Credit: Mark Corcoran

Address: 1809 Stanwood Drive

Status: On the market

Price: $795,000

Every time I go to Lake Tahoe or Big Sur or really any woodsy locale, I dream about having my own little cabin in the woods. A cozy hole-in-the-wall hideaway with a pot of soup on the stove and smoke curling out of the chimney. When I visited this darling one-bedroom, one-bath cottage in Sycamore Canyon last week, I found an answer to these fantasies right here in Santa Barbara.

Over a little bridge and tucked behind another property, 1809 Stanwood Drive is a 445-square-foot home that was built in 1939 by Leo Flores for his sister Barbara, on ranchland purchased by their grandfather Anastacio Flores in 1869, on which the family’s original adobe homestead stood until 1932. 

Credit: Mark Corcoran

The cottage was constructed in the size and style of hunting and fishing cabins that the family built in the Gibraltar Road and Santa Cruz Creek “Flores Flats” enclaves. Barbara’s son Charles Ruiz recalls living at the casita as a child, riding his horse, Chunky, to Cold Springs School and Santa Barbara Junior High. The significance of the Flores family’s place in Santa Barbara history, plus the enduring style and integrity of the cottage, has earned the property a designation as a historic structure of merit.

Today, the cottage shines brightly, with white board and batten siding with turquoise trim. A wide front porch sports a sign reading, “Welcome to the porch; feel the breeze; listen to the birds.” A smaller back porch off the bedroom faces west toward the mountains, and a seasonal stream bubbles nearby. A wide green expanse adjacent to the house is guaranteed to remain, due to an easement with Southern California Edison.

Credit: Mark Corcoran

From the front porch, two doors open to the living room on one side of the house and the dining/laundry room on the other. The kitchen is in the center, while the bedroom and bathroom lie beyond. The cute, compact cottage is move-in ready just as it is, or this layout could certainly be fine-tuned for different uses. 

Storage is a hot commodity in a house of this size. Custom shelving in every room plus a loft above the bedroom both offer convenient solutions to stow or show off miscellany, and a trap door on the floor of the back porch opens to reveal a full basement. Two separate 8′x12′ sheds on the side of the house and a covered carport in between all beg to be utilized.

The setting is what really makes this property magical. The cottage sits on more than half an acre of wooded land with a rural feel. Steps lead up through a natural garden oasis on one side of the house, and down to the creek on the other. The mountain views are incredible, and it’s truly surrounded by the beauty of nature. I walked every corner of the property on a bright sunny day, imagining even more serenity and seclusion after nightfall. 

Credit: Mark Corcoran

As adorable as this house is, it also offers significant modern enhancements. It was remodeled 10 years ago to include new windows, doors, roof, kitchen and bathroom fixtures and appliances, plus upgraded electric, sprinkler, solar, and alarm systems.

From its historic pedigree to its current amenities, this little gem offers the best of old and new. And its rural setting yet close-in location provides the best of city and country life combined. I’m happy to have discovered that my little-cabin-in-the-woods dreams are alive and well, right here in our own backyard.

Credit: Mark Corcoran

1809 Stanwood Drive is listed for sale in Montecito by Kip Glover and Adam McKaig of Douglas Elliman of California, Inc. Reach Kip at (805) 452-4423 or Reach Adam at (805) 452-6884 or Historic documentation obtained from the Realtors was used in writing this article.

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