When my boys were about 5 and 7 years old, we were struck with what was at that time a common malady: chicken pox. I’m told that they now have immunizations for chicken pox, but 20 years ago it was a childhood rite of passage. Chicken pox requires being quarantined from healthy children because it’s extremely contagious. With two sons two years apart, of course they came down with chicken pox one right after the other. So we had two weeks where they had to stay sequestered. You can imagine that keeping 5 and 7-year-old boys occupied in the house for two weeks was not an easy task. To make our chicken pox season bearable, we set out to find the least populated places to play outdoors in Santa Barbara. One of our discoveries was a little playground in the neighborhood called Hidden Valley. It may have changed over the years, but back then I joked that the Hidden Valley Park was one of the best-kept secrets in Santa Barbara.
Last week I found an even better-kept secret in Hidden Valley. Casa La Cumbre is a neighborhood off Modoc Road, tucked between the entrance to Hope Ranch and Las Positas Road. It is a PUD, or planned unit development, in which homeowners own their houses along with the land on which they sit. The homes in Casa La Cumbre look much more like houses than condos, but similar to condos, they enjoy common areas and amenities that are maintained by a homeowners’ association.
Number 4 La Cumbre Circle is a two-bedroom, two-bath home conveniently located at the very front of the complex, with easy access to visitor parking and in close proximity to the pool. One enters through a gated front porch that’s surrounded by a hedge. This small but private area looks like the perfect place to enjoy a book on a sunny day or to let a puppy or toddler scamper outside.
A large living room is at the front of the house, with the bedrooms down a hallway to the right. The master bedroom is accessed through French doors and is designed with a clever half wall separating the large dressing area and master bath from the bed-room. It also has large, sliding glass doors leading out onto the backyard.
Walking back toward the kitchen, I noticed one of the reasons that this home appears so bright. Solar tubes have been installed throughout, bringing light into every room in the house. The kitchen is beautiful, with a dining nook, granite countertops, and a bay window over the sink, looking out onto the yard. There are new stainless-steel appliances, including a brand-new Bosch washer and dryer hidden away in a closet. This checks off one of the must-haves on my personal list. I love having the laundry right inside the house. But when I stepped into the garage, I saw that it boasts such nicely designed built-in shelving and storage that I wouldn’t mind at all had I found the washer and dryer alongside.
The backyard might be my very favorite part of this home. It’s beautifully landscaped, with bougainvillea and fruit trees and a fence tall enough to offer privacy yet still allow plenty of sunshine. There’s also a brand-new motorized, retractable awning to offer options all year-round.
In addition to the pool, clubhouse, spa, and gym, there’s a private greenbelt perfect for dog walking. On my way out, I peeked at the pool and saw two little boys about 5 and 7-years-old with their mom watching over them while they played. I realized that Casa La Cumbre might be the very most hidden spot in Santa Barbara