Make Myself at Home: Queen of Gillespie Street

Take a look inside 1601 Gillespie Street


If you Google 415 West Haley Street in Santa Barbara, you’ll find yourself near the intersection of Castillo and Haley streets, between the DMV parking lot, the northbound freeway on-ramp, and the terminally troublesome, currently closed section of Castillo that passes under the freeway. There’s no actual structure at 415 West Haley, at least not anymore. But once upon a time, an adorable Queen Anne cottage held court at that spot.

The same cottage now sits at 1601 Gillespie Street, right next door to an elementary school, in a residential neighborhood on Santa Barbara’s Westside. Built at the turn of the century, this home was moved to its current location in 1935. 


The house is as cute as can be. Walking through the front gate, I stopped in my tracks to pause and take in all of its ornamental details. It has a tall façade, with a steeply pitched roof decorated with fish scale–style siding and gingerbread trim. The front porch railing and front door have rows of elegant turned spindles. The eaves have decorative green brackets peeking out from below the creamy yellow exterior of the house.

In fact, the striking color palette is a joyful theme repeated throughout the home. Once I walked inside, I found myself oohing and aahing over the color choices as I walked from room to room and had my attention diverted at each new hue. From the front door, a golden hallway greets visitors with an immediate pop of color and soaring 11-foot ceilings.


The living room is immediately on the left, sporting a natural brick fireplace with a detailed, mirrored white surround and wide bay windows looking out the front of the house. The bedrooms sit to the right of the hallway. Both contain the wainscoting and period window and door frames found throughout the house, with carved detailing emphasizing the gorgeous oversized vertical windows and tall ceilings. The large full dining room continues the Victorian stylings, plus has built-in cabinets and cupboards. Gleaming hardwood floors shine in every room.

The kitchen of 1601 Gillespie is one of my favorite rooms, with soft turquoise walls and bright blue tile set off by stark white trim, and a minimalist feel. A separate walk-in pantry is graced with custom shelves and hanging racks, making both efficient and charming use of the space. I told you the house is cute as can be—and this corner nook is the cutest of the cute.


Continuing through the back door, I was surprised to step out onto an unexpectedly large back deck in a private oasis of a yard. As cozy as this residential neighborhood feels, this spacious backyard is perfect for secluded dinner parties and entertaining. There is a separate outbuilding for storage or hobbies, too. Standing on the deck looking over the top of the house toward the street, I was delighted to see a row of palm trees standing like sentinels above the roofline. I had noticed the palms before I walked into the house, but seeing them from this angle, framing the top of the house, was one additional pleasing sight of shape, color, and symmetry in this house full of patterns inside and out.

They couldn’t have chosen a sweeter spot to plant 1601 Gillespie when they chose its new location in this fairy tale that’s certain to have a happily ever after.

1601 Gillespie Street is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, listed by Team Regan of Compass. Reach Pamela Regan at 895-2760 or or Earl Wilcox at (646) 732-3078 or


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