Moving up to Santa Barbara from LA was a dream that we made happen a year ago. Can’t believe it has already been a year! Finding our dream house in our budget was not going to happen on that timeline. Having survived two renovations since our marriage ten years ago, we were pretty determined to NOT do another one. However, when we discovered this 1890s farmhouse with a pool and a guesthouse and a tangle of gardens (woods?!) on a little lane in the heart of Montecito, we starting rethinking.
It seemed meant to be as although this gem was the only one of its kind in its price point, there was no other interest. Perhaps the other buyers couldn’t see past the wall to wall pale green carpet throughout the master bedroom… and bath? And the Laura Ashley prom dress floral wallpaper with matching drapes and upholstery that complimented the pale green carpet? Perhaps. And perhaps the small rooms didn’t flow well. And the fence around the pool and dead grass were eye sores. And the over an acre of untamed woods gave the property a whiff of Grey Gardens. Perhaps.
However! Somehow we both FELT the good and peaceful vibes of this property and knew that with a little bit of love and some design prowess we could make this a light and airy modern farmhouse compound. Cue basically the feeling that we are on “Property Brothers” meets “Fixer Upper.” We have an intense timeline (who can pay a mortgage and Montecito rent?!), and a firm budget. Enter Morgan Mainz- basically our heroic calm, communicative (and handsome) contractor and Rita Chan, our brilliant, chic, patient (and beautiful) designer. Basically only very attractive people with huge hearts are working on the house, as it turns out!
The main issues we are tackling now before moving in (hopefully next month!!) are painting– white, white white. Way more expensive than you would ever think. But necessary. We also opened up the wall between the kitchen and living room and entry hall to give the house more flow and more of an open floor plan– check out the pics above! And the master bathroom has been gutted and we are going to have the bathroom we’ve (I’ve) always dreamed of… Other than that it’s really removing carpets, new wallpaper – loving grasscloths and finally using the Bev Hills Hotel palm fronds I’ve worshipped for decades in the powder room- paint and a cosmetic refresh of the kitchen. And we’re getting a pool cover and ripping down that awful fence! Phase 2 we will do up the gardens and yard and would love to do the kitchen. And Phase 3… So much to keep doing and improving upon.
For now we are incredibly grateful to the hardworking, kind and brilliant souls helping us make this happen- and fast. Stay tuned as we progress… The big reveal should be coming to you in just a month! Told you this was like a reality show.