A not-so-big house with a fabulous garden. This previously undeveloped 2-acre property was love at first sight for the Montecito couple who were looking to create their Shangri-la. Penny Bianchi, the client and talented interior designer chose Grace Design Associates to meld the landscape of poison oak, eucalyptus and Coast Live Oak into a human and wildlife sanctuary.
Originally, the property was considered unbuildable. The engineering challenges of managing subsurface water, springs and heavy runoff from the surrounding watershed had deterred many would-be builders.
The team rose to the challenge and created a beautiful, modest yet sumptuous 3,500 square foot compound that sat lightly on the land and blended in naturally with the surroundings. The main house, guest house and garage are arranged around a courtyard and give the impression of a small village.
Design elements including an espaliered apple fence, an olive allee and the unlined pond serve double duty as wildlife habitat, food and water sources.
This site is now a sanctuary. A predator-proof chicken coop contains a scavenged monkey house with nesting boxes for free-range hens.
Ramps in critical places allow chickens access and egress to and from sheltering niches. Drought-tolerant plants were used on the majority of the property and fit in with the borrowed views of the 50-acre Bacon Estate.
The property lives as an integral piece of the surrounding, native landscape while supporting a peaceful Montecito lifestyle.
G R A C E D E S I G N A S S O C I A T E S, Inc.
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