Address: 1295 Kenwood Road

Status: On the market

Price: $1,165,000

I used to live on the part of the Mesa known as the Alta Mesa. It’s basically the top of the hill looking out way over downtown Santa Barbara and to the mountains beyond while peering the other way toward the “real” Mesa, with Cliff Drive, Shoreline, and the ocean below. It’s pretty easy to feel as if you’re removed from the fray and above the hustle and bustle of the city up on the Alta Mesa because, well, you are.

I have great memories of the house we owned on Fellowship Road and our time there. It’s the house where my boys grew up, so we had birthday parties in the parks and trick-or-treated through the neighborhood. Kenwood and Fellowship intersect right near our old house, so as I drove toward 1295 Kenwood Road, I was ready for a walk down memory lane.

But when I pulled up to 1295 Kenwood, it wasn’t where I had expected it to be. It turns out that Kenwood is a longer street than I remembered. I found myself on a block tucked away on the side of the hill, composed of about six or seven houses. They have easy access to Carrillo Hill, so the beach and Lazy Acres are close by, yet they’re in a quiet spot that doesn’t get much traffic.

So I adjusted my expectations and walked on in. The front yard could serve as a guide to drought-tolerant landscaping. Salvia, young evergreen bushes, and striking succulents sit arranged in ground cover dotted with natural rocks and surrounded by railroad ties. The façade of the house itself is low-slung and low-key, a neutral-toned, ranch-style home ready to blend into its surroundings and let the towering eucalyptus and other trees take the spotlight.

Inside, the natural, neutral palette continues throughout the interior of the house, with hardwood flooring and a yellow, beige, and brown color scheme that is subtle and soothing. A front entryway opens up into an airy great room that combines a large living room anchored by a brick fireplace on the far wall, with a dining room off to the right. There’s just enough separation that the dining area feels like it has its own footprint but is still connected enough for a spacious overall feeling. The fireplace is flanked by a large window on one side and a sliding glass door on the other, bringing the backyard in.

I resisted the urge to check out the backyard in favor of exploring the rest of the house first. The kitchen is long and galley-style, accessed by both the front hallway and the dining room. It has its own breakfast area, a pantry, white custom cabinets, newer appliances, and beautiful tiled floors, counters, and backsplash. With both a central skylight and a big window above the breakfast nook, there’s plenty of natural light. The attached two-car garage is also accessed directly from the kitchen, offering laundry hookups and a convenient utility sink. I always think of rinsing off the dog after a trip to the beach, but I’m sure everyone has their own uses for such a bonus indoor/outdoor sink.

The bedrooms and bathrooms are laid out on the left side of the house. All are light and bright, with hardwood floors and plentiful windows to let the sun stream in. One bedroom has a separate outside entrance onto the side of the house and an en-suite bathroom, either making it ideal as the master bedroom or offering more privacy for grandma or an older child — or even as a rental.

One of the other bedrooms has a sliding glass door accessing the backyard. I felt I had toured most of the house, so I rewarded myself by stepping outside to explore the backyard. I realized with a jolt of déjà vu that the yard — with its covered patio; beautiful, big tree on one side; and sloping hill of ice plant behind — was laid out exactly like the house in which I had grown up. For most adults, the ice plant is an appealing, easy-care way to cover the hill and separate the property from the neighbors above. But for my sisters and me, many years ago, our ice-plant hill had been a place of adventure. We hunkered on the hill for hours, playing Harriet the Spy and other games, gazing down on the goings-on in our yard and the whole street.

I left 1295 Kenwood with a whole different set of memories than I had expected floating through my head, hoping that someone with enough time and imagination to enjoy every corner of this tranquil home will find it and embrace it as their own.

1295 Kenwood Road is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, listed by Christopher Hunt of Village Properties Realtors. Reach Christopher at (805) 453-3407 or


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