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Make Myself at Home: Historic Lower Riviera Charmer

510 Casitas Road — A Sweet Slice of Santa Barbara History


I had so much fun touring 510 Casitas Road on the lower Riviera last week that I went back to visit three different times. I saw it once before it was fully cleaned and staged, so I wanted to return to appreciate it all dressed up. I was so charmed the second time that I had to take my sister back during a weekend open house for one more look. I loved each visit and discovered new details each time.

It’s a charming Spanish Colonial Revival–style home, with big, arched windows, two front doors, a red-tile roof, a huge terraced backyard, and amazing stonework inside and out. Some of its darling period details include a laundry chute in the corner of the breakfast nook, a shoe-shine cubby built into the wall of the mud room, a tin peekaboo panel inset into the front door, and a wooden pasta-drying rack in one of the kitchen cabinets.

But it’s the story behind the home that makes these details come to life.

Arcangelo Goggia emigrated to the United States from Italy in 1908 at the age of 17, with $25 in his pocket. He settled with friends and extended family members who had purchased farm property near Santa Barbara. In his hometown of Como, Italy, Goggia had apprenticed as a stone mason and was therefore able to supplement his farming income with masonry work in Santa Barbara. He became a master stone mason and worked on projects such as Trinity Episcopal Church and the rebuilding of Mission Santa Barbara after the 1925 earthquake. Goggia contributed prominently to the construction of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, including hand-carving all of the sandstone spheres that grace the corner entrances.

In 1933, with the assistance of several of his fellow tradesmen, Goggia built his own residence at 510 Casitas Road. Three generations of his family have lived in and cared for this home, which is now on the market for the first time in its history.

After climbing the sandstone steps to the front porch, I entered through a beautiful wood front door embellished with intricate metalwork into the living room. The centerpiece of this room, besides the huge arched window on the front of the house, is a massive sandstone fireplace. If a tailor should sport a well-fitting coat, and a landscape architect should have a lovely garden, a master stone mason should enjoy a beautiful stone fireplace in his living room. Goggia created a striking specimen, with a built-in stone mantel supported by carved stone supports.

I noticed classic themes repeated as I walked from the living room into the dining room and the kitchen beyond: arched doorway openings, wood-framed windows with original metal cranks, and gorgeous wood floors. In the kitchen and bath, built-in cabinets abound, and the original pastel tilework stopped me in my tracks more than once. The bedrooms have cedar-lined walk-in closets, and one even sports a built-in tie rack. Every detail in this house is charming.

Most of the living rooms are upstairs, but this home’s history comes alive the most in the basement. Downstairs is a wine cellar that has an original vat used for stomping grapes and making wine. The vat is deep enough for the purpose and large enough that the house must have been built around it.

I had to visit three times to try and capture every detail, so I know I haven’t pointed out everything. Did I mention the egg drawer in the kitchen? The built-in, tilt-front clothes hamper in the bathroom? Suffice it to say that whoever is the next lucky owner of 510 Casitas Road, they will have purchased both a lovely, solid Santa Barbara home and inherited a rich slice of area history.

510 Casitas Road is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, listed by Dianne and Brianna Johnson of Village Properties Realtors. Reach Dianne at (805) 455-6570 or Brianna at (805) 450-6078 or johnson@villagesite.com. Visit 510casitasroad.com for more photos and information.



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