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Make Myself at Home: Charismatic Condo in El Andalúz

Take a Look Inside This Sparkling Downtown Spot on Chapala Street


Address: 531 Chapala Street, Ste. B

Status: On the market

Price: $2,325,000

Summertime in Santa Barbara is my favorite time of year. I’m an unabashed sunshine lover, so the weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day — and especially from Solstice to Fiesta — make up the bright, beachy season that I love the most. Yes, we have our misty mornings, but when the June gloom lifts and the sun shines through, the agapanthus blooms brighter and everything sparkles in the sun. It’s on these long, sunshiny days that start with an early sunrise and extend long past dinnertime that you’ll find me at my happiest.

It was one of those magically bright summer afternoons last week when I went to visit an open house in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. I’ve driven past El Andalúz at 531 Chapala Street a zillion times and even walked past it a few. It has the very recognizable style of the renowned team of architect Jeff Shelton and builder Dan Upton. The playful shapes and colorful mixtures of patterns and materials are Moroccan- and Andalusian-inspired. While I can certainly see that influence, Shelton’s creations also look like a twist on our classic white-walled, red-tile-roofed Santa Barbara beauties. It’s as if some of those staider homes decided to play dress-up in fun colors and sparkly accessories and get a little silly.

Click to enlarge photo

mort maizlish

I parked across the street and gazed up at El Andalúz for a few moments. It has two commercial spaces on the first floor, occupying the striped horseshoe-shaped archways that grace the façade and anchor the building. Those archways, plus the variety of distinctive windows and the shape of the building itself, with asymmetrical outlines, patios, and patterns, invite you to admire it from afar and yet also beckon you closer to explore it more carefully.

As I entered the building, I found that I couldn’t walk through its main entry quickly. The wrought-iron railings ahead and the intricate ceiling above beg for longer inspection. After doing so, I walked upstairs to a courtyard of myriad tiles and colors. The plants vied with the tiled fountains, detailed metalwork, and colorful wooden balcony for my attention. There was so much to ogle everywhere I turned, with flags fluttering in the breeze adding to the festive air.

When I walked into unit B, I had to keep reminding myself that this home is technically a condo. I entered into a huge living room with a dining area beyond. Adding to the open feel are French doors on both sides of the room, letting in the sunshine and opening to a private patio on one side and a bright courtyard on the other.

Exploring the rest of the house, the kitchen impresses with its top-of-the-line appliances, tiled stove hood, and big pantry. The master suite has not one but two huge closets and a striking fireplace, plus an impressive master bath with beautiful cabinetry and a deep marble tub. The second bedroom is actually a self-contained suite with its own sitting room, bathroom, and separate entrance, lending itself to a variety of flexible living situations.

Throughout the home, I kept noticing distinctive touches such as wall nooks in the living room and intricate metalwork details on the balcony. I had a feeling that if I toured this house over and over again, I would discover something new and delightful every time.

Built in 2009, each of the seven residences at El Andalúz has its own two-car garage with a private elevator that opens directly inside the individual residence. So even though you’ve got the views and feel of being far above the city, you’ve got the convenience of single-story living. The tiled floors and soaring ceilings give the home a spacious feel, while the decorative touches and colorful, playful spaces lend an atmosphere of bright, sunny, fun. Just like Santa Barbara in the summertime, and all the time.

531 Chapala Street, Suite B, is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, listed by Morton B. Maizlish of Maizlish Realtors Inc. Reach Mort at maizlish@silcom.com or (805) 963-9555.



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