Address: 5395 8th Street, Carpinteria
Status: On the market
I was a few minutes early for my appointment to visit the home at 5395 8th Street in Carpinteria. I knew that the gorgeous Victorian was vacant, so I was surprised to see two women walking through the side gate, from the backyard to the front.
I waved as I got out of my car and was greeted by the unmistakably sheepish expressions of people who don’t usually break the rules. “We’re so sorry. Are you the Realtor? We didn’t touch anything.”
Turns out that Vickie and Sue were tourists who were camping at Carpinteria State Beach for a week and were out exploring the area on their bicycles. The lovely Victorian home had caught their eye, and they just couldn’t help themselves — they wanted to see as much of it as they could.
I understood exactly how they felt. This was actually my second trip to visit this house. I, too, had tiptoed around its lovely exterior one recent evening and was so enamored that I had to come back down — this time with an appointment — to see inside.
I was certainly not disappointed. The home was built in 1880 and is a tall, elegant Victorian dripping with gingerbread details and period charm. From afar, the three-story façade appears to be yellow with white trim, but upon closer inspection, the seafoam-green door and attic corbels are echoed in plentiful turquoise touches dotted around the exterior.
The home was originally located on Carpinteria Avenue, near where the Friends of the Carpinteria Library Bookstore now stands. It was moved to its current location in about 1940. Perhaps the most surprising fact about the house is that it has been in the same family for more than 50 years.
The front door opens into a spacious formal foyer with tall ceilings open to the second floor, showing off the colorful stained-glass windows that lend warmth throughout the house. A curving stairway, itself a work of art, leads upstairs to the right, but I stepped through the entry hall to the left, into the adjoining living and dining rooms.
These two rooms, with gleaming hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a central fireplace, are bright and welcoming. A small library or music room sits off to one side, and it’s impossible to walk through without imagining the years of gatherings and laughter that have been enjoyed here.
Through the dining room, toward the back of the house, is a huge kitchen and family-room area. This space, which includes an adjacent office and a pantry, could be configured any number of ways. Indeed, the entire downstairs feels much more open than many houses of this era, making it immediately livable and yet still authentic. A tile mosaic in the kitchen contains a hand-painted replica of the house itself, underneath the words “Home is where the heart is,” leaving no doubt that this room is the heart of this home.
A back porch through the kitchen contains an exterior staircase up to the second floor, which houses all four bedrooms. The front bedroom includes the big bay window that juts over the face of the house, plus the adjacent balcony. This outdoor perch is one of my favorite spots in the house, offering spectacular mountain views.
A Jack-and-Jill bathroom leads to the second bedroom. This room’s windows take full advantage of the beautiful stone pine tree on the side of the house. Two more bedrooms on the backside of the house enjoy access to the back staircase as well, which gives them a separate entrance.
Another staircase leads up to the third floor. It has four separate rooms, three of which are completely finished. These rooms enjoy sloped ceilings paneled in hardwood, plus dormer windows and a skylight. My immediate reaction was what fun kids’ playrooms these would make, but the possibilities are many.
As we started to walk back downstairs, I noticed more period details, like marble doorknobs and intricate detailing on the brass doorplates. I felt as though I would discover even more treasures if I had more time in this home. The home is located on a sleepy corner across from the backside of Carpinteria Middle School. This location ensures uninterrupted mountain views for years to come. The only sounds will be voices from the school playground or admiring murmurs from tourists passing by on their bicycles.
5395 8th Street is currently for sale in Carpinteria, listed by Tiffany Doré and Cathy O’Neill at Village Properties Realtors. Reach Tiffany and Cathy at 947-0608 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit ownsantabarbara.com.