Fabled Gables: 20 West Valerio Street

Italianate Home Is One of Few Examples of the Victorian Era in Santa Barbara

Presumed original owner: Clara W. Lunt

Year built: 1878

Architect: Unknown

This Italianate Victorian house and its three neighbors to the west along Valerio Street are some of the few remaining architectural representations of Santa Barbara in the Victorian era. The presumed original owner was Clara W. Lunt, an artist who lived in the home from 1888 until the early 1920s.

The home, which is built from redwood, has undergone very few exterior changes over the decades and so appears very frozen in time. That sense is often enhanced by the interior decorations that can be seen from the curb, which tend to match the home’s classical sense of style. Inside, three of the five fireplaces were designed to burn coal rather than wood.

Among other interesting architectural features, 20 West Valerio Street features a truncated hipped roof with overhanging boxed eaves and double-story squared-room projections on the front and right sides. The open front porch is supported by wooden posts and decorated by brackets, while a large bay window extends from the left side of the first floor. Denticulate frieze molding separates the first and second stories, and the windows are double hung, often with three-pane transforms.

In 1939, the home was converted into a duplex, according to available records, and in 1950, apartments were built in the backyard. That’s probably the biggest change to this centrally located property, for the backyard was once home to a barn and cistern.


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