Credit: Mark Corcoran

Address: 8736 Nye Road
Status: On the Market
Price: $1,795,000

I knew I was about to experience something special as I drove up the long driveway toward the iconic house at 8736 Nye Road in Casitas Springs last month. Already sworn to secrecy about this upcoming iconic house listing, I could feel the spirit of “The Man in Black” as I approached. 

Johnny Cash built the 4,500-square-foot home in 1961 as an escape from the raucous fame of his rock ’n’ roll lifestyle. He and his wife Vivian envisioned the rural estate — tucked in the hills between Ventura and Ojai — as a serene getaway for them and their three daughters for many years to come.

If you know the rest of the story, you’ll know that the homestead was not enough to save them from the forces that were starting to torment Johnny and threaten their marriage. But while they held onto that possibility, they poured their heart and soul into the house, making it irrevocably theirs, imbued with a combination of down-home country style and star-studded glitz.

The story is told that Johnny bought the land and built the house to his exact specifications, walking the acreage and deciding on room placement and layout. He created a secluded sanctuary, unique to this small-town enclave. Longtime locals recount stories of Johnny setting up speakers on the hillside outside the house and playing concerts for the townspeople down below.

The dramatic double-gabled house is set on nearly six private acres, nestled against a stunning natural backdrop. Inside, most rooms remain original to Johnny and Vivian’s legacy, with painted ceilings imbued with glitter, an original wall-mounted turntable and intercom system, and a curved brick fireplace in the family room. Custom wood built-ins throughout the kitchen and living room are period-specific and filled with charm. 

The wood-paneled studio where Johnny sequestered himself to write many of his hit songs is timelessly preserved, with high windows allowing the six-foot Johnny to peer out onto the grounds but providing him with complete privacy within. Johnny’s habit of staying up all night writing music and then sleeping all day necessitated two distinct his-and-hers master bedroom suites since their sleep habits were so different. The suites showcase their personalities: Stark original period wallpaper and a dark tiled shower in “his” bathroom contrast sharply with the pastel feminine sensibility in “hers.” Even Johnny’s famous black commode remains intact. 

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

The property overlooks the quaint village of Casitas Springs, with the majestic beauty of the Ojai Valley beyond. Soaring foothills frame the skyline in all directions. The grounds themselves feature live oaks, verdant gardens, a sparkling swimming pool, and corrals and fields ready for horses, pigs, goats, chickens, or other rural uses. A picturesque hillside barbecue area remains where Johnny taught his daughters to shoot; spent shells occasionally turn up as modern remnants of their long-ago target practice. Other areas provide cloistered settings to enjoy the pristine natural surroundings.

With five bedrooms and four-and-a-half baths plus an office, the rambling ranch-style house is ready for a new owner to either embrace the man in black’s legacy and return this home to its original splendor — think round bed in Johnny’s room — or to update it with a nod to the past. Johnny and Vivian spent six years in this home making memories, welcoming another baby daughter, and trying to salvage their romance. The spirit of their perseverance lingers and looms as large as Johnny’s superstar presence is felt throughout modern musical history.

8736 Nye Road is listed for sale in Casitas Springs by Adam McKaig and Melissa Borders of Douglas Elliman of California, Inc. Reach Adam at (805) 452-6884 or or Melissa at (805) 453-0842 or Historic documentation obtained from the Realtors was used in writing this article.

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.