This updated 1950’s ranch house, reinvented by architect Nick Noyes of San Francisco, takes advantage of the site’s dynamic views, exceptional climate and location in the foothills of the Santa Barbara Riviera. Landscape Architect Jeffrey Gordon Smith recently designed a peaceful oasis in the garden, including a fire pit and hot tub area, creating additional entertaining areas for outdoor living.
When Kevin and Elizabeth Burns purchased the home, the architecture had already been completed and there was an existing courtyard. Recent transplants from Connecticut and avid gardeners, they fell in love with the climate of Santa Barbara and the extensive plant material they saw throughout the area, but found the multitude of options overwhelming.
In a climate that can grow nearly everything well, where do you place limits?
“The Burns had stressed to us that they wanted something that spoke of their east coast roots but also took advantage of the views of the Santa Ynez mountains yet invoked the feeling of being an ultimate California experience, hot tub included,” comments landscape architect Jeffrey Gordon Smith.
In order to provide the client with a Santa Barbara east-meets-west retreat, the design team had to first create a large patio area to compliment the architecture. Since the site dropped off near the properties edges, a retaining wall was added to allow for more level room for outdoor space.
A deck off of the guest bedroom and office was added, incorporating a redwood hot tub (from Gordon and Grant Hot Tubs & Spas) for a spa-like area. Jay Hanseth Construction did the construction work on the garden project. “Jay has an amazing team of carpenters and stone masons. The Ipe deck, bench and outdoor shower were particularly difficult because the wood is so dense. I love that it will all weather to a silvery gray,” Elizabeth comments.
Santa Barbara sandstone was used extensively throughout the site to tie back to the geological history of the area and was also used to create the fire-pit which adds a rustic quality and helps to create an indoor-outdoor experience and sense of timelessness to the new landscape.
Another major challenge of the site was to retain the view corridor for the neighbors above the property, while preserving the views of the mountains for the client. The goal was to create a private atmosphere and feeling of seclusion. This was accomplished using a staggered planting of a smaller Mexican weeping bamboo which was an extension of a large existing stand of timber bamboo.
The lawn was incorporated into the design as a request by the client as it reminded them of their home in Connecticut. Patio pavers were added for a seamless feel.
The site was tied together using a rich plant palette which included Agave Attenuata ‘Nova’, mixed succulents, evergreen Miscanthus, and a Mediterranean palette indicative of the surrounding area. A vegetable garden placed in large galvanized feed troughs hides behind the rosemary hedge and provides year round fruits and vegetables for the family.
“The magic of this place to me is that when I moved here from Connecticut, this is what I pictured living in California would be. It’s all about the outdoors and blurring the line between inside and out. This house is just under 2,000 square feet but seems more expansive because of the open doors and outside living spaces.”
Accessories in the house came from the owner’s home in Connecticut, shopping at local stores Porch, Seaside Gardens and Botanik and a few favorite online design websites. “The art work is mostly symbolic of my travels and places we have lived….Santa Barbara, Nantucket, CT, St. Barths and New York. I also used some of my own paintings and one by SB artist Lloyd Dallet, the previous owner who did a brilliant job of remodeling the house,” Elizabeth explains.
“While we live in a mid-century modern house, my biggest challenge was to make it feel contemporary but warm….a place you want to stay a while. To me it’s all about the accessories and the way they are set up that gives a home personality. I only buy things I love and I’m constantly moving things around. My husband, who commutes between here and CT, says it looks different every time he comes home!”
Jay Hanseth Construction / 805.896.8497
Gordon and Grant Hot Tubs & Spas
Porch / 3823 Santa Claus Lane Carpinteria, CA
Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture
1212 2nd Street, Baywood-Los Osos, CA
Visit the website: www.jgsdesigns.com