Address: 610 Maple Avenue
Status: On the market
I found the cutest cluster of tiny houses last week on an Upper East hillside within a short walk to the Mission Rose Garden. Not only did this group of cottages delight me with its hidden tree-lined entrance and secret treetop views, but it also came with a bona fide love story spanning over 50 years.
The cottages sit on a property located at 610 Maple Avenue. Maple is one of those tiny one-block alley streets that cut between two more well-known roads. We have them all over Santa Barbara, and I love their clandestine charm. Whenever I mention one, it seems like people either have never heard of the street before or have a personal story about someone they know who lived there.
Maple bisects Cleveland and Grand Avenues near the end of East Pedregosa Street. If you blink, you’ll miss it. But if you’re lucky enough to find Maple Avenue, you won’t forget it. Nor will you forget the four little cottages known as Maple Court.
The entrance is a pathway between tall trees, with a sign overhead proclaiming the enclave as “Maple Court.” The brick-lined path leads past cottage A on the right, then cottages B and C on the left. Each of these three homes is a free-standing one-bedroom wooden house painted blue with white trim. They are similar but not exactly the same. Each has a private deck and outdoor garden or green space. There’s also a covered laundry room for Maple Court residents to share.
At the far end of the path, units D and E are two studio units in one house, a mini duplex under one roof with two front doors. Stairs lead up to a large shared wooden front deck with amazing views over the treetops and all the way to the ocean.
I was able to walk through one of the vacant studios. It’s well laid out, with a separate kitchen, and a nice big closet in an alcove near the bathroom. The best surprise of all is a Murphy bed in the main room, allowing it to switch from a bedroom to a true living room with the flick of a wrist. This lets the studio units live more like one-bedrooms. Hardwood floors and period details like original doorknobs and built-in cabinets allow the cottages to wear their 1920 pedigree proudly.
The cottages of Maple Court were originally built as housing for students at the Santa Barbara State Normal School, the precursor to UCSB located on the Riviera. The proximity to school was a benefit a century ago, which translates today into being able to walk to Orpet Park and the Riviera Theatre.
The cottages are so cute; I imagine that they would always be in high demand, with only rare turnover of tenants. When I shared this thought aloud, my Realtor friend who was showing me the property agreed but also pointed out that over the years, Maple Court has often been home to people in transition. The tenants frequently are in between situations, or relationships, and as their circumstances change, they tend to move on. Out of this conversation came a special story.
He brought out a framed sketch that I easily recognized as the front doorway and patio of Maple Court cottage B. He told me that many years ago, a young woman lived in cottage B at the same time that a young man lived in cottage C. They fell in love, and as a gift to her, he drew this sketch of the doorway to her home, with a flowering trellis framing the stairway leading up to the door. They married and moved away. One recent day, almost 50 years later, a much older man knocked on the cottage door holding the framed drawing, dated 1972. He told the new resident their story. After many happy years together, his wife had recently passed away, and he said that he wanted to return the picture to the cottage, where it belongs.
Whoever buys Maple Court will inherit this set of charming cottages with a legacy of almost a hundred years of memories, and at least one love story, complete with a heartfelt illustration.
610 Maple Avenue is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, 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.