Make Myself at Home: Historic Rancho Dos Alisos

A Look Inside This Romantic Hacienda at 105 Ontare Hills Lane

Address: 105 Ontare Hills Lane

Status: On the market

Price: $6,395,000

You know you’re not about to visit your average tract home when you’re told, “The gate will be open for you. Just park in the gravel area by the old oxcart, and we’ll come out to meet you.” I had also been warned about secret cabinets (plural) and that the house was an authentic adobe. So I knew I was in for a treat.

The gate was open as planned, and, sure enough, there was the oxcart underneath a beautiful old olive tree, waiting for me as I pulled into the large, semi-circular driveway. I was glad to have been given this gentle direction, since there were plenty of options for parking. I noted this as a first difference between this home and some of the estates I have visited recently. In some neighborhoods, multimillion-dollar price tags don’t necessarily ensure plentiful parking.

As it turns out, there is nothing crowded about this home. It’s an expansive historic hacienda, named Rancho Dos Alisos, set on almost six acres of land in the hills just above San Roque. Originally purchased from the Arturo Orena family, it was rebuilt in 1939-1940 using authentic yet reinforced adobe bricks, forming walls that are two feet thick. It has a traditional hacienda layout, a large U-shape, framing a central courtyard.

The front entrance lies under a long covered terrace. Once inside, the formal dining room is to the right of the foyer, and the living room is to the left. I challenge anyone who glances into the living room not to get pulled in that direction. Despite the charm of the room itself, the view through the huge picture window to the grapevine-draped covered patio, large flagstone terrace, pool, and stunning view beyond is irresistible. I’m sure that I stood with my mouth agape for at least a few seconds.

I wanted to get out to that terrace, but I was there to see the house, too. The living room set the tone for the rest of the house, blending rustic hand-hewn beamed ceilings, gleaming hardwood floors, and authentic hardware and fixtures with elegant grandeur. The size of the rooms continued to impress as I walked through the three bedrooms and two baths in the left wing, including the largest master bath/walk-in closet combo I’ve ever seen. All of the details were striking — from the closets and storage to the windows and doors.

On the other side of the house lies the kitchen, which is actually made up of multiple rooms, plus the laundry room, two more bedrooms, and two more bathrooms. The kitchen and all of the bathrooms were completely renovated in 2007. They are state-of-the-art and stylish yet don’t take away from the authenticity.

Nestled in the center of the house, between the living and dining rooms, is my favorite room: the library. Like many of the rooms, it has double doors opening onto the courtyard and view beyond, but its smaller size and rounded corner fireplace give it a cozier feel. It’s also the room with the secret cabinets, but I won’t give away any details.

The house has more than 5,300 square feet of living space, and we haven’t even detailed the pool cabana or the garages, which boast over 1,000 square feet each. The grounds also include a large vegetable garden, a rose garden, an avocado orchard, and an oak forest with winding pathways, beautiful native plantings, and sheltered seating areas throughout.

With a view of the entire city, the ocean, and the islands beyond, Rancho Dos Alisos’ romantic hacienda and sprawling acreage are only three minutes from downtown. This is more than a home for sale; it’s a piece of Santa Barbara history.

105 Ontare Hills Lane is currently for sale by Plana Partners of Coldwell Banker Previews International. Reach Victor or Jennifer Plana at (805) 895-2112.

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