Ventana Magazine Features Ojai Custom Home Builder – Green Home

Contemporary Cool

The Ojai abode of green builder Otis Bradley.


The exposed structural steel and beams are painted in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Cherokee Red.


By Andrea Kitay—Photography by Gaszton Gal

Casa Verde, the two-acre Ojai spread that Otis Bradley and his family call home, is more than a play on words. Its name is a nod to the custom homebuilder’s passion for efficiency. The 3400-square-foot contemporary completed in 2008 is a result of Bradley’s determination to build an ecologically sound home, in keeping with his family’s laidback lifestyle.

Continue reading “Ventana Magazine Features Ojai Custom Home Builder – Green Home”

Building a New House in Ojai and Ventura County

Building in the City of Ojai is a fairly straightforward process.  The town itself is quite small, only 4.4 miles, beyond those boundaries you are in the unincorporated area of  Ventura County – a bit more challenging building process.  Call us to help you navigate the building process.

Geography

City of Ojai California

Ojai is located at 34°26′57″N 119°14′48″W

The city is generally at 745 feet (227 m) above sea level.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11 km2), of which only 0.35% is water, and the rest is land.

Ojai is situated in a small east-west valley, north of Ventura and east of Santa Barbara. It is approximately 15 miles (24 km) inland from the Pacific Ocean coast.

Since Ojai is lined up with an east-west mountain range, it is one of few towns in the world to have a “Pink Moment” occur as the sun is setting. The fading sunlight creates a brilliant shade of pink for several minutes on the Topatopa Bluffs, over 6,000 feet (1,800 m) above sea level at the east end of the Ojai Valley. Nordhoff Ridge, the western extension of the Topatopa Mountains, towers over the north side of the town and valley at more than 5,000 feet (1,500 m). Sulphur Mountain creates the southern ranges bounding the Ojai Valley, a little under 3,000 feet (910 m) in elevation. The Sulphur and Topatopa Mountains are part of the Transverse Ranges system.

The Ventura River flows through the Ventura River Valley, draining the mountains surrounding Ojai to the north and east and emptying into the Pacific Ocean at the city of Ventura. The Ventura River was once known for its steelhead fishing before Matilija Dam and Lake Casitas were constructed, eliminating habitat for this trout species.

The climate of Ojai is Mediterranean, characterized by hot, dry summers, sometimes exceeding 100 °F (38 °C), and mild winters, with lows at night sometimes below freezing. As is typical for much of coastal southern California, most precipitation falls in the form of rain between the months of October and April, with intervening dry summers.

Gerrard Colcord Remodel

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Featured in “Traditional Home” with Interior Design by Bonesteel Trout Hall, and Architectural Design by Otis Bradley, this home was originally designed by Gerard Colcord.  Colcord was a sought after Architect in Los Angeles known for his simple elegance in capturing homes with historical relevance.  This particular home was owned by Harrison Ford for 30 years before the new owners put their own style on the home.

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Beautiful walnut, hand made, slab dining table

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The master bath – previously dark and very masculine, was opened up with a new light pallet.

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A custom frosted glass “window” into the master shower to add light to a previously small dark shower

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A beautiful antique piece can make a lovely powder room sink base

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Elegant custom bar

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The kitchen was completely gutted, enlarged and built new while keeping the original beaded inset cabinetry

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Breakfast nook !

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Brentwood_remodel_masterbath

The master bath – previously dark and very masculine, was opened up with a new light pallet.

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35 Questions to Ask Before Buying Vacant Land ?

Are you interested in buying your own piece of earth?  There’s nothing more fabulous than having a few acres of your own, and building your own place from the ground up.   But, buying land, especially in highly regulated areas like California, can be a lot more risky than buying a home.  These days of real estate disclosure for a home buyer have come a long way from the traditional law of “Caveat Emptor” (meaning buyer beware)!  Land, however, does not have the same rules.  I constantly hear stories like:

Ojai Land for slae


“I thought we were buying 80 acres, it turned out we got 65!”

“We had no idea this area was in an ancient landslide.  Its almost impossible to build here.”

“We thought we got an amazing deal, $1m for 120 acres, but it turns out its going to cost another $1m to get to the pad before we can even think of starting the house.”

“We bought a small lot in town and it turns out we can’t get water service so we can’t build!”

Unfortunately there isn’t one place to get answers.  Many local departments are involved and sometimes have conflicting information.

Here are 35 questions you can ask
Or you can get professional help – call me 310 963 7900.

