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Architect Spotlight: The Historic Moody Sisters

March 9th, 2018


With names such as Hollyhock, Sweetbriar and Greencote, these whimsical homes and gardens seem straight out of an English fairy tale. The intriguing work of four sisters in the 1930’s and 40’s left Montecito and Santa Barbara with three dozen petite creations.

The sisters gained notoriety in the 1930’s for designing English Cottage style homes by using reclaimed materials and featuring enchanting architectural elements. Qualities of Moody Sister homes mostly consists of humble spaces, steep roofs, set in lush, tangled gardens. They embrace a mystical quality that defies words, with allusions to magic and mischief and the appeal to subconscious senses. Several still contain the Moodys' signature glass jars of pins and needles, often cemented into the hearth, that were said to ward off mischievous fairies.

2 Rosemary Lane exterior shots

2 Rosemary Lane, pictured above, is a Moody Sister's cottage located in Santa Barbara.

According to Brian Hofer, a local architect, “builders today couldn't reproduce Moody cottages even if they wanted to do so.” He says the homes may be inefficient, but that's the point. Moody cottages, Hofer says, make "the efficient house look kind of boring."

Most Moody cottages are located on one of two lanes: Rosemary Lane and Periwinkle Lane. 556 Periwinkle Lane, a Moody Sister cottage is now offered for sale.

556 Periwinkle Lane

556 Periwinkle Lane, located in Montecito is pictured above.

Newly renovated by Litchfield Builders and designed by Caroline Diani, this cottage relishes storybook charm paired with modern luxury amenities. Designer renovated in 2017, the historic charm is complimented by quality detailing, smooth Venetian plaster throughout, tall ceilings, skylights, French doors, distressed French oak floors, and hand distressed beams throughout. The spacious newly renovated kitchen enjoys white marble counters, custom cabinetry, hand painted terra-cotta tile backsplash, large farm sink, stylish brass fixtures high-end appliances and picturesque garden views.

556 Periwinkle Lane inside shots

Beyond the kitchen is a demure dining area with commanding ceilings, custom lighting and skylight. French doors unfold to the inviting outdoor patio, complete with exterior dining and a large stone fireplace.

Refined elegance is met in the main floor master bedroom. This naturally lit space enjoys large picture windows, a tall angular ceiling with hand distressed beams, wide plank French oak floors and wide closet. A second bedroom with built-ins and private exterior access, powder room and mud room with stacked washer and dryer complete the first floor.

556 Periwinkle Lane inside shots

Up the hallmark scroll sawn stair railings and under a narrow, pitched ceiling, an additional master bedroom suite is nestled. Winsome and bright, this space enjoys delightful details, built-in shelving, dual closets and a generous en-suite master bathroom.

556 Periwinkle Lane inside shots

Fully gated and tucked under mature oaks, the .38 acre park-like grounds include a charming picket fence, colorful landsaping, patios and meanduring pathways. Parking is abundant with a 2-car carport as well as ample uncovered parking spaces. Convenient to shopping and restauarants of the Upper Village and within the desired Montecito Union School District, this lovely home is located down Montecito’s most iconic storybook lanes!

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