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.


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.

New Construction in Southern California – Weather and Project Management

By: Otis Bradley


Sunny California is usually such an easy place to build – weather wise – we take it for granted.

I heard a story (not my job) of a guy doing a roof tear off in July in a little town in Southern California. Not thinking twice about rain, he removed the entire roof without providing any protection. Guess what? A freak summer storm rolled in and drenched the building and all of the stores that were doing business below. Can you spell L A W S U I T ?

The year this project occurred was during the El Niño storm season. From all of the water entering the home, clay muck sticks to your shoes 4″ thick! Because this happened the builder now had to deal with the following Hazards:

  • slippery
  • dangerous
  • the job site port a potty was the job site…
  • mold
  • guys don’t show up
  • mud


Although, building in Southern California seems like the perfect place to be, things can still happen and sometimes lead to disasters at your job site.




Feel Free to copy, share, or re post this article. Kindly make sure to include this information: Written by Otis Bradley, a Custom Home Builder, in Southern California. Please see for more information on Custom Home Building!

Wood Framing – New Home Construction – Pacific Palisades

By: Otis Bradley


Mmm the sweet smell of wood!  According to the NAHB (National Assoc. of Homebuilders), 90% of houses are wood framed.


When I was a kid I used to marvel at the guys walking the plate (walking on the top of a 2×4 wall – which is 3 1/2″ wide) with their 22 oz, framing hammers, nail bags and great tans. Framing was an art – there were no air guns. You had to be able to drive a 16d spike in a single blow (a big framing nail) or toe nail an 8d (using a shorter nail on an angle to pinch the 2×4 tightly to the plate) at the perfect angle.


Wood !


Many of today’s “carpenters” have never swung a hammer, don’t know how to “toenail.”  Wood has changed.  We use “engineered” wood – wood chips glued together to form beams of sheets of “plywood.”  But wood remains the material used to build most houses.




Feel Free to copy, share, or re post this article. Kindly make sure to include this information: Written by Otis Bradley, a Custom Home Builder, in Southern California. Please see for more information on Custom Home Building!

I hate my Builder !

“The Fed Up Zone” as my friend the Landscape Architect calls it …

Seems there comes a time in every job when the Client is fed up !
Fed up with making decision
…. and more decisions
…. endless decisions

“I thought that’s why I hired an architect and an interior designer”

Fed up with spending money
…. and more money  (they all cost more for one reason or another)

Fed up with the permits, and the mess and the finish colors and the tile details

Fed up with the builder
… cause he hasn’t finished
… cause he asks too many questions
… cause those bills are so big !

And the Builder ….
is sick and tired of bending over backwards to try to solve all the problems…
… the constant changes from the client, the architect and the designer
… trying to make sense of a plan
….. tired of asking for the  specifications

Sometimes all you can do is grin and bare it!  Work through to the other side!

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!