Designed for an irregularly shaped lot that was originally part of the garden of the Stanley McCormick estate in Montecito, California, the house was sited to take advantage of the many mature oak trees and the wonderful old cut stone steps and ponds. The design objective was to accommodate and romanticize the remnants of the early 1900s gardens while at the same time creating a sense of privacy for the owners.
Organized around two primary axes, the house is composed of a single, rectangular mass along the south or street facade, off which an engaged tower and lower one-story wing create definition for the gardens to the rear. The major axis connects the living room and master bedroom element with a spectacular view of the mountains to the north. The second axis is set off from the first to purposefully open up the "L" shaped plan and maximize the views from the kitchen and dining room. The austere facade is punctuated with only a few deep recessed openings against which is set the entrance portal with its plaster relief and projecting wrought iron balcony. In contrast, the elevations at the rear of the house have an abundance of large glazed windows and doors opening to the garden.
This house gracefully embodies tradition and modernity. Its colors and materials capture the flavor of the Spanish Revivalist period. But its living spaces portray current design concepts and highlight the integration of indoor and outdoor spaces. The terraces function as out-of-door living and dining areas, quite different from those designed by the Revivalists. Rooms and their interconnections are picturesque, while at the same time responding to the Modernist sensibility. Hallways have been minimized, room volumes kept simple and functional, letting the details provide the texture and warmth.
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