Downtown Doppelganger Is a Study in Efficiency

One Bedroom One Bath Home Lives Large

Credit: Eric Foote

Address: 428 De La Vina Street
Status: Sale Pending
Price: $750,000

They say everyone has a doppelgänger, but most of us never meet our double. I’m not sure if houses also have twins, but I must admit I was taken aback when I heard about the house for sale at 428 De La Vina Street. When I read the description of this little cottage, I thought I might be meeting the mirror image of my own home sweet home.


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Built in 1921, my house is 576 square feet, with a big backyard and no off-street parking, located in downtown Santa Barbara. The house on De La Vina is 560 square feet and — you guessed it — big backyard, no parking, built in 1921, and located about a mile from my place.

To set the record straight, neither of these houses is quite petite enough to be considered a true “tiny home,” but with a place this size, I’ll tell you from experience that one has to be very efficient with space, style, and stuff. I’m pretty good at it, but the house at 428 De La Vina taught me a thing or two.

The house is tucked in the heart of downtown, on a minimally traveled block of De La Vina below Haley Street. Hidden behind a tall, unassuming fence, the modern address and hardware on the front gate are a visitor’s first hints at the stylish designer pad waiting within.

Photo: Eric Foote

The front door opens into the living room, which is literally floor-to-ceiling style: from the bamboo flooring underfoot to the deco silver ceiling fan in the bamboo panel above. A neutral color palette starts here and continues throughout the home, along with minimalist details like floating shelves that add efficient utility.

The living room has a curtained front closet, which gave me my first pangs of envy. Houses of this era are notoriously short on storage space, so one must get creative. This house does exactly that.

Further into the house, the bedroom is on the left side, with a home office on the right, outfitted with a built-in desk and bookshelves above for a perfect work-from-home space. A curtained door can be pulled across the bedroom entrance or left open for a spacious feel.

Photo: Eric Foote

The kitchen is where I really started taking notes on how to better use my own space. The enviable details are plentiful. Viking appliances and a floating stainless-steel breakfast bar are set against white Caesarstone countertops that contrast with black custom steel cabinets and black accent walls for an altogether put-together effect. The pièce de résistance is a smartly stacked washer and dryer set just inside the back doors. The bathroom continues the hip minimalist vibe with gray porcelain tile work and a space-saving shower curtain that can be pushed flush against the wall when not in use.

Stepping out into the backyard, I paused to soak it all in. Here is where this home really shines. Locals know that our climate allows us to live in our “outdoor rooms” at least 10 months of the year; this one is going to enjoy plenty of use. The back deck features a love seat built into steps that lead down to a large flagstone patio with an in-ground gas fireplace.

The yard spreads back into an artfully landscaped setting that features an array of trees, including lemon, orange, fig, and avocado, native plants, succulents, bougainvillea, and tropical specimens. There are even palm trees gracing the fully fenced space that backs onto Mission Creek.

Photo: Eric Foote

I left this little cottage with a few new ideas of ways to spruce up my own cozy abode. But I don’t need to copy all of it. While they are similar in descriptors, the two little houses are cousins rather than twins, each with its own personality. I relish the differences as much as the similarities. More than anything, my visit served as a reminder to enjoy every inch of my home sweet home, both inside and out. I trust that a lucky new owner is soon going to be doing the same at 428 De La Vina Street.

428 De La Vina is listed for sale in Santa Barbara by Elizabeth Wagner of Village Properties Realtors. Reach Elizabeth at (805) 895-1467 or elizabethwagner@elizabethwagner.com, or visit elizabethwagner.com.


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