We should all be so lucky to age as gracefully as Santa Barbara’s Gonzales-Ramirez Adobe. Located in the center of the city’s downtown business district, the adobe has been around since 1825, when Santa Barbara was still part of Mexico. It was built by Rafael Gonzales, a retired Spanish soldier who served two terms as Santa Barbara’s mayor. Gonzales deeded the home to his daughter, Salome Ramirez, who lived in it from 1866 until her death in 1923.
By the mid 1900s, the house had been restored and enlarged by David and Louise Vhay, a couple interested in the architectural styles of New Spain and Mexico. And by 1985, when book dealer Ron Randall opened a brick-and-mortar shop in the adobe-brick building, the house had been converted for commercial use. Randall House Rare Books & Fine Art was in operation until 2020, when Randall retired. Now, having undergone a restoration executed by local design-build firm Becker Studios, the 200-year-old historic landmark is ready for a new chapter.
Tucked away behind a brick wall on a .62-acre lot, the adobe follows an L-shaped plan. Within its 2,770 square feet of floor space are two bedrooms, one with an outside entrance, two baths, a great room, living room, study, laundry room, and kitchen. Notable architectural features include extra thick, white-washed adobe walls, vaulted viga ceilings, multiple beehive fireplaces, built-in bookshelves and display niches, wrought iron light fixtures, Saltillo tile floors, and hand-painted decorative tile. Ready for its next 200 years, the up-to-date vintage home has been outfitted with new appliances, plumbing fixtures, water heaters, and forced air units.
Outside spaces include two courtyards, one with a romantic tiled fountain at its center, and a lengthy covered veranda. The property’s grounds are meticulously landscaped with oak and fruit trees, agaves, sage bushes, and other California native plantings.
In addition to being a sublime, turn-key residence steeped in the aura of local history, the adobe’s commercial zoning offers an array of possibilities. Potential uses suggested by the property’s marketing material include an art gallery, wine tasting venue, wedding site, or office.
Last sold eight months ago for $2.45 million, the Gonzales-Ramirez Adobe is now being offered for double that amount. Marsha Kotlyar Estate Group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties and Greg Bartholomew and Liam Murphy of Hayes Commercial Group share the listing.