This property is part of a large tract of land at the lower end of Alamar Canyon. Known since the early nineteen hundreds as Willowbrook Ranch, it has over the years been home to a dairy operation, an ostrich farm, a miniature horse ranch and a boarding stable. Sitting above the fog of the city and below the high winds and general barren nature of the mountain tops, the area is zoned for horses with easy access to local trails and the Jesusita Trailhead. Though isolated from the sights and sounds of the city, the valley is less than two minutes from State Street, five from the Cottage Hospital complex and ten from the Santa Barbara Court House.
Forty two acres of the Ranch have recently come on the market; a sixteen acre parcel on the rim of the canyon and twenty six acres consisting of five parcels in the valley below. Offered herein are ten acres consisting of the three parcels at the upper end of the valley. The residence sits on a two acre parcel that is joined by a seven acre parcel toward the entrance of the canyon and a one acre parcel on the back side.
The residence comes into view after transiting the 350 long tree and foliage lined gravel drive. The low sloping roof line of the residence, its tall capped windows, soaring square central tower, patios and portico are typical of its Italianate origins. The tile roof and the Moroccan window grid next to the portico introduce a Mediterranean element.
Entering the residence by way of the twin stairways leading to the portico, the visitor is struck by the size of the reception area, 24 by 20 and 33 feet in height, and by the elegant circular staircase and bridge that connects the two suites on the second floor. The image is further enhanced by its plank and beam ceiling, the imported tile floor and the Venetian style plaster walls.
Twelve foot ceilings, ten foot tall doorways and truly superb woodwork extend the ambiance of the reception hall throughout the entire house. The reclaimed planks and beams were sourced from an old saw mill that was dismantled nearly three decades ago. With the exception of the bath and closet in the master bedroom suite, all of the outside walls are 18 inches thick, reminiscent of early Mediterranean structures made of brick or stone. The thickness of these walls greatly improves home insulation and enables the installation of pocket window screens and the use of paneled woodwork surrounding the deeply inset windows. Upon being greeted in the reception area, guests would be directed to the living room, dining room or outside to the veranda; perhaps for a guided tour around the gardens or to sit and enjoy the serenity of running water.
The living room is no less striking than the reception area. The two bay windows, another element of Italianate design, open the room to the gardens outside. The Count Rumford fireplace, designed to actually heat the room, is also of the Period. The living room and dining room are open to one another through double sliding doors. The dining room is connected to the country kitchen through the butler's pantry and a sliding food service door.
The kitchen is designed to accommodate a large family dining table as well as to serve as a food preparation center, either for large formal parties in the dining room or for even larger gatherings outside. The large Italianate window offers a panoramic view of the gardens beyond.
There are three downstairs bedrooms that share a common full bath and a half bath. The master bedroom suite opens to two balconies. From the balcony directly off of the bath, one may enjoy superb sunsets as the sun descends below the foothills to the west. From the other, a walled patio looks out upon the gardens to the rear. There is yet another large room and bath across the bridge. They could serve as an addition bedroom suite, as a school room, as a conference room or office, or as an artist's studio.
The gardens circle around the parking area and residence, and then for some 350 feet to the rear of the one acre parcel. There are fourteen hundred lineal feet of stone walkways that wind around the house and through the rear gardens. These are not English Gardens. Nature abhors symmetry. Plants are intermingled with trees, bushes and vines competing for the sunlight. There are many mature trees including a number of coastal oaks. There are two sitting areas, each under a large shading palm. There is also a 500 square foot private garden, entirely enclosed by a Eugenia hedge, as well as a long dead vine covered eucalyptus tree which is home to the local woodpeckers.
The seven acre parcel is well suited for the construction of another residence and guest house, an equine facility or a sports field. It could also remain as it is with its walking trails and its fruit and avocado orchards. The parklike environment of the one acre parcel offers an excellent location for another residence or a guest house. The use that most immediately comes to mind however, in consideration of it's "almost in a world of its own" surroundings, is the location of an artist's studio.
In summary, this property stands out in the Santa Barbara market in a number of ways. Its quality of materials, workmanship and design details are well above the others in this price range. Here a family can enjoy the Santa Barbara life style along with the ability to entertain, for social or business reasons, in spacious retreat like surroundings. There are few other places available in Santa Barbara where 42 acres divided into six parcels constitute an entire micro community, literally within minutes of medical care and the central downtown business area, yet physically and visually separated from the population at large.
And just another closing thought. Sometimes known as Silicon Beach, Santa Barbara is emerging as a major center of technology. Beyond the certainty that values of undeveloped land will rise in the future, there is yet another reason to invest in this property that goes beyond immediate needs or the potential for future financial benefit. That is to ensure ownership of a site for the development of a purpose built multi-generation Santa Barbara family compound. The reality is that three adjacent parcels located near the center of the city will become ever more difficult to find. Not only a wise investment during these times of low interest rates, the purchase of this property could more importantly be the basis of a legacy that will endure for decades to come.