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Caretakers of a Legacy – 1709 Overlook Lane

July 23rd, 2015 · No Comments · George Washington Smith, Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Santa Barbara Real Estate, Santa Barbara Realtors

2GWSFrontHouse1709Overlook Earlier this year “The Houseaholic” Andrea Cambern wrote a beautiful piece on 1709 Overlook Lane here in Santa Barbara. This property is currently listed with Sotheby’s International Realty.  Here’s the story: Iconic Santa Barbara architect George Washington Smith is resting peacefully. The man often referred to as the father of the Spanish Revival movement in Santa Barbara could only have hoped that one of his creations would end up in the hands of a couple so committed to preserving his vision. The Stark Estate, built in 1928, is one of 58 GWS homes built in the Santa Barbara area – one of only a handful of French Normandy style houses by the revered architect.  It was love at first sight for Tanny Jones. “I didn’t even step off the landing before I nudged Court (her husband) and pointed emphatically, this is it, this is it.” she says. ” I loved it from the first step inside.” 4OverlookQuad The East Coast couple had been searching for months for the perfect property for their cross country move.  They wanted a house with some history, and weren’t afraid of taking on a project. ” We love old houses, the character, the feel, the charm,” says Tanny. “We’ve never had a turnkey house,” adds Court.  The house stands behind a huge hedge on Overlook Lane.  It’s easy to drive by without ever realizing it’s there.  But one step into the meticulously manicured front yard and you can feel it’s historic significance.  The Jones’ felt it too.  With a history of renovating houses, the pair knew it was the type of project they could embrace. “That’s exactly what you do when you move into an old home,” says Tanny.  “You feel privileged to be in the position to care for an old home so that it can go on for another 100 years.” Labor of Love  While the couple worked to strip back some of the layers of changes made to the interior over the years.  Their primary focus was on the exterior, and restoring the grandeur of the yard and garden.  The stone terraced garden originally designed by Lockwood de Forest – an innovative and influential landscape architect of the early 20th century – had been lost over decades of neglect. “The landscape was crying, it truly needed resurrection,” says Tanny. “It was so overgrown, it was impossible to see what was there.” The Jones enlisted the expertise of Landscape Architect Derrik Eichelberger of Arcadia Studio to bring Lockwood de Forrest’s vision back to life. ” It was a grand collaboration!” says Tanny. Today the garden is warm and welcoming, not fussy, or fancy. Native plants provide the perfect backdrop for outdoor vignettes. Terraces and gravel patios offer beautiful views of the Pacific. “That’s what I think is so special about this property,” says Court. “It’s a series of little Zen views, there’s a subtlety to it.”  Everything about the house is subtle, nothing screams, “I’m special!” But it is. The house has received historic designation as a city landmark. Its careful, considerate renovation will allow it to live on for generations to come. “It wasn’t easy, but we are so pleased at the way it feels now, it’s like it’s breathing,” says Tanny.  “We believe houses are living things and you borrow part of their life.” 2GWSWideViewProperty1709Overlook So I had to ask what the Jones’ like best about the house and the answer wasn’t what I expected to hear. “The view of the Chapel at the Santa Barbara Cemetery,” said Tanny.  The Chapel was also designed by George Washington Smith, and it’s where he and the original homeowners – Jack and Edith Stark – are buried. “When we first went to the Chapel and saw the names on the wall we got goosebumps,” says Court.  Yes, George Washington Smith and the Starks are resting in peace. No doubt looking back up at the property with great pride and apprecitation that their legacy lives on.

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