Address: 5330 Plunkett Lane
Status: On the market
They say that “everything old is new again,” and The Manor House at The Knoll off Patterson Avenue is certainly a prime example. This grand estate is rich in history, yet at the same time it is the centerpiece of one of the newest luxury developments in our area.
I had the pleasure of touring The Manor House during a recent showing, as this newly refurbished home was being reintroduced to the public for the first time. I was also able to speak with Jeff Nelson, the founder and CEO of Oak Creek Company, which restored this home while building the 12 new homes that compose The Knoll.
The Manor House was built by a family who fled Austria in the early 1930s as Adolph Hitler was rising to power. Having the means to live anywhere, they chose Santa Barbara as their refuge. They hired the architectural firm of Edwards and Plunkett, who had designed the Arlington Theatre just a few years earlier, to design their dream home high on a hilltop.
Nelson researched the history of The Manor House so that its past could influence the property’s modern update. “We paused to do what was appropriate for this distinguished house to balance modern living with the irreplaceable character of this grand estate home,” explained Nelson, who said that it was built the same year as the Golden Gate Bridge. “It was an era where there was advanced engineering, and the Depression allowed for affordable pricing for the best quality materials.”
As such, The Manor House is still incredibly solid. Its 6,530 square feet include an 1,100-square-foot garage on the lower level, which was built long before automobiles became popular. The main focus in refurbishing the house was to create a better flow from the indoors to the outdoors. “In the late 1930s, plate-glass windows were new and special,” said Nelson, who replaced many of those windows with modern French doors to better bring the outdoors in. The house now flows from a back outdoor patio with coastal views to a front patio looking toward the mountains.
The other major update to the property was landscaping. “We cleared volunteer vegetation from the site to open up the 360-degree views that the property originally enjoyed when it was built as a hilltop mansion,” Nelson explained. “New landscaping consistent with a grand estate has now matured and achieves the goal of being both current and timeless.”
I confessed to Nelson that even though it was added in the 1950s, the tiki bar off the living room is one of my favorite parts of the house. It has huge, west-facing windows and a fully decked-out professional bar with seating for at least 20 people. It immediately transports you to an island in the South Pacific. “It must be one of the greatest places to entertain in Santa Barbara,” Nelson concurred. He pointed out that not only does it also have an incredible view, but it’s also built with old-growth bamboo and hand-painted Tahitian murals.
If the walls of The Manor House could speak, they would have many stories to tell. It’s a grand estate that feels both welcoming and home-like. Now that its features and finishes have been made current, it is awaiting a new owner to help it write the next chapters in its historical book.
5330 Plunkett Lane, known as The Manor House, is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, along with the rest of the houses at The Knoll. It is listed by Bridget Murphy, Paul Suding, and Brittany Lough of suding//murphy partners of Compass. For information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 886-1300.