Montecito Ranch House blends ancient finds with views of Peekaboo

An all-white bungalow house—with multiple outdoor rooms, vibrant green accents, and modern, heirloom décor—stands out among the neighboring mansions for its understated perfection.

Molly Rose Photography, Amanda Chapel Design

When Orange County interior designer Amanda Chappelle received a call from her sister about a ranch house she and her husband had purchased in Santa Barbara, Chappelle knew she was about to have some fun.

The Saarinen table on the Chairish is surrounded by chairs purchased from the clearance department at HD Buttercup. A dhurrie rug from The Finde clothing store in Newport, California.

molly rose

Despite financial constraints, says Chapple, who was ecstatic to get the go-ahead to rethink this classic farmhouse in the hills with “peekaboo views.” The budget was limited, but there were no limits to her creativity. “Most of the people I work with let me sneak in a few cargo pieces here and there, but they mostly focus on new things trying to look old.”

Happy Montecito Kitchen Basketball Pendants
Chapels replaced upper cabinets with floating shelves and painted the rest of the kitchen white in a budget-conscious update. The tile backsplash is a rectangular Clé lake tile.

molly rose

When you think of Montecito, the famous neighborhood in Santa Barbara that Oprah and a certain former prince call home, “deal” isn’t the first word that comes to mind. It’s one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the world, studded with 50 million homes. So when an antique three-bedroom farmhouse is sold like this one, neighbors come to expect the demolition crew to roll in and start building another fake Tuscan villa.

montecito garden slab patio adirondack chairs molly rose photography
A pair of modern Adirondack chairs from Home Depot are set out for views of the manicured garden adorned with cobblestone walkways.

Molly Rose Photography

“They bought it from the original owners, and the interiors have been untouched since the 1970s,” Chapel says. “I love a classic farmhouse, so it was a fun challenge for me to update and furnish it in minimal quantities, using as much old and used produce as possible.”

Timothy Olton vintage sectional rug
Touches of red from a vintage rug and pink from a Paul Marrot painting bring the living room to life. CT scan Timothy Olton.

molly rose

Chappell’s goal was to unify the interior space, create more flow between rooms by perforating one of the walls, remodel the bathrooms, and start with a clean rag of Simply White paint by Benjamin Moore.

Farrow & Ball Folly Green Front Door
The cheery front door, painted in Folly Green by Farrow & Ball, sets a peppy tone before you step inside.

Molly Rose Photography

The biggest cost was adding a full third bathroom, replacing the fixtures with Signature Hardware faucets and shower heads, and investing in Clé Zellige tiles in ocean-inspired shades of blue and blue.

Black Marble Basic Bathroom Tile
CB2 mirrors hang over the double vanity in the master bathroom. Tiles in the shower and floor are from Clé.

Molly Ross

“We used one slab of black marble in two bathrooms,” explains Chappelle. “Then we used a slab of white marble in the kitchen, took the leftovers and put them in that extra bathroom.”

The furniture is a jumble of vintage and spare—paintings, bed frames, chairs, tables, and rugs—sought to steal from local consignment stores in Newport, Chapelle’s hometown, and nearby Summerland.

Vintage desk pendant anthropology primary bedroom mirror
A message board hangs above the bed in the master bedroom. The desk and rush chair are antique, as is the pendant lamp. The Mirror of Anthropology.

Molly Rose.

In the bedrooms, a mix of West Elm linens is lifted by a few select Blue Springs Home throw pillows and blankets, and a handful of antique Ralph Lauren throw pillows.

Guest bedroom Kantha montecito quilt
A painting of Chappelle’s mother hangs in the guest bedroom. The kantha quilt is made from a recycled sari. The pillow, side table, and lamp are charge finds.

molly rose

Folly Green Farrow & Ball Montecito Door Trim
A back door, painted in Folly Green by Farrow & Ball, and a patio connect the main house to the garage. Chappelle installed hooks for beach gear and dog leashes, and a bench for cleaning sandy feet.

molly rose

But it’s the outdoor space that stops the show. There is one long veranda at the back of the house that connects the basic bedroom to the main living area, and three floors and small patios are furnished with deck chairs, dining areas, and conversation circles.

outdoor dining furniture article montecito
A table and four chairs from the material create a quiet dining area on one of the floors.

molly rose

“We bought eight Adirondack chairs from Home Depot, these are composite materials that are supposed to look like wood,” Chappelle says. “It is very low maintenance and well made. The rest of the exterior pieces are of the material.”

Article Patio Lounge Chairs With Vines
Two lounge chairs of the material sit on a patio off the main bedroom.

molly rose

Chappelle advises anyone fascinated by cargo shopping to trust their gut. If you like something, buy it. Then figure out how to make it work later.

Mexican Folk Art Tapestry Framed On Antique Ribbon
Confetti are framed from hand-embroidered Mexican folk art and hung over a small tequila ribbon.

molly rose

“If you surround yourself with things you love, you’ll be happier,” Chapel says. “If everything in the house is brand new, it is flat and boring. Lifeless.”

With continued shipping delays and limited availability of new items, Chappelle says, it’s getting harder to find deals at second-hand and antiques stores. But this should not deter you.

Montecito straw hats
A series of paintings by Lamonte Limoru hangs over a piece of antique bed frame, used to hold straw hats and market bags.

molly rose

“Blending a classic in your home can bring out the beauty of vintage, blending texture and color in unexpected ways,” she says. “This house is special to me because it is the one and only project that I have been able to do exactly the way I want it. It is a simple house in a great place and full of fun things.”

Ring of Fire Adirondack chairs rose montecito molly
Conversational circle around a fire pit, surrounded by fruit trees on the property. The chairs are from Home Depot, but the view is priceless.

molly rose


Read the current issue

Get one year of sunsets – and all kinds of rewards – for just $24.95. subscribe now!

Leave a Reply