Walking through an open house, I can usually tell fairly easily whether the home is vacant or has people living in it. Even when cleverly staged, there are often telltale signs that provide a clue. Clothes in the closets, shampoo in the shower: houses that are being lived in have that, well, lived-in look. The home 1827 Anacapa Street, however, kept me guessing.

Along the brick driveway leading toward the house, lovely landscaping with color-coordinated succulents graced the front yard. Stepping stones lead to a seating area on the right, and a curved red-brick pathway leads to the front door — but not just any front door. A bright cobalt-blue Dutch door framed by textured vertical glass panels on either side, plus a matching square glass pane inlaid in the top. The door is at once modern, friendly, and fashionably charming in its combination of eras and elements. Eager to see inside, I let myself in.

Courtesy Photo

Through the front foyer, I turned to the right and found myself in an impeccably appointed living area with clean lines, hardwood floors, and recessed lighting. This space opens onto the dining area and kitchen, forming one elegant yet functional great room with distinctive spaces.

The far wall holds a massive floor-to-ceiling gray slate fireplace with a large TV inset at the top. Along the same wall, sleek shelves and cabinets grace the rest of the space. The house oozes a practical elegance with mid-century modern feeling and lines.

It was at this point in my visit that I started to wonder whether the home was inhabited or not. An artful vase of red flowers was perched perfectly in the center of the dining table, and a silver-gray blanket lie casually on the arm of the couch. I walked through the open dining area, into the kitchen.

The kitchen is state-of-the-art, with dramatic recessed lighting throwing spotlights on the custom cabinetry, intricate contemporary tile work, and gleaming white counters. A large island with a wet bar provides stylish seating and storage in the center. When I noticed that the flowers perfectly matched the basket of fruit, which coordinated precisely with the lone tea kettle, I decided that the house must be staged. It was just too perfect for anyone to live in it.

But when I stepped into the hallway to explore the rest of the house, I was stopped in my tracks by a huge photograph of two little boys sitting in a red Radio Flyer wagon, smiling down at me. These tykes seemed to be larger-than-life proof that a real family must live here.

The bathroom and two bedrooms lay down this hallway. Bunk beds in one room plus a kid-sized play kitchen again seemed to confirm that the house was lived in and loved, yet I was amazed at each glance by how impeccably elegant the rooms felt. The sleek custom cabinetry is artful yet functional, keeping any potential clutter hidden. Both bedrooms open onto a large patio terrace, giving the two rooms a feeling of connectedness, and extending the living area outside. The view from the terrace is a surprising carpet of green from both the large yard below and a screen of mature trees beyond the house — an unexpected sight in midtown Santa Barbara.

The staircase in the center of the house is another contemporary element, with sharp lines and angles pointing the way down to the lower level of the home. Downstairs, past a full laundry room, lies another large bedroom and bath, with access out to the expansive, private backyard with the separate garage beyond. This first-floor suite feels removed enough from the rest of the house to accommodate a variety of dual living situations.

The home at 1827 Anacapa has an inviting, artful feel. Having toured the entire house, I found myself better able to envision kids running up the staircase or a classy dinner party happening in the great room. Whoever is lucky enough to call this great house their new home will have no trouble making its sophisticated features all their own.

1827 Anacapa Street is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, listed by Jennifer Berger of Compass. Reach Jennifer at 451-5484 or jennifer.berger@compass.com.


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