The House Whisperer

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Nick Churton of Mayfair International Realty suspects that walls have mouths as well as ears after visiting a beautiful Arts & Crafts inspired house in exquisite, Montecito, near Santa Barbara, California – being handled by Village Properties.

Sometimes I think houses whisper to me. I wonder if they do to you. They seem to let me know if they are happy or sad. The happy ones make me want to stay. The sad ones make me want to leave – quickly.

The Ogilvy House, 680 Ashley Road, Montecito made me want to stay – forever. It told me of families well brought up, of nurture, laughter – and for over a hundred years the American dream coming true for several families over many generations.

It is all set down in a neat nine-page album of pictures and social history that the agents, Bridget Murphy and Paul Suding have helpfully prepared. It charts the life of the house from when a Scottish immigrant, Arthur Ogilvy, had it built in the early 1900s. He had married a local girl and engaged a local architect to design a four-square house in the style of early El Montecito on the outside but influenced by the in-vogue Arts & Crafts movement inside.

It was a very successful mixture and remains unchanged today apart from sensible, sympathetic and attractive modernisation and upgrades.

A covered front wraparound porch introduces the main house with its clear Douglas fir floors and high-beamed ceilings. Highlights include an eat-in kitchen with restored Magic Chef range, light and airy master bedroom suite with fireplace, private balcony with outdoor shower and delightful library with a private balcony.

The house stands in over 2 acres of landscaped garden with mature specimen trees, family orchard, 50-foot long swimming pool, bocce court and four detached ancillary structures – an office/guest suite, art studio, yoga studio and a 1-bedroom/2-bathroom guest house with outdoor deck and dining area.

I enjoyed listening to this house – as I do many others. I just have to try to avoid whispering back to them.

 

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