Move-in Condition

By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   August 30, 2018

When one thinks of Montecito, images of the ocean, palm trees, Spanish-style architecture, San Ysidro Ranch cottages, and more come to mind. It is one thing to be able to live here, in such a special, small yet internationally recognized community, but it is another thing altogether to have a career that allows access to many of the homes and estates in the area, over time, as happens during open houses and showings as a real estate agent. 

Sometimes, on our broker and agent tours, the options for buyers that we see in a day are so vast, it even confuses us. For example, we’ll do a walk-through on a $10,500,000 mansion with every imaginable amenity and view, and then drive a block to the next and find a humble, smaller, starter home or fixer opportunity priced at $1,400,000. 

Over time and as real estate prices go up over a period of years, and when the number of available homes for sale goes down (as things are now), fixers can become a good option for a buyer who wants to own a home on a certain street, or other factors, and has the vision to create what they want from what they see. 

That said, in recent months we have seen more consistent sales of finished or basically move-in ready homes over those that could use or need real work done. It seems that larger estates, along with homes in the lower price ranges that have been “cleaned up” or fully remodeled, are getting most of the attention. 

This is certainly true in the more-than-$3-million range the past six months, where most sales in that price range in Montecito were of homes in good and move-in condition. In August, we had four estates close escrow, from the mid-$8-million to $16-million range, which is great news for our high-end market.

My following picks all offer indoor-outdoor living opportunities:

608 Cowles Road: $3,595,000

This contemporary home was re-designed, expanded, and renovated. Set on 1+ acre in the foothills above, and within the Cold Spring School District, is the gated home that mixes Santa Barbara stone accents with smooth coat plaster finish and standing seam metal roof.

The open floor plan offers approximately 3,442 sq ft of living and entertaining spaces, including a formal dining room, office, great room, chef’s kitchen with Viking appliance suite, large island with farmhouse sink, a family room with fireplace, and bi-fold doors that span the north wall, enabling seamless indoor/outdoor living. 

There are 4 en suite bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. The living spaces are surrounded by secluded low maintenance grounds with multiple patios, fire pit, a small lawn, and pathway to the wine cabana with bar plus al fresco entertaining area and orchard.

1098 Golf Road: $5,495,000 

This is a 1922 George Washington Smith Spanish Colonial Revival with mature landscaping, private drive, pool, and parking for guests. The home has been remodeled and is located within blocks of the Montecito Country Club, the lower village, and the beach, down a private lane on 1.1+ acres and features the 4,501-sq-ft architectural statement, offering 5 bedrooms, an office, 4 bathrooms, 3 fireplaces, a chef’s kitchen, spacious family room, a dining room opening to view terraces, balconies, hardwood floors, and updated systems. There are plans mentioned in the listing information to add a pool house and more.

Located within the Montecito Union School District, the property also includes specimen trees, sprawling lawns, flowering gardens, sandstone walls, and proximity to other estates and important properties including the one next door that is offered for sale at more than $11,000,000.

280 Middle Road: $5,900,000 

Clavelitos, meaning little carnations, is the name of this important estate property designed by – and used as the personal residence of – noted architect Lutah Maria Riggs. Recently updated and enhanced by the current owner, the home was featured as a cover property for Veranda magazine and features 3 bedrooms and 3 and one half bathrooms on more than a half-acre in the desirable and convenient Middle Road area of Montecito. 

The home rests just a few blocks from the Montecito Country Club, Coast Village Road restaurants and shops, and Butterfly Beach. Built in 1926/27, the property includes a pool, lawn, and mature landscaping, with dramatic hedges and private sitting areas, all within the Montecito Union School District. Additional features include 24-inch-thick walls, antique stone floors, four fireplaces, multiple courtyards, and a tile roof.

1908 Boundary Drive: $8,499,000 

Birnam Wood is a security-gated golf course community in a prime area within Montecito. This home on Boundary was taken down to the studs and expanded in 2014. It is a 2-story, ocean-and-mountain view Wallace Neff estate. 

A lofty 2-story living room, full of rich details and bathed in southern light, opens to a large entertaining terrace and looks out to the sea. The kitchen is awash in white marble and gray limestone and is anchored by a stainless-steel and polished-brass La Cornue range. 

A staircase along the north wall in the living room leads to the second level of the home, dedicated to the sprawling ocean-view master suite w/dual baths & closets. 

Then, overlooking the pool is a large studio with half-bath and walk-in closet ideal for meetings, movies, projects, et cetera… This home is located within the Montecito Union School District.


Please feel free to contact me regarding any real estate needs or to set up a showing with the listing agents of any properties featured here: or call/text (805) 698-2174. Please view my website,, from which this article is based.


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