THE 2016 PEARL CHASE SOCIETY HISTORIC HOMES TOUR FEATUREd A MIX OF ARCHITECTURAL STYLES THAT COMBINE TO CREATE SANTA BARBARA’S DISTINCTIVE CHARM.
2016 Event Overview
700+ visitors experienced “From Moody to Manse” at the annual Pearl Chase Historic Homes Tour. Homes included an authentic restored Craftsman cottage, another century-old home born in a transitional style but reborn in the 21st century in the Craftsman style with exquisite modern craftsmanship, a grand 1920s Mediterranean Revival style home returned to its residential origins after serving religious (twice) and educational functions, and 4 pixie cottages built in the 1940s guided by the wartime slogan, “Why buy new, when salvage will do?” Thanks again to everyone who came out to support The Pearl Chase Society!
From Moody to Manse: Below are the homes featured on the The Pearl Chase Society’s 16th Historic Homes Tour—seven intriguing homes in the Santa Barbara area. From quaint cottages designed by the Moody Sisters, to two Craftsman homes, to a recently remodeled Mediterranean estate, the tour presents a collage of Santa Barbara architecture.
In our last tour, the Society featured only 1920s Andalusian and Spanish Colonial Revival architecture; this year, tour goers will see a greater variety of architecture that defines Santa Barbara’s distinctive charm.
In the early 40s, the enterprising Moody Sisters, Harriet and Mildred, decided that the priority of the time was to provide housing for returning veterans, doctors, nurses, and single women. The wartime slogan, “Why build new, when salvage will do,” influenced their designs for the cottages. Often their plans included reclaimed elements from dismantled estates, including salvaged lumber, windows, doors, and paneling. Four “storybook houses” inspired by the fairy tale books the sisters read as children are located on a quiet lane in Montecito.
A flagstone path leads to the door of Sweetbriar Cottage, where the steeply pitched roof with clipped gables, generous use of windows, and board and batten walls, lend great charm to the house and its surrounding gardens. In the living room, soaring high ceilings with decorative braced tie-beams and large multi-paned windows keep the diminutive house from seeming cramped and small. A country brick fireplace with a raised hearth and carved walnut lintel is flanked by built-in bookcases on either side. The dining room and kitchen feature decorative shelving, plus both French and Dutch doors. A stairway leading to the upstairs bedrooms and bath has the hallmark scroll sawn railings that many of the Moody Cottages feature.
With a beautiful lap pool and newer front yard landscaping, the Mulberry Cottage has undergone several changes over the years. A 1957 fire damaged part of the house, and subsequent owners remodeled the cottage with a large addition that includes a spacious family room and an upstairs master suite with bath. The living room and downstairs guest bedroom have changed little. The diamond pane windows in this cottage, as well as in neighboring cottages, came from a dismantled mansion. Original elements in the living room include a high ribbed ceiling, wainscoting, bookcases and wide plank Douglas Fir floors. The large fixed bay window and a French door to the side garden are also part of the original Moody Plan.
Set amidst lovely gardens, behind a high hedge and wooden picket gate you’ll find picturesque Canary Cottage. Never intended to be a residence, it was reportedly to have been a studio. The current owners have painstakingly restored the knotty pine paneling and preserved the original “Rosemaling” by Mildred Moody. Canary Cottage offers a rare opportunity to glimpse one of the few remaining examples of Mildred’s artwork. A narrow wooden spiral staircase off the tiny kitchen leads to the loft above the living room. The garage was remodeled into a bedroom by the second owner and has a slanted ceiling with tongue and groove wall paneling.
Hand carved stone steps lead to a brick path that winds through a terraced garden to Meadow House. Built for Dion and Alice Kennedy in 1941, this beautiful home was originally the largest of the Lane’s cottages. The house has a multitude of the reclaimed diamond pane windows and the entry hall, living and dining room have rich oak paneling in the craftsman style, with original wrought iron hardware and hinge strapping in the built in dining room credenza. This residence has been kept to its original integrity, thanks to the current long time owners.
In the decades before the Moody cottages were designed, the Craftsman style dominated much of the new architecture for smaller homes between 1905 to the 1920s. It originated in Southern California, primarily by the work of Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene; it quickly spread throughout the county due to pattern books and popular magazines. The finely wrought carpentry of the American Craftsman period is symbolic of the ingenuity of western designers, who established that we did not need Europe to determine our architecture or to define our cultural aesthetics.
Two homes on this year’s tour, each owned by talented artists/designers, will illustrate this point. An ultra-sophisticated bungalow on East Padre pays homage to the Craftsman aesthetic, with the current owners transforming a 1918 transitional style home, which originally had features of both Victorian and Craftsman styles, into a personalized bungalow, which has elements of both the Stickley and Mission styles. Here we experience continuity of design, from the Blacker house-inspired staircase to the artist owner’s hand crafted copper mailbox. The smooth stucco exterior pays homage to the Mission, while the woodwork is Greene & Greene style including scarf joints, pegs, ’S’ curves and cloud lifts, with Stickley influence. The interior design collections are primarily Southern Californian and Asian, with elements and artifacts from the current owners’ hobbies and travels.
The next Craftsman home is the Peterson House on West Valerio Street, which is a classic example of the modest Craftsman-style bungalow that originated in Southern California, and spread across the United States in the 10s and 20s. The architects Greene & Greene of Pasadena provided the inspiration for this style. The low-pitched, cross-gabled roof, wide horizontal trim above the porch, and the varied types of wood siding, anchor this 1912 home into the landscape. Wide eaves with decorative brackets, exposed rafters, and the comfortable front porch with square columns, are also hallmarks of this style. The homeowners carefully restored the home’s interior with materials salvaged from a similar vintage Craftsman home in the neighborhood.
Mediterranean architecture also started to make its mark on Santa Barbara in the 1920s, and a beautifully restored Mediterranean-style home on Santa Barbara Street is the largest home in this year’s tour. It was designed by well-known Winsor Soule in 1921 and was reputed to have been Santa Barbara’s most expensive upper east residence at the time. It was constructed by Samuel Hunter for Caroline and Walter Hodges, a vice-president of the Santa Fe Railway. In the 40s it was purchased by Leo and Frances Sanders of the Stearns Wharf Company and later took an institutional turn when three religious organizations took residence. Before it was recently restored and returned to a family residence, the Fielding Graduate Institute was housed here. Its spacious rooms overlook terraces and formal gardens so it is easy to imagine the family weddings and lively gatherings that occurred in this elegant residence 84 years ago. Tour guests are invited to enjoy a light refreshment of lemonade and cookies on the terrace.