Historic Ojai Home Comes With Art Gallery and Chocolate Shop – DIRT

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By Pauline O'Connor
If you’ve been daydreaming about getting out of the rat race but can’t figure out what to do for your second act, here’s an opportunity in Ojai that might be of interest. Located in the village business district, half a block from the deservedly celebrated farmers’ market, the mixed-use property was built in 1874 by John Montgomery, one of Ojai’s earliest developers, and is the town’s third-oldest building.
Since 2013, it’s been home to the Porch Gallery, a contemporary art space featuring rotating exhibitions of nationally and internationally renowned artists. In 2018, Porch Gallery owners Heather Stobo and Lisa Casoni partnered with chocolatier Emily Burson to launch Beato Chocolates. Named after noted Ojai ceramist Beatrice Wood, the shop features chocolate sculptures made from Wood’s ceramic molds.

In addition to its use as a gallery and retail space, the Montgomery House has also been frequently rented out as an event venue. On top of all that, the 3,293-square-foot landmark also continues to serve its original purpose as a residence, with two separate apartments, one on its lower level, and the second traversing the first and second floors. Both units have two bedrooms and two updated bathrooms. Standout architectural details include original woodwork, wainscoting and moldings, two fireplaces, high ceilings, built-in bookshelves and seating, woodframed windows, and French doors.
The 9,813-square-foot property’s exterior features include the eponymous wrap-around porch, shaded by a 140-year-old Cypress tree, and a backyard deck with built-in seating and gas firepit, all sited to enjoy spectacular views of the Topa Topa Mountains and their trademark “Pink Moment.”
Per public records, the historic abode was last sold in 2017 for $1.1 million. It’s now asking $3.8 million. Gabriela Cesena and Nancy Kogevinas of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties rep the listing.
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