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I don’t often need to ride elevators, living here in Santa Barbara. Even the four floors up to the top of the courthouse tower, and my favorite local rooftop view, are walkable. When I was invited to visit a penthouse unit in the Sevilla building last week, I was instructed to take the elevator up. As I walked out of the elevator and toward the front door, I realized that this fourth-floor vantage point offered ocean, mountain, and city views to rival anywhere else in town.

I walked in the front door and was dumbstruck by one of the most stunning architectural elements I’ve encountered in a residential building. The living room ceiling is a dramatic concave dome over the span of the entire room. Reminiscent of a domed chapel ceiling in Europe, this feature is a classic. Yet its clean, contemporary lines set the tone for high style with an unexpected twist, and that esthetic continues throughout this home.

The rest of the living room does not pale in comparison. It’s a large, airy room open to the kitchen on one side, and with two sets of French doors leading outside to a patio straight ahead. Spacious enough to offer a dining area as well as multiple seating areas, including one around the fireplace that is certain to be a gathering spot.

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Through a hallway to the left lies a spacious master bedroom suite. It has a fireplace on the same wall as French doors leading out to the patio. It’s designed perfectly to enable gazing simultaneously at both the fire inside and the stars outside, providing the most luxurious glamping experience imaginable.

The master bath is through a large open doorway outfitted with pocket doors. A huge sunken tub abuts an enormous marble shower walled with glass, providing dual enviable bathing options. A perfectly appointed walk-in closet lies through the bathroom. A doorway in the closet reveals a compact laundry room, for a most convenient secret touch.

Back through the living room sits a second bedroom and bath, and beyond that lies the kitchen. I’ve always appreciated a kitchen window with a view, and this one is a complete showstopper. Floor-to-ceiling glass panes frame the neighboring red-tile roofs with the foothills and mountains beyond. The kitchen itself is a contemporary masterpiece, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the amazing view.

Fortunately, I knew I wanted to see the patio, so I wrested myself away from the kitchen window with the promise of another vista to experience on the other side of the house. While the kitchen looks northeast over the city, the patio provides a more unique southwestern vantage point, out toward “TV hill” and all the way down to the harbor and ocean. The patio is large enough for a sizable party and styled for entertaining with Saltillo tile, custom awnings, and wrought-iron railings. It begs to be enjoyed and lived upon and is perfectly positioned for sensational sunsets.

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There are several other high-end developments in downtown Santa Barbara, and they all have their allure, but Sevilla arguably has the best of the best locations. One block to State Street, but not on it; two blocks to the Funk Zone, but not in it; and only four blocks to the beach. On my way out of the Sevilla penthouse, I took the stairs and took my time. I enjoyed the lovely fountains, gardens, and rooftop views. I’m sure the elevator is practical, but if I lived in Sevilla, I’d forego that elevator whenever possible in favor of the leisurely way up, complete with my favorite new views of Santa Barbara.

401 Chapala Street, Unit 402, is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, listed by Devin Wong of The DK Group at Village Properties Realtors. Reach Devin at or 451-6157.


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