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Contemporary Living Feels Right at Home in a Classic Craftsman

Blend of styles and eras creates a peaceful, unhurried oasis — inside and out

Santa Barbara may be known for its signature Mediterranean architectural style, but if you look beyond the stucco and red-tile roofs, you’ll find exquisite examples of everything from beach bungalow to postmodern. Tucked away on a quiet street off Cliff Drive is one of these architectural gems — a unique Craftsman-style home that stands out like a breath of ocean-fresh Mesa air.

As with a piece of fine jewelry, the setting is as important as the gem. In this case, the setting is a charming, picturesque neighborhood just a beach-pebble’s throw from the shops and restaurants of Cliff Drive, but with the peaceful feel of Big Sur or Monterey, with tall, lush cypress trees and soft sea breezes. Home to long-time residents from business owners and artists to young families and retirees, the neighborhood is so cohesive that it hosts get-togethers such as monthly garden exchanges.

“We have a party and trade food from each other’s gardens,” said resident Larry Iwerks, a well-known landscape painter and member of the prestigious Oak Group. “Occasionally, I’ll throw an art show.”

Iwerks extols both the neighborhood’s residents and its location.

“Where else could you live where you can walk down to the beach or walk to Santa Barbara City College and go to a football game or a play or lecture?” he asked.

The friendly, relaxed vibe of the neighborhood epitomizes the casual ease of the Santa Barbara lifestyle. In short, it’s the perfect place to build a dream home. And that’s just what homeowners Mark and Leslie Anderson did. The Andersons had long admired the Greene & Greene houses of Pasadena, including Gamble House with its Arts and Crafts design. They were drawn to the structure and aesthetics of the Craftsman style that weds everyday comfort and fine art with purposeful attention to detail, complex woodwork and incorporation of the natural setting into the home design.

“It’s a style we both like, and we thought it would work well with the setting, the street and the lot,” Anderson said.

The Andersons shared their vision with architect William Wolf, who worked with them for the two-year period from conception to finished product. Completed in 2005, the home is a combination of 19th-century Craftsman styling and 21st-century creature comforts and technology.

“The house is traditional in form and contemporary in function,” said Wolf. “For example, for Mark’s home office, we integrated modern conveniences and technology like audio-visual equipment into the design to create a state-of-the-art office. Every square inch of space is used efficiently.”

The up-to-the-minute technology is seamlessly integrated elsewhere as well, and as Anderson noted, “you can’t see it ... it’s wireless throughout and speakers are embedded in the walls so at a party we can have great sound. There are six different stereo receivers, so each room has its own sound source. The house lives very nicely.”

A key player in the dream-to-reality process was general contractor Rodney Utt, who enthusiastically embraced the project, attending to each construction and design detail with a seasoned eye.

“I’m a big fan of Greene & Greene houses,” he noted, “and it was the Andersons’ dream that we wanted to make a concrete — or in this case, wooden — reality.”

In fact, Utt incorporated numerous types of wood into the house, with Brazilian cherry floors, pine beams in the vaulted ceilings, alder cabinetry, several varieties of mahogany and a big chunk of reclaimed redwood for the fireplace mantle. The overall effect is a warm, inviting and livable space.

The outside space is equally inviting, and in true Craftsman style, has the feel of an outdoor room. Step out onto the back patio beneath the leafy canopy of a gnarled-wood pepper tree, gaze at a towering Monterey cypress as a hawk soars overhead, and you’ll feel as if your own dream has come true.

525 Arroyo Ave., Santa Barbara
Built in 2005
3 bedrooms / 3 baths
1,928 square feet on .25-acre lot
Listed for $1,376,000 by Sotheby’s International Realty

Custom Design
Architect: William Wolf, Pacific Architects
Prime Contractor: Rodney Utt, Utt Construction
Landscaping: Arcadia Studio Landscape Architecture, featuring three-zone, high-capacity garden lighting, automated sprinkler system and new drainage
Bathroom Design: Waterworks
Custom Woodwork: Alder kitchen cabinetry (“Crystal Cabinets” from Hayward Design Center), mahogany doors, redwood mantle, solid Brazilian cherry floors and built-in desk

Niles Audio six-zone custom entertainment system in all three bedrooms, kitchen, patio and garage
Advanced communications technology and two CAT-5 LANs in every room
Sub-Zero refrigerator, two cooling drawers and wine refrigerator; Wolf range; two Fisher & Paykel dishwashers; reverse osmosis water system; water softener; tankless water heaters in each “zone” of the house

Caroline Harrah, Realtor®, Sotheby’s International Realty
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

— Santa Barbara-based freelance writer Nancy Ransohoff has worked for magazines from Bon Appetit and Architectural Digest to Westways and Montecito Magazine. She is also a co-author and editor of the guidebook Hometown Santa Barbara. For more information, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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