For the many viewers who don’t delve into the comments section, here are a couple of great stories from 209 East Islay Street, which is currently waiting for the wrecking ball.
I am very familiar with this home, as we owned it between 1978 and 1998. I grew up in this house. Every shingle was hand cut by my father, Every roof tile, lovingly placed. We bought it as a run down boarding house and lovingly restored it. There were 15 fruit trees, a rope swing, a tree fort and matching play house. The massive wisteria vine in the back yard consumed a tree and would turn into a purple waterfall every the spring. And in the Summer the three, 75 year old, blooming pitosporums would fill the air with the smell of sweet spicy flowers. I learned to cook in that kitchen and spent night after night by the outdoor fire with my friends from school, poking at the fire and roasting anything that would stay on a stick. My hand prints are in the concrete. I know every inch of this house… in the dark. All of my memories are there. It was, and remains, the symbol of my father’s success. Take what you can get and make it the best that it can possibly be, through hard work and sweat, then fill it with family and friends and love.
What gives neighborhoods character is variance. I agree. There is no house in the world like this one. It is not a “cheap” craftsman as you have said. It was loved, and cared for, and like you or I, probably needs to work out. Did you know that 209 East Islay used to be the “Tennis House” Did you know that there are buried concrete tennis courts all over the block? True the closets are small, but there are many of them, True, there is no first floor master, and there is an entry room and the 3rd to top stair creaks when you step on it. But just because it is flawed, and old, doesn’t mean that it is useless. As for natural light… Try sleeping past 6am in one of those bedrooms without curtains.
This house, with all due respect, is NOT a Pinto. It is an MG.
Although we haven’t owned it for years, I am fairly certain, that once it’s gone Santa Barbara will never really be home to me again. As I will never know it’s equal. – Dorien Davies
Thank you, Dorien, for writing about our house. We found the house in 1978. It was like a beautiful old woman who was slowly dying. My husband and our three children moved in and proceeded to bring her back to life. Terry worked on every inch to repair, paint, paper, replace everything that was broken. He planted trees, laid yards of brick pathways. But, the house had so much good about it, beautiful leaded glass windows, hardwood floors in every room, wonderful lighting , and, outside a massive stone fireplace We loved the bathtubs with paws, the glassed in office off the Master bedroom, all the pocket doors, The house had many ghosts,. Very often, people would stop by and tell us they had lived in the house. They would tell their stories of raising families in the house… To say we loved the house is an understatement. There are far grander homes in the upper east side, but 209 was part of what the upper East Side was about. She is a queen. To think of what will take her place makes us very sad. No historical significance? How mistaken you are..She is a vintage Rolls that deserves better. – Penny Davies