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Make Myself at Home: Whimsical Montecito Moody Sisters Cottage

Moody Sisters Cottage Is Enchanting from the Outside In


Address: 556 Periwinkle Lane

Status: On the market

Price: $1,975,000

Pixies placed in the highest corner of the ceiling and packets of pins and needles buried under the hearth were but two of the signature touches that Mildred and Harriett Moody were said to have included when building their whimsical storybook cottages in Santa Barbara and Montecito. According to their great-niece, Marcia Gamble-Hadley, both of these talismans were intended to protect each home and ward off evil.

These lucky charms certainly seem to be doing their job. As I drove down Periwinkle Lane in Montecito last week, raindrops gave way to sunshine that poured through the clouds and dappled the houses along both sides of the road. These darling homes are some of the infamous Moody Sisters cottages, built in the 1930s and ’40s by the renowned sisters who left a legacy of architectural, cultural, and historical significance. This legacy lives large in 556 Periwinkle Lane. Even before I walked through the front door, I was taken by the scale of the cottage. It’s tiny but tall, with a steeply pitched, shingled roof curving down to meet guests. The exterior boasts windows of varying sizes and shapes, daring a first-time visitor to guess what lies within.

Stepping into the living room, my attention was torn between the high, vaulted ceiling, the commanding brick fireplace, and the unique gingerbread staircase with tiny custom cabinets and built-in shelves underneath it. Every room offers more charming details and décor. The kitchen is bright and inviting with recessed lighting, built-in corner cabinets, and an original pine ceiling. It has been upgraded with Viking appliances for an efficient blend of old and new. Beyond the kitchen is the dining room with French doors leading out to a cozy outdoor patio with a beautiful stone fireplace. Another bedroom or office and the huge master bedroom suite complete the downstairs.

Up the staircase from the living room is my favorite part of the house: a loft bedroom suite with a high vaulted beamed-wood ceiling, exposed brick wall, and original oak floor. Two steps up through an arched doorway lead to a landing and a beautiful full bathroom with leaded glass windows. It feels like an enchanted tree house fit for a princess.

As enchanting as the house itself is the yard. A meandering brick path leads through lush tropical plantings, mature oak trees lend shade and character, and multiple patios provide places to relax and drink it all in. For the Moody Sisters to have envisioned, engineered, and executed this charming cottage and its counterparts, they were undisputedly ahead of their time. But its beauty is timeless and has fortunately been preserved in its original splendor, so that this historic treasure can be enjoyed by new owners for years to come.

556 Periwinkle Lane is currently for sale in Montecito, listed by the Grubb Campbell Group of Village Properties Realtors. Reach the Grubb Campbell Group at (805) 895-6226 or grubbcampbell@villagesite.com.



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