Cool House – Barton Myers in Montecito California

I love this house !  A real “factory” for living! I experienced this house on an architectural tour last week.  Barton himself was there and happy to talk about his design.

  • Concrete slab floors
  • Large sheltering roof
  • 3 huge glass doors that open creating an indoor outdoor home
  • Perfect for our amazing southern California climate


For more info on Barton Myers CLICK HERE

From Barton’s own web site – the description of his own home – a similar steel house

House & Studio at Toro Canyon
Montecito, California

An ‘elegant warehouse’ in the tradition of Eames and Barton Myers’ early houses, Toro Canyon deploys a series of innovative strategies to protect against wild fire while remaining open to its site, with spectacular canyon and ocean views. 

Barton Myers’ own residence, the house is comprised of four pavilions on three stepped terraces, carefully positioned to preserve the natural site landscape.

A garage and guest house form the lower terrace, the main residence occupies the intermediate terrace, while the upper terrace holds a studio building. Each pavilion is an open, loft space, enclosed by glazed ‘garage’ doors, with an exposed structural frame and concrete floors. Clerestory windows provide mountain views and ample natural ventilation, taking advantage of ocean breezes.

To protect against fire, the pavilion roofs comprise a recirculating pool system, transforming the structures into a series of terraced reflecting ponds. Cascading from one pool to another, the water serves as for fire resistance and insulation, while the sight and sound of the water mimics the adjacent canyon creek. Coiled steel shutters protect every opening, providing additional insulation and sun control.

Never Again – An Owner/Builder Story about Building a Custom Home in Ojai

My friends, Richard and Betina tell their story about building their new home in Ojai as only a novelist could !  A great read !

I am in it !

This is a great book to read if you are thinking about building a home.

By Richard La Plante

“Never Again,” Richard La Plante promised after he and his new wife completed building their family home in East Hampton, New York.

But he did not keep his promise. Instead he bought twenty acres of raw land on a mountaintop located three and half thousand miles away, in a small town that he had only visited by internet… And the nightmare began. A house in New York to sell, a massive loan to pay off for the newly purchased land, dishonest builders, some of the most stringent building codes in America, and the economic collapse of 2008. With no general contractor, because they had decided to save money by doing it themselves, La Plante and his wife face an empty bank account, a black widow spider infestation and a large wooden frame with no windows. With two young sons to raise, a stony silence between them and a marriage counselor who says in sagely fashion, “There’s only one answer. Finish the house,” the La Plantes stumble from hilarious disaster to not-so-hilarious disaster to ultimate success.

Never Again is a seven-year chronicle of trial and triumph, both a warning and inspiration to anyone trying to build a dream.

Buy it on Amazon or  iTunes

A recent shot of the palace!

Cape Cod Boat House – New Custom Home

Nothing like Cap Cod for lobstah rolls, fried clams and a style of home that’s loved across the country – The Cape!

This fabulous home sits on the edge of Uncle Roberts Pond – a tidal pond flowing into Hyannis Bay. The home replaces a long time family home originally built in the early 1900’s by the current owners great grandfather. The old home, built for summers had no heat – lots of drafty windows crooked floors and Cape Cod moldiness.

The new home takes its place – true to the original style and similar looking except that its brand new – state of the art construction with solar panels, radiant heat, high tech windows …… and a new boat house.

This photos shows some of the detail of the airy boat house structure that houses four bedrooms.  Notice the exposed “rough framing” members and the cedar walls.

The owners, avid “boatsmen” and college crew fanatics, loved the idea of the classic boat houses that line the shores of rivers where Ivy League College crews  practice.  But, rather than use the “boat house” for boats, the bedrooms are used by the three sons.  The building is designed to encourage air flow to cool the often hot humid summer nights.  Taking a cue from middle Eastern design, the tower actually draws hot air up and out.

Continue reading “Cape Cod Boat House – New Custom Home”

Colonial Revival Architecture in Litchfield Connecticut

My home from 1970 – to 1976 !  I never appreciated Litchfield while I lived there, having moved from Greenwich Connecticut, I though it was the dullest place in America!  Litchfield is actually an beautiful Colonial town founded in 1719.  A prominent town in the 18th C.,  Litchfield was the 4th largest settlement in the state and home of possibly the first law school in the United States.

The town’s fortunes fell as it wasn’t well suited for industry but in the late 19th C.  it became fashionable once again as a vacation area.   The Colonial Revival style of architecture was fashionable.  The town is chock full of beautifully built homes with white paint and white shutters.  Perfect for the Martha Stewart and the Shabby Chic crowd, Litchfield once again became popular in the 90″s as New Yorkers discovered the town.

Colonial Revival Architecture

My mother always called our house a “Victorian” but its really a nice example of “Colonial Revival” or “Dutch Colonial Revival” architecture.  This style is a so called “American” style although its based in European and Georgian styles.

Identifying Characteristics

The “Gambrel” roof – designed to create more space for the upper floor

White paint with black shutters

Pairs of windows

Symmetrical plan yet porches like this were common

Although the style took cues from Colonial America – by the end of the 19th C – machined dimensional lumber and the ability to purchase siding, shutters and other items that formerly had to be hand carved – allowed the Revival style to be more elaborate and fanciful.

Large front doors often with elaborate sidelights

The interiors are also much grander  than Colonial homes with 9 or 10 foot ceilings, intricate mouldings and fireplaces

This old house always needed a paint job – much to the chagrin of my Step Father who spent hours fixing it up.  Also an energy hog – those windows were super leaky – no insulation – a grand candidate for a full renovation!