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Quiet by Nature

A spare but sophisticated Montecito home makes a statement...

<< Back to Robb Report, Robb Report Home & Style November/December 2014

A spare but sophisticated Montecito home makes a statement.

Inner Peace

This 7,000-square-foot home, designed by the Santa Barbara–based architect Jan Robert Hochhauser of Hochhauser Blatter Architecture and Planning, stands amid the hills of Montecito, Calif., its west-facing vantage point on the property’s garden side affording unobstructed views of the Pacific. Contrasting the bold tones of the residence’s exterior is a quiet palette of whites, grays, aquas, and neutrals that lies within. “This house is about simplicity and elegance with a natural feel,” says interior designer Barbara Ross. The president of New York City’s BHR Design Group, Ross collaborated with BHR vice president Lauder Bowden on the project.

In the grand entryway, Ross placed a customized lighting piece that cascades from the soaring ceiling. “I wanted a piece that would hover over the space and give light, but would feel delicate in a way to counterbalance the stone door,” says Ross. She selected a large artwork on paper by the Los Angeles–based artist Ann Diener; it hangs above a 14-foot-long custom console of Ross’s design. Brueton’s Undulatus bench, designed by Stanley Jay Friedman, sits near the staircase and immediately calls attention to the home’s wave motif. A glassed-in area off the master bedroom contains a Ross-designed table that holds a bust from the homeowners’ art collection.

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Ripple Effect

Counterbalancing the home’s bevy of right angles is the living room’s drop ceiling, which Hochhauser describes as part of an “undulating theme that is woven through the entire home.” Made out of maple, the waves help to anchor the large space. Ross repeats that shape with a custom creation from Maya Carpet that is the exact size of the drop ceiling. “I designed the rug so that it has a cut pile and a loop pile that moves in a wave-like pattern,” she says. “You don’t see it until you’re sitting there; it’s a touch that is both subtle and complex, like much of the house.” A steel-and-glass coffee table by Ross is the centerpiece of a seating arrangement that includes custom sofas, and a steel lounge chair by Brueton. The room’s glass doors open out to the pool and ocean views and are framed by long sheer curtains, made from fabric by Andrew Morgan, that Ross designed to “billow softly with the breeze.”

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Open-and-Shut Space

The intent was for the open-plan kitchen, dining, and living areas to function as the heart of the home. For Ross, however, this wall-free architecture presented a design challenge. “I typically don’t like it when living rooms look on to the kitchen,” she says. The solution? She created a visually appealing kitchen that complements the colors and textures in the living area while hiding most of the appliances and work areas. The “floating” structure of aqua-colored lacquered glass contains the refrigerator and storage. A circular dining table by Dennis Miller Associates boasts a top of custom-stained zebrawood that pairs well with the light maple kitchen cabinetry, while a striking chandelier by the Dutch design firm Brand Van Egmond juxtaposes classical lines with a more industrial-feeling steel structure. The stools are from Janus et Cie. In the living area, an aqua-colored chair and ottoman by Dakota Jackson rest before the fireplace, which is steps from a glass-walled corridor that leads to the master suite.

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Around the Bend

Ross carried the palette of natural and cool tones into the master bedroom, where anigre cabinetry plays against a range of whites, grays, and pale aquas. A custom-designed bed faces a pair of Deco chairs that the homeowners fell in love with. They adored the seating so much, in fact, that Ross mimicked the chairs’ elegant curves elsewhere in the room, including a custom-designed, curvy-legged console in the glassed-in corridor. “The console is beautiful but also functional,” says Ross. “The [homeowners] use it as a place to hold art pieces that continually change.” Another curvaceous element, a chaise from Nancy Corzine, reinforces the bedroom’s soft lines. In the master bathroom, an upholstered bench by the 20th-century architect Mies van der Rohe separates the sprawling his and hers sides. The sides terminate at the far end of the space, where a custom marble bathtub from Stone Forest makes for an artful focal point. “It looks like a beautiful piece of sculpture floating in front of the window,” says Ross.

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Comfort Zones

The library is a favorite spot of the homeowners, who often dine in the room when they are not entertaining guests, says Ross. Hochhauser used a mix of anigre and maple for the woodwork, while Ross installed a Brueton sofa that grounds the space with its quiet gray-and-white plaid pattern. “This is actually the only pattern in the entire house,” says Ross. “I wanted this room to feel especially warm, more cozy, and this creates that feeling.” Matching Brueton armchairs upholstered in gray wool, together with a custom-designed coffee table and a carpet by Stark, create an intimate sitting area, while a television is nestled above the fireplace. Chaise seating from Armani/Casa completes the ensemble of comfortably elegant furnishings. This aesthetic continues between the library and the kitchen, in the small but convenient marble-topped bar. “I don’t like to see bars from the living room, but it’s certainly great for entertaining,” says Ross. “This is both out of immediate view and entirely accessible from all of the main living areas.”

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Down to Earth

“The idea here was to break the home down into various pavilions so that it could completely interplay with its mountain site and spectacular ocean views,” says Hochhauser, who created a sunken motor court  to keep the garages below the home’s primary sight lines. A mix of UV-resistant wood and zinc materials makes for the house’s bold-toned exterior, which complements the landscape design by Carol Puck Erickson of Santa Barbara’s Arcadia Studio. Hochhauser created the steel trellis off the family living area to provide protection from the sun without interrupting the ocean views. “You want a home to have an indoor/outdoor flow, but it’s important to be outside without direct sunlight,” says Hochhauser of the lattice-cut cover. “This gives you a canopy to the outdoors with protection from the sun.”

Hochhauser Blatter Architecture and Planning, 805.962.2746, www.hbarchitects.com;

BHR Design Group, 212.471.8982,www.bhrdesigngroup.com;

Arcadia Studio, 805.962.9055, www.arcadiastudio.com

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