Credit: Sarah Sinclair


Sometimes it’s the first thing I see that intrigues me most about a house. Other times, it’s an almost-overlooked detail that I notice on the way out. Last week, I visited an open house on Vieja Drive near More Mesa. Set on an acre with a pool and zoned for horses, this five-bedroom home plus a separate two-bedroom guest suite hasn’t been on the market since 1978. It boasts beautiful grounds and is set on a corner right next to a trail lined with eucalyptus trees. Since Scout was accompanying me, I changed into my sneakers and went to check out the trail. (Pro tip: “Having” to walk the dog is always a good excuse to explore). 

It wasn’t until I started down the trail that I noticed the burgeoning vegetable garden along the far side of the house. Tomatoes, beans, peppers — even a respectable stand of corn. That’s when I remembered my friend Darlene’s house from many years ago. Darlene and Ed lived off of Puente Drive — a stone’s throw from this place. Plants grew faster, bigger, and healthier in Darlene’s garden. Their backyard was always five degrees warmer than mine downtown, in their rural setting conducive to greener acres and sunshinier days. It could be a coincidence, but I’m deeming this the Hope Ranch Annex micro-climate until someone convinces me otherwise.


Credit: Shannon Mercier Photography

Like many, I’ve spent more time and energy on my culinary pursuits this past year, and I’ve achieved some mouth-watering results, if I do say so myself. Whether we’re pondering remodeling our own, or finding a house with the kitchen of our dreams, the kitchen feels more central to home than ever. The brand-new kitchen shown above was one drool-worthy element of the Patterson Oaks houses that I visited and wrote about last year. 

In this week’s real estate section, Keith Hamm shows us a bevy of kitchens that local contractors Giffin & Crane have built or remodeled. There’s a style here for every set of taste buds.

If you’re brave enough to consider a DIY kitchen project, check this blog post from Emily Henderson on designing kitchen cabinets that work for your lifestyle. I found nuggets in this read that will even help with reorganizing what I’ve already got. No matter how you slice it, hopefully you’ll find some fresh ideas for whatever you’re cooking up.

This edition of The Home Page was originally emailed to subscribers on March 31, 2024. To receive Sarah Sinclair’s real estate newsletter in your inbox each Sunday, sign up at


Credit: Sarah Sinclair

With summer fully upon us, have you seen any live baseball yet this year? I traveled to San Francisco the week before last and enjoyed two games of the annual Bay Bridge series, including an extra-inning walk-off Giants win. It’s the stuff that keeps me coming back for more.

Here in our own backyard, the Santa Barbara Foresters are entertaining crowds down at Pershing Park, as shown above in this weekend’s view from beyond the outfield fence. This Thursday night, July 15, is Independent night at the Foresters game. Click here to download free tickets and be our guest at the ball game.


Credit: Liz Scott

Unsurprisingly, after the year we’ve just experienced, “remote work and mobility” tops the list of the top 10 issues affecting the real estate industry in 2021 in this article from Realtor Magazine. Check it out to view the entire list with expert commentary.The Independent took a local approach to this topic in our recent Working It issue, polling our readers and positing theories on the post-pandemic job scene. Working from home has certainly shaken us up a bit, for better and worse. Take a peek at your neighbors’ work-from-home setups, like the one of Millie the cat shown above, in our Making it Work photo gallery.

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