Panoramic Views and Rustic Details Make This California Home a Dream Come True
On a ridge overlooking a bucolic valley, a builder cultivates a home—and family bonds—to last a lifetime.
Even when he was barely nose-high to a Holstein, Andrew Patterson dreamed of owning a farm. As a boy, his Grandpa Fred's love of animals and yearning for the country life took root in Andrew's soul. "Someday I'm going to make enough money, and I'm going to buy a farm," he promised.
Andrew grew up to be a man of his word. A longtime custom home builder in Newport Beach, California, Andrew, like his grandpa, still loves the idea of getting away, escaping to nature.
"One weekend, my family and I camped in Santa Barbara County," Andrew says. "It was so beautiful that, on a whim, I looked to see what property was available here. I saw this 20-acre parcel overlooking a valley and made a lowball offer. When it was accepted, I started freaking out. I was really going to buy that farm."
Before Andrew could build his dream home, though, a few details needed attending to: building a road, getting water and power on the site, and constructing a septic system without disturbing ancient tree roots. "I had to drill a 150-foot-deep hole and send the septic into a tank the size of a VW bus. It comes out as safe treated water," Andrew says. "Everything was a struggle. The amount of stuff I didn't know when I went into this was staggering. But at the same time, it was worth it."
Andrew, wife Shannon, and daughters Reese, Paige, and Brynn spent every other weekend on the site, camping in an Airstream trailer, with a bonfire every night. "It was some of the best family moments of my life," Andrew says.
The house rose on a site Andrew and Brandon picked to preserve the property's venerable oak trees, particularly one special tree that branches out majestically from the highest ridge.
"We wanted the house on the ridge near the oak tree. To abide by Santa Barbara County rules, we had to cut down the building site 10 feet so the house wouldn't be higher than the mountaintop," Andrew says. "I was willing to do it, though, to save that tree. That oak makes me think of my grandfather and how his spirit lives on. I see it in that beautiful old tree."
The architecture of the Pattersons' new home also nods to Grandpa Fred's dreams. "Andrew wanted something that looks like it's been here a long time," Brandon says. The architect shaped a home and barnlike garage, topped by a bunkhouse, that speak the vernacular of the earthy setting while including updated elements.
A mix of clear and knotty cedar, rustic stone, and stucco forms the exterior and threads into the interiors, where clean-lined architecture keeps the focus on the beauty outside ample doors and windows.
Pocket doors on three sides of the vaulted great room vanish into the walls, opening the living space to panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. "I love designs that emphasize indoor-outdoor living," Brandon says. "And it doesn't get any better than this."
A cedar-plank ceiling and stone fireplace nod to natural elements outside panoramic pocket doors. Open walls, designer Rachel Azzolina says, called for low-slung furnishings—a pair of L-shape sectionals—and strong symmetry.
Brandon situated bedrooms down a hall from the gathering space to give each family member a quiet private retreat. A glass walkway—one of the home's contemporary elements—links the main house to the guest quarters over the garage.
Each space echoes the home's relaxed, carefree attitude. "Furnishings are made to be lived in," Andrew says. "Everything is durable and comfortable. We have couches that swallow you up."
The interior design by Wendy Blackband and Rachel Azzolina of Blackband Home & Design amicably slips into the architecture and views. "Nothing hits you over the head," Blackband says. "The interiors are at peace with everything going on around you."
Rather than call on bold color or pattern, the design team drew on texture—wood, ceramic, mixed metals, stone, linen, leather, and rattan—to subtly yet compellingly layer each space with interest.
Brandon used riftsawn oak for kitchen cabinetry to contrast cedar-plank ceilings. Quartzite countertops complement the home's rough-hewn stone. A splash of pattern comes from a Moroccan tilebacksplash in the butler's pantry. "Against all the clean lines, it's special," Blackband says. Caramel hues on kid-friendly leather barstools juxtapose mixed metal finishes and shimmery tile.
In the dining room, a sleek pendant starts an engaging design conversation with an antique buffet, clean-lined pedestal table, and woven chairs. "It's clean and contemporary with a little bit of rustic charm," Azzolina says.
"Nothing is one-dimensional," Blackband says. "It's the play of materials that makes this house feel special. It's rustic—a comfortable, organic farmhouse—but it's also sophisticated."
Custom pendants, some in sleek black metal and others in chunky weaves, work with art and antiques to finish rooms with character that speaks to the Patterson family's soul.
In the master bedroom, a dark woven pendant contrasts the airy canopy bed while muted green linens echo the hues of the leaves outside.
The zenlike bath fuses an array of textures: a plaster finishon the vanity wall, a concrete tub, a marble counter, woven pendants, and limestone floors.
Roles are reversed in this gathering spot near the bedrooms. Black takes the place of white on walls, and light beamsaccent a painted ceiling. "The heaviness of this space balances the rest of the light, airy house," Blackband says. A green sofa injects a color popwhile a smooshy beanbag and buckles on leather chairs are just plainfun. "It's playful," Azzolina says, "a great family hangout."
Old oak trees cast shade on the new pool, which includes a built-in spa. It's one of the many amenities of the property that draw the Patterson girls outside to play.
"When the house was done, it was the most magical thing," Andrew says. "It's incredible to spend time here as a family. We open the doors, and the kids play hide and seek in the valley. We go for a family walk every evening and just stroll by the cows out there grazing. This really is a little piece of heaven."