Make Myself at Home: Upper East Estate

Take a Look Inside the Maguire House at 1721 Garden Street, Full of Treasures Inside and Out

Address: 1721 Garden Street

Status: On the market

Price: $2,150,000

Walking through the Maguire house at 1721 Garden Street is a bit like getting to know a new city. There’s a lot to see, with surprises at every bend. Some delights are out in the open and apparent at a glance, like the impressive fireplace that anchors one end of the living room, with its sandstone details and original dark-wood mantel. But other features take a bit of exploration to uncover. For example, I certainly didn’t expect the huge sundeck off of the back bedrooms upstairs. It’s not hidden, but one wouldn’t guess that this spacious outdoor room was part of the package when viewing the house from the street.

When I first walked toward the house, I was greeted by an informal front garden with drought-tolerant native plants and bushes arranged in welcoming groups. Fruit trees and a garden on the left side of the house caught my attention and drew me in that direction. As I meandered over to take a closer look, I discovered that the main entrance to the house is actually on the side. I’m not sure what a feng shui expert would make of this unusual setup, but it seems to work well for this grand residence.

Before going inside, I paused to admire the detailing on the exterior of the house. A low-hipped roof, with wide eaves and dark-wood brackets, gives the roofline a standout presence, rivaled only by the decorative stonework pattern at the building’s corners and front portico. The house is Italianate in style, with bay windows upstairs peeking out over the front porch and distinctive Santa Barbara sandstone decorating the foundation and base of the house.

This home was built in 1903 for Frank J. Maguire, a native Santa Barbaran who served as the postmaster of the City of Santa Barbara until his retirement, when he went into real estate. The house was therefore originally known as the Maguire House. Its current owners have lived in the house and loved it for more than 40 years.

Inside the front door, an entry foyer shows off a beautiful wood staircase in the middle of the house. A huge living room is to the right, with the aforementioned fireplace on the far wall. A separate alcove is tucked back through an archway behind the living room, with two windows and built-in bookshelves creating a book lover’s fantasy reading nook. The dining room lies to the left, showcasing another unique fireplace with a blue-and-white-tiled façade and beautiful dark-wood mantel. The kitchen, with a walk-in pantry and separate breakfast area, lies behind the foyer, along with one bedroom and a full bath. Also downstairs, toward the back of the house, is a huge family room with floor-to-ceiling bookcases and windows facing out to the backyard, plus a back door for easy access.

Upstairs are four more bedrooms plus three bathrooms. Two of the bedrooms take advantage of the bay windows over the front porch, and all enjoy the beautiful light and mountain views of the home’s setting. Off the two bedrooms in the back of the house is the huge deck: a semicircular flagstone stage overlooking the backyard.

The most interesting part of this house might be the outbuildings that lie outside of the house itself. A long carriage house with a hayloft above sits at the rear of the property, with a separate garage-type workshop on the right side. Both of these character-filled buildings are original to the house and provide plenty of room for storage, studio space, or other creative endeavors.

Throughout the house, the wide plank hardwood floors and much of the woodwork have been beautifully preserved in their original, pristine condition. The home contains just enough of the hardware and quaint features — such as a built-in pass-through from the kitchen to the dining room — to remind visitors that it hails from a bygone era. More recent touches such as double-paned windows and heavy insulation provide modern conveniences.

The Maguire home is in my favorite part of town. Its Upper East address is right around the corner from Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden, and close enough to walk to everything downtown. I learned after I left that the house has a full basement that I didn’t even notice. Just like traveling to a new city, no matter how much one might try to see everything, there’s always another restaurant or neighborhood waiting to be discovered, waiting to be appreciated on the next visit.

1721 Garden Street is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, listed by Julie Barnes and Jeff Oien of Village Properties Realtors. Reach Julie at 895-9498 or, or Jeff at 895-2944 or, or visit


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