Pearl Chase Society’s 17th Historic Homes Tour – 2018
Hidden in the Hedgerows
Please join us on Sunday, May 20, 2018, for a tour of five historic Montecito homes. Ticket prices are $85 General Admission ($80 for current Pearl Chase Society members)
Please purchase your tickets to the 2018 Historic Homes Tour by clicking on the button below. Ticket purchasers will receive a Reservation Card with an assigned time and address, where they will be given the essential Tour Booklet with information and a tour map.
We suggest visitors wear comfortable walking shoes, as there are uneven walking surfaces. We regret there is no disabled access. Parking is limited and we encourage carpooling.
We ask that you respect the privacy of residents and their properties on your walk.
No photography or smoking on the grounds or inside the homes.
No children under 12.
The 2018 Pearl Chase Society Historic Homes Tour features a mix of architectural styles that combine to create Montecito’s distinctive charm.
Hidden in the Hedgerows
The Pearl Chase Society’s 17th Historic Homes Tour showcases the diversity of homes designed over three decades in Montecito’s historic Hedgerow District, recently challenged by the forces of nature. The earliest years of the 20th century were a time both of real estate development and consolidation in the area. The Society is proud to bring you inside some of the homes and history that marked this dynamic period.
Every Tour of Santa Barbara area historic homes includes designs by noteworthy architects and their signature styles. This year’s event acknowledges the reality that custom homes are designed through the collaboration of both architect and client, with the resulting balance sometimes displaying architectural genius in unexpected styles. Visitors will view substantial residences with clear design pedigrees and equally grand homes whose origins remain mysterious.
Historic homes are notable not merely for famous architects or age, although both are important and might elevate an otherwise pedestrian building’s status. This year the Tour offers homes that display excellent breeding even in the absence of known design lineage. These homes are notable for their outstanding designs, exceptional craftsmanship, and sustained livability in spite of sometimes mysterious origins. Their exact dates of design or construction may be unknown; their architect names may be lost to history; but the homes remain as exemplars of their era.
Spanish Colonial Revival:
In 1929 the well-regarded local architect Joseph J. Plunkett was commissioned to design a home in the Spanish Colonial Revival style popular in Santa Barbara. His clients were a couple active in Santa Barbara life – owning a local hotel and camera shop – and professional photographers (who often documented architecture for the Community Arts Association’s Plans and Planting Committee. The Committee was a favorite of Miss Pearl Chase even before the 1925 earthquake but became indispensable in its aftermath, providing readymade plans and ideas for rebuilding the city with a Spanish flair). They lived in the home for 50 years and much of the house is little changed from the 1920s. Visitors will see both contemporary amenities and remembrances of the style’s Andalusian origins.
The turn of the 20th century is said to be the construction date of this home, the oldest on our Tour. In 1900 the entire population of Santa Barbara was far less than today’s Montecito and many streets were unpaved. Many estates that would become synonymous with the area were still years away. Prairie is one of the few indigenous American styles. Found mostly in the Midwest, it features include low-pitched hipped roofs, wide eave overhangs, ribbon windows, and relatively inconspicuous entries. This home is unusual in Santa Barbara: a transitional design of the Prairie style, perhaps deceptive due to the use of regional redwood shingles. The garden includes an enormous Coast Redwood tree estimated to have been planted at the time the home was built.
A 1918 surveyor’s map shows this property owned by local architect Handy L. Wass and his wife Sarah. He may have designed the home, although that detail has been lost to history. Two years later Gertrude and Harold Chase owned it. Harold the brother of Pearl Chase, a stalwart champion of Santa Barbara’s Spanish architectural design and namesake of our Society. The home is a comfortable cottage-style, grown large. Through its unassuming entrance visitors are welcomed into a coved- ceiling foyer, striking living room and formal dining room. The kitchen retains much cabinetry from the original butler’s pantry. The large public rooms adjoin a sweeping rear veranda (now enclosed) where the owners display in situ a discovered a portion of original floral paradise wallpaper. A bedroom cum classic sleeping porch still has its original pocket windows.
Boscobel was a stunner on the 1926 visit by the Garden Club of America. The home may have been named (“Boscobel” is Italian for “beautiful forest”) earlier when Alfred and Nellie Coles from El Paso bought it in 1923. Visitors will see the brick terrace and columns that once held a pergola “from which drip thousands of Rêve d’Or and Mme. Plantier roses.” The ladies of 1926 also commented on the expansive garden “bounded on the end by a low white balustrade over which one has a most beautiful view of the mountains,” which visitors will see. The grounds are reduced from those days but the house remains a wonderful example of grand eclectic architecture. It includes elements of symmetrical East Coast Federalism while incorporating the stucco, clay tile roofs, and wrought iron balconies of Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial Revival styles.
Casa Paz del Mar:
Designed by architect George Washington Smith to face the ocean, plans for this home began in 1919 and were completed the following year. Original owner Mrs. Therese Morgan Davis married into a storied family, but had her own opinions and resources when she commissioned this home for herself and two daughters. Unlike many of Smith’s commissions, this home is not Spanish Colonial Revival but German Domestic Architecture style. It is uncommon in Santa Barbara but was increasingly popular in 1910s Europe where Mrs. Davis – and Smith – would have admired it. The tall north face with 2-story windows admits light and affords excellent mountain views. Gothic arches, dark wood details, Scottish dragon sconces, and steeply pitched rolled-edge rooflines continue the European influence. Each Smith-designed home is unique, but Casa Paz del Mar allowed him to include features seldom seen in his other work.