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

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.

Pasadena Historic Preservation

From the Pasadena Heritage News – an interesting article on how Pasadena, a city that takes preservation seriously, handles illegal construction. Note the penalty – 4 years no construction allowed !

PRESERVATION UPDATES

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City Levies Penalty for Illegal Demolition

The City of Pasadena recently issued a ruling against the owners of a project on Prescott Street where an eligible historic home was virtually demolished against city code and without proper permits. Neighbors alerted the city when they believed work on the property was going far beyond the permitted plans. After calls to our office by the neighbors months ago, Pasadena Heritage offered free architectural consultation to the owners. That offer was rejected.

On November 18th, the Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously to support city staff’s determination that this was an illegal demolition of an historic resource. Pasadena Heritage attended the Commission meeting to speak in support of the staff’s action and joined Craftsman Heights’ residents in expressing sadness and frustration at the loss of this architecturally significant home. The penalty is that no construction can take place on the site for four years, however, there are other remedies the owners can pursue that could allow an acceptable project to move forward.

Photo credit: City of Pasadena

New Construction in Southern California – Weather and Project Management

By: Otis Bradley

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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

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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.

 

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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 OtisBradley.com for more information on Custom Home Building!

Craftsman Kitchen Remodel – Santa Monica

by Otis Bradley

Project: Santa Monica – Craftsman Remodel

Architecture: Otis Bradley Company, Inc.
Builder: Otis Bradley Company, Inc.
Interior Design: Client with Otis Bradley Company, Inc.

Craftsman architecture is one of my favorites (I admit I have lots!).  I like the bold, strong, simple massing and the way the structural frame is exposed as finish detail.

Although the homes often look bold and strong, having been built at the turn of the Century, most Craftsman homes have inferior foundations.  Concrete was much different then – lacking metal reinforcement – and was typically much smaller than today’s foundations.   However this home had been completely lifted off its old foundation and a new one was installed underneath it !

The entire home was constructed of redwood – the good old stuff!  The 2×4’s, the mouldings and even the siding is all redwood.

Not a fancy craftsman home – I like to call this a “working craftsman.”  Good solid but basic detailing.

The home had also been “remuddled” over the years.  The kitchen cabinets were some kind of super cheap fiber board construction with no relationship to the style of the home.

After studying Craftsman furniture of the era like Stickley and others, we decided to go back to oak.  We installed new oak floors throughout the house and oak cabinets as well.  After looking at several different concept of Craftsman style ideas, we decided to go with a fairly straight forward wide frame and panel design.

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