Magic Mediterranean in Montecito

Graceful Serenity in Golden Quadrangle

Credit: Rafael Bautista

The brilliant bougainvillea on the back patio was the detail that made me most suspicious. You know: that vibrant fuchsia color that looks too beautiful to be natural. After the magnificent exterior and the jaw-dropping island view through the entryway, when I spied the bougainvillea, I truly thought maybe I was walking onto a movie set instead of an actual home. 

Despite its picture-perfect details, this graceful estate in Montecito is definitely real, and ready for new residents who will live in it and cherish it into its next chapter. 

Designed by renowned Santa Barbara Architect Don Nulty, the home at 1439 Irvine Lane exudes charm and serenity from the moment you enter through the property’s front gates. An expansive motor court provides both practical and aesthetic advantages. It allows for large-scale parking space and serves also as a viewing area from which to admire the façade of the house. 

A central tower is flanked by two wings of living space, with an attached three car garage tucked alongside. Dramatic conifers scale the height of the two-story portico, while palm trees grace the center and tower above the red tiled roof. A dainty balcony with shuttered French doors beckons romantically above the front entrance, inviting storybook imaginings before one even enters the home.

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Once inside, all eyes are drawn through the wide arched doorways of the great room out to the stunning grounds and swimming pool to the unobstructed ocean and island views beyond. I don’t think I was alone in walking straight out of the house to the backyard to gaze at the beautiful vista.

The pool and spa are architectural masterpieces, with the curve of the spa echoed by graceful fountains along the side of the pool. A terraced hedge surrounds the yard, providing a sculptured delineation that adds to the air of privacy and tranquility. A patio with a built-in BBQ and fireplace – and yes, crowned with the magical bougainvillea – provides an enclave for hosting large crowds or a cozy family fun night. The patio wraps around the side of the house for myriad entertaining options. Don’t miss the door to the yoga and pilates studio.

Back inside, I lingered in the kitchen, admiring the custom cabinetry and tilework, beamed ceilings, impressive center island, and breakfast table with an ocean view. Overall, the house offers five bedrooms and seven bathrooms in a total of 5,474 square feet situated on 1.4 acres in the area of Montecito known as the ‘golden quadrangle’. Fewer than four hundred residences have the distinction of this pedigreed milieu, recognized as the best of the best. 

The primary bedroom suite upstairs also deserves specific mention. The 350 square foot bedroom is matched by an almost equally large private balcony overlooking the pool and backyard. Sunrise and sunset ocean views to be enjoyed from this vantage point would make it difficult to leave. Besides his & her walk-in closets, a cozy fireplace and window seat, and a dreamy en suite bath, this bedroom suite also holds a hidden doorway to a separate guest quarters with its own entrance. 

The secret doorway should’ve thrown me right back into suspicion mode; wondering anew whether I was on a Hollywood movie set. But by this time I was so entranced with the entire home, imagining myself living there, that it really didn’t matter whether it was real or imagined. I was ready to move in whether it was a dream or reality. 

1439 Irvine Lane is listed for sale in Montecito by Deborah Samuel of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. Reach Deborah at 805-570-6680 or

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