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Make Myself at Home: Modernist Stunner on Quaint Downtown Lane

Take a Look Inside 219 Equestrian Avenue, A Minimalist Gem in the Historic Part of Town


Address: 219 Equestrian Avenue

Status: On the market

Price: $1,390,000

If I told you there was a house for sale on Equestrian Avenue in downtown Santa Barbara, you might conjure up an image of a tall Victorian, complete with gingerbread trim. If I added that this house for sale is only 980 square feet, you might amend your image to a quaint little cottage, or maybe a modest wood paneled bungalow. If my third hint about this house was that it was built in 2008, you might be truly stumped, at a loss to conjure up any image at all.

The house currently for sale at 219 Equestrian Avenue meets all of those clues. This 980-square-foot home built in 2008 sits right in the middle of Santa Barbara’s historic downtown. Yet this stunning residence of modern minimalist design defies all assumptions and busts all stereotypes.

Equestrian is a quiet, one-way, one-block street linking Garden to Santa Barbara streets between Victoria and Anapamu. It’s close to Alameda Park and right around the corner from the Courthouse Sunken Gardens. I’m not quite sure what I expected when I set out to view 219 Equestrian Avenue, but certainly something old rather than something new.

By the time I stepped inside the house, I had tossed my preconceived notions out the window and was ready for anything. Or so I thought. This house is long and narrow, with an open floor plan. A great room comprised of a dining room and living room on the left, with the kitchen occupying the right side. A bedroom and bathroom combo sit on either side of the kitchen, with the en suite master in the back of the house, and a guest room and bath in the front. There is also a library with a built-in bookcase and a custom ladder and chair combination that was designed just for this house.

Possibly the most distinctive feature of the house is its 14-foot ceilings. The tall ceilings create a sense of space throughout, and combine with the concrete floors to help define the minimalist aesthetic. Pops of color in unexpected places, like the red and black kitchen tile, lend an artsy avant-garde flair. The kitchen has all Viking appliances, and the bathroom fixtures are top of the line. Small patios off the back and side of the home also increase the feeling of spaciousness, bringing the outside in.

One of the most creative uses of space that I’ve seen in awhile is the Plexiglas-ceilinged garage that can also double as an outdoor room. While parking is a premium in downtown Santa Barbara, 219 Equestrian has a two-car garage as well as two off-street parking spots, providing the flexibility to use the garage as living space all or part of the time. There are canvas curtains and playful iron sculpture dividers at the perimeter, lending a fun indoor and outdoor flair to this unexpected use of an ordinarily mundane living area.

219 Equestrian Avenue was designed by the late Santa Barbara-based, but world-renowned architect Barry Berkus, who designed people’s lifestyles and habits in mind. He coined the concept of the bonus room: an extra room that could be an office, a studio, or family room to accommodate whatever hobbies the home’s inhabitants fancied.

This property doesn’t have the luxury of any bonus rooms, but it makes great use of every square inch that it does have. This home is modest in size, but bold in style. It is a chic pied-à-terre perched unexpectedly on a quaint hidden lane. Its minimalist aesthetic won’t work for everyone, but for its new owner, it will provide a sophisticated oasis in the heart of downtown.

219 Equestrian Avenue is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, listed by Suding//Murphy Partners of Compass. Reach Paul Suding, Bridget Murphy or Brittany Lough at (805) 886-1300.



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