Courtesy Photo

I’ve always loved horses and horse racing. I went to high school in Del Mar, also known as “where the surf meets the turf,” practically in the shadow of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. My friends and I scheduled our summer jobs and our beach time around the horse racing schedule. My dad taught me to read the racing form and yet also trust my instincts when it came to betting on the ponies. The beauty and excitement of live horse racing has captivated me ever since, and I still manage to get down to Del Mar a couple of times each racing season. Strangely, however, even though I’ve lived in Santa Barbara for more than 30 years, somehow I’ve never experienced the equine playground in our own backyard. I’ll admit it: I have yet to attend a polo match at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club.

When I drove onto the polo club grounds last week, I was immediately keenly aware of what I’ve been missing. Even without horses and riders thundering across the field, the sheer beauty of the bright green expanse, with the mountains soaring above it and the ocean as a backdrop, was a mesmerizing mix of excitement and regal tranquility.

The attraction that finally got me to the polo fields was a visit to two condominiums that are currently listed for sale. Number 622 is a cozy one-bedroom, one-bath home on the second floor of the building overlooking the sparkling pool, with the field and ocean beyond. The current owner has decorated this space beautifully, with a neutral palette and bamboo flooring throughout, including light cabinetry and counters in the kitchen and the bathroom. It has a fireplace in the living room, which opens onto a balcony that’s just big enough for dining, and certainly offers the perfect spot for enjoying a glass of wine with tremendous sunset views. My favorite not-so-hidden feature of this home is the closet that’s been outfitted with a sleek desk, creating a custom office with a view, and maximizing the available space in an efficient and elegant manner.

As often happens, I fell in love with 622. I imagined the organized, simplified lifestyle its new owner might enjoy in this small space. I was so enamored that I was tempted to skip number 911, but I’m very glad that I didn’t.

Unit number 911 is a three-bedroom, two-bath home that is an absolute stunner. Walking in the front door, I was immediately pulled toward the living room and amazing view beyond. The unit is on the ground floor and has a huge outdoor patio directly behind the goal posts of the polo field. Even on a day without a horse in sight, it was easy to imagine the excitement of watching a polo match from the front-row seats that this location provides. Not even the best seats in the grandstand would hold a candle to the view of the action from here.

I forced myself away from the mesmerizing view to explore the home itself and was soon just as captivated by the impeccably designed interior. Every room has jaw-dropping details. The kitchen features intricate tile on the floor and backsplash, a farmhouse sink with brass faucet, and top-of-the-line stainless-steel appliances. The bathrooms both feature unique tile treatments; both fireplaces are stunning, and every light fixture is worth a second look; and both the living room and master bedroom have almost seamless walls of glass leading out to the patio. My highlight was discovering that the master bedroom also offers an ocean view from the pillow. I kept turning my attention from the delight of discovering each of these details to the sheer beauty of the setting itself.

I was there on a rare recent sunny day, and being able to walk the grounds, admire the pool, and breathe in the views provided a taste of the genteel tranquility of the polo field lifestyle. The only missing piece was the ponies. You can bet I’ll be back during polo season to enjoy my first ever polo match and a new pony-centric pastime.

3375 Foothill Road, Suites 622 and 911, are currently for sale in Carpinteria, listed by David Kim of Village Properties Realtors. Reach David at or (805) 296-0662. The interior photos shown are unit 911.


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