AB design studio, inc.

AB design studio, inc.

Santa Barbara, CA | Los Angeles, CA


Hacienda de Santa Barbara

Nestled into a crescent-shaped hillside with panoramic views of the city, the Channel Islands and the Pacific Ocean, this contemporary interpretation of a classic Santa Barbara house, with its blend of Spanish Colonial Revival and Mediterranean architecture, answered the clients’ wish to step back in time, even as it retains 21st century openness and comforts.

Drawing further inspiration from early 20th century Santa Barbara architect George Washington Smith, whose Spanish colonial houses were known for dramatic entry sequences, the design embraces its hillside site, guiding occupants and their guests from the palm-tree-framed driveway up a sandstone-clad staircase to a covered entry gate, leading to the resort-like enclosed front courtyard surrounding a swimming pool. 

At the U-shaped home’s center is a glass-ensconced staircase enclosed by a small tower-like form, stretching just above the roofline and creating a dramatic multistory open volume marked by a custom chandelier, offering framed ocean views as one ascends to the second-floor bedrooms. On the ground floor, the courtyard gives way to a formal living and dining area off to the left, and to the right, a modern great room-style kitchen and family room. Upstairs, the master suite includes a traditional Spanish mirador, or lookout, a darkly-painted form protruding from the east edge of the otherwise white-painted house that gives the owners a three-sided view.

Careful attention was paid to stylistic authenticity, material craftsmanship and details, including the custom decorative lighting fixtures and iron railings, Spanish tile roof, woodwork, sandstone masonry, and casement windows.

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Status: Built
Location: Santa Barbara, CA, US