Santa Barbara House

  • Anacapa Architecture, Willson Design and Jessica Helgerson Interior Design shine a design light on one of the best-kept secrets on the Californian coastline.

    You know you’ve succeeded when a home is said to be so well tucked away, it camouflages into the landscape. But this off the grid escape isn’t just discretely enveloped into any old spot – rather up high in the rolling hills near Santa Barbara, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Spanning a guesthouse and uninterrupted views of the coastline, Anacapa Architecture, Willson Design and Jessica Helgerson Interior Design have captured the quality of the setting, with minimal impact on the land.

    At the core of the design concept was preservation and protection of the natural environment – one of the last remaining undeveloped coastal areas in California. The guesthouse is set in a wildlife preserve and cattle ranch, sloped and dotted with oak trees, while the isolated home is disguised by a low profile that seeps into the hillside and a green grass roof. This approach also meant the sweeping vista could be fully integrated, through a generous serve of sliding glass doors and expansive L-shaped deck. There are a host of ways for for the communal areas to spill outside and appreciate a grand sunset.

    From the get-go, Anacapa Architecture and Willson Design ensured green building practices, resulting in sustainable systems and material selection. The Anacapa Architecture describes the home as “elemental”, host to a selection of materials that get better with age in patina and wear, changing with the surrounding landscape. Structurally, this came down to choosing unfinished steel, board-formed concrete and rich black walnut that dresses the ceilings, cabinetry and furniture. The team at Jessica Helgerson Interior Design decided to complement this warm and rich timber with brass and bronze fixtures and fittings, like the Waterworks taps in the kitchen and bathrooms and Workstead pendants.

    The material palette is extremely simple and restrained, consisting of concrete, walnut, glass and steel.

    Handmade leather Fernando chairs by Jayson Home and custom walnut table by Ben Riddering

    You may recognise some of the leather objects Jessica Helgerson Interior Design selected in the living space, specifically the Le Bambole ’07 sofa by Mario Bellini for B&B Italia and the Chieftan chair by Finn Juhl. These elements alongside the textural rugs and artful travel pieces, ooze with character and rustic charm and are strategically placed around the rotating hanging stove by FireOrb. The design-driven assets of the home continue into the dining area, fitted out with a handmade leather Fernando chairs by Jayson Home and a custom walnut table by Ben Riddering.

    We’re praising the design efforts behind the Santa Barbara House for this “slowly does it” attitude. Going gently and carefully may have meant this home took six years to come into fruition, but the result couldn’t be more authentic to its unparalleled locale.

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