Address: 350 Chapala Street, Unit 210
Status: On the market
The Chapala Lofts are part quintessential Santa Barbara and part big-city living of the type rarely found here on the American Riviera. The palm-tree-dotted skyline visible from the private patio, with red-tiled roofs in the foreground and the purple mountains meeting the ocean as a backdrop in the distance, is a 100-percent iconic Santa Barbara view. The exterior architecture, with iron detailing, outside paseo, and Mediterranean flair also feels familiar. But the home’s interior, with its soaring 14-foot ceilings and open concept floor plan, has an urban feeling that’s a rarity in this area.
I went to visit Chapala Loft, Unit 210, by myself one evening last week. Even though I’d never been there before, I knew where I was going. I smiled at the directions from my Realtor friend Bill, because they sounded like a litany of locals-only landmarks. “Turn left at Lilly’s Tacos. If you get to Yoga Soup or Roco, you’ve gone too far.”
I found it without incident, but it felt a little foreign parking in a gated parking garage. Sure enough, I punched in the secret code, and the gate slid open, just like in the movies.
I decided to take the stairs rather than ride the elevator, since I was only going up to the second floor. The colorful tiles on the stair risers were splashy Santa Barbara style, which made me feel right at home.
I found Unit 210 down a wide walkway, behind a solid wood gate set into a low wall. The gate opens to reveal a private patio with two doors. One leads into the main residence straight ahead, while the other opens into a private office on the right-hand side. This self-contained room feels like a perfect artist’s studio, or any professional work or study zone. The light-filled space could also be a guest room, or even a yoga studio.
Built in 2002 and designed by renowned architect Barry Berkus, Chapala Lofts is one of the many signatures that Berkus left upon our local landscape. Although he was internationally lauded, Santa Barbara was his home, and Berkus’s works are lasting monuments to his reverence of this area.
I opened the front door of the main house and stepped inside the stunning home. There are two bedrooms, but neither has a door. Instead, dramatic floor-to-ceiling curtains separate the spaces. The first bedroom is in the front of the house, with windows looking out onto the entry patio. A full bathroom is just beyond, along with extra closet space.
The main room of the house is a combination living, kitchen, and dining-room space that truly feels unique. The kitchen area is first, with custom wood cabinets and sleek open shelving hugging the refrigerator, oven, range, dishwasher, sink, and microwave along two walls. A striking ceiling fan high overhead combines with accent lighting for a dramatic flair. The kitchen opens up into an even larger living-room space, with doors out onto a private open patio room with a show-stealing view.
The master bedroom lies to the left and enjoys the same amazing panorama. It also has a spacious walk-in closet, accessed through a luxurious master bath, complete with double sinks, a glass-enclosed shower, and eye-catching display shelves.
I found myself walking back through the rooms, turning lights off and on, comparing the different settings, looking in all the closets, and admiring the home’s details. As the daylight started waning, it was tempting to linger on the patio a little longer than I really needed to, just to enjoy the sunset view.
It was certainly easy to imagine living this loft lifestyle right in the center of town. I’m sure I could get used to riding an elevator once in a while and parking in a private, gated garage. The new owner of this luxurious loft will be able to enjoy those amenities, plus the amazing Riviera view, along with everything else there is to love about our town.
350 Chapala Street, Unit 210, is currently for sale in Santa Barbara, listed by Bill Urbany and Alisa Pepper of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. Reach Bill at (805) 331-0248 or BillUrbany@gmail.com, or Alisa at (805) 570-5680 or AlisaPepper@gmail.com, or visit urbanypepper.com.