Address: 396 Woodley Road
Status: On the market
When my sons were growing up, I believed in letting them get messy. Sand followed us home from the beach, paint sometimes ended up on the table, and using your fingers to get the last of the chocolate pudding out of the bowl was acceptable. They cleaned up well when they needed to. But I’ll admit I avoided forcing them into white-glove situations. Keeping T-shirts white was challenge enough.
They’re adults now, and they’re able to hold their own in any situation. But I had a bit of a flashback when I visited the house for sale at 396 Woodley Road in Montecito this past Sunday afternoon. I was dressed for the weather, with my rain boots on and my umbrella close at hand.
When I neared the appointed address, I saw a gorgeous white modern castle on the hillside above me, getting larger as I got closer, literally rising into view as the mist cleared. My awe turned to slight nervousness. Fortunately, there were no toddlers with chocolatey fingers nearby, but the pristine house before me made me hope that my rain boots weren’t muddy, and that my umbrella wouldn’t surreptitiously drip.
I forgot my fears as I stepped inside. The house is striking, but it’s so intriguing that I focused on what was around me rather than what might be dripping behind.
From the front foyer, one can either turn right to ascend a dramatic floating staircase to the bedrooms above or turn left into the common areas that make up the heart of this home. The foyer itself is crowned by a glass-and-steel ceiling high overhead that lets in light from above. I decided to tour the first floor first.
Twelve-foot ceilings and dramatic lighting plus the almost-all-white decor meld with the natural beauty outside. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide not just glimpses but huge vistas of the sycamore trees nearby and the mountains beyond. The house seems to be courting these lovely views, inviting us to appreciate them from a different angle at each vantage point.
The living and dining rooms have pocket-glass walls that disappear when they’re open. Even with them closed against the rain, I almost felt as if I could put my hand straight through to feel the trees beyond. With the doors open, the house would feel even larger, with wraparound patios adding even more living space to enjoy. Outside the dining room, a 15-foot flagstone waterfall delights the senses and must be especially mesmerizing on a sunny day.
Inside, an equally stunning feature presides over the dining room table. It’s hard to admire the dazzling textured red chandelier with LED “flames” without cracking a smile.
In the kitchen, beautiful black-veined marble countertops and imported dark oak cabinets join a huge island with both prep space and breakfast counter seating. Two luxuries that caught my eye are a built-in espresso maker and a separate pantry that doubles as an expansive wine storage area. Outside, a hidden staircase in the backyard leads to a secluded hillside spa.
Making my way back toward the foyer, I noticed a bright-red elevator. But the majestic floating stairway was my conveyance of choice. The steps are black granite, flanked by a clear glass railing that makes the staircase appear to float in a solid yet sparse architectural statement. When I commented on the striking light fixture hanging above, I learned that it was crafted by a student of Dale Chihuly’s especially for this home.
At the top of the staircase, the beautiful glass ceiling I had admired from the foyer was now the floor, with a textured skylight high above it. On one side are two bedrooms, each with en-suite baths, plus a laundry room and a handy rear exit.
On the other side, a short flight of steps leads to an enormous, luxurious master suite that includes a sitting room, an exercise room, two bathrooms, and two walk-in closets. Oh, and the bedroom itself, which opens out onto a large glass-walled balcony patio. Even on this drizzly day, the ocean views beyond the treetops were jaw-droppers.
As I admired the view, I realized I had forgotten about my clunky rain boots, and I wasn’t afraid to reach out and touch the surfaces around me. This house reminded me that contemporary doesn’t need to be cold. This lovely modern residence is uncluttered in a calming, meditative manner. Had my rain boots squished, or my umbrella dripped, it would have been okay.
396 Woodley Road is currently for sale in Montecito, listed by Team Regan of Compass. Reach Pamela Regan at (805) 895-2760 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Earl Wilcox at (805) 886-8668 or email@example.com.