Santa Barbarans are a bunch of beach bums. Office workers take long lunch breaks to surf when Rincon is breaking in the winter. Kids frolic in shore break and beg to be buried in the sand all summer long. And all those fanatics love to boast that they live near the beach, but not many can claim that they actually live on the beach. Well, you can live the exotic beachfront life by renting a state-of-the-art beach house just 20 minutes south of Santa Barbara, the Seven Seas home in the Seacliff Beach Colony.
My wife and I decided to rent a beach house to celebrate our six-month anniversary. A simple search online at vrbo.com (Vacation Rentals by Owner) led to this affordable and unique four-bedroom, three-bath home. Homeowner Tina Hasche, who owns Skin Deep beauty salon in Santa Barbara, grew up in the house in the ’60s, and aside from the television set and a few of the newer appliances, not a whole lot has changed since then. That’s not to say the place has become a dump-on the contrary, it’s been maintained quite well, and it still exudes much of its original charm, a welcome respite from a majority of the modern homes in the small gated community.
The Seven Seas home almost feels like being aboard a 1960s cruise ship. Decorative fish nets and life preservers adorn the walls, noticeable enough to be kitschy but modest enough to be tasteful. To the right of the entryway is one of the bedrooms, and to the left is a common area with a dining table and an old ornate poker table. Beyond the common area are the living room-with the original wood-paneled walls and well-worn stone fireplace-and the kitchen. To the right of the kitchen lay the remaining bedrooms, with the master bedroom in the back corner of the house, overlooking the ocean.
While the Seven Seas home’s interior wins hearts with its charm, the exterior views are downright mesmerizing. On our first night there, my wife and I cooked dinner-seared wild ahi and steamed asparagus-and ate on the patio as the sun faded into the ocean and left behind a sky smeared with deep, passionate purples, opaque oranges, and ravenous reds. During the daytime, we spent hours on the wooden beachside deck, watching the dolphins cruise by in search of their morning meals while the seagulls hovered in their endless search for scraps.
We walked along the footpath, careful to abide by the unwritten rule that forbids passersby from staring into people’s homes. To maximize their views, residents don’t build big walls or plant dense trees and shrubs to maintain privacy. We admired the variety of homes-some modern and fancy, some old and funky-and wondered what it would take to make our dream of owning a home on the beach a reality. And when the tide was low enough, we ventured onto the small strip of beach just down the patio steps to collect cool rocks and shells brought in by the lazy shore break.
Though we had planned to take a day trip down to Ventura, just a 10-minute drive, we were so relaxed and comfortable in the house that we never left the gated community. But for those who are more interested in exploring the surrounding areas, plenty of antique stores, galleries, and funky coffee shops await you in downtown Ventura. And for surfers, you’re situated in a prime spot, just a five-minute drive from Rincon and a 10-minute drive from C Street. But, as we found, you don’t have to venture far to have an adventure-exploring the Seven Seas beach home and the Seacliff Beach Colony is a journey unto itself.