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Make Myself at Home: The Best of Old and New

Upper-East Craftsman Blends the Best of Old and New


I ran into my friend Jan on Sunday as I toured the open house at 435 East Valerio Street. Jan and I have known each other for more than 30 years, and although we fell out of touch over the past decade or so, we recently reconnected, and now our paths seem to cross fairly regularly, in fun and unexpected places. So I wasn’t too surprised to see Jan. She loves interesting houses, and this stately upper-east Craftsman home is in her neighborhood. Plus, the open house was attracting quite a crowd, and everyone seemed impressed.

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This home sits at the corner of Valerio and Olive streets. Although its address is on East Valerio, the front door is on the Olive side of the house. I had been forewarned that the house had recently undergone an extensive remodel, but until I stepped foot inside, I wasn’t prepared for just how magnificent it is.

The door opens into a cozy foyer that showcases the original, 100-year-old staircase. Gleaming oak risers with rounded edges juxtapose with the custom white wooden bannister. The kitchen and dining room are through a doorway to the right, but I chose to start my tour with the living room, which sits to the left of the foyer.

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The living room has the grand feeling of the formal living room in many classic craftsman homes, yet at the same time it feels welcoming and livable. Classic wainscoting and solid oak floors are brightened by white walls and tons of natural light. The focal point of the living room, and arguably the entire house, is the original fireplace, made of hefty blocks of Santa Barbara sandstone set in a low, horizontal profile that commands attention without being overbearing.

A sunroom off the living room adds charm and versatility and is the one of the vestiges from the original floor plan. Past the living room, a formal dining room leads to the kitchen, which is easily the most impressive room in the house.

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The kitchen has gourmet Viking appliances and a huge island with a gorgeous marble countertop that doubles as a long seating area. While ogling the cabinetry, we discovered all sorts of details, like double-decker silverware trays and a covert sliding spice rack that is both a space saver and a nifty novelty. But the showstopper is the sliding-glass-door system that allows the kitchen to open up completely to blend seamlessly with the deck outside, creating a huge indoor-outdoor entertaining area.

I’m told that the primary goals of the remodel of this house were to create a better flow between rooms and to make better use of the outdoor living space. I’d say both of these aims were very successfully accomplished.

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Another wing downstairs includes a laundry room plus a bedroom and a full bath, with a separate entrance leading toward the two-car garage. Upstairs, two more bedrooms and a bath lie on one side of the charming landing, with the master suite on the other. All three bathrooms are luxurious, but the master bath is stunning. Barn-style wooden doors slide open to reveal a freestanding deep-soaking tub, a huge glass shower with two marble benches and dual showers, plus a gorgeous double-sink vanity and separate WC. The master suite also boasts a large ocean-view deck and a walk-in closet with an additional nook perfect for a vanity or cozy reading spot. In addition, the master is ideally located so that it overlooks the sunny corner garden down below.

In addition to all of the obviously delightful elements, I’m told that the remodel included a new foundation, new electrical and plumbing, new high-efficiency hot water and heating systems, and all-new windows and insulation. ​But I was more impressed with the traditional touches. On my way out, I compared notes with my friend Jan, who had just completed a second circuit of the home. As we chatted in the foyer, we smiled as other visitors discovered the basement and expressed their delight. The unexpected underground bonus room has old-fashioned dual cellar doors and would make a perfect wine cellar.

Jan and I agreed that no matter how many times we visited, we’d likely uncover new favorite touches in this stately home. The blend of old and new elements merge into a bright, spacious, comfortable home that feels stately and state-of-the-art all at the same time.

435 East Valerio Street is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, listed by Emily Kellenberger & Associates of Village Properties Realtors. Contact Emily at 252-2773 or emily@villagesite.com. Anacapa Architecture conducted the extensive remodel of this home.

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