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Make Myself at Home: Charmed by a Casa in West Beach


Address: 220 West Yanonali Street

Status: On the market

Price: $2,400,000

I knew it was going to happen sooner or later. I just didn’t expect it to happen in the middle of the afternoon on a sunny Thursday in November. I fell in love again.

I’ve lived on the Riviera, the Mesa, and several neighborhoods in downtown Santa Barbara, but I’ve always had a yearning to live in West Beach. I love its variety of architectural styles: 1920s craftsman bungalows, red-tile-roofed Spanish haciendas, cute classic beach cottages, all within a compact nine square blocks. Chock-full of hotels and vacation rentals, West Beach is vibrant and tourist-friendly, with restaurants, the wharf, and the harbor nearby. It even warrants a page in the history books with palm-lined Burton Mound, the site of an ancient Chumash village. And, of course, it’s got the beach. It’s even named after the beach.

However, since West Beach does have so many short-term residents, long-term living situations come about very rarely. Over the years, when I’ve been in the house-hunting market for either a rental or a purchase, opportunities in West Beach have been scarce.

So when I saw the open-house listing for 220 West Yanonali, I had to drive by. Once I drove by, I had to stop and go inside. And once I peeked inside, I was hooked.

The front door opens to a high-ceilinged entryway that invites one upstairs by way of a friendly curved staircase with a swirly wrought-iron railing. This railing was the first of the home’s many distinctive details that caught my eye. Upstairs, the open floor plan combining living room, dining room, and kitchen is at once expansive, comfortable, and beautiful. Stopping at the big kitchen island to survey the overall scene, I keep finding myself distracted by dazzling details. The light fixtures are custom and unique. The flooring, kitchen cabinetry, and backsplash are all varying shades of hardwood and bamboo. But I tear myself away to explore the rest of the upstairs, which includes a bedroom, a bathroom, and two balconies, one of which is big enough to feel like an additional outdoor living room. It has a view over the neighboring rooftops, taking in the variety of mature trees lining the street.

I take the outdoor staircase down to see the master bedroom and bathroom, laundry room, and garage on the first floor. When I peek into the garage, I’m told that it is heated. Yes, the garage floor has radiant heating. This is but one of the home’s many energy-saving features, thanks to its biggest claim to fame: LEED platinum certification.

The home boasts myriad green details such as solar panels, highly efficient lights, flooring, fixtures, and appliances; recycled materials including denim used as insulation; and an irrigation system using gutter runoff that is collected into an underground cistern. The radiant heat flooring is part of a ductless heating system, which is both efficient and green.

This home is technically a condo, part of a five-unit complex called Yanonali Court, designed by Berkus Architects and built by Berkus Construction in 2008. This unit is known as “The Casa,” and it’s appropriate: With no common walls, it feels just like a free-standing home.

As I confessed already, for me it was love at first sight of this West Beach casa. All of its special amenities, certifications, and green features galore just sweetened the deal.

220 West Yanonali Street is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, listed by Ray Benanate of Sotheby’s International Realty. Reach Ray at 448-7988.

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