Designer Penelope Bianchi has listed her “Provençal farmhouse” in Santa Barbara for $5.95 million. When I stumbled across it in the real estate listings, I knew it looked familiar. After a little sleuthing, I figured out it it was Bianchi’s, which was featured in the September 2010 issue of House Beautiful.
It’s only about 15 years old but looks like it’s been around for generations. The house had me at the rustic wood gate:
Bianchi told HB in the article about her house: “We bought the land and decided to build a rustic Provençal farm — everything about the site felt like Provence to me. Then we went to the real Provence to get inspired.”
“I probably took 200 photographs of doorknobs, chimneys, doorways, rooftops, shutters, and slipcovers,” she says. “In all the small hotels where we stayed, I kept asking about all the incredible walls and learned about lime-washing.”
The kitchen looks authentically cozy:
The title of the HB article was “Patina.” In it, Bianchi says patina is what moves her most:
“I’m crazy for antique toile. The one on our bed is an 18th-century toile that shows George Washington and two cheetahs being led to the Temple of Fame. It cost $140 and it’s the best thing I ever found on eBay. A professor friend is horrified that I keep it on my bed. He thinks it should be in a museum.”
The bedroom sitting area has a fireplace, with drawings by Marcel Vertes on the walls and caned armchairs from Brenda Antin.
The bathroom features a zinc-lined copper tub dating from the 1860s:
There’s a romantic spot for dining on the pea-gravel terrace:
The Loggia is an enchanting space for indoor-outdoor living. She told HB, “That’s where I am 90 percent of the time, on that little sofa reading or at the stone table, where we have breakfast and lunch.” There’s radiant heating under the Mexican tile pavers.
The vines that climb all over the house and inside the loggia are Virginia creeper.
Bianchi explains, “It comes in pots on sticks — I bought 200. If you take the vine off the stick and Scotch-tape it to the wall, it will cover the house eight times faster. People think vines hurt the stucco, but deciduous vines do not. This one is always turning colors, and in winter, it’s just tracery with no leaves. Right now, I’m trying to train it to come inside the house.”
I wonder if the new owners would let me move into the charming guest house? I wouldn’t be any trouble…