Santa Barbara's Iconic Whale House to be Featured on HGTV’s "Zillow Gone Wild"

Santa Barbara's Iconic Whale House to be Featured on HGTV’s "Zillow Gone Wild"
Santa Barbara, CA, June 17, 2024 --( A young Santa Barbara couple has acquired the renowned Santa Barbara Whale House for a reinvigoration. This architectural marvel, celebrated for its whimsical design and artistic craftsmanship, will soon captivate a national audience as it is set to be featured on HGTV’s popular show, "Zillow Gone Wild," this weekend.

Originally designed by visionary architect Michael Carmichael and completed in 1978, the Whale House is famed for its unique structure, which boasts no straight lines and seamlessly integrates with its natural surroundings. The house had no blueprints. Pam Waterman at The Los Angeles Times once hailed it as "a work of art."​ With its custom Danish stained glass, hundreds of thousands of hand-cut cedar shingles, and intricate mosaic and stonework, the Whale House stands as a testament to the innovative spirit of 1970s Santa Barbara Mission Canyon culture.

Owners Marley and Josh Raab are committed to restoring and elevating it to new heights—or should we say depths. The home is nestled along Mission creek and is accessed via a wooden bridge. Planned renovations include:

- Gutting certain interior areas for improved insulation
- New kitchen appliances
- New lighting
- Improved A/C
- Several fountains
- Complete landscaping modernization and redesign
- Re-finishing the custom built-in sauna
- Removing 50 years of detritus from bees, bats, and other wildlife that made a home there over the years
- Converting the pool to a saltwater system
- Updating the interior mosaic hot tub with ozone sanitization
- Updating windows and more

Beyond serving as an exclusive vacation retreat, the Whale House aims to be a center for a vast array of cultural and healing experiences, musical performances, artist residencies, art installations, and activism.

“If this home were built today," says owner Josh Raab, "it would cost over $25 million and wouldn’t be able to meet current codes. Something like this could never be built here again. Our goal is to preserve its unique charm while making it functional, healthy, and sustainable for future generations.”

The Whale House has been described by Evan Nicole Brown at Atlas Obscura as "easily one of the most unusual [buildings] anywhere, blending into its surroundings with a fairy-tale-like allure​.”

The upcoming HGTV feature promises to shed light on this hidden gem, celebrating its historical significance and the exciting future ahead.

For more information, please visit or contact, or visit their Instagram at @thesantabarbarawhalehouse.
The Cetacean House LLC
Josh Raab