As I mentioned in a prior blog, I have been lucky enough to have had steady work throughout the recession. Not only have I been able to stay busy, but I have worked on some amazing projects, this being one of them.
My clients, all three of which are successful lawyers, hired me to remodel their shared beach vacation home. I started construction on the project in November of 2008, which I designed singlehandedly, without the use of an architect. I used a local Santa Barbara draftsperson/renderer, to do the CAD drawings and floor plans that were required to complete the permit process. My clients gave me a deadline for the house to be demolished, rebuilt, and furnished by July 4th 2009. Winter is not the best time for construction, but we got lucky that year and didn’t have a lot of rain and I was able to meet the deadline for the interior of the house. Unfortunately completion of the exterior portion which consists of a garage, barn for storage, deck, pergola, hardscape and landscape, was held up by the city of Santa Barbara Architectural Review Board, and Coastal Commission permit process. Nine months later, we got the final approval and permit to finish the exterior of the property and we are now near completion!
A local Santa Barbara architect built the original house himself, about 50 years ago entirely out of redwood. There was no interior or exterior insulation when my clients bought it about 20 years ago, so it was about time to upgrade the house for modern day life. The original house was also built with many of the hazardous construction materials we now know are unhealthy for a living environment. In fact, one of my clients wives was so allergic to the chemical substances that she had never been able to sleep in the house the entire time they owned it. Naturally, the only other request they had (besides completing within the deadline) was that the house had to be remodeled using entirely natural materials, and no harmful chemicals or construction materials were to be used. I am happy to say that since the remodel, my client’s wife can finally enjoy her shared vacation home!
Here we are a year later, with 4th of July upon us again and finally I can share one of my most exciting projects with my readers. I thought it was only appropriate considering my theme for this project was red white and blue!
How lucky I am to work in such an amazing location. I will truly miss driving north up the coast to supervise the project.
The deck was of the utmost importance because my clients literally live out there in the summer. We built an entirely new deck out of Ironwood, the material that was used to build the boardwalk in Atlantic City, so I knew it would last another 50 years. The beach can get windy, so I constructed a curved windwall with built in seating. There was a flagpole on the original deck which did not fit in the new design, so I decided to pay tribute to it by echoing the red, white and blue color scheme throughout the home and outdoor area.
One of the problems about the original design was that there was no hallway connecting the back bedrooms to the rest of the house. The only way to get to them was to walk through the master bedroom, or completely exit the house and re-enter through the exterior doors on the porch. This lead me to design a formal entryway which was the only square footage we added to the 1350 square foot beach cottage. The additional 110 square feet provides a beautiful entry area, as well as access to the back bedrooms without having to walk out the front door.
I wanted to keep the casual beach house feel, but since the original house was entirely redwood, it needed to be lightened up.
I kept the look beachy, but I wanted to funk it up a bit with a moroccan table and accessories from Dan Marty/maison au naturel. All of the rugs came from my Vintage Rug Collection and most of the fabrics are Ralph Lauren. I am an avid collector of vintage blue and white pottery so I brought in a lot of pieces from my own collection.
I scour antique stores, flea markets, and furniture shows for one of a kind vintage artwork and I have amassed a huge collection of sailboat paintings that fit perfectly in this beach cottage. The dining table has a reclaimed wood top and iron base, I love the look of it with the wicker dining chairs. The chandelier is a classic, from Bobo Intriguing Objects.
The kitchen was teeny tiny, and completely shut off from the rest of the house, so my main goal was to open it up to make it more accessible and give my clients all the convenience of a modern kitchen. I used limestone countertops which mimic the look of cement, (love, love!) and painted the cabinets white, added a dishwasher, new range, refrigerator and a stackable washer and dryer. Voila! They now have a useable, beautiful kitchen that they love.
My favorite room in the house is the bunk room. In the original room they had these rickety contraptions that passed as bunk beds and slept four. My clients have owned this house for so long, not only did they raise their children in it, but now they have grandchildren running around! This meant I had to squeeze two more beds into this tiny room. I changed the layout so that there would be an open area in the middle of the room and added a pull out trundle under each pair of bunks so that the room now sleeps six. What a fun room for tots and tweens!
I could go on and on (and I have) because this has been such a delightful project! My clients understood my vision and had complete confidence in me even throughout the hiccup with the permit process. I can honestly say that when this project is finally complete, I will miss this charming beach vacation home and working up in Carpinteria on this project.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July!