Credit: Courtesy of the Escobar family

In our Great House Detective column, local historian Betsy J. Green researches the history of local homes and their inhabitants from throughout the years. In this week’s article, she tells us about a postcard that was discovered inside the wall of a house on Santa Barbara’s Eastside as it was being remodeled. Workers rescued the postcard, and Betsy got to work researching it. She found out all about the families that had lived in the house, located at 823 East Haley Street, and talked to the current owners, including Robert Escobar, pictured here in 1945 in front of the house.


Credit: Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Old artifacts are often uncovered during construction. We had a collection of bottles on our kitchen windowsill in the circa 1880 house that I used to live in on Palm Avenue in downtown Santa Barbara. Sort of a time capsule left by previous owners, the bottles were uncovered during some renovation work. The Palm Avenue Clubhouse, as we affectionately called it, is a Carpenter Gothic–style home that was moved to its current location at some point in the early 1900s. My amateur research reveals that the house was previously known as the Albert Hayman Cottage and was eligible for the national register of historic houses in 1978. I found the 1985 picture shown above, along with several other photos of the house, yard, and neighborhood. For other curious minds and would-be historians, Betsy happily shares her investigative secrets so that folks can conduct DIY research to uncover stories of their own. Learn more at her website. She is always on the lookout for the next house to profile, so if you want to ask her to do the work for you, contact Betsy through the site for consideration.

This edition of The Home Page was originally emailed to subscribers on February 4, 2024. To receive Sarah Sinclair’s real estate newsletter in your inbox each Sunday, sign up at


Credit: Tom Ploch

On the topic of renovations, the Independent sponsored a luncheon last week as part of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors’ ongoing education series for their members. The topic was “Building & Remodeling in Today’s Market.” One of the panelists was Jeremy Beauchemin from Young Construction, a high-end local construction firm. When asked what trends they were seeing in remodels, Jeremy replied that the emphasis on exterior living spaces is more prevalent than ever, including banks of glass leading outside and exterior kitchens. I experienced a jaw-dropping example of this at this house that I visited on West Camino Cielo in March. The boulders and natural terrain on the grounds were spectacular, as was the view, as you can see in the living room pic above.


Credit: Courtesy of LuxMods

For another take on adding to your living space, check out LuxMods, a company that makes customizable modular dwelling units for such uses as “home offices, yoga studios, man caves, and more.” The firm touts the energy efficiency and easy installation of the units, as well as the fact that they can usually circumvent the need for permitting since they are fully self-contained, including all power. Starting at about $25K, and considering the wait times and supply chain issues we’re hearing about with current construction efforts, this seems like an option worth looking into.

Support the Santa Barbara Independent through a long-term or a single contribution.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.