Make Myself at Home: Las Casas Pequeñas Dream Bungalow
Take a look inside 1226 Castillo Street
Thursday, July 20, 2017
When I walked up the staircase inside the home at 1226 Castillo Street, I experienced a strong wave of nostalgia. I was suddenly back in 2004 with my 13-year-old son James, seeing the Palm Avenue Clubhouse, our current home, for the first time. He raced up the stairs and back down again, calling excitedly, “Mom, we have to live in this house. I love this bedroom!” Something about the steep entryway to that slant-roofed attic space made it James’s secret fort turned dream bedroom. For as long as we lived in that house, everyone who saw it coveted that attic room. While that upstairs bedroom in the Palm Avenue Clubhouse certainly was not the reason that we bought the house, it added passion and excitement to our decision.
Even without its finished attic space, the house at 1226 Castillo is a complete charmer. Built in 1918, it is loaded with all the best period details from the era, starting with a wide front porch. Both times that I visited the house, I spent time perched on the wide porch railing, chatting with a neighbor or one of the realtors. Shaded by big trees and set up a few steps higher than the street, it’s the quintessential indoor-outdoor living space for Santa Barbara.
Stepping through the front door — which is itself a thing of beauty inlaid with horizontal panes of glass — I found myself in a living room with a separate formal dining room just beyond. All of the hardware, windows, fixtures, and trim in this house are original. You’ll find all the details that you would expect in a craftsman bungalow, plus a couple of unexpected surprises.
One such surprise is the fireplace in the living room, which features hand-painted tiles depicting a Santa Barbara landscape, including the Old Mission, plus a hand-carved wooden mantle. With transom windows on either side of the fireplace, this wall alone is enough to make one fall in love with the house.
The living room and kitchen are on the left side of the house, with two bedrooms and a connecting bath on the right. Both bedrooms have good-sized closets, another bonus for a house from this era. The kitchen is in the back of the house and features original tile, wraparound windows, and a separate nook near the back door, perfect for a laundry room.
In the middle of the house is the staircase that leads up to the afore-mentioned attic room. Not technically a bedroom, because it does not have a closet, it would still be the dream bedroom for many kids, or a perfect office or hobby room. Although it is completely finished, some exposed brick peeks through the paint, and there are large windows on each wall under the eaves.
1226 Castillo is a freestanding home, part of an eight-unit group of bungalows built around a courtyard that form a complex called Las Casas Pequeñas. Located in the Peabody School attendance area and boasting all of the convenience that its freeway-close downtown address offers, it is a charming home just waiting for lucky new owners. I hope that no matter who decides to buy this house, someone loves that attic bedroom just as much as James loved his.