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I felt like a matchmaker when I visited 1720 Chapala Street last week. Unit 9 is an adorable one-bedroom condo for sale on a quiet residential block near downtown. With a listing price of $472,000, it’s as close to affordable as we are likely to find in Santa Barbara.

Therefore, my first inclination when I saw this handsome home was a quick review of my list of friends who might be in the market. A find like this doesn’t come along every day.

Ever since I became a homeowner earlier this year, I’ve become somewhat of an evangelist among my friends: encouraging them to get pre-qualified, run the numbers, and talk to a Realtor to see where they stand and what homeownership might look like for them. For one lucky first-time buyer, home ownership might look just like 1720 Chapala, #9. So I immediately went into matchmaker mode, thinking about which of my friends might fall in love with this eligible residence.

It’s not fancy. It’s a one-bedroom, one-bath condo. But at 672 square feet, it’s plenty of space for a single person or a couple. I was impressed before I even walked in the door.

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The whole building is set sideways on its lot, so all of the units face 90 degrees from rather than toward the street. Unit 9 is upstairs, with a private balcony that runs the length of the home and is accessible from both the front door and the bedroom. From the balcony, the view is lush, green, and tranquil. Ferns and palm trees line the meandering paths on the complex grounds, and a stand of tall bamboo forms a fence and a lovely screen as a backdrop for the rest of the gardens. The overall atmosphere is of a verdant rainforest.

The front door opens into the living room, which showcases the new flooring and paint found throughout the unit. The kitchen is just beyond the living room, not completely open, but separated enough to define the two main living spaces. With new appliances, lots of natural light, and enough room for a dining area, the kitchen is spacious for a home this size. I must admit I was a bit envious comparing the amount of counter and storage space with that of my own tiny kitchen. But that comes with the territory of being a matchmaker. One has to be pretty confident that one has made their own best choice.

The bedroom and bathroom are down a short hallway with a large, mirror-fronted closet, plus an area perfect for a desk or dressing table — another unexpected bonus in a condo of this size. The bathroom has been recently remodeled and sports sleek white cabinetry and new fixtures and lighting. The bedroom is automatically a winner in my book, with sliding glass doors out onto the balcony and a view of the gardens below.

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There is a laundry room on-site, shared with the other ten units, and a covered carport with storage. I peeked at both before I left and was impressed that they were larger and more deluxe than what I expected to find.

The location of 1720 Chapala might be one of its most enviable qualities: two blocks from South Coast Deli, less than three blocks from Cajun Kitchen, and only one block to State Street. The 1700 block is close to everything but outside the most congested parts of downtown.

As I drove away, I wasn’t comparing this charming condo with my own little house. I was thinking about which one of my friends to call first to set them up with this little uptown cutie. However, I have since heard a rumor that 1720 Chapala Street, #9, might already be in escrow. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were multiple suitors for such a rare find. Such is the never-ending work of a matchmaker.

1720 Chapala Street, Unit 9, is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, listed by Carol Wesolowski of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Reach Carol at 450-1447 or


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