Noteworthy new listings….
2005 Birnam Wood Drive ($7.95 million) is the former home of prominent philanthropist Leslie Ridley-Tree, who died in October. The 4,900-square-foot, single-level floor plan sprawls graciously, and while there are technically three bedrooms, the third bedroom is happier as an office. A lot of the interiors want updating, although I’d personally keep the guest room’s wallpaper and color scheme. The good news is that once you’ve updated it, you can focus on your golf game: despite the lot’s 1.06-acre size, there isn’t a ton of maintenance outside to deal with—much of the property is taken up by the structure, hardscaping, and semi-circular driveway. And the clubhouse is just a chip shot away.
The 1945 house at 445 Pimiento Lane ($6.395 million) went into escrow in a snap—while the three-bedroom house could use updating, the location is enviable, walkable to both the Upper Village and Montecito Union School and backing up against the grounds of Casa del Herrero. The two upstairs bedrooms share a hallway bath, which is kind of a bummer in the mid-sixes, but the one-bedroom guest cottage softens the blow. The seller paid $5.625 million in May 2021. P.S. Love the funky shape of the hot tub, but I’m not sure it makes sense with the organic-shaped pool.
435 Fellowship Road ($3.295 million) has a lot of stairs, both to reach the house and get around inside it, but there’s a payoff: nice views and, up at the back end of the property, one of the best outbuildings in town. The seller paid $3.15 million in May 2022, and the renovations predate that; the public rooms and primary fared better than the guest bedrooms. The more social among us will love the deck above the garage, where you can greet people approaching from Cliff Drive, while there’s also a cute two-seater terrace off the house and a spectacular platform (people sold separately) to the side of that turtle-roofed outbuilding.
Friends visiting from out of town asked what you can get around here for $2 million. “How about in the twos?” I replied. Take these next four properties…. First, 715 Roberto Avenue ($2.765 million), undoubtedly a spec reno; the seller paid $1.725 million last November and gave it the 1957 house the black-and-white makeover you tend to see in Airbnbs. (Is the look popular because it appears cleaner in photos?) In the house’s favor, the kitchen is roomy and the backyard has a raised deck with a glimpse of the ocean. Less appealingly, many of the windows showcase views of walls, the two guest rooms share a hallway bath, and $2.765 million is a leap for the microneighborhood.
West Mesa, in contrast, can justify a price in the mid-twos—it has more character, better housing stock, and access to the beach and the Douglas Family Preserve. With 2517 Mesa School Lane ($2.675 million), however, all you get is a 1,500-square-foot fixer extraordinaire built in 1939; there’s not even a garage. N.B. The house actually fronts Selrose Lane. P.S. These photos do not cut it in the modern age.
And then there’s 1524 East Valley Road ($2.695 million), practically next door to the Pierre Lafond corner of the Upper Village—which will be especially handy once a good restaurant opens in the former Montecito Wine Bistro space. It’s a two-bedroom residence that was born conjoined with 1526 East Valley Road; the properties have since been legally separated. The low, flat ceilings aren’t going to be for everyone, but you could turn the place into a sexy midcentury bachelor’s pad. Imagine a Pillow Talk remake, where the neighbors share a water meter instead of a party line….
Last but not least, 868 N. San Marcos Road ($2.375 million) costs less and is on a half acre, with a putting green and pool in the spiffy backyard. In a perfect world, the three guest rooms wouldn’t share one bath and the house would be pushed farther off the street. But the sunroom all along the east side has potential.
Love real estate? Sign up for the Siteline email newsletter.