Home Tour: Mediterranean-Style House in California

Solid simplicity delivered in Tuscan style gives a new California home well-aged elegance.

Tuscan-Style Home Renovation

With an earthy palette, abundant light, and panoramic views, a new Tuscan-style house balances timeless architecture and fresh interior design with wonderful results.

Architect Bill Harrison used local Santa Barbara sandstone in the facade and landscaping of this home. Mixing regional materials with traditional Italian design elements, such as arches, iron railings, and terra-cotta tiles, was part of his design philosophy. "Tuscany calls to mind a deep connection to nature and living with the land," Harrison says.

The three-story house's stone was quarried on site, "much the way the Tuscans would have done it hundreds of years ago," he says.

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

A Foyer That Says "Welcome"

From the elegant cushioning of this 1870 Regency settee, guests immediately take in the rustic charm of this foyer's carefully selected materials:

Salvaged stone and limestone "baseboards" and floors give the room dimension and textural character from the ground up.
Stucco and plaster walls show off an antique patina.
• A unique table with a tree branch base keeps the overall look modern and fresh.

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

Family Room Warmth

Reclaimed antique chestnut oak beams hug the barrel-vaulted ceiling of the family room and add authentic age. Warm, sunny colors and a central fireplace with cozy sitting nooks on either side contribute to a room that embraces family time. "We looked into older houses and used typical Italian forms and shapes," architect Harrison says.

Also, this room has a secret: A collection of framed botanical prints hangs on a hinged panel over the fireplace. Behind them lies a plasma TV.

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

Living Room Luxury

Geometrics, rugged and refined: The artwork echoes the detail of the deeply coffered ceiling. The stone floor offers a more rustic interpretation. Metal tables continue the mix of old and new and offer a shiny contrast to the room's earthy palette. The home's interior designers chose clay and stone as the basis for the upper level's neutral tones.

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

Tuscan-Style Bath

Not all elements used in Tuscan style are local. "When the Tuscans had a good crop, they could afford to import items from England or France," architect Harrison says. Here, the interior designer has imported French and English furnishing to give the room a more Continental look.

What's British: The home's fireplaces were carved in stone imported from Bath, England. Like Tuscany, that region has style with Roman roots.

What's French: The ornate mirror above the fireplace brings gilded glitz straight from France.

What's Tuscan: The centuries-old Medina stone floor evokes classic Italian style.

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

Classic Tuscan Elements

This living room hits all the high points of Tuscan style:

Earthy, aged surfaces: Stucco, stone, and plaster surfaces are typical for the sun-drenched Italian climate and work equally well for California's sun-soaked weather.

Rich architectural details: The intricate coffered ceiling tops the room with luxury.

Classic shapes: Arches on the windows and doorway are a traditional Tuscan element. But modern technology allowed the architect to make the windows larger than what's usually found in Tuscan architecture, adding more natural light to the home.

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

Sunlit Dining

Dine with a view in this casual eating area. The interior designer used fiery tones of yellow, red, and orange to reflect the vibrant California sunsets.

Though the window's arch is classic Tuscan, its massive size is anything but. "We took classical principles and applied them to today's technology, allowing us to create more open spaces and bigger windows that allow in more light," architect Harrison says.

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

Arts and Crafts Era Dining

Three-quarter paneling and soft trees stenciled on the walls play off the Arts and Crafts tradition frequently seen in California bungalows. "It's important to pull in some local flavor, rather than keeping everything strictly Tuscan," architect Harrison says.

The color spectrum of pinks, reds, and yellows evokes a California sunset. Accessories are a metallic contrast to the room's earthier materials.

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

Kitchen Details

Large-scale decorative nailheads, one of the interior designer's favorite decorative touches, dot the custom range hood in the kitchen and the counter-height bar.

Subway wall tiles in a mix of neutral tones provide visual interest.

Extra details on the cabinetry, such as paneled drawers and carved posts, set this kitchen apart.

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

Tuscan Materials

Tile and stone give this bathroom Italian flair. Iridescent tile captures the brilliant reds, pinks, and oranges of the sunset, making this small powder room shimmer. Laid in a vertical pattern, the tiles add visual height to the room. The sink's stone base blends with the home's other Tuscan materials.

Accessories, including a mirror with a decorative frieze, bronze sconces, and a modern faucet in a warm copper tone, balance the look.

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

Natural Light

The master bedroom is light, airy, and remarkably flexible. Multipurpose furniture, such as the upholstered ottoman/coffee table, moves easily around the room, while three-layer window treatments offer maximum light control. The color palette is a shimmering gray, blue, and green.

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

Perfect Symmetry

Sunlight filters through an arched gallery, lending a honey glow. The gallery serves as the primary circulation space, connecting all of the public rooms on the main floor.

Simple stone floors and lightly textured, neutral walls put the emphasis on the symmetry of the repeated arches.

Pendant chandeliers in bronze and glass light the gallery.

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

Boudoir Glamour

In the master suite, a tufted mini wall covered in ivory satin extends the upholstered luxury of the king-size bed all the way to the ceiling. The creamy color scheme gives the room maximum Hollywood glamour.

Several large windows illuminate the room. "I don't think you can have too much natural light in a house," architect Harrison says.

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

Subtle Contrasts

A sophisticated palette of white and beige gives this bathroom serenity and visual depth. Beams are painted a creamier shade of white than the ceiling to subtly distinguished one from the other. Small tiles zigzag across the floor and rectangular tiles are stacked vertically on the walls. For ultimate glamour, a glass chandelier hangs above the stand-alone tub.

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

Toast to Style

Wine is the perfect pour in this cellar and tasting room. This wine-lovers' retreat takes design cues from modern architecture, with a glass wall set into a clean-lined ironwork frame. Recycled terra-cotta tiles on the walls and floors provide subtle color and interest.

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

Natural Light, Natural Materials

An outdoor pavilion affords diners a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains and oak forests. Square columns and exposed beams showcase wood's natural beauty. Topping the chairs in plain slipcovers allows the burnished wood of the table to play off against the unpainted beams.

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

Mediterranean Style, Poolside

The exterior design features many of the same elements as the interior: stone, tiles, and wrought iron. Timbers used as ceiling beams inside the house become structural beams outside. Arches, which top halls and windows in the home, are a main design element outside. The iron railings recall typical Italian forms and shapes. "We also tried to use indigenous materials," says the landscape architect. "That meant incorporating a lot of Santa Barbara sandstone into the landscape."

From Tuscan Style Magazine.

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