Make Myself at Home: Historic Craftsman Charmer
Upper Eastside Home Charming Inside and Out
Address: 2001 Anacapa Street
Status: On the market
It’s usually a very different experience to walk through a house for sale that’s furnished versus one that is empty. When a home has furniture in it, it’s much easier to imagine living in it. When a house is bare, it can feel bleak and abandoned.
But that wasn’t the case when I visited the home for sale at 2001 Anacapa Street. Although the house is completely vacant, it was easy to conjure up images of holiday feasts in the dining room, children playing in the yard, and game nights near the fireplace in the family room.
At 2001 Anacapa Street is a beautiful two-story craftsman-style home, built in 1909 and preserved in its original condition. From the coffered ceilings to the hardwood floors, its vintage details are charmingly intact, and its historic significance is bolstered by a Structure of Merit designation from the City of Santa Barbara.
The home sits on the prominent corner of Anacapa and Mission streets. Historically known as the Flagg house, it has been owned by the Abbey family since the mid-1970s. Dr. Abbey was a well-known local orthodontist who is now retired. The family has more than 40 years of history in this house, but I didn’t know any of that as I walked its hallways.
While Victorian homes often sport flashy paint jobs, craftsmen are typically more subtle. The exterior of this one is brown wood shingles with a low-slung gabled roof. I walked up the front steps and across the big wraparound porch. From the front entryway, the living and family rooms are to the left; the dining room is on the right, with the kitchen beyond; and two bedrooms are down a hallway in the back. Straight ahead is a massive wood staircase, substantial without being formal, complete with big round finials on the newel posts.
The living room is at the front of the house, with the family room next to it. Both have large windows looking out onto the grounds, including a huge oak tree. The wood detailing in these two rooms is breathtaking, including built-in bookshelves, window seats with drawers underneath, decorative columns, wainscoting, and more. Each room has a fireplace — brick in the living room and dark-green tile in the family room — which back onto each other to share a chimney.
Back through the foyer, the dining room sits behind original sliding pocket doors and shares these same wood details. Although the pocket doors would likely almost always remain open, their vintage charm makes them one of my favorite details in the house.
The kitchen includes a pantry, laundry nook, powder room, and separate breakfast area. Double doors from the kitchen open out onto a big back deck elevated above a surprisingly spacious backyard. An expanse of grassy lawn leads to a small orchard that includes persimmon, nectarine, plum, fig, orange, lemon, and avocado trees. I could have spent hours outside, but I wanted to explore the rest of the house.
Another set of doors from the deck leads back into the two bedrooms at the back of the house and through a hallway back to the foyer and staircase.
Upstairs, a landing presents doorways leading into four bedrooms and two baths, including the master suite. The bedrooms contain vintage surprises like sloped ceilings, quirky windows, and an unfinished attic. An oversized closet in one of the rooms feels like a little secret hideaway. The master bedroom includes one of the best spaces in the entire house: a big balcony that overlooks the front of the house and feels like the perfect spot to have a cup of coffee while watching the neighborhood wake up every morning.
After I left the Flagg house, I found myself wondering about some of the details I hadn’t had time to investigate. As a delightful follow-up, I was able to correspond with Catherine Abbey Hodges, the eldest of the four Abbey children. Catherine shared that it was a wonderful home to grow up in and called it “the perfect home for our book-loving, musical, artistic parents and their fortunate children.” She especially reminisced about the holidays, remembering that the house was “beautiful and festive and the definition of welcome.”
She shared that her dad told her recently that before they bought the house, he and her mom got into the habit of taking evening walks around the neighborhood where they wanted to live. They were looking for a larger house for their growing family and gravitated toward the “big brown house on the corner.” He remembered that they would stand across the street and imagine themselves living in it. Catherine said that she likes to think that they imagined themselves all the way into it.
I was happy to hear about how much the Abbeys love their house, and pleased that my own imaginings of a house full of happy memories were right on target.
2001 Anacapa Street is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, listed by Kat Hitchcock of Hitchcock & Associates of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. Reach Kat at 351-2101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.