Project supervisor Ben Cervantes pushed especially difficult for the rapid completion of this Santa Barbara, California, remodel. “My customers lost their cherished home of 30 years at the 2008 wildfires, therefore our staff and, of course, architect Richard Warner wanted to come through for them by finishing this home remodel by Christmas Day,” says Cervantes. And come through they did — the customers not only came home to a finished house, but more important, to a home with a seamless indoor-outdoor link and an expansive grand room filled with natural light.
in a Glance
Who lives here: A sociology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a graphic designer and illustrator
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Size: 2,400 square feet
Cervantes and his staff removed the home’s existing wood siding and replaced it with noncombustible plaster. The stucco exterior departs from the home’s origins as a midcentury ranch home, a sacrifice the customers were eager to make for the interest of safety.
The team also eliminated other poor connections — places at the home where embers can burn off, such as wood veneer along with other combustible exterior substances.
Roofing: fiber cement, Monier
A large pivoting door greets guests in the entrance and connects the interior with the outside.
Flooring: solid white walnut, Old Tyme Floor
BEFORE: The home had limited windows which didn’t maximize its verdant views. Partway through the remodel, the customers’ daughter seen the home and proposed creating an expansive living room by opening the living area, dining area and kitchen.
“It changed the scope of the remodel — and the budget — but our customers are more than happy with the results,” says Cervantes.
AFTER: NanaWall doors open the interior to the outside. Cervantes and crew ran the electrical wiring which has been previously stored in the interior wall at a fresh beam running the length of this room.
Armchairs, couch, coffee table: Restoration Hardware
One of the most significant challenges of this project was finding a way to encourage the roof following the team removed a load-bearing wall between the kitchen and living area.
In the end, the team kept two of the steel columns, but they weren’t very pleasant to check out. “One of our carpenters suggested cladding the columns with 3/4-inch white walnut to match the floors and kitchen cabinetry,” Cervantes says. “For decorative flair, in addition, he proposed adding an oak plinth block in the column bottom.” The exposed beams and pillar accentuate the room’s expansiveness.
Dining table, chairs: Restoration Hardware
“We refaced both present fireplaces with dark grey plaster, then turning them to focal points on opposite sides of the room,” says Cervantes.
Armchair, couch: Pottery Barn
BEFORE: The old wall divided the kitchen from the dining area and living area.
AFTER: The team utilized the customers’ present appliances but applied a few cosmetic changes: The refrigerator had been refaced with 1/4-inch walnut plywood to match the brand new cabinets, the stove hood has been painted and framed, and Ceasarstone countertops and custom cabinetry were installed to get a warm timber and white kitchen.
New low-e (low emissivity) glass skylights drench the kitchen with lots of light. The low-e skylights are more energy efficient than the previous Plexiglas skylights; they block heat gain, reduce heat loss through the skylight and let in a cozy flow of light.
Bar stools: Crate & Barrel
When the customers left the home to visit their daughter on Christmas Eve, scaffolding and construction supplies were strewn throughout. The couple had already give up the notion of spending Christmas Day at a finished home — but little did they know that a Christmas miracle was awaiting them upon their return. They arrived back to a spotless home: The scaffolding was gone and the painting was finished.