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”

Delta Shelter – Cool Home

I love this house! 

I can’t remember where I saw this image first, but it strikes me ! 

The simple elevated cube with the warm golden hue  set in contrast with the blue light of winter in the Northwest.

The Delta Shelter would have made Le Corbusier proud.  The early modernist’s 5 points of architecture:

  1. Elevate by support of pilotis (steel in this case)
  2. Free the facade – meaning the structural support allows a free form interior
  3. Open floor plan
  4. Unencumbered views – structure allows continuous bands of windows
  5. Roof garden – maybe they didn’t cut it here !

Even though it doesn’t look like they accomplished Point 5 – Le Corbusier certainly would have found great interest in his idea of the home as “a machine for living.”  One can see the old master trying his hand at the giant wheel that closes all of the four giant shutters of the house. Continue reading “Delta Shelter – Cool Home”

Ventana Magazine Features Ojai Custom Home Builder – Green Home

Contemporary Cool

The Ojai abode of green builder Otis Bradley.


By Andrea Kitay—Photography by Gaszton Gal


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

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”