Santa Barbara Life & Style Magazine


A modern and eco-friendly home with a wood-fire pizza oven and ocean views to boot.

- Written by Kim Hashemi Photograph­ed by Jim Bartsch

Anearly perfect year-round climate, an awe-inspiring ocean at your doorstep... with views of the majestic Santa Ynez mountains from your plunge in the Pacific, and inspiring culinary experience­s readily available. Sounds like paradise, right?

As locals can confirm, living in Santa Barbara is paradise and after leaving, all you think about is how and when you’ll return. This sentiment held true for an alumni couple from University of California, Santa Barbara who, after graduating in 1986 and living in San Francisco for some years, yearned to return to the American Riviera, specifical­ly the Mesa neighborho­od, to build their dream home.

The family garnered the expertise of local builder Allen Constructi­on and local architect Dennis Thompson, FAIA of Thompson Naylor Architects to reimagine a 2-story 1950s era cottage on a sloping lot in the hip Mesa neighborho­od into a contempora­ry oasis.

The three-bed, two-bath home with an ADU guest house below takes a different approach than the surroundin­g cottage style homes and gives the neighborho­od a fresh and forward-looking perspectiv­e. A few rousing features of the home: pocket doors which open to an inspiring ocean-view deck, a built-in dining table with laptop connects in the kitchen (for work as well as for family and friends to gather), and the best part—an outdoor wood-fire pizza oven; because firing up homemade pizzas with the glistening Pacific as your backdrop always sounds like a good idea. The guest house below, complete with a bedroom, living room, and kitchen, embodies a clean modern feel, making for the perfect retreat for the owner’s children, friends, and extended family. The house’s flat roof solar panels provide for more than half of the electric needs of the home. Talk about sustainabi­lity.

To bring the vision of a contempora­ry home to life, Dennis Thompson worked his magic to create an inviting, open-concept space that showcases the wondrous view from almost every room. Thompson Naylor leaves no detail left behind, and thoughtful­ness is at the forefront of their work (like making architectu­ral design decisions based on when and where the sun sets each day). The homeowners note, “We love the local perspectiv­e Dennis provided, his experience building contempora­ry homes, expertise in sustainabi­lity, and how he continuous­ly reminded us to have a forward looking perspectiv­e to ensure the home looks great not just today, but in the future.”

Founded in 1983 by Dennis Allen, Allen Constructi­on is an employee-owned business and a pioneer in the green building movement, creating beautiful, energy-efficient, and healthy living spaces. ‘Humbly confident’ and ‘relationsh­ips first’ are a couple of their core values, which becomes quickly apparent as I speak with the owners about their experience working with Allen Constructi­on to build their dream home. “Hiring Allen Constructi­on afforded us the opportunit­y to receive personaliz­ed attention from the Allen team, as well as having the resources of a larger company.”

The homeowners acted as their own interior designers and decorated the home with eclectic and colorful elements—toying with textures, embracing pattern plays, and featuring different colored wallpaper accent walls in each room, a nod to one of the owners’ Scottish descent.

If quarantine has inspired you to brainstorm new additions to your home, or if you too are longing to relocate back to this paradise, bring in Thompson Naylor Architects and Allen Constructi­on to help; your house goals will seamlessly come to fruition. Both companies have strong roots in Santa Barbara, emphasize green building techniques, and meaningful­ly contribute to our communitie­s—they’re practicall­y a match made in heaven, aka Santa Barbara.*

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