Located in the Pueblo Viejo District on Canon Perdido (‘Lost Canon’ – also etched in the history books of Santa Barbara) in the heart of downtown, this historic and charming two-bedroom house with a semi-attached artist’s studio is a remarkable vision of three very creative women that spans more than 100 years. The property’s origins dates back to the 1890’s, but our story begins in 1926.
Louise M Vhay, a well-known artist and benefactor, re-built the one-bedroom house connected by a glass-covered roof to an artist’s studio. She wanted it to look like an old adobe and, as in the early days of Spanish adobes, she built the walls out of material that was easily available, in this case bricks that had come down in the Santa Barbara’s transformative earthquake of 1925. She even sourced and used doors, massive and beautiful, that were from the famous Arlington Hotel, which was also destroyed in the earthquake. An architectural historian as well as an artist, she made her little buildings align with Santa Barbara’s original adobes, including the nationally landmarked Gonzales-Ramirez adobe next door, which she also owned.
In 1956, Lutah Maria Riggs, who studied under George Washington Smith and completed her own projects in Santa Barbara and Montecito (Alice Erving House Remodel, The Blaksley Library, and Santa Barbara Vedanta Temple), expanded the main house with another bedroom and bath and a large kitchen.
The present owner, Patricia Craddock, was determined to restore the spirit of these two great designers while very subtly making the space more accommodating to the way people live today, adding more natural light with windows and doors that matched the existing exactly, opening up the bathrooms and the kitchen and making the garden as magical as the house ever was. And she was in no particular hurry, allowing for every detail to be done right which is reflected in everything you see. Patricia appointed a team of designers with whom she had worked with previously, allowing her to be involved in all phases of the restoration, yet at the same time, all feeling comfortable enough with each other that each team member could pursue their own inspiration and expertise.
Casita Patricia is listed with the Santa Barbara Architectural and Historical Resources Survey and was the winner of the 2015 Santa Barbara Beautiful Single Family Residence Award.