Planning and Zoning

  1. Is it a legal lot? If not, how do I make it legal?
  2. What is the zoning classification of this lot?
  3. Does the Zoning on the property permit my project?
  4. Does the County General Plan permit what I wish to do?
  5. Are any planning permits required prior to building on the lot?
  6. Are there any zoning violations on the lot?
  7. Are there any special building restrictions in this area?
  8. Are there any cultural heritage sites on the property?
Continue reading “35 Questions to Ask Before Buying Vacant Land ?”

Ojai Remodel – 1950’s Ranch Style Home

Proposed color scheme

Open up walls and ceiling

Before

Ojai kitchen remodel

 

Initial planning:

This is the existing plan – note the setback lines

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Addition Analysis – how and where we can add space

Here are the areas where we might build – possibly moving garage forward to allow additional space behind the garage and space on the south end. This might work out nicely allowing us to keep the existing kitchen where it is – Savings ! – create a better flow.

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Existing 3D models

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Ojai_remodel_SE_2016_0515

 

 

 

Ojai Remodel – Meiner’s Oaks House

September 20, 2018

View from Living area


Overview

Floor plan

New master bathroom
– New window
– fixed glass
– new sliding glass door
– floor drain
– tile all walls

Revised Kitchen
– partial open shelves and upper cabinets

Revised Kitchen # 2

Kitchen idea # 1

 

 

 

August 22, 2018

Proposed Floor Plan

Here’s a plan – using existing structure as much as possible – keeping cost down …

  • New master
  • New master bath
  • New master courtyard
  • Relocate front door to side – makes a better living area

 

 

Existing Floor Plan

Front View

Rear View

Overview of existing floor plan

 

 

 

 

Santa Monica Spanish Gut Remodel

Santa Monica Spanish Gut Remodel - Front view

Front door after re build

Demolition of the old

 

 

Rebuilt new entry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out with the old

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Santa Monica Gut Remodel - framing

A “Gut” remodel/restoration of a turn of the Century Spanish revival home located in Santa Monica.
The house was completely stripped to the “good” studs and rebuilt from the inside out.  As is the case in Los Angeles,
rebuilding a home and bringing it up to current building code standard, requires building from the inside out.  New foundations,
framing and mechanical systems create a new home.

  • Remodel/restoration of Spanish revival home

  • New pool house and custom pool with fountain

  • Complete “Chef’s style” kitchen

  • Unique open beamed ceiling

  • Moroccan tile

  • Plaster ceiling molding

 

Santa Monica Gut Remodel - pool house and pool

Santa Monica Gut Remodel - living room

Kitchen cabinets - rough install

Santa Monica Gut Remodel - happy tradespeople !

 

Testing paint colors

Santa Monica Gut Remodel - finish kitchenSanta Monica Gut Remodel - Moroccan tile and plaster ceiling in the hallwaySanta Monica Gut Remodel - tile risers on stairs

Santa Monica Gut Remodel - Pool houseSanta Monica Gut Remodel - steel column frame for pool house

Santa Monica Gut Remodel - exterior painting

Santa Monica Gut Remodel - gargage for living

 

Santa Monica Gut Remodel - custom driveway gate

Parts and pieces – the front gate and custom wrought iron.

Santa Monica Gut Remodel - craning in trees

Landscaping with large specimen trees being craned onto the site.

FramingSanta Monica Gut Remodel - outdoor fireplace

 

 

 

Spanish Style – Wallace Neff – Ojai ICF New Construction

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  • Custom home on Ojai’s east end

  • Traditional “Wallace Neff” Spanish style home

  • Green Building – Built with Rastra Block

 

With the roof, stucco and driveway complete, only the finish landscape is missing!

Stucco Brown Coat

Roof tile detail

Window detail – custom tile sill with deep set  aluminum clad window

Plaster walls

Porch roof – exposed framing

Groin vault in entry – note Techsheild radiant plywood
and planter cut outs in wall.

Roof framing over Rastra block

Rastra Block topped out and framing commences!

Window rough

Rastra block installation

South side – front entry on the left

Garage slab ready

Raising level of courtyard

With the floor system in – we move up another 4 blocks and prepare to cut out windows and doors. After these blocks are
grouted – only one more lift to the roof.

Walls above the floor framing

Rastra Technician with the “Rastra Lift o Matic 5000”

Front entry

Floor joists and plumbing goes in.

Attaching the floor ledger and getting ready for wood.

Looking from garage towards living room – Rastra walls

 

Looking from bedrooms – Rastra walls

Looking from living room towards garage – Rastra walls

Rastra block arrives – a concrete/post consumer waste styrofoam block

that will provide 12″ thick highly insulated, fireproof, rot proof walls!

