Probable Original Owner: Gabriel Ruiz
Year Built: 1886
This one-story Carpenter Gothic Revival–style cottage of shiplap construction with an asymmetrical design is one of only two residences in the Santa Barbara area using this architectural style. Located a few steps from City Hall and De la Guerra Plaza, this property has undergone few changes in its 129-year history.
The Carpenter Victorian Gothic style in the United States was popularized from 1860 to 1890 by the unbound use of artistic details in which the builder and craftsman were given freedom to challenge the status quo by experimenting with various design motifs. To do so, they used foot-powered and hand-cranked jigsaws, which became available in the United States during the construction boom of the 1800s, powered by the abundance of North American timber. The new tools sparked an architectural renaissance of sorts that combined the simplicity of farmhouse-style architecture with decorative scroll trim work.
These “new” architectural elements included pointed arches, pitched roofs, steep gables, wall dormers, tracery, and mass-produced wood moldings. For many Americans, what had previously been viewed as traditional farmhouse style was now updated with more freedom and imagination in which the barriers to entry had now become accessible and affordable for the everyday artisan-craftsman.
The property’s more established architectural motif is found in the decorative scrollwork in and around the triangular pediment above the front porch. Additional areas of ornamentation include the Gothic trim along the bargeboard of the gabled roofline, which provides additional harmony in maintaining the home’s Victorian flavor.
Between 1915 and 1978, the property changed hands at least nine times. It’s been on and off the market a few times since 2013, most recently listed for sale in March 2015 for $1.3 million.