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I visit a lot of open houses. Sometimes homes are occupied, sometimes they’re completely empty, and sometimes they’re professionally staged to make them look their best. And if I do say so myself, I’ve gotten pretty good at distinguishing the house itself from the way it is dressed up or not dressed up. After all, it is the bones of the home itself that are for sale, not the embellishments or furnishings.

I forgot all of this as I walked through the penthouse at 618 Anacapa Street last week. I was wowed by the dramatic light fixtures above the built-in dining nook, and charmed by the sleek cream-and-white motif of the seating areas in the living room. I was so enchanted by the designer furnishings and finishes of this townhome that I had to shake my head and force myself to look past the style at the home itself.

This luxury condominium is part of the Anacapa Villas, which sit high above the corner of Anacapa and Ortega streets in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara — a stone’s throw from State Street and just a few blocks to the Funk Zone, the harbor, and the beach. There are plenty of downtown living options in Santa Barbara, but this one is special, starting with its views.

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From the living room balcony, the red tiled roofs of the neighboring units frame the hills of the Riviera and the mountains beyond, with a corner of the bustling Saturday farmers’ market just visible. On the other side of the house, a long private balcony runs the entire length of the living room. The view stretches up Anacapa Street to the Lobero Theatre in one direction, and down Anacapa to the beach in the other. Both vistas offer lines of towering palm trees in the distance, combining for a unique downtown Santa Barbara scene.

Back inside, there is also plenty to ogle. I entered the house through a private elevator, and found myself in an entry vestibule with thick glass doors. The couple of steps down into the living room provide a fittingly dramatic entrance into the spacious main living space, with a fireplace and seating to the right, the kitchen to the left, the dining room beyond that, and yet another sitting area straight ahead. These well-defined groupings break up the space into room-sized nooks perfect for conversation and gathering. The soaring ceilings and light-filled room might otherwise feel cold or vast, but instead it is cozy and comfortable.

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Both bedrooms in this home are suites, and both feel like masters. It wasn’t until I walked into the second full bathroom and marveled at its spa-worthy tub and glass shower enclosure that I knew this was undisputedly the master suite. Both bedrooms have balconies, both are sleek and spacious, and both have a surprising wealth of storage space. In fact, there are abundant storage solutions throughout the home, including a hidden cabinet behind the fireplace in the living room, making clever use of what would otherwise be forgotten space.

When I caught myself admiring the palm wall planters in the powder room, I mused aloud how perfect the designer furnishings feel in this home. That’s when I was informed that the condominium is available for sale fully furnished. The lucky new owner of this perfectly appointed pied-à-terre not only will get to enjoy the house itself, but can purchase the stunning décor as well, buying this whole designer pad all dressed up.

As I left, I took the stairs down instead of the elevator. Hardwood steps combine with colorful alternating tile patterns on the risers for an impressive, striking stairway. I suppose I should have expected no less from this classy home full of impeccable designer details inside and out, even on my way out the door.

618 Anacapa Street #7 is currently on the market in Santa Barbara, listed by Michelle Cook of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Mark Macgillvray and Teresa McWilliams of Coldwell Banker Previews International. Reach Michelle at (805) 570-3183 or Reach Mark at (805) 886-7097 or Reach Teresa at (805) 895-7038 or


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