English Accent

After 25 years living abroad in London, interior designer MERILEE NOORANI was ready to return to Santa Barbara. Once she and her husband found a small home on a large lot surrounded by 200-year-old oak trees and just a mile away from Montecito’s Upper Village, West Coast nostalgia kicked in, and so did an extensive remodel. She enlisted architect Mary Andrulaitis of NEUMANN MENDRO ANDRULAITIS, and together they envisioned a modern, single-level, England-meets-California cottage. Stone walls, beamed ceilings, wood floors, white paint, and a copper roof strengthen this aesthetic with French doors opening up in front and back for that ultimate indoor/outdoor feel. “Our most successful houses are those that make the connection between the inside of the home and the outdoors so that they feel grounded to the world and beauty that surrounds them,” says Andrulaitis. “The Nooranis’ home is a perfect example.”

A great room sports a two-sided fireplace dividing the formal dining room—which weighs more English with Provençal antiques—and the living room, with a more breezy, casual, California feel. Says Noorani: “There was a real balancing act between creating a house that looked like a beach house—with all of the white board and batten, high-beamed ceilings, and modern art—and a California cottage/rancho with bleached walnut woodwork and English textiles.”