Setting the footings

Filling it back up!
Re compaction of the new soil for a solid base.

Importing fill

Excavators, 10 wheelers, water trucks, loaders, bob tails !

Digging out all the rocks!

Dueling excavators

Big rocks !

This is the property before grading!

Casa Verde – Ojai Green Home

“Casa Verde”  Ojai, California

  • New Home Construction

  • Green Building

  • Passive and Active Solar Design

  • Radiant Heat in Finished Concrete Floors

  • Design and Build

This home, set above the City of Ojai,  fits into the environment, working with the climate rather than against it.  The broad and deep overhangs of the shed roof reflect the sun’s rays while providing shaded areas and a natural convection flow of air up and out the high windows.  The narrow building allows natural light in throughout the day with out the heat from the sun.  The roof also provides the perfect spot for the thermal hot water solar systems that provides domestic hot water as well as heat for the radiant floors.  The thermal mass of the concrete floors keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

The Great Room

The house is “inverted,” meaning the living areas are on the second floor instead of the first floor.  A two story house was a conscious idea for a couple of reasons … one being the fabulous views of the Ojai Valley – two: the prevailing southwest breezes help cool the house and the deck on the second floor.  The idea of a “great room” versus the more traditional living room – dining room – kitchen etc. is to create a space for today’s life style.  Not only is the space open, light and airy but the “spaces” within the spaces form there own “rooms.”  The game table nook – fireplace area – dining table – dinning counter – kitchen – stairwell all work together to create a really fabulous space.

The Stairwell

    

Outdoor Patio

The Master Bedroom

The Kid’s Room !

Green Building

Passive Solar Design

Passive cooling is achieved using  a large, sheltering, shed roof and high windows which draw hot air out of the home.  The steel roof panels reflect much of the hot Ojai sun.

Active Solar Design

Solar electric panels will provide energy for the house and solar hot water panels will help heat the radiant concrete floors.

Perfect Powder Sink !

This deck, sheltered by the same long shed roof the covers the home, enhances the breezes through the shady space.

The Bunk Room for our traveling companions !

          

Guest House

Almost finished – the driveway goes in!

Kids rooms – note the finished concrete floors
Climbing wall
Built in desks

         

The Submarine Room !
Here is the brain of the house with high efficiency water heater, solar water panel controls
radiant floor controls
and laundry.

Radiant tubes laid out on 2nd floor

View across the deck – Trex decking – a mixture of plastic waste product and wood plup.

Guest House

Guest House Kitchen

“Drying In”

After framing, a new home seems to sit for an eternity with no visible changes on the outside!
While the plumbing, electrical, HVAC and other mechanical systems are being install, the house is waiting for the next big push called “Drying In.”

Windows, roofing, siding and insulation kick into gear pulling the house out of the doldrums and visible changes start to appear.

This roof is a standing seam metal roof.  The light reflective color keeps the suns rays at bay.  Each section is also formed out of one continuous sheet of metal – 40 feet long in this case.  Metal roofing is also light weight – a benefit in earthquake country.

Most people ask – “Doesn’t it get hot inside?” or “Isn’t it noisy when it rains?”
The answer is no !

Nordhoff Peak in the background

Chief Peak 5400 feet

Metal forming

Too much rain !

Framing

Main house roof framing

Steel post and beams connected for porch roof

Interior beam work

John sets the wide flange steel

Detailing the wall framing on the slab

Guest House

Framed – solar panels to be places on this south facing shed roof

The building has a three car garage below and a 640 square foot (city limit) apartment on the second floor

As in the main house – the design has radiant floor heat and passive cooling with the shading shed roof and low and high windows to promote ventilation.

Out look beams for cantilever roof

Concrete
After removing and re-compacting the soil, placing the footings, setting the red steel and installing the radiant heat tubing – the slab is ready.   The integral color of the concrete and the hand tooled joints in the concrete will provide both the structural base for the building as well as the finish floor.

Finished slab

Cutting joints

Waiting for the right set

Fresh mud

Boom pump and finishers helping to place the concrete

El Suavecitos

Thinking man

Job hazard

Steel posts set for roof overhang.

Poured in place concrete retaining wall.

Concrete retaining wall allows the house to fit snugly into the site – while the 2 story design economizes on the cost of construction and minimizes the footprint of the building on the site.

John Deere excavator arrives

Frank’s Boys

Patty directs the crew !

Luke tests the depth – about 9 feet down

Pad ready for compaction

Here’s a 20 ton boulder !

Conceptual color schemes

Study model – shed roof

Soils tests with archaeologist