My dog, Scout, and I take morning walks, evening walks, and sometimes walks in between. We have traversed every block of our downtown neighborhood countless times. Truth be told, while the fresh air and exercise are wonderful for both of us, there are all sorts of other reasons I love walking close to home. I enjoy watching the gardens grow, seeing the home improvements progress, and getting to know my neighbors. It’s a special bonus when I discover a house for sale on one of our strolls. We’ve recently run across three downtown cottages that are on the market. Scout doesn’t get to go inside, so I hope you’ll take a walkthrough with me:
1208 Castillo Street, $1,595,000
Originally built in 1916, the two-bedroom two-bath bungalow at 1208 Castillo retains its original Craftsman charm — think built-in china cabinets in the dining room and sweet, columned front porch — but has been thoroughly renovated top to bottom.
The current owners purchased the cottage, intending to move from San Diego, in part to be closer to their daughter. They took several years to upgrade almost every inch of the house. Major improvements include new plumbing, electrical, lighting, vaulted ceilings, and white oak floors, the addition of a second bath, a remodeled open-concept kitchen, Nest-controlled heating and AC, and much, much more.
Most evident when walking through the home are the premium finishes and details such as hand-painted bathroom tile, kitchen fixtures, and custom cabinetry with soft-close drawers. The blend of new and old works extremely well in this cozy home. For example, the windows in the front of the house are original historic wavy glass, while in the back, there are new double-pane energy-efficient windows.
The front garden is a showstopper. Roses mix with succulents in a playful, drought-tolerant yet sophisticated display highlighted with shades of yellow and magenta. I’ve kept an eye on this landscaping and watched it mature and thrive as Scout and I meander past.
You may be wondering why the current owners took so much time and care remodeling and then decided to sell? Their daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law decided to follow a new employment opportunity, which meant moving from Santa Barbara to — you guessed it — San Diego. So the family is happy to be together in the south, and this cozy cottage will soon have a new owner to enjoy this picture-perfect home.
1208 Castillo Street is listed by Alexander Gallop of Coldwell Banker Realty at (805) 451-1695 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
312 West Figueroa Street, $1,200,000
Around the corner and down the block sits a three-bedroom, two-bath, two-story home built in 1923. While this distinctive blue cottage with a lucky red front door is technically on Figueroa Street, it is actually perched at the corner of Figueroa and Curley Avenue, one of my favorite downtown alley streets with a charm all its own. Having seen the exterior of this house almost daily, when I walked inside for the first time, I was pleased to see that its original 1920s charm was apparent. There are built-in cabinets in the dining room, classic tile in the kitchen, and big multi-paned windows throughout that let the sun stream in, while the upstairs bedroom offers a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding palm trees. The generous amount of off-street parking is rare for this neighborhood and may even offer potential for an ADU. Plus, I can attest from personal experience that the neighbors on every side are friendly.
312 West Figueroa Street is listed by Ruth Ann Bowe of Village Properties Realtors, at (805) 698-1971 or email@example.com.
136 West Haley Street, $815,000
If you’ve walked, biked, or driven past the intersection of De la Vina and West Haley Streets, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the eye-catching mural and Nelson Mandela quote painted on the side of Brownie’s Market. Scout and I don’t get here quite as often, but I have also noticed the quaint yellow cottage tucked behind a hedge kitty-corner to the market. Built in 1910 and known as “Bungalow Triplet III” in historical documents, the 584-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bath home has been designated as both a Historically Significant Property and a Structure of Merit by Santa Barbara’s Historic Landmarks Committee. With butcher-block countertops and stainless-steel appliances in the kitchen, a striking brick fireplace, big windows in the living room, and green outdoor space all around the perimeter, this compact cutie makes the best of every square inch. While it has been lived in as a residence for its known history, C-2 zoning means commercial potential as well. And, of course, being a block and a half from State Street and six blocks to the beach puts this cottage in an extremely desirable, walk-to-everything location. And you know that’s a big bonus in my book, and Scout agrees.