much for Montecito. Sorry, realtor friends, but it’s true. Montecito has always felt a little too manicured and snobby for me. I like to know my neighbors and be able to walk into the market in my pj’s when I run low on half-and-half.

Well, my Montecito attitude changed last week when I visited 145 Olive Mill Lane. It’s neither rustic nor casual, but this home feels comfortable. It’s a beautiful adult clubhouse with fun details galore, and it’s walking distance to Montecito Café, Los Arroyos, and CVS on Coast Village Road. I loved this house before I even got inside the front gate. The multicolored bougainvillea curled and clamored over the curved exterior wall. The address numbers gleamed from behind an iron placard, reminding me of abalone shining in the morning sun. The custom lantern hanging near the rounded front gate gave me pause, but once I walked through the entryway, I recognized my surroundings and knew I was in for a one-of-a-kind treat.

This house was designed by area architect Jeff Shelton. Everyone knows his distinctive, whimsical works in Santa Barbara, so I recognized his trademark style right away. But I had never before been to one of his private residences. This one is special. I’m no architectural expert; I just go by what feels good. This home feels livable, likable, and fun.

As I walk toward the front door, the curved archways remind me of an Italian farmhouse or stable. Through the archway is a long, breezy hallway reminiscent of a hacienda. When I step into the living room, I notice the super-high ceiling and huge window perfectly complement the relatively small room with its built-in shelves and nooks. A distinctive stairway beckons up one side of the room, with artfully arranged Saltillo tile steps echoed by a cutout stair-step wall and paired with a playful, curved iron handrail leading upstairs.

Built in 2009, the house has three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths, a gourmet kitchen, a study, and a workout room. Outside there is a bocce-ball court, a great courtyard with a fountain and a wood fireplace, and plenty of patio space to enjoy the beautiful yard designed by renowned area landscape architect Isabelle Greene. Inside and out, so many thoughtful elements, from the fixtures to the finishes, invite one to pause and appreciate the craftsmanship and artistry.

This house is comfortable in its own skin. It invites you to smile at its details and relax awhile in its cozy corners and sunny spaces. The new owner of this house should be prepared for fun, because this house is ready to have fun for years to come. And should you find yourself out of half-and-half, they’ll likely laugh with you — not at you — when you run into CVS in your pj’s.

145 Olive Mill Lane is currently for sale in Montecito, listed by Gayle Lofthus of Village Properties Realtors. Reach Gayle at 689-9011.

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