Make Myself at Home: Smart Summerland Contemporary

A Look Inside 2368 Whitney Avenue, A Stunning Home with Serene Views

Address: 2368 Whitney Avenue, Summerland

Status: On the market

Price: $1,675,000

Climbing the streets of Summerland on a recent Sunday, I found myself marveling at the variety of architecture in the homes I passed by. Vivid Victorians in their dramatic hues mixed with Cape Cod beach houses and rustic cabins. There’s no shortage of style in Summerland’s abodes, and no singular theme dominates. I imagined the houses jostling for attention, preening on the hillsides. Who’s the fairest of them all? And, of course, who has the best view?

The higher I drove, the quieter my imagined jostling became. Since prime position is at the top of the hill, the houses perched on the uppermost streets preside quietly over the rest of the town. They don’t have to brag about their beauty or that of the view; their location speaks for itself.

Not only does 2368 Whitney have an enviable ocean view from its front yard, but it also has an arguably even more gorgeous vista out its back door. On this particular afternoon, the yellow-mustard-grass-covered hillside beyond the bright putting green in the backyard against the brilliant blue sky above created a Wizard of Oz Technicolor backdrop. Being at the top of the hill certainly has its advantages, and this home makes the most of it.

Against this rainbow of scenery, the house itself is sleek and understated. It has clean, contemporary lines and a timeless design, aptly allowing the setting to steal the show. I walked up to its front door, knowing that I had reached a special place.

In talking about this home that he has extensively remodeled over the past two years, builder and owner Phillip Coombs calls it a “reasonably smart” house. When pressed for details, he mentions the Sonos sound system, the Nest heating, and the biofuel fireplace in the living room. He almost lost me with the wall-mounted iPad mag-induction charging station, but he brought me back to attention when he explained that you can turn on the heat with your cell phone while you’re still in bed. The kitchen features Gaggenau and Sub-Zero appliances in a very compact, colorful, open space. The stainless-steel slab countertops seem to embody the home’s overall personality. Beautiful, functional and understated, they highlight the features around them rather than drawing attention to themselves.

The entire home is very low maintenance. Synthetic materials such as rocks in the front garden and the artificial turf in the back provide carefree style. Coombs points out that because the putting green’s fully functional five-hole surface is flat and walkable, it’s great for parties, and, of course, it’s always green. So it’s extremely utilitarian, whether or not it gets a whole lot of use for actual golf.

The house has three bedrooms and two baths, all offering serene, comfortable spaces. The master bedroom, however, definitely steals the show, with a big corner fireplace and doors opening up onto a deck overlooking the backyard and the hillside beyond.

Coombs spent many years developing homes elsewhere, and this is the third Summerland house that he has built or renovated in the past four years, including one right across the street on the same block of Whitney Avenue. When asked what was most special about this project, Coombs said he was excited to have the opportunity to work with a flat lot with big vistas. He points out that the house is really just a modernized beach cottage with good light. As I drive away, however, I swear I can hear the lower houses whispering with envy. It’s not just the location of 2368 Whitney but the tranquil contemporary retreat itself. It embodies the feel of Summerland and the views of the ocean and surrounding mountains but emanates a serene style all its own.

2368 Whitney Avenue is currently for sale in Summerland, listed by Ted Campbell of Village Properties. Reach Ted at (805) 886-1175 or


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