Address: 1138 Palomino Road | Status: On the market | Price: $2,288,000

My trumpet flower tree is blooming again. I won’t admit that this tree is the reason that I bought my house, but it is one of the factors that sealed the deal. It was almost exactly one year ago today that I first laid eyes on my cozy cottage. I admired the kitchen tile, the plentiful windows, and the big wooden deck in the backyard. But the moment that I fell head over heels was when I noticed the small trumpet flower tree in a corner of the front yard. It’s always been one of my favorite types of trees, and this one has plentiful, coral-colored blooms. I love that it’s blooming for a second time this season.

I will admit, however, that I was more than a tad envious when I saw the huge trumpet flower tree in the backyard of 1138 Palomino Road last week. While my tree is a spindly sapling that I can put my arms around and prune by hand, the one on Palomino Road towers toward the home’s second story, draping its blossoms high over and around the edges of the swimming pool.

This trumpet flower tree is but one of myriad shrubs, vines, trees, and plants that grace the landscaping around this Mission Canyon home. The yard is a botanic delight, with succulents, palms, and exotic flowers vying for attention and bursting together into a profusion of colors and scents. Paths wind through and around the property, offering different vantage points and leading to picturesque seating areas. The house sits on a full acre, and while there are plenty of corners to explore, including a rustic garden shed down a hillside path, the overall ambience is one of idyllic, tranquil seclusion.

Garden View at 1138 Palomino Road

I drove toward Palomino Road on a warm, sunny afternoon. Oak trees on either side of the road arched together, creating a sun-dappled tunnel. As I climbed higher, the trees thinned a bit, the approach got steeper, and the road became a private lane, with this home perched regally at the top.

The two-bedroom house is described as rustic contemporary, but in my opinion the contemporary speaks the loudest. Clean lines and sharp angles were my first impressions as I laid eyes upon the sparse design of the sand-colored, two-story home and its separate pool cabana guesthouse. Both structures are settled artfully into the gardens surrounding them.

The pool cabana is the first structure one encounters when walking onto the property. Set above the garage, it consists of a large studio, full bath, and wraparound terrace balcony. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows frame amazing ocean and island views, yet the setting maintains complete privacy.

This magical blend of being open to nature while still secluded continues even more strongly in the main house. A front entry hall offers a view of the pool and gardens behind the house but turns right to open into an expansive great room that dramatically and literally brings the outside in. This kitchen-and-living-room combo has three walls of glass doors that open completely — either sliding open or stacking. This extends the living space out to include the outdoor covered dining room, which melds seamlessly into the lush garden.

Main room at 1138 Palomino Road

The kitchen itself boasts custom cabinetry, gourmet appliances, and a separate formal dining area. A private bedroom suite lies on the other side of the first floor, offering easy access to the pool and hot tub through a back door. Various types of wood are used throughout the house for built-ins, with attention to detail and style to spare.

Therein lies the rustic part of the “rustic contemporary” moniker. Natural materials are used through the house in its cement floor, stone accents, and gorgeous wood ceilings. Nowhere is this more evident than the master bedroom upstairs. Walls of glass echo those downstairs, and built-in dressers and storage are offset by the floors and striking ceiling fans.

The master bathroom steals the show, with a deep soaking tub overlooking the backyard and foothills beyond, plus an adjacent outdoor shower. The real showstopper is just outside the bedroom. The roof of the living room below has been designed so that it can be used as a rooftop garden and huge sun deck. It is currently bare, waiting to be transformed by its new owner to either match the lush gardens below or show off its own style.

Back downstairs, I had to take one more tour around the grounds before I left. A fire pit in the front yard offers a Zen space to watch nature both close at hand and in the distant, amazing views. Another cozy spot is the area underneath the big trumpet flower tree next to the pool. I was tempted to sit a while and soak up the ambience of this serene hilltop sanctuary. But my own little trumpet flower tree called me to drive back down the hill to my own home sweet home.

1138 Palomino Road is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, listed by Tim Walsh of Village Properties Realtors. Reach Tim at 259-8808 or


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