Memories on the Upper Eastside

Home on a Landmark Upper East Corner

Credit: Jim Bartsch

Address: 501 East Pedregosa Street
Status: On the market
Price: $1,895,000

I’ve long admired the Craftsman home on the corner of Pedregosa and Emerson Streets. Perched above the street, with a distinctive façade, its corner sandstone steps lead to a curving tile stairway that welcomes visitors up to its graceful covered front porch. I’ve imagined relaxing there over my morning coffee, watching the upper Eastside neighborhood spread before me come to life.

Built in 1909, I knew this four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath house must have plenty of stories to tell. When it recently came on the market, my friend Tonea told me that she had lived here 20 years ago. We jumped at the opportunity to visit the house together and did so last week. Afterward, I asked Tonea to describe the house then and now. Here are some of her recollections:


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“After a brief job-related move to Huntington Beach, I returned to Santa Barbara in April of 2000. I couldn’t wait to get back, but I knew that finding the right place to live in this magical town could be a challenge. One evening, my friend Mia told me that her friend Marco was moving out of another friend’s house, leaving a vacancy in a coveted attic apartment. The friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend referral worked out, and the next thing I knew, I was sending a rent check to move into my new place — sight unseen. 

“I would grow to love this home more than I knew possible. During the three years that I lived in its cozy attic bedroom suite, the house underwent a major remodel, and I made memories that will last a lifetime.

“Walking up the familiar steps onto the porch last week, I noticed changes, of course, but the good bones and solid feel of the house are the same. Elegant yet comfortable, the house is rich in details from the era in which it was built, and it has been refurbished with precision to maintain its charm and integrity. 

“The relocated front door opens into a lovely entry foyer. I remember this space as an enclosed sleeping porch curving around the side of the house. Today, it provides a formal welcome into the stately front living area. 

“The large living room is a sophisticated space with original leaded glass windows, beamed ceilings, crown moldings, and hardwood floors. The centerpiece of the room is a huge sandstone fireplace. The wide mantle was often home to my favorite roses: Double Delights fresh from the farmers’ market. At my 30th birthday party, I stood in front of that fireplace and sang an acoustic version of Dido’s ‘Thank You,’ accompanied on guitar by my friend Marco, the original occupant of the attic room.

“The living room flows into a formal dining room with more original windows. In my years here, this was home to many Sunday-night dinners with friends, sometimes intimate, sometimes large, but all gathered around the dining table, enjoying white-sauce enchiladas, cocktails, and camaraderie.

“The kitchen, which was wisely moved to the back of the house, offers great ocean views through a wall of windows. The room itself is a kitchen lover’s dream, with custom cabinetry, modern appliances, a charming breakfast nook, and a door leading to the side deck and backyard, perfect spots for grilling and entertaining.

“Downstairs, there’s a separate bedroom suite with its own entrance and a walk-in closet, a laundry room, a wine closet, and a spacious storage area.

“Back upstairs, a pocket door leads to a hallway with two bedrooms on the left, both with French doors onto the side deck. The master bedroom suite sits on the right, with a walk-in closet and doors out to a private garden. 

“From one bedroom, a spiral staircase leads up to a loft. Once a studio apartment, it’s now a great playroom or office. When I lived here, I had never been in that part of the house. Now, a discreet doorway set between two closets leads into the large attic space that was once my bedroom. Journey complete!

“I walked back out onto the porch, satisfied at an incredible trip down memory lane. The late-afternoon breeze captivated me just as it did 20 years ago, when I would sit, feet dangling out the attic window, looking out at Santa Barbara and all it had to offer. I reflected back then, as I still do today, on how lucky I was to live in this amazing house, in a magical place, making lasting memories with lifelong friends.” 

501 East Pedregosa Street is listed for sale in Santa Barbara by Laurel Abbott of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. Reach Laurel at (805) 455-5409 or laurelabbott@bhhscal.com. Visit laurelabbott.com for more photos and details.


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