Frank and Bonnie Burgess, along with their young son Jack, asked us to design a contemporary family home that accentuated the indoor-outdoor California style of living and entertaining. Their property is situated in the Santa Barbara foothills overlooking beautiful views of the Montecito valley and coastline beyond, as well as the immediate views of the steep mountains to the north. Within the process of designing their new home, they also asked that we restore their property to a more natural original state. The existing site had been completely graded and the natural lands forms essentially erased as part of a previous development.

Our building design solution evolved into a curvilinear form following the natural contour of the land, the living spaces radiating about the radius of the curve and placed to take advantage of specific site views. A dramatic sloping plaster wall leads visitors to the main entry placed at the fulcrum point of the coast view as framed through a 8’ wide mahogany frame glass pivot door. Upon entering the home, the interior spaces radiate north and south from the entry along a curved gallery hall defined by a continuous curved plaster wall. A unique curved sloping roof form with a radial wood ceiling interior finish provides warmth, continuity between building spaces, and excellent acoustics.

The main focus of our house design is accentuating the indoor-outdoor living. Large-scale sliding doors retract at the living spaces allowing for gracious, unencumbered openings that completely open the house interior to patios and the outdoor landscape. A sculptural two-sided cantilevered fireplace element serves both the interior living spaces and the adjacent outdoor patio space. A terrace off the west end of the living space opens to an intimate patio terrace and fountain water feature.

Building materials have been selected for their natural aesthetic beauty and suitability for the harsh coastal foothill environment. Articulate detailing underscores the natural characteristics of the materials and the integrity of the design aesthetic. Integrally colored stucco, copper, stained cedar wood siding, opaque and clear green glass, cherry wood cabinetry, and natural honed stone comprise a palette of materials with a quiet elegance and tranquility.

We worked closely with the Burgess’s, the landscape architect, and the civil engineer to carefully restore and enhance the natural landforms that had been lost to the previous development. To that end, the natural site slope was re-contoured with a series of terraces for the house, guesthouse, pool and spa. A “dry” boulder creek and retention basin was developed to enhance the landscape design and mitigate difficult site drainage issues. Native plants and trees are utilized throughout the property to create a beautiful native meadow landscape that requires greatly minimizes water use and maintenance. A small orchard, vegetable garden and “council circle” are also integrated into the site design.