Thomas Ploch

My friend Kristi lives in a set of luxury townhomes at the corner of Montecito Street and Calle César Chávez. Called the East Beach Collection, the homes were built in 2011 when the Funk Zone was just becoming a destination, and addresses on Haley Street from State to Milpas were almost all industrial. The neighborhood was filled with auto mechanics and wood shops, and residential living options were rare.

Now, however, the Haley Street corridor is one of the most hopping neighborhoods in town, and the East Beach Collection sits in the center of the action. You’ve got three breweries and two wineries within a four-block radius and great restaurants to choose from — not to mention it’s a short walk to both the beach and the bustle of State Street.

Thomas Ploch

One of these townhomes is currently on the market, so I thought I’d drop by the open house to take a peek and see if I could catch my friend Kristi, too. I visited on Easter Sunday, and although the sky was cloudy, the garden was lush and green, with lilies blooming right on cue. The entrance to 543 East Montecito Street sits behind a fountain in a fenced corner courtyard area of the East Beach Collection, providing an attractive entrée and a setback from the street.

The townhome is a fairly rare three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home in a tri-level configuration. The house is LEED certified, with solar power, central air conditioning, and other energy-efficient advantages. Most of the homes in the development have resale restrictions and must be owner-occupied, but this townhome is an exception and carries no such limitations.

The front door opens into a large foyer that can serve as a mud room with extra storage or could be set up as an office or cozy den. The attached two-car garage also opens onto this first level.

Thomas Ploch

Up a flight of stairs is the main living area of the home. The gourmet kitchen is straight ahead, with the living room to the left. These two rooms are spacious and open to each other, yet they have clearly defined boundaries. The formal dining room is on the other side of the kitchen and has doors that open onto a large covered balcony. Since the home sits on the east side of the development, this balcony enjoys an expansive sunrise mountain view.

Walking back to take a closer look at the kitchen, I learned that this home was one of the original model units in the complex, so its maple floors, granite countertops, cabinetry, and stainless steel appliances are all of the highest quality. They combine for an impressive setting just begging for an enthusiastic chef. There is also a convenient half bath on this level.

Beyond the living room lies the staircase up to the top floor. Two of the three bedrooms share one full bath, complete with a deep tub, double-sink vanity, and a glass-enclosed shower. The master bedroom has a similarly appointed en suite bathroom with a separate WC and a walk-in closet. There’s also a stackable washer and dryer tucked into the hall closet, conveniently close to the bedrooms.

Thomas Ploch

The newer construction of this home is evident in the recessed lighting, upgraded fixtures, and the seamless flow of the layout. The stairs aren’t for everyone, but the rewards for walking up two flights to the top level include peaceful privacy and lovely mountain and treetop views.

I walked through the center of the complex to Kristi’s house, enjoying the gardens along the way. I knew that if I did indeed catch her at home, our biggest decision would be which of the nearby hot spots to visit. Some were likely closed, but many were open and looked bustling. The Easter Bunny wasn’t the only one hopping on this Sunday afternoon.

543 East Montecito Street is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, listed by David Kim of The DK Group at Village Properties Realtors. Reach David at or (805) 296-0662.


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