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Jim Bartsch

Make Myself at Home: Mediterranean Montecito Manse

Take a Look Inside This Dramatic Montecito Mediterranean


The allure of 2084 Alisos Drive in Montecito begins well before one even sees the house.

I visited on a recent bright, sunny afternoon and entered through impressive iron gates. My head swiveled right and left and right again as my attention was drawn to the variety of cacti and palms lining the curving drive. It was apparent that I was approaching something special.

I parked and walked up a short flight of Santa Barbara stone steps flanked on each side by palm-tree sentries and colorful plants. The stairs provide just enough elevation to keep the house hidden from view until one reaches the top of the steps, resulting in a dramatic reveal.

A swath of lawn split up the middle by a freeform flagstone path leads toward a long, low façade composed of a series of archways running the length of the house. Each arch is framed by blooming bougainvillea that seems to both protect and soften the house at the same time, like a decorative magenta armor.

Jim Bartsch

The dreamy landscape continues throughout and all around this home, but it certainly doesn’t upstage the interior. As I stepped through the heavy double front doors, the dramatic foyer stopped me in my tracks. A coffered ceiling painted with gold leaf surrounding an ornate black filigree light fixture dazzled me before I even got all the way inside.

The vivid Mediterranean flair continues into the living room with a wood-beamed ceiling and a true indoor-outdoor feel. French doors frame a fountain in the front yard, and a fireplace is built into the far wall.

Back through the entryway lies a formal dining room and the kitchen beyond, separated by a massive two-sided fireplace that can be enjoyed in either space. More sets of French doors bring the outside in, opening from the dining room onto the front yard and also out the side to the pool.

The pool area is at once formal and intimate, large enough for big parties and entertaining but with separate spaces for seating, dining, and play. The pool itself features sparse lines and an inset fountain at the far end with a Grecian flair. The lush gardens and curved archways soften the ambience and lend a cozy air.

Jim Bartsch

Back inside, the kitchen demands attention, with gleaming white-on-white features and a glorious view of the pool area. Gourmet appliances and floating open shelves vie for attention with a huge marble island that doubles as a seating area.

A colorfully tiled staircase leads up to the master suite, a romantic haven that occupies the entire top floor. A spacious bedroom, walk-in closet, cozy meditation room, and lovely bathroom are outdone only by a spacious, private deck that overlooks the pool and enjoys views all the way to the ocean and islands.

Back downstairs are two more bedroom suites, both with baths and walk-in closets. Varied geometric black-and-white tile in each of the bathrooms, plus artfully placed windows and stunning fixtures, carry the dramatic tone throughout.

Separate from the main house is a library or game room with a full bath that could be reconfigured into an additional master suite or studio, leaving options for a new owner.

Just when I thought I had seen it all, I discovered what might be my favorite part of this house, and it isn’t in the house at all. Down a path and up a few steps, there’s a secret rear garden nestled among oak trees. A ring of natural stones hides a built-in gas fire pit with plenty of space to gather. A hot tub hides nearby, surrounded by ferns, cacti, and other native plants. By day, this area would be the perfect backdrop for kids to play. After sunset, the hot tub and the fire pit provide multiple options and equally alluring spots for relaxation. Don’t make me decide whether the interior outshines the outside, or vice versa. This magical Mediterranean home is equally enticing both inside and out.

2084 Alisos Drive is currently for sale in Montecito, listed by Luke Ebbin of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Reach Luke at 705-2152 or luke@lukeebbin.com. For more information and a video of this property, visit montecitosbrealestate.com/2084-alisos.

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