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Santa Barbara's guide to what's new and undiscovered for home and garden, entertaining, style and travel. The resource guide below lists local happenings, boutique finds, travel destinations, food artisans and design professionals.

Grace Design Associates Makeover in the Santa Barbara Foothills

This Mission Canyon artist’s retreat was extremely dilapidated, surrounded by a landscape of dirt, debris and rubbish. When a new owner purchased the property with the intention of renovating and flipping it, he contacted Grace Design Associates for a landscape transformation.




Margie Grace immediately recognized the value of the site. Sitting on an acre of creek-side woodland, with views of the Channel Islands, the property was full of potential and ready for its makeover.

A tour of the newly redesigned site begins with custom Cor-Ten steel risers that draw you to a babbling, sandstone fountain and on to the entry. Proceed, and you will discover secret garden rooms as you get closer in proximity to the residence, like this space beneath a mature oak tree.




Raised decks and a serpentine seat wall connect the main residence to the artist studio, creating a comfortable, flexible outdoor living room.




The tiny cluster of buildings includes a 700-square-foot, one-room main residence and a detached 240-square-foot artist’s studio. These were both immaculately renovated, incorporating simple, elegant materials and taking advantage of stunning views.




Outdoor rooms pair beautifully with the revived structures, providing the current owners with considerably more living space. The compound is virtually unrecognizable in both form and function.




Sculptural plantings and a floor plane of gravel create a fire resistant, water-wise, tranquil landscape. Stone found on site was re-purposed into paving and retaining walls. Cactus and succulents were salvaged and replanted from the lower creek bank.




“Once the extraordinary transformation of this once-blighted property was complete, it sold in less than a week and realized an 85% increase over the cost of purchase plus renovations,” comments Grace.


Grace Design Associates, Inc. is an award-winning, full service landscape firm with over twenty-five years of experience designing and building world-class gardens. Grace Design’s forté is distinctive design executed with the values of old world craftsmanship. Working in a wide range of design styles and budgets, the company creates gardens that connect with the unique character of the site, sit seamlessly in the environment, blend harmoniously with the architecture and reflect the client’s aesthetic.

Call 805.687.3569 to schedule a design consultation.

To view a selection of Grace Design Associates landscape projects:


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