I toured two exquisite vintage homes this week, located only two blocks from each other in Santa Barbara’s Upper East neighborhood. Both houses contained more than at first meets the eye, both inside and out.
On the corner of West Valerio and Chapala streets sits a tall, two-story American-colonial-style home with olive wood shingled siding and white trim. White banisters and four brick steps lead up to the stately pillared front portico of 111 West Valerio Street. As it was built in 1894, it’s not surprising that this residence has seen many different uses.
Originally built as a home for one of the founders of Cottage Hospital, over the ensuing years it has served as a sorority house, a bed-and-breakfast inn, a boarding house, and a school. For the past fifteen years, it has been a family home. When you walk through it today, this home certainly feels loved and lived in.
The living, dining, family room, and kitchen are downstairs, along with an enclosed sunroom and a covered deck. With pocket doors, three fireplaces, built-ins, and period details galore, vintage charm is apparent at every turn. Two separate bedroom suites, currently configured as a library and an office, round out the first floor.
Upstairs are four more bedrooms and three baths, including a spacious master suite with a clawfoot tub, a shower, dual sinks, and a surprising walk-in closet. Notable details include two adorable Juliet balconies, two more fireplaces, and, through the smallest of the bedrooms, a wallpapered, under-the-eaves bathroom with another clawfoot tub and sitting area that is undeniably the cutest bathroom I’ve ever seen.
Outside, there are spacious deck areas plus plenty of room to play. The property spans almost one third of an acre and sports multiple mature trees, including a stately date palm in the back yard, situated at the corner of Chapala and Valerio. I left the house wondering if maybe its front entrance had once been at this corner. With its long history, just about anything is possible.
Two blocks over and two blocks up, at 1817 Anacapa Street, a wooden gate inset into a white wall opens to reveal a brick staircase leading down to a manicured lawn fronting a two-story white stucco home with beige trim. Built in 1918 in a gracious Spanish colonial style, the side of the house faces Anacapa Street while the front door is tucked at the end of a walkway bordered by a tall hedge. Walking toward the house, I felt like I was sneaking into a secret garden hidden away from the street and neighbors.
I stepped through the front door into a large foyer that serves to preview the magnificent living room to the left, the dining room to the right, the staircase that winds upstairs, and an outdoor deck straight ahead. I stood considering my options, certain I wasn’t the first guest to pause reverentially before entering.
The vintage style and impeccable details are immediately evident. The living room has walls of casement windows and a gorgeous white-on-white fireplace on one wall. Hardwood floors, crown moldings, and tons of natural light are impressive here and throughout the house.
I stepped outside to the back deck and was stunned to see a beautiful swimming pool below. This sparkling amenity is accessed from staircases on either side of the house and enjoyed from almost every angle. The deck, spanning the length of the house and accessed by the dining room as well, is sure to be a gathering place perfect for entertaining.
Through the dining room sits the kitchen, laundry, and a bedroom plus a full bath. The kitchen is notable for both its size and ambience. It beautifully blends period charm with new appliances, fixtures, and gorgeous quartz countertops.
Upstairs, three bedroom suites enjoy lovely large bathrooms, with a huge master bedroom tipping the scales at over 360 square feet. A clever hallway and larger-than-expected closets combine to provide plenty of storage.
Just when I thought I had seen it all, I discovered my favorite spot in the house: a covered sleeping porch accessed by French doors from two of the bedrooms. The balcony view showed me yet another surprise: In addition to the other lush greenery bordering the yard, a majestic date palm stands sentinel at one edge of the pool.
Both of these houses have been lovingly tended throughout the years, with vintage details like original doorknobs and intact skeleton keys as tributes to their care. I walked away wondering not if their walls could talk, but instead imagining whether their two palm trees could somehow tell the tales of the lives they have guarded throughout their many years.
111 West Valerio Street and 1817 Anacapa Street are for sale in Santa Barbara. 111 West Valerio is listed by Mary Lu Edick and Gregg Leach of Village Properties Realtors. Reach Mary Lu at
452-3258 or firstname.lastname@example.org and Gregg at 886-9000 or email@example.com. 1817 Anacapa Street is listed by Geoff Rue of Compass. Reach Geoff at 679-3365 or firstname.lastname@example.org.