“Even though the project consists of a relatively small structure situated on a tight lot, there is a sense of exploration and wonder created as one discovers the many varied individual indoor spaces and outdoor gardens throughout the home,” Cronshaw says.
“Our charge was to replace the addition, restore the existing studio and create a house that took its cues from the original Spanish colonial style studio,” says architect Dave Mendro.
“We tried to come up with a design that integrated with the studio so in the end it looked like the house had always been there,” he adds.
Designed for Modern Living
Working within the Spanish colonial style vocabulary, the architects nevertheless designed the house for modern living. It has, for example, an open kitchen suited for entertaining.
One of the striking aspects of the house is that it actually might be viewed as four separate buildings connected and unified by an arched arcade or gallery, which has also been called a loggia. (When the series of patio doors are open, it is open to the outdoors as is traditional for a loggia.)
Adjacent and at right angles to the living room/studio is a two-story structure with dining room, kitchen and garage on the first level and the master suite on the second floor. Separated from that by a courtyard are two bedrooms, and at a right angle to that is another structure housing another bedroom and an office/den. Together the structure forms an L-shape surrounding a lawn/courtyard on three sides. Patios, terraces and gardens in one form or another are accessible from each room of the house.
Pulling it all together was not without its challenges. Montecito has a very strict design review process, Mendro relates. One of the limitations was a floor area ratio, which limits the size of a development relative to the size of the lot. “It was challenging to get the spaces that the family wanted within a fairly limited area of allowable building area,” Mendro says.
Another challenge was to minimize annoyance to the neighborhood. Staging materials, scheduling deliveries and keeping parking of crew members under control were all concerns that Allen Associates had to address. “In Montecito people don’t like to be disrupted,” Cronshaw says.
Detailing and Craftsmanship
What’s important on a Spanish colonial style project, Mendro says, is the detailing and the craftsmanship. “The integrity of the design is based on it,” he adds, crediting Allen Associates project manager Ian Cronshaw with achieving that.
Traditional materials — a tile roof, copper chimney caps, clay tile flooring and wood beam ceiling — were incorporated but modern materials and methods were used as well. The custom wood windows and doors are high
quality, contemporary design units. Columns in the loggia are precast concrete that is integrally colored. “It’s a blend of modern building techniques with more traditional style,” Mendro says.
Beamed ceilings are a motif that is carried throughout the house. The beams are distressed, their texture and surface softened. And while in a traditional Spanish house the beam work and ceilings are traditionally darker, the tone was lightened to better suit the tastes of the homeowner.
“We worked very closely with Allen Associates and their subcontractors,” Mendro says. “It was a real team effort to create this design. In the end I think it has a lot of integrity, craftsmanship and detail; that’s really the richness of the project.
“In the end it looks like it has always been this way,” he says. “If you walked into the site now, it would be hard for you to tell where the old house was and where the new house is; it all blends very nicely.”
Fast Facts About the project:
- Location: Montecito, Calif.
- Remodeling contractor: Allen Associates, Santa Barbara, Calif.
- Project manager: Ian Cronshaw
- Architect: Neumann Mendro Andrulaitis Architects, LLP, Carpinteria, Calif.
- Partners in charge: Dave Mendro, Andy Neumann
- Project captain: Dave Intner
- Gross floor area: 3,983 sq. ft.
- Gross lot area: 0.44 acre