Penny, Petra & Sydney’s Gorgeous, Artful Home

published Jul 18, 2011
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Name: Penny, Petra and Sydney Cortright
Location: The Mesa — Santa Barbara, California
Size: 2,600 square feet (including a 600 square foot attached studio rental)
Years lived in: 20 — owned

Never have I turned a corner to face a staircase that literally reads, painted on the stairs, “And I’ll Buy You a Stairway to Heaven.” This detail leads to many more creative twists and turns, as I toured this unique home on the top of a hill in Santa Barbara.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Penny and her two daughters, Petra (seen in the tour photos) and Sydney, have lived in this remarkable spot for about 20 years. Each of these ladies is an artist, working in a different medium, so their combined efforts and styling is vibrant, eclectic and enchanting. The house is so ‘them,’ so effusive with personal details and flavor, they don’t even notice the effects; it’s an extension of their heart, soul and interest in art. The real pleasure is to go into this home with someone who’s never been there and see the smiles and awe wash over their face.

The layout is simple — most of the bedrooms are downstairs, where it stays nice and cool and the upstairs is where the living room, master bedroom, kitchen and outdoor deck are located. The view from this deck of the Santa Barbara foothills is unrivaled, the opposite windows are ocean–facing. Much of the artwork was purchased or traded locally, or found on frequent trips to Mexico. These ladies love Mexico and the bright colors, textiles and aesthetics compliment their sensibility beautifully. Penny has found most of the furniture from thrift stores over the years—she has an uncanny knack for walking out with the best things from even the most dire of shops! The bold, irreverent sense of color and play, as well as the infusion of personal history/experience, make this a truly special home. Thanks ladies for letting us peek into your world!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Eclectic, hippie crash pad

Inspiration: The beach

Favorite Element: Concrete counter with inlayed found sea glass

Biggest Challenge: Indoor dryer vent

What Friends Say: “OMG you can see the ocean and the mountains?”

Proudest DIY: The stairs where I painted “AND I’LL BUY YOU A STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN”

Biggest Indulgence: Pebble entry (outside entrance)

Best Advice: “Tear it down.” (original house that was on property)

Dream Sources: Mexico, markets abroad

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:




    • concrete poured table, with sea glass I found on the beach


    • appliances: Sears
    • flatware: inherited and thrift stores


    • bedspreads: Mexico
    • artwork: friends

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks Penny, Petra and Sydney!

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