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.

Ojai – New Construction – Radiant Heat and Cooling


By: Otis Bradley

Project: Ojai, California – Radiant Cooling

Architecture: Patrick W. Nolan
Builder: Otis Bradley Company, Inc.
Interior Design: Rhett Judice

In the words of the late great singer – James Brown – I feel good !  Like I know that I should! Ughhh ! Yeahhhh !

Everybody loves radiant heat ! It feels good.  Done right – you don’t even know you have a heating system – it just feeeeeels good!

Our new custom home in Ojai  – is traditionally designed in a French Provincial style, yet includes high tech equipment.  Not only does it have radiant heating tubes embedded in the concrete slabs under the French limestone floors, but … we also have cooling tubes in the ceiling.

Floor tubing
Ceiling tubing
This project – although a traditional, French Provincial style home, still has high tech equipment. The house is super insulated using insulated concrete block, ICF, technology and both heated and cooled using radiant panels in the floor and ceiling.

The problem:

Everyone loves radiant floor heat, but in hot climates everyone wants cooling as well.  Typically this means an entire second – usually a ducted forced air system – is added just for cooling.

The solution:

Use radiant to cool as well as heat.

We did this with the help of special panels and control systems that sense humidity and allow us to cool without creating condensation.

Bottom Line:

It feels GOOD ! In hot or cold weather !Everybody loves radiant heat! You won’t even know there is a heating system in a home if its done right – it just feels comfortable.


More on this project CLICK HERE




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!

Permitting in Ojai and Ventura County – always new rules, especially in the mountains


Building a new home these days requires lots of permits.  More all the time.

Ventura County which includes a lot of the area around Ojai, has a difficult permitting process and many different agencies which require permits.  Particularly if you build in the mountains, the process can be challenging.

  • Building and Safety Department
  • Grading Department
  • Planning and Zoning Department
  • Environmental Health Department
  • Fire Department
  • Water Resources Department
  • Trash and Recyelcing
  • to name a few !

The process requires multiple trips to each department,  consisting of submitting plans for “plan check” – revising plans and making corrections – resubmission of plans (sometimes repeat again and again)

If you pass “GO” you move on to the next department.  Sometimes you go to “JAIL” or have to start over!

A day at the county can feel like living a “Twilight Zone” episode.


Below is an example of a recent Ventura County Ordinance – amending the rules for an “overlay” of the “Scenic Resource Protection Zone.”  This revises regulations for homes built on “ridgelines.”  The thinking that overbuilding on the tops of mountains spoils views for others.  Just an example of the incredible complexity of the rules and regulations in some areas today.

See if you can read and clearly understand this …

Continue reading “Permitting in Ojai and Ventura County – always new rules, especially in the mountains”

Lime Wash for the Ultimate French Look – Ojai New Home Construction

by Otis Bradley

Project: Ojai, California New Custom Home

Architecture: Pat Nolan, Rhett Judice
Builder: Otis Bradley Company, Inc.
Interior Design: Rhett Judice

Limewash is a centuries old technique used to enhance and protect stucco.  The beautiful patina and color adds a unique aged look to new stucco.  Our specialist, a real French man, will add three coats to create the effect.   Limewash, slaked lime, pigment and water, creates a chemical reaction with the stucco, not just a covering coat.

See the interesting article below for more information on Limewash.


Below you can see the base color of the stucco – on right side of the building – and the first coat of lime on the lefts


All the concrete seen here is the pool and spa.


Continue reading “Lime Wash for the Ultimate French Look – Ojai New Home Construction”