Sarah Sinclair Photography

Make Myself at Home: Enchanting Upper East Mansion

Take a look inside Summer’s Run

It’s fitting that I visited 2232 Santa Barbara Street during the first week of September. This beautiful home is known as Summer’s Run, and while Santa Barbara is idyllic all year long, the days are getting shorter, school has started up again, and Halloween candy has replaced beach towels in grocery stores’ seasonal aisles. Alas, summer 2017 is coming to an end, but the grand estate named Summer’s Run on upper Santa Barbara Street is fantastical enough to keep the sweet dream of summer alive all year long.

I walked up the grand circular driveway that leads up to the impressive façade of this three-story colonial revival mansion. The house appears formal and almost imposing. I was tempted to slip through the white wooden gate on the side to explore the garden first, to get a feel for the grounds before I broached the threshold. But I walked up its brick stairs and through the front door instead, and was thankful that I did. The entryway provides the perfect formal introduction to the charm and elegance of this home, with high coffered ceilings; a carved, arched frontispiece over the doorway; and a grand central staircase leading upstairs.

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The house oozes charm and history and has delights around every corner. Summer’s Run was originally built in 1904 by the William Michener family of Philadelphia, which likely explains its formal, colonial stylings. In 1922, Francisca Dibblee purchased the home. Dibblee is purported to be the originator of Santa Barbara’s annual Fiesta celebration, and legend has it that the idea for Fiesta was born during a meal in this home’s dining room. More recent stories of revelry at Summer’s Run include formal dances on the spacious third floor. Through the years, this home has seen several rounds of remodeling, which have updated its systems to modern standards but left its original period-charm intact. ​

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Touring the first floor, I found the living room, den, and a large sunroom to the right of the foyer, and a parlor, office, and formal dining room on the left. There truly are too many features to mention, but every room has built-in cabinets and shelves and period details such as wainscoting, beamed ceilings, beveled moldings, and more. Beyond the dining room is the kitchen, and through the kitchen are another dining room, a den, and a bedroom suite. The first floor alone is more than 3,600 square feet. In total, the house has seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms, seven fireplaces, and more than 7,000 square feet of living space.

The second floor contains most of the bedrooms, including the master suite, which consists of a bedroom, bath, sitting room, fireplace, and office. The master bedroom office and balcony overlook the backyard, with a direct view of the lawn and an adorable playhouse.

The third floor is a blank canvas. In the past, it has often been used as an artist’s studio. It is currently a bedroom, huge recreation room, and charming ballet studio. With its dormer windows, skylights, and open floorplan, it really is the stuff that dreams are made of.

Outside, in addition to the playhouse, the grounds offer a gazebo, topiary gardens, a huge brick patio for entertaining, and a spa made of natural boulders nestled under an oak tree. Summer 2017 may be coming to a close for most of us, but Summer’s Run offers a timeless respite for its next residents to carry on its tradition of eternal charm into the future.

2232 Santa Barbara Street is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, listed by Colleen Beall of Compass and Pamela Regan of Team Regan of Compass. Reach Colleen at (805) 895-5881 or Reach Pamela at (805) 895-2760 or